Monday, August 5, 2013

Ethiopia 1st Trip - Day Six/Court Day!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

"This morning we woke up pretty late, maybe around 9:00 am or so.  Jody and I had both had trouble falling asleep last night, so we had taken Advil PM and it knocked us out!

I got up and took a shower, but then my stomach started to get upset.  This was the first time that I had felt sick.  I took two pepto tabs and then decided to go ahead and take the cipro.  I really wanted to feel better before our court appointment this afternoon.  I started praying that I would not get sicker, and that I would get well quickly.  And I didn't eat anything...just in case!

We decided to walk over and see our baby girl.  All the special mothers, children and babies were all hanging out in the TV/playroom downstairs.  The babies' room was being cleaned upstairs, so they had all the babies downstairs for playtime.  She was okay when she first saw us - kind of her usual whimper/moan.  I think she got a little nervous every time we "re-appeared" each morning.

We played with her for awhile in that room, and then Jody, Chris, and Emma decided to walk to Kaldi's for lunch.  I still wasn't feeling that great, so I decided to go lay down in our room back at the guest house.  I was really hoping and praying to feel better before leaving for court at 1:00 pm.

By the time they got back I was feeling much better - so thankful!  I still didn't want to eat anything, but I got a sprite to sip on and that helped some.  Then it was time to load up in the van with Danny and Haile (he is a case processor on staff at HH, and helps all the families at court.  Such a nice guy!) to go to COURT!!!

Emma and Chris were with us, and we were all excited and a little nervous too.  We drove for about 30 minutes or so down to the court building.  It was a tall building, and we all followed Haile up several flights of stairs.  We waited for a few minutes in some chairs out by the elevator.  Then Haile motioned for us to follow him.  We were the first ones to walk in the court room waiting area outside the judge's chambers.

Waiting in the court room in Addis!!!

I totally forgot my camera that day, but thankfully Chris and Emma remembered theirs!  I wanted a picture to remember our COURT DAY!  I had on a long black and white striped skirt (Jody called it my zebra skirt! ha!) with a black tank top and long sleeve, dark gray cardigan.  Jody had on a short sleeve, gray shirt and the jeans that we had bought him at the mall back in DC.

The court room was a simple room with plain white walls and black chairs in rows all through the room.  There was a white sheet of paper with the word "Silent" printed on it hanging on the wall.  At the front of the room it looked like a typical court room with a chair for the judge behind some wood paneling.

The room started to fill up quickly.  It seemed to be mostly Europeans with their Ethiopian case workers.  There were maybe about three other American couples besides us in the waiting room.  We saw an Ethiopian lady walk through the room with a huge stack of manila folder paper work files.  Then a girl started coming to the the door of the judge's chambers to call out the name of an orphanage.

Haile told us it was just "by chance" if we would be called first, middle or last.  There were some sheets of paper stapled together written in Amharic that all the case workers were checking to make sure their clients were on the list.  Haile checked the list, and everything seemed to be okay.

We waited about 30-45 more minutes until we finally heard the girl call out "B & S", which is the orphanage where Chris and Emma's baby boy was before coming to HH.  But she didn't called out "B", where our baby girl had been before HH.  So, Haile went up there and said something to her in Amharic that we couldn't understand.  Then he motioned for us to stay, and he walked quickly out of the room!  I started to get a little nervous, but we all tried not to worry.

About five minutes later, he walked back in and told us that our baby girl's file had gotten misplaced, but they now had it and everything was fine.  Yay!!!  A few minutes later, we saw the same paperwork lady from earlier walk in with just one file.  I am pretty sure that was ours! :)

So, we ended up being the very last ones (along with Chris and Emma) waiting in the court room.  We joked that we were the first ones in, and the last ones out! :)  Finally, it was our turn!!!

We all four walked back into the judge's chambers, which was really just a couple of desks and several chairs.  Haile was with us, and we all sat down.  In the room was the girl that had been calling names and a young Ethiopian guy that looked around 20 years old or so.  He told us that the judge was out, but that he was her assistant and would be doing everything for us.  He opened up both of our big paperwork files on his desk and checked all of our passports.

