Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Zipfs...Party of 5!

Tuesday morning we went over to the Care Center to pick up Tariku and bring him with us permanently. First we toured the facility with the head CHSFS Physician. She is the perfect Doctor for all the children and she and the whole staff provide an excellent standard of care. She is the onsite Physician there all week, and then during the night and weekends there are nurses attending round the clock. During the tour we learned that from the time a child is brought to the orphanage they are cared for in an isolated area for 15 days to make sure they are not sick. During that time they are monitored, and provided the best attention. Once the 15 days are up, they are brought in with the rest of the children permanently. CHSFS is also in the process of adding additional full ICU care capabilities on site as well. As of now, they can do a lot, but with the addition of more medical equipment, they will be able to care for the sick children even more effectively. We got a chance to see several children’s pictures and progress from the time some of them arrived at the Care Center many were very gaunt and malnourished (Tariku was pretty weak when he arrived too) and those same children we interacted with during our time there were totally healthy, and very active children.
After the tour, all of us headed downstairs for the ceremony. A group of older children (3-5yrs old) sang some songs, and then Tariku and the other 6 children who are being adopted this week with our group were brought in one last time and given to each family in our group. Each of us was also given a booklet created by the nannies that took care of our children. The booklets had personal stories and memories that we will treasure always. Then one by one, we brought up our kids and they did a hand print for a booklet that stays here at the Care Center. After that we were invited to share our adoption experience with the entire group. To wrap it all up, we all gathered around in a circle and a few staff ladies prayed for the children, and invited anyone of us to pray as well. We could not have been more impressed with the transition, and all of the ceremony is included in a video story we get to keep.
When we finished the ceremony, we all said tearful goodbyes – especially the nannies who were responsible for each child – and we headed off to go to the American Embassy. Everything we did for the last 15 months leads up to this moment. We got to the Embassy sometime about 2 or 3pm and we only waited for about an hour and a half before we all sailed through the final stamps of approval to bring our children home! Again, this is another area where CHSFS has done an incredible job making sure that all the details in the paperwork are completed properly and according to US and Ethiopian Government standards.
We’ve met some families this week in our journeys around Addis who have not been so fortunate. The ones we’ve met that have had some issue with a legal document of some kind that was not processed - or just not processed correctly - still have been able to take their kids home within a day or two, but our agency had us prepared with everything we needed. We felt like some of the things we were asked to do may have been a bit ‘overkill’ but now we understand why CHSFS will be able to do over 600 adoptions this year alone. They know what they’re doing, and are helping to save hundreds of kids’ lives a year because of the program and the processes they’ve developed.
Today we just kinda chilled out. It was great to recap the special moments of the week with many from our group throughout the day. We’ve all bonded well with each other and with each others’ children. We’re all thinking about ways that we can reconnect soon because of the special relationships that were developed this week.
I might have a chance to write more tomorrow… maybe I’ll at very least try to post some more pics… but everyone else leaves tomorrow afternoon because they’re all flying different airlines, and Air Emirates doesn’t fly out on Thursdays from Addis. So, we’ll head back to the SIM Guesthouse to stay the night tomorrow (Thurs) because our flight doesn’t leave until Friday evening at 19:30 local time. We don’t have net access at the SIM Guesthouse so after tomorrow; maybe I’ll be able to post something here during our short layover in Dubai… in the middle of the night on Friday.
PS… please pray for our travel back home. We’ll have less luggage coming home, and hopefully less carry-on bags too, but we’ll have not two but THREE tired little ones and we’ll be a bit worn out… and worn thin too.

Love to all.. until next time…
Zipf, Party of Five

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