Friday, May 1, 2009

The Ethiopia Chronicles-Embassy Appointment, Our First Meltdown, and a Sit-Down Bath

Wednesday in Ethiopia was our Embassy Appointment. After a leisurely morning at the hotel letting Rosie model all of her clothes and learning to work puzzles together, we had an early lunch and met our group for a trip to the American Embassy.

The Embassy itself was fairly like any other embassy I have visited: kind of gray, lots of x-ray machines and metal detectors, and very impersonal. We were the first group to arrive for our visa appointments and were pointed through to a room with a watercooler and a bunch of chairs. No air conditioning, but it wasn't yet unbearable. Over the next hour several other agencies' travel groups arrived with their children, and then all of the Ethiopian nationals seeking visas began to arrive. Soon, it was standing room only, so packed that you couldn't get through the crowd without the whole room feeling like it was jostling. It began to get very stuffy, as if there was only a limited amount of oxygen in the room and it wasn't enough for all of the people waiting. One of the ladies in our travel group headed outside for some cooler air, only to pass out once she made it outside.

Rosie did well with the waiting, and after another half hour we were called. The lady who was handling our interview wasn't very prepared. She asked me to raise my right hand, couldn't remember what I was supposed to swear so made something up, and then asked where my husband was. I reminded her that he wasn't travelling with me and that she had a copy of his power of attorney in our paperwork packet. She found it, and then it was on to the questions: Was this the child I was referred, How did she come to be an orphan, Had we met any of her relatives, Did I have any concerns about the adoption, Did I promise not to give anything other than a photograph to any relatives if I ever did meet them, and Was she healthy? (As a side note-Rosie's physicals, repeated TB tests, HIV screening, and vaccinations were all done as a requirement of the Embassy-why did they need to ask me if she was healthy?!)

Having answered all of her questions, she congratulated us and told us our visa would be available on Friday.

By this point, Rosie was very tired. She fussed most of the trip back to the hotel, and so I decided not to go shopping with the group and Rosie and I went back to our room for a nap. She fell asleep as soon as I laid her down. She slept for almost 3 hours, and then I woke her up. She was in a great mood, so we played volleyball with some balloons.

The happy mood, however, took a significant downturn when she asked for another balloon, having already got 2 blown up. I said no that we were going to save the rest for tomorrow, and she began to pout. I decided that taking her down for a change of scenery would be good for both of us. About this time Mom arrived back from shopping and said that there was a group getting ready to go out for pizza. So, we went to the lobby.

In the lobby there were some other families playing and Rosie went to play with one of the older girls who was being adopted. She was having a great time with her, so I decided we were good to go for pizza.

Unfortunately, as we loaded up on the van, I said that Rosie did need to sit with me. And, as we pulled away from the hotel, she chose to show me that she was still mad and didn't want to sit with me. Let the meltdown begin! No longer was I the fun person who played games and had great clothes and toys, I was the mean woman who said no, wouldn't give her everything she demanded, and then made her sit with me instead of allowing her to sit with someone else while she showed me just how annoyed she was with me. The meltdown was a full-fledged fit complete with shrieking, stiffening her body, and flailing. It lasted for the full trip to the restaurant-probably about 20 minutes. I just held her and whispered to her that I loved her too much to let her push me away.

When we arrived at the restaurant I was about at my wit's end. It wouldn't have been safe to sit on the bus by myself, but I couldn't very well take her in the restaurant like this. Robel (our guide and a fantastic guy) said that transitions were hard and asked to have her for awhile. I told him that we were struggling with being told no and then not being allowed to refuse to be with me. Thankfully, Robel took Rosie in his arms and gave her a good talking to. By this time I was crying, and he made her look at me and see that she had made me cry. He talked to her some more and asked her to give me a hug. She did, and then he told her that we were going upstairs to eat and that she had to hold his hand and my hand. This worked great, and by the time we got upstairs, she was back to her sunshine-y self and was content to sit next to me and color together until our pizza arrived.

When we made it back to the hotel, I put Rosie in the bathtub. But unlike on Tuesday, I told her we were going to sit down. I had made lots of bubbles, and she really wasn't sure, so I just picked her up, scooped her legs up, and plopped her in bottom first. The look on her face was priceless. It went from one of sheer horror to absolute delight in about .3 seconds. She spent ages pouring water over herself and scooping bubbles to rub on herself. The laughter in the room was absolute magic! The floor was absolutely soaking!!!!! That night has started somewhat of a bathtub addiction. The girl wants a bath every time we go in the bathroom.

After I coaxed her out of the bath (didn't happen until the bath water was completely cold!), I put her on the bed for some lotion. She saw that my pants were wet, got a horrified look on her face, shook her finger at me, and accused me of Shinty (wetting) in my pants. It took a while to convince her that I most certainly had not, but it was all of the splashing from her playing in the tub.

She fell asleep again really well Wednesday night, with no fussing involved and slept well through the night, only waking up and whimpering once.

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