Saturday, October 30, 2010

She smiles!

First night with Macy

Here is the latest update from Amanda! Thanks for your continued prayers.


Macy did GREAT last night. She fell asleep as soon as we laid her in her bed, and slept a full 10 hours!!!! Of course, Jason and I barely slept because we were watching and listening for her all night long. She is a VERY noisy, but sound sleeper. And she moves all over the bed! Since there are so many little babies here, and the cribs are all taken, she is in a twin roll-away bed. I was just sure she was going to fall out during the night and bust her noggin'! She ate great for breakfast, and has been doing wonderfully. She prefers to be held by me, but laughs and grins every time Jason plays with her. (He tends to get all the smiles!)So far, life is going good!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Gotcha Day!

Amanda still can't log in to update the blog, but here is her facebook status:

"October 29th, 2010: Macy Bereket Humphrey's "Gotcha Day." We have a very wide-eyed little girl in our arms. Forever."


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Safe in Ethiopia

Amanda called me earlier today to let me know that they arrived safely in Addis. They will be seeing Macy in the morning (about 2:30 AM CST), and she said she will update the blog after that. Amanda and Jason are both feeling good and were headed to the hotel to get some sleep. Thanks for praying!!!


Monday, October 25, 2010

Off we go!

We leave for the airport in about 8 hours to begin the journey to bring our sweet girl HOME FOREVER! I can't wait to get my hands back on her! We will arrive in Addis, Ethiopia on Wednesday, visit her at the transition house on Thursday and Friday, then take custody of her on Saturday. Tuesday is our appointment at the Embassy, and we head home on Thursday evening after receiving her visa. We will arrive (hopefully!) at the Nashville airport at 5:23pm Friday evening. We'd LOVE to have a group there welcoming our little girl to Tennessee! (See details in prior post!)
While we are gone, please pray for the following:
1. Safe travels. Let's make that "Safe, undelayed travels". :) Especially on our way home.
2. Macy's health. When we left her several weeks ago she had a raspy cough. I am praying for healing so she comes home happy and healthy.
3. That she begins to bond quickly. Our last visit makes me think this should not be an issue - but you never know with a two-year-old!
4. Our health. I think I am fighting the stomach bug that the kiddos have had this week. Jason hasn't had it yet, so I am hoping he stays free and clear of the germs. I am also fighting kidney stones in both kidneys. Praying they wait to "hit" until we get home.

Well...back to packing! I will be updating my Facebook page and blog as much as possible - so stay tuned!


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Welcome Home Party!!!

Lots of you have asked about welcoming us home at the airport when we arrive back on Tennessee soil with our sweet Macy. Well, now that we finally have our flights booked, I can plan it!
We are flying home on Continental Flight 2474 from Houston. It is due to arrive at 5:23pm on Friday evening, November 5th. We would LOVE to have a big group there welcoming our little girl home!
We'd like for everyone to meet us right on the other side of security, which is upstairs from the baggage claim area. You will be able to check our flight status to see which concourse we will be arriving in. Just be looking for Aidan, Hannah and Houston toting their signs. Surely you won't miss them! (I CANNOT WAIT for them to meet their new sister!!!!!)
My friend, Sarah, is going to be updating our blog and my Facebook page with our flight status, so you can check either to see if we are arriving on time or not.

Hope to see you at the airport at 5:30pm on Friday, November 5th!!! (What better do you have to do on a Friday evening?!?!?!) :)

Now, back to packing!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

New birth certificate and HAIR!

Today we received an email attachment of Macy's new birth certificate. We are listed as her parents, and her new legal name is "Bereket Jason Humphrey". Ha! That's how they do it until we get her home and legally change her name to "Macy Bereket Humphrey". But what I was SO tickled about is that attached to the certificate is a picture they just took - and my girl HAS HAIR! While at the orphanage they had been shaving her head, but it looks like now that she's at the WACAP House they may be letting it grow. I think she looks so precious! Of course, she has the typical "Macy Scowl" on her face, which is not surprising at all. Every picture we have of her she has the same expression. It's just gonna make that first smiling picture that more special! Anyway, just wanted to share!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Meet Macy

Macy's birthmom brought her valid ID card to the courthouse in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia this morning, thus relinquishing rights to her sweet little girl. As sad is this is for her, we are thankful to be able to bring Macy home to receive proper medical care, food, and housing.
Here's a video of pictures of our newest addition. Be sure to turn off the blog music at the bottom of the page before you start the movie (as it has music as well).

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Oh my.

As I sit here typing this blog post, and trying to think of a "title", nothing profound comes to mind. The last 4 days have been an unimaginable wonder and an total mess. "Oh My" really does describe it best. Let's see...where to start.

