Monday, July 20, 2009

Catch up 2

We arrived at Kidane Mehret, unsure of what condition our little girl would be in, if she had gained any weight or height, if she was still sick, or what she was ill with. Knowing her size, however, meant we'd had to spend a small sum on new clothes-- newborn clothes, 0-3 month clothes. We'd brought lots of formula, clothing, medication for her bottom. Prepared to spend 7 days in Ethiopia, we'd packed clothes for ourselves as well :)

We walked the steps up to Kidane Mehret. Much like most spaces in Ethiopia, the outside belies what the inside holds. Through an old painted gate, we entered a garden haven. Up curving steps, and into an opening filled with school-aged children playing, laughing, enjoying each other, spending time with the nuns who laughed, played and conjoled with them.

We were introduced to the head nun, Sister Lutgarda, who ushered us into a small and cramped room with an old couch, pictures of Jesus Christ, crosses and all about children's clothing, toys and supplies. We signed the guestbook as we waited for Soly to arrive. Soon, another nun made her way in the room, holding a tiny baby girl, head capped in a white hat. She wore white tights, a white turtleneck and a summer jumper with a giraffe on the front which said, "Mommy Loves Me!" She greeted us with a toothless, brilliant smile.

That smile has lasted to today. No matter how ill, even while throwing up, Soly will flash you a brilliant smile which makes you feel as if the world is forever going to be okay and fills you with joy.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Catch up

Our trip to Ethiopia in April was a whirlwind tour. As before, we arrived late in the evening, waited for our luggage, obtained our visas and took in the smoky, spicy smell of Addis Ababa. We did not know if we would meet Soly that night, or sometime the next day. But, this time we were ready to go with the flow. Tired but exhilarated to be in Ethiopia again, we boarded a taxi and made our way to the BFAS guesthouse, Nootol.

It was a beautiful house close to the airport. We ate a late dinner and headed to bed. Sleeping into the early morning hours, we awoke to the enchanting sounds of the call to Prayer. We had arrived the week of Ethiopian Easter. At 4 am, the sounds of soothing chants pulled us slowly awake and lulled us back into sleep. At 7 am we awoke for breakfast. At 10 am, we were picked up and escorted to Kidane Mehret Orphanage to meet our baby girl.

We knew Soly had been ill multiple times while in Ethiopia. Each time parents returned, we asked for pictures and updates of our dear daughter, and were repeatedly, month after month, told that she was in the hospital. Each time, we frantically called the agency who did not know and didn't have updates for us. Finally, 4 weeks before traveling, our friends traveled to pick up their baby girl and demanded to see Soly in the hospital. She was able to bring us back detailed information about Soly, along with pictures and video. She was small, frail, ill. Born at 6 lbs and 19 inches, at 5 months, Soly was a mear 9 lbs and unknown number of inches. The 6 month clothing we sent for her was so large you could barely see her body.

We received our court approval and officially became her parents on March 27th. Knowing she was critically ill, we pushed for an expedient Embassy date and were rebuffed by the agency, who repeatedly told us she was "healthy" and didn't require an expedited date. I'd had enough, emailed and called Senator Amy Klubuchar's office and pleaded for assistance to get Soly through Embassy quickly. Amy's office staff were miracle workers, jumped on the case and had an answer for us within days: they would expedite our case, we could go immediately. 36 hours later, we jumped on plane to Ethiopia to get our baby girl. Little did we know the adventure, heartbreak and reward we were about to incur.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Welcome back...

Thank you all for your patience as I privatized and closed the blog to the general public.

In a series of unfortunate events, we have learned that our last adoption agency, BFAS, has started reading blogs and is suing families for telling the truth about their adoptions. As you know, our adoption of Soly has been difficult and full of roller coasters, including finding out that she is quite ill with multiple diagnosis. Our agency was aware of her illnesses and failed to inform us about any of them. Had we known, we would have been better equipped and prepared to treat her here in the United States. Because I disclosed, publicly, that Soly was ill and said that I did not recommend the agency, Better Future Adoption Services has threatened litigation against us. Thus, our blog had to be invite-only.

Now that our blog is private, I will be sharing more about our family again. I look forward to sharing with all of you again and being honest and open.

Thank you all for the love and support you have shown along our way to building a beautiful family.

Addis Ababa Time