Things are starting to happen

The tone of our blog is about to change. We’re moving from the stage of thinking and dreaming to pure action. Every day we have more things to do, more steps in the process completed, more of the end (or the beginning) in sight.

We now have a confirmed travel date which is coming up quickly. We have purchased tickets for the trip through an international travel agent. It was disappointing that we could not use the 150,0000 frequent flier miles I had been banking. Those would get us from here to Amsterdam, but the ticket from Amsterdam to Addis Ababa would cost just as much.

That wasn’t the only thing that was counter-intuitive. We also have a layover of 45 minutes in Sudan on the way there. Apparently, it is perfectly safe and the way you have to go to get into Addis, but it makes for an interesting pause on the tarmac.

We will travel with at least 5 other families with All God’s Children, although our travel agent told us to expect many more on the flight back. Good news in case we have a crying baby – it will be helpful to have sympathetic ears on board.

We had a “Travel Call” with the agency today, and they laid out the trip for us and some things to prepare for. Confidentiality was a big part of the discussion, protecting the stories and the adoption process of the other children we would see at Hannah’s Hope (the transition home run by AGCI).

Visa entry seems like it will be a breeze, and the US Embassy appointment in Ethiopia seems like more of a formality at this point in the process, although it will include some lines and waiting time.

The hotel seems nice: the Riviera International Addis Ababa. It has a bare bones website that shows clean rooms and amenities you would get in the States. Good internet access too, so hopefully we can keep up with blogs, tweets, facebook posting.

Packing is going to be interesting. We’ll have to start making lists soon. Consider your typical trip, then add a baby who you have not met and don’t know her rhythms or even have a perfect sense of her size. Then consider gifts to bring there, gifts to bring home, snacks in case you don’t like the food or wake up jetlagged in the middle of the night craving something familiar. Then there are medicines, paperwork, cameras, books, donations, cash. Whew! You get the picture.

We will get to meet the director of Hannah’s Hope, who has near cult status among AGCI and its families. It seems a lot of good gets done through the power of her personality and passion for the mission. But there is an army of “special mothers” and caregivers that we also look forward to interacting with, as well as the other adoptive parents and the many kids we will see.

We’ll have a chance to do a bit of cultural stuff and some shopping, but much of the time is at the hotel, beginning to establish an attachment with our little girl. Some families will get to meet the birth families of their child, but we are not optimistic since our girl’s family live quite a distance from the capital.

I’ve been reading a lot of modern literature from Ethiopian writers, but now it’s time to crack the tourist books a bit. Still lots of lists of things to do around the house (and at work) before we leave too.

Here we go!

–Jesse

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