Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Sweetest Thing

Toby brought home the sweetest thing from school today.  As soon as he hopped off the bus, before he could even make it in the house, he gently lifted the most adorable bright orange jack-o-latern card from his backpack.  He held it proudly and said, "It's for my brother from my friends at school.  I'm going to take it to Ethiopia for him."  Thank you to Mrs. Hoppe and her precious third grade students.  Adorable.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Court Date!!

We didn't need to prove our patience for long. Shortly after my last post, we received our court date for November 4th!! On October 29th, in only 9 days, we are heading to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to meet our adorable little boy for the first time.

So here's the plan - or at least part of a plan:

We depart St. Louis on October 29 around noon and travel to Washington DC. From DC, we fly across the Atlantic to Frankfurt, Germany, arriving on the morning of October 30. From Germany we fly south, crossing over the Mediterranean Sea, and arrive in Addis Ababa at 6:35 pm. The total trip time, including 5 hours and 51 minutes for layovers, will have us at our destination in 22 hours and 41 minutes (hopefully). The kids are going to be sooo excited...for the first 45 minutes.

When we arrive at Bole International Airport in Addis, we will gather our luggage (hopefully) and pick up our visas. A staff member with America World Adoption Association will meet us at the airport, whom we will identify by the AWAA sign they will be holding. (I've always wanted to have someone holding a sign for me at the airport.) We will be taken to the Yebsabi Guest House, where we will stay during our trip along with four other families from the US who are also adopting through our agency.

We are still waiting on our itinerary for the seven days we will actually be in-country. Apparently, it is a little bit tricky to finalize plans for four families visiting a foreign country, all arriving and departing on different dates. However, we know that our court date is scheduled for Thursday, November 4, and we depart for home on Saturday, November 6.

We will also be able to meet "C" on Monday and will be able to spend time with him at the Transition Home throughout the week. I can't imagine what that first interaction will be like and try to stop myself from thinking about it too much. Before we leave we will have to say a temporary good-bye until Dave is allowed to return 5-8 weeks later for our embassy appointment. It will be during this second trip that Dave will bring "C" home to his anxiously awaiting new family.

AWAA will be coordinating other activities for us during our stay, including some sight-seeing and visits to nearby orphanages. I'll be sure to write a new post once we have the details. In the meanwhile, I'll be making lots of lists, packing a few suitcases, getting my ducks in a row, and breathing into a brown paper bag.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Not Yet

Earlier this week we received an e-mail from our adoption agency stating that court dates had been assigned for the first group of families that will be traveling to Ethiopia since court closed more than six weeks ago.  We were told each family on the list would be contacted with their travel details and that court dates were set for October 29. 

My heart started racing a little and I immediately grabbed the phone.  We were fairly certain we would be traveling in October, which meant one of those court dates was most likely for our family.

 Apparently, nobody else shared our plan and the phone did not ring.  Our timing is not God's timing, and God's perfect timing said, "Sorry, not yet." 

I have a complete sense of peace, however, about how everything will come together.  I feel no anxiety or trepidation about the upcoming months.  I know there will be many unforseen challenges and unexpected surprises in our future, but I have an amazing feeling of calm that everything will work out just as it is suppose to.

While we continue to wait, we do receive monthly updates from our adoption agency, AWAA.  These include a few pictures, general physical information (height, weight, etc.) and we are allowed to ask five questions each month.  We have received two updates so far, and while I cannot share the pictures until after we pass court, I can share some of the responses we received to our monthly update questions.  We also cannot share his name, so I have substituted "C" in it's place.

What is known about the region "C" came from?
"C" came from the SNNP region of the country which is located in the southern part of the country. It's called Sidama Zone and is a few kilometers from a city called Awassa. It's known for its diverse historical and cultural heritages and even their own calendar. But due to the high population density in the particular place, the people cannot share the resources in a fair and suitable way which makes the majority to be poor.

What language does "C" speak?
His mother tongue is Sidamigna but he can speak Amharic too.
What are some of his "favorites" (foods, color, toys)?
Animal toys, Injera and Red
What does he want us to know about him?
"C" wants his family to send him photos and to come and get him as soon as they can.
What does he like to play?
He plays different games but soccer is his favorite one.
How does he feel about having a new family?
He is very happy and eager to start living together.
What does he remember of his first family? Are they fond memories? Is there anything he wants to tell us?
He does not remember much from his first family; he really wants his family to come soon.

After seeing our photo album, what are his thoughts? Does he have any concerns?
He likes the pictures but no concerns he raised.

Is there anything he specifically does not like?
"C" does not like to have milk.

The next group of families to receive court dates should expect to travel in early to mid-November.  There are only two families that received their referral before us that continue to wait for their phone call.  We are hopeful that we will be included in this next travel group.  In the meantime, we will be plenty busy - loving fall, picking pumpkins, playing football, and putting together Halloween costumes after all.