Our week in Ethiopia: Liam’s Gotcha Week

After picking Liam up from the orphanage we took the bumpy van ride back to the hotel where we would spend the week trapped hanging out in the hotel. Our agency prefers that we stay in and work on bonding with our kiddos rather than gallivanting all over Ethiopia. It’s probably a very good rule to follow. So we followed it. I love Ethiopia, but being cooped up in a hotel room in Ethiopia just isn’t the same. We were SO ready to get home. However, there were still days to wait, an embassy appointment ahead and a very long plane ride looming in the distance.

Mom and I outside the gates of Hannah’s Hope

First Van ride together!

Once we arrived at the hotel I quickly worked on getting reacquainted with my little guy. I was dying to study every little finger and toe. To snuggle and kiss his cute little cheeks. He was probably totally overwhelmed by me but he was taking everything so well. Within an hour or so he was very at ease. Smiling and babbling like I had never left the first time. This made my heart sing. I had worried myself to pieces thinking he would initially reject me. Thankfully this was not, and has not been the case for us. We have been incredibly fortunate. Liam was quite sick during the week we spent in Ethiopia. He was extremely congested and could not lay on his back for any period of time without going into coughing fits and vomiting. He also had a very itchy rash on his face that he scratched continuously. I was very nervous and couldn’t wait to get him to the pediatrician. His little lungs were just so full of mucus and fluid and it also seemed that he could possibly have an ear infection on top of everything. My children have been sick before, but I’ve never felt this anxious before. He remained in good spirits, however, and I could tell he was improving simply from having good one on one attention from momma.

The sleeping wasn’t great. But it wasn’t terrible. Honestly, I’m not sure I slept at all. But he did, so that definitely made things go much more smoothly. We went to breakfast in the lobby everyday and enjoyed our delicious Ethiopian coffee. The hotel restaurant was a bit busier in the evenings so we opted to order our food and eat it in the room. I think we ate Tilapia at least three times. Glass bottle Pepsi and Coke Light were also staples of our diet.

Embassy day went smoothly and oddly enough the guy who did our Exit interview used to date a girl from our little town, Hendersonville TN. Small World. We did go on one Taxi ride and Mom did well. I give her serious props for how she conducted herself on her first trip to Ethiopia/Africa. The first few moments in the taxi were a little intense for her, see picture below, but in the end she and our driver Solomon were BFFs.

After embassy day we had to wait 48 hours before heading home. On the morning of the last 12 hours we received a package with Liam’s passport and our immigration items. BEST PACKAGE EVER. It was almost time to go home. We spent the last day packing and drinking copious amounts of coffee. Did I mention we didn’t sleep? I think we may have gotten a total of 12 hours the entire week. We were really running on empty, but it helps when you have a smiley little guy to brighten things up. The trip home? That it yet to come.

About the author


Erica is an advocate for simplicity, family time, making a cozy home and loving others well. She is the community coordinator for One Orphan, the orphan care ministry of America World Adoption Association. Erica and Calvin have four young children; Elliott, Charlotte, Lola and Liam. They currently reside in Nashville, TN.


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  • This is a week I will never forget! LIAM,Erica,coffee,pepsi,room service,donkeys,incredible people,SOLOMON,taxi ride, The airport, embassy and seeing the american flag,dust,the kind staff at our hotel,all the children left at the orphange,and the view from the window! I love you Ethiopia!

  • Reading this post just reminds me again of what a blessing blogs can be and how we get to (in a way) walk with people on their God-given journeys! Your obedience to become a family to Liam is just overwhelming and heartwarming. lovelovelove!!! Hope to meet him one of these days!

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