Anyone who is adopting from Layla should not miss Tuesday night at Layla House. Why? I'll get to that.
Tuesday was a big day. We hung out and played at the guest house, and Marta wasn't feeling well so she slept through lunch at the pizza place right around the corner. Meklit and I shared a fasting meat pizza, which means it was without cheese. Ethiopian Orthodox Christians fast meat products for about 2/3 of the year, so pizza menus there have one page of regular pizzas, and another of "fasting" pizza, that is cheese and meat free. Meklit and I got a fasting pizza, but added meat to it. The girls are Protestant, she just didn't want cheese. It was fine with me. The right company makes up for a lot of cheese.
After lunch all the families loaded up and headed for the US Embassy where we waited for a while, but left with US Visas for our kids. Meklit's will take longer to get, which is why I have to go back to get her later.
Marta still wasn't feeling well, hadn't eaten all day, and wanted to go back to the guest house and rest, but the van stopped at Layla, and everyone piled out. Her friends swarmed her, and the guest house was soon forgotten. Meklit was whisked away by Marta's friends, so I was on my own.
I hung out and talked to the kids, and then tried to find Marta to see how she felt, but couldn't find her. Tigist (one of Marta's friends) took me to the kitchen to find her, and she was back in the corner by the injera stoves with a plate of left over lunch the cooks had prepared for her. She told me to sit, so I joined her. We had a couple buckets to sit on, and shared a big plate of outstanding injera, green beans and meat wat that was very spicy. We had the place to ourselves, and I enjoyed one of my highlight meals while in Addis. A quiet, private meal shared with my daughter, with little said between us - I was in heaven.
We took Meklit back to her orphanage later that night after dinner. This was such a hard time. Poor little Meklit was tired and emotional and maybe a little confused, and she just broke down and sobbed. Leaving her that day was the worst, but after promises to see her tomorrow right after school, she calmed down, and then Marta and I went back to Layla for Tuesday night. Told you I'd get to it.
Tuesday night is Group 5 choir night, and if you are in Addis, it is well worth the time. With no adult interaction, the older kids lead singing the songs, and the prayers, and it was awesome. Marta played the top of the big chest of drawers like a drum set, the Group 5 kids led the songs, and all the other kids sat and sang their hearts out. What a beautiful sound to hear these kids singing bible songs as loud as they can.
After prayers, singing and closing prayers, we hung out for a while and I got to know some of the other kids better. You can't spend any time at Layla and not fall in love with bunches of kids. They are incredible.
One thing I noticed while we hung out was how well the new kids from the day before were integrated into the group. Two of these new kids who I got to know were a pair of sisters who are 11 & 8 and are just the biggest sweet hearts imaginable. So many wonderful older kids at Layla. I would love to bring them all home.
After another round of goodbyes, kisses, hugs and promises to be back tomorrow, Marta and I walked back to the guest house. She got ready for bed, and I offered to read a story to her. I let her pick, either a book from the shelf in the TV room or the bible, and she chose the book of Mark. So we closed a long, wonderful, emotional day with a discussion of new wine in new wineskins, which we have to become if we are to grow our families via adoption, particularly of older children.