We. Are. Almost. There.
We’ve finally recovered from jet-lag enough to sit down and write briefly about our time in Ethiopia. We had an amazing time meeting and spending time with the girls. We were fortunate to be able to spend a lot of time with them, although we did go out a few times, for court, for a traditional Ethiopian meal, to shop in a local market, and up to the city of Bahir Dar to visit friends of ours. We also got to see up close the work that they are doing there with the Grace Center, which helps mothers in need of job training and income, as well as orphans. (For the record–and they want to be very clear on this–these friends, C. and A., met us in Addis and were the first of our friends to meet our girls.) ;)
We were concerned for a few hours that we would not actually make it to Ethiopia 48 hours before our court date on May 17th (as required by Ethiopian law). Our plane from Newark to London left seven hours behind schedule and at one point, the airline employees told us that if we did not take off within the hour, we probably wouldn’t arrive in time to make our flight to Addis. We are grateful for the prayers of those who in contact with us during that time.
Of course, we did make it to Addis Ababa on time, and after traveling to the Transition House we finally, at long last, met our daughters. Wow, that’s a weird sentence. Friends keep asking if the first meeting went off as I’d envisioned, but I’m not sure what I envisioned. It was great, though. I can’t imagine how weird and uncomfortable it must have been for the girls, but they came to us and hugged and kissed us and then we all sat down to get to know each other. Over the next few days, things began to feel much more normal and we saw increasingly more of their personalities.
Lydia Joy Arafat Shores is eight years old and she is very mature. She’s taken primary responsibility for her sisters in the time that they have been separated from family. She loves to sing and dance and is anxious to learn more English (she already speaks some) and succeed at school when she comes home.
Ruby Suzanne Hajite Shores is six (roughly a month older than Abby). She was a mystery to us when we looked at her referral picture, but we discovered that she loves big. She has a sweet smile and is, like her sisters, quite athletic. She speaks a little English right now. We got an e-mail in Chicago’s airport that she’d lost a tooth the day after we left.
Zoey Elese Similee Shores is three, but will turn four in July (she’s six months younger than Isaiah). She loves to cuddle and hug and speaks almost no English at the moment. I don’t think she completely understands all that is happening right now, because we heard that the day after we left she was looking for us in the Transition House.
We came home to a letter from the organization Show Hope, saying that we’d been approved for a $6000 grant. We applied for that way back in January when we thought we were adopting two kids under age 6! We are amazed at how God has provided in such abundance throughout the entirety of this adoption. The current estimation for when Lydia, Ruby, and Zoey will come home is the end of July. After talking to the agency director on the ground in Ethiopia, and since we have to buy plane tickets anyway, we are considering traveling at the end of June and staying to teach English to all the kids there until the girls clear embassy. Either way, we need to raise about $12,000 more in order to go and bring them home. While this number seems big, we’ve seen God provide so much more—the referral costs alone for the girls was $19,200!
We have several fundraisers in the works. The first one is a Kickstarter-type campaign. We’ll have various tiers of giving with gifts that those who donate will receive. Most of these gifts we bought on our last trip to Ethiopia, where they were made by women at the Grace Center.
Purchases can still be made at our Etsy store, Almost Africa, too.
If you would be willing to host a fundraising dinner, yard sale, or even a lemonade stand in your area of the world over the next few weeks to benefit our adoption, please let me know. Every little bit helps more than you can know!
We are also thankful in advance for flat donations. Our Lifesong matching grant is maxed out, but you can still give directly to us, or if you’d like your gift to be tax-deductible, you an give to our NAMB account:
NAMB / Attn: Accounting-MSC / PO Box 116543 / Atlanta, Georgia 30368-6543
Our ID number is #8672. You must put that in the memo line of the check or online in order for us to receive it. If you choose this option, please drop us an e-mail or fb message letting us know how much you plan to give, so that we are able to count on it.
Kickstarter plan to follow in another blog post.