Tuesday, September 15, 2009

U.S. Embassy Day

I was unable to take any photos anywhere near the embassy, so here is a photo of Miss Rosie on the day that she got her US visa. I like this shot because instead of looking frightened, she looks tough ... like the super strong little girl that she most definitely is.

On Tuesday, Rosie and I as well as the other families from our agency had an appointment at the U.S. embassy to get a visa for her. While she has been officially our daughter since the end of July, we still needed to apply for a visa for her to travel home to the United States. As we drove up towards the embassy, I noticed a lot of signs in Amharic and English forbidding any photographs and was glad that I had taken my cameras and camcorder out and left them at the guest house. We could only drive so close to the embassy so we parked out a few streets and walked in. I had a diaper bag over my shoulder and Rosie on my hip and really could not have felt any more conspicuous as we walked on. As Americans, we were allowed to pass the lines and lines of Ethiopian families waiting for the chance to apply for a visa and in through a separate entrance.I felt awful. I tried to hide Rosie's cute little face under my scarf and was sure to keep my eyes down and go in as quick as possible. We showed our passports and went through the first group of guards who searched my diaper bag and found some electronic baby toys which really annoyed them. They took the toys out of my bag and gave it back to me and Rosie and I were allowed to enter. I fumble with my bag trying to shove all of the stuff back in and get through and when I glance up I see on the wall photo portraits of our president and secretary of state. I was never happier to see Barack and Hilary and instantly got emotional, patriotic and just plain relieved... like I unexpectedly bumped into old friends. We were taken through the security building and into a large waiting room and we do just that. We wait. The room is filled with Americans adopting (adoption cases are seen only one day every other week) and Ethiopians trying to get visas. I notice that quite a few of the Ethiopian men and women have tribal markings, some intricate, some simple dots- on their faces and wonder how that will go for them when they travel to the US. After a little more than an hour(whew! I was warned it could be much longer)Rosie and I are called to a window. I am asked a few questions about her circumstances and they ask if this is the child that I was referred. I am nervous, but the women who is interviewing me is kind, we are quickly approved and it's over. On Thursday, our representative, Abdissa can pick up her visa and we are free to go home. No delays, no problems, Rosie can come home.

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