We're posting an update from the Sheraton in Addis where they have a business center.
First and foremost, a huge thank you to Congressman Ciro Rodriguez and his amazing team (Priscilla, you are our hero!). So many people helped us in the 11th hour, but Priscilla was the quarterback for an amazing effort that spanned three federal agencies in different cities as well as the US Embassy in Addis Ababa. She got up early to contact the embassy, sent me (Dan) a text one time at 3:30 in the morning right before we left. Seriously, who does that for people these days (the answer to that rhetorical question is 'Priscilla' in case you were wondering!) So many people need to be thanked, but since many of them are Federal Government Employees I want to be mindful of their privacy:
Priscilla at Rep. Rodriguez office
Ruth at the Dept. of State
Paul at Dept. of Justice
Dan B. and his amazing team at the company where I work
The US Embassy staff in the Visa section
The friends and family who are watching our kids: Zulekha, Chris and Dell V., Em and Deb S.
And the many others whom we may never know were a part of Team Evangeline!
When we went to the Embassy the first morning we were in Addis the Embassy staff said "You cannot believe how much email traffic was generated on your behalf! And don't worry, this will all be worked out before Monday."
So, on to Evie. First, she is beautiful and amazing and in such good health. The caregivers at the orphanage took such good care of her. She is a typical Kovac baby... loves being held all the time (that is code for "she cries if we put her down" and "she screams bloody murder if we try to put her to sleep in her crib at night and has to sleep with us").
The first day she was all smiles and giggles but yesterday and today has been a little fussy. It could be the different formula (we're going to try and find the brand she was being given at the orphanage) or it could be that she is going through some grieving as a lot of the babies do when they leave. Poor kid has been through a lot, but she is now in the most loving arms (Rachel's) that any baby could ever experience.
Yesterday was sort of a cool milestone with her. At first she was sort of indiscriminately friendly to anyone with open arms (not necessarily a good thing) but by the end of the day yesterday, she would cry when the staff at the guesthouse would hold her and wanted to be back with Rachel.Last night, although rough because she was up 5 or 6 times, was also magical for me. At around 5 am she was rather upset so I was pacing with her in the living room of the guesthouse and she fell asleep in my arms. I laid down on the couch and she slept on my chest for about 45 minutes (I will file that memory away for when she is a teenager and demands a 2 am curfew or something...Evie, the answer to that is no. Midnight. I don't care if you are 16 and all your friends stay out that late).
Today we are meeting with our local attorney Mr. Guta--who has been very gracious and helpful--to do some paperwork for our meeting with the Embassy on Monday, and then this afternoon we might go to the Lion Zoo or one of the Museums.
Rachel is really the blogger in our family but she is carrying Evie right now. I have to say that on a personal note, she is such an amazing Mom. That little girl is bonding to her already and just like our first two kids, I know they will be inseparable in no time flat.
I'll close with a note about Ethiopia: We are in love with this country. It is stunningly beautiful in Addis because it is nestled in the mountains (about 5000 ft ASL) and the Ethiopian people are so beautiful and warm. For me, coming back home to Africa after all these years (I grew up in West Africa with my family and left when I was 18) has been an amazing experience and I could live here in a heartbeat. Now if only I could get my company to open a regional office in Addis... I'll have to work on that.
Blessings to all for now and we will see you soon! Jude and Indigo, we hlove and miss you and we will see you in a few days.