Sunday, April 4, 2010

Days 9 and 10

Day 9
Day 9 began with a trip to the Gladney Care Center for a follow-up appointment with the doctor. He said Sophia Mekdes was doing much better and to just continue her medicine until it was finished. We came home for a little bit and then headed to Dreamland.

This is a view of Gladney Care Center #4, for those of you with children there.

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Dreamland is a hotel and restaurant about an hour away on Crater Lake. It is beautiful. The drive was much smoother than I had been told, which I appreciated. The road is very busy and is a main route to Djibouti, so it has a lot of importing and exporting going on. It was nice to get out of the city and see a little bit of a different side of Ethiopia. We had a nice meal and headed back to the city.

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Day 10
Today we began our day with an attempted Easter photo shoot with miss Sophie. It wasn’t too successful, but I will post a few of the pics we captured.

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Today we had the VERY emotional journey to the government run orphanages. We visited all three and I can’t even put it into words what it was like. Belay, the Gladney in-country director, was our guide through the orphanages. We video-taped him talking about all of the needs of each orphanage. He also spoke about all of the programs Gladney has implemented. Gladney is the main adoption agency involved with the orphanages and impacting the lives of the orphans there. I so wish I could post pictures of the children, but it is not allowed. I can show them in person, but I can't post them online.

The first orphanage we visited was Kolfe, which is for older boys. I think they take boys in the 11-20 age range. I am sure that is not the exact range, but close. Here are a few pictures from Kolfe. They are working on renovating the facility and also developing income generating programs for the boys.

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The next orphanage was Kebebe Tsehay. It is home to babies up to seven year olds. The baby room was one of the saddest things I have EVER seen. It reeked of spit-up. They had three workers for probably 25-30 babies. The babies had their bottles propped up and they were the tiniest babies you have ever seen. They have a big problem with communicable diseases. One of the babies got chicken pox and they didn’t catch it until it had spread. They lost eight babies in one week. Think on that for a minute. I asked Belay how much it would take to pay the salary of one caregiver. His response, “$50 a month”. Please think about that. $600 a year could be the difference between life and death for these children. $600.

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There were so many precious children. Michael and I fell in love with a little girl about five or six years old. She was so sweet and loved Michael. She has a little brother who looked to be about two. We asked if they were available to adopt and Belay said their mother refused to relinquish them, meaning they would stay in the orphanage forever, if that didn’t change. I teared up watching her and leaving the orphanage today.

The final orphanage we went to was Kechene. This orphanage is home to babies, younger children and older girls. We loved it. It was very peaceful. The children seemed so happy and LOVED having their pictures taken. I need to get them all printed and send them with another traveling family, so the girls can have them. Pictures are like money here. EVERYONE wants pictures.

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We have so many thoughts running through our head. You cannot see what we have seen and not do something. Part of our hearts will always be here. I can’t wait to share the pictures and videos with our family and friends. Please pray about what God might be calling you to do today. Is it adopt? Is it to finance a project? Maybe it is something small or something great. Please ask God to open your hearts to the possibilities ahead of you.

7 comments:

Belleme said...

You are doing an AMAZING job of sharing your experiences! Wish I could see your pix, too! :) I'm praying for all those kids you've seen and met and loved on- especially the 5 year old girl and 2 year old brother. We serve a big God who can move mountains!
Oh, and Sophia is ADORABLE!! :) You guys are an adorable family!

paige said...

This will reach you a million years too late, but Ethiopian Orphan Relief is researching new partners (to receive our funding) and we've talked a great deal about Kolfe (and perhaps Kebebe Tsehay too)--please bring any information you can about them--I'd love a needs assessment from someone who's been there. Let's chat once you get back.

Safe travels

Eryn said...

Wow, Katie. So unbeleivable. These experiences will change you forever...your heart is amazing, thanks for sharing.

Leanne said...

Very, very touching. Eryn is right - these experiences will change you forever. Thank you for sharing. Brought tears to my eyes, and makes me very thankful that Zadie and Sophie were "chosen". Don't know why, exactly, but we are so thankful!!!

Eryn said...

I came back again...I just love seeing the house where my girl lives :)

Niemitz said...

Your daughter is just beautiful!!! I love her Easter dress:) Thanks for sharing your experiences there. I cant wait for the day to be able to travel there to meet our baby, and to explore the country.
Brenda

Tracy said...

Great post!

I'm both excited and nervous to tour the orphanages when we go over. I know it will be joyful and difficult all at the same time.

Thank you for sharing your heart and the pictures.