Sunday, February 10, 2008

Welcome Home

We have arrived! Without even a hiccup. The flight was long- but we
were lucky enough to get a bulkhead (which my very leggy husband was
profusely happy about). It took about 1.3 painless minutes to get our
visa (no line, about 4 people waiting to help us). Our luggage also
arrived, which seemed like pure magic, and the minibus to take us to
the Hilton was ready and waiting. I don’t want to jinx it, but I
can’t believe our luck already. We are scheduled to pick up Judah
tomorrow morning, until then it is just the adventures of 2.
Right before we left, I mean, seriously minutes before walking out
the door, I received an ugly comment on my blog. I wasn’t initially
upset, as the words of the sad, crazy, and uneducated don’t typically
affect me. Although “typically” in my life, I am not leaving to be
united with my son. So, this was different. I tried to figure out why
the words of a miserable person made me pause. I realized it was only
sadness that I felt. Sadness that Jude’s world is not more beautiful.
Not more perfect. I am a dreamer by nature, and although I see
misery, I like to pretend that people are even more beautiful than
they are. Tommy once told me, “not everything can be beautiful.” I
felt a pinch of pride that I do try to make things beautiful, at
least through his eyes. It’s so easy to see the misery.
Although we have only been on this journey for a matter of hours, we
have come across an amazing surplus of beauty.

So, we left our house, me having mixed feelings - feelings that were
too surreal and lacking the tangibility to describe. Hope and fear
being most prominent. We parked our car and took a shuttle to the
airport. The shuttle driver, a wonderful Ethiopian man whose whose
love and pride in his country was readily available, gave us helpful
hints for our visit to Addis. He promised that he would be there to
pick us up when we returned to L.A., so he could meet Tesfahun (which
he said was the name of a revolutionary leader? I will have to look
this up).

We got on the first plane to DC and our flight number was #44. You
know how some people have favorite numbers? Like REALLY favorite
numbers…I like numbers, but I’m a fair-weathered-number-friend,
friendly to all. Tommy’s dad, on the other hand, is fiercely loyal to
number 44. This loyalty, I took as a sign…and guess what? All went

Our second flight, from Washington D.C., was also pleasant. Most of
the passengers were Ethiopian and I noticed something atypical
instantaneously. I’m a friendly bird. I smile at people A LOT. I once
asked Tommy is he was sometimes embarrassed about my “bubbly-ness”
with strangers (I can really take it over the top) and he laughed and
said “sometimes”…By the way, I’m not changing this. EVER. So, the
readily apparent difference between this flight and all others was
the friendliness. Generous smiles in return (AND SOME EVEN FIRST).
Heart-warming smiles. I instantly felt healed from the slightly blue
“Judah’s world isn’t beautiful enough for him” state.

The flight was interesting. It was mostly night while we were flying
over Africa. The sand dunes of Egypt and/or Sudan, for as far as the
eye could see while meeting the bright red sunrise, was impressive.
When we were flying over Ethiopia, I instantly had this sense of
pride. Pride so strong, that I had to sneaky cry over it. This is my
son’s country. This is his home. It was almost too much for me to
emotionally take. Then I would see an area that was so heartbreaking,
even from the distance of the airplane, that I had to hold my breath.
Tommy squeezed my hand and said, “I know.” We couldn’t talk about it,
and I don’t think I ever will. But, I know.

We landed in a very nice airport. The people were gracious, and as I
said NO glitches. Our driver said “Welcome home” and it didn’t even
seem cheesy. It felt genuine. As did his eyes. Another passenger in
our minibus was Ethiopian, going home to his and his wife’s families.
He thanked us for being global citizens and for our humanity. For
helping a child who has no one to help him. I didn’t know exactly
what to say, because each person I have met, seemed to give ME so
much. So much HOPE, something I felt slightly lacking when I was
leaving L.A. I’m a sucker for a warm smile.

We truthfully haven’t done much in the few hours we have been here. I
mean, we obviously have tried St. George’s beer and walked around a
bit. The jet lag is fairly intense, so I’m glad that we still have
today to try to become more cerebrally active before meeting our
Jude. I have learned in these few hours that I am passionately proud
of our son’s country. I cannot wait to bring him back. I cannot wait
to share with him the love I feel for the people. I am excited about
possible professional opportunities that may help make the visits
more than tours. I have so much to learn.

