Friday, 12 June 2009

Getting closer!

(oops, originally posted to the wrong blog!!)

Baby now has a visa to enter the UK and a ticket home.

Mr Messy and Drama Teen are back with Janet and the littlies.

Lots of celebrating, lots of relief, they're back together and coming home soon!

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

News from Janet

(This is Kate, not Janet - despite what the signature line!)

I've had several emails from Janet this evening and thought that I would precis them for the blog.

Mr Messy and Drama Teen are still of visiting Baby's home area (hence the lack of updates from Addis, when the technical expert's travelling the blog is put on hold, hopefully Janet's still typing even if she can't post!) It must be a very emotional trip for them, hopefully they'll get lots more information for Baby . I think that they've got another day there before travelling back to Addis on Friday.

Meanwhile Janet is left holding Baby and Little Prince and I think that that's quite a juggling act when you're so far away from home. Baby's Visa was applied for on Monday but still hasn't come through - Janet's considering intimidation by small children, taking B and LP to the office and sitting there until the Visa people would rather issue the necessary paperwork than have there any longer. Hopefully the Visa will be issued tomorrow before the Littlies have to be brought in, but it sounds as if there's still quite a lot of paperwork shuffling to do first.

Nappy rash has been a big issue for Baby. Luckily Janet knew about this before they travelled and took the necessary supplies, especially lots of cream. Janet reports that Baby's rash was a lot better, until they ran out of premium nappies - she can only get Baby sized nappies in a local brand that aren't so efficient, so once again they are battling nappy rash but for now they're winning!

I think that they're doing tremendously, thanks for checking up on them and I'll let you know if I hear any more.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Finally Changed the Travellers Cheques - (Monday 8th June)

First thing in the morning I rang the Visa Application Centre to see
if the biometric systems were working now. The lady who answered the
phone sounded extremely surprised that we had done all the Visa
paperwork and not done the biometrics, but I explained that the system
had not been working last Friday. She checked for me and the system
was now working and suggested we make our way down there. I asked how
long the Visa might take, and she said it would probably be 3-4 days,
but could be longer (FANTASTIC NEWS). We rousted out the children,
got a bag of baby supplies packed and set off to walk to the Visa
Centre. It only took about 10 minutes, but it was VERY hot,
especially carrying baby in her sling!!! When we got there we were
ushered to the front of the queue to see the same lady we had checked
the documents with the first time. She shuffled our papers, printed
out some labels and then sent us to sit down and wait for the
biometrics room to be free. We jumped the queue and were next in that
room too!! As it was a tiny little room I went in with baby on my
own, the lady checked the labels, printed out a receipt and asked me
to sign it. She underlined the case number on the receipt and their
phone number and said that when we come to pick up the Visa we HAVE to
bring this receipt (OMG don't lose that piece of paper!!!). I took
baby out of her sling expecting her to be fingerprinted and
photographed next, but the lady said that they don't do that for under
fives!!! So why did baby have to come to this appointment??!?! No
idea - but I've given up arguing and just do as I'm told!!! To
celebrate our "victory" at finally having put in the application we
visited Saay Pastry for breakfast. Little Prince had two chocolate
donoughts and was thrilled with them, Mr Messy and Drama Teen chose
giant ring donoughts, but Drama Teen didn't like hers!! While we were
sat eating and chatting we got a phone call from the Visa Application
Centre saying that baby's photograph was the wrong size (it needs to
be 45mm x 35mm) ours was too big!!! So we walked back down to the
Friendship Mall and took baby to have MORE photographs taken!! The
display on the glass counter only noted the passport photo sizes in
inches, but the photographer asked which embassy it was for and knew
what size we needed. We took baby into the studio and out of her
sling and then waited for ages, and it was even hotter in there!! The
photographer eventually came in and said he'd been waiting for us,
trouble was we didn't know that and had been waiting for him lol. He
had four or five tries to get a photograph where baby wasn't either
being sick or had her eyes closed, but eventually got an acceptable
one (the beauty of digital photography!!). We had to hang around for
10-15 minutes for the photos to be printed and then we went back to
the Guest House. We got the Manager to arrange a car to take us to
drop off the new photos and then to take us to the Head Office of the
NIB Bank, where Mr Messy had successfully changed travellers cheques
previously. I stayed in the car while Mr Messy took the photographs
up to the Visa Application Centre (its up three flights of stairs!!)
once that had FINALLY been sorted out we headed off to the bank,
hoping that we would be just as successful on this errand!! Luckily
we were :-) We are finally flush with cash again :-) Which means
that Mr Messy and Drama Teen can finally make their trip to where baby
comes from tomorrow. Unfortunately for my sleepy teen they have to
set off at 6am - yes Drama Teen there ARE two 6 O'clocks in one day

During the afternoon Little Prince decided to have a completely crazy
and naughty time!! He drove me to tears with all his antics! He went
into either the Manager's room or a store room and emptied a bag of
powder all over the yard, then paddled in it and covered himself with
it!! I dragged him in for a bath, a change of clothes and a stern
talking to!! He was very contrite and promised to be a good boy. He
must have forgotten because he emptied out most of our lip salve and
bum cream down the toilet when he said he was charging his DS upstairs
in our room!! Later we found out that he had also emptied most of the
Russian UN worker's sun cream down the downstairs toilet too!!! By
this time I was LIVID!!! I shouted, threatened, cried and got so
upset with him!!!! I even cut his comfort blankie in half (knowing we
had a spare) it was either that or wallop him, and I figured he'd
recover quicker from the blankie wrecking!!!

