We are safely back home and getting settled into the old routine with River.  Our bags are unpacked and the jet lag either hasn't set in yet or isn't as bad as it was on the way there.  

It's hard to believe we've been where we've been and we've seen what we've seen, and the whole time, home was here just the same.

River and I went on a bike ride and  our neighborhood, that two weeks ago felt unremarkable, is actually full of bird feeders and lawn ornaments and two car garages.   For the first time I appreciated that our town has paved roads, street signs, and sidewalks- without a soul living on them.
Harar, Ethiopia- outside Abenezer Orphanage
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Dire Dawa, Ethiopia
We passed court!  

Meet our Ethiopian daughter

Willow Temar Logan Wade!
She will be reading this post someday, so please leave her a comment!
We've finally delivered almost all of our donations to the orphanages we're visiting.  We have one bag of miscellaneous items and some formula to deliver to Kids Care.  Today we took toothbrushes, toothpaste, diaper rash cream, some infant clothing, and mattress covers to Abenezer and an entire suitcase of shoes to KVI.  

Seeing these orphanages with our own eyes, makes us realize the needs here are REAL.  We have several good ideas for donations to collect and toys and items that can be made when we get home.  We will most certainly be bringing as many donations as we can with us next time.  
Cloth diapers drying at Abenezer.
A few ideas we have for when we get home...
  • Making mobiles to hang over cribs.  
  • Making reversible dresses (especially to hand out to children on the street)
  • Making infant play mats.  (look up play mat on etsy.com)
  • Making baby dolls that we can pass out to the children in the orphanages.  (with the help of DollyDonations.blogspot.com)
  • Possibly making more diaper covers.
Those are just small, light easy to pack things we can bring in space bags.  We'll also be bringing more cloth diapers (the ones we saw drying were worn through) and other items.  And of course, cash for formula.  

Tomorrow we go for court.  That is late Wednesday night/early Thursday morning back home.  Please pray that we pass tomorrow.  We want to leave Ethiopia knowing that she is officially ours.  And we want to move on to the next step, clearing with the US Embassy as quickly as possible!  
We were almost finished with this post, then the power went out and we lost it!  Earlier I posted a video on Facebook of the thunderstorm.  It is still raining.  If you aren't our Facebook friend yet, we are under the name Our Ethiopian Daughter.

Our trip to Dire Dawa and Harar was the greatest trip ever. The people in Ethiopia are so friendly - whether they're Christian or Muslim, they co-exist peacefully and have welcomed us everywhere we've been. 

Dire Dawa was an awesome city. As far as infrastructure, it was the most modern of all the cities - paved, straight roads, cool architecture. We arrived after a delayed plane ride by mid afternoon, ate lunch at the hotel there, met our driver and headed to Harar.  

Flying from Addis Ababa to Dire Dawa.
The view from our balcony in Dire Dawa.
Another view from our balcony in Dire Dawa.
The view from our balcony in the rain.
Many of the homes on the road to Harar look like this one.
Homes on the hillside on the road to Harar. Chat farms in the background.
We got out of the van for a picture.
The road there was interesting - very mountainous, very curvy, and lots of small white Toyota vans like we were in. When we got to Harar, we visited Abeneezer Orphanage and took them donations, including $200 American dollars worth of formula (from donations gathered back home). They were very grateful. The kids there were awesome. 

They had a washing machine at their facility for us to take to Abenezzer in Dire Dawa on our way back. In true Ethiopian fashion, we strapped it to the roof of the van with some rope - they use the roofs of vehicles to haul most anything, we even saw a volkswagen bug hauling two goats (see below).  

At one point in the afternoon we were standing in a nice, quiet neighborhood in Harar and we quickly became a spectacle.  People were stopping in their tracks to look at us.  Two girls stopped and sat down to stare.  Yonas explained to us that some of the folks in that neighborhood had never seen white people before and the ones who had had only seen them in the tourist areas, and probably never in this neighborhood.  So we just smiled and waved and they all smiled back.  Every single person we have smiled at in Ethiopia has sincerely smiled back.   
Many streets in Harar look like this one.
Later we picked up our tour guide and headed to the old walled section of Harar to shop. We bought coffee and souvenirs. It was very cool seeing the old walls that date back to 1552. After the tour and shopping, we went to the market which was very crowded (being the day before Easter - it's a week later here). This market is where we took the video that's now on Facebook.  And again we were quite a spectacle.  
With Yonas in the market in Harar. Yonas was with us through the whole trip. I love this picture, because you can see how discretely people were looking at us.
By then, it was dark and we went to see the Hyena Man of Harar (he's famous, you can google him). We stayed in the van with the driver, but Yonas and the tour guide, Ashenafi, got out and fed the hyenas in the street. It was nuts. Yonas, who had done it before, said even he was nervous. It was crazy!! We filmed everything from inside the van, behind metal and glass. 

