20 August 2007

Embassy Day

We enjoyed a very mellow morning just lolling about at the hotel. Everyone we've met has been very kind... the kiss you left cheek, right cheek, left cheek type. We've really grown to love the Ethiopian people. They are very warm and funny with easy smiles and laughter.

Papa & Elianna Ray

I love this shot of Elianna Ray & Evangeline checking each other out

This afternoon we had lunch here all together and then went to the American Embassy to finalize our paperwork and get visas for the kids.

We waited our turn as each family went up and swore that our paperwork was completely true and were asked questions about each child and the adoption itself. After each adoption was complete there were hugs and celebration all around. I couldn't believe what how quickly and smoothly it went, and now it's done! She's ours! Hooray!

The most significant and beautiful of those appointments was the Schneiders who adopted Hope Herawoit (sorry if I destroyed the spelling, Lori) who is around 10 years old. It's a very different thing adopting an older child who has a much smaller chance of ever having a new Forever Family. We all bawled as we watched Carl, Lori, and Hope stand with their arms around each other and have the adoption accepted by the US. God beautifully brought them together and it was a lovely miracle to behold!

After we were all done, we left the Embassy, and that was when Michael nearly got arrested.

Seriously. He ran ahead and was snapping pictures of us all leaving the Embassy and suddenly there were loud whistles, and shouts, and running, and police. Apparently, you're not supposed to take pictures of the exterior of the Embassy because of the threat of attack. Now we know!

The rest of us waited outside getting mobbed by beggars shouting, "helloimhungryihavenoshoe, hellomisspleasehelpmegetthefood, hellohowareyouimhungryfoodpleasemister" while Michael was interrogated, our camera and passports confiscated, and the officials decided whether or not he was a terrorist. It wasn't super fun. Finally, he was released and actually joked with the Marine guarding him, "Before I leave may I take your picture?" who didn't think Michael was terribly hysterical. Once my adrenaline petered out, I got a good laugh out of that.

After that we visited Enat Alem Orphanage where the kids were for at least a little while before coming to Hannah's Hope. I had to process this experience for about 12 hours before writing about it because it was so overwhelming. The orphanage is in incredible disrepair, with damaged plumbing immediately outside the open kitchen, cracked walls, crumbling roof, and more children than a place twice the size should hold. All of the caretakers are very kind, but there are just too many children for each to get the attention they require. Each crib and bed holds at least 2 babies/children, and there is simply no medication for those that require it. So, all of the children show some signs of illness from congestion and runny noses to fungus, scabies, and ringworm, to mention a few. My heart, all of our hearts, broke. We did our best to hold it together for the kids and play with them and hold their hands and give them attention, but every one of us needed regular breaks to brush tears away and gather our emotions.

Laundry duty

This shot is of Michael showing the kids the video he made of them. They went crazy over it!

The older kids go wild for any bit of love you will give them, but the hardest part was the babies because so many of them have already shut down emotionally. So many abandoned or orphaned little ones sat staring at us with empty eyes and wary expressions.

Before we left the staff insisted on giving us a traditional coffee ceremony where they roast the beans over a small wood stove, crush the coffee, and then cook and press it over the fire. The result is a very thick, very strong, heavily smoked drink akin to espresso, but far thicker. Most of us needed a lot of sugar in it, but we all found it, especially the beautiful ceremony wonderful.

Leaving Enat Alem was the hardest part of the day.

Street scene

Everyone was far too emotionally wiped out for supper so we called it a day. Michael, the girls, and I went back to our hotel and took naps and played before celebrating Evangeline's 1st birthday! Poor Elianna Ray tried so hard to keep her droopy eyes open for the party.

M, R, and J, we miss you three so much. Have a GREAT time at Avalanch Ranch and with Miss Briana today! XXOOOne of my PW girls, would you please let the others know that I can't update them from here and link this page for me, please? Thanks!


Deanna said...

I have had that "embassy experience" in Kenya... NOT FUN!


emily said...

Thank you for the great updates. Praying for you everyday!! It is so sweet to see the girls together:)

Anonymous said...

Lauri the secon I saw Elianna's smile I teared up. Thank you so much for sharing your family's journey w/me. I am praying for your safe trip home

Anonymous said...

Dear Mama and Papa,
I love you so much and I miss you oodles. Thank you for the twenty dollars each day. Yesterday, after VBS (which was GREAT), we went to Claim Jumper. After lunch we went to a museum called Ripley's Beleve It Or Not Museum. It had stuff like the shoe of the tallest man in the world and and some beautiful artwork made out of dryer lint. And there was The Lord's Supper made out of toast! There was also a man who was double sighted, LITERATLY! He had two puples in each eye. I wil tell you some more later because we are walking out the door.
Love ya,

Rants & Raves in Seattle said...

Laurie, Michael and family
Congratulations on your new addition to the family!
Hearing about the conditions and all the orphaned children just breaks my heart.

Have a safe trip back home!

Anonymous said...

Hi my 4 Darlings!
We are getting a little over-the-top excited about your homecoming! We're dying to place kisses on Eli's nose! Come home! Come home! Come home!
The kids have been great, and dogs good too. Hamy caught a rat, shook it to death - so proud! Poppy was there to dispose of it, thankfully!
All's well, except we miss you!
Love, Mother

Ray Ortlund said...

We are so proud of you guys!

Uncle Ray

ErinOrtlund said...

Elianna Ray is gorgeous AND she already looks perfectly at home in her new family! She is so smiley! I love the photo of her with Evangeline. What an amazing adventure you are having--I have really enjoyed the photos and description of where you are!

We go to the US consulate in Alberta next week to register Will as a US citizen, get him a US passport, etc. Much more routine, but I was hoping to get a picture of the consulate! Now I am rethinking this.... ;)

Anonymous said...

so proud of you!!! come home.
love the Chambers

Anonymous said...

you people change the world !
always Be proud !
thanks for helping ethiopia