Friday, September 17, 2010
Day 4 - Embassy Time!
Today we had to get up bright and early for the Embassy appointment. Our night went pretty smooth. Malachi was ready for bed by 7:00. He slept until 10:30 and ate about an ounce before falling back asleep. He then slept until 2:00 and ate a little more before waking up for good at 5:45. Overall I think that was a very good night!
We had to rush around this morning to get everything together and all 3 of us ready to leave for the Embassy at 7:40. We met all the other families downstairs and this was the first time that Malachi had been put in the Moby Wrap. I loved it as it took his heavy weight (all 17 lbs of lovin!) off of my shoulders and arms. He seemed to enjoy it too. We didn’t really have time to eat breakfast and we knew the trip would be bumpy so we were sure to pack a bunch of snacks for me :)
The drive was 45 minutes and we got a great glimpse of the city. It was amazing to see how many people they could cram into city buses – they were sardines in there and Wass said they can fit up to 100 people in one bus. We drove by the Presidential Palace, one of the few truly nice buildings that we saw in the city. We drove by the University of Addis Ababa and it wasn’t that nice but it was full of people. Two amusing things we drove by was a shop called Big Mac Café (we were surprised at how many of the building signs were in English) and the sign said Burgers, Tea, Coffee, Wedding Cakes. We thought that was a very funny combination. The other thing was this beautiful gated park with lots of nice play equipment and water fountains. There were several guards just sitting inside this beautiful gated park. The interesting thing was that it is never opened. Almaz said kids are never allowed to play in it, that it Is just for looks. It was so strange.
Spending the morning with Almaz was amazing. She is so smart and easy to talk to. She is funny and beautiful and loves all the kids so much. She calls Malachi chubby baby and said he Is overall content and doesn’t want to miss a thing.
Finally we arrived at the Embassy. Quickly we were ambushed by a group of young men. They didn’t ask for money or anything, they just asked how we were doing and said hi to the babies.
The Embassy recognized Almaz coming. We went through a metal detector which went off everytime one of us went through, but they didn’t stop us. We wondered if maybe they trusted us since we were American. Before we were allowed to go inside the Embassy we had to sit under a tent like thing and wait. There were probably 30-40 Ethiopians sitting under this tent and they were all watching us. Apparently we white people were quite entertaining.
We didn’t have to wait in line like all the Ethiopian people did. Before we knew it one by one we were called into the building. We were the last family called in and it was so ackward to have all the Ethiopian people just staring at us. We were very curious about what they thought of us. Were they okay with us being there to adopt or were they upset. Almaz finally motioned for us to go in. We had to show our passports and then go through a real metal detector. They made sure we didn’t have any cell phones or camera’s on us and then put our bag through an ex-ray machine.
Almaz then led us through a door, by some bathrooms, outside and into another small building. This building was packed with people everywhere. This was the building the US processes all VISA’s in and once again there were probably another 40 Ethiopian people there. Almaz led us in and there was no room to sit or stand, so she led us into a little child play area and had us sit in there. We didn’t know if we would be required to wait for all these other people to go through or not. We did not. After about 20 minutes they called the first family from our group up. By this time there were other agencies with their adoptive families and babies there. Our friends were gone for about 5 minutes before returning with their son’s paperwork. All the other adoptive families cheered as the process was completely done for that family.
We were the 3rd family for our agency called up. We walked up some stairs and to window 9. We had an American man from St Lewis who we talked to. Almaz stands right beside us and we are able to call her in at anytime if we needed her. We had to raise our right hands and be sworn in. He then asked us what happened to the birthmother. He asked who found him and what the date was of that. Peter thought it was April 20th but we weren’t sure so we asked Almaz. She wasn’t sure either. He then asked us when we got our referral (May 4th). He said he just wanted an idea of how long the process took for us. He asked us if we met him before or after we passed court. He then reminded us that this is irrevocable and told us we were good to go. We then got a bunch of documents, including his birth certificate with our names on it! When we came back downstairs everyone congratulated us and clapped. The process was completely done!!!
Almaz felt so bad that she didn’t know his information. I told her I totally understood as she has so many babies in her care. She looked at Peter and told him that she was impressed that he knew all the dates. She told him he was the best dad:)
On our way back to our van, the boys were still standing there. They asked us how it went and congratulated us. So sweet.
We made our way back to the hotel and settled into our room. Malachi was sleeping when we came back but he woke up when I took him out of the moby. I am sure glad he did, because he had a bad poopy diaper that was almost up his back. Things got a little hairy from here. There was just a point where Malachi was looking around and then he just got this terrified look on his face and started wailing. This was the first time we had heard him cry like this. We have done enough education to know that babies process their grief and fear with crying. I personally think Malachi distracts himself by watching everyone and everything around him. Our hotel room was so quiet that he realized it was different and just lost it. I just cuddled him and held him while he screamed. It was heartbreaking.
After about 20 minutes I laid down on the bed and put him on my chest and he eventually stopped crying and fell asleep.
He slept for about 2 ½ hours then woke up and Peter took over since he had hardly touched Malachi all day. At this point I started feeling really sick. We have been unable to eat very much and with Malachi needing me today, I didn’t eat much of anything and I started feeling really sick. I slept for a few more hours while Peter tried to occupy Malachi. Malachi kept humming and moaning, but he made it through. Peter and I are just exhausted and ready to be home. It is so hard dealing with a new baby in a hotel room. The travel group has been a lifesaver. It feels so alienating being stuck in a hotel room with a new baby in a foreign country, but our moments out with the travel group have been so wonderful! I am so glad that we don't have to be here alone.
He ate a little better tonight. He is still only eating 2-3 ounces at a time and it is hard to get him to eat that much. I don’t know if it is because he is sick or stressed. I have been giving him baby Tylenol today and putting an herbal infant chest rub on him.
We gave him a bath and then endured another difficult crying streak. He cried for about another 20-30 minutes after his bath, but eventually gave in to sleep. Now it is bedtime. It was an exhausting day.