We Are Family

Joseph & I just before Evangelle's arrival

Even though there’s little chance I can adequately describe to you what yesterday was like for Joseph and me, I’m going to try it anyway. I’ll pick things up from where I left off in my last post…

At 9:30 a.m. Joseph and I, along with three other families, traveled to the facility where our little ones are currently living in Addis Ababa. The ride took us somewhere around 45 min. and we saw a number of interesting sights as we made our way through the busy streets.

The temperature was probably in the high 60s with clear, sunny skies, but I was surprised to see different women walking next to the road with their babies wrapped in clothing that looked far too warm for such temperatures. Someone on staff with CWA later told us that Ethiopia is currently in its cool season, and temperatures like we experienced today are considered cold by people living here!

We saw donkeys carrying enormous mounds of haystacks with their little bodies almost completely hidden in the middle of their loads. Another funny sight Joseph and I noticed were goats standing high atop the roofs of vans as they went careening down the road. I’m still hoping to snap a picture of that scene if I have another opportunity to do so.

But on to the good stuff…

Once we arrived at the children’s home, we were warmly greeted by the staff who then went to bring our children down to meet us. The first to appear was a 9 year-old boy who peeked his head around the corner to catch a glimpse of his adoptive parents before quickly retreating again. They had already sent a photo album to him, so he recognized his new family right away. He then reappeared and made his way down the stairs with a shy smile, where his parents welcomed him with tears and hugs. I joined them with the tears. Such a sweet moment.

A few minutes later, the nurse came down the stairs with a little girl whose face we knew well. Evangelle was dressed in one of the outfits she had worn in her most recent photos—a plaid blue and red-striped jumper dress. The nurse placed her in my arms and escorted us into a large playroom where we could spend some time together somewhat on our own.

In such monumental moments, I’ve found I never seem to have the emotional reactions I imagine myself experiencing beforehand. I didn’t cry immediately. I felt surprisingly calm, but happy to see Evangelle in person.

She is still so tiny. Like many of the other children in the home, she has a cold due to the changing temperatures and her lungs are quite congested. When I heard the purring sound in her breathing, I started to cry. The hardest part about all of this right now is being unable to provide Evangelle with the care that Joseph and I want to give her.

In spite of her congestion, Evangelle seemed to be content and alert. Her large dark eyes closely followed any movement around her; she seemed intent on observing everything that took place. The nurse told us that she is the most active baby there, and I can believe it! In spite of her petite size, she seems quite strong. She wiggles almost non-stop and often arches her back so she can view the world upside down just like my niece Addison loved to do when she was Evangelle’s age.

Her favorite thing to do is to clasp her tiny little hands together tightly. Sometimes she interlaces her fingers like she is in prayer, other times she just folds one hand over the other and then tucks her itty-bitty thumb (or thumbs!) into her mouth. The staff told us she is frequently seen in this pose. It is too precious for words.

Joseph and I had the chance to practice some parenting skills during our 3 hours together with Evangelle. She broke me in well with an especially messy diaper only a few minutes into our visit. Joseph had his turn feeding her rice cereal, and then later, I fed Evangelle her lunch of pureed rice and beans. She seemed to love this concoction, and I told her to enjoy it while she can ’cause mommy doesn’t do beans. :)

About two hours into our visit, Evangelle was fighting off sleep, still trying to absorb all of the excitement around her. I walked her slowly around the room, rocking her and singing her songs about Jesus. Her beautiful eyes stayed locked on mine until she finally gave in and fell asleep in my arms. It was a near-heavenly moment for Joseph and me.

At the end of our visit, we reluctantly said goodbye to our sweet girl. The Ethiopian government limits our time together during this first trip to allow as little bonding to take place as possible. I’ve got bad news for them—the bonding has already occurred. I won’t tell if you won’t. ;)

I would greatly appreciate it if you woud keep Evangelle’s health in your prayers and ask the Lord to clear her congestion, strengthen her body, and help her gain weight. I know He has big plans for the life of this little girl!

18 thoughts on “We Are Family

  1. Love it! Praise the Lord for such a great visit with Evangelle! We will continue to pray for her health and that the time between now and bringing her home with you will be short!! :)

  2. Watching your child fall asleep in your arms has to be one of the sweetest things this side of heaven. I bet she was thinking as she drifted off to sleep… “Yes, this is MY Mama!” How old is Evangelle? Sounds like she is doing the very same things Holly does. Praying her congestion clears.

  3. Missy….I could hardly read fast enough!!!! I couldn’t wait to hear all about her. Of course…I’m crying. I’m praying for YOUR sweet girl. I too was very sick when I was adopted. (acute bronchitis) and had to be hospitalized and kept in a 50 degree tent. Evangelle is smaller than I but I also was far underwieght at 9lbs at three months old. All that to say this. The love that she will experience when she’s finally home will work miracles! I’m excited to watch her grow as she thrives through your love for her. I’m excited to read your next entry!

  4. Well, I tried to read this out loud to Taaron, but I’m fairly certain he couldn’t understand me through my sobs :) We love you and that sweet little girl so much! Praying for you as often as I think if you ( which is a lot!)

  5. I tried to get through the post without crying, but had no such luck. We are praying for baby Evangelle’s health, and for you and Joseph!
    Love you lots!!!

  6. I’m crying and am so excited for you and Joesph right now. I will continue to pray for her health and a soon return home with your precious miracle!!
    Shannon Cansler

  7. I’m so overjoyed for you all. God is Good and my heart is overflowing with thankfulness for what He is allowing to happen in yours, Joseph’s and Evangelle’s lives.
    Praying for good health and more bonding. thanks for the update!

  8. Ben and I were reading your blog together taking in every word. Tears filled my eyes as you described how you felt when held Evangelle as she slept. Ben enjoyed the rice and beans comment. We will be praying for Evangelle and her health.

  9. This did make me cry tears of joy with you! I have been thinking of you and praying for you often during your trip and can’t wait until you have her with you to bring her back next time!

  10. Keeping Evangelle in our prayers. Our daughter is just getting over pneumonia, so I understand. It has been so touching to read of your journey to adoption. A friends daughter has been in Africa since April awaiting adoption of two wonderful children. Keep them in your prayers as well. Praising God with you.

  11. This is amazing. I’m so happy for you and Joseph and can’t wait to meet her. I hope if you have a welcome home party for her you will keep us in mind:) You all will definitely be in our prayers.

  12. I had no idea you were adopting. I must’ve missed the post. I’m so happy for you and can’t wait to see a picture. I hope to meet you some day. I really love your blogs and love for Jesus. With many prayers,

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