Friday, 4 September 2009

YEAH Visa :-) (Friday 12th June)

Got up bright and early this morning, and got straight into the shower, dressed the kids and fed Baby and was downstairs by 7.30am!! Rang W at the orphange at 8.15am to find out where the driver (due at 8am!) was. She chased him up and he arrived at about 8.30am and we went off to the orphanage. I had also received a phone call from the Embassy telling me that I should come there after 11am not at 9am as first arranged, the lady (the one I had dealt with each time I visited) also checked that I was OK and that I wasn't sad anymore, which I thought was very sweet and caring :-)

I was quite nervous about meeting E the man (and his wife) who had brought Baby from where she first lived to the orphanage in Addis Ababa. Would they approve of the how she looked? How she was being cared for? When we arrived E was waiting at the orphanage gate, he held Baby and I took their photo together and then with his wife holding Baby, another piece of her past to share with her when she is older :-) He asked me how long I wanted to stay and when could we go? I didn't understand as he can go whenever he wants!! I took Little Prince and Baby into the orphanage to meet with her early caretakers, who are all very caring (although extremely busy) women. We saw Sister (the nurse who works fulltime at the orphanage) and another of the ladies was very excited to see Baby, she took her from me and cooed over her a lot. Baby didn't seem to mind being taken away, and these people love her so I didn't mind. Sister allowed me to take a note of the details of Baby's weekly weighings at the orphanage, and even insisted on weighing her there and then (although fully clothed so not as accurate, but she has put on a whole kilo/35 ounces in the last three weeks with us!!). Little Prince was overwhelmed by the experience and being in the orphanage, despite being very excited about the thought of being there and playing with the older children, he found the reality too difficult - which translated into lots of whining and mischief. He kicked the orphanage football into the drain outside and then jumped in to retrieve it!! I asked W if we could go now lol. However, the driver had had to go and see to his ill child and we had to wait. Little Prince's behaviour and attitude got worse and worse, but there was very little I could do, but try to contain him until we could leave!! Whilst also chatting with E and his wife, we exchanged email and postal addresses and I felt it would be wonderful to keep in touch with them :-)

The boys at the orphanage had all had their heads shaved recently (to discourage nits I presume). And the little boy B I had fallen in love with on my last visit looked very cute, and was still a little s*d and reminded me so much of Little Prince :-)

The driver finally returned and me, Little Prince and Baby got in the car, followed by E and his wife! I was a bit alarmed by this, but the driver seemed to knoww hat was going on so presumed he was giving them a lift or something. When we got to the Guest House, me and the kids piled out of the car, followed by E!! I was wondering what was going on!! He then asked for a gift!!! I said I needed to put Baby down and went into the Guest House, hoping some of the staff would be there - the place was deserted!! I came back outside to E and asked him what he meant by a present, he said that Mr Messy had told him I would give him a present! And said photos! I heaved a huge sigh of relief and rushed upstairs to get some photos of Baby I had printed out from our first visit to Addis. I gave him all the best photos we had as I was very grateful for his and his wife's care of Baby on her long journey to the orphanage :-) E thanked me and got back in the car to leave, me and Little Prince stood their to wave to them. Just as they were turning the corner in the courtyard towards the gate, E got out of the car again and came and said he needed a transport fee. OMG!! What do I do?? Me and the children seemed to be all alone in the Guest House and I was feeling quite intimidated :-( I asked him how much? Five hundred. I was feeling quite panicked and just gave him the money, and hoped he would now leave!! I cried after this encounter and felt it completely soured the lovely experience of meeting these early carer's of Baby. I immediately texted Mr Messy to tell him what had happened and ask why he hadn't told me he'd promised E a present!! Mr Messy was LIVID!! He had never promised anything of the sort and was extremely angry that E had put me in such a position. He contacted E himself (they had exchanged mobile phone numbers) and read him the riot act! E replied that he was very sorry but Mr Messy should understand how hard life was where he lived.

