We tried to keep the day as low key as possible. A little after noon, our driver arrived with Elliana's Visa and sealed envelope so that we could officially travel that evening. (Sorry -- I had said in my last post that we received the "Envelope" when we were at the Embassy -- I had that incorrect). The Guest Home prepared a coffee ceremony for us and one of the beautiful ladies from the Guest Home braided Elliana's hair for us.
Shortly after dinner, our driver arrived to take us to the airport.(and we weren't finished packing!!) They piled all of our bags on top of the van and 6 of us from our guest house hopped in the van. We then stopped at another guest house, and picked up 5 more people. (yes, it was crowded -- 4 of the 11 occupants were babies). As we began our trip to the airport, it began to rain! (it's true.. there hadn't been any significant rain in Addis for 7 months and it picked the day we were leaving to pour down.... I mean pour down... stormy conditions complete with thunder and lightning). We all moaned as we realized our luggage on top of the van was getting soaked! Thank goodness we had our "Sealed Envelope" with us in the van.
When we arrived at the airport, the van dropped us off as close to the building as possible, but it was still a parking lot away. Our poor husbands stayed behind to retrieve the luggage from atop the van, as us ladies (with babies in tow) ran towards the airport building. ... note to self... wet rubber flip flops running into a wet marble floor is not recommended :) Luckily, I didn't fall completely down! Elliana thought it was funny and even let out a little giggle as the rain trickled on her face.
|~First Plane Ride~|
She did great on the flight. She slept for a good part of the way, and the other time she entertained herself with stackable cups, looking at pictures on our iphone, sticking stickers in a book, and playing with a baby wipe. She played with a baby wipe for about 30 minutes.. no joke. She would 'fluff it' and then fold it. She must have watched the nannies fold laundry. She still does that at home. Anything that is laying on the floor will get folded by Ellie. too cute :)
Once we arrived in DC, we headed towards Customs with our Sealed Envelope in hand. This time the line at customs was pretty long, and Ellie had no intention of letting Brad hold her. Ugh. We probably waited about an hour or so in line and she wouldn't let me put her down for a minute. I had taken off my carrier because I was so hot and then I wasn't able to put it back on without putting Ellie down (and I was trying not to have make Ellie have a major meltdown in the middle of the customs line). All I can say is that we were very glad we were not sick this time. When our turn came, we approached the customs agent, and he tore open the envelope. I was wondering what the heck was in there. It looked like a duplicate of our paperwork (court decree, birth certificate, immigration paperwork, etc.) It looked like he took whatever was on the top and threw it away! Ugh... (although, I did find out later that we can send a request to get our paperwork back as there may have been some information in her file that went to customs that we may not have). Our Customs visit was pretty non-significant too.. and soon we were on our way to get our WET luggage. (yep, it was pretty wet).
|Second Plane Ride|
Once we got our luggage and took it to our connector flight, we honestly only had enough time to visit the bathroom, change our icky clothes, grab a bite to eat and hop on our next flight. Once we arrived in Harrisburg, it was so overwhelming (but awesome!!) to be greeted by our family and friends. We couldn't have asked for a better ending to such a long 24 hours!
And, as far as Ellie getting used to her carseat.... I don't think it was a problem :)
|First Car Seat Ride on the way home from the airport|
The next morning, both girls were excited to begin their day and play with each other. . .
|First Morning Together|
At least for a little while!