I met our son.
He is beautiful, scared, shy, affecionate, perfect.
His official name is Cyprien Mugisha. I have been calling him Spree. We have not decided what his final name will be.
Peter picked me up Tuesday morning and we headed out to the Minstry where he was to drop me off so I could wait and see if the letter would be ready. Before we arrived we found out that the letter was signed and ready! I had been praying all morning that this would happen and it did! So, we went directly to the orphanage where they brought him out to me. He was very shy, but he didn't cry. He came to me while looking around at everyone--he seemed to be wondering why he was the center of everyone's attention. He made eye contact with me a lot and sat and looked at me. I told him about Daddy and brother and showed him pictures. Finally he cuddled into me and fell asleep.
It was obviously one of the best days of my life. Just as with the birth of Brooks, I feel exhausted, excited, numb, everything all at once.
I had to leave him again as I will each day until the court date, but Peter told him I would be back.
Today we went to complete the first step of the official court process--a trip to the sector where he was born. Everything there went very smoothly and by 10:30 we were headed to the orphanage to pick Spree up again. The intention was to go for medical testing, but the doctor was not able to do the test on a baby and then the next doctor could not see him until next week. Really, the nuns had already completed what we need, so we spent the afternoon completing the other tasks we needed to do. We went for passport photos and it was about this time that the scared look started to disappear from his face and his personality started to show. He made his first request--he pointed at my empty coke bottle and then at his mouth. So, I promptly asked that the car be stopped for juice! He did not stop sucking the straw and drinking until half of the 20 oz bottle was gone. I then broke out the peanut butter crackers and now we are fast friends.
I took out the picture book that I made of our family and told him everyone's name. He caught on and kept pointing back and forth as I said "Daddy, Brooks." Then he kept rubbing Brooks's picture with his finger. Chris was able to speak to him on the phone both days. Today while Chris was on the phone I saw Spree's first smile. Later he pointed at the lawyer's cell phone and said "Daddy."
He was very facinated with the camera. He would look at the picture and then turn it over and look at the other side trying to figure it out. Then he took to poking at it, so it had to go away, but I did catch what sounded like "Mommy" when he pointed at a picture of the two of us.
By the end of the day, he was trying to run away into the street to see the cars. He protested loudly when I wouldn't let him eat his dropped cracker off the floor. He found vast enjoyment in pulling the straw in and out of his juice. And, he tried to eat his Hot Wheel. All in all, he was starting to be a normal 2 1/2 year old. He even wanted me to lean him over backwards over and over while I said "Silly Spree" and he would laugh and giggle. After I gave him the little car, he looked at me with the sweetest face and offered me a bite of his cracker. He fell asleep driving back to the orphanage and Peter carried him in.
So, now I wait to hear when our court date will be scheduled, but everything has been so perfect so far. I feel very comfortable here and today had Peter and Sam, the driver, drop me at the market where this coffee shop is. I told them I could find my way home, but Sam insisted that he could come back for me. I will be to see Spree again tomorrow and play with him at the orphanage.
I will keep you posted as I can. I cannot post pictures yet, but I will after court. Thank you for all your prayers; please keep them coming and pray for a speedy court date and easy travel arrangements for Chris and Brooks.
Now for the blog post I wrote 2 days ago (it kinda got preempted!)
A Daring Adventure
"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." Helen Keller
I last left you at the Charlottoe airport. From there, I went on to D.C. where I had to retrieve all my luggage (2 50lb bags, and 2 large rubbermaid totes) and get rechecked into Ethiopian Airlines. That was the site of my last true panicky moment thus far. I think the combination of knowing that once I checked those bags the die was cast and I was going, combined with the sudden immersion into a large crowd of people all speaking a different language and not truly knowing what I was doing made me uneasy. But I made it through and had to re-enter through security.
The flight itslef was smooth but was anything but restful. I was hoping that I would be able to sleep the whole time--and a few people did--but it took 3 hourse into the flight for them to get dinner served and turn out the lights. So, I slept fitfully until breakfast just before Rome where we stopped for an hour to refuel. I must say the food was very good, but by the end of the flight--when they gave us lunch--I just wanted them to stop feeding us. With the time chnages and landings and taking offs, it was as if something was always going on and there was no real hope for sleep. I just want to add that either Amharaic is a very wordy language or every time they made announcements they told the Amharaic speakers a lot more than the English speakers! They would come over the PA and talk for like 3 minutes in Amhariaic and then say something short and sweet like, "Ladies and Gentleman, this is a non-smoking flight."
