Monday, June 29, 2009

To Addis and Back (Part 3) Embassy Day

("Thanks to Uncle Jamie for the awesome hand painted onesie! I look super cute in it!))

The goal for the next day was to go to the US Embassy and get our childrens' visas for entry into the USA.

Charlie had woken twice during the night for a bottle, and promptly fallen back asleep. She was a restless sleeper though (one minute her head was at the top of the bed, a few minutes later it was pointed towards the foot of the bed). She flipped and flailed all night, limbs bopping me in the face at any given moment. I got little to no sleep, but not really due her her restlessness... I just couldn't sleep from the excitement of becoming a mom in one day. I mean, I know this has been a process, with court dates and small moments of progress towards the final goal. But today was really the day I became 100% responsible for another human being's welfare. It's pretty huge.

Of course, I choose to think about the hugeness at 3 AM because I'm blessed like that.

Nowadays, that's the only time I get to think anymore, so I better get used to it. Ruminating, perseverating, obsessing and worrying all work well with the insomnia I've been suffering from actually... like a hand fits a glove... Perfect!

So I was exhausted on Embassy day, as was Charlie who had (probably) the second most traumatic day of her short life yesterday.

The morning we spent just getting used to each other and then in the afternoon, mom helped me load Charlie into the Ergo carrier and we climbed on the van to the Embassy with all the other families and their kids.

The Embassy looks like a fortress of beige cinder block, not unlike a prison. We had to go through two separate and extensive security checkpoints, more in depth than the airlines make you do. No cameras or cellphones allowed. We were escorted into a hot room with rows of plastic chairs and a germ-y pit of a play area (none of us allowed the kids to go in there, at least, not for long after seeing how gross it was in there!)

Charlie did quite well in her carrier, even though we were made to wait over 2 hours. It was hot in that windowless brick oven of a room, and we didn't bring water for the adults. Charlie, of course, had a huge diaper bag's worth of formula, water (she can drink from a cup!) and all 100 neccessary items a baby needs at all moments of the day.

The space between my back and Charlie's front was rapidly reaching Def-Con 5. She did not cry or have a meltdown though! She did really well and was patient throughout.

Finally all of us had our childrens' visas in hand and headed back for the guesthouse. No one was much in the mood to go out to eat, we were all exhausted.

I just was extremely grateful that I had received Charlie the day before Embassy day... I couldn't imagine what it would have been like if I'd had to bring her to the Embassy in the heat and humidity and wait for 2 hours while she was in meltdown/trauma mode. That would have been unbearable, for her, for me, and for everyone around us.

This was kind of a boring day, with only one goal to be met. Which was good as I was not the only exhausted parent around. One couple from China had adopted two infants and had their hands pretty full! Charlie was a trooper and did very well and made me proud. Ergo? Check! Patience during sweaty wait? Check! Cuteness overload? Check!

Her wonderful temperament was to be severely tested the next day... shopping day. But that's another post ;-) for tomorrow. Stay tuned.


Shannon- said...

She really is cuteness overload!!

Thank you for the comment. in fact i have considered it, based on your experience. I'll write more later and perhaps clarify.

Anonymous said...

the blog history of your trip to Ethiopia to pick up Charlie. I was
able to post yesterday, but not today. Ah well. The pics are wonderful
and she is gorgeous. I'm so happy to read how well she has attached to
you. What's it like being a mama? Are you still in awe, feeling
surreal or is it solid feeling and real?
I saw you expressed concern about being able to do this as a single
person. There is no doubt it will be harder than if you had a partner,
but you can do it. You will be (well, already ARE) an amazing mom.
Your mommy instincts will kick in and you'll find the way that works
for you and Charlie. Just remember-- there is no right or wrong way,
only your and Charlie's way.
I've thought about calling a million times, but I can imagine you are
just a wee bit busy and overwhelmed at the moment. When you have the
time and the inclination, give me a buzz so we can catch up a little.
Re Turtles-- haven't been able to go out, but hope to this week.
Hug and Love,