Thursday, March 28, 2013

Ezekiel and Gabriel Come Home

Dear Zeke and Gabe,

On February 28, 2013, we received an email from the American embassy in Addis Ababa. It said: "This office is ready to schedule an interview... on behalf of the below applicants: (us!)"

We packed just like we'd done before, but THIS time, 
we packed for four!

Your cribs sat empty for the LAST time.

Early Monday morning, March 4, 2013, we were on our way:

Mom and Dad made one more special trip out to Mekele where we first met you! We had a special visit with your first care takers, and took lots of pictures of the waiting children. Then we headed back for THE moment we'd been waiting for... coming back for you!

Wednesday night, we set up our room at the guest house for you.

Thursday morning, we woke up and got ready knowing TODAY was THE DAY we got to see you - and bring you home. It seemed like it took forever to get to you: Our driver was 40 minutes late. Then we stopped to pick someone up. Then we stopped to get gas. Mommy and Daddy were feeling very antsy and impatient. THEN we pulled up at the care center, knowing you were inside. It was even better than we'd dreamed.

Reverse of the day we met you, Zeke, you were in your crib awake, and Gabe, you were sleeping. Mommy and Daddy knelt down by Zeke's crib, talked to you and cooed until we got a few smiles. (That's when we saw your 4 adorable teeth!) Then Mommy scooped you up. We were so happy.

We watched Gabe, waiting for him to wake up.

We changed you into the clothes we brought. The nannies laughed as they watched Dad change Gabe's diaper, and offered some help getting you changed. We strapped you into our Ergo carriers for the first time - Gabe with Dad, and Zeke with Mommy. The care center nannies lined up with tears in their eyes. Telling these ladies who've taken good care of you for months good-bye was hard, and so special. They gave you each an Ethiopian sash to wear and remember. As we stepped out of the care center doors, you both squinted at the sunlight and your little heads did baby-wobbles at the new feeling of the dusty fresh air. Mom and Dad felt so many emotions as we walked out to the van with you in our arms. As we drove back to the guest house, watching the Ethiopian day unfold, Daddy sang lightly, and Mommy shared a sweet prayer time with Jesus. You both fell asleep. 

Back at the guest house, we all took a short nap, then got cleaned up for our embassy appointment. We even found some extra time to play!

We did appear for our embassy appointment in the afternoon. After the serious security check, it felt a lot like a trip to the DMV. While we waited for our number to be called, you two were the center of attention. Your "coos," strategic dropping of toys, and total cuteness brought lots of smiles from lots of people.

Later that evening, our sweet friends the Hilts came to pick us up for dinner! It was great visiting with them - we really wished we could have spent more time together.

Then we went back to the guest house, and Mommy and Daddy spent our first night watching you sleep, listening to you breathe, and crying happy tears.

The next day was Friday. We hung around the guest house playing and packing and walking to local stores to pick up formula and french fries. Mommy's heart felt pretty heavy knowing we would leave Ethiopia that night, not knowing when we'll be back. You boys were born in such a special place. Mommy and Daddy feel so blessed that God chose us to be the parents of such amazing boys, and that He gave us the opportunity to experience and love such a cool country, all because of you!

We left for the airport around 6pm to wait for our flight scheduled to leave at 10:15pm. We waited in the terminal until 9:15 since the seating is so comfortable out there. We had fun chilling out and playing, and again, since you ARE the cutest twinsies ever, you were the source of a lot of attention.

On the flight, you were FABULOUS. You slept straight from Addis to Rome. (How many kids your age can say they slept through a trip to Rome?) You were so good-natured when you were awake, and all the passengers around you became big Zeke and Gabe fans.

The last couple hours on the plane before we landed, Zeke, you got downright fussy. (I think you sensed that we were close to home and there were people waiting for you!) When we took our seats to land, Mommy and Daddy both had butterflies. We couldn't wait for you to meet the rest of your family and friends! We didn't know we still had an hour of going through U.S. Customs to look forward to. (That was the only part of the whole trip where Mommy almost cried.) But we made it! And the crew waiting to welcome us through those airport gates made us forget everything except the fact that our family is together, and we are surrounded by the most loving people you have the rest of your lives to get to know.




 And then, it was finally time to get you home.

We loaded up the van that was all decorated to welcome you home with Grandmarmy and Addie, you settled right into your car seats, snuggled up with the stuffed animals Addie had ready for you, and we were on our way; 
Hill family of four.


  1. Awesome!! I love all the pictures.....the boys are so adorable! Congrats on your new family! : )

  2. Congratulations!! The boys are SOOOO blessed to have the two of you for parents!!! Hugs...

  3. Thanks, Corina and Linda! SO much reason to praise the Lord! :)