We were still basking in the glow of our new children as we raced across town for our Embassy appointments. We piled out and went through two layers of security, giving up our cameras and cell phones.
We waited on benches with Ethiopians applying for working visas, student visas and other transactions with our government. Then we were called through to wait in another line, while they called our names, one at a time.
While we waited, we hung out with our kids in a shady courtyard with white flowers and a small lawn that was being cut by a maintenance worker with a pair of hedge trimmers.
We learned a bit more about the couple from Colorado, who were adopting a baby girl. This was a rough trip for them, as their daughter is in the hospital with pneumonia, so they are unsure when they can take her home. She was brought to the Embassy appointment with an i.v. still in her arm, and looking a little unhappy. They had not had a chance to really take over care of their daughter, and continue to be in a holding pattern.
He works as a commercial real estate developer, and she was a teacher, before having four kids. She taught for ten years in South Central Los Angeles, so has a patience and understanding beyond most parents. I found out that he went to the same college as me – Vanguard University of Southern California (called Southern California College in our time), and graduated several years before me. They have four other kids and really wanted to adopt to add on and care for another child who doesn’t have a family. Their patience, trust and faith have been inspirational to all of us, and we can’t help but feel for them while they travel with us to our different events and appointments, but without their girl in their arms.
The Embassy appointment was a lot of buildup for a two-minute interview across a plexiglass window. We were told that the adoption will be final, we raised our right hand and swore that the information in the documents was truthful. We vouched for the agency, that they had not given us a different child than was referred to us. We were asked what we know about the birth parents. The woman at the window was from Rochester, Michigan, and very friendly. She told us the Ethiopian passport would be ready in a couple of days (the agency would pick it up) and that we would need to do a re-adopt process in Michigan.
So we were off!
Abby slept as we drove back through Addis Ababa, taking in the palace, the university, the National Museum, home of Lucy. We saw donkeys and goats, Mercedes cars and Suzuki trucks. We saw Somali refugees and Muslims in burkas. We saw students in uniforms and colorful fruit stands.
Back at the hotel, we spent the rest of the day with our girl. We had a family nap together, we ate lunch and dinner in the hotel restaurant, with other families that would come and go. We tried some Doro Wat – very spicy Ethiopian food – with injera bread (made from teff, a grain endemic to Ethiopia). We watched kids in the field across the street in a three-hour soccer practice that only ended when it was pitch-black outside, and would resume the next day in the rain.
We inspected Abby’s hands and feet and belly and cheeks. We just hung out and enjoyed being new parents again.