Picking up the boys' American visas went as smoothly as applying for them did. Well, actually smoother since our agency rep, Haile, went to the embassy for us to pick them up. All we had to do was stay at home and wait for him to drop them by. And with one final pass-off, we had everything we needed to bring the boys home with us. Chinese visas. Check. American visas. Check. Two black babies. Double check.
To celebrate the conclusion of it all, our friend Becky took us to the most amazing place for lunch. Kevin & I both love Middle Eastern food, but when your best option here is hummus from a Singapore chain (and even that you have to take a three hour train for!), you know you're hard pressed for the good stuff. Fortunately enough, our friend Becky knew of an authentic Yemini restaurant in Addis. We sat on the floor and had tabbouleh, hummus, and chicken kabbobs to our hearts content. And our hearts (and stomachs!) were very content. But we weren't the only ones with happy bellies. Micah pounded away and ate more than the rest of us.
After lunch, we headed home to pack, which was a somewhat difficult task considering I had to make room for all the extra things I had bought in Ethiopia. We purchases a few extra cans of formula since I'm a bit untrusting of the stuff we can buy here in China. Plus the Ethiopian toys I got for the boys. And of course, the import cereal we found for nearly American prices. No, no, not baby cereal. Honey Bunches of Oats. That one was for me!
We still had a few hours before our flight left, so we were able to hang out with Becky and some of her other American friends that night.
Then it was time for the travels to begin! I think we were both a little nervous about the flight ahead, especially Kevin since memories of taking two little babies on an 11 hour flight just the month before still lingered in his mind. So we strapped up the boys in their Ergos, hoped for the best, but prepared for the worst.
Ethiopian Airlines was extremely accommodating. We never stood in a line more than three minuted before an employee spotted us with the kiddos and whisked us to the front. We had originally booked seats with the bassinets for the boys, but the airline ended up blocking the seats next to us instead so each boy could have their own seat to sleep in. It worked SO much better than a bassinet would have. The kind Chinese man next to Micah & me even rescued him from tumbling onto the floor when I had nodded off to sleep.
Speaking of sleeping...did they do it? Micah's benadryl left him conked out for the first 8 hours of the flight. Sami did decently well, considering I had an amateur mommy moment while packing and didn't put an extra can of formula in our carry-on bags. More on that story later... Kevin & I didn't sleep much, but we were able to sit most of the time and even watched quite a few movies. And I had thought my plane movie watching days were over!
We finally arrived in Beijing at 3:30 PM on Saturday. We have some dear friends, Justin & Lauren, that live in Beijing who open their home to us whenever we're in town. Ironically enough, Justin was on a flight from the States that arrived just an hour before our flight did, so he had his driver wait for us and took us all back to their apartment. We stayed there for the night and took the train home on Sunday afternoon.
We've been home now for a few days and have had plenty of ups and downs. Sleepless nights, unexplainable and seemingly interminable crying, and pretty much being consumed with caring for these little ones. But there have also been indescribably joyful moments of seeing their personalities unfold, discovering their idiosyncrasies, and just staring at them. Like my little friend Clara Anne said, "I can't believe they're here. They're not pictures anymore...they're people!" I couldn't have said it any better myself, Clara.