Before he had dropped us off I had asked the driver if he could come back at 11am to take us to the Embassy. We set off and I realised that we were driving to the Visa Application Centre, not the Embassy, I pointed this out to the driver who apologised and said he had to take his child to the doctor at 11.15am so wouldn't be able to take us to the Embassy. He said he would take us to his best friend another driver that he trusted, and the friend would take us to the Embassy and back. I thanked the driver for helping us out like that :-) The friend D drove one of the blue and white taxis you see all over the place in Addis, and Little Prince was very excited to have a go in one :-)

We were dropped off and made our way inside. I explained to the guard that I had an appointment about a Visa for Baby, which totally confused him as he thought we must be there for a Passport (the Embassy don't usually give you the Visa its all done at the VAC). I didn't know the name of the Vice Counsel who had told me to come back either!! I had to insist I HAD an appointment but didn't know who it was with!! Eventually he relented and let us through! While all this had been going on Little Prince and the other guard had been pulling faces at each other through the hatch you put your mobile phones & cameras through lol. When we had passed through the scanner, me and Little Prince were both pat down searched, I explained that this made sure he was safe. He was then miffed that Baby wasn't searched as we didn't know if she was safe or not lol!!! We went down the long corridor to the same window as yesterday, to be met by the same lady as yesterday :-) She was very apologetic and said that the Visa was stil being printed so we would have to sit down and wait. This was the first time I allowed myself to believe that we would actually get the Visa today and we would all be able to go home together tomorrow as planned. It was all I could do to hold in the tears!! Happy tears :-)

Me and Little Prince sat in the waiting area playing I Spy and Alphabet (think of a category and think of something in that category for each letter of the alphabet) for ages. I hadn't realised how much Star Wars info I'd picked up from Little Prince, but I managed really well on Star Wars Alphabet lol, much better than I thought I'd do lol. Then another lady called us over to a different window and handed me Baby's Ethiopian Passport with her Visa in (and all the supporting documents we'd provided to the VAC). I cried lots of happy tears :-) I couldn't believe we'd actually got the Visa issued in the nick of time :-) Little Prince cried too, he was so happy that Mummy and Baby would be able to come home with him, Daddy and Drama Teen. I hadn't realised how much me and Baby staying behind was worrying him! It was such a huge relief to know that we would all definitely be returning home together :-)

When we exited the Embassy our taxi and driver weren't outside, I had a moments panic before noticing him across the other side of the road (all cars seemed to have been told to park over there). I was just about to start making my way across the road, when one of the soldiers outside stopped me and motioned to D that he should come over and get us. Which was very nice of him as getting Little Prince across the road safely would have been a challenge!! I asked D to take us to the Hilton Hotel, as there is a KLM flight centre there where we can sort out Baby's ticket. On the drive D taught us some simple Amharic. He also insisted on calling Little Prince "baby" which infuriated Little Prince and he objected loudly "I'm not a baby! I'm OLD!!" I explained to D that to call a 6 year old a "baby" in England would be considered an insult! D explained that all children under 10 years ish would be called "baby" in Ethiopia. I tried to explain this to Little Prince, and D agreed to call Little Prince by his name not "baby" - peace restored!! When D dropped us at the Hilton he gave us his card and said we would have to ring him when we were ready, as he wasn't allowed to park in the grounds or to come to the door to pick us up!!

