Eric, Scott and Amy took off last night on their first leg of the Ethiopian journey. They were flying to London where they will catch another flight to Addis. It was unbelievable how much stuff they took. We were required to take $200 worth of humanitarian aid. We took hand sanitizer, diapers, clothes, and play dough (we were given a list of things they needed). Then we had 50 something soccer jerseys, 16 soccer balls and two pumps! The place where they are staying, The Ethiopian Guest Home, partners with a ministry to reach street kids through soccer. Eric talked to Dave (he is the one who started the guest home and he lives here in the states which made making arrangements very easy) about whether Scott and Amy could take part in the ministry while they are there. Dave said yes that would be great and he mentioned that if we could round up some soccer jerseys that the kids would really love that. I knew soccer jerseys were something we could handle as we were a soccer family for years; however, I didn't realize the extent of what we were going to get. One of Eric's co-workers and fellow soccer mom gave her daughter the job of rounding up some jerseys. She did great - came up with almost 40 very nice jerseys. Then my sister, who coaches two teams, came up with about 15 more. Then we got a money donation which was suggested to us that we could use it to pay for the extra luggage fee. I thought I would pick up a couple of soccer balls and then use the rest of the money towards the luggage fee. Eric and I stopped by a soccer warehouse we used to frequent and the owner upon hearing what we were doing sold us some very nice balls for very cheap. So I spent all the money on balls and pumps. I figured it was a chance to get a bunch of balls for them at a very low price. Then of course we had all of Eric, Scott and Amy's stuff plus clothes for Tigist and some games and other things for her to aid in bonding. We also had two small care packages to take to soon to be adopted children.
The first leg of the flight was on Delta and they only allow one bag each, so we tried to stuff as much as we could in 3 large suitcases, plus one large duffel bag which held part of the soccer stuff. We figured the suitcases were over the weight limit - which they were - so we had to take stuff out at the airport and pack it into another duffel bag. The lady at the counter was unimpressed with our letter stating that we were carrying humanitarian aid which asks them to waive the extra luggage fee or reduce it. (Our adoption agency provides the letter and says it works sometimes and doesn't work sometimes.) So Eric was preparing to pay and she tells him "no charge"! She said since Ethiopian Air (which they take out of London) allows 2 bags, she will allow him two bags. In the whole scheme of adoption expenses it is a drop in the bucket to pay extra luggage fees, but on the other hand when money is flying out right and left it was a nice little blessing. A second blessing is that Delta was able to check the bags all the way through to Addis. It was questionable that they were going to be able to do that, but they did. This allows them to possibly see a little of London as they have an 8 hour layover there. Without worrying about luggage they are hoping to run out and see a couple of things. We thank God for these two wonderful blessings to start the trip with.