Monday, February 14, 2011

From Ethiopia - Post 6 - Day 1 of official schedule

After our two free days sight-seeing around Ethiopia, the official adoption schedule started on Friday morning.  Holt sent two vans to drive our travel group to the office for orientation that morning.  We had the schedule explained to us; we were given a list of some common Amharic words and expressions that we might need to know when talking to our children; and we were walked through the process of filling out our paperwork for the Embassy interview.  Once all the forms had been completed and turned in to the Holt staff, we filed upstairs and paid for our trips to Durame for the birth family meetings.  Then we filed back into the vans and headed out to lunch before we went to meet with our children.

We went to a restaurant called, "The Face of Addis".  It sat high on top of a hill with a beautiful view of the city of Addis Ababa.  Eric and I could see the large area where the Timkat festival had been held.  We could see the airport.  It was very beautiful.  We all enjoyed a nice lunch, while anxiously awaiting our first visit with the kids this trip. 

View from The Face of Addis Restaurant

Travel group at The Face of Addis Restaurant for lunch
After dropping off the others at the Niana Care Center, Eric and I were taken to Care Center 3.  Miruk, the correspondence head for the Holt Ethiopia office, accompanied Eric and I to the care center to visit with Markos.  When we first arrived, we walked into the courtyard area and Markos was just walking out of his room.  He ran over to us and gave both Eric and I big hugs.  Miruk stated that they had gotten our comment sheet from our court visit and that one of the things that I had mentioned was that I was disappointed that we had not gotten a tour of CC3 and hadn't seen where Markos slept, etc., so she wanted to rectify that.  She showed us Markos' bedroom and allowed Markos to show us his bed.  I felt a little bad because it was nap time so all the other kids were trying to nap (or at least pretending to).  Markos' room was a small room with 6 or 7 toddler beds lining the walls.  The children slept 2 to a bed - either head to toe, or side by side - whichever they preferred.  Markos and his bed mate slept head to toe.  Markos showed us where he slept.  The other boys all peeked out from under the covers that they all had pulled tightly over their heads.

Care Center 3

Care Center 3
Markos showing us the bed where he slept

After we saw his room, we went back to the open room where we had played with Markos during our court trip.  He remembered all the toys that we had taken during our first trip and one by one, asked for the same things.  Thankfully, I had remembered the toys that he loved our first trip and had taken similar toys the second trip!  His slight disappointment over the machinas (cars) not talking this time was quickly abated by his delight over the magna doodle with a built-in light.  He really loves all electronic things with buttons.

Ababa and Markos

It was nice having Miruk there with us for most of the visit because Markos knows her and likes her a lot, so he was very comfortable and talked to her, and because she could translate for us!  She let Markos play with her phone last time we were there and he hadn't forgotten.  He played with her phone - taking pictures of us all and listening to her music.  We laughed when he started dancing in his seat and told her that "She's Not Just a Pretty Face" by Shania Twain was his favorite song on her phone.

Miruk letting Markos take pictures with her phone

Having her there to interpret allowed us to see a little of Markos' wit and intelligence.  One of the more funny moments occurred when Eric finally broke down and had to go to the bathroom.  Markos walked back into the little room next to the bathroom with him, so Miruk and I did too.  We could totally hear everything going on in the bathroom.  Eric had been holding himself for quite some time, so he was peeing and peeing.  Markos got a funny look on his face, turned to Miruk, and asked, "is my daddy getting a shower in there?"  She laughed and told me what he had asked.  Very cute.

Markos and his electronics

After a while, Markos ended up with our camera.  I think I must have deleted about 47 pictures of his feet, then once he got the camera turned around, his nose or eyes.  He did manage to get one or two (not so flattering) pictures of Eric and I.

Taking more pictures

Sadly, after a while, the van driver came back again to get us.  Miruk explained the process to Markos again, in detail -- Mommy and Daddy have some more to do, but they will be back to see you tomorrow, then you will have 2 sleeps and then they will come and take you with them.  She had him repeat back to her each detail to make sure that he understood.  He seemed to understand.  We hugged and kissed and said our goodbyes and headed back to the guest house.

We knew that once we took custody, we were not allowed to leave the guest house with the children so we would be eating most meals at the guest house, so we took advantage of the free evening to go out to dinner with Mariah and her mom, and Dic and Kendra.  We went to a Chinese restaurant that the guest house staff recommended.  It was definitely not the American version of Chinese food, but it was very good!  There was a grocery store next door, so we had planned to go try to buy a few things when we were done eating, but it was closed when we left.  However, Isaias took us to another grocery store on the way home so we could pick up some bottles of water, soda, and a few other things to have in the room after we took custody of the kids.  Then, we headed back to the room and crashed again, dreaming happy dreams of our kids.

at a Chinese restaurant for dinner

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