On entering the Hilton we were again ushered past the security scanner. VERY annoying and infuriating as it was blatently obvious that white people were ushered through and black people (no matter how smartly dressed) were asked to pass through the scanner. An Ethiopian-Canadian businessman we were chatting to on the walk to the front door was searched!! We found the KLM flight centre and sat down to wait. Baby decided this would be the perfect moment to demand her bottle lol. When I took her out of the sling (you can't really see her when she is in it) the other customers (Ethiopian and including the businessman we had chatted to minutes before lol) asked how old she was and where she was from. They were all very very surprised that she was Ethiopian!! I don't understand what it is about Baby that makes Ethiopians think she isn't Ethiopian!! I was still feeding Baby when our turn came, so I let the businessman go in front of us. By the time Baby had finished feeding and we were seen, Little Prince was as high as a kite!! He played (wildly!) on the office swivel chairs and kept turning the office lights off!! The KLM lady was, like most Ethiopians, very indulgent with him, which was nice but didn't help me when I was telling him off!! She threatened him with the hotel guard and he was persuaded to turn the office lights back on and was only mildly wild after that!! It took quite a while to sort out Baby's lapseat but we eventually managed it. She asked to see Baby's passport and was shocked that Baby wasn't Chinese!!! I tried to pay for Baby's ticket by credit card, but (as had happened to two other customers that we'd seen) it wouldn't go through. I presume there are problems with the communcations or something?? I had anticipated this could happen and had sufficient cash with me to pay for the ticket that way instead.

Then to celebrate I took Little Prince to the poolside cafe for lunch. He wasn't happy that we couldn't swim, but even he had to agree we didn't have our swimsuits and that he didn't want to swim in his undies!! The waitress seating us folded up a couple of chair cushions for Little Prince to sit on so he could reach the table better, the trouble is that with all his wriggling he kept knocking the cushions off and insisting I replaced them, which wasn't easy with Baby in her sling!! Little Prince ordered sausages, but was brought nuggets!! I ordered (and received) a fantastic chicken breast sandwich and fries, yummy :-) Little Prince's apple juice arrived in a large long stem glass, with a fancy straw (which he predictably destroyed!). He was very impressed to have such a grown up drink :-) Afterwards he noticed the Ice Cream Counter and went over to order one!! He chose his own, and chose coffee! Guess what - he didn't like it!!

Feeling full and refreshed we made our way back to the front doors and rang D. He apologised but he was having his lunch and asked if we could wait a little while. No problem :-) Little Prince played on the luggage trolley and one of the doormen pushed him round and played with him :-) I love the way most Ethiopians are so kind and friendly to children, and it isn't just white children as I saw the same behaviour with black Ethiopian children :-) D finally arrived and apologised for taking so long, but he had had a very hard security check to get in (we were just waved through when first arriving and me and the kids were in the car!). On the way back we saw LOTS of armed soldiers, D explained that the President was moving around the city. The traffic was a lot busier than I'd noticed it being before too! At one junction we were stopped by soldiers (not just us the whole line of traffic) and told to go a different way, D tried to argue with them but to no avail.

While we were on this detour D got a phone call from the orphanage asking him to pick up two students. I had no idea what D meant by this and thought it was a bit odd lol. He parked the car and left us there while he crossed the road and disappeared down a side street. It was sooo hot sat there (no air con) and it seemed to be a very long time before he returned. He had with him two older children from the orphanage, who I recognised from my first visit :-) Apparently their (non UK) parents are paying for them to attend school (in their new language) while the parents wait for their Court Date :-) When we arrived at the Guest House I asked D to tell the children that Baby (who they remembered and recognised) and I wish them a happy life in their new country, and Little Prince gave them the rest of his Pringles.

Not long after we arrived back, a hot, sweaty and tired Mr Messy and Drama Teen arrived back too :-) Its lovely to be all together again :-) Mr Messy went to pay the driver and was surprised that the price he was quoted (1500birr) was a daily rate and not for the whole trip as he had presumed!! Which left us with very little spare cash after taking out what we owed the Guest House (again presuming we can't pay by card). Very disappointing as we had hoped to go souvenir shopping!!! We spent the rest of the afternoon chatting about their trip and about what me and the little two had got up to. Mr Messy was still livid about E's behaviour and rang the orphanage to speak to them about it. He spoke to W about it and demanded to know why we had had to pay a "transport fee" if any fees were due to be paid they should have been paid by the orphanage and be totally seperate and nothing to do with us!! W said I shouldn't have paid him, but Mr Messy pointed out that I had been in an extremely vulnerable position and didn't think I had a choice! He could hear her relating the conversation to the orphanage director whilst he was talking. W apologised for the situation and we hope that no one else has to deal with something like this.

