We started out the morning by heading to the Timket to check out the Ethiopian Celebration for Epiphany. I don't know how far we walked but it seemed like a long way especially carrying a very heavy little girl through crowds of 10,000 people. Tamenech was feeling pretty scared. I have to say I was a little uncomfortable myself. We walked many blocks while watching people dance in the streets, teach from pulpits, auction paintings off, looking at people in beautiful costumes of Sunday best, decorations lining the streets, and so many more sights. As we walked there were people on the streets begging. They were people that were sicker, more handicapped, disfigured, and near death than we could ever imagine. I felt so bad a few times that I just wanted to take out money and send people to the doctor for help. I could paint images that would make you completely sick. I can't imagine the pain some of these people were in!
Tamenech was terrified walking past these people. I am thankful that I had this experience, but had I known what we would see I would not have taken Sweet T. We did keep walking until we got close enough to be sprayed with Holy Water, see the umbrellas shading the Ark Of The Covenant, hear people being baptized, and hear some of the teachings in Amharic! It was an amazing moment, but also very overwhelming! I definitely was wanting Tom next to me and to help carry Sweet T. I do have to say that our guide Job was wonderful and really watched out for me and Sweet T. He carried Sweet T on his shoulders for a while and held her other hand the rest of the time! We all made it back to the guest house. We were told that by later that afternoon there would be 15-20 thousand people in the streets there. Some had walked 15miles to be there.
After our time of celebrations we went to lunch at Island Breeze, a great restaurant whose owners are from Seattle. This was my second time there. Sweet T was happy to once again have injera and beef tips. She is not going to be happy with our food. We ordered extra food to take back for dinner. Yes, Tamenech had injera and beef tips for the 3rd time. Tom, you'd better see if you can get some injera on the way to the airport. The kids in our group were even using injera to eat spaghetti and piles of meat marinara sauce. It is really cute when we sit down to eat. All the kids say “See food, say thank you God, Amen!”. I am with wonderful families and Tamenech is really enjoying the time with 3 friends from the transition home.
After lunch we tried to make our way to the mountain, but another celebration was going on there and the roads were closed. The main roads have been closed 3 days for celebrations. We watched a little more of the celebration from the car and then journeyed back to the guest house. We cleaned up and rested. At 4 we were told that Duni from AWAA would like to talk to us. We were also told that there is a film crew here working on a documentary for international adoption. We were asked if they could interview us, and if Duni could talk to us on camera about Embassy. Two families said alright. So, we are thinking that Duni is just going to tell us what to expect when going to Embassy. Well, it turns out that she wanted to share bad news with us. I was told that there was a mess up with some paper work and missing stuff. They were hoping that it could be resolved quickly, but were unsure. I could end up staying until next week or have to place Sweet T back in the transition home and come to the US without her. I certainly did not want to do that. We stayed in the rest of the evening praying, praying, and praying. We went to bed praying, and did not sleep very well (3 families were in tough situations, with mine being the easiest to fix)
We got up with every intention of going to the US Embassy, uninvited hoping to get something resolved. Early in the morning our guide, T, came and told me that I had an Embassy appointment at 1:00 pm, and everything looked good. He also told me that a car would be here soon to take me to the transition home to be able to speak with someone who knew Daniel's birth mom. I was able to go and spend about 45 minutes with him. I now have the cutest baby picture of Daniel with his birth mom. I was able to video the whole meeting and have some great information to share with him when he is older. It was exciting to learn so much, but also very sad to hear the story. As a birth mom I can't imagine being in a situation so bad that you can not keep your children. I am heart broken for her and forever thankful to her for our special Daniel. After learning about her, I can say Daniel is a lot like his mom.
We then went to lunch and off to the Embassy. Tamenech once again had injera this time with half beef tips and half shiro (chic peas). At the Embassy, there were crowds of people and we had to wait a long time! I finally got called up and they are missing a paper that is needed to get T's visa. It is a silly mistake by both the Embassy and AWAA. The Embassy did everything else that they needed to do to get her visa ready.... and I need to return with our guide, T (and the paper he has) to the Embassy at 8am tomorrow morning. Hopefully they will have everything ready and I will be able to hand over the paper, sign on the dotted line and pick up her visa so we can be on our flight tomorrow night to head to T's favorite word AMERICA (as she says airplane America). Thank you for the prayers and please keep them coming. It is going to be a long way home and I can't see Tamenech liking being confined in her seat on the plane. Watch out car seat when we get home, it is not going to be pretty.
After the Embassy we chased down my missing paper and did a paper drive by! We then headed for the mountain. It was about 30 minutes away and was beautiful. We went to a historical museum, some beautiful churches, and saw the outside of the first church built in Addis Ababa Ethiopia. It was a great time. At that perfect moment Tamenech yells SHINT (that means PEE).... we were escorted to a little outhouse looking building with a hole in the ground and two places to put your feet (and no toilet paper); the true Ethiopian Experience! We made it in time. We squatted with our feet in the feet holes, I held her and we didn't make a mess. On a different potty note she experienced her first automatic flushing toilet; it scared her to death! I never saw a little girl jump off the toilet to fast.
After the mountain we headed back to the guest house. We had left overs that Sweet T wanted nothing to do with. My stomach is really bothering me, so I started Cipro tonight. I asked the gals at the front desk if I could pay them to braid Sweet T's hair. She is coming home with some really cute braids. Tameench is sleeping and I am going to run downstairs and try to send this.
I will be at the Embassy at 8am tomorrow, midnight EST. Please be praying. If I get Tamenech's visa, I will be the only Embassy Family that gets to come home. Please pray for the other two families!