Apr 30, 2008

This Week Last Year - Day 3-

This is a day we never will forget.....the day we met the boys. As mentioned before, our alarm didn't go off and we had 15 minutes to take a shower and get to breakfast and believe me....we needed the shower. We made it though and reintroduced ourselves to the awesome group of people that would make this week the magical week that it was. You cannot believe how wonderful the cooking was at the guesthouse. I really miss it and even the scrambled eggs were the tastiest scrambled eggs in the history of eggs. The cooks were very skilled and the kindest of people. After breakfast, a car was sent to take us to our boys.

We put on our badges that identified us as the boys' parents and made a stop at the office. We went over our paperwork for the embassy appointment and signed a release form so that our first meeting could be filmed for the lifebook. I can't even describe the anticipation we felt as we walked from the office to the care center. The boys were in the first room of the toddler building which meant only a short flight of steps was between us and this very emotional meeting. The cameraman went upstairs to get a good angle and the social worker alerted the nannies in the room that we were coming in. They motioned for us to come. It was a very weird feeling....the last 9 months of process was coming to its intended end result. We were actually going to be holding..meeting...and loving real live...breathing kids. We would be parents after all these years of trying. Not that we didn't love the boys before meeting them. We were in love with them from the first emailed pictures...maybe even the phone call referral that occurred before the pictures. In that 10 second walk, every fear surfaced and subsided. I just had to focus on holding it together. Me, who cried - bawled- all the way down the aisle on my wedding day. I didn't want to scare the kids off and have me blubbering on the video. Once in the room, we were immediately handed our little guys. Ben went to Mike and Seb went to me. Ben was obviously just figuring out who we were as he quietly stayed in Mike's arms. I wouldn't go so far as to say he was content....but a little scared and adjusting to the situation. Sebby came to me very reluctantly and with a whimper. I was so lame. I took out a toy and tried to hold his attention. Tried to make him smile. Like a mere little toy was going to make this easier on my little guy. The nannies were crying. They take such good care of the babies that they really bond with them. It is hard for them to let go. Especially when it came to Sebby. He was a "nanny favorite" around the care center. Everyone loved him and couldn't resist his infectious smile and happy giggle (a giggle we wouldn't produce without much effort for some time).

The camera man left and we looked around the room. There were a few toddler beds, some toys, and a little table and chairs for meal times. The boys had two roomates. A very cute and quiet little man who was very interested in who we were and what we were doing there and a beautiful little girl who throughout this week was very playful and really eased the tension we felt when being rejected by Sebby here and there. She was the peek a boo queen and a joy to play with. She really captured Mike's heart and I think this is the beginning of his quest to convince me that we need a daughter in the next couple of years. The boys spent most of their time in this room with their roommates as they had been just moved from the infant house a little before their birthday and were not big enough to co-mingle with the bigger toddler children in the toddler house. It was a pretty nice room and I think that the boys were very happy with this station of their life.

We were instructed to take the babies into a play room near the doctor's office. This was important because Seb needed time alone with us as he was very unhappy without his favorite nanny. The nannies and staff can't stand to see a baby cry and so if Sebby was crying....someone had to swoop in and ease his pain. This is good for building trust and love and proving that there was never neglect, but difficult when you are trying to bond with a child on your own. We are very thankful that Ben was more accepting as it was hard to be rejected and see your baby cry and not be able to comfort them because you are a stranger taking them from all they know. It was hard with one, I don't know what we would have done if both of them had it so hard. The good thing was that the boys looked pretty healthy. They had colds, but hey, I had one too. They were as beautiful as they were in their pictures and more smart and charming than we could have imagined. We played and got to know each other throughout the morning. We returned to the guesthouse for lunch and unwound a bit, knowing that we still had a long day ahead.

After lunch we grabbed our paperwork and a change of clothes for the boys for the special embassy appointment. We were very nervous as we wanted the U.S. to sign off on this thing and didn't know how the boys would respond to being away from the guesthouse with us, that they just met this morning. We arrived at the boys room, and immediately, Seb began screaming. Ben was asleep, but quietly came to us as we pulled him out of bed. The nanny helped us put Seb in khakis and a sweater vest. Ben had a matching outfit, although as we were getting ready to put Ben's on, a poop explosion occurred and a blow out had shot a stream of liquid brown everywhere. Luckily the outfit was in tact and after a quick sponge bath we made our way with the boys in slings down to the minibus to take our trip to the embassy. It was nice to see Addis during the day and soak in the culture even if through a quick drive through town. We got to the embassy and had very little problems. Mike had some trouble making it past the metal detectors because of the rod in his shoulder, but other than that -smooth sailing. It was hot and stuffy, but we kept the boys happy with sippys of water and Gerber graduate snack puffs during our wait. When it was our turn, the embassy lady asked a couple of questions and that was that. We were done. On our way back to the minibus, we met some boys on the street playing soccer. They were friendly and talkative and of course said that they would love to come back with us to America. The driver shooed them away and we waved goodbye as we went to the Hilton to confirm our flights back to the states later in the week.

The Hilton was very nice and it wasn't too long before we were making our way back to drop off the boys at the care center for the night. Some may think it is weird that we didn't have the boys 100% of the time after we initially met them. We would have loved nothing else, but it wasn't reality for us. They needed transition time though. This is something I didn't realize before making the trip, but after seeing how attached Seb was to his caregivers.....we needed to give him time. Ben may have been okay, but we weren't going to separate them. Plus, we were still jet lagged, I was sick; we needed our sleep and it wasn't like we weren't going to see them tomorrow. We couldn't wait to see them tomorrow even though we were just dropping them off this evening. And tomorrow is another day.....and everyday we would make a little more progress with Seb. Everyday he would open his heart to us just a little bit more. No doubt, in that first day we did make some headway, but we had to be understanding and it would be a week long or more process before Seb would accept us as his new number one caregivers and then his parents. As for the rest of the evening, we enjoyed mingling with the other guests, we had a wonderful dinner and there was Satellite TV and of course, all the soda we could drink.

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