Then he proceeded to ask us both several questions..."Did we have any other children?  What are their ages?  Do they know about the adoption and how do they feel about it?  How long have we been in the adoption process?  How have we learned about Ethiopian culture and heritage?  Have we been educated about international adoption?  Have we met our baby girl and how much time have we spent with her?  Do we live in a diverse area?  Do we realize that this adoption will be full and final and she will be our child?"

We answered all the questions (although Jody later said that I was answering them all so quickly he could barely get a word in!  haha!  I guess I was a little overeager!) , and then he said these PRECIOUS words to all four of us..."Congratulations!  THEY ARE YOURS!!!"

It was such a huge relief to know that she was officially OUR DAUGHTER!!!  PRAISE GOD!!!  I got tears in my eyes and hugged and kissed Jody.  Emma said that she got chills!  It was such a sweet, memorable moment to all experience together!

Then the young man told us the judge would now issue the court decree.  Then Haile led us out of the judge's chambers, back through the court room and down the stairs back to the street where Danny was waiting on us with the van.  We saw a few people near our van that we gave some snacks to, and then we were off.  We dropped Haile off at a street close to where he lives.  Then Danny to took us to Adams Pavillion to go see the Sole Rebels shoe store.  It was in a little three story shopping mall.  We ended up all getting Danny a pair of shoes at Sole Rebels.  They looked really good on him, and he said they were comfortable!

Next, it was time to head back to Hannah's Hope.  We wanted to try to facetime with our kids back at home.  It was 4:30 pm our time in Ethiopia, and 8:30 am back at home.  Unfortunately, facetime did not work, but we did go ahead and just call them on Jody's cell phone.  It cut off once, so we called them back until it cut off again the second time.  But it was so good to hear their sweet little voices!  We were missing them so much!  After that, we decided to walk over and see our DAUGHTER!!!

As we were walking over, we looked up and saw one of the special mothers holding her on the balcony.  She was already bathed and in her fuzzy cow print pajamas!  So cute!!!
Our sweet little Konjo (her nickname, means "beautiful" in Amharic) warmed up to us pretty quickly this afternoon, and she even let me feed her a bottle!!!  It was so precious, and I was really excited!  This was the first time she had let me do that!  It was fun whispering in her ear that she was now officially in our family!!!  We got some good, quality time with her before we went back to the guest house to cook some supper.

Chris said he would make dinner for us again...yay!!!  I changed into some comfortable clothes.  I was definitely feeling better, but I still took another cipro pill, just in case.  Chris made some plain bowtie pasta with just a little olive oil and salt for me to eat, and it tasted so good.  The perfect food for my weak stomach!

As usual, the power went out a few times that night!  In fact, Jody and Chris even ate their meal at the table by candle light! :)  Emma and I were eating on the couch, but we thought this was so funny that I had to get a quick picture of them!

(You can see the water bottles on the table.  These were some of the "YES!" waters that we got all the time in Ethiopia.  We would refill the bottles with the water cooler at the guest house.  We drank lots of "YES!" water while we were in Ethiopia!)

We were getting tired, but it was still pretty early - around 8:00 p.m.  So, we decided to all four play a game of uno.  Someone had left some uno cards at the guest house.  We ended up playing a game of uno that lasted for a full hour!  It was really so fun!  At one point, Chris had to draw like 30 cards looking for a green, and we just laughed and laughed hysterically.  I had not laughed that hard in a long time.  I had tears in my eyes it was so funny! :)

Around 9:00 p.m., we finally ended the game and decided to go get ready for bed.  Jody and I both took a melatonin, and we slept so good that night.  That was by far my best night's sleep at the HH's guest house!

I went to bed with so much peace- baby girl was officially our daughter, I was feeling much better, and it was our last night before going home!"


Leigh said...

so glad you had cipro with you! it's the miracle drug!!!! I have loved reading about your time in ET! It brings back so many sweet memories!!!

Makenzie said...

Just getting caught up on your posts, they make me so happy!! And they bring back so many memories of our time in Ethiopia. Hewan was in that "older baby" stage too and it took her a while to warm up to us. And I think our girls are from the same regional orphanage! Can't wait to see her little face!!!!