Thursday, December 30, 2010

Embassy Day - Day 8

Everything went well at the Embassy Appointment today. We got in and out fairly quickly and got Bereket's visa approval, birth certificate and adoption paperwork without any problem. It was a little nerve racking because as soon as we got there, they dropped us off across the street and told us to hurry up and get inside the embassy and not to stand around outside. We got in after showing our id's and going through the scanners and sat in line on benches outside the main building until our group was called. When we got inside we again had to show id and stand in a waiting area until each family was called. Once everyone was called and all the visa's were cleared we left and headed to lunch.

We went out for more shopping that afternoon and had dinner with our friends that evening. They were so gracious to us and really enjoyed meeting Bereket. We had a really nice time!

After dinner they took us back to our hotel and we played with Bereket until bedtime. All in all a great day!

Gotcha Day - Day 7

Tuesday we got up, had breakfast and did some shopping before we were able to go back to the Transition House to pick up our kids. Shopping was a really fun experience. It was very cool to be out in the streets with all the people and crazy traffic. It was a very surreal feeling walking around shopping in a third world country all the way on the other side of the world knowing that in a few short hours we'd have our son in our arms and life would never be the same. Only God could have planned this!

After shopping we headed back to the hotel to get things ready for going back to the Transition House to take donations, care packages and pick up our little ones.
I was so nervous; going over everything a million times, making sure we had everything for Bereket as well as all of the donations and care packages...we had 7 beautiful kids to take packages to and I didn't want to forget anything.
When we got to the Transition House we got busy right away with the care packages. What a blessing it was to take these kids a gift from their parents who were waiting so anxiously to bring them home and praying over them everyday. They were all so sweet and humble and just precious. We took pictues of them and stamped their hands and feet on cards for their parents back home.

Once everyone was done with care packages they brought our little ones to us again. This was it, Bereket was with us...for good! We got to change his clothes and feed him and spend some time with him there before we said goodbye.

All of the nannies were so sweet and they hugged and kissed all of the kids as we were getting ready to go. It was a bittersweet time. You could tell they really cared for our kids and we were so thankful for that. We were so happy to have our kids and anxious to get home with them but at the same time you mourn the fact that these kids have already been through so much and are being taken from their home by these strangers who look, smell and sound so different. They're whole world is being rocked and you just put your trust in Christ that He's gonna make it all okay for them. He's gonna get them, and us, through this transition by His grace alone. Praise God that He is who He says He is! He can do all things and is faithful in His promises!

When it as time to go we all got in the vans and we were thinking," This is really it, here we go! We're really parents of this little guy and we have to take care of him now. OH MY GOSH!!!!!" I couldn't believe the sweet little sleeping boy in my arms was really here, with us, and we were taking him home!

We stopped to visit the second Transition Home which is where the older kids stayed until their parents came to get them. It was fun to see all the kids and play with them for a bit.

Later we went out to eat and then back to the hotel to rest. We really needed some rest too, our emotions were running like mad and we had just been going and going and wanted some time to sit and let all of this sink in. Bereket took a nap in his crib and we talked for awhile about everything that had happened over the past couple of days.

We met up with the other families for dinner at the hotel and just kind of hung around for the rest of the evening learning our new little boy. We gave him his first bath and played with him until bedtime. We all crashed early because we were so tired.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Meetcha Day - Day 6

So it's been forever since I've updated the blog. I'll try and catch you up on the rest of our time in Ethiopia and what's been going on at home over the next few posts. I really want to be better at this but having an 18 month old lends itself to not much time on the computer for things like this.

Day 6 was Monday, the day we met our baby boy!!!!!!!!
We barely slept the night before and woke up early for breakfast with the other families in our travel group before we started the big day. As we sat around the table at the guest house eating...or trying to anyway due to nerves...we talked about how we were feeling. Some of us were excited and for some others, the nerves had already kicked in. I was definitely nervous. I just wanted to go to the Transition House so we could see Bereket face to face. Two years of paperwork and waiting, several years before that of heartbreak and trials and we were finally here, finally to the day we would meet this precious boy that God was placing in our family. Let's get this going!

We met up with our driver and guide and drove to the Hilton for our paperwork party before we could do anything else. This paperwork had to be done in order for the Embassy to process Bereket's visa to come home with us, which we would get on Wednesday when we went for our court date...very important stuff. It was stressful making sure we had everything filled out correctly and took some time. We had lunch at the hotel once we were done. I think most everyone was just so ready to get over to the Transition House by this time.

After lunch we got in the vans and headed out. It was pretty quiet as we got closer and closer. We turned down this alley way and that alley way and our guide joked that now we were going to take a tour of the city. That little joke was met with lots of groans and lots of "haha, that's not funny". :-)

As we made the final turn and could see the America World sign, there was a nervous silence. We pulled up to the silver gate, honked and the gate swung open. We were there!!! Our kids were there!!! Was this really happening or was this a dream??!!
We all climbed out of the vans and huddled around together figuring out who was going to take pictures for whom and what order we were going in. They called the first family's name and I started shaking. I literally could not stop shaking. I'd seen this moment on several families blogs but being there in person was unreal. Watching families come together for the first time was an honor and something I'll never forget. Our Lord is an amazing orchestrator of life and each of those children were placed in the perfect home for them. No one could have done that. Only Him. It's simply amazing.

By the time they were close to our name it started to rain so we all moved up onto the porch. It was even more surreal now. We walked up the stairs I'd seen in so many pictures. The stairs to the front door of the house that our son was in!

It was our turn!!! They called our name!!!! We handed our cameras over to another family and stood ready. Shaking and feeling like we were dreaming we watched one of the nannies walk out of the doorway carrying this beautiful sleeping boy in green overalls. She handed him to me and all I could do was stare at his precious face. So peaceful. It took everything I had not to burst into tears but I didn't want to freak him out so I held it together as best as I could.

We took turns holding him while he slept and when he awoke, we were able to give him a bottle and spend some time playing with him. We didn't know how he'd react to us and had been praying that it would be a positive experience for him. He didn't cry but just sat back and took everything in. We got some big smiles out of him and some good cuddle time too. We got to give him a bottle and a snack. He fell asleep in my arms and then it was time to go.

The time flew by! We were filled with a mix of emotions about leaving him after just meeting him but in the end knew it was what was best for him. We'd be back tomorrow and then we'd be together for good. Our family of three.

That evening we went to a traditional Ethiopian restaurant for an amazing dinner and some incredible dancing. It was fabulous and a great end to a great day!