Our day started out as each of the other days have. Saw the beautiful sun rise, tried skyping home to talk to the kids, and then getting ready. We then headed down for some breakfast and waited for Wass to show up so we could leave. Our court appointment was scheduled for 9:00am.
Last night, when Wass dropped us off at the hotel, he said he would pick us up at 2:00. We looked at each other and then questioned him. "Isn't our court appointment at 9:00 in the morning?" He said yes and apologized and said he would pick us up at 8:00. He then tried to explain that he was going on Ethiopian time. This was the first time we heard that they had a different clock as well as a different calendar. He explained that their day starts at 6:00am, where as in the US, our time starts at midnight. So when he said he was going to pick us up at 2:00, that would have been translated to 8:00am by US time. Just something we thought was interesting.
Anyhow, before we left on the trip, we were told that Jacob couldn't come to court with us and so we were planning on him staying at the hotel in our room. We then thought about Wass and wondered where he was going to go and asked if Jacob could hang out with him while we were in court since he couldn't go into the courthouse with us. Wass laughs and says, "no problem". He said Jacob could go with us and come in with us to the court so we trusted Wass and Jacob was able to go with us. Once we got to the courthouse, we didn't realize what the issue was because there were groups of people hanging out. He wasn't able to go inside the judges room but he was able to hang out in the waiting room with "no problem" at all. Ethiopians use the phrase "No Problem" for pretty much anything you ask.
So, Wass arrives and we take off going across the city of Addis to the other side where court was located. It was about a 30-45 minute trip. Here are some of the photos we took along our way to court.
This was a small restaurant with outside sitting. You can see the chairs and table off to the left.
We ended up stopping on a corner and picked-up our case worker who has been dealing with all our paperwork for the adoption process etc..
This is one type of tow truck they have.
We sure hope this guy was only sleeping. Just an odd thought of what makes someone think a place like that would be a good place to sleep. Again, we sure hope he was only sleeping. Very sad!
Many tin houses right after another.
This man, along with MANY other we saw this week, didn't care where they were when mother nature called. It became kind of funny because literally 10 feet away there could have been a bush or fence they could have concealed themselves with but no, right here feels just fine.
Many goat herders herding their herds through the streets to, we have no clue where. Probably the next goat market corner. We just saw many herds of them. (Amber wondered how many more "herd" words I could use in a sentence-so I "herded" her off)!
These are dumpsters we saw on the back of the garbage trucks. We assume they dump the dumpster where garbage needs to be picked up then they come back, pick them up and take them to the Korah dump. The only difference is, it seems that if they are left too long, the people tend to raid the dumpsters. When we did see the dumpsters on corners or wherever, we always saw people digging in them.
This building was amazing. Just looking at it and ALL the scaffolding poles surrounding the whole building. It was just amazing. If you look very close, you can see two people crawling along the scaffolding. They are right at the closest corner of the building, right above the first blue looking rectangle. One guy crossed over and the second one is just going around the corner. That's what caught our eye.
This was a bed that someone made. They could be found all over. This particular one was found in the median next to a bush and a pile of dirt. The next photo actually is showing someone still sleeping in his median bed surrounded by concrete blocks.
This tree could be seen quite frequent through-out the city. The purple blooms made them very pretty trees.
These houses were right along the main road in downtown Addis. Little openings between the corrugated walls were their doorways into their particular village. This particular one, you can see a woman washing her laundry in a big wash tub.
One of many little vegetable and fruit stands we passed.
Before we knew it, we were driving past the Bole Branch of the Federal High Court in Addis. It was nothing like any courthouse we had imagined. There were some police officers outside but they were dealing with some other guys in hand-cuffs. It was the first time we actually saw anyone arrested. We turned around, found a parking spot, unloaded, and headed over to the courthouse. We don't recall any security inside the courthouse or anything. We entered the building and started walking up the stairwell. We made it just past the second story when Amber started getting pretty nauseated. She did manage to make it up another two flight of stairs to the fourth floor though. We walked down a narrow hallway and then into a big open room. There were chairs lined up along the walls of the room with one bedroom size door in the far corner. We made our way to the window facing the street side as they were the only seats left. The room was pretty full and to think we were ALL there for the exact same reason. Amber was getting a bit of altitude sickness and was still not feeling good at all. She was turning a nice shade of white. The altitude definitely hit more on this day for her, than any of the others.
The courtroom is the closest third window up on the corner of the red building.
This is the famous door that leads into the Judges room. It wasn't anything special but led into a smaller room.
We sat for a good 15-20 minutes watching other families enter through the door and exit back out with smiles. It felt like we would never get our turn but then the Rapp's were the first ones to be called into the room. Only 3-5 minutes later, they came out. We waited for another 15 minutes or so and then they called for us. We entered the small door and turned to the left where we saw the Judge sitting behind her desk at the opposite end of the room. It was NOTHING like a Judges office that anyone would imagine. In front of her, along the wall, were two chairs to our left. On the right side of the room was another long table. Both the table and the Judges desk was packed with stacks of files. It was amazing that a file even gets to the point it is at now or that all the paperwork is even there.
