The wait between submitting our dossier to become a "waiting family" (#96 on the list, if you recall) till the time we got that wonderful phone call with our referral was 14 1/2 months. That seemed like forever. The few months between that phone call and our first trip to go to court and legally become Evelyn's parents seemed like an eternity. But these five-plus weeks since our court trip have felt like time has just stood still. We've filled that time with lots of activity - putting together her room, a little baby shower, work, play, and so on - but the time has dragged on more than ever before.
Part of what has caused much of our anxiety over the past month or so is that we have watched six of the other families in our original travel group - six of the other nine - go to Ethiopia, pass the embassy interview, and bring their children home. We've followed their journeys daily on Facebook and through their blogs. While we are so thrilled for them, I'd be lying if I didn't say that this has been exceedingly difficult. We found ourselves wondering why we weren't the lucky ones, why we - who were among the first to receive our referrals out of the group - were now last to bring our daughter home.
As it happens, the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa had requested additional information about Evelyn's living birth relatives, which took some time and extra effort on the part of the CHI in-country representative, the Numan Orphanage director, and the embassy. All that extra information went to the embassy on Thursday, so we're only assuming that they have everything they need now and can approve us for travel and get Evelyn's visa all set.
Interestingly - maybe coincidentally - two of the other families that haven't traveled yet also have children from Numan Orphanage. The third family is adopting two older children who are in a different part of the country, and they are also having background-information issues.
I'm not sure what this all means, other than that we really hope to be receiving a phone call early this week with our approval.
In the meantime, my cousins Neal and Jenni are in Ethiopia meeting their son "Baby Y" (whose name and photo can be shared once they pass court), and hopefully doling out some love to little cousin Ev, just two cribs away. We cannot wait to welcome Y into the family - he's already such an important part of it! - and to show you some of the pictures of the two cousins together. They are such jokers together and are clearly good buddies. After all, they've been living together for about half of their lives! Our cousins, and four other families there now or traveling this weekend, will be sending us more photos and videos of Evelyn so we can admire her from afar, knowing that we'll be reunited - this time, forever - with her so soon!
Thank you all for your support on this lengthy and emotional journey. We can't wait to share Evelyn with you!
And she can't wait to meet you too... here she is, sending you a big kiss.