» Trip One: To Ethiopia and Back

Wow. What a whirlwind. Our time in Ethiopia. Where do we start? This was a new kind of Africa for us. We’re used to the more rural, lush parts of Uganda. The huge city of Addis Ababa was a new experience. We heard a different population count from pretty much everyone in that city, from taxi drivers to orphanage employees. It seems that it falls somewhere between 3 and 5 million people. That’s quite a few folks. Addis is this crazy mix of nice coffee shops, big buildings, cows, lambs and extreme poverty. Addis is a mix of African middle class and starvation. It’s very unsettling to see a man selling off his little heard of sheep in front of a restaurant he could never afford. In a way, it’s nothing new for me. But at the same time I don’t ever want to get used to, or comfortable with, great need and desperation. Our experience with Addis was also heightened because our son is actually from that area. Many babies and children who are being adopted through our agency are from other parts of Ethiopia. But Liam is from Addis. This is his first home, the two orphanages he lived in were here in Addis. I keep saying this because I never want to forget it. I don’t ever want to forget how to teach him about his home. To teach him the good and the hard in a way that allows him to remember through my eyes. I don’t ever want him to lose his heritage. Speaking of heritage. We tried to experience as much about the culture as we could fit in. One evening we went to a traditional Ethiopian dinner and show. We got to see dances from all the regions and tribes in Ethiopia. Very fun and very delicious.

We also drank copious amounts of coffee. A friend in our travel group began suggesting that I hook myself up to an IV drip of coffee. Considering the jet lag I’m experiencing now that doesn’t sound like a bad idea.

Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony

Taking in the culture (and shopping!) was great but the highlight of the trip was, of course, being with our son. We got to spend about 3 hours a day at Hannah’s Hope. We fed him, played with him, rocked him and even helped with a bath. It was heavenly. We are just so in love and ready to have him home. We did pass court while we were there so that was just beyond words exciting. We are now looking at a time line of about 8 weeks until we can fly back and bring him home for good. We are legally his parents in the eyes of the Ethiopian court system but the US embassy has to clear us in order for him to come home. Would you like to pray with us as we wait for that day? That would be awesome. We felt each and every prayer while we were in country. And we continue to feel God’s peace and presence now that we are back home.

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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  • Love the condendsed story. Can see it so clearly. Will be heading that way in a matter of months. Just received our referral and have enjoyed looking and sharing the pictures of this little girl. Any suggestions on the region would be really helpful.
    Thanks for sharing your story.

  • I see the happiness in your eyes, Erica. I am so excited for you and can’t wait to see Liam’s face….everything else about him is so cute!

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