Once we entered the Visa room, we see a few long tables lined up the length of the room. The room was a long rectangle shaped room probably only 8 to 10 feet wide but 30 feet long. We entered on one end of the room and noticed about 5 people behind the table. They tried to form 2 lines to help speed the line up. Each line had 2 people filling out papers while the fifth person we aren't sure what he was doing.
It was our turn. The first guy took our customs card and started filling out the visa paperwork. Everything was done by hand. No computer hence the long line and wait to get through. While the first guy was filling out the passport/visa paperwork, the second guy was filling out our receipt of payment for the visa which was $20.00 US. We handed them our crisp bill and waited for our receipt and passport to be stamped. Our passports were stamped and ready to move along. Out the other door and into another line. This was customs. Here we handed them our passport where they verified and did whatever else they did, gave us our passports back and a we were cleared to the baggage claim area.
Now it was time to claim our baggage. We grabbed a cart and waited for our luggage to come out along the conveyor belts. Our first trip, we found our luggage pretty quick. This trip, it seemed our the luggage must have been the last ones off the plane. We actually even had the feeling of, what "IF" our luggage didn't get on this plane. But then, they started showing up.
We grabbed them all off the conveyor belt, loaded them all on the carts and headed to the x-ray machine. We counted our luggage and they all showed up. We were happy! They have a few people checking luggage stubs. This is to make sure you have your luggage and no one else's. Then the final step before we could leave the airport was to go through one more x-ray machine. Loaded our luggage through the machine, re-loaded on our carts and started pushing toward the doors.
As we looked out the exit doors into the lobby of the airport, all you see is a HUGE mob of people waiting for their friends and family to come through. It was a neat scene. Just as we approached the door, we see Dan, the driver from The Riviera Hotel coming to help us with our carts. We push through the crowd and meet up with our group to head down to the van.
This is a view of the lobby area of the airport.
Between the two Ethiopian flags hanging on the wall is the exit we had just come through where the huge crowd was waiting.
Exiting out the far corner of the airport. YA-HOO!
The gentleman following Amber was also staying at The Riviera Hotel so he got a ride with us, but his trip was not for adoption. He is from Canada and flew over for a job interview the next morning with Ethiopian Airlines. He said it's a 6 weeks on, 2 week off job rotation. Interesting....
Down the long sidewalk ramp to the parking lot.
Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
The sign that was held by The Riviera Hotel's driver, Dan, as we exit the airport.
We arrive at the hotel. It should have been around 10:00 but because we were so late getting in, if we remember right, we didn't get there until about 12:oo pm. We were told we had about 2 hours before Wass was going to show up and take us to Hannah's Hope. We quickly took our luggage up to our room and tried to get settled in. We quickly jumped in the shower and got dressed then headed down to the restaurant to wait for Wass.
This is a picture taken from our hotel room. Just a little girl carrying something huge on her back as she walks past the hotel.
Wass shows up and we are off to hold our baby again.
Here we are traveling down the bumpy road to Hannah's Hope. The blue car is parked in front of the 2nd black gate which is the gate into the babies courtyard.
Just on the other side of this gate is our Sebleena Conjo!
We walk in and Almaz is there to great each one of us.
We head to the babies house and slip our shoes off on the front porch and head in.
Only one flight of stairs and we'll be there.
We walk into her room and Sara was holding Seble. She handed her to Amber while Seble had that look of who are all these people coming into my room. It wasn't just Amber and I. We also had Karen, one person videoing, one taking pictures, Wass and Almaz.
Amber handed Seble to me. She kept looking at Amber then me and back to Amber.
Then she kept looking at all the poperotsi.
She got just a bit overwhelmed with it all and started fussing. It was my turn to hold her and tell her it was going to be okay.
That didn't work out so well. She was done. We were then told it was about her time to feed. They gave us her bottle which we took down stairs with us because Almaz wanted to meet with us all.
Now this hit the spot. During this time, Almaz went over with us what to expect in the morning at Embassy. We met for about 30-45 minutes and then we went back up to her room to have some time with the special mothers and kind of get ready to say our byes.
Back up in her room, Seble gets a good-bye kiss from one of the kids in her room. It was very sweet!
Seble was looking at us when, apparently we scared her and she made this funny face.
We had a photo album put together with the pictures from the first trip. It started off with Seble's referral pictures all the way to the end when we got a group photo before leaving the first trip. We tried to give Sara a memory book of her and Seble. She immediately started viewing it and crying.
We weren't sure if she could read all the subtitles to the pictures and then the note on the last page so we had Wass come in to read it to them just incase.
We were told that today just happens to be the special mothers shift rotation. This is their last day shift, will get tomorrow off, and come back the next day for the night shift. Vice-versa, the night shift will be coming to the day shift for the next 2 weeks. Hearing this, it hit us that this will be Sara's LAST time with Seble. Even though we come back 2 more times, Sara won't be here because she will be on nights. No wonder it was so hard for her.
With that, we took another group photo. After our last group photo shot, Sara hands Seble to Amber. I give her a hug and thank her again and again. She stands for a few seconds and then heads off to the back bathroom, crying which sounded like wailing. It was so hard to see.
We were so happy this time came. We were actually taking Seble with us. One more step to getting her home but from now on, she will be with us. But with this joy, we are also so sad for what the other special mothers, especially Sara, has to go through for this event to take place for us. We are so forever greatful for her love and dedication to Seble which just makes it that much harder to leave.
As we are preparing to get back on the bus to leave, I run off to the office because we forgot to get a picture of the case folders.
This is our group - minus the Sexton's who was the one family that actually got confirmation from the Embassy and made the original trip one week prior.
I'm surprised with all the paperwork we had to fill out to make sure all the "i" 's were dotted and "t" 's were crossed that they didn't catch Seble's last name on her folder itself. :-)
I came out of the office and found everyone already made it into the bus. As I jumped on everyone seemed to be doing pretty well except poor Seble. She was crying/screaming histerically. Amber was holding her trying to console her but it wasn't working. She wasn't even taking her pacifier. She cried so much and so hard she even made herself throw-up. Poor thing.
From this point on, EVERYTHING is going to be so new to her and freaky. She arrived at Hannah's Hope when she was only 3 1/2 weeks old, very sick, and malnurished. Just over 6 months of being at Hannah's Hope and never leaving that orphanage, I'm sure there has got to be some major scary things to see, hear, smell, taste, and touch in this NEW world of hers. We just tried to comfort her the best we could until she eventually cried herself to sleep.
This was Seble's bedroom windows.
Hannah's Hope rents the facility from another family. We noticed the plaque on the outside of the wall as we were leaving. It is the residence of Amir M. Abdelsalam.
One more look back to the house we see Sara looking out of the window of the other babies room. Just above the plaque. It was SO sad.
We get back to the hotel and Amber takes Seble staight up to our room. I tell Wass we have some gifts for him and ask if he wouldn't mind coming up to our room. It would be good for Seble to see her "boy friend" again. Another familiar face.
As Wass opens up his gifts, Seble settles down and watches. Here Wass is modeling his new blanket made by Karen.
Seble was so much calmer, at this moment. It was nice to see her "normal" again as she had been crying since we left the orphanage.....and we felt so bad and just wondered what all the thoughts she was having that were going through her head.
Later that evening, Seble has her PJ's on and the fearful crying begins again. Anything we did, just did not seem to help.
Amber swaddled her tight and was able to bounce her until she calmed down some.
It didn't last too long because she then started that fear cry and cried herself to sleep again. Amber and I got ready for bed and planned for a bad night but hoped for the best.