Archive for June, 2010

June 28, 2010

The visa and heading home…

I boarded an Emirates flight to Dubai that evening. It is about 14 hours from NY to Dubai. The Emirate plane was surprisingly nice (nicer than American KLM or British Airways planes I’ve been on). The flight was long but not bad. I slept, watched movies, and read books.

I got to Dubai on Wednesday evening. The airline will put you up in a hotel if you have an overnight connection (which I did) so I got the shuttle to the hotel and spent the night in Dubai. The next morning I got up and to the airport in plenty of time.

My next flight would take me to Ethiopia where we had a short stop over and then on to Uganda! I got to the airport in Uganda on Thursday afternoon. Robin, Blessed (who works with Robin) and Mayer were waiting for me at the airport. I had been away from Mayer for a month and I had no idea what he would think when he saw me again. When I walked out front and saw them standing there the first thing I thought was that I couldn’t believe how big Mayer looked.  Blessed was holding him and he looked like he had grown so much in the last month, it was amazing. I went right up to him. He stared at me warily. I reached out for him and he pulled away so I decided to give it a bit. As we were talking I reached for him again and he came to me reluctantly. It took him a couple of hours once we got back to the house to start to seem comfortable but by the end of the day he was running to me for hugs and kisses, wanting me to hold him and snuggling. 

Thursday late afternoon I called the Embassy several times to confirm that our visa was ready. I finally talked to someone who told me it wasn’t printed but would be by 11am Friday morning.

Friday morning we headed in to the Embassy. We were early so we have a drink and snack at Cafe Java’s first then headed over. I got in quickly and was told they were “finalizing” things and I needed to wait. About 45 minutes later the Consular Officer came walking out with a large packet of paperwork. She called my name. There in the waiting room she handed me the packet, opened Mayer’s passport, showed me his visa and said “here it is, good luck!”.  I know I walked out that building with the most ridiculous grin on my face. :) I wanted to jump and dance but settled for doing it on the inside. WE HAD A VISA. That precious piece of paper we had fought so hard for. Amazing.

I started calling and texting people to let them know. I could hardly believe it was over. I found Robin out front, we celebrated together then headed to visit my friend Annie at Baby Watoto. We met a couple of the special needs babies I’m trying to help then headed home so I could celebrate with Mayer!  We got home, I hugged my boy tight and took what has become one my all time favorite photos.

Saturday and Sunday were restful days where we hung out at home with Robin and waited for our flight on Monday. I was able to go with Blessed to a village and meet a malnourished precious little girl that Acacia Tree is helping and hear their story. I will tell it soon.

Packing Mayers bags to go home Was like a dream come true. I could hardly sleep Sunday night I was so excited. Our flight left Monday afternoon. We told Mayer over and over we were going to go on an airplane and go see daddy! Robin dropped us off at the airport and she tried to get a good picture of us in front of the departures sign.

The first security agent at the airport we saw asked to see our guardianship paperwork. I had separated our paperwork in my bags – i hid the large packet the Embassy gave us that was for the US Customs officials in JFK. We knew (and were told again) that this should not be opened until we get to the US. So I had that packed away so the Ugandan officials would (hopefully) not see it and want to open it. I kept out a copy of our guardianship paperwork as well as his passport/visa. I handed those to the security agent who read them carefully, looked us over then waved us on. First hurdle down.

I was still SO NERVOUS at this point that something was going to go wrong and that immigration in Uganda wouldn’t let us out. We got our tickets and boarding passes without problem. During all this Mayer sat so patiently in his stroller eating his snacks. We got to the immigration guys who stamp your passport. I prayed we would get someone nice who wouldn’t try to get a bribe to let us go. I walked up to the woman agent (there were two) and handed her our passports. She asked to see Mayers guardianship paperwork. As she was reading it I was listening to the agent and poor man in the next booth. The agent was demanding a bribe from this man of several hundred US dollars to let him leave the country. I started thanking God that we hadn’t gotten that man.  This woman asked for our big packet.  I pulled it out but said we were told that only US customs officials could open it and to please not open it.  The woman nodded to us, gave us our paperwork, stamped our passports and waved us on. Big hurdle down! Wow.

We made our way to our gate. As we were walking through security one of the women security agents looked at us, stopped us and said something very rude. I’ll post a post on that later.

We finally boarded our plane. Mayer (since he is over 2) had his own seat, which I had originally been sad we had to have to pay for, but was so happy he had it. He did so great on our first flights. Watching TV, sleeping, playing, eating. The flight attendants were amazing and brought him lots of little stuff to keep him busy. The flight went fairly quickly and we were in Ethiopia before I knew it.

More coming soon…..

June 25, 2010

The start of the journey….

A little over a month ago, after months of praying, begging, fighting and crying we received some long-awaited news.

The email from the US Embassy that told us they were issuing Mayer’s visa!!