We were all too tired to go out to eat so ate at the Guest House. Little Prince and the young Guest House manager had another water fight, which Mr Messy didn't know was ok and he went ballistic!! He dragged a sopping wet Little Prince in and gave the manager a tongue lashing!! After tea I sent Little Prince upstairs to get ready for bed and told him to come down when he was ready so that I could go and tuck him in. A few minutes later we heard a blood curdling terrified scream and a shout of "MUM"!!! Then an utterly panicked and shaking Little Prince appeared. He couldn't even speak he was shaking that much!! Eventually I managed to gather that he had come down the outside stairs (he has been told not to when its dark!!) and a cat had hissed at him!! The terror is partly my fault as I had told him not to go near animals and try to pet them, as they could have nasty diseases and make him ill!! Once everyone heard what had happened they all started to laugh, which made Little Prince even more upset!! Oh joy!! Eventually I got him upstairs and calmed down enough to go to sleep, I had to show him the door to the stairs was now locked and no cat could get in to get him!!

When I finally got back downstairs Drama Teen announced she was tired and was going to bed. Me and Mr Messy stayed up and chatted to N (the Russian UN worker staying long term at the Guest House) for ages. Then we watched Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkahban before feeding Baby and getting off to bed ourselves. This would be our last night in Ethiopia and I had mixed emotions about our impending removing of Baby from her birth country - happiness that we would be going home (and seeing LMS, I missed her so much) and having all our familiar things around us. But also sadness at the thought of taking Baby away from Ethiopia, she will grow up knowing about Ethiopia (and my Ethiopian friend S is so looking forward to teaching her Amharic) but will never again BE Ethiopian. When she comes back to Ethiopia she will see things through a Western/English filter and not as an Ethiopian would. I am longing to get home, to be able to eat familiar foods, be able to use our washing machine, to know that we will have electricity when we wake up, to sleep in my own bed and wake up in my peaceful village. But I am also going to miss the friendly. vibrant atmosphere of Addis, miss all the Guest House staff who have been so incredibly helpful and kind, miss Kaldi's, Bole Mini and especially Bilo's Pastry! I feel incredibly guilty that I am also looking forward to being able to blend into a crowd and not stand out like a sore thumb, because the same journey that gives me this takes this ability away from Baby. Life will probably be hard for her a black girl in a white family (although Little Prince is partly North African his appearance is currently white), in a white village, in a white country :-( Me and Mr Messy made a commitmant when we adopted her and part of that commitmant is to find ways to help her navigate her path in life so that she grows up to be a confidant and happy black woman. I hope that we are up to the task.

Embassy Here We Come!! (Thursday 11th June)

Baby woke up at 4.30am for her feed, which woke Little Prince up as his bed was flat again. So he had to get in bed with me, I'm getting sooo tired with all the night feeds, restless sleep once Little Prince joins me and then constant vigilence all day to try and head off more mischief!!! Baby woke up again at 5.30am and needed to be hugged back to sleep, which she managed until 6.30am at which point I gave up and she had her next feed at 7am.

At breakfast A once again held Baby while I ate, but Little Prince objected violently to this and tried to kick her, thinking she was taking Baby away. A didn't help the situation by saying she WAS taking Baby home, and at one point got her coat and bag and pretended to leave!! This sent Little Prince into violent hysterics - I wish they could understand NOT to wind him up!!! Once he was sufficiently calmed down and happy that I was holding Baby at about 8am, I tried ringing the VAC again. Guess what?? The Visa still isn't ready!! The manager I spoke to yesterday won't be in until 9am, and I was asked to ring back then. However, she rang me and said she had spoken to the Embassy and they said they would know whether or not the Visa would be ready after 12 noon, and asked me to once again ring them back then. I was very very upset as it was becoming increasingly obvious that me and Baby wouldn't be going home with the rest of the family as planned :-( I decided I had nothing to lose by visiting the Embassy in person, along with the children - one of which will probably cry and throw up and the other causes chaos wherever he is! They will give us the Visa just to get rid of us!!! I asked the Guest House manager to arrange a car to take us to the Embassy and then ran round packing a changing bag for baby. When the taxi arrived the Guest House manager said he didn't know the driver and sent him away!!! Aaargh!!! However he arranged for one of the Guest House staff to drive the owners car and take us to the Embassy, thank you so much K :-)

