Back from Ethiopia

I’m not going to lie.  The trip back from Ethiopia was the most physically and emotionally grueling experience I have ever had in my life.  I knew a 16 1/2 hour plane ride from Addis Ababa to Washington, D.C. with a 2-year-old (who was learning to trust his father) in my lap would be difficult.  What I didn’t expect were the absence of changing tables in Ethiopian men’s bathrooms, security checks with bags and baby in hand, not being able to keep him in the pouch on the plane to sleep which meant I had to choose his sleep over my sleep and food, fixing food with no room and no one to hand Eli off to, and other stuff like that.

While it was difficult, he did amazing.  Eli slept in my arms for 8 hours straight until we touched down in Rome.  He fell asleep in the hanger and never looked back.  We played a while, ate, then he took a 3 hour “afternoon” nap on me later.  You know it is bad though when you are watching the plane map and telling yourself, “I can make it if the countdown clock says 9:59.  If we can get under 10 hours I can make it…If I see an 8…If I see a 7…”

You think you are going batty.  We finally arrived in USA and then had a 4 hour layover.  During that time, it was time to eat a meal.

Since most of what Eli ate at the orphanage was starches, and he wasn’t too fond of the stuff I brought on the plane (except what I got for myself…), we found a nice Italian joint in the airport for his first meal in America.  I didn’t get to eat that much.  We looked hilarious after that trip.  He is sitting in a regular sized chair in his pajamas sucking down noodles, and I am an unshaven mess with all the stuff he had gotten on me during the trip.

Cleaned him up, got ready for the flight, had a 2 hour delay due to some mechanical issues, and then he fell asleep on the flight from D.C. to GSP.  I had to work to wake him up since his body clock was telling him it was nighttime.  He woke up right before seeing his mommy for the first time.  Both in tears, but each had their own reasons.  Eli was befuddled and scared, Mommy was finally holding her boy she had worked and prayed relentlessly for.

After a trip back to Dad’s arms, Mom got out the Goldfish, and the bond was formed.

The meeting of Obie and Eli was pretty hilarious.  We have it on video and I hope to share it one day.  Obie stated jabbering to Eli, Eli responded with a loud squeal which startled Obie, Obie began to tell Eli, “Shh, Eli. It’s otay, Eli.  Shh.”

Unbelievably, EVERYONE slept through the ENTIRE night Saturday night.  And both boys (and maybe two parents) had a long nap Sunday afternoon.  Last night, Eli woke up and he’s having a little difficulty napping now.  He is having jet lag, 2 ear infections, and some digestive regulating going on right now.  Thankfully, he is easy to soothe either by me or Amanda.

Everyone has asked how the boys are doing together.  What does the above picture tell you?  I’ll be honest.  I had very low expectations.  2 2 year olds in the same house.  1 with some serious damaging history with some unhealthy learned habits in an orphanage.  I wasn’t too hopeful.

I was planning on saying, “Considering the circumstances, they are doing well.”  All I can truly say today is, “They are simply doing well.”  Not considering the circumstances, they are behaving really well.  Obie has bent over backwards to share with Eli, we have been intentional with both boys, and while there have been a couple of moments of sharing issues, they have behaved remarkably well.  Obie has proven to be a great big brother considering Eli in many ways.

We went to the doctor with Eli this morning.  I can’t tell you the change he has made in a week.  1 week ago today, he freaked out if someone walked him down the hallway of the orphanage.  Today, we took him to a small doctor’s office room and he handled himself very well-being poked and prodded.  We have some steps to take to get his health up to par, but we are making remarkable improvements.

I plan on sharing a few of the extra moments in the coming days.  So much has happened that it is hard to summarize.  Once again, I am eternally grateful for your encouragement and prayers.  I can honestly say, those prayers kept me going when I thought I was about to lose my mind!  So happy to be a part of the Body of Christ and so honored to be a husband and father today.

Travis Agnew is a Christian, husband, father, pastor, author, blogger, and religion instructor.

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26 Comments

  1. Jill Burretto Bryant

    God is watching over all of you. Go Obie, what a GREAT big brother he is alre

  2. Ben Hjalmer

    Amazing amazing amazing… that's about all I can say. I envy you dude! Pray that God forgives me

  3. Kathy Kelly

    Travis I have so enjoyed reading your chronicles of Eli. I am so proud of you and Amanda. It still is so hard to believe that all of you are "grown up"!!!! We will continue to pray for your f

  4. Babs Courtney Geoly

    No words to describe how full my heart is. Thank you so much for sharing this journey with us. Please keep us p

  5. John Robinson McCravy IV

    what is their age difference Trav? just cu

  6. Gina Wagoner

    God is absolutley amazing-His timing is awesome. Nowhere in the above story did you even once mention the feeling of pulling your hair out-:-) Oh that timing thing. Thanks for keeping your facebook family updated on the life of your 2 boys. They both reflect their F

  7. Emalie Harrison

    glad he's

  8. God is watching over all of you. Go Obie, what a GREAT big brother he is already!!!

  9. Amazing amazing amazing… that's about all I can say. I envy you dude! Pray that God forgives me, lol.

  10. Travis I have so enjoyed reading your chronicles of Eli. I am so proud of you and Amanda. It still is so hard to believe that all of you are "grown up"!!!! We will continue to pray for your family.

  11. No words to describe how full my heart is. Thank you so much for sharing this journey with us. Please keep us posted.

  12. what is their age difference Trav? just curious.

  13. God is absolutley amazing-His timing is awesome. Nowhere in the above story did you even once mention the feeling of pulling your hair out-:-) Oh that timing thing. Thanks for keeping your facebook family updated on the life of your 2 boys. They both reflect their Father.

  14. Leslie Stewart Sanford

    Rejoicing that your journey there and back was safe and that you and Eli are home. Looking forward to the next chapter in this glorious adventure that God has planned for you and your fa

  15. Emily Willard Cone

    WOW!!! God is so amazing! We are so happy for ya'll & look forward to getting to know

  16. Kimber Stone Burrell

    Our God is an AWESOME God!!! Bless you guys in your journey wit

  17. Julie Bosarge Myrick

    Oh, Travis. I am so happy for ya'll. Please keep us posted on how everyone is adjusting. I am so proud of you and your fa

  18. Oh, Travis. I am so happy for ya'll. Please keep us posted on how everyone is adjusting. I am so proud of you and your family.

  19. Rejoicing that your journey there and back was safe and that you and Eli are home. Looking forward to the next chapter in this glorious adventure that God has planned for you and your family.

  20. WOW!!! God is so amazing! We are so happy for ya'll & look forward to getting to know Eli!!!

  21. Our God is an AWESOME God!!! Bless you guys in your journey with Eli!

  22. Travis Agnew

    We appreciate your prayers and support so

  23. We appreciate your prayers and support so much!

    • Kathy Eakin Kincaid

      Travis, I am just now seeing your story of bringing little Eli home from Ethiopia. What a blessing!
      I knew your mom in Greenwood from school and church. My husband and I have an adopted biracial daughter. God blessed our family with Hannah Grace as a newborn when our only biological child was almost 13 years old.
      Blessings to all of you!

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