Mr Messy was a star and sent me and Drama Teen out to the supermarket
for drinks and snacks for them to take with them, and then to have a
relax in Kaldi's before coming back to the Guest House. We managed to
find a few snacks that Drama Teen found acceptable, and then went to
look at the sweetie counter! We found Mars Bars, Bounty and Milky
Ways, but the lady behind the counter wouldn't let us buy any of them
as they were doing an inventory count!!! The only things she would
allow us to buy didn't appeal to Drama Teen, so we gave up and paid
for the things we had managed to find and walked over to Kaldi's. I
had wanted to eat there, but Drama Teen wanted spaghetti bolognaise at
the Guest House so we just had a drink and a cake. Drama Teen didn't
want a cake, but managed to pinch quite a lot of mine!!!!

We had a bit of trouble getting back to the Guest House, as it was
dark and we hadn't brought a torch and my night vision is pathetic.
Once we had finally got back (without breaking any ankles either) we
found a fairly stressed Mr Messy with baby who had screamed blue
murder the whole time we were out!!! I picked her up and she was
asleep in minutes, sorry Mr Messy :-) He then took Little Prince to
bed, and I just hope he goes straight to sleep and doesn't mess with
anything else!!!!

Guest House Manager has just come in and asked Mr Messy if setting off
at 5.30am is OK?? Me and Mr Messy thought it was a fantastic idea,
but Drama Teen was disgusted lol. She is now cheering herself up by
eating her caramel cake we brought back from Kaldi's.

I won't be sending any more blogs until Mr Messy and Drama Teen are
back from their trip as I write all this waffle offline on our own
laptop, Mr Messy puts it on his iPod and transfers it to the Guest
House comptuer and sends it off on its merry way to the internet!!!
That is WAAAAAAAY too complicated for me to deal with, especially with
Little Prince in the mood he's in!!!

Three Babies for Lunch - (Sunday 7th June)

We had arranged to go to the Lime Tree brunch to meet up with another
UK family here in Addis, adopting their children, at 11am. We were
late setting off and arrived a little while after 11am, but there was
no sign of the other family. The cafe was almost empty so we chose a
table and sat down to wait. We got ourselves some fruit juice while
we waited. About 11.30am we got a call from the other family, to say
that one of their children was ill and they had just been to the
hospital to get child checked out and some medication. They arrived
at the Lime Tree not too long afterwards, and their child was
obviously listless and unwell, poor little thing. Hopefully the
medication will start to work soon and child will be back to their
normal cheerful self. Drama Teen and Little Prince had already eaten
by the time the other family arrived, so that sat at the other end of
the table playing on their DS's or playing cards (only Go Fish, not
poker or anything lol). We adults chatted and compared notes on where
we were both up to in our post adoption processes, and had a
thoroughly enjoyable few hours. We definitely recommend the Lime Tree
brunch - all you can eat (breakfast sort of foods) for about 85 birr
per adult and about 45 birr for the children. But don't count on the
wireless internet working, this is the fourth time we've taken our
laptop down there and its not worked yet!!! The other UK family did
mention that The Imperial Hotel (Bole Road near the airport end) has
free broadband intenet, so we will be trying that another day.

The food at the Guest House is very good, but it is a very limited
menu and after two weeks of it we HAD to find something different!!
Me, Mr Messy and Little Prince (Drama Teen didn't want to come) went
for a wander down the Bole Road to see what we could find. We went to
the Bole Mini (American Diner style cafe, near to the London Cafe
which is the one with the plane outside!!). Mr Messy ordered steak
and chips (for 40 birr - about £2.50!!!!) and said it wasn't the best
steak he'd ever had but it was pretty good for £2.50!! Little Prince
wantd hotdogs, but he only ate the sausages!! As I had baby in the
sling I had to go for finger food and just had some skinny (McDonald
style) fries. There was another little boy running round and round
the cafe while we were eating, and as soon as he'd finished Little
Prince begged to join him. As none of the staff or other customers
seemed at all bothered by the running boy we let Little Prince join
in. Both boys had a great time running round and round making cowboy
whooping noises, or hiding from each other. The Ethiopian people seem
generally very tolerant of children's behaviour, so it didn't seem to
cause a problem. We eventually managed to persuade Little Prince to
sit down for some ice cream - two scoops of mixed, rainbow coloured
ice cream - I've never seen BLUE ice cream before, but Little Prince
gulped it down and said it was all delicious :-) Then he was off and
running with his new friend again, for a last mad 10 minutes before we
headed back to the Guest House. As we walked we passed a mother and
small child begging and Little Prince was thrilled when Daddy gave him
some birr to give to her, he said it made him feel very good to help
someone who had no money. He is a very kind and compassionate young
man :-)

Don't bother with Traveller's Cheques!!! - (Saturday 6th June)

