Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Day 4 - Allie is a US Citizen

Today was a great day, but I am SO tired! It is simply from our busy day and not because of Alemitu. In fact, she slept through the night without making a single peep! She went to bed around 7 p.m. and didn’t wake up until a few minutes before 6 a.m. We were told by the nannies that this was her wake up time and so her body is definitely used to that schedule. We fed her a bottle and assumed that we were up for the morning. As I was burping her, she fell right back to sleep. She slept until 7:30 and when she woke up she was just talking in her crib and not upset at all. She is a great sleeper!

At 9 a.m. we were taken to the HOH to fill out paperwork. Tsegay, the director, was nowhere to be found and our coordinator could not reach him. We had no idea what time our embassy appointment was nor did we know when we could get our paperwork filled out. Allie had fallen asleep during the car ride over to HOH. Then she woke up as we went into the playroom. Then she fell asleep a little while later only to wake up again as we had to switch rooms again. She could only cat nap and this was making her a little fussy today. We never saw tears, but she would fuss a little throughout the day and wanted to be up moving around rather than sitting still in my lap.

Unfortunately, this was a day that we had to sit/stand still for long periods of time. First when we did the paperwork. We were at HOH for maybe 2 hours. Then we rushed home to change into dress clothes, eat a couple bites for lunch, feed Allie, and then head back out the door to our embassy appointment – all in about 45 minutes. We got to the embassy and were behind 2 or 3 other agencies, so we were there for almost 2 hours. Allie was in the ergo baby carrier the entire time and she likes it when I stand rather than sit down. So I was in heels standing during this time.

Then we went up to the window when our name was called (it is like the mvd), and we raised our right hands and swore that the information is accurate. And then the guy says, “So are you aware that Alemitu has a benign tumor?” Um, no. So we are allowed to briefly glance at the medical records that the US Embassy’s doctors filled out. We knew she had a spot on her thigh, but we thought it was a birthmark. The doctors think it is a benign tumor that starts with “herm . . .” or something like that. We could only briefly see the documents and we weren’t allowed to have them. So while we were so excited that she became a US Citizen today, it was a little unsettling to get that news. One of the reports said that it is a “growth or slight swelling”, and we are thankful that it is benign. It hasn’t gotten any bigger than when we saw it during our January trip. It is really minor and it looks like a birthmark. Obviously we will be getting it checked when we return to the states but we aren’t worried about it at all.

After we were at the embassy, another man we were traveling with needed to go to the Hilton Hotel to access the internet to get some documents emailed to the embassy so he could go back to the US. Allie had fallen asleep in the car again, so I just stayed in the parking lot with our driver – for 40 minutes!!! I wasn’t expecting it to take that long with no air conditioning and a guard that kept coming over to look in the van.

After that, our driver dropped us off at the Post Office District to meet our friend Hollie and Brian and to do some shopping. We were thinking about going to the largest market in Addis, Merkato, but we learned it isn’t good for Americans to be there right now. So we stuck with the Post Office District which is still really good. We picked up some good souvenirs. Allie loves shopping!

After that, we went straight to a restaurant for dinner. Now we are home and Allie is falling asleep in her crib. Being in heels all day and carrying in her in the Ergo carrier for almost 6 hours has made me exhausted! It is mostly just the standing around in the heels and trying to walk around the shops in broken dirt and rock roads.

Even though I am tired, it was still a wonderful day. My daughter is a US Citizen!! We are completely done with everything! No more appointments or paperwork. We are done! She is our baby girl. We keep calling her Allie the Alligator and today we saw a handmade alligator when we were shopping. Obviously we bought it. We also bought a tiny coffee ceremony set that she can play with when she is a few years older. We plan to have a coffee ceremony to celebrate her adoption on January 25th each year. We’ll stick with a “milk” ceremony until she can drink coffee. In Ethiopia most people have a coffee ceremony daily. It is a really big deal. Coffee originated in Ethiopia.

One “interesting” thing happened today at embassy. We know that you can’t take pictures of the US Embassy inside, outside, or on the entire block. The man traveling with us was not told that. So as we are driving on the road, he holds up his phone and takes a picture from the van. We were driving maybe 20 – 30 mph, and we were in a van. The embassy has a huge block fence around us. Obviously no one can see that he took the picture. Wrong. Right when he did it, our translator turned around and you could tell he was a little worried. He told him to put the camera away immediately and that we will probably be stopped because they have cameras watching the traffic. We got through the main gate and were walking into the doors of the embassy when a guard with a gun came up to talk to the guard that let us in. They were speaking Amharic. Our translator told us that we had been spotted and to hurry and get inside before they stop us. Right after we get inside, the guard comes in and asks who took the picture. The man said that he did and they took him over to one side of the room and asked him questions about his citizenship and took his passport information down. Then they took his phone and he had to show them the picture and they had to watch him delete the picture. After that, they let us through. We were lucky. Our translator has said that has happened about 2-3 other times and he had forgotten to tell us that we can’t take pictures. I am so glad that they let us through!!

Alemitu is asleep now and so I’m going to head downstairs and send this off. I think I just might turn in early tonight. Tomorrow we are going to the leprosy colony in the morning and then just taking it easy in the afternoon. We’ll go out to dinner again, but it will be nice to have a more relaxed day! I love all of the e-mails and comments. Thank you so much for sending them!

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