Addis Ababa, Ethiopia—This afternoon the families gathered at the Holt Transitional Center in Addis one last time for a blessing ceremony for the children. The nannies took the children one last time and dressed them in traditional Ethiopian garb purchased by the staff as a gift to the children and families. All the toddlers in the center took part in the gathering. The families came in one at a time with their children. Dr. Fikru gave a brief speech about how blessed we all are and how the families are very blessed to have these beautiful children and the children are blessed to have these families for their own. There was prayer, and each of the families was given an opportunity to say something if they wanted to. All of them did. It was very touching, and hard not to be emotional. I found the hardest part for me was at the end, watching two children say goodbye who had been together in the Durame Center the longest. The adoptive family told the older girl how thankful they were that she was their child’s “sister” and thanked her for helping her and taking such good care of her. As the oldest child currently in the care center, she understood very well what was happening. She knew her friend had a family, and she was sad that it was not her turn. Dr. Fikru told her lovingly that she has a family, too, and they will be coming to receive her, it will just take time. His words were little consolation at the moment, I am sure, but I know she does have a family who is going to just love her!
After all the goodbyes were said, the families went back to the guesthouse for the evening. The power was out and so we ate together by candlelight. Cigars were passed around to the new daddies in the group for celebration. These children could not have hoped for better-suited parents. Each one is perfect for their child. This has truly been a blessing.