We decided to go to the HIlton Hotel to change some more Travellers
Cheques today. Me, Mr Messy, Little Prince and baby set off in the
taxi arranged by the Guest House. We arrived at the plush HIlton
Hotel just as a wedding party was entering. The bridesmaids and male
attendants were dancing round the bride and groom, singing and
ululating and holding the bouquet above the bride's head. We made our
way round the bridal party and entered the hotel. As usual we were
ushered through without being searched or going through the security
check, but Ethiopian (ie black) people were being searched and sent
through the security scanner. Mr Messy has started to go through the
security scanner as a matter of principle, but even though he "beeps"
he is still not searched! We found the bank and went in and asked if
we could change Travellers Cheques - NO!! When we queried this they
sent us across the hallway to another bank, who were very apologetic
but their system was down and they couldn't change our cheques!!!
They suggested we visit the Sheraton Hotel, so we went outside to find
our driver and asked him to take us to the Sheraton. He wasn't
allowed to drive into the grounds and had to drop us at the gates, and
we walked down the pathway to the entrance. It was fairly surreal to
pass a British red telephone box and the security guards were wearing
English Police style helmets and the doorman was wearing a bowler hat.
We had to search around to find the bank,and eventually gave up and
asked the concierge who directed us straight there. We asked the bank
teller if we could change some Traveller's Cheques - Yes!! BUT and
its a BIG BUT!!! Only if we had a receipt that exactly matched the
format she showed us!!! Of course we had a different format and that
wasn't acceptable, by now baby was screaming for her bottle, Mr Messy
was stressed up to the eyeballs and everyone was fed up!! I tried to
demand to see the manager, but Mr Messy was too fed up and stressed to
try that and dragged me out and back to the car. We had spent about
an hour and a half in a boiling car and got, precisely NOWHERE!!! So
don't bother with travellers cheques, they can be convenient and
secure, but they can also be a royal pain in the arse!!!!

Early Start - (Friday 5th June)

Mr Messy had arranged to be collected from the Guest House at 8.30am,
but no need to worry our small alarm clock woke us up in plenty of
time to get her fed and for Mr Messy to get ready. When Mr Messy
arrived at the Orphanage, Assistant wasn't there as her baby was ill.
In the end our driver took him to the Passport Office and went in with
him in case he needed any translating. Luckily as soon as the
Passport Office workers say Mr Messy they produced baby's Passport and
handed it over. The driver brought Mr Messy back to the orphanage
where he talked to the Orphanage Director about his trip to where baby
comes from. She was extremely helpful and gave him all the details he
will need to be able to photograph significant people and places from
baby's past, and also gave him baby's complete case file, which
included our homestudy document from the UK (which was asked for at
the Visa Application Centre). Guest House, where he collected me,
Little Prince and our British Visa folder full of all the documents we
need. We went over to the Visa Application Centre, which is right
next door to Saay Pastry (not quite as good as Bilo's, but still very
nice). We had to walk up three flights of stairs (no power again
today) at the entrance to the Visa Application Centre we were
searched, told to turn off our mobile phones and had to sign in with
Mr Messy's Passport number. While we were sat in the waiting room
baby decided she wanted her bottle, so Mr Messy was feeding her when
the Security Guard came over to say that we were next. There were
plenty of other people in the room, but I think we, as British
Citizen's. were allowed to jump the queue (not very British is
it?!?!). I went over to hand in our forms and documents, while Mr
Messy continued to feed baby. I got a bit impatient with him when he
admitted he had forgotten to bring my notebook with the Guest House
name/address/phone number in, as this should have been noted on the
form. However, the Visa Centre lady said giving the name of the Guest
House and our hired Ethiopian mobile phone number was sufficient. We
had come over to apply for the Visa in such a hurry we had forgotten
the advice of the previous adopter to photocopy everything!! We had
baby's birth certificate, Court documents and case file and did not
want to lose the originals of these. The Visa Centre lady said it was
ok to go and get them copied once we had been to the Bank on the
ground floor and paid for the Visa Application (currently over 11000
birr). So we went downstairs with the note in baby's passport
provided by the Visa Centre lady, queued up and paid the fee then went
out of the building turned left to the end of the block and up the
stairs to a copy centre. It only cost 50 Ethiopian cents per copy and
was pretty quick to get all the copies we needed. Mr Messy gave me
some money and sent me, Little Prince and baby into Saay Pastry while
he took the copied documents back upstairs. Little Prince was
thrilled to find they sold donoughts and ate two chocolate ones!! We
were just finishing our cakes and drinks when an out of breath Mr
Messy reappeared saying he needed baby to have her biometric scans
done (fingerprints and digital photographs). I handed baby over still
wrapped up in her sling, completely forgetting I had stuffed the money
Mr Messy had given me earlier in there!!! I just had to keep my
fingers crossed that Mr Messy would notice and not drop the money all
over the place!!! After about half an hour he and baby reappeared,
the biomentric system was down and so they couldn't complete that part
of baby's application. The Centre said they would ring our Ethiopian
mobile once the biometric system was up and running again and we would
have to pop back with baby, they couldn't say when it would be ready
though (could be an hour could be Monday!). Mr Messy ordered himself
a drink and cake and we sat chatting while he finished those, before
walking back to the Guest House. We were approached by quite a few
beggars and street salesmen on our way back and Little Prince showed
his empathic and kind side, he asked many questions about what the
people were doing and why they didn't have enough money. First he
wished he had brought his money box with him so he could give them
lots of pennies, and then he said he wished he had LOTS of money boxes
to help everyone. Then he decided when he is a grown up he will work
hard to get enough money to help lots and lots of people. I had tears
in my eyes for my kind and compassionate little man.

When we arrived back we noticed the American family talking to an
Ethiopian person out on the patio, it turns out that this was a birth
family member of their newly adopted child. Even though their agency
do not encourage this sort of contact, they could see that that is
what their child needed and so they had allowed child to first ring
this birth family member, and then arranged for them to meet up.
Another moment that brought tears to my eyes and touched my heart.

