Today we met a great family from Washington State, Seattle area. True to form I do not recall their last names, but they are Dennis, Gabe and Maggs. They were in Ethiopia adopting 2 children--to total for them 7 children. It was neat to meet someone who was completing their adoption through CHI (also our adoption agency). We didn’t have much planed for the day other than to visit T.. We had been told to show up and call Pastor Abdisa and he would take care of the arrangements to visit the Thomas Center Orphanage. Well come to find out that this week they were processing 5 adoptions at the same time and trying to meet all of the meetings and requirements, not an easy task. The first time we called Pastor Abdisa he was at the US embassy with one family and asked us to call back in 2 hours. When we called him back, he arranged a driver for us to go to the Thomas Center at 15:30. So we had some time. We went to the “Post Office” market. (Why is it called the postal market, not that you go postal from haggling, but because it is next to the national postal center, go figure). We found some cool stuff, this was after all the market for traditional souvenirs.
After a trip to the market we were able to finally visit T.. I do not think that I can explain what it is like to show up at an orphanage and have someone hand you your child to be. It is just as exciting as being able to hold your child in the hospital, only she is bigger and beginning to walk!!! We spent about 45 min at the orphanage with her, feeling like fish in a bowl. There were 3-4 nannies, our driver, and the orphanage patron all watching us interact with T.. It was an odd experience, it almost felt like we were being judged in a subtle way. Beyond that, our interaction with T. was wonderful. She warmed up to me somewhat quickly and then after some time went to Vanessa. She looked just like her pictures, absolutely beautiful, full of personality, and excited about life. It was interesting to see how quickly she attached to us after just an hour. When we were getting ready to leave, she knew that we were going and began to cry. She ran to me (Dan) to pick her up. I carried her downstairs to our waiting car but had to leave her. (One of the frustrations with our current visa process is that you HAVE TO visit the child before the adoption court proceedings, but being that you have not adopted her yet you cannot take her out of the orphanage. It was heart breaking to see her cry as we left. After much pondering about it and discussing it with other adopting parents, etc, we decided that we should limit our contact with her until we are able to bring her out of the orphanage with us. It was just too heart breaking to make her go through the same stress 4 days in a row. (see post for Oct 4 for further details on this).
We went back to our guest house both excited to be adopting this wonderful little girl, but heart broken that it would take another few months to process this adoption be fore we can bring her home. We had a wonderful traditional Ethiopian dinner, some was spicy (they said that they toned it down for us to a 5/10 if normal is 10/10, I was still the only one in our family who could eat the Doro Wat) and some was not, but it was all wonderful.