hello, hello everyone! it's been an amazing few days since we got the best phone call of our lives. after an amazing camping trip in the catskills (our last vacation sans kids...) we woke up monday morning glad of having slept in a bed and through the roof because our agency called with more information about our daughters.
Hilina is from Gondar. Gondar is 50 kilometres north of Lake Tana, 500 kilometres north of Addis Ababa and nestled in the foothills of the Simien mountains at 2,200 metres above sea level. Gondor was the capital of Ethiopia from the rise of Fasilades to the fall of Tewodros (1855-68) which is reflected in the many castles and palaces in the city. It is sometimes called the Camelot of Ethiopia because of all the many castles. This is Gondar, Ethiopia.
Hilina, whose name means consciousness was found on the steps of the Lideta Church around 6pm on July 1. Across the world Ben and I were on the Q train with John Simpson, coming back from Coney Island. She is healthy and beautiful and looks very graceful and I cannot wait to hold her.
Toke (pronounced Toe-Key) is from Arba Minch. Arba Minch received its name for the abundant local springs which produce a groundwater forest (minch is Amharic for 'spring'). Located at the base of the western side of the Great Rift Valley, Arba Minch consists of the uptown administrative centre of Shecha and 4 km away the downtown commercial and residential areas of Sikela, which are connected by a paved road. On the eastern side of Sikela is the gate to Nechisar National Park, which covers the isthimus between Lake Abaya to the north and Lake Chamo to the south. The area is also known for wildlife, including crocodiles and hippopotamuses. Arba Minch is known for fruit, including mango, banana, orange, apple, guava and pineapple. This area was devastated by the horrific floods which occured in Ethiopia last year that you all heard us refer to.
This is the town of Arba Minch, the main mosque is on the right.
Here is a crocodile farm:
Tokey is hilarious - you can tell from her picture that she is going to be a pistol. She has TONS of hair, and long long fingers, I just want to eat her up! There are some discrepancies in her story (her birthday, etc) so I will wait to tell you until I know the truth or our best guess at the truth. But rest assured she is happy and healthy and was probably born on the 23 of July. She and Hilina were admitted to the orphanage in Addis within 6 days of each other.
So that's our news for now. I am sorry I can't post their pictures yet, but I just want to get through court and they are officially ours before we put them up. It looks like we'll have a better idea of our court date in the next few weeks, we'll be sure to keep you all posted (pun intended) if you keep praying that we get through this quickly. I've heard other mothers talk about how difficult it is once you have pictures/names to be away from them. I keep checking the world clock in Addis trying to guess what they might be doing... I truly did not know it was possible to fall in love with photographs.