After the American family had eaten their lunch the Mum, Dad and Mr
Messy went for a walk to the shops, the first time the Mum has left
the Guest House compound during their stay. The children were all as
good as gold while the rest of the adults were out and I didn't have
any trouble with them. Baby had been screaming and arching her back
with colic, but she settled down to sleep soon after the others had
gone out, so we all had a peaceful time. The American's new child
wanted to play on Little Prince's DS so persuaded him by offering him
cookies and making him a drink of juice, very sweet :-) When the
other adults got back, the American Dad sneaked upstairs with the
presents they had bought, no doubt a surprise for their new child once
they arrive back home. The parents then went off to pack while the
children carried on playing for rthe last few hours before the
American family are taken to the airport.

Change of Plan Again - (Thursday 4th June)

Mr Messy was up bright and early (and even shaven!!!) this morning as
he was being picked up by the driver at 9am to go to the orphanage to
collect Assistant and then go and get baby's Ethiopian Passport.
However, at about 10 past 9 we got a phone call from Assistant saying
that the Passport still wasn't ready and that we would have to pick it
up at 3.30pm instead. She must have contacted the driver to let him
know as he didn't arrive!!

We had decided earlier in the week to try to arrange a barbeque at our
Guest House and all of us UK families to get together and chat and
relax. So this morning we talked to the Calm Guest House Manager and
he arranged for the barbeque and patio to be cleaned, to buy wood for
cooking on, and to buy the meat. The bill for the firewood and meat
was less than 300 birr to feed 14 of us!!!! WOW!!!! The American
family have said they will buy fruit juices and me and the kids are
going to walk over to Kaldi's when Mr Messy has gone out to buy a cake
between us all. It should be a lot of fun :-)

After baby's 2nd bottle of the day we put her down for a nap and me
and Mr Messy started to wade our way through the Visa application
form!! As its the same form for anyone applying for a British
Settlement Visa it is very long and has lots of irrelevant questions
and repetition, for people adopting!! There are guidance notes
available from the same site that we downloaded the Application Form
from, but we have managed to only bring half of them with us!!! It
took us a good hour to work our way through the form, and we have one
or two questions we aren't sure what we should answer, but we have
been told that the Visa Agents are very helpfull and knowledgeable so
we will ask them tomorrow when we visit to lodge our application. We
have got all our fingers and toes crossed that we do get baby's
Ethiopian Passport today, as we are getting so close to the weekend it
will delay things even further if we have to wait much longer!!!

Mr Messy has re-arranged his and Drama Teen's trip to where baby comes
from until Sunday. They will set off Sunday and drive all day, then
explore the town baby is from on Monday and Tuesday, and set off back
to the Guest House on Wednesday morning. Again this all depends on
getting baby's Ethiopian Passport today, and lodging the Visa
Application tomorrow, as Mr Messy has to be present when we apply for
the Visa (he's the one that earns the money, I just spend it lol).

We had various communication issues trying to get in touch with the
other UK families currently in Addis, so we weren't sure how many (if
any!!) would come to our barbeque. In the end one couple on their
first trip to meet their baby and sign and lodge their legal papers
made it. We, the other UK couple and the American family had a great
time chatting. Me and the other UK lady got roped in to preparing the
vegetables that had been brought along for the barbeque, which was
very funny as its our husbands who are the good cooks not us lol. We
and the Guest House ladies had a great time laughing and giggling
about it all. The Guest House ladies offered to prepare an Ethiopian
Coffee Ceremony for us, and that was a great treat, we all took lots
of photos :-) The young Guest House Manager got told off for
attempting to light the barbeque fire with petrol!!! The Guest House
ladies promptly took over and sent him away lol. We sat outside on
the patio eating and chatting until late at night, and had a great

No Passport Today - (Wednesday 3rd June)

We had been told that we had an appointment today at 3pm to collect
baby's Ethiopian Passport, so we lazed around the Guest House after
breakfast. It was a much quieter relaxing morning as the usual Guest
House Manager is having a holiday, and we have a replacement manager
who doesn't wind Little Prince up at all :-) I took Drama Teen and
Little Prince over to Kaldi's for some lunch, Mr Messy stayed at the
Guest House with sleeping baby so that he could make up her bottles.
We walked straight round to Kaldi's and the children both ordered
cheese sandwiches and I ordered a portion of fries. However, when our
order arrived the children had cheese sandwiches and fries, and I had
no fries!! We all pooled our meals so that we all had enough, and we
even brought some of the sandwiches back to the Guest House for Little
Prince to have later. We decided to treat ourselves to cake for
dessert, and I can definitely recommend the caramel cake - delicious
:-) Next we went up to the third floor of the Friendship Mall to get
yet more photocopies of our Passports ready to apply for baby's
British Visa (TOP TIP - bring LOTS of photocopies of your passport,
and once in Ethiopia get LOTS of copies of the Visa page too). Next
we wandered round to the supermarket for some more formula (NAN 1 is
about 145 birr per tin). While there Little Prince spotted some
Pringles and insisted on having some familiar home comfort food!!

When we got back to the Guest House we helped make sure Mr Messy had
everything he needed to go and pick up baby's Passport. However, as
the clock ticked past 2pm we got more and more concerned, and in the
end rang up Assistant. She said that baby's Passport wasn't ready
today (she had been to the office at 9pm and been told it wasn't going
to be ready until tomorrow). Mr Messy asked her to arrange for the
driver to pick him up first thing in the morning, as baby's Passport
should be ready at 9am. If things go to plan, we should be able to
apply for baby's British Visa tomorrow too. We are going to work on
the LOOOOOOOONG Visa Application form tonight so that we are as
prepared as possible to get the application in tomorrow.

