All day long I've had percolating in my mind a great blog post, full of insightful details. Trouble is, it's now barely 9:00 PM, the kids are just asleep, and I can hardly keep my eyes open. I do have some news, though, so I can't go to bed and leave people hanging.
Shall I tell you the news right up front? We found out today from our very helpful Senator's aide that both the fingerprints are in and the visas were sent to the embassy today. This was after business hours in Addis, but we're hoping it means--finally--an interview tomorrow morning. I was especially grateful for this news coming today because Steve had sounded very discouraged on the phone earlier. It had been hard to sit around waiting for a call for yet another day and have business hours end with nothing. It was a really pleasant surprise for him to get good news right before bed.
Jasper and Ruby and I arrived home last night at midnight. It was an exhausting two days of travel and, though the kids had been extremely eager to get home, even they sad it was sad to have our adventure come to an end. Still I would say the journey helped us come home on a high. Throughout our time in Ethiopia I've been reading There Is No Me Without You, which I quoted in an earlier post. During some of our hardest days in Ethiopia I also happened to read hard parts of the book, like the detailed discussion of AIDS and suffering orphans. But as I sat on the long plane right from London to Minneapolis, I neared the end of the book and got to read the wonderful follow-ups stories of happy and well-adjusted orphans at home in the States with their adoptive families.
Most of these stories were of older adoptive children, and it made me feel excited all over again to have the honor of these children in my home. It also gave me confidence that everyone will eventually adjust and everything will eventually work out. I read of the how typical it is for families to have second thoughts in the first days, but how thrilled and grateful they are in the end. I thought to myself, "Gee, if I hadn't already just adopted a sibling group from Ethiopia, I think the end of this book would make me want to go out and adopt a sibling group from Ethiopia."
Then we landed in Minneapolis. Jasper was wearing his knitted hat from the Leprosy hospital. It is knitted in the colors of the Ethiopian flag, and says "Ethiopia" on the front. Walking through the Minneapolis airport with Jasper in that cap was like walking with a celebrity. The airport seemed to be full of employees from Ethiopia. First the men in the gift shop stopped us, then a guard, a cart driver, two food court employees, and more. (On Sunday in London we had even had an Ethiopian man call to us on the street when he saw Jasper's cap.) Across the board they were absolutely thrilled to talk to someone who had just come from Addis. They wanted to know where we'd been, what we thought of the country, what words we knew, and about the girls we were adopting. They wanted to tell us what part of the country they were from. They were so friendly and excited--literally flagging us down as we walked by their various posts. They all congratulated us on our two girls and said "God Bless You." It made me feel like I am part of a very happy, large, and welcoming new family. I was excited all over again. I told Steve if he really wants a pick-me-up on his layover, he just has to have the girls wear something traditional and walk through the airport.
This and a Burger King stop put me and the kids in good moods, so we enjoyed spending the rest of our (three hour!) layover in Minneapolis riding the moving walkways. Have you been to that airport? There are a lot of them. We made ourselves stand still for the whole length of each walkway. I tried to convince Jasper he could be arrested for standing on the walking side, and tried to convince Ruby these rides were more fun than Disney World. We had a good time.
Our last flight to Salt Lake was in a tiny plane with turbulence as bad as riding in Gecho's van through the potholes. I was so exhausted I was sick but--as on every other flight--couldn't get comfortable enough to sleep because of the child/children sleeping on me. I perked up to see my parents and Steve's at the airport, though, and then was completely re-invigorated when we pulled up to our house. The neighbors had decorated it beautifully--outside and in--with our Halloween decorations! There was a huge welcome sign on the garage signed by the neighborhood, and even Halloween candy to treat my neglected sweet tooth. And the whole house was dusted and vacuumed. I have the best neighbors in the world! This was the best homecoming I've ever had and if I'm still on Montezuma's Revenge then last night was definitely full-speed ahead to the top of the track.
I'm hopeful that Steve will be able to leave Addis Ababa Thursday night and be home by Friday night. Keep your fingers crossed for tomorrow.