August 15-16, 2011

....such a long trip... this time it seemed even longer... I just COULDN'T wait to get my hands on our baby girl!!

I flew from Seattle to Chicago - I had a 6 hour layover in Chicago - where I did a LOT of people watching, playing on my iPad - downloading apps I thought Mihret would like, and pretend sleeping. :) (who can really sleep in an airport). :)  After my stay in Chicago was up - I hopped on the plane to Frankfurt - my seats were really good, I LOVED all the plane food (I think I just totally dig it being delivered and everything in its little place - I got so excited to get the next little snack, meal or little sip of soda) hehe! :) and I met a lot of really nice people on the plane. :) Once I was in Frankfurt I grabbed a coffee and a little snack (like I needed more to eat - ha ha ha! :)) and did some more pretend sleeping, It's like I wanted to sleep, but there was way to much going on and people walking by and maybe I was a little afraid my backback, shoes, and everything else would be missing when I woke up. :)  Next leg of the trip... LAST LEG!!! Frankfurt to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia!!!

Once I LANDED on ETHIOPIAN SOIL at 9:00 p.m. I think I moved as fast as my feet would take me without mowing anyone over! :)  I ran to the Visa line (it seemed to take FOREVERRRRRR)... Got my visa and stood in another line to get it stamped and then said a little PRAYER that all the donations and my luggage made it (my carry on was totally packed full with baby food, diapers, formula, baby wipes, toys, treats, snacks, clothes and stuff for Mihret though, just in case).  ALL FOUR GIANT 36 Gallon tubs and my luggage made it!!! I found help to push the two HUGE carts full of stuff through the x-ray machine... This is where it got a little tricky.  They asked me to open up a couple of the containers.  LOTS of questions, Lots of discussions going on, and I was a little freaked.  I decided now would be a gooooooooooooooooooood time to put on a lil charm - be the goofball that I am and maybe tip someone REALLY good! :) hehe! They kept telling me I needed to pay taxes on these items.  I told them they were ALL donations for local orphanages. They asked for a donation letter and I handed over AGCI's general donation letter. IT WORKED! How, I don't know... I think they thought I was silly and just kinda of shewed me on!! PHEW! No payment in taxes, they didn't confiscate the gooooods and now I was on the search for my ride to the Riviera! It was 11 p.m. and I was pooooooooooooped - but my heart was RACING to see Mihret tomorrow!!! Found my RIDE and was happy to hear they had given me room 706 - off the beat and track and definitely a lot of room to move around...

...from our first trip I totally anticipated Mihret to be very apprehensive to see me, scared, and really not so happy. Not happy to be put back into my arms, to leave her VERY special mothers, to leave Hannah's Hope and everything she knew to be normal....  But this Momma  was SO ready for her to be OUR little girl in OUR home in OUR family! Right NOW and FOREVER!  Basically I tried to prepare myself for the rejection I would be receiving from her...  and goodness, I don't blame her.  What a lot has happened in her short little life. Our home would be the 5th place she'd call HOME!  It was time for her FINAL stop! The best SPOT! Thank you God - for placing her in our OUR HOME! We are BLESSED!!!  WE are her FAMILY now... and WE will get through ANYTHING TOGETHER! 

AUGUST 16, 2011

I woke up and my heart was RACING... I went to the main part of the Riviera and saw some familiar faces!! YAY!!!! LOVE the Givens, Britts, and Kohring's!! They all had their BEAUTIFUL children!!!! GOSH, it was AWESOME to see them with their kids!!! Wass was coming to pick me up at 9:00 to go get my baby girl... MIHRET... I got anxious at about 9:05, 9:10 - He showed up at 9:15... and I was on my way!!!

We arrived at HH... It was a nice day. 75 degrees maybe, No one was sitting outside. It seemed really quiet.  Maybe the kids were all eating or sleeping or something.  I took off my shoes and put on the indoor crocs and stepped into the infant part of Hannah's Hope Transition Home.  It still felt quiet and kind of dark... We walked up the stairs and Mihret's room was the first room at the top of the stairs to the right.  I saw one special Mother (I didn't really recognize her) she was holding Mihret and another little sweetie.  As soon as Mihret saw me she was scared and upset.  Wass was taking pictures and video taping our meeting...  Oh I was SOOOOOOOOOOO glad to see her!!! I missed her SO much!! Whether she was happy to see me or not - it didn't matter!! I WAS HAPPY TO SEE HER!!! ♥

I stayed up in her room, for only minutes and then we went downstairs to the BIG open room. I left all the special mother gifts up in her room. (I totally thought they would be there for me to give them to personally) It really was eery to me how quiet it was.  No one was in the BIG room.  We sat down on the floor.  She was still unhappy.  After a few minutes passed, I just asked if we could leave now... There were really no goodbye's.  ...Which all in all was okay... Mihret would have had an even harder time saying good bye... We got our picture by the famous Hannah's Hope gates, with my sad little girl and missing my man by my side...

I just could NOT wait to get her back in our hotel room and LOVE on her and just start being her MOMMY!  She cried leaving HH, the whole van ride back to the hotel and the walk to our hotel room.

I changed her clothes, gave her a little bath, gave her a snack, played with her, LOVED on her... and she was happy! Really!! She was!!! She was CUDDLY! SWEET! She LIKED me!!! ♥  SHE REALLY LIKED ME!!!  I'm telling you, it honestly felt like a miracle!!!! ♥ We got to spend a couple GREAT hours with each other before we got back in the van with Danny and Almaz to go to our EMBASSY APPOINTMENT.

