Wednesday, November 23, 2011

"The best laid plans..."

On the afternoon of Tuesday, November 15, two days before our flight to Addis, we found out that there was a problem. All the cases from Burji were being indefinitely delayed.

Without much information to go on, we had to decide if we should fly to Ethiopia as planned or postpone our trip. If we decided to go, the worst-case scenario was that we would spend a few days in Ethiopia and then fly home without having gone to court. But if we postponed our trip, the worst-case scenario was that the court appointment would proceed and we would miss it. We decided to go with our original flight.

So we're in Addis. The agency staff here told us a little more about why the Burji cases are being delayed. Basically we are part of the first group of international adoption the Burji district has seen, and there are some bumps that need to be smoothed out. The good thing about the delay is that all the Burji cases have been scrutinized one more time by a different set of eyes - good for transparency. We got some news yesterday that makes us hopeful that the boys may come to Addis before too long. We may extend our stay here to wait for a new court date. We have to just wait and see what happens. But I'm glad we're in Ethiopia waiting, and not back home. I'd be going nuts if I was still at home with so many unknowns. At least here we are getting to see our future children’s country.

We have been here five days now. Mostly we’ve been in the capital. Addis is a sprawling, organic mish-mash of corrugated tin, high-rises and construction dust. We've visited three museums and a cathedral (excellent guides in all), walked all around the city center, more or less mastered the mini-buses, had dinner at the home of our Amharic tutor's brother, amused lots of people with our attempts at Amharic, eaten lots of yummy Ethiopian food, and attended a cultural performance where T got pulled on stage to show off his best shoulder-popping moves. We visited our agency's care center to deliver donations and packages and play with the kids. The toy trains we brought were a huge hit (Babur! Babur! Babur! Train! Train! Train!). Our hotel, which was recommended by another adoptive parent, is just one block away from the care center. The staff is friendly and helpful and there’s an intermittent wireless connection. There’s lots of little shops nearby to buy things like bananas, detergent and plug adaptors. In the more tourist-oriented parts of town foreigners attract some attention, but around here people are just going about their daily business. Today we also took a couple of local buses to get to Debre Zeit, a nearby town surrounded by crater lakes. As expected, people along the way showed us the right way to go. Debre Zeit is a smaller town with tree-lined streets, lots of birds and great views and was a nice change from the city. Our health is fine except for insomnia due to the loud music next to the hotel, and our spirits are good except for my one little midnight break-down, which in retrospect was due mostly to insomnia.

 So things haven’t gone according to plan, but we're OK. I am very thankful for the constant stream of supportive messages being sent from back home, and more than anything, I am thankful that T's alter-ego is Captain Reasonable, whose super power is the ability to keep everything in perspective at all times.


  1. Love this post. Put me right back in Addis. Isn't riding the mini-busses fun? I think some of our best days were the first few we spent learning the system and getting lost a few times in the process. I think you two will be glad you decided to go instead of stay (sounds like you already are). Enjoy your time peeking into the boys' country without having to deal with too much adoption hoopla - that's definitely a blessing not too many people get to experience. Sending positive vibes that the boys' case progresses as smoothly and transparently (and quickly) as it can.

  2. I remember that music! I am a light sleeper, but I loved it. It beat the howling/fighting dogs I remember hearing at the transition home.

    At least you have a great hotel if you decide to stay between court and embassy.... :-) Hey, just an idea. :-)

  3. ..and I forgot, but yes there are wonderful little stores between there and the transition center. Loved the bananas.. yum. :-)

    I remember the same people every day saying, "Hi!" when I passed. They seemed to get a kick out of saying something in English, and I loved the neighborhood.

  4. Oh my gosh. You sound so sedate. You are a rock star. I would have gone too, but how nerve wracking!

    I am sending positive energy and juju and very tame (since this an agnostic blog an' all) but heartfelt prayers your way that court can proceed and things go well for you all.

    By the way, Hubs is there right now. Kinda fun.

  5. Just soak it all in. Sounds like you guys are making the absolute best of the situation. With this unexpected additional time you are buildign memories and stories to share with you kids. Keep posting; I love hearing about your time in country. We miss it so.

  6. Gosh, for whatever reason (total ignorance?), when I saw your email the other day on the listserv about the delay, it didn't even cross my minds that the kids would not be in Addis yet! Oh my, that would be hard to be there and not get to meet them. And all of the unknowns. You sound like you're handling it well, but if you're not and you're a total mess, I think that would be perfectly reasonable, too!

    About 10 days ago there was a WHFC call and they mentioned working in new areas of the country. I didn't even realize that Burji was an option at this point. Anyway, they noted that the first batch of adoptions from each area were likely going to experience some bumps along the way, and I imagine they were thinking about the current group.

    I hope things get worked out soon for all of you.