Well, our ghetto tickets seemed to do the trick, and our flight took off about a half hour later than expected. We were given bulk-head row seats, so Kevin had some wicked leg room to stretch out those spider appendages of his. Our plane even had individual movie screens, so I was a happy camper for my final flight involving freedom to actually watch movies. Our flight actually landed in Addis about an hour ahead of schedule at 5 AM instead of 6 AM. Since it was so early, we cruised right through luggage pick up, getting our visas, and clearing customs. No customs troubles this time, except the lady kept asking me if I had binoculars in my bag.
We went straight from the airport to our friend Becky's house where we are staying. She is a fun friend of ours from the states who graciously opened her home to us and our kiddos. It has been such a blessing to have a kitchen and a living room and a friend with a car who is a rockin' conversationalist. We chilled with Beck for an hour or two, waiting for the Chinese embassy to open so we could go apply for the boys' visas. Our agency driver came to pick us up and we headed that way.
Hurry up and wait was the name of the game at the Chinese embassy. We stood in line for three hours outside a metal gate with a possee of Ethiopians also wanting Chinese visas. Our agency representative joined us in the waiting game about half-way into it. Noticing my obvious misery, he let me take a nap in his car while my trooper of a husband held our place in line. The embassy closed for lunch at 12:30 so we got a little nervous as the clock continued to tick. The gruff gatekeeper who reminded me of the Wizard of Oz finally admitted us around 12:15 to see the magical visa man in the tiny blue room. He looked over our paperwork quickly, said it shouldn't be a problem, and told us to come back that afternoon at 4:30 to pick up the passports. During our entire stay at the embassy, we saw not even one Chinese person. Kind of strange.
We went from the visa office back to Becky's apartment to eat lunch and get some much needed rest. Then we finally got to head to the care center to see our boys. It was crazy to think that this was the first day of getting to be with them everyday. Micah was sleepy and fell asleep win my arms within the first 10 minutes of us being there. It looks like he might have some sort of scabies on his skin, so we'll have to figure out how to deal with that. The care center nurse told us that they have been treating him already. Hopefully that will help him. Sam is fat, fat, fat. I got to see him roll over, and I gave him a round of mama applause.
I wanted to get an idea of the boys' daily schedule and habits, so I asked the English-speaking nurse some questions about them. This was her description: Micah likes to be held. Sami is fine. Micah likes to eat everything. You're not going to get any arguements from me!
We weren't able to stay long because we had to jet back over to the Chinese embassy to pickup the boys' passports. We had already decided to bring the boys home on Wednesday instead of Tuesday, so we could have an extra day to get over plane fatigue. We're only 5 hours off China time, so the jet lag really isn't that bad. It's mostly just a sleepless night that we're battling.
We were met at the embassy by the happy gatekeeper once more, who announced we were late. "But our appointment is at 4:30," I told him. "Oh," he replied. "Then wait." So wait we did. But this time not for three hours, maybe just 15 minutes. We were once again ushed into the magical blue room of visas. We were ready to pay but then realized we had forgotten a form we needed. As we rushed out of the embassy compound back to the car to go pick up the form, the gatekeeper met us with a disappointed shake of the head. We were back again within 20 minutes, but the gatekeeper still felt the need to remind us that we were late again. Despite the flurry of it all, we were so thankful to find that the boys have been issued double entry, 180 day visas, which will cover us coming home and our trip to Thailand next month. What had taken Kevin and our friend Josh five days to handle when they were here in May, we accomplished in one day. So thankful to the Lord's grace for that!
We ended the day with a wonderful meal at a restaurant Becky recommended. I swear, hanging out with this girl, cruising around in her 15-passenger party van has made our stay in Addis a vacation so far. We bring the boys home on Wednesday afternoon, so we'll see how the vacation feel changes after that!