Thursday morning we woke up early (as we did everyday in Ethiopia, thanks to the "call to prayer" chanting. And the dogs. And the roosters.) and arrived at the courthouse around 10am. A few minutes later, as we were sitting in the lobby outside the judge's office, Macy's birth mother walked in. I recognized her from a picture I gotten at the orphanage. She's beautiful and tiny, and I tried not to stare at her, although I felt her eyes on me as well. We locked eyes a couple of times, and did that weird, uncomfortable smiling thing. After sitting there for a while, she was called into the judge's chambers. A few minutes later she came out. Not long afterward it was our time to go see the judge. In typical "Amanda-fashion" I had totally over-prepared for court. I had this whole script written up and had rehearsed with Jason which questions he would answer and which ones I would take. (Of course, I gave him the easy ones!) Everything went fine (it only lasted about 4 minutes), until at the end she says, "I am so sorry to tell you but the birthmom has lost her ID card, and can't legally relinquish her child without it." I was SURE that I had heard wrong, so I asked her to repeat it. She did, and then I got cold and clammy and wanted to vomit. I COULD NOT believe we had come this far, and now we couldn't technically "pass" court due to a lost ID card. The judge, and our WACAP guy, Ato Teklu, (a former Supreme Court justice) said they had both never seen this happen before. OF COURSE! BECAUSE IT WAS US!!!! I was so upset. When we came out of the courtroom all the other adoptive families, each of who had passed court with no problems, came up hugging and congratulating us. We had to tell them what had happened - erg. Not fun. So now the birth mom has an appointment to come back on Wednesday morning (which will be Tuesday night for us) with a new ID card. I have been promised that staff will get her there. I am holding my breath until I get notified that everything is official.

After court we were driven to WACAP House, which is where Macy will be moved to on Monday. This is a home owned by our agency where she will live until we come pick her up. In the orphanage she was one of 51 kids. At WACAP House she will be one of 6. So I am cool with that. I have already stressed how I want her seen by a dr immediately to be sure her nasty cold doesn't turn into anything worse. She also has a bad case of ringworm (which, I have learned is in fact NOT a worm, but a fungus like athlete's foot) that looks like she is being treated for. But hence why they keep shaving her head to treat it with ointment. I am praying for more specific medical care while she is at WACAP house. So anyway, WACAP House was nice and clean. We got to see her bed and leave her a baby doll and some toys (see pic below) for when she arrives tomorrow. We toured the whole campus and I was impressed with what I saw. You know, as far as institutionalized care in Ethiopia goes.

Not long after we toured the facility, the van of birth relatives arrived. After everyone had some coffee and popcorn (traditional hospitality stuff), we were able to meet with Macy's birth mother (we refer to her as Macy's "tummy mommy" to our kids at home). We sat down outside in some plastic lawn chairs with the woman who tried her hardest for two years to care for this precious child. I had two pages of questions to ask her, along with a dictophone to record the conversation. (Of course, the dictaphone with new cassette and fresh batteries is worthless when I forget to turn it on. Oh well.) Our questions had to go through two translators. One translated our English into Amharic. The next translated the Amharic into Sidama. This of course made several questions literally get "lost in translation". We could tell that she was nervous. She barely made eye contact, and fiddled with her hands a lot. She looked through the scrapbook I made for her to keep (with pics of Macy, our home, our other three kids, etc.). I could tell she appreciated this gift and I was so glad I spent the time making it "just perfect". We asked lots of questions, each of which she shyly answered. Several answers were very hard for Jason and I to hear, but we are so glad we had such an amazing opportunity to spend time with Macy's first momma. One question that blessed my heart was answered by hearing that she is a Christian. I adore the fact that Macy will meet her momma in Heaven again someday. When we were done with the questions, I asked if she would take her picture with us. She removed the scarf from her head (she had great hair!), tried to "fix up" like all of us ladies do before someone snaps a photo of us, and clung to Jason and I as our picture was taken together. I loaded the pictures last night, and LOVE that she has a big smile in one of them. We then finished with lots of hugging and "thank you's". Jason and I went back inside and cried our eyes out. Good tears, sad tears - lots of tears. When we left the campus in the van I turned around and saw her feverishly waving goodbye to us. My heart was happy.

Needless to say, after court not going as planned and the emotional birthmom meeting, I was emotionally "spent" that afternoon when we needed to get ready to head to the airport. As I was packing our bags, Jason went to pay for our stay at the guesthouse. He came back saying that the credit card, which we hadn't used the whole trip, wouldn't work. He tried it down at the hotel. It was declined six times. So then he headed to the bank to try to use it to withdraw money. (And he took the stinkin room key with him, which left me locked out of the room with lots of packing left to do!) He comes back and says it still won't work. By now I am sweating. Our awesome WACAP guy came and convinced the clerk to let us pay them on our next trip. Awesome! (Please be advised that if you are travelling internationally you will need to call Mastercard so they will allow you to use it out of the country. I was obviously never made aware of this extremely important detail.) So I finally breathed a sigh or relief, frantically packed up the rest of our stuff, and ran to the taxi. We got to the airport a few minutes late, and were NOT prepared for the flurry of traffic. Okay. Imagine a city with 3.5 million people. With no traffic lights. Now imagine the airport. One word: Mass Chaos. Okay, that's two words. But you get the picture.