It was Tuesday, May 25 – I woke up very early to check my email.  When I saw an email from the Embassy in my inbox I sat straight up in bed and my heart jumped into my throat.  When I read the email, I couldn’t stop laughing, smiling and thanking God.  It was really happening!!  They said they were ready to issue the visa!   I needed to get someone to go pay for the visa the next morning (thank you Melissa!!!) and then it would be ready on Friday for pick up.

Then I read it again, it says to be here on Friday to pick it up, that I have to be there on Friday…FRIDAY.  This was tuesday.  I was still back in the States, at home. How was I going to get to Uganda by Friday?!   I didn’t even know if it was possible….

I called our travel agent quickly to see what they could find.  (Called them at 7am in the morning. –they are pretty great!)   I started praying hard that he could find something to get me in Africa by Friday and that wasn’t too expensive. 

He called me back at 8am and gave me my options.  If I left today (TODAY!) I could get to Uganda by Thursday on an Emirates flight and the tickets were fairly reasonable.  Could I do it?  

I put down the phone…prayed, called my husband, and my parents.  We all decided I should GO.  I called the travel agent back and told him to book the tickets.  By 8:30am the tickets were booked.  I had to leave for the airport in an hour.  

That hour is an ABSOLUTE blur.  Crazy.  I started throwing clothes into a suitcase, grabbing paperwork, passport, running around looking for things, took the fastest shower of my life, loaded everything up, stopped at my moms to tell everyone goodbye (Keith was at work an hour away, so no goodbye kiss for him!) and was out the door at 9:40.  An hour and ten minutes later.  I was still trying to wrap my head around everything as I was driving to the airport.  I just booked a ticket to Africa and left with an hours notice.  I was just sure I had forgotten some important paper or something…(I did forget a couple of things but nothing I wasn’t able to survive without).

I got to the airport and had to RACE to my gate.  I was late!  I got there right as they were boarding.  I sat down on the tiny little plane taking me to New York and tried hard not to cry.  I was emotional and excited and nervous.  Could it really be happening?  What if I got stuck in Africa again – I didn’t even check any bags, all I had was my carry-on!  Could I bear being stuck there again?  What would Mayer think when I got back?  Would he be mad at me for leaving him?  Would the Embassy really issue a visa?  You can see what was going through my mind at a mile a minute….

I left so quickly I didn’t even have much time to look at my itinerary.  When I got to New York I realized that I had a six-hour layover…so I found a comfortable place to sit, got out my book and tried to relax while I waited for my next flight. 

(More coming soon!)

June 23, 2010

Acacia Tree

I want to introduce you to an incredible organization in Uganda. 

My dear friend Robin runs a small home called Acacia Tree.  Robin cared for my son while I was away.  She housed me and  encouraged me during some of the hardest moments of my life.   I am so grateful for her help and friendship and so in awe of all she is doing in Uganda. 

Her home is an open haven for children that need care – abandoned babies, sick babies, malnourished babies.  

Please check them out and support them.  I have seen first hand how they are saving and changing lives. 

Acacia Tree

Facebook Group

Blog

June 23, 2010

Still waiting…

They are still waiting…

Email me for a password to check out some of the sweetest kids in Africa waiting for adoptive families.
sister_haiti@yahoo.com

 

 

June 21, 2010

Haircuts

Mayer & Keith both got buzz cuts today. 

Here are pictures of Mayers first haircut at home. 

June 20, 2010

Popcorn problems….

Part 1

Part 2

June 18, 2010

Protected: Track Fun

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

June 18, 2010

Small Updates

Mayer continues to do so, so well.   

Sometimes I joke that he makes toddler adoption look so easy.   But it’s true, he has transitioned home so incredibly well. 

Of course, there are issues.  He screams “NO” a lot.  We have our melt downs.   He hits more often than I like.  But he is two after all so I know that figures into it as well.   His first week to week in a half with us back in January was HARD but he has attached to me so well now.

Our sweet F. is having some issues since Mayer came home.  Poor guy…he’s used to being the baby in the family and having another little boy around getting so much attention has been hard.  They play so well together when all is going well, but it gets a bit overwhelming for him at times.   The girls love him and they’ve been getting along great. 

Medically we’re still trying to figure out what is going on with his little body.  His stool sample came back clear – no giardia!  His hemoglobin have been coming back very low, so they have him on iron supplements.  The iron supplements have been making him constipated and making his belly hurt.  We went back this afternoon to have more blood drawn and have another doctors appointment in the morning.  We are still waiting on the sickle and lead results, both of which, from what I understand,  could affect his hemoglobin. 

Mayer has been playing hard outside the last couple of days.  The kids are in track and swimming lessons right now.   After swimming we’ve been going to the park.  Mayer is learning to like the twisty slide.  He’s still pretty nervous about getting up there, but once he starts going down he loves it.  It is so fun to watch him experience all these new things!

 

 

June 18, 2010

Three Haitians and a Ugandan…

Camera phone kid portrait.  Could they be any cuter?!

June 15, 2010

Videos

My ornery boy:

My wild boys: