While we await news of a court date, we’re doing what we can to prepare for our first trip. We may get as little as one week of notice (although it seems like most families get about three weeks of notice), so to avoid as much utter panic as I can (realizing that utter panic will surely be unavoidable), I am pulling out my Type A, slightly OCD personality and milking it for all it’s worth at this point. I’m making a plan, and I’ve got a master list of things to do that somehow keeps getting longer, even while I’m crossing a few things off.
We got our travel vaccines on Tuesday, which is our first major accomplishment. We chose to follow the CDC’s recommendations. Two days later, I still have a 2″ sore and inflamed welt on my upper arm from the Yellow Fever vaccine. But it’s better than actually getting Yellow Fever, so I won’t complain. (Much.)
Yesterday we got our passports back from the Ethiopian Embassy, complete with visas that allow us to legally enter and stay in the country. It’s a little nervewracking sending your passports away when you’re anticipating needing them for very important international travel in the near future, but since Ethiopia just stopped issuing visas in-country, it was the only option. I’m glad to have them back in our possession.
We’re also working on preparing for making travel plans. (Yes, I am making a plan so we can make plans.) We have decided to use a travel agent familiar with Ethiopian adoption trips, as we figure it’s one less thing we’ll have to do and we can rely on some expert advice in planning a major trip on short notice. Craig’s stepmom has generously offered us some frequent flier miles, so we’re pulling all of that information together so we’re ready to hand that over to the travel agent when the time comes. Using the miles may or may not work based on availability, partner airlines, dates, and everything else, but we’ll definitely give it a shot! We also have credit card miles from ourselves and from my mom that will probably cover the cost of airfare for one trip, so that will be extremely helpful, expense-wise.
We also need to prepare a small photo album for Baby K. We will include 6-8 photos of us, our house, and our dogs, and the nannies will show it to her and talk with her about us. I think the albums are probably wonderful for older kids, so they can see their new family members, where they’ll live, and so on, and it’s a little odd to think about this for a baby as young as Baby K, but we know that any time she is held and read to and talked to about us will be good for her. We need to work on taking some photos of ourselves as we don’t have many recent ones to choose from. I have approximately five million photos of our dogs, but not all that many of them with us in the photos – so that’s an assignment, too, since photos with us show they are friendly.
I’ve started a bit of a packing list – but really it’s more of a list of things we need to purchase for our trip, little things like mosquito repellent with DEET and packets of electrolyte replacement drink mix. I’d like to get a new hat for shade since we’ll be near the Equator and at 8000 feet elevation. (That reminds me to check our sunscreen supply as well.) We’ve got prescriptions for antibiotics and anti-malarials to be called in and picked up. I’d like to find a long skirt to wear to our court date, and I don’t ever wear long skirts. So, at the moment, this list is just of things like that. A real packing list will come at some point, but I’m not there yet. I’m still making lists of things I need to make lists of, you know?
Also, something I haven’t put a lot of thought into yet is what sort of donations we’d like to take with us for the orphanage and care center. We plan to take a bag or bin of things with us, and I’d like to purchase things there, too, to support the local economy. We cannot give money as it could be seen as bribery, but we want to support the places that have cared for Baby K and so many other children in times of need. More on that coming soon.
So, that’s what we’re working on. We haven’t even gotten to preparations for bringing Baby K home, as we feel that’s getting ahead of ourselves – plus, who has time for that when we’ve got all of this to do?