Okay, so I know everyone just wants to see pictures but I can't find the camera!! I know it made it home because we took a few when we got home... Here is a quick summary of the trip.
Day 1& 2 - I left Lincoln Airport at 12:30 pm on July 7th, few to Denver (yeah I know it is the wrong directions but saved about $300!!) then to Frankfurt, Germany and on to Addis Ababa and got there July 8th, Friday at 9:00 pm. I waited at the baggage claim, and waited, and waited and waited. With my 1 of 2 bags I went over to the baggage claim. Baggage claims I am sure are hard enough talking to someone with good English (I had never lost baggage up to this point.) but finally got it tracked back to Frankfurt and would be back the next day, and luckily it was the bag of donations and baby stuff that I would not need until Sunday.
Day 3 - Left the "hotel" at 7:00 am and headed to Halaba Kulito where Elijah was born. When I signed up for the trip I thought it was a 3 hour trip, but ended up being about 6 hour drive in a van not much more comfortable than the plane. I made it there and met Elijah's birth mother (Alemtsahey Abera) at the original orphanage, which was nice to also get pictures of. I was able to video tape the whole conversation which was very nice so I didn't have to write anything down or try to remember anything. We gave her a picture book and were able to ask question of her about her, about the father, about Elijah, etc. She of course did not speak English but had a translator that did a good job. It was hard and awkward but was very glad to do it. We then drove to Awassa, a larger city in the area and spent the night. They actually had mosquito nets around the bed! I had always heard of them but never in my life imaged ever having to use one!
Day 4 (Sunday, July 10th) - Went to a "animal park". The highlight was feeding the monkey and having them on my head/shoulders eating. Didn't really dawn on me until after we were back in the van that monkeys are known for diseases of all kinds and that Paula had told me to be careful not to get sick or infected! Ooops. We then took a boat ride to see some hippos, which sounds really cool but because they can get mean we were only able to see them from 30 yards away in the water all I could see was their eyes and nostrils. After lunch we headed back to Addis. We got back at about 6:30 and went straight to the orphanage to pick up Eli. They had to wake him up, then changed his clothes and was "forever in my arms". We then drove to the airport where thankfully the bag was waiting for me!! Back to the hotel and tried to feed Eli a bottle of formula, which the orphanage does not use bottles but cups for sanitary reasons. He ate about 1 1/2 oz then after a few minutes of bouncing in my arms I laid him down held his hand and he fell asleep until 5:40!
Day 5 - Got up and fed him another 1 1/2 oz, ate breakfast and left for our US Embassy appt. By 10:00 we were done and heard the words "Your adoption is now completed and finalized." Wow what an amazing feeling. (While in the waiting room he finally got his appetite and ate 5 oz.) After the embassy we went back to the orphanage for a farewell ceremony, which consisted of cake cutting (they insisted that he "help" cut the cake with a 10" knife!! Yeah a little different than here!), pop, other "food" and goodbyes. After that we went back to the hotel and just hung out together. By this time he had really gotten an appetite and was drinking 5 oz every 2 hours and helping me eat my meals.
Day 6, Tuesday July 12 - Eli slept from 9:00 pm to 7:00 am!! Not much planned today. After we pass Embassy we have to wait 48 hours for his US visa to be processed. Just stayed at the hotel until about 5 when we went to the adoption agency's (Bethany Christian Services) office to meet with the doctor. Let's just say I didn't put a lot of stock into what he said since he called him a "her" 4 times, after which I finally corrected him! haha. Back to the hotel and ready for supper and bed.
Day 7 & 8- He slept all night again and ate breakfast, then went back to the agency's office to get passport, visa, immunization records, adoption court records, etc. After that we went out to eat at a French Cuisine and then back to the hotel. We packed and then they came to pick us up for the airport at 8:00. I will sum it up here because the trip home really wasn't THAT bad, and I don't feel like complaining. We got home at 2:30. Paula, Malachi, & Paula's mom and grandma picked us up and made a welcome sign for us! Malachi was very happy with Eli and even washed his hair and whole body with soap when we got home!! We both went to sleep about 7:00. This time I slept though the night and he woke up once.
Day 9, today July 15th - Back to work and the grindstone. Paula went to the dr. and he has double ear infection:(, and then got pocked a few time which he didn't like. We got a prescription for the ear infection and for the diaper rash.
Welcome Home Elijah! We Love You!