We tried to visit earlier. We arrived at 9am thinking we would be a step ahead of nap time.
But again, she was a tiny, fragile, sleepy baby with deep and sad eyes. She did recognize us when we arrived and gave us a big grin and some hearty clapping. But shortly after that she fell into a deep two hour sleep. We traded her back and forth while we sat in the playground, talked with another family, and took goofy photos of us looking ecstatic. We realized that the love had grown.
When it was time to say goodbye I just felt that everything was wrong with the world. I felt scared to leave her there and aching to take her home, give her a bath and get a good look at what might be going on with that little body.
So after saying goodbye for lunch we walked down to the AAI office to talk with Gail. She explained that D's birth certificate and court decree were not ready yet so we could not take custody. She also told us that we would most likely be assigned a June 30th embassy date and that we would have to go to the embassy to sign papers giving me power of attorney for Jeremy since he would be leaving on June 19th. Worst news of all was that I would have to renew my visa (it would expire June 30th) and that it would not be easy to get another one. It was so discouraging and we were so deflated heading back to Kelley's. We were both silently praying for a miracle.
When we arrived home the cell rang. It was Gail. She said that right after we left her staff brought in D's birth certificate and court decree. Which meant we could take custody of her that afternoon!
I had a meeting at UN.I.CEF and we knew D was sleeping until 3:30 so we agreed that Jeremy would go to get her ready and I would meet him there when I could with Kelley.
It was such an exciting afternoon. I'm so glad I had a meeting to focus on.
In a side note - this was a very cool meeting! It was a group of NGOs (some that do adoption and some that just do development) meeting to discuss their plans for foster care programming in Addis. This is such a big step in the right direction towards gettting kids OUT of the orphanage system. It was a professional and personal honor to be a part of this growing network.
By the time Kelley and I made it back to the orphanage we were an HOUR late and we found poor J standing outside holding a very dejected D and looking overwhelmed and exhausted. He had a pretty funny story to tell. (Funny to me but not to him.)
Apparently when he arrived, they weren't expecting him. He walked back to the baby room and walked in on a nanny WITH HER TOP OFF changing into her clothes to leave for the evening! I so wish I could have seen his expression. He says he'd like to erase that memory from his eyeballs. LOL
It was very anticlimatic. No AAI representative. No orphanage director. No formalities or goodbyes or signing her out. Just like it began.
Jer and D were reaching their limit of patience so we just packed them into the SUV and hustled out of there as fast as we could. D was wearing the jumper we sent in her care package. I sent J back in to find her owl lovey and photo book because no one had thought to pack those up for her. Very annoying.
I will never ever forget the breath of relief I took as we backed out of those green gates and they closed in front of us. I just hugged D to me, told her we would all be ok, and took a second to appreciate that our daughter had been SPRUNG from prison. Oops. I mean that orphanage. Forever. Never to have to live there again with such a poor level of care.
We were welcomed by Ben, Isabella and Simon at Kelley's house. They were too cute trying to be calm and talk softly but they were obviously so excited. (They had asked when the baby was coming home every day since I arrived!) We posed for this quick photo in the kitchen and then took D down to our room for her first bath.
She was amazed by her bath. She laughed and clapped and even bent down and tried to drink from it. But the day ended poorly with a big pasta dinner, a struggle over meds, and a giant vomit. Oh man. That poor baby. I just felt sick with worry about her, and our ability to feed her and medicate her, by the time we put her down.
I wish we had a picture of her first night with us. We put her clean and lotioned little body into warm brown and pink flowered pajamas. Then we rocked with a bottle. Before she fell asleep we slid her into the Peapod, pulled up the soft pink blanket, read a book and said goodnight. She played peekaboo with her blanket and we tried very hard not to burst into laughter. HERE was the little girl that shines. And then. Very suddenly. She was fast asleep. (Hah. That's the LAST time it happened that way.) She slept for almost 13 hours with a couple of short wake ups. WE did not sleep for even one minute. We lay in that bed listening to her sick rattly wheezing and worried about her. We discussed what we had seen on her body and in her diaper. We strategized the plan for the next day. We laughed and we almost cried. It was a very long night's introduction to parenthood.
- Me. Us. She.
- J and I have been married for almost 15 years. We have shared many adventures and a lot of watershed moments. In 2009 I began blogging and in 2010 we adopted our daughter from Ethiopia. In March of 2012 we began the process to adopt a little boy from Haiti. This blog follows the many twists and turns on the road to our two children and beyond.
- ▼ July (8)