For those who are interested, here is a peek at what our trip is going to be like. Traveling to Ethiopia is certainly not for the faint of heart. We will leave Nashville at noon on Wednesday and arrive in Ethiopia at 3:30 AM (Nashville time) on Friday. It will take almost 40 hours to get there!
- We fly from Nashville to Cincinnati (1 1/2 hours) then have a 40 minute layover.
- Then we fly from Cincinnati to JFK (2 1/2 hours) and have a 5 1/2 hour layover.
- After that is the "doozie" - a 12 hour and 45 minute flight from JFK to Dubai, UAE.
- Thankfully, we will have about 12 hours in Dubai, and we will get to go to a hotel for a few hours to rest.
- Then we will have a 4 hour flight from Dubai to Addis.
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia is 8 hours ahead of our local time (CST). It will be 11:30 AM on Friday (Ethiopia time) when we arrive.
We will be picked up by a driver that works for our agency (AWAA), and he will take us to the Yesabi Guest House where we will be staying the entire time that we are there.
So far we know of two other families that will be there at the same time that we are. They will not arrive until Sunday night, though. We have chosen to leave a couple of days early so that we can drink in as much culture as we can while we are there. We will probably just crash on Friday, but we will have Saturday and Sunday to do whatever we choose. It is quite inexpensive to hire a personal driver for the day, and that is what we plan to do. I am so excited about this time!
Monday - The morning will be spent doing paperwork. Then in the afternoon, we will get to meet Benjamin for the first time! Oh happy day! We will spend about 3 hours getting acquainted at the transition home. We will have to leave him there that day, though. :( We will also get to deliver care packages to other kids at the transition home (we are taking FIVE with us!) and take photos for other adoptive families. It brought such joy when other families did this for us, and what fun it is to now be the family bringing the deliveries! Monday evening we will go to a traditional Ethiopian dinner, complete with music and dancing!
Tuesday - We will spend the morning shopping at the mercato, eat lunch at the guest house, and then it will be GOTCHA DAY. Benjamin will come with us to stay forever.
Wednesday - We will spend the morning at the U.S. Embassy processing B's visa, etc. Then the afternoon will be spent shopping at the Piazza.
Thursday - We will visit several orphanages, including the one that Benjamin was at before he came to the America World transition home, and we will take gifts to the children there.
Friday - We will tour a coffee factory, have some time for prayer and photos with our travel group, and then depart from Ethiopia at 7:30 in the evening.
I am more nervous about our flights back than any other part of the trip. Thankfully, it will take only (only?) 27 hours to get back.
- We fly from Addis to Dubai (4 hours) then have a 1 hour 15 minute layover.
- Then we fly from Dubai to JFK for almost 15 hours! Yep, it's even longer coming back. This could prove to be the longest 15 hours of our lives if Benjamin decides that he is not fond of flying. But I am praying that he sleeps through it and it will be just fine.
- We have almost 5 hours to go through customs at JFK before flying to Nashville (3 hours).
Just as a reminder, our flight comes in at 2:28 PM on Saturday June 12th. (Delta 6023)
We would very much appreciate your prayers while we are traveling. Specifically:
- For God's blessing to be on our first few days with Benjamin as we get to know him and bond with each other.
- For Madeline as we are away from her for ten days.
- For God to open our eyes to see what he sees and to love as he loves as we visit Ethiopia. We want to never be the same after this trip.
- For a blessed meeting with Benjamin's birth mom. (We just found out today that we are definitely going to be able to do this. I am so filled with emotion about this time.)
- For safety as we travel and luggage that arrives on time.
- For protection from sickness.
Thank you and God bless!