Thursday – Day 2
Our plan for today was simple: embassy. It was the reason we were here. Biruk would need to get his visa so that he could enter the US and become a citizen.
Biruk woke up with a nose bleed, which I responded to by saying, “you are a Moore” (my kids are big time nose bleeders – a gift from their paternal gene pool). We spent some time hanging out on the balcony of the guest house, watching the bustling street below. There was a steady procession of people walking in all directions, men carrying shovels, business women walking in heels, students with backpacks, men herding goats or cattle, children carrying babies on their backs, buses, cars, animals – the street was alive at 8am. I turned to Biruk and said, “you know, you are going to miss this place”. He remained quiet. I thought for a moment about 8am on our quiet rural cul-de-sac. “America is nothing like this. You are going to miss it, but you can come back and visit any time you want”.
He was nervous all morning. No matter what I said to console and comfort him, he was determined that he would not allow himself to rest in our adoption until the final paper was stamped. Who could blame him? Over lunch he kept checking the time and became increasingly concerned about us arriving late. He is a nervous nelly – clearly a trait from my side of the family.
Embassy was uneventful, which was perfect. The building looked like any other US government building. The whole experience was not unlike being at the DMV. I was greeted by our Gladney representative, who encouraged us to sit with the other Gladney families – who were all strapped with baby bjorns. My baby was definitely different than all the other babies at the embassy.
Once our name was called, I rolled up to the window with my posse. I showed the official the power of attorney from my hubs, affirmed that both Dirt and I had met B prior to court, and helped B roll his thumb on the thumb-scanner-thingy. Then the official stamped a few papers, told me B’s visa would be ready at 10am tomorrow and informed me that I would receive a sealed envelope that I would need to keep sealed until I handed it to the immigration officials at our port of entry. Upon arrival, Biruk would become a US citizen. [insert cartwheel here]
That moment seemed to mark the end of our adoption process…at least from a paperwork and process perspective. It was a good moment and Biruk’s eyes lit up when he heard his name in conjunction with “US citizen”.
We decided to head to Suluta to visit the kids at Hope for the Hopeless orphanage (HFTH), in particular -it was time for Heather to see M.
We arrived in Suluta before the kids returned from school, which gave us time to tour the new school building (under construction) and chat with Surafel, the founder of the orphanage, who was visiting from AZ.
When the kids arrived, we were greeted by 51 hugs from 51familiar smiling faces. It had been a year since our last visit and many of the kids had grown. Among them, our sponsor son Anwar, who seemed to be shell-shocked that I was there. We reminisced together about the day Wendy and I met him (3 years ago) on the front porch of the drop in center – it is so great to have history and happy memories with these kids.
Heather and M were all smiles, hugging and playing. Heather pulled out her iPhone and shared videos from her recent ski trip, which drew a crowd of kids who were intrigued by the “ice on the ground”. Wendy also pulled out her iPhone and shared pictures and games with a crowd of boys.
We stayed for a few hours with the promise of returning on Saturday to spend the day. Earlier in the week I handed Biruk $100 (from my generous friend Jodi) who said he could put it good use somewhere. Biruk decided that he wanted to use the money to throw a party at Hope for the Hopeless orphanage. (interestingly HFTH is not his former orphanage, though he has visited HFTH on several occasions over the last two years.)
We ended the day by having dinner with Tam and Dani at Churchill hotel. The fantastic thing about Churchill hotel was that we could get free wifi in the restaurant. Let’s just say that there were a lot of “glowing faces” around the dinner table, as each of us logged in and connected with the outside world (including a face time chat with Dirt).
I’m typing this at 4am. Our strategy tonight was to ward off those pesky ear buzzing mosquitoes by leaving our bedroom window closed. Unfortunately this means that there is no breeze or cool air coming into our room…which is making it a bit toasty – particularly for me because my bed is dressed with fleece sheets, a fur blanket, and a fleece comforter. …which would be fine if I were at home in the arctic tundra otherwise known as my bedroom, but here, I’m afraid I’m going to combust. One wrong turn and the static electricity sparks that light up my fleece covered cocoon might ignite.