Friday, July 20, 2012

Ethiopia - Trip 2: Embassy Day (June 20, 2012)

It was one month ago today that we took custody of Mr. S! It's hard to believe that he's been in our arms a month already. In some ways it seems like we just met him, and yet in other ways it feels like he's been here forever.

We landed in Ethiopia on Tuesday night, June 19th, after fairly long but uneventful flights. The worst part, as you know, was that our luggage wasn't there to meet us, but thankfully, we had the bare essentials packed in our carry-ons: meds, toiletries and one change of clothing for everybody. We didn't like not knowing if all of our donations were going to arrive on time, but we gave that up to God. We had better things to concentrate on!

On Wednesday morning, we woke up, got ready and headed down to the lobby for breakfast, where we met up with a couple of the other families from AGCI, including Michael and Mindy A, who attend the Bloomington AC congregation. I had met Mindy at Created for Care in March (the day that she had gotten her referral, actually) and it was great to see her again. Their little sweetie, Alaysia, was having a hard time with the adjustment, and they were all exhausted. We ate a quick meal, and by 7:30 am, Wass had arrived to take us to Hannah's Hope.

When we arrived, Sintayehu was just getting ready to have his breakfast. He seemed neither excited to see us or frightened of us....just interested in eating. 

The good news was that he insisted that I pull up a chair and sit right beside him. If I got up to move around, he shouted, "Mommy, nay!" (come here) until I went back to my perch beside him. We were surprised by how much he talked. He had not said one word to either of us on our first trip in April, and now he jabbered constantly. We hurried him through eating and then he said goodbye to a couple of the special mothers that were there. We borrowed a few toys from HH to keep him occupied at the Embassy, and then we were walking to the van, Sintayehu shouting, "Chow!" (see you later!) to everyone and waving happily.

It was a long drive to the Embassy, and Sintay LOVED looking out of the windows of the van at all of the "mekinas" (cars.) We kept up a running conversation with Wass and Johannes about Hannah's Hope, the current adoption situation in Ethiopia, and how Yikealo was doing.
You are not allowed to take cameras, cell phones, or any other type of electronics anywhere near the Embassy, so we do not have any photos from our time there. We went through security, walked into a huge waiting area crammed with people, and listened for our name to be called. Sintayehu was perfectly happy to just sit on my lap. When our name was called, we went up to a little window and answered about 3 yes or no questions, were handed a stack of documents including the court decree and S's birth certificate, and were told that his visa would be ready at 10:30 on Friday morning. That was it, and he was officially OURS!

We drove back to the hotel, changed Sintayehu into some of his new clothes and then headed back to HH with the 3 new dads from the other families for a question and answer session with Almaz. Sintayehu played on the floor while we all talked, and Almaz gave us some paperwork that included an interview with Sintayehu's birthmom. Oh my....her story is truly heartbreaking, and yet we are so amazed at the beauty that God is bringing out of it through our mutual son. I feel so humbled and honored and responsible that He has chosen us to carry this precious child. Tsigie gave us another CD with photos of S and his mama together from the previous week when she had visited him following her Embassy appointment. All of the photos show the two of them looking through the photo books that we had made for her: one of our home and family and the other of our time with Sintayehu on our first trip. I will never be able to describe what I feel when I see those photos, so I won't even try.

Then it was time to say goodbye. Sintayehu ran all over HH, passing out hugs to the staff and the other children, and Almaz told him that she missed him already.

We headed back to the hotel, and was just our hotel room....with nothing to do! Sintayehu quickly fell in love with my rolling duffle carry-on, which he dubbed a "mekina", and he raced all over the room with it. Who needs toys, anyway? :-) He also loved David's i-Pad, with the Mickey Mouse app, and was soon singing "Meeka, Meeka, Mickey, Mow-ush!" at the top of his lungs. We learned quickly that (in huge contrast to his older brother) this little guy played just great by himself. It was obvious that he was accustomed to keeping himself entertained, and he was SO good! He was full of smiles, and he kept coming over to give me hugs. He didn't mind letting David hold him either, which was a big change from our first trip.
We ate lunch downstairs and then went back to our room for a nap. Sintayehu did not like the idea of lying down beside David, but as soon as I joined the two of them, he snuggled right into me and fell sound asleep with no complaint. While my boys slept, I caught up on some e-mails to the family, and when they woke up, we went outside to play for awhile.

After supper we walked next door to meet a mission team from Ordinary Hero that was having dinner with one of the other AGCI families. We talked for awhile while Sintayehu played with his good buddy Bisrat from HH. These two had a love/hate relationship, as they are both bossy, attention-seeking little people, but they were so excited to see each other again.

Time for bed....we went back to our room, gave Sintay a bath and lotioned him up. His skin was SO dry and it just drank in the lotion. I am amazed at how different it is today. Bathtime was the one small sour note to the day. The water heater in our room had a hair-trigger adjustment. It was too cold, but the most minute adjustment would make it scalding hot. Poor little S got burned by the water and then was afraid of the tub for the rest of the week. He didn't cry for long though, and he didn't fuss at all about going to bed. David headed off to the airport to check on our missing luggage and I snuggled up with our new son. He was asleep amost immediately....a great ending to a wonderful first day together.

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