We witness a miracle each time a child enters a life. But those who must make their journey home across time and miles, growing in the hearts of those waiting to love them, are carried on the wings of destiny. And placed among us by God's own hands.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Letters to Leo: Adjustments

Dear Leo,

So much has happened since I last wrote. While still in Rwanda last week you seemed to be feeling insecure as you adjusted to having a new family. You were not fearful of us, but fearful of loosing us, especially your new daddy. For a few difficult days you only wanted dad to hold you. I understand the reason why, after all it was only women who have cared for you the last two years and you are so happy now to have a dad in your life. Of course having you scream at me when I held you was a gut wrenching experience for me. I have spent over a year planning for you, dreaming of you, and completing mounds of paperwork to bring you home. I knew though that the transition would sometimes be difficult and of course you only understand what you feel right now. We were able to do some more sightseeing in Rwanda before leaving for Ethiopia. On Thursday we did some souvenir shopping (things are actually really expensive in Rwanda!) then we went to the Dancing Pots pottery studio to pick up some pottery made by the Batwa then onto a small history museum in Kigali which is located at the renovated home of a explorer (discovered the source of the Nile). The museum was not much but it was nice to see a different part of the city and the view of the city from the top of the hill was amazing. Friday brought on a stressful morning. We were at risk of being delayed in Rwanda if the passport office was not willing to issue our passport early that morning. I went by myself and thanks to them making a exception for another adoptive family they did issue your passport to me after I sat there for two hours. We then went to the US Consulate in Rwanda to submit your US immigration paperwork. Again we went in alone and thankfully I was able to complete the form because I had obtained a example from another family. The head individual at the consulate was very nice to us and even helped me to translate some information that I needed from your court documents (they were in French). So getting all that done Friday morning was a enormous relief! We then rested in the afternoon and went out to dinner with another adoptive family in the evening. It has been nice to connect with other adoptive families while in Rwanda and Ethiopia. While everyone's experiences are different there is definitely a common bond that occurs. We had a great day on Saturday when we went on a mini safari into Akagara National Park and saw water buffalo, giraffes, gazelle, zebras, hippos, African peacocks, storks, and many others birds. Sunday we stayed at the hotel to pack up and unfortunately when we arrived to the Kigali airport our plane was late. Six hours later we were finally on a plane to Ethiopia. We arrived at the Addis Ababa airport at 12:30am with three sleeping kids. The first immigration officer at the on-site visa processing line sent me to speak to the officer in charge because typically a Rwandan citizen would require a advance visa to enter Ethiopia. He looked at all our documents called someone and left us waiting nearly a hour. I explained that your sister was from Ethiopia and we choose Ethiopia over Kenya so that she could see her birth country again. He finally agreed to issue you a visa after we told him the meaning of your sister's name. So one more hurdle jumped, we just then needed to gather up all our luggage. Your big brother woke up and was very helpful in pushing one of the luggage carts. We finally arrived at the guest house and all went to bed at 3am on Sunday! It is now Friday in Ethiopia and things have been going well here. Your medical examination went fine and your TB screening test was negative. We were therefore able to have our interview with the US Embassy yesterday and this morning we received your visa packet and stamped Rwandan passport so that you can enter the US. YEAH! There will of course be more paperwork to do in the US to re finalize your adoption in CO and to make you a US citizen but for now I am enjoying a break from worrying about paperwork. While here you have been adjusting well. We have had some tanturms here and there but that is definitely expected for a 2 year old boy! You are now laying right down with us to go to sleep and you sleep all night. You still have a bit of a preference for dad but it is lessening every day as you feel more secure. While in Ethiopia we have enjoyed eating wonderful and inexpensive food at the many restaurants (steak for US $5) who know how to cook for Muzungas! Of course I love Ethiopian food so I keep making that request to the driver. We took your brother and sister to see the Ethiopian Museum of Natural History, went to see the endangered Abyssinian Lions, visited a little amusement park, went swimming at the Hilton in their pool which is heated by a natural spring (like a giant warm bathtub), and last night enjoyed a Ethiopian buffet with a music and ethnic dance performance. This afternoon we are driving into the country to see the Emperor's Palace and the mountainside. I hear it is beautiful!

Love, Mom

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