In the haste of booking the tickets, I didn't realize that my layover in Addis was 14 hours. Luckily, they provided a hotel and meal voucher. However, had God not sent Samantha, an young American missionary returning home to Burundi, and her friend, I would not have been able to take advantage of the hotel. It started when I got off the plane. I followed the sign for transfer passengers. Here I encountered what appraently passes for a line--a mass of people huddled around a desk where two unconcerned people very methodically and without any apparent haste process things. At this point, Samanatha appeared, informed me that if I had my boarding pass I didn't need to wait in that line. I then attached myself to her and followed her for the next 12 hours.
We went to the line to get our hotel vouchers where I witnessed Samantha's assertive diplomacy when a man cut in front of us from the side of the line. She asked in an assertive, but light-hearted tone, "Did you just get in front of us?" He smiled and said, "Oh no, I am behind you as he moved." She then made some friendly small talk with him in Swahilli, I think. Later, she helped calm the nerves in the transit visa line when some men were very unhappy with the ineffeciency of the system which according to them would never be allowed in their country of Zambia. After this we were left to walk the length of the airport 3 times trying to find the shuttle bus. We kept being told it was on the other side--did I mention that Samantha is 30 weeks pregnant? Her spirit did not sink once and she let us rely on her. She simply told the 4th man who tried to tell us where to go that he didn't seem too busy and didn't he think it would be best if he just got up and walked us to the bus. He did and we got there.
Driving through the streets of Addis at 11 pm was surreal. We saw a rowdy mob which included a mother with a baby on her back apparently making sport of a grown naked man. There were people in various lean-to's, open air butcher carts, etc. It was a confusion of images and sensations that felt all the mroe disconcerting because we were exhausted. At the hotel, we used our meal voucher to have a quick, bland meal of fish and rice. The people were helpful, if not friendly. The room was basic and serviceable--very worn but clean and with a heavy secure lock. I was able to sleep some though I woke up often to check the time as I was terrified of falling asleep too deeply and missing my flight.
Back at the airport I had an omelet and a coke, walked through the shops, and said goodbye to my new friends. I was then able to buy some internet time and do some emails. When I finally settled in to wait for the flight (after almost taking one to Zanzibar by accident), I looked out the window and realized what a beautiful view there was from the airport. Walking out on the tarmac further invigorated me as the weather was beautiful. I was excited to be so close.
The flight to Kigali was mercifully short even with the stop in Uganda. Arrival at the Kigali airport was a stark contrast to the Addis airport. Of course, it was much smaller, but the people were much friendlier as well. The visa man asked if this was my first visit and then informed me that I was very welcome in Rwanda. The luggage retrieval was quick and I wasn't swarmmed continously with offers of help--one man politely asked and cleared a path for me after I declined. Then I had a thrilling moment--I had someone waiting for me with my name typed nice and big on a sign. He helped me to the car and me smiled and nodded and misunderstood each other all the way to the guest house.
Going by what was said about the quality of African hotels as a whole when I was in the hotel in Ethiopia, I am very happy with my guest house. It is old, but clean and very secure. The staff is very sweet and helpful and one of them kind of speaks a little English. I met some other guests at dinner tonight. They are here with a volunteer organization and teaching street children. They have been here 2 months and speak highly of the guest house and the neighborhood. So, despite the fact that I just washed my hair in water that wasn't exactly clear and took a sponge bath because nothing comes out of my hot water tap (they work on it tomorrow!) I am happy.
But, back to Rwanda. IT IS REALLY BEAUTIFUL! The houses perched on the hills remind me of paintings of Italy. Everything is green and lush and the weather was nice and warm and humid. Very tropical, just like I like it! Peter came to pick me up at the guest house shortly after I arrived and we went directly to the Ministry. I was able to meet Jeanne and she was very warm and kind. I enjoyed talking with her. I will let you all know when we get any news.
After that, Peter took me to exchange money and then to a large supermarket place where I bought a SIM card and minutes for the cell phone Peter provided. Chris has that number, so if anyone is inclined to call me, feel free. With the time difference anytime between your 10 am and 4 pm would catch me in the late afternoon or evening when I'm likely to be at the guest house staring at the walls. Just don't dial direct! Use a calling card or sign up for one of the internet discount calling things that makes it even cheaper than the calling cards.
Anyway, I then bought some bottled water and a coke and we headed "home." Peter sat and talked with me for awhile which was so nice. I passed the afternoon pleasantly and then got to speak on the phone to Chris. As I mentioned before, I ate dinner with the other guests so that I could meet other people and they were very nice. The food was very good and since one of them is a vegitarian, there was plenty for me to eat wthout having to eat meat. It is nice to be able to eat a meal here without being out at night and since it only costs like $3.75, I can swing it every night!
So, I am here. I am glad I came. Now I just pray for progress, but it is pretty cool to know that I am sleeping in the same city as our son!