Then we dropped off the tour guide and headed back to Dire Dawa in the dark. Once we were there, we delivered the washing machine and a few other donations to the Dire Dawa Abenezzer Orphanage. It was a nice facility - the newest of the Abenezzer Orphanages. After that, we had dinner with Yonas at the hotel. 

This trip was truly one of the greatest experiences of our lives.  We are so grateful that we chose to go and that we've now seen with our own eyes the amazing city our daughter comes from.  We will definitely go back with her some day.  Hopefully sooner, than later.
We met her and she is absolutely perfect.  
We can't show her face until we pass court on April 19th.  Please pray that our MOWCYA letter is positive and we do pass court on that day.
We are heading to the airport in the morning.  

All 200 pounds of donations are packed.  So that we didn't have to leave anything important behind, Logan is carrying a bag of toy cars in his laptop bag and I have a container of formula, a bag of rubber gloves and a bottle of prenatal vitamins in my "one personal item."

We have set-up a Facebook account for this trip.  It's Our Ethiopian Daughter and we'd love to be your friend.  We'll be updating the blog as often as possible, but putting pictures and information on Facebook will be quicker.  

And... we're off!




$634 donated so far!  
$393 for formula.  
Please continue to donate 
and help us spread the word! 
Donations can be made through our donate button on the sidebar.
River's Cupcake Kids t-shirt from www.thecupcakekids.org.
River helped me on one last big trip to the store today.  We got all of the food and medicine we're taking with us.

We found this enormous bottle of 240 vitamins at WalMart for $9.97.  We would love to have more of these!  They are good for age 2 - adult and the bottle is light-weight.  We could pack several of these!
We found four more pair of tennis shoes on our front porch today.  Thank you, whoever you are!  (And I promise our front porch is not a reflection of the rest of our home.  ha ha)  

Thank you to Cheryl for the scrubs you left at church, and thank you to everyone who has donated $6 and more toward formula.  

Thank you all so much!  Keep the donations coming and continue to help us spread the word!  You can contact me at BrandyDWade at gmail dot com.
We have $224 for formula so far!  Please continue to donate 
($6 at a time really adds up) and help us spread the word! 
We just heard from our AWAA family coordinator that two of the orphanages we're visiting need shoes for children 11 - 15 years old.  Thanks to my cousin Heather and aunt Teressa we have quite a few pair of shoes now, but we could still use more!  So please, if you have gently used children's shoes or are willing to purchase new shoes, let us know!
Both orphanages have a desperate need for formula.  Specifically formula for mal-nourished babies.  Once upon a time we were able to get a huge donation of this kind of a formula, that had been sitting in a medical closet in Bloomington with no where to go.  So if you know anyone in the medical field, please ask them about formula!  Also, if you would like to purchase this formula it is called Neutramigen and is available at Wal-Mart.  This is one kind of formula we would like to pack to take with us as it may not be available in-country.  Or donate here using our donate button!

The orphanages also need cloth diapers, which praise the Lord, we have more of than we can even pack.  Thank you so much Tidy Tushies in Bloomington!  If anyone else would like to donate cloth diapers we'd be happy to put them back for our next trip. 

You can contact us at BrandyDWade at gmail dot com.
So far we have raised $72 for formula!  
Please continue to donate and help us spread the word!  
We need more shoes!  So far we only have child size 9 - 13.  We need bigger kid shoes.  We would love to have sturdy tennis shoes in bigger sizes.  New or slightly used.

We also need vitamins, vitamin D drops or Iron drops.  

If you know of a nurse who might have a connection to some scrubs, please let us know!

We have no rubber gloves, saline spray, Neosporin, Benadryl, Permetherin or Lice Kits.  

Please help us continue to collect!  Our biggest donations have come from asking one person who happened to have a connection.  So please help us spread the word!  There is much we still need!  

You can contact me at BrandyDWade at gmail dot com.