Saying goodbye with a cup of coffee (Wednesday in Addis)

Addis Ababa          April 4, 2012

We left the guesthouse one time once for a few hours over our first five days with Aseres.  Between baths, play, naps and meals, the time turned quickly to Wednesday.  Our agency reserves the Wednesdays after placement for a traditional coffee ceremony at the Care Center.  From what we heard, the nannies swoop in and take the children away from their parents and off to see all of the nannies.  They dress the children in a traditional outfit, and everyone enjoys a traditional coffee ceremony together.  It sounded neat months ago, but we were not excited when Wednesday morning came.

Aseres moved from Bridge of Hope Orphanage to the Gladney Care Center once she was matched with our family, so she spent most of her life at the Care Center.  There was a lot of history at the Care Center, but we thought she had made great progress in our five days with her.  She said mama, dada, baby, kiss and signed “more” even though we were her first exposure to English.  Aseres was eating well, she was going to mama for comfort and she and I were bonding well.  We did not want a set-back, but we knew the ceremony was important to the nannies and we didn’t want to take anything from those who had spent so much time with her.

We traveled the same 35 minute drive to the Care Center which we had taken for the three visits in November.  Past the construction, the hungry, the broken and the more successful, past the loose donkeys and cows – all spilling into the lanes of traffic.  Marissa held Aseres as we toured the four houses in the Care Center complex.  We passed so many kids with willing families waiting to bring them home, yet stuck.  Do those who wish to insert speed bumps and roadblocks have any idea what extra months in an institutional setting does to a child?  Marissa handed Aseres to me and I carried her through the familiar courtyard gate.

That tree right there is where we prayed over you and told you we were going to prepare a place for you.  We will always try to do what we say.  We stepped through two doors and then another into the room where Aseres lived after our promise under the tree.  Aseres.  Aseres.  Aseres!  Her name rang from three separate corners and three separate nannies.  Some old friends tugged at her feet, but she held tighter.

Nannies saying goodbye

A kiss goodbye from an old friend

Minutes passed before one nanny coaxed Aseres with a cookie to join her and a cookie.  She made it to the ground, but the nannies conceded to Aseres look of concern and got her dressed right in front of us.  By the time she was dressed,

I'm outta here

the first and second cookie were gone.  The nannies told us they were too busy and would stay but another would join us for coffee; none would.  We set her down to walk out in the courtyard and the gate with us.  We took one “I’m out of this place” picture and returned to the main house for coffee.

Two nannies attended with two other children, but none for Aseres.  She sat with us through one awesome tradition.  Ethiopians still roast and brew coffee in their living rooms across the country every day.  It has an amazing feel of community as you go deeper with old and new

friends.  A Kenyan family joined us excited for “good coffee.”  And like that, it was over and we were back in the car.  I’ve heard it before, but there is no greater feeling than seeing the orphanage in the rear view mirror.  We were prepared for the worst but wanted to say a personal goodbye to the nannies who did so much to care for Aseres until we could come get her.  We drove away surprised there was no nanny she appeared to attach to despite her many months; we don’t know yet if that will make our work harder once we get home.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Lea Ann Kenworthy
    Apr 07, 2012 @ 18:47:34

    And so our prayers for you and your family change from “bring that baby home” to prayers of peaceful assimilation into your loving family.


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