Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Day 4- Embassy Day / Visit to Gladney Centers

Day 4- Embassy Day

Sorry to all of you that have been intently following the blog. We have went through a bout of stomach flu here in the Darling house the past week (what a week to get the flu!) So without further adieu...

Today was the day that we were to visit the U.S. Embassy to be interviewed in order to complete the paperwork for Abeba's immigration to the U.S. We also knew that today we would be visiting the Gladney Care Centers, including the one that Abeba had been in. We knew that it was going to be difficult to visit the Care Centers with Abeba and we weren't sure what her reaction would be. The first place that we visited was the Care Center that Abeba had been in. This did not go well at all and seemed to set the mood for what the rest of the day would hold. As soon as we entered the care center Abeba immediately began to tense up, one of the care givers came close to her and Abeba swatted at her. Abeba then began the screaming, flailing fits that we had seen when she was not comfortable. Melissa and Abeba left the room quickly and sat outside.
I stayed in the Care Centers and took pictures for waiting families and delivered some packages. As a note to waiting families- if you ask a family to take pictures or deliver a package, please do not ask another family that is travelling at the same time to do the same. It was utter chaos at times in the Care Centers as the four families were scrambling around to get all the photos and the packages delivered. This resulted in me forgetting to get a picture for one family.
Another thing that occurred at the Care Center visit was the Coffee Ceremony. I was disappointed that Melissa wasn't able to participate much in the coffee ceremony, but Abeba was inconsolable. Another curious thing occurred during the coffee ceremony; several of the caregivers brought gifts of traditional clothing for the children and the parents, with one exception-Abeba. It is no surprise that she didn't receive a gift given that it was obvious that she had been a difficult child in the care center. We were even warned by Ryan in our last update that Abeba was one tough cookie. She must have had quite a bad reputation among the caregivers, who were probably relived to see her go. I am happy to report that every day Abeba is improving. We see her coming out of her shell and becoming a happier girl. The tantrums grow less in intensity and frequency and she will actually let us comfort her now.After the coffee ceremony we all went as a group toe the Top View restaurant. This was a very nice restaurant that had an excellent view (thus the moniker Top View). Abeba really hadn't recovered from the whole care center visit and was still a bit out of sorts. Thankfully she took an interest in Belay and he was able to keep her somewhat sensible during lunch. We were thankful that the Campbells brought bubbles to distract Abeba and their son while we waited for lunch to be served. I had some Nile Perch which was excellent, Melissa had some fried chicken which she reported was good as well, although she couldn't identify one of the pieces.

On our way to the Embassy we had a little time before our appointment. Eyasu suggested that we might enjoy visiting the Ethiopian National Museum. We arrived there and were met by a guide. He was dressed in traditional clothing and was very well versed in the history of the Country. He began his presentation by discussing evolution and where we all came from. He was moving toward the fact that we all had a common forefather. He asked me what I thought about this (I love it when God providentially provides these excellent opportunities) and I replied that I agreed that we have a common forefather and it was Adam. He looked a bit surprised by this and then took his talk in an entirely different direction. It seems that he had an "official" talk that he was to give to tourists about a common ancestry and the like. He was supposed to talk about Ethiopia being the "Cradle of Civilization" and how lucy fits into the evolution of mankind and the like (lucy is housed here), but my response had somehow freed him. He began to talk to me about scripture, about our common heritage in our God and how Adam and Eve were our Federal parents. It seems that the man was a well versed and educated scholar in the Orthodox Church. This brought to my mind 2 Timothy 4:1,2 "I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke and exhort, with complete patience and teaching."
I am glad that God gave me the clarity of mind and the boldness to proclaim his Word in this encounter with this man on the other side of the world. This is the part in which we must be ready in season and out of season, when we least expect to share the Gospel we must be ready to take the opportunity when it presents itself. When it is not popular to preach truth, preach truth we must.
We continued on the tour of the museum and he and I engaged in some excellent discussions( Melissa was busy trying to keep Abeba entertained) . He had some interesting theories regarding Moses and other OT characters and while we would no doubt disagree in some areas it was amazing to be having this conversation in this place with this man. I wished that I had gotten his name, he said that he had published some books and I would love to read some of them. In any case I praise God for this opportunity.

After our visit to the museum, it was time to take the trip to the Embassy. Thankfully for us and Eyasu (our driver) Abeba fell asleep during the drive. We finally arrived at the Embassy. The trip to the Embassy is not as stressful of an event as you might initially think it to be. You go through a bit of security and then into a waiting room. Belay, one of Gladney's in country staff, explains to you what will occur during the interview. Just when they called our name to go to the interview Abeba woke up and began to scream. We went to the window (much like a teller window at a bank) and the nice young man behind the window had us sign a document, asked us three questions and sent us screaming on our way. As a note-do not forget you passports for the Embassy appointment, also do not have any electronic devices with you!

We returned to Ayat House which gave us all and opportunity to relax a little and reflect on the day. In reflecting we were thankful for all the opportunities that God had given us thus far in our time in Ethiopia. God was revealing himself in ways that we could not ever have imagined. We have seen God reveal himself in so many ways throughout our adoption journey and we still stand in awe of him and his mercy and grace to us who least deserve it.

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