Sunday, March 1, 2009

Immigration Appointment

So when you travel to pick up your child in Ethiopia, you will have an appointment where you go in and meet with immigration. You take your filled in I864 - which is basically for the purposes of proving that you can afford to bring an immigrant home with you and support them. You take copies of tax returns and W2's. They make this sound much more stressful than it actually is. They coach you leading up to it on what to say and what is expected. So you go in somewhat nervous, thinking that you could say the wrong thing and mess up the whole adoption.

After lunch time, they load the kids onto the bus, which they LOVE by the way, and drive from HH over to the guest house. Oh, WHFC has their appointments on Mondays. Always. They pick up all of the parents there and you ride to the embassy. The security isn't too bad, metal detectors, you can't take any electronic devices in with you. They will take them from you at the door and keep them up front, but we just left ours at the hotel. So limited pictures from that day.

Then you are led into a waiting room. We were immediately taken from this waiting room and led outside to another building where we sat in another waiting room. This one had a tv and play area for kids. We waited in here, with some American wrestling show on, WWF, or something. Great representation of the US! Woo hoo. While we waited, the other families who had been left waiting in the other room, came in. Eventually all of them were called upstairs. We were one of the last ones to be called up.

So, the whole time that we waited, Boko was great. Patient, quiet, really good. Then when it was time to walk upstairs he threw a fit. I had to pick him up and carry him up the stairs. At the top he kept trying to run back down. Eventually the guard did something that you get used to having happen in the US. He took him from us. Not in a mean way, but in a helpful way. It is perfectly okay for a stranger to take your child from you and comfort or play with them there. You just have to go with it or else its a big cultural faux pas and adds to some of the negative feedback that you hear about Ethiopians having toward American adoptive parents.

Anyway, we go up to the counter, the guys asks us the standard questions - is this the child you agreed to adopt, have you met the family, have you given them any money...? And that was about it. Really easy and kind of pointless in the overall scheme of things.

You go back downstairs, and wait for everyone else to be done, then you load back up on the bus, and go back to the guest house. We were able to spend most of the rest of the afternoon playing with Boko there, and the other parents actually took custody of their children that day, if they wanted to.

That night, the head of the orphanage over there takes you out to a local Ethiopian restaurant for a traditional meal and dinner show, of two men and two women performing dances. It was very interesting, even if one of our dinner partners totally ruined my meal by having no idea of how they eat in Ethiopia and giving the most disgusting display of dinner manners for any country that I have ever seen. I left hungry and totally pissed off. Someday I will have to go into more details if anyone is actually interested. The honey wine actually was not as sweet as I expected it to be and a few of those helped a lot. They serve it in these things that look like beakers from a lab and I thought that it was just a serving container, especially since they were fairly large, so me and the other person who had ordered it asked for glasses to pour it into. Oh well, we definitely were not the stupidest looking people at the table!!!!!!!

That's about it. Most of the rest of our trip consisted of going to museums, visiting the lions, and playing with Boko. I'll try to tell a bit more about all of it, but I am becoming the worst blogger and want to try and catch up on more recent events too.

Let me know if there is anything specific that you would like to know about. That is if anyone out there is still reading this.


steph said...

Stacy - I am interested in EVERYTHING. More info and pics, please!! =)
Oh - and every mom understands. It's hard to keep up on everything when all you want to do is spend time with your kid(s).