The American family that are also staying at the Guest House are
having problems too. Their American Embassy appointment has already
been put back one day and today they found out that it has been put
back again until tomorrow. They only found out when their driver
didn't arrive when they thought he should, they were all dressed up
and waiting at the Guest House and no driver!! Once the Dad rang
their agency contact to find out what was going on, he was told that
their appointment had been postponed as it was too busy at the
Embassy. The Dad was getting very stressed about this as he has
already changed the family's flights home once, and is worried that
they might have to change them again. He and their agency had a
number of phone conversations, before it was confirmed that they will
go to the Embassy tomorrow instead. The agency also said the Embassy
is going to work with them to try to make sure the family have all
their paperwork in place to leave as planned on Friday. Fingers
crossed it all works out for them.

Blog Comments

At the moment I am emailing updates to my blog, as I can't get my
actual blog page to load over here (the dial up internet connection is
just too slow). I have managed to get onto our home email's webmail
system, and can see that many, many people have commented on my blog -
but the webmail system won't let me see the actual comments!! So I
just wanted everyone to know that I'm not ignoring you - I just can't
respond at the moment!!!

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Power Cut (Tuesday 2nd June)

First thing this morning Mr Messy had arranged for our driver to pick him up to take him to the bank so that he could change our travellers cheques into currency.  The Guest House Owner had requested that we pay our accomodation bill as soon as we could, and she would have preferred it to be paid in US Dollars, we hadn't brought enough cash to pay this to her in cash, but thought that we could change the travellers cheques to US Dollars and pay her then.  However, she explained that we would only be able to change the travellers cheques into Ethiopian Birr, and she was correct.  We had also been told by a previous UK adopter that we needed to bring the receipt from the Bureau de Change with us as this was required to change travellers cheques to cash, which was very good advice as it was asked for by the Bank (along with Mr Messy's passport as ID).


When Mr Messy got back he told me and the children to get ready as we were going to Bilo's Pastry shop.  We managed to get ready very quickly - the lure of gorgeous cakes was too much to resist!!  It wasn't too far a drive to Bilo's and the cakes were just as good as I remember from my last visit :-)  Little Prince managed to devour most of his cake, and liberally spread it round his mouth and down his t-shirt lol.  Drama Teen chose a chocolate layer cake, but found it was made with bitter dark chocolate so she didn't eat much of it.  She didn't want to swap with me, so she didn't get to enjoy Bilo's as much as we did :-(  When the waiter brought Mr Messy's drink he managed to spill mango juice all over my cake, so I couldn't finish it!!  As baby had woken up for her afternoon feed I wasn't too bothered.  We bought the American family's two children a cake each and then came back to the Guest House.


During the afternoon Mr Messy made it clear to Guest House Manager that he was NOT to wind Little Prince up and was to leave him alone!!  This was after Little Prince had been soaked twice in a water fight with the Manager, and been held upside down under the outside tap to be drenched!!!  The newly adopted child is fascinated with Little Prince's DS and keeps playing with it, which infuriates him!!  The two children have also commandered the lego bricks we bought to amuse Little Prince and make elaborate castles and towers and break Little Prince's lego robot models to get more pieces for their creations.  All this added together has made sure Little Prince has had a very stressful day and he has had a number of meltdowns and can't seem to control himself, hitting me so hard at one point he brought tears to my eyes!  The family are only here until Friday, so that will be one less stress for Little Prince by then!!  Although the Guest House Owner has gone on an overseas trip, and I am dreading how badly the Manager will now be with Little Prince (as he is always much more provocative and annoying when the Owner isn't there to see his behaviour!!!  However, after a stern warning from Mr Messy this evening Manager has been much gentler and kinder with Little Prince, I hope he still behaves like that once Mr Messy and Drama Teen go on their trip to where baby comes from, as it wil make things very difficult for me to manage on my own with our two youngest if Manager is being annoying!!!


Baby has always been a very sicky baby, bringing up her feeds constantly, she was like this when I visited the orphanage last time and seems even worse now she is with us!  We have been wondering if she is lactose intolerant (which might also explain why she has put on no weight at all since I was last here!) or if she has an underlying gut infection, but we can't really do anything about finding out until we get home.  We did have a fortuitous discovery that seems to have helped though!!  We had had to make up her new bottles without sterilising them (we are using a cold water steriliser and sterilising tablets) and just had to wash them in very very hot water, after drinking these bottles she has been noticebly less sickie!!  Perhaps the sterilising chemicals just don't agree with her??  So against all the advice we are going to carry on without sterilising and once we are home use a microwave/steam steriliser with no chemicals and hope that it helps her keep more milk down and gain much needed weight.  Her nappy rash has responded very well to our having nappies changed every feed and within minutes of noticing a poo smell, and of course the wonderful Sudocreme (no I don't work for them I just love how effective it is). 


The power finally came back on at 9pm tonight (it went off before baby's first feed at 6.30am) so we can now recharge our mobiles and laptop - and I can update my blog again!!!  Sorry to disappear like that, but you just have to go with the flow here and take things as they come.  Once you get into that mindset its quite relaxing, but its taken Mr Messy a little longer to "let go" than it did me lol. 