When we finally get inside the airport, I start crying because I don't want to leave Macy. But then the airport security guy goes through my luggage, takes out the air mattress, asks us what it is (because apparently it looks like a bomb???), and has us inflate it. In the middle of the airport. More mass chaos. Finally, after I realize I shouldn't be telling him that it uses batteries to "blow up", we get repacked and head to the ticket counter. We are then met by an overly-smiley KLM Airline agent who tells us that the plane will be at least 2 hours late. Bummer, but no problem. We can still barely make our connecting flight. So for two hours I sit and cry while Jason politely tells me to "get a grip" as I throw myself a pity party missing Macy. Two hours passed. And then three. We are then told that the plane has been in an "accident" on the tarmac in Sudan, and will not be able to fly. Something about the wing being damaged. So the flight is delayed for 24 hours. After hours and hours and some more hours of waiting for a plan, at 3:30 am they check us into the Hilton. (Please remember at this time we are out of $$$ with a credit card that won't work. I was a bit irrational.) We fall asleep and wake around noon on Friday morning. We called home (with me sobbing) and tell our family about the change of plans, and that we should arrive home at the same time the next day. We arrive at the Craziest Airport in the Universe again at 8pm that night, get to the gate in time, and then the unimaginable happens. And when I say unimaginable - I mean really, folks - I can't make this stuff up. The dreaded KLM agent comes out and says that the plane has arrived, but that something is wrong and they will make an announcement in 30 minutes. My heart starts racing. 30 minutes later she says they need another 30 minutes. By now, all the people who had now been delayed for 25 hours, became a bit, well....restless. One man was mad because he was going to be fired from his job for not being there, another family adopting sweet nine month old baby twin girls was sick - meaning both parents and babies were puking their guts up, and THIS MOMMA was a crying mess because I just wanted to get home to my other three kiddos. So, the imaginable: Miss Perky KLM Agent announce to the mob of angry, tired travelers that the plane outside was the same plane that was in the accident yesterday. And it hadn't been fixed. And due to something with fuel and aerodynamics, we would all be leaving our luggage in Ethiopia and she needed to see a show of hands of who felt safe getting on the plane. I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP! They left it up to a mob vote to see if the plane would fly. SERIOUSLY! So by now I am a sobbing mess, saying that I am never gonna get out of Ethiopia. Jason and I decide not to fly, as we didn't feel like it was 100% safe. I call my folks (paying $3 a minute and almost completely out of money) and between sobs that are breaking their hearts, tell them that we aren't getting on the plane and have no idea when we would be getting home. (As KLM did not have a "backup plan" for us.) Before using the phone I had asked if the pilot could come out and talk with us. (Yes, I am a Botts - I do stuff like that. It's in my DNA.) After getting off the phone, he comes to me, tells me reassuring stuff, takes me to the window to show me the broken part of the plane, and Jason and I make a rash decision to get aboard. (Some people still stayed behind. I bet they are still in Ethiopia!) We pray for a safe flight and fall asleep not long after take-off. Obviously the plane did not crash, and every passenger cheered and clapped when we landed safely in Amsterdam. Once in Amsterdam I quickly ran to the KLM desk to try to get our connecting flights worked out. Instead of going through Detroit as previously planned, they had us going through Minneapolis. isn't exactly close to Nashville. (I know this because I actually asked Jason if we could just rent a car and drive home. Remember me? The irrational momma?) The agent at the desk tells me to "take a number". My number:130. I wait for 45 minutes as only 5 people are helped. I started sobbing, cut line, and spilled my guts to the agent at the desk. She took pity on me and got us seats on a plane leaving soon to Detroit. So we fly to Detroit in 8 hours and immediately check about a flight to Nashville. Back in Amsterdam we were told that I had an assigned seat, and we were both booked on the Nashville flight, but we would have to get Jason's ticket once in Detroit. So, more running through the airport. When we get there they say they had somehow cancelled MY seat, and that Jason couldn't get a seat as the flight was overbooked. I HAD COME THIS FAR! I honestly started wondering why Satan was trying to keep us from home. So I cried some more and made the Delta agent ticked off. They load the plane and at the last minute announce "Humphreys - board the plane". I think I could have kissed her, but chose to just board the plane instead. Jason and I were sitting on opposite sides of the tiny, crowded plane, but I totally didn't care. Heck, I would have ridden on top of the stupid plane if it would just get me home. So we arrive in Nashville on time after 30 hours of delays and our tickets being changed 5 times. I was dancing through the terminal 'cause I am so happy. Of course as I type this we STILL don't have our luggage. But we are home and life is back to "normal". Except "normal" kinda stinks now, because I have a daughter, who is sick, on the other side of the world. And I just wanna bring her home.

If everything goes as planned and birth mom shows up on Wednesday (fingers crossed....fingers crossed) we should still be on target for a November 2nd embassy date. Which means we get to board a plane in just over 3 weeks. Needless to say, it won't be Delta or KLM.

Sorry for the incredibly long blog post, but it was a VERY eventful 48 hours. If everything gets finalized on Wednesday I will be able to share pics of our sweet girl!