Monday, September 13, 2010

Coffee Ceremony at the Gladney Care Center

Wednesday, September 1 was set aside for us to go to the Gladney Care Center, where our boys have lived the last several months while they've waited to be adopted. We got to tour three of the four care houses, see the rooms where our boys lived, and visit some of the beautiful children waiting for their forever families. Here are Brian and Jeremy standing in front of the Care Center where Jeremy lived:

At this point in the trip, Jeremy was really starting to feel more comfortable with us, and we didn't want to disrupt that, but this visit to the care center is part of the adoption journey, and it is the opportunity for the special mothers (the primary caregivers) of each child to say their goodbyes. First we toured Zachary's care center, and he was taken by a caregiver, and we were sent on our way to finish the tour. (We were told this would happen. The special mother takes the child from you and has some special time to say goodbye. They also buy a traditional Ethiopian outfit as a parting gift to dress the child in for the coffee ceremony.)

As we neared Jeremy's care house, he was calm as could be, and as soon as his special mother found him, she approached him, and his face absolutely lit up, and he went right to problem at all! Jeremy's special mother is named Mami (pronounced "Mommy"), and she is a beautiful woman, inside and out! I'm so glad she loved and cared for him all of those months he spent in Gladney's care.

She immediately put him in one of the cribs and started changing him into his traditional outfit.

Can't you just feel how much she loves him?!

After we finished our tour of the care centers, we congregated in the living room of one of the care houses for a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony.

This woman roasted the coffee beans and then ground them by hand with a mortar and pestle. And then the coffee was served.

Soon, Mami and Jeremy entered the room and she presented him to us in his adorable outfit.

She was so strong and dignified in the way she handled her goodbye. She hugged and kissed him, and asked for a kiss from him (which he obliged), and she handed him over to us.

She posed for a picture with us, we thanked her for caring for our son, and then she walked out of the room...and as she walked away, my mom saw her wiping away tears from her eyes.

This is Zachary with his special mother, Hiwot:

We didn't get to spend as much time talking with Hiwot as we did with Mami, but one of the Gladney interns said that Hiwot is a wonderful caregiver. We believe it! All of the children in Gladney's care seem so well loved and well taken care of.

After leaving the care centers, all of the adoptive families and our children went to Top View, a restaurant with a view of the city. Jeremy sat right next to me and shared my lasagna with me, and then he wanted to toddle around, and I snapped this shot of my gorgeous boy!

It was another amazing day in Ethiopia!


Dana Cheryl said...

How wonderful that your children have been so loved! Heavenly Father has certaintly answered many prayers by providing such devoted and loving "special mothers" as they waited for their real mother...

OK, one day I will actually read one of your blog entries and not cry. Today, however, is NOT that day... :)

Laura said...

Amazing, amazing. I am so enlightened and constantly amazed by your "tour" posts. What a difficult job those women have - it must be so bittersweet for them. *hugs*

Autumn's Mom said...

I love reading about your journey. What a blessing that your boys were so well cared for, while they were waiting for you and Brian.


Anonymous said...

No doubt the boys were napping when you posted today!! :)

Thanks to you and Brian for allowing all of us to share in the blessing of adoption with you...

When I'm down or feeling blue, I just have to dial up your blog and be reminded that God is alive, well, and working miracles every day in the lives of His children.

Kisses and hugs to all of you in your sweet, yummy family of four.

Carol in Dallas, GA

kcinnova said...

I'm so glad that your boys have come from a place where they were truly loved and cared for. What a blessing to your entire family! And how very difficult it must be for those special mothers. They truly are special people!

Anonymous said...

Your blog makes my heart sing. Two new additions to my family, what joy!

J at said...

Such wonderful special moms your boys have had, and what a difference that will make in their adjustment at home. So much easier to trust and love when you've never been taught that it's a dangerous thing to do. I am amazed that these women are strong enough to do this job. To think of how often they fall in love, only to say goodbye. They are doing such wonderful, important work. Wow.

wildflowers said...

thank you for sharing this here. it makes me even happier with our choice to use Gladney as well :)
the care givers are sure angels!

Kelli Ugarte said...

Oh my goodness...your blog is something else. What a blessing for other adoptive parents going through the same journey. Also, it's so good you are writing this all out because the memories will fade through the years.

I would be a complete MESS through this. The emotions I have just sitting in this chair reading all of this...Wow.