Birth Certificate Collection (Monday 1st June)

We decided that it was my turn to experience part of the Ethiopian process today, so when our driver arrived it was me that left with him, much to Little Prince's disgust!!  We drove for about an hour in the heat to get to the Registry Office as the traffic was so bad.  When we arrived at the Offices both me and the driver had to get out of the car, he got searched but I didn't, although they did search my bag and took my camera from me and gave me a reclaim ticket.  We parked the car, and the driver took me to somewhere to wait, he even found me a chair and dusted it off for me!!  We only waited about 10 minutes for Assistant to arrive, and she was all out of breath when she did arrive!!  She took me over to one of the buildings, and she told me to wait at one side of the narrow courtyard in the shade while she went to sort things out at one of the four numbered windows on the other side of the courtyard.  There were many people clustered around the windows and I don't know how they worked out where everyone was in the queue, but it seemed amicable enough and there did seem to be some sort of recognised order to who was served when.  Once Assistant had done what she had to do at one window, she moved to a different window and waited again.  Eventually she came back over to me, and she HAD BABY'S BIRTH CERTIFICATE :-)  She said that the office shouldn't have given the certificate to her and she should have needed me to go over and collect it, but they had given it to her without needing me :-)  She also had two other children's birth certificates who are going to be adopted soon (Umm R - Baby F is one of them :-) ).  Assistant had me read through the information on the certificate and check it was all correct and spelled correctly, and once that was confirmed we went back over to the car.  Assistant came back to the orphanage in the car with us, so I'm not sure how she travelled to the Registry Office!!  I picked up my camera on the way out, I had been panicking that I would forget lol. 


Once we had dropped Assistant back off at the orphanage the driver took me over to our Guest House, we had already arranged that he would return at 1.30pm to pick up Mr Messy and new baby to go and apply for her Ethiopian Passport.  We packed up supplies for Mr Messy to look after new baby for goodness knows how long!!  They went over to the orphanage to pick up Assistant, however, she was busy with the other UK families who are currently in Addis, so a different member of staff accompanied Mr Messy to the Passport Office.  He was taken to three or four different buildings where New Assistant would march straight to the front of the queue to be dealt with quickly and efficiently.  Mr Messy's only contribution to the whole process was to sign one form when requested.  The whole thing took about an hour, and he ws told that he could pick the completed Passport on Wednesday at 3pm.  It would have been the next day, but there was a planned power cut so it would not be possible to issue it tomorrow unfortunately. 


During the afternoon and evening Guest House Manager once again wound up Little Prince to such a pitch that when I put him to bed, he just wouldn't settle.  Thinking that he was eventually settling down I left him in our room.  Unfortunately he didn't settle, he raided his sister's room got hold of her DS and played on it.  He got frustrated that he couldn't manage one of her games and unfortunatly used the DS stylus to stab a hole in his blow up bed!!!  By the time this was discovered the Guest House Owner and Manager had both gone to bed, so we had to put Little Prince to sleep on our room's chair cushions for the night.


As well as our excitement in getting new baby's Birth Certificate, we also got to witness the first meeting of the American family's Mum and their new child (older child adoption).  The Dad and their oldest child had gone off with their agency driver in the morning, and returned in the afternoon with their new child.  It was very touching seeing the child run to their new mother and give her a huge hug :-)  The Mum had still been too ill to go to with the rest of her family in the morning so she had to wait at the Guest House for them to return before she could meet her newest child.  

UKEA Meeting (Sunday 31st May)

We again had a quiet morning just lazing around at the Guest House, enjoying learning about our gorgeous new daughter/sister.  Then at lunchtime we walked over to Kaldi's to meet up with three other UK families that are in Addis on either their first or second trips for their adoptions.  We were the first to arrive and pulled two tables together so that we would hopefully all have somewhere to sit together.  We ordered drinks while we were waiting, and didn't wait long before the first couple B&M arrived.  I had been in touch with them before they flew out and they had brought emergency supplies of Sudocreme - thank you sooooooooo much.  We had brought a travel size tub and we were almost to the bottom of it, so the new GIANT tub was very much appreciated :-)  Also very much appreciated was the lovely gift of a pair of hand knitted booties in the style of little shoes with straps, they are gorgeous :-)  Soon afterwards another of the families arrived and then there was a phone call from the last family asking where we all were, we had forgotten when we made the arrangements that there are quite a few different branches of Kaldi's dotted around the city!!  Luckily Mr Messy knew which one they were at and was able to direct them to the one we were all at, and they arrived not long afterwards.  We had a great few hours talking and comparing notes on each of our processes so far!!  And of course we showed off our new little one, as we are the only family that has (so far) been through Court and got custody of our child.  When we had (finally lol) finished chatting the other families all decided to go to Shromayda weaving co-operative and sovenier market.  By this time Little Prince wasn't coping and was very hyped up about new baby getting all the attention and having to sit still for so long, so we decided to miss this trip (although I would have loved to have gone) and take him back to the Guest House for some quiet, calming down time.  The trouble is no one had told the Guest House Manager that Little Prince needed to calm down and he proceeded to provoke and encourage Little Prince to get more and more naughty all afternoon/evening!  It didn't seem to matter how many times I told the Manager to stop, he wouldn't and it was getting very aggravating!!!  Eventually we managed to get Little Prince in bed and settled down, and hopefully tomorrow will be a calmer day!!! 


During the afternoon Mr Messy managed to squeeze in a mini photoshoot with the American couple and their new child.  He will process the pictures once we get home and we have a note of the familiy's address to post them a CD of all the photos once they are ready.  Sadly it was the family's last day in Addis and so they spent the rest of the afternoon packing ready to leave.  Then at 6pm the wife announced she was going to go over to the Boston Day Spa to have her hair done before flying!!  So the husband finished packing and getting him and thier new baby ready.  At about 7pm their driver arrived to go collect the family and take them to the airport (via the Spa to pick the Mum up).  It was quite sad seeing them go as they are a lovely couple and their new child is gorgeous and watching baby's personality emerge from the scared shut down child she had been the day baby arrived, to the happy smiley child that left was nothing short of miraculous.  We wish them all the best as for that long journey home and for their new life as a family of five (they had two young other young children who didn't travel with them).


