Sunday, January 15, 2012

Day 1

This is my account of Jebriel's first days in America and in our family. It's wordy, but I want to remember every detail for him :) If you're not interested in all the words and just want the pictures, I'll do a mostly picture post in a minute.

The night before 'happy Jebby day' as Vivi called it, she was too excited to sleep! I had explained what was going to happen:

-wake up, eat breakfast
-go to the store to buy posterboard and stickers and flags
-make a sign for Jebby
-eat lunch
-go to the airport
-hold our sign, wave our flags, and watch for Jebby and daddy to come down the big stairs
-give hugs to Jebby and daddy
-go get their suitcases
-put Jebby in the carseat next to Vivi, and Journey in front of Jebby
-go home!

The closer I got to bringing Jebby home, the more her face lit up, and when I was done, she said "tell it again!" so we did it over and over, until she was telling it.

As we laid in bed, she kept saying "happy Jebby day mommy! Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas!" (during exciting, festive times, she uses all the holiday greetings she has learned since Thanksgiving :)

The next morning I woke up early to shower and do some last minute cleaning, and as soon as Vivi heard me moving, she woke up too, and said "happy Jebby day!"

We began our routine, and Vivi was very excited about shopping for Jebby's poster and flags. She told everyone "this sign is for Jebby! This flag is for Jebby!" She was just as serious about making the sign. Finally it was time to put on their 'I'm the little sister' shirts and go to the airport.

Vivi carried the sign into the airport, and was so proud and so careful that she was walking sooo slowly! My dad and sister also came out to greet them, and we got to our waiting spot and took out the flags and sign. The girls were both so excited, they were dancing around with their flags and attracting some attention. Our waiting spot has a nice open area that was great for them to run around while we waited.

Finally Eric called to say that they were off the plane and on their way! I set the girls up holding one side of the sign in one hand, and a flag in the other, and we watched for the boys to come down the big stairs! As they came down, Jeb was really shy and clung to Eric, but when they got to us and I offered him a flag, he took it. After a few minutes he came to me and gave me a big hug. I called him 'my son' in Amharic and he grinned :) He hugged Vivi and they looked happy to see each other again.

My dad got the suitcases off the belt while we visited, and Jebriel pulled his soccer ball out to show us. Then he turned and started running and kicking the ball around. The girls squealed and chased after him. We got a video, I just have to figure out how to get it onto the computer and then post it!

Finally we wrangled the kids and started to walk to the parking lot. Jeb insisted on pulling his own suitcase, so Vivi said she had to pull a suitcase, 'just like Jebby'. It took forever to get out of there! At one point Jeb got way ahead and Vivi and Journey were trying to pull the other suitcase, so he left his suitcase and came back to help them. We got a lot of smiles from people passing by.

When we got to the car, my dad loaded the suitcases in his car because they wouldn't fit with all the kids in our car. Then we buckled the kids in. Jeb was nervous about getting strapped into a seat. They don't have car seats or even seat belts in Ethiopia. He whimpered a little, but didn't put up a fight. Just minutes into the drive home, Eric checked on him in the rearview mirror and told me to look at them. He and Vivi were holding hands! They held hands until about half way home, when he relaxed and they started talking to each other, but every few minutes they would grab each other's hands again.

At home, he didn't really want to explore the house, he just started grabbing toys and playing with them. We played for awhile, then I made dinner-spaghetti, and reheated an Ethiopian dish I had made earlier in the week.

He let me put the pasta and sauce on his plate, but wouldn't let me give him the doro wat or pineapple. We showed him how to get a cup and put water in it from the fridge dispenser. After playing for awhile longer, he discovered his closet full of clothes and picked a new outfit to wear :)

The first time a cat walked into the room, he completely freaked out (it isn't common for animals to be pets in Ethiopia) so we ended up locking them in the back of the house. He has sense gotten over that completely and hunts them down if he hasn't seen them in awhile :)

Eric was exhausted, but Jeb wasn't showing any sign of stopping, so we made popcorn and put on a VeggieTales movie and cuddled on the couch. Within 15 minutes, Jeb was asleep, and a few minutes later, Journey was out. Eric snoozed while Vivi and I ate the popcorn :)

Eric slept in his room with him in case he needed anything, but he slept through the night and did great :)

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