I remember waking up this morning being so nervous, even though the Lovin family had briefed us on their experience from the day before. (Of course this was when there were two separate court dates on different days, our MOWA date had happened two weeks earlier) I couldn't eat breakfast and I just remember being very emotional thinking about everything that had led us up to this point. We went first to meet the Gladney lawyer, a woman, who reviewed some of the common questions that the judge might ask. She was very straight forward/ matter of fact. We then went to the court room and waited in a room being one of the first families there. Then other families starting coming in including parents who were there to relinquish their rights with their children. I remember trying to hold back tears thinking about it and thinking that Solomon's mom had been here just a few weeks ago. The lawyer sat across the room and seemed as if she was trying to get us in quickly. We waited awhile and were the second family called in. The judge sat behind a desk and was very soft spoken. She asked us a few questions while filling out paperwork, all yes/no such as :
Is this child referred to you, have you met him, do you plan to incorporate ethiopian culture, do you have biological children, does your family know about the adoption, are they supportive, and maybe a few more.
Then she said "she is yours" (even though Solomon is a boy). Matt and I looked at each other and just smiled and left the room. Matt said he had turned around and thanked the judge and she smiled at him. We were parents it was such an exciting, overwhelming moment.
After our court date we were able to go visit Solomon. This visit was amazing! The caregivers were different this time. When we walked in Solomon was sleeping in his crib, they woke him up and handed him right over to us. The whole time they were trying to make him smile, showing us his skills, and encouraging us to be with him.
(Our first family picture)
We stayed and played with him and some of the other children in his room. It was a great visit. (At this point we had decided to go to Awassa, where Solomon is from, over the weekend and take placement as soon as we got back).
After our visit we went to Top View restaurant (another good place to eat) with the Lovins, Plumbs and in country staff Travis, Joanna, and Belay.
(View from Top View)
It was at this meeting that we learned that our embassy date was going to be Thanksgiving week...woah. We had been hoping we would be home before then but here is why. Apparently it takes a mandatory 3 weeks for the birth certificate and other paperwork to be completed. Gladney gets 10 appointment slots every other Thursday with the US embassy and since 10 families had just had court dates the week before us it moved us to Thanksgiving week. (of course this may have changed...since things are always changing).
After talking with the in country staff we (us and the Lovin family) decided that we were not going to go to Awassa and that we wanted to take placement of the boys ASAP. So we