Tomorrow we get our boy! I am thrilled and anxious! Ethiopia is
beautiful. Last night I woke up many times. Sometimes I woke up with
a big smile, sometimes with a tear running down my face. This is very
representative of my feelings right now. I definitely feel alive.


susan said...

Oh My, Danielle. Those are beautiful feelings, beautifully written. I am so proud of you.

sassyd95060 said...

Totally crying reading this at 6 am before work. I have been reading your blog for a few months and am thrilled for you. Enjoy every moment.

Lea said...


Thank you for sharing your wonderful journey! I so enjoy hearing all the details of what you are going through. Thoughts and prayers with you guys...

xo, Lea

Lea said...


Thank you for sharing the details of your journey. I so enjoy hearing about what you are going through. Thoughts and prayers are with you guys! Xo

Jana said...

I do not know you, but I have been following your blog (your link was on another blog of someone I knew who adopted from Ethiopia) and I am so excited for you and your husband!! I can't believe someone would post nasty thoughts to you, you guys seem to be such nice people. Good luck tomorrow!

Karen said...

Thank you so much for posting! Your writing about Ethiopia thus far is beautiful. Can't wait to hear about little Mr Judah!

Lori said...

My heart is rejoicing that you are there now! I'm horrified that someone said something nasty but have come to learn that people can dissappoint us in life and we must just move forward -

Your description and post is just lovely and you have already answered a question that I've been pondering for quite some time. I had a feeling that I knew, but you have confirmed it brilliantly...

My question was, "how come when families come home they rarely give much description of what they saw other than things they DID while in Ethiopia". I think now, it's because of what you saw from the plane... Sort of (not really) like when people come home from wars, they don't discuss the things they heard, saw, and smelled.... it just leaves an impact that cannot be described, but can only be felt. Am I way off here??

As I wipe my last little tear, I just want to tell you that I'm so happy (stupid word) that you are meeting Jude so soon and I will be holding my breath for the next posts.. (you'll have to tell me how to blog from ET at some point cuz alot of people say it's not possible without someone in the US doing it for them).

LOVE and HUGS - give your baby boy a big fat kiss from me please!!!



Heather said...

I can barely breathe I'm so overwhelmed with love and pride for the two of you. Judah is the luckiest little boy to have such amazing parents. Be safe, and bring my little nephew back to us!

I LOVE you, T & D!

MrsHaim said...

Tommy and Daniel-
This is Kimberly, Heather's friend. I have been hearing about Judah's adoption and now just read your blog. I cried my eyes out with happiness for you both. I want to wish you a lifetime of love and happiness with your new little boy! I believe that what you are doing is the greatest gift anyone can give a child, and have the utmost respect for you both. Congratulations and big hugs.

Judi said...

Dearest Danielle and Tommy,
Brett emailed us and let us know that you two had arrived. Whew, you've got to be amazingly excited Your work-pictures are so descriptive that I can imagine every step you are taking. Ganny can't get your blog, so I'm reading it to her so she can also follow along. We are all so very excited and can't wait to see his first pics with you. And, of course hugging Jude in person. Much love, Ganny and Auntie Judi

Celeste Flores said...


silent democracy does not work said...

Just a few more hours to go. I can't wait to see Judah's SMILING EYES, and your loving JOY at his gaze. Does he know what a tickle is?

Grandma "Gray" (I might as well break my nickname in now. (Thanks, Dylan!)

susan said...

Beautifully expressed. Love you.

Aimee said...

I don't know what your ugly comment was, but I think you will have a different view of it (and most things) after your trip. You will see and meet people who are able to find joy and beauty in the face of obstacels we can't ever truly understand. Don't let that ugly person tak eanything from this truly beautiful experience.

Be Blessed,

Mrs. Baker said...

Beautiful Post....truely lovely!

LISA said...

I'm so happy to be following your journey.Hoping all is well. Can't wait to hear all about meeting Judah!

Angie said...

what an amazingly written, awe-inspiring post. you have managed to make me even more thrilled and excited to take this journey. thanks, girl. we're so happy for you!

Hauswife said...

Your words are electric! I remember those exact thoughts and feelings from when we were going to meet Ray Ray like they are happening to me right now. I'm so sorry someone was cruel to you right before you left. That just breaks my heart, but you know, it will happen over and over and we mamas just have to learn to teach love and forgiveness to our babies and not be weighed down by it.
Blessings to you guys!