3 days 'til takeoff! ...Help!
We have been non-stop for the last week. I watched other cleared families get on a plane the VERY next day, and still have no idea how they did it! We could have flown out over this past weekend (which is what our agency was expecting us to do) but we felt it best to have a full week to prep, and to leave just after the holiday.
Amongst the packing, booking, planning and cleaning, we have also been doing our best to revel in the last few days with our firstborn, as our family is about to change forever. Sunday morning we all snuggled in bed, reading and tickling and laughing like crazy before going out to breakfast with some of our best buds on the planet. It was a great pause in the hectic weekend to truly enjoy life just as it is in the present, while finally having the peace that Acacia is about to assume her rightful place within her forever family.
The day after a very thankful Thanksgiving dinner at my aunt and uncle's house, we'll leave Manchester and fly to Dulles in DC. From there, we stop in London for a few hours (meet us for tea, MJ???) and then continue on to Addis with a 10pm arrival (which is 2pm on Saturday, our time).
We're staying at the Ethiopian Guest Home , and will be driven there upon arrival. I wish I could say we'd wake up Sunday and have our long awaited moment of taking her in our arms forever... but the transition home where she lives is closed on Sundays! Our entire first day in Ethiopia, we'll be ten minutes away from her, and unable to see her. Irony at it's finest. The nannies are there with the children of course, but other supporting staff gets the day off, and well they should. We will spend Sunday drinking the best coffee on earth, and shopping at Merkato. Merkato is the largest open air market in Africa, covering several square miles and employing an estimated 13,000 people.
Monday will be the day we've been waiting for since we first saw that little face in a photograph on April 27th. When we met Acacia for the first time, I marveled and delighted and all that, but always in the back of my mind was that I'd have to leave her. This is the trip I've been dreaming of.
When Acacia comes into our custody, she's ours, and ours to care for. It will be a wake up call! The guest house will be filled with other adoptive families, so I'm sure we'll all be swapping hair care tips, asking feeding questions and trading too-small and too-big clothing.
Tuesday is our Visa appointment at the Embassy. So far, every family has made it through the appointment smoothly.
Wednesday, we will go visit Numan orphanage (and leave Acacia with the Nannies at the Guest House). It's a three hour drive south to rural Assela Town, and I hope our van has a huge "oh-shit" handle - Ethiopians drive fast, and there aren't any lines on the roads. We will be bringing all your donations with us, and spending some time around Acacia's home turf. I can't wait.
Thursday is wide open for whatever the week brings us, and I'm hoping we can travel somewhere noteworthy with another family or two. We depart Thursday night, again crossing through London, then to Newark and into Manchester at 3:53 pm on Friday afternoon.
If you've made it to this point, then you've read a LOT about this adoption. Thank you! Though we will be laying low for the next few months, I do want to invite anyone who so desires to meet us at the airport when we arrive home. I am not one to enjoy a lot of fanfare, but the moment that my two daughters meet for the first time as sisters chalks up there with the most important moment in my life to date. I keep imagining that moment much like a bride imagines her walk down the aisle. Even if both kids are screaming, it will be the happiest moment of my life! So, naturally, anyone who wants to share in it is invited. No need for rsvp's or anything... just show up to Manchester Airport before 3:53pm on Friday, 12/2.
Next update coming at you from Africa!