Friday, February 11, 2011

Travel Plans

The people I want to travel with . . .

The transition house gate that I want to walk through . . .

The girl I want to take home with me!

I mentioned in my previous post that it has been a roller coaster for me. To help combat that, I decided to make a conservative travel date for us leaving February 25th. Ever since making that decision, my roller coaster ride has turned into calm, but very excited, waters. I feel GREAT about this decision. Today my family has had to listen to me count down from 15 days to 14 1/2 days to 14 1/5 days . . . yep, I'm excited! And technically, it is after midnight as I am typing this post so we are already at 14 days now!!

We had 2 hiccups a few days ago. The first was that because of a clerical error, we failed court. The second was that the US Embassy is now requiring the birth relatives to travel back to Addis to appear in front of the embassy and confirm what is written on the agency's adoption paperwork. I find this to be very sad. Selfishly, I don't want our file delayed any more than it already is. But more importantly, I feel terrible for these birth families. Alemitu's grandfather had to come on a 12 hour bus ride with no air conditioning. It was a sad day for him to let go of his granddaughter (for the 2nd time), and yet he is now being asked to do the same thing for a third time? I find that heart-breaking for these birth families.

I found out from our agency today that while the US Embassy is making this a new procedure, it does not appear to be in full effect as of right now. Some cases (of family's we passed court with) have just passed embassy today with no issues or request of birth family meeting. There have been two families so far that ARE required to have the birth family appear. So it looks like it is hit or miss and we don't know what our requirement will be until our file is submitted to the US Embassy. If Allie's grandfather must reappear, it doesn't seem like it will delay the case more than a few days to a week though.

I also received notice from our agency today that we have in fact passed court!! Yay!!! Happy Dance!! Alemitu went for her passport papers yesterday and medical exam today, so our file is now ready to be submitted to embassy!!!! With the delay, we weren't expecting this to happen for another week at least.

Even though we may pass embassy sooner than the 25th, we are still not going to travel until that time. Adam has an out of state travel job that will put some extra cash in our pockets to alleviate any stress when taking time off for this trip. (Feb 16th - 21st) My family will be in town from February 17th through the 22nd. And lastly, staying at the Ethiopia Guest House is so important to us and it is not available until the 26th. So again, even if we pass early, I'm so good with waiting until the 25th to leave. I'm completely calm about it. Plus, we have two other families booked with us at the Ethiopia Guest House that stayed with us last time. I hope it turns out that we are all able to travel together again.

Our tickets are booked. We are flying Ethiopian Airlines this time because there is a mandatory overnight stay in Washington D.C. and I have never been there. We have booked a night lights city tour for the evening that we arrive in D.C. We leave Phoenix the morning of the 25th and stay the night in DC. Then on the 26th we take a 13 hour flight right to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. On Sunday we should be able to pick up our little girl and take her back to the guest house with us to stay with us forever!!! We will wait for our embassy appointment sometime that week (assuming we did pass prior to arriving), and then we come back home (through DC) on Saturday evening, March 5th. We will be gone for 8 days. I can't wait!!!! Okay, I must admit that I'm still getting nervous when I think about flying 13 hours there and 17 1/2 hours on the way home sitting next to someone -- but other than that, I'm so excited!

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