Me and Mr Messy stayed up to give new baby her last bottle before going to bed.  Which meant we met the newest Guests, another American family.  Unfortunately the Mum of this family had been violently ill on the journey to Addis and was feeling very much the worse for wear when she arrived.  Although she was full of praise for the way their airline had helped them and whisked them through Customs at the Airport and straight to a doctor, where she had an injection that made her feel much better.  Despite their late arrival they ordered food and as we were still waiting for new baby to wake up for her last bottle, we got chatting.  We couldn't believe it when they told us where they live!!  CABBAGE QUEEN - they live in the South part of your city home!!!!  We discussed different Malls and places we were both familiar with, and were all blown away by the coincidence!!!  It definitely IS a Small World!!!! 

Quiet Day (Saturday 30th May)

I had gone to bed early feeling pretty rought, and didn't feel much better when I woke up.  Baby had woken up for two feeds during the night and all my mozzie bites woke me up as they are sooooo itchy now!!  I stayed in bed for a bit of a rest and felt a little better afterwards.  The Guest House owner has a stash of medicines left behind be previous guests and she searched through it to find some bite cream for me, which is helping a little and I am so grateful.  She also got the ladies to bug spray our bed and put clean bed clothes on.  And that wasn't all, she even arranged to put a mosquito net up over our bed, so I should (fingers crossed!!) be ok from now on :-)  The Guest House owner is so kind and her and her staff really want to help as much as they can.  We all went over to the Lime Tree Cafe for lunch, to take advantage of their free internet, but unfortunately Mr Messy couldn't get his comptuer to connect to their router, despite checking the password they had given them.  We all had a lovely meal, apart from Mr Messy as baby woke up in the sling just as his food arrived and just wouldn't settle down, so he couldn't eat.  When I paid the bil the waiter offered to either parcel up the uneaten meal or to give us free take away desserts instead, but Mr Messy just wanted to get back to the Guest House so we declined.  During the afternoon I read one of my books upstairs in our room for a while, Little Prince kept coming up to join me and colour in his colouring books.  Mr Messy brought baby up as she was asleep, she woke up after a while wanting her next bottle and after she'd finished I put her in my sling and she seemed to settle down really well in there.  Its a HotSling and it cradles her like a newborn and holds her very close to me, and she slept quietly for ages in there.  While I was looking after baby Mr Messy took Little Prince to the Bole Mini Cafe for juice and ice cream, Little Prince was very impressed by the stripy juice and multicoloured ice cream :-)


The Guest House guard was watering the garden, and Little Prince couldn't resist joining in!!  At first he was quite helpful, but after a while the lure of getting soggy was too much for a 6 year old boy to resist!!  He started to run in and out of the water spray, the guard tried to stop him getting wet, but wasn't too successful.  Then Mr Messy got hold of the hosepipe and drenched Little Prince - which he LOVED lol.  Once the guard had seen that we weren't worried about Little Prince getting wet, he sprayed Little Prince too.  The rest of the staff came to watch the mad English boy getting drenched, until at last one of them called a halt to the game and said it wasn't good for Little Prince to get so wet, when it was so cold!!!!  We tried to explain that, for us, it is sweltering here, but she insisted that they stop.  I took Little Prince for a bath, but think he would have prefered to be given some soap and a hose down in the garden lol. 


During the evening the young Guest House manager started a wild game of throwing Lego bricks with Little Prince!!  I don't think the Guest House Manager realises how wild Little Prince gets and we had to call a halt to that game too!!  The manager also tried to get Little Prince to let him play on his DS, but Little Prince was having none of that and wouldn't let him have a turn, which then escalated into another wild game between them!!!  BOYS!!!!!!  Little Prince finally calmed down when the manager found an Arabic kids channel on the TV, although Little Prince couldn't understand anything that was said, the sight of familiar cartoons seemed to calm him back down thankfully.  After his exciting and tiring day Little Prince settled down in bed with no problems, and Drama Teen wasn't far behind them!!  Me and Mr Messy stayed up to give baby her late feed, so that hopefully she won't wake up more than once in the night!! 

Back to Official Paperwork (Friday 29th May)

Mr Messy had arranged to meet Assistant at the orphanage at 9am, so being woken early by baby gave him chance to have a shower and a leisurely breakfast before the driver arrived to pick him up.  I gave him the list of children to check up on at the orphanage, the questions for the orphanage nurse (she said on my last trip that once baby was officially adopted we could have her weight and vaccination records) and sent him on his way.  About 15 minutes later the driver pulled up back in the courtyard!!  Apparently we needed 8 passport size photos of baby before we can get the birth certificate.  We knew we needed the photos, but thought they were for her passport and British Visa, so I was going to get them this afternoon when Mr Messy was out.  I dashed upstairs dressed baby in her whitest outfit (picture is supposed to be in a white outfit on a white background) rounded up Little Prince and set off to the Friendship Mall to get the photographs done.  Baby managed fairly well for her photographs, but once they were over started to scream and wouldnt be calmed down at all.  One of the shop assistants asked if I needed to breastfeed her!!  No, but she did need feeding urgently!!  I took baby and Little Prince back to the Guest House to feed her, while Mr Messy waited at the shop for the photographs.  Once he was back he and the driver headed straight back to the orphanage, however, the birth certificate office was now closed for its long lunch, and Mr Messy was asked to come back at 1.30pm.  When he was back at the Guest House again, he said he felt like he had been driving round in circles all day lol. 


