It has been a wonderful first few days in Nigeria getting settled and meeting Olivia for the first time. Sorry for the delay in updating the blog – the internet was pretty spotty at first and Facebook was working best for updates. We hopefully have those issues sorted out now. We do want to remind anyone that is not already part of the private Facebook group to reach out to us if you are interested in receiving more frequent and detailed updates.
Arriving in Nigeria, May 4
Our flight to both Amsterdam and Lagos went smoothly, so we are thankful there is nothing noteworthy to report there! It took us a little while to get through visa/processing when we arrived in Lagos, but it went pretty smoothly as well. When we landed we definitely noticed that it was HOT and very humid. We were ready for a shower and bed by the time we made it back to the apartment.
Sunday, May 5
Sunday was a restful day for us, as we got to sleep in and unpack. We were able to livestream our church service from back home, which was wonderful. We are hoping to go to a local church here possibly next week. We were thankful for the macaroni and cheese and other snacks we brought so we did not have to go hunt for food without Nigerian currency or a driver!
Monday, May 6
We started the day by going to Morgan Hill Children’s Foundation, the agency that handles all adoptions in Lagos. The staff there is amazing – we could see their passion and love for the kids they help. After a good meeting there, they sent us with our case worker and driver to the orphanage to meet Olivia. She was very shy and timid when she first came into the room, but she went right to Sarah and let her hold her. After a little while she grew more timid and cried a bit. We would have been happy with this meeting if that’s where it had ended, but were thrilled when we started to play ball with her and she really opened up. We were able to spend another couple hours playing, swinging, and laughing with her before we went back and she took her nap. Words can’t describe how sweet it was – God was so gracious with our first meeting! We then got to experience our first trip to the supermarket ShopRite, which went well.
Tuesday, May 7
Our driver picked us up at 9:00 and drove us to the orphanage, which is only a few miles away, but it took us over an hour in the traffic! We were able to spend 3 hours with Olivia before she went down for a nap and we headed back to the apartment. Today’s meeting with Olivia went well. She was very timid again when we saw her, but came right to me and let me pick her up. She definitely warmed up more quickly than Monday. We were able to break the ice with the swing set, and then we brought out the equivalent of Cocoa Puffs and won the little girl over through food! She loves being outside and watching the birds come and go, which she fondly named “coo coos!” It was another good day.
Wednesday, May 8
Today we met with officials from the Lagos State Ministry of Youth and Social Development, so we didn’t get a chance to get out to the orphanage. The meetings were brief but went well – the Lagosian people are very kind and welcoming. We tried our first bit of Nigerian food – we ordered it through Jumia, an African app similar to Uber Eats. Jollaf rice is somewhat similar to fried rice but cooked with tomatoes and peppers. It is delicious but very spicy! We also tried fried plantains, and they were pretty tasty as well – a lot like fried pieces of sweet potato. Last and definitely least was goat pepper soup – I know other families have enjoyed some form of pepper soup when they were in Nigeria, but this version was extremely spicy goat organ pieces in broth. We will not be ordering this again, but we have talked to a few locals who like it! Our outdoor supper had to be taken indoors – it looks like dusk is feeding time for the very large bats that live near us in Lagos!
Thursday, May 9
Today as we left for the orphanage we had quite the ride as it was pouring rain! The drainage on some of the roads to the orphanage was poor so there was some localized flooding. At one point on our trip, I looked out my window and we were sitting stuck in traffic in a fast flowing river down the middle of the street. We got quite wet as we knocked on the gate and honked for someone to open the door over the noisy rain and thunder. We were able to stay and play with Olivia today for a few hours today, which was really nice. We colored, played with some stacking toys we brought along and fed her some Cocoa Puffs and cookies, which she really likes. We got lots of laughs and squeals as we played hide and seek with her. She is such a sweetheart and her personality is starting to come though even more. Each time we leave it gets a little harder for everyone to say good bye. We believe we will be back to visit tomorrow.
We are praying we can have court early next week to get the approval so that she will be released to our care – pray this happens quickly and the bonding does as well. Pray especially that our family would grow close in the coming days and weeks ahead. We continue to trust the Lord’s sovereign plan and in his perfect timing.
Coming Up Next
Our next update on the blog will likely be when she is released into our care for bonding. We are so thankful for everyone of you – looking forward to sharing more updates soon!