Thursday, April 30, 2009
The Day We Met Our Little Lady
We slept VERY little the night before meeting Zoe. Too much was running through our minds from the day's excitement and the day facing us. We knew we had to be up fairly early to eat breakfast and be done by the time Almaz came to do paperwork with us that would have to be sent over to the US Embassy ahead of us for our appointment later that day. We went down to breakfast with Dawn and Tim and we were all nervous and jittery and none of us slept much at all. We tried to eat a bit of breakfast and the rest of the travel group slowly dribbled in and it was fun to talk with everyone a bit more since the night before we didn't get to a lot b/c of their late arrival. We were all excited and nervous and no one ate much of anything. All of the sudden Almaz was there, just casually walking in the door to the lobby and saying hello. We could not believe that this was IT, we were really going to do this and all the praying, dreaming, longing, wondering, and worrying of the last year was for this moment. We filled out our forms, and of course Pat and I filled ours out incorrectly (surprise!) and we had to re-do them and everyone mocked us. All paperwork was then collected and at that point Almaz said “let's go!” Oh my gosh, I cannot describe the nervous-anxious-terrified-excited feeling in my stomach but I know most of the others felt the same thing. And there we were, leaving the hotel and going on “The Walk” that so many other AGCI families have gone on before and shown pictures of-it was like everyone has said, shorter than they expected and then all of the sudden, there is the famous All God's Children gate. Dawn and I exchanged some very nervous looks, I started to cry and Pat and I stopped to pray a quick but fierce prayer before we walked through that big red gate. We were at Hannah's Hope and got to see the one couple from our group who were adopting older boys meet them first. Oh my goodness, words cannot describe it-those boys came running to their new parents and threw their arms around them—everyone was crying and videotaping and snapping pictures of them for them. It was just amazing. The babies were all in the background and I was trying NOT to look at them because I didn't want to see Zoe until it was time to meet her and have her placed into our arms. One family was adopting a toddler and he came out next-SUPER adorable! He came out but got very wary when he saw the faces of his new parents and just stopped walking, started to back up, and eyed them suspiciously. He would not go to them, until someone gave them a lollipop to offer him-well, he was over his suspiciousness quickly!! We took pictures and video and cried some more-then I hear Dawn saying “Jody Jody! It is time-they are getting Jaxson!" I had promised her I would take pictures of their meeting and so she tossed me her camera and they were led to him where he was in a bouncy seat. It was so beautiful, just seeing their joy at finally being a family of three-a miracle right in front of us! I just kept snapping a million pictures and then someone said “Jody they are calling you guys-it is your turn!” I quickly shoved my camera at poor Sarah standing next to me an asked (commanded??) her to take pictures, to which she graciously agreed . Then all of the sudden we were being handed our baby and both Pat and I were crying and completely overwhelmed with what God has done in our family and the beauty of our new little girl. It is indescribable. We spent the next bit holding and smiling at and studying our newest Hilt--she grabbed tightly to Daddy's finger and did not let go!! We all kept taking pictures and video for each other and it was so amazing, miraculous really. There were adorable little brown babies everywhere, some with great clouds of silky curls, others with smoother jet black hair, and a few with no hair!! All of them just snoozing in the sun, so content. Too soon it was time to leave and rush back to the hotel to get our diaper bags and passports together since we had to be back at HH in less than an hour for our appointment at the Embassy. We scrambled to get stuff together-it had been awhile since we had packed a diaper bag for a tiny one!-and hurried back to HH to get our tiny ones and get in the vans to go to the Embassy. We were fortunate to sit right by the window so there was a good breeze that put Zoe right to sleep. She stayed asleep for awhile until we got into the actual waiting room where she got pretty fussy and we fed her a bottle for the first time-and she liked it! But wow, that girl can BURP! It was all dark in the room, I think to keep it cool, and some American channel was on the tv and lots of Ethiopian folks were there and looking at us kind of warily. We were to wait to hear our name called and then to go upstairs where we would answer a few questions, raise our right hand and agree to the oath they read, and sign some paperwork-and poof! They handed us Zoe's Ethiopian birth certificate and all her documents and we were done! We waited for the other families to finish and then we all got back into the vans to go back to the hotel to collapse, er, rest. Zoe fell right to sleep again on the ride home and then slept for awhile longer back at the hotel. We just looked at pictures of our morning, picked good ones to send back home to the girls and good ones to put on the blog for the folks back home, and we watched her sleep. She soon woke up and we gave her her first bath, which she sort of liked and sort of was nervous about. She got fussy at the end though and we thought she was ready to eat, but she just liked to be laid down on the bed so she could “talk” to us-lots of funny whirring squawking noises and looking into our eyes! She really liked her Daddy to be nearby and would fuss when we wasn't in her eyesight-which is understandable since this was her first day ever having a Daddy!! And he is in love with being her daddy, too-he said “I can't stop looking at her!” The rest of the day was just spent resting from the emotionally exhausting, but incredible day, hanging out around the dinner table with the other AGCI families and just enjoying the peace that had settled on all of us from finally being united with our children.