We took advantage of the "down time" to get baby bathed again.  She was MUCH happier about the process this time, laughing and splashing with her feet.  Perhaps its because she's more settled or perhaps its because her bottom isn't so sore now!  I managed to work on a couple of the matted parts of the back of her hair, and she only has a few left now.  We also used the Body Shop Shea Butter on her skin after her bath and her skin is lovely and soft and smells beautiful now :-)  After her bath we let her play and kick on her changing mat for a while to let her bottom get some fresh air.  She seemed to enjoy this, until she got tired again and is now sleeping peacefully in her cot.  Drama Teen and Little Prince are playing less peacefully on our bed with their DSs.  They seem to play nicely for a while then they fall out again, then they make up and start the process over again!!! 


At 1.30pm the driver turned up to collect Mr Messy, to try again at the Birth Certificate Offices.  He was out for AGES!!  He was taken to the orphanage to pick up Assistant and together they went to the Central Registry for Births, Marriages and Deaths.  He needed a photocopy of both of our Passport ID pages, which we didn't know so they had to get that done on the way there.  When you arrive you take a ticket with a number on and wait your turn to be called.  Luckily Assistant had a ticket from an earlier visit to correct a different child's certificate so they were able to jump the queue quite a bit!!  The ticket is Amharic and they call the numbers in Amharic, so Assistant was definitely needed for this part of the process.  When their number was called they went to the first room and presented the papers to the man behind the desk, he checks everything is in order and creates a file.  They then went to the next office where they paid the fee (300 birr - already included in the donation to the orphanage), they then took the file and receipt back to the first office where it was put at the bottom of a big pile to be turned into a birth certificate once the clerk reaches the file.  As there were so many files ahead of ours it wasn't possible to get the certificate on this first trip and Mr Messy and Assistant will return to the Central Registry on Monday to collect it.  Mr Messy said it was all fairly orderly but everyone was crowded together, which might make young children uncomfortable.  Once they have the certificate on Monday, then Mr Messy and Assistant are going straight round to the Passport Offices to apply for baby's Ethiopian Passport, which Assistant says can be issued there and then if all the paperwork is in order - keep your fingers crossed that it is!!!


National Holiday (Thursday 28th May)

It was the anniversary of the fall of the DERG yesterday, so it was a National Holiday, which meant we could not get any adoption paperwork done.  We had planned to have some time sightseeing and maybe visit Bilo's Pastry Shop, but as Drama Teen was ill we, once again, hung around the Guest House.  Little Prince is struggling with the fact that Ethiopians touch him and take his hand all the time, he finds that too threatening and doesn't react well to it, but it is part of the Ethiopian way with children and I'm afraid he'll just have to get used to it.  Drama Teen was feeling well enough to be left resting in her room, so me, Mr Messy, Little Prince and baby went for a walk round to Kaldi's Coffee Shop.  Little Prince only wanted a cake, and as he hadn't eaten at all the day before to try and get rid of his upset tummy, we decided to indulge him.  I had a cheese omlette and Mr Messy had a burger and fries.  Little Prince decided to share all our meals, although he didn't like the spicy vegetables in the omlette lol.  He didn't finish his cake, and I couldn't resist it so I finished it for him and it was lovely :-)  Little Prince then decided he would like an ice cream, and for that he was happy to walk off to the ice cream counter holding the waitresses hand!!  He didn't finish his ice cream either, so Mr Messy finished it for him and said it was very yummy.


Back at the Guest House we hung around some more.  We chatted to the American couple for a while, in between trips that their agency has organised for them.  They are not allowed to take their baby out and about, so their agency sends a caregiver to look after the baby for them.  Their baby was seen by their agency doctor a few days ago and now seems a lot happier and more alert, although the constant changing of caregivers does seem to be confusing and upsetting her.  She is passed from the Guest House caregiver (when the agency caregiver isn't here in time), to the agency caregiver then back to her new parents each and every day, poor little mite.  Her new parents are probably going to find it quite challenging on the flights home, as that will be the first extended period of time she will have spent with them!!


During the afternoon Mr Messy came down with the tummy bug too!  And made quite a few dashes to the loo!!  He didn't seem as ill with it as either Drama Teen or Little Prince had been, luckily.  We think we have worked out that it could be the Kaldi's ice cream that is making everyone ill, as I'm the only one who hasn't had any ice cream and the only one who hasn't been ill!!  Which was confirmed when Little Prince threw up in the night again!!  He didn't get to the loo in time, and got it all over his bed, so ended up sleeping with us again.  Luckily baby only woke up once at about 2am, so we didn't have too bad a night.  It seems that she only wakes up the once during the night (at around 2am) no matter what time she has her last bottle!!  She woke up again at 6am and was very loud and shouty so we all ended up awake.


25th May 2009 - See New Child again & Court Date

23rd May 2009 - Fly back to Ethiopia

26th March 2009 - Fly to Ethiopia :-)

3rd March 2009 - Dossier Arrived at Orphanage

26th February 2009 - Dossier sent to Ethiopia

22nd December 2008 - Dossier back at DCSF

28th November 2008 - Certificate of Eligibility ISSUED

6th October 2008 - PASSED Approval Panel

7th July 2008 - Homestudy Update Started

28th Feb 2008 - Told LA we wished to change country


Formally withdrew from the China Adoption Programme 17th July 2008

LID (Logged in Date) with CCAA 16th August 2007

Documents to China 10th August 2007

Passed Approval Panel 5th March 2007

Homestudy started 6th June 2006

First Contact with our LA 1st Jan 2006