Thursday, March 25, 2010

Embassy Day

After a night that started a little rough, we decided to give Tara a little something to allow her to sleep through the night. We had a prescription congestion medicine for small babies and wow did it make a difference. Before the medication she could not sleep more than 40 minutes with out waking herself up choking. Then after she slept for 5 straight hours.

After a breakfast that was livelier now that all the kids were here, we hung out in our room. It was nice to play with Tara and get organized. The finely dress couples all poured into the vans all looking much nicer than the previous day. The kids were all dressed like in the latest baby gap ads.

We headed off to the American Embassy that looked like a military fort. We went through high security, x-ray and scanners. Then Ethiopian guards corralled us into rooms that looked like the DMV. We waited to what we thought was about an hour and we seen our assistant running around looking for our director. We knew instantly that something was wrong, but we did not with whom. Josh came running down the stairs and said "does anyone know where the director is?"At first we thought the problem might be with him and Keely, which we thought was a shame as they seemed to be showing the most signs worry of all the parents.

But then I knew. Rachael came walking down the stairs. Her eyes were bloodshot and transparent. I stood up and she brushed by me and said in an almost mournful tone with her New Zeeland accent…It arent going ta-happen

I was frozen and knew not to look back at her or we would both bust into tears. I had never heard of this happening before. Travis directed her to follow the director and several of the couples could here the director discussing the unacceptability of the situation with the Embassy staff. They were then all whisked away in a car as if they knew they were loosing time at the embassy and it was useless to stay there any longer. We were hoping what ever the problem, they went to work on it but we had no idea.

We waited till they finally called are name and went to the window #4 on the second floor. Through several layers of bullet proof glass you could see American UICIS women in her mid forties. Everyone around us was talking in many different languages. She spoke into a small microphone and we could barely hear her from the speaker on our end. Several questions under oath were asked of us. Tricky question like custom agent style questions. We can not talk about this on our blog, but we had some concerns with our paperwork and with the Rachael and Travis incident we now were very worried.

The agent approved our paperwork. Made us swear under oath that we knew the adoption was final and everlasting. I replied to that "Thank God". She smiled. She said the documents would be prepared and sealed for Friday pick up. We take the sealed documents to the USA customs agent. They would open them and it would be pretty much my potty pass to bring her into the states with us as a non-us resident alien. We then would need to apply for citizenship once we got in the states. More paperwork, goodie!

Back down stairs we all shared information and figure out that Ruhammah was considered to be too ill for Rachel and Travis as their home study had been written for a healthy child. Somehow the Embassy had documents claiming that Ruhammah was very ill (possibly even worse off than she truly was). Don't get me wrong, none of our children are "healthy" by American standards, but ours and soon to be on the mend. Even in the 24 hours we have had them most children have shown considerable improvement.

I guess the flood gates had been open for me at that point and I could no longer hold it back. I stared to ball. I would have never done this in front of Ruhammah parents, but know I could actually visualize Tara leaving with out her best friend Ruhammah. And the mom and dad had been through so much already this week. It just was not fair. It may have been a touch and relief on my part that we were finally through the last big paperwork approval. I will never forget the ka-chunk sound of the official stamp on the bottom of our paperwork.

We returned to our hotel to find the director on the front step with two phones in his hand. Rachael and Travis were in their room with Baby Ruhammah. He called for them to come urgently as he had made arrangement for them to meet with the director of the medical board.

Hours had passed. We all spread blankets on the floor of the empty breakfast room and ate take out pizza from the place up the road named yummy pizza. We got some for Ruhammah parents too and had it placed in their room. The pizza was actually yummy. I think I have come to Ethiopia and have actually gained wait. It is not that the food is bad, actually it is really good. It is just that for many people in the country they can not afford to buy it. They have actually talked about a stimulus plan (like the Americans have for cash for clunkers) where families would get rebates on food purchases. Ethiopia is a land of Extremes. Very high mountains to very low savannahs. Very hot areas to cool pleasant temps. Rich people and poor people. The poor are very poor. You see them lying in the ditches and on the sides of the road. In America if something is wrong with you it is fixed, here they often just live with it. You see people dragging themselves by their hands and missing an arm or leg. Some times large scars on their skin.  They come to your window holding starving children and kiss it while motioning the plea for something to eat. It is really hard. If you were to give them something, you would only cause more to arrive. The problem with this is that they put themselves in danger trying to get at the vehicle. Sometimes they almost are run down and we have seen this almost happen a few times. Because of this we can not do a thing but ignore them or say no.

Hours passed with no word from Rachael or Travis. Rich and Todd went to the internet café to print numbers of Vern Alders office in hopes they could do something form the US homeland. This issue had nothing to do with Ethiopia. It was the US Visa that was not going through. These kids were already legally ours before we arrived. Rachael and Travis could remain in Ethiopia but not with Ruhammah or they could remain in ET with her.

Finally at sunset we finally got a knock on our door. It was Rachael and she was smiling. Simply "were through" came from her lips and we became exhausted with relief. I think I could have curled up and slept for 30 hours! We sat with her and heard the whole long story. Nothing they did wrong or the embassy. The board that reviews the adoption cases made and error and declared Ruhammah more sick than she really was. For confidentiality reasons I will not say more. The director of the medical board re-checked her and actually drove to the embassy with them to hand in the official amended report. 

Ruhammah is actually doing better and better each day, but Tara is declining. She has not had a wet diaper in 24 hours since we got her. She has pooped fortunately but not pee. She has an upper repertory issue and definitely has some type of bugs. I think she was attached at the orphanage with scabies, lice, or mosquitoes. Ruhammah has them too, but Tara's seem to be spreading faster than Ruhammah. She is sleeping right now. She and I have both gone through 4 outfits each today from throw up. Thankfully she did not do it at the embassy! She is zonked out and I will soon be too. Let's hope Friday is a better day!


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