Bethany and Lydia having breakfast with Santa. It was Liddy's first time seeing the big guy and she was all smiles and no tears.
Mr and Mrs Claus
Thomas family Christmas: the Dad and Sisters with Liddy for her 1st Christmas
JP got a present, too!
Just writing the title of this post is bringing tears to my eyes. Yesterday flying over Ethiopia was a sight to see. I never tire of God's creation and how different He has made each place and each person. I see rolling hills and flat land. Patches of brilliant greens and dull browns. It's all woven together to paint a beautiful picture. Stepping out of the airport and hearing, seeing and smelling a different, foreign, culture never ceases to amaze me. All of these beautiful people who don't look or act like me intrigues the inner parts of my heart and mind. The imagination of my Maker overwhelms me and I feel privileged to experience it all.
Today was a surreal experience for us. We woke up and unlike the other families, I wasn't nervous at all about the court proceedings. We drive through the city and make it to the federal court building. After several flights of stairs and many winded Americans:) we make to a semi-large room filled with other families from different agencies. We wait for our orphanage to be called. Each family anticipates hearing their child's name to go into the room. It seems like families are coming out after a minute or less. I'm still not nervous at this point. Our orphanage is called and our families start being summoned one at a time. I start crying after the first family receives good news. Soon, JP's, name is called(his Ethiopian name) and we enter. The judge is a beautiful Ethiopian woman who over sees ALL court cases! What a busy lady, glad she wasn't our sick on this day:) She quietly, as custom in Ethiopia, ask us several questions. I get really nervous and Joey takes over! She finally ask, "Do you understand that this is permanent?", us: "Yes". She smiles and says "Congratulations, He is yours"! My heart was overwhelmed with joy! We have a son!
We go to a coffee house to celebrate our good news with GREAT Ethiopian coffee and popcorn! We go to a nice mall and have a fabulous lunch with shopping and then we all canceled our "mountain" sight-seeing plans and asked to see our children. We got to spend the afternoon with JP and pretty soon he was sitting in our laps and letting us hug and kiss on him.
Today is a day that will forever be etched in my heart and soul. JP we love you and can't wait to come back and bring you home!
We are such proud parents at this moment! After all of our flight delays, we stepped out of the airport at 10:45 in Addis Ababa and went straight to visit you. The other families had been visiting yesterday and all morning and when we first arrived you and the other children were having a very busymorning with all the parents playing with you. Your dad and I went to you but you shyed away from us. Daddy did get you to kick a ball with him before the Nannies took you inside for lunch. I noticed that you barely ate any of your food but drank all your milk! You and your big sister share this common trait! Once the Nannies brought out the dum-dums you were done with your food. Your special friend was there and very happy to greet us and play with us. While you were eating she came and took your block. You calmly called the Nanny and pointed to tell on her. WHen the Nanny didn't understand, you got up and pointed harder! THe Nanny went to her and she took off running with a smile on her face! The Nannies report that you "fight and play with her a lot" since you are close to the same age.
She was an important tool to getting you to warm up to me and your dad. At one point, you cried when we tried to show you too much attention and we had to give you some time to come to us on your own. I helped convince you to do that by giving you candy:) The Nanny then came and sat with me and your friend and got a a pile of books to get you close to me. It worked! And before long you and your friend were laughing at me make animal noises and fishy faces. Your friend especially liked the fishy face and belly-laughed each time I did it and this would make you laugh at her. It warmed my heart each time I heard you sweet laugh or saw that big smile. You kept pointing to the kitty because you wanted me to meow. I think you and Bethany will get along just fine:)
Soon after I was able to cuddle you some and get you comfortable, we had to leave. We tried to get you to wave bye-bye to us but you started to get shyagain. After we turned to leave you ran to the door and waved bye bye to us and gave us a big smile. This was the best moment of our day with you!
We understand that it will take you time to love us and trust us. We are okay with that and will give you as much time as you need. But you must know that we have loved you long before this meeting.
We are going to visit you tomorrow and I know that we gained good ground today.
With Love and Patience,