She did AMAZING in the car, she clung on to me, and let me hold her close! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!! OH. HOW I LOVE HER!!! ♥ Once we were at the U.S. Embassy and through security we sat down in an area - very similar to the DMV - Almaz grabbed a number! REALLY! She took a number and we waited our turn!! I TOTALLY thought we would step into someone's office and it was going to be much more 'official' like.  The whole time, Mihret sat on my lap, content, happy, quiet, cuddly!!! :) Our number came up and Mihret and I walked to the booth - the representative asked me a few questions and then said....

"The ADOPTION of Mihret Sanders is...  FULL and FINAL!!!"


What an AMAZZZZZZZZZZZZZING day!!! We came back and went to our room. She was SOOOO Good! I was hungry so we ordered up room service.  I had a yummy hamburger (with a fried egg on it) and fries. Mmmmm mmmm!! Mihret ate a LOT of my hamburger!! I was soooooooooooooo glad, because I couldn't get her to eat any of her baby food or rice cereal that I had brought.  We filled up our tummies and then walked to floor 3 in the other building and SKYPED Erik and the girls!!! We were TOGETHER (well sorta... connected through the internet for now :)) We are a FAMILY of 5!  I took our sleepy girl back to our room and we jumped into the giant king size bed and she fell asleep in my arms!  Aaaaaaaaaaaaah! ♥

I was so surprised how this day ended up.... it REALLY was an ANSWER to PRAYER... to see Mihret want to love on me, cuddle with me, reach for me... I was really anticipating a sad little girl not wanting to have much to do with this CRAZZZZZY momma! :)

Thank you Lord for Mihret, thank you for placing her in OUR family, thank you for her sweet little spirit and her loving heart. Please be with her and watch over her - as I cannot even try to begin to fathom the confusion and loss that she feels right now.


Embassy Surprise! ....and I'm off!

Thursday, August 11 2011

I woke up in the morning and looked at my phone for new emails... and to my TOTAL SURPRISE I saw this!!!

P.O. BOX 1014

Dear  All God’s Children                                                                                                                                            Date: 11 August 2011

This office is ready to schedule an interview for the I-600 petition filed on behalf of the below applicants.

Case Number:
Family Name:

Interview slots are available Monday and Wednesday at 9:00 am or Tuesday and Thursday at 1:00 pm. Please select your 3 preference dates and send us an e-mail. We will send you a confirmed appointment date after checking our available slots. Make sure you get our confirmed appointment date for parents to come for their appointment.

The fee for the visa interview is USD 404.00 per applicant. If the family is adopting more than one child, who are not siblings, there will be an additional fee of USD 720.00 for the I-600 petition. You may pay in local currency at the current rate of exchange.

When communicating with this office, please provide agency name, child’s full name and case number exactly as shown in this letter.

Please note that the next available slot we have  is starting from August 15, 2011.


 Adoption Visa Unit


We didn't even know our file had been submitted to the U.S. Embassy... so to read that we HAD CLEARANCE was such a SURPRISE! A HUGE BLESSING, and an ANSWER to prayer! ...and there I was at home alone crying and screaming with excitement and running all over THRILLED to death!!!  I called Erik, texted the Givens and quickly got a hold of Erica to make my flight arrangements!!!!
The night before I left to Ethiopia there was a BIG year-end softball party.  I decided to skip out on packing till later so we could enjoy some AWESOME friends, food and FUN!  ...Just before we were ready to head out - my friend John gave me a loaded squirt gun... Hmmmm... what to do? Definitely couldn't let a little FUN go to waste!! hehehe! :) Sooooo I gave Erik a gooood squirt down! ha ha ha! - after some struggle - I ended up in the POOL! FULLY CLOTHED! ha ha ha! Well... he definitely didn't get away with it - cuz I pushed his boooty in too!! :) We had a LOT of laughs and I'm sure were quite entertaining to our buds! ha ha! ...told everyone good bye and got our soggy bottoms in the car to head home and finish packing!!!

We loaded up FOUR 36 gallon containers filled to exactly 50 pounds each with donations from some REALLY amazing people to take to Betzatha (the orphanage where Mihret spent some time and desperately need the help). *** THANK YOU SOOOOOOOOOOOOO Much to ALL the AWESOME folks who donated a TON of diapers and formula!!! THANK YOU!!! ♥

Was I nervous to go alone? No. Not really.  I was looking forward to it... I knew Mihret may have trouble bonding to us right away and to be honest... I was a lil selfish - I wanted her to bond to me first, to look to me for her meals, attention, bathing...  and REACH for me. I wanted to make that connection first (sorry Erik) :) ... he had also just started a new project at work and was able to cart Mihret's BIG sisters around. :)

I think we got about 3 hours of sleep (okay maybe less) :) ... my plane left at 6:30 a.m. and I am compulsively early... so, I wanted to be there at like 3:00 or 3:30! :)  Well... the employees didn't show up till 4:00 a.m. ...and of course, we packed all the stuff in and stood at the wrong line... ha ha ha!  It felt like we changed lines we were in about 3 times before we finally hit the right one. We got a little nervous when they weighed all of our bags and the containers. 2 of them were over weight, so Erik helped me take a few things out and add them to another container.  United was not so kind to wave the extra baggage fee (even after begging and showing them AGCI's donation letter). Whatever. Totally worth it! :)  I gave Erik a big SMOOCH goodbye and I was off!!