We sat down in the chairs as we watched the Judge pick up a file from the stack of files on her left. She flopped it on her desk and opened it up. She began to ask us some questions about the process, how long it took us, other kids at home, do you know other people that have adopted, what preparations have you taken, and then wanted us to realize that the adoption is final as far as the Ethiopian courts are concerned and if we would like to proceed. We answered, "yes" and the next words out of her mouth were the long awaited words we have been waiting to hear. She looked down to Seble's file and as she started to write something in it she says, "then Seble is yours!" At exactly 9:52am (10:52pm in the US), the Stutzman family legally became 8. The whole process literally took 3-5 minutes, only having to answer 5 or 6 questions. It was an AWESOME feeling!
We head back to the bus, purchased a pop from a small shack next to the bus and waited for our case worker to collect whatever paperwork he needed. Once he arrived, we left.
Here is a picture of the nicest hospital we came across. This is right in downtown Addis a few blocks down from the Court House where we just heard that Seble was officially our daughter!
Here are some more pictures of the city.
I guess it doesn't matter where you are when you break down, you park it and leave it. The traffic seemed to be getting by with no problem at all.
This poor guy didn't even have a "median" bed. He just dropped right down in the grass and was out. At least we hope he was just sleeping. Take note, if you can, the fencing they have around this median was bobbed-wire, not too sure why but interesting.
This was an advertising billboard. We asked Wass what was happening. He said it was for entertainment. That guy would hold a piece of meat in his teeth and have this hyena come and grab it out of his teeth. Freaky job. Amber says I should look into a career change!
We had to stop at a place real quick for our case worker to pick-up some paperwork for another case. Wass pulled up next to this construction wall and literally parked within one foot of the wall. This lady STILL made her way between the bus and the wall to our open windows in hopes to get some money or food. It was a sad site of how desperate they are and what lengths they will go.
Just a traffic photo that does NOT serve justice on how the traffic really is. It is an amazing sight and feeling to be in such a place. It is so amazing that there was no road rage and accidents. We did not see one accident the whole week. These people drive practically in your back pocket when need be. It is amazing how they all work it out and the traffic continues to flow. You would think they would get in some sort of grid lock but no, the vehicles just keep moving. I so wanted to get behind the wheel at least once to see what it was like. They are real good drivers but the horn is a must! Don't be left without one. :-)
Seemed to be some major building project but there sure where tons of scaffolding.
This lady had her pan inside the stacked tires washing her dishes.
It was amazing to see how many satelite dishes there were on buildings.
This poor lady was carrying a HUGE pack of something on her back but what was sad was that she was crawling like she didn't have any feet or something. We sort-of flew by so we didn't get a good enough look but it sure looked painful.
Again, look at all that scaffolding on this project. Just infront of the project, they turned the open area into a goat market - a place where they were selling goats.
More donkeys carrying supplies.
A view looking over a valley showing more tin housing amongst a lot of green trees.
We were then able to go and visit Bethzatha. This is the 2nd orphanage that Seble was sent to. She only spent two days here as she was so sick, they were going to take her to the hospital but needed transportation as their driver was gone. They called Hannah's Hope, who Bethzatha has worked with and knew they had drivers. Hannah's Hope offered to take in Seble and boy are we SO glad they did!!!
These kids here were in school and learning their letters. One kid was up infront of the class saying a letter and giving an example. ('A' - A is for Apple) We don't believe the rest of the class was paying that much attention because we walked in.
Hannah's Hope has been helping Bethzatha with painting murals and livining up the place like they have at Hannah's Hope. It looked very nice. Total day and night change from the government ran orphanage.
The babies room. We showed up just as they were starting to feed some.
Just thought this was cool. It was a pretty full grown cactus. Kind of a funny tree to have in the yard of the orphanage where kids play, but pretty cool cactus anyway.
Our Case Worker, Gebrial-Yohannas, who liked to go by Yohannas but also went by Geb (e is pronounced as an 'a' - Gabe). He helped get our daughter and our paperwork through the courts.
Bethzatha's director. It was nice to hear him talk about Seble. He didn't have much to say because she was only there for two days but he did remember her and how sick she was.
After our trip to Bethzatha, we were happy to head back to see Seble.
Mommy even got to give her first bath to Seble under the close eye of Sara. :-) Sara asked Amber, "Now you know that she can't sit up yet?" I think that she wondered if I could give her a good bath....Almaz translated this for me and I chuckled thinking "ya, Amber has just done it a couple times before!"
Showing off my new hat to Sara.
Each day we spent at Hannah's Hope (which were only hours) became more special as each day came and went. We became more comfortable with the special mothers, the house, bonding with Seble more and more, both ways - her with us and us with her. It's a hard feeling to explain until you've been in that position. When it was time to leave, it became harder to do so. We knew that we would only be coming back in the morning for our last visit, before having to say goodbye to Seble, Sara, and all the other special mothers who had grown on our hearts in that week. We made our departure for the night and headed back to the hotel.
Picture of our hotel as we came around the corner.
Welcome to the Riviera Hotel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia!!! In fact, in this picture you can see we left our window open to our room. We were on the 4th floor in the middle of the hotel above the main door.
O'do I miss those tibets.
Front lobby of the hotel looking at the only elevator. The flower assortment, along with the flowers on the tables seemed to be fresh everyday.
We started packing our bags and getting ready for our last day in Ethiopia the next morning.