The guards at the entrance were very polite when they noticed me and the children in the back of the car, which does annoy me as they were acting quite differently until they saw us!! They directed us to the door I had gone to on my first trip to Addis, where I obtained a letter from the Embassy that MOWA required in the Court Dossier. At the guarded entrance I explained that I wanted to see someone in the Visa Section, the guard asked to see my Passport then took my mobile phones (then gave them back and asked me to switch them off) and checked if I had a camera or electrical equipment. I didn't have my camera (knew they didn't allow them so didn't bring it) but Little Prince had his DS - she took that!! He SOBBED, I'm not sure he understood that he could have it back when we left, despite my explanations!! She searched the changing bag and asked us to walk through the scanner. Then she sent us down the long corridor to Window 3. It was the same lady in the office as when I originally visited. I explained to her that I needed to know when we would get Baby's Visa, she was surprised and said the guard had told her I was there about a Passport, but that she would try to help us. She went into the back office and when she came back said the Visa still wasn't ready yet and could be up to a MONTH before its ready!!! That was so totally unexpected, and I was so upset at the thought of staying behind without my family for a month or more that I burst into tears!! The lady looked very shocked. I apologised for crying and snuffled into a tissue, she went back to the back office and when she returned she asked me to take a seat and someone would come and see me. Little Prince was very scared and worried that Mummy was crying. I tried unsuccessfully to reassure him but he was still very upset when we were called back to the window. The Vice Counsel who checks adoption Visa applications said he had just looked at the file for the first time and everything looked OK. But they needed confirmation from the DCSF before the Visa can be issued and that the DCSF can be slow!! Little Prince was crying throughout this conversation, and I was trying to comfort him while talking to the Vice Counsel at the same time. The VC said he would contact the DCSF straight away, and if they respond fast enough they may possibly be able to issue the Visa tomorrow!!! I told him that I had already pre-warned Paul K at the DCSF to look out for the Embassy's email and that PK had assured me he would respond immediately. The VC then explained that they only worked on Friday mornings so there would not be time to send the Visa to the VAC, so I would need to return to the Embassy at 9am in the morning and be prepared for a possibly long wait, but that he would try his best to sort this out. I thanked him profusely and could have kissed him, bu that wouldn't be very British would it lol.

When we got back to the Guest House I felt wrung out and so so tired. Luckily Little Prince was being very good :-) I texted LMS back at home to use my email account to send a message to the DCSF harrassing them (politely of course) about replying QUICKLY to the Embassy's message. I had to do it that way as once again we had no power, so no internet!! Later on the Guest House manager put on the generator and when I checked my emails I had a lovely message from Paul K at the DCSF saying they had heard from the Embassy and already responded. Fingers crossed that means the Embassy will be able to issue the Visa - I might not have to stay in Addis on my own with Baby :-)

We had arranged to possibly meet the UK family with the 3 boys for lunch, but it got later and later and we hadn't heard from them so we ordered lunch from the Guest House. The supermarket has no cheese, so Little Prince couldn't have a cheese sandwich, but happily ate an egg sandwich instead. Soon after we had ordered the Dad of the 3 boys rang, so I reluctantly had to cancel our lunch meet up. I contacted the UK family adopting 2 children to see how they were getting on and see if we could meeet them later in the afternoon. They were just off to the Hilton to cancel their flight tickets, and the Dad is ill so they won't be able to meet up either! Little Prince was very disappointed. I told him we could go out for tea and he could chose where we ate, which cheered him up :-) He went out to play with the guard in the yard, but started messing with the hosepipe and Little Prince ended up soaked. I got him changed and had him doing some quiet colouring and then playing on his DS. I was too tired to go out to eat so we ordered tea at the Guest House. Just as it was ready Little Prince and the young Guest House manager had a GIANT water fight, the young Manager eggs Little Prince on and Little Prince gets very very hyper!! Little Prince lost - he was drenched, totally and utterly wet through!! The younger Guest House lady A helped me with Baby while I sorted out Little Prince. There were puddles all over the Guest House and his clothes were sodden even after I'd wrung them out!! We had a fairly cold tea and then I got Little Prince to bed and then went back downstairs to get Baby to sleep and write my blog (in a notebook as Mr Messy had taken the laptop). The UK Mum with 3 boys texted to say the boys were too tired and they wouldn't be able to come over and play :-(

Heard from Mr Messy that they had met the lawyer in charge of women and children's affairs who brought Baby to Addis. He was a lovely man and they had got his name and contact details. He is the man who chose Baby's name. He is bringing another baby to the orphanage tomorrow at 7am and would love to see Baby again. They met other significant people from Baby's very early life and got many photos of the area. They saw an approximately 4 week old baby being brought in to the Police Station this morning :-( When they were having lunch Drama Teen was getting cross and fed up with people shouting "ferengi" at them all the time. Children come over to them to shake their hands, which she thought was very cute. She does not like (and isn't coping too well with) the attention from the older boys who wink at her and beckon her to come over and she doesn't understand what they are saying which unerves her, I think she is sticking close to her Dad!! I told her to pretend they are saying she is gorgeous and they think they've seen her on TV, and its training for when she's a superstar :-) She laugh and say they aren't saying that, so I point out she has no idea what they are saying so can imagine whatever she likes!! She says she isn't enjoying being a superstar when she doesn't understand what they are saying! When they were wandering around they met a boy about her age (Sammy) who spoke pretty good English so they chatted for a while. Her pasta lunch was too spicy for her, so being hungry is probably making her even more grumpy!! They looked round the market again after 4pm when it was a bit cooler. The driver wants to leave at about 4.45am Drama Teen is in shock lol. They think they should be back by about 4pm if all goes well. So that means if I can get hold of the Visa tomorrow I will have to go over to the Hilton with both kids and book Baby's ticket myself. I checked with Baby Sis (the travel agent) if I would be able to do the online check in without Mr Messy and Drama Teen's passports (they have them with them) and she said it should be possible as we only need the reference number. And we should be able to do both at the Hilton.

The generator ran out of fuel at about 9pm so I wrote the rest of my notes by candlelight. Then I had the pleasure (NOT!!) of making Baby's bottle feeds by candlelight too, not an easy task!! Made even more exasperating when the power came on about 15 minutes after I'd finished them!!! You've got to laugh or you'd cry!!!

Ring Ring Ring the Embassy (Wednesday 10th June)

Baby didn't have a very settled night and woke up to be fed at 3.30am and woke up again at 6am thinking it was playtime and wouldn't go back to sleep and I ended up feeding her at 7am!! Little Prince also woke up at 3.30am and couldn't get back to sleep as his inflatable Ready Bed was flat (can't remember if I mentioned he'd stabbed it with his DS stylus earlier in the week and the Guest House manager had done a puncture repair on it). I had to put him in bed with me, and luckily he didn't do too much wriggling!! After getting everyone dressed and having breakfast, thank you so much S for holding Baby so that I could eat :-) we said goodbye to the US family. Little Prince was not impressed!!

I tried to ring the British Embassy again but couldn't get through. The Guest House manager found me another number, which was engaged! So I got Baby asleep in her cot and got Little Prince in the bath. Baby woke up while I was bathing Little Prince :-( Once we were back downstairs I tried the new Embassy number again, I asked the receptionist for the Visa Section but was put through to one of those robot "press this/press that" answer machines and whatever combination of pressing I did, I couldn't get to speak to a real live person!! Urgh!! I rang the Visa Application Centre and they said Baby's Visa wasn't ready and to try ringing again after 3.30pm. Double urgh!!!

Rang the UK couple with the poorly child to see how child was and how they getting on with getting their children's birth certificates. They had been at the Record Office for THREE hours with both children, which was very hot and chaotic and understandably, they didn't feel up to meeting for lunch. Which was probably a good thing considering what happened next!! Baby did something I've never seen a baby do before (stop reading if you are squeamish!!) - projectile pooing!!! It was green and squirting out at a fair rate of knots!! She got it all over the WHITE bed sheet and all down my WHITE top!!! I had to send Little Prince running off to get A to help me, as I couldn't get my top off without making the mess even worse, and I couldn't pick Baby up and put her in her cot without covering her in it too!!! A took it all in her stride, reassured me that "got lights can wash" (people say they've got or not got lights, to mean if the electricity is working or not) and helped me remove my top and deal with Baby - she's a STAR :-) Me, Little Prince and Baby went to Kaldi's for lunch, I needed the break after all that drama!! On the way to Kaldi's a man just pulling away from a parking space stopped to ask me if there was a baby in the sling I was wearing, when I said yes he wanted to see her. He was very friendly and dressed very smartly and driving a pretty nice car, so I thought no problem and showed her off. He then asked if she was "half-caste" (his words and not a phrase I'd ever use!!) when I looked taken aback (at the phrase he'd used although he didn't seem to realise that) he asked if my husband was Ethiopian! He seemed very shocked to hear that she was Ethiopian! When I explained that we were adopting her he thanked me, which made me feel very uncomfortable. He then talked about when he had visited London and asked us a little about where in England we were from. Altogether a very strange encounter!! When we finally got to Kaldi's we had a lovely lunch :-) When we got back to the Guest House I contacted yet another UK couple currently in Addis with their birth children (3 boys around Little Prince's age). We arranged for them to come round to our Guest House at 3pm for the boys to play together and the parents to chat together. Little Prince was very excited about having someone his own age to play with :-) However, this excitement translated itself into mischief in no time at all!! He somehow managed to lock all the staff in their break room (part of the detached garage)!! It took me ages to get the door open for them, as I was trying to stop Little Prince doing anything else he shouldn't and was carrying Baby while trying to shoulder charge the door!! Not long after this fiasco the other UK family arrived, so at least Little Prince had someone to distract him!! We adults sat on the patio drinking Coke and chatting - it was a lovely afternoon. Little Prince was very upset when it was time for them to go :-(

While they were still here I asked them to hold Baby while I tried (once again!!) to ring the Visa Application Centre, which they were happy to do as they hadn't got custody of their child yet. The VAC said the Visa still wasn't ready! I explained that our flights were booked for Saturday and that our older children had to return home to get back to school. The lady said she would contact the Embassy for me and asked me to ring the VAC again tomorrow morning.

Via texts I learnt that Mr Messy and Drama Teen were having a great time :-) They were mobbed at the Police Station as all the Officers wanted to see Baby's photo, even the big burly Policemen put down their rifles and cooed over her photo :-) They all said she had got fat (!!!) and was very lucky to go to the UK. I don't think that losing your birth family, culture and homeland is lucky, but understand that they are speaking from a totally different perspective. They found out that Baby originally had a different name, and the Policeman didn't know how/why it had changed (we later found out that he had mixed up two different children's files and Baby had always had the name we were told). They were asked to return at 9.30am tomorrow to meet the man who prepared Baby's paperwork and visit the place where she originally came from. Mr Messy and Drama Teen had visited the local market and said it was amazing and incredibly cheap - I presume they are doing a lot of shopping!! Mr Messy fed the buzzards in the meat market. Then they spent time visiting the Muslim Market and bought traditional jewellery and a giant knife for Drama Teen!!!! They also visited a Catholic Mission Orphanage and chatted to the Priest in charge and played with the children there. The children are all aged 5 years and older, and the Priest said they had stopped doing international adoptions as they can find people to adopt the children domestically :-) After dinner (they had to look everywhere to find fries for Drama Teen - everything else was too spicy for her) they watched the hyenas being fed, and Mr Messy even fed them himself!!

Heard from LMS that she had talked to our GP Practice as I'd asked her to, but that registering Baby was going to be complicated as she isn't a British Citizen! They asked that I contact them when we return and sort it out then, hopefully it won't be too much of a pain as I feel that Baby has a number of health issues that need checking out! Not least of which is the constant sicking, which is really getting me down as we didn't pack that many clothes for us all and the electricity being off is making it very hard for the staff to wash what clothes we do have!!

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Mr Messy and Drama Teen are off travelling (Tuesday 9th June)

Mr Messy and Drama Teen woke up at 5am to get ready to set off at 5.30am on their trip to where Baby comes from. Our Guest House owner has arranged for a driver affiliated with the Guest House to drive them the 12 hours to get there, and to be a translator/guide for them on arrival. After saying goodbye I managed to get a little more sleep, before Baby woke up at 7.30am. Little Prince was already awake and playing. We were once again faced with a day without electricity :-( Baby was not happy, she would not be put down and only slept for minutes at a time, and was constantly sick. Not easy to deal with on my own! And not having power for the Guest House staff to wash all the sicked on clothes! Very stressful!! I tried ringing the British Embassy in the morning and just got the engaged tone. I tried again in the afternoon and got the same. So I rang the Visa Application Centre, who explained that the Embassy can have phone/communication problems when there is no power! Great!!! They advised me to try ringing again tomorrow.

During the morning I heard the Guest House female staff all start to scream and fuss, then the manager dragged Little Prince in - he had drunk detergent!! We gave him lots and lots of water and then milk to drink and he seemed to have no ill effects - I was a nervous wreck!! His behaviour has been deteriorating that much that I decided that he was not allowed out of my sight!! Which made it a looooong day and a looooooong few days looming ahead!!!

At 4pm I got a text from Mr Messy and Drama Teen to say they had arrived and were safely checked into their hotel. Their twin room was 160birr per night including breakfast (less than £10!!!). Their room was a ok but a bit shabby, and overlooking the noisy market. I hope they get some sleep!! Mr Messy said that the poverty they saw on the drive was indescribable and very hard to take in. The scenery however was fantastic. Drama Teen slept most of the way there, so didn't see the worst of the poverty, which we think she would have found very distressing. Drama Teen says where they are is like Ankh-Morpork without the pollution lol.

During the evening one of the other UK adopters currently in Addis rang. One of their children has been ill, but is improving. They have been at the hospital again and got more medication. We arrange to meet tomorrow or Thursday for a drink and cake at Kaldi's. They didn't manage to get their children's Ethiopian birth certificates today :-(

During the late afternoon Little Prince played with K, an American here to adopt with his wife, Little Prince then talked K's socks off for the rest of the evening!!! Talking to the staff in the evening S remembers Baby Sister and said she liked her :-) A says she likes Little Prince and wants a photo with him :-) Little Prince had a HUGE meltdown when dinner was served, as he'd asked for a cheese sandwich and was served fries!! I felt it was too late to do much about it, so I tried to persuade him to eat the fries, not a chance!! Luckily his new friend K gave him a powerbar which calmed him down. And then S brought in a cheese sandwich for him, which calmed him down again. He went to bed nicely, although a little upset that his new friends K & K were leaving very early in the morning to go travelling for a few days before their child arrives. Baby didn't settle down well at all and cried a lot, and needed hugging to sleep.

Got more texts from Mr Messy who said he, Drama Teen and Driver ate out, Mr Messy's steak and chips cost 20birr and the whole meal including drinks cost 73birr!!

Guess what??

I'm baaaaaack :-)

The long Summer Holidays are now over and I've decided to get back into blogging!! Not sure if anyone is still reading after my looooooong break, but I'd like to have the record of our lives for the kids to read when they are older - if they are interested lol.

I'm going to start with a series of posts finishing off the story of our stay in Addis, before getting back to "normal" if there is a normal in my life lol.


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