Maeve kept to her schedule like the perfect person that she is and got up right at 6:30am. In my ideal world, 6:30am is a little early, but you can't fault an infant for sleeping 12 hours through the night, except for a couple quick bottle feeds in between. No complaints here. As I mentioned earlier, Maeve woke up full of smiles and personality. It was soooo amazing to see. She seemed happy to see me and I was thrilled to see her.
Stacy and I packed her diaper bag for the first time; we were ready for anything (I'm not going to like this diaper bag thing... seriously? do they really need all this stuff... I think not, until they do). We went downstairs for our daily buffet breakfast and caught up with all the other families and learned that almost everyone had a event free night. We all headed up the cobbled stone road back to Hannah's Hope, this time with our children in our arms, and loaded into two vans that took us across town to the US Embassy. The driving was so fun. I really do enjoy the frogger-aspect of it all. Whoever is the bigger bully wins. Almaz said there are accidents all the time. Ummm... you think?
After clearing security and hanging out in the waiting area of the US Embassy I had a hint of nervousness. I didn't really expect anything to go wrong, but with the endless trail of paperwork and the spirit of adoption, where anything could happen, I was just willing everything to be smooth. I didn't feel like I could celebrate Maeve fully until I was given the knowledge that her US visa was in order and we were cleared to head home. I was the first person to be called to the window from our adoption group and answered the requisite questions. The agent was very friendly and ended our session with a congratulations... Yay. I could celebrate. Everyone's appointment went smoothly and we all got back into our vans and headed back across the city towards The Union Hotel.
One thing I remember clearly about traveling across Addis Ababa, with our children in our arms, was realizing how white we all were. We were two vans full of white people holding Ethiopian children. How did that look? I know that many many Ethiopians thanked us and were happy for the children to be adopted, but this viewpoint isn't shared by everyone. Its a difficult feeling to resolve... and I think that I haven't fully resolved it yet. I wanted to shout to the people of Ethiopia that I love their culture and I wished they didn't have 5 million little orphans needing to be adopted. I wanted to explain that I will do my best to keep Maeve's heritage alive in her and make her proud of where she came from. Instead, I was only able to hold her close and hope that they could see how much I loved her already.
Once back at the hotel we were pretty much stuck there. An agreement is in place between adopting agencies and the US Embassy that adoptive parents not be out and about with their children. It stems from an incident involving a European adoptive family treating their newly adopted child questionably. This upset Ethiopian people immensely, and as a result, this new policy was initiated. So, unless you wandered to and from Hannah's Hope, you were pretty much looking at the same four walls or the outside courtyard of The Union Hotel for the rest of the week. Despite occasional cabin fever, it was okay. I have a desire to explore Addis and Ethiopia, but that is for another trip. This trip was to hold Maeve and for us to learn each other.
That afternoon, Stacy took off with another "in-law" on the trip, Aaron, and they explored the city a little. Aaron had befriended a cab driver earlier in the trip, and he had agreed to be their personal tour guide. I'm so glad that Stacy was able to get out and see a little bit of the city... next time for me. Again, that's okay, but its good to hear what I have to look forward to.
Waiting to go to the US Embassy
It was a hot van ride back to the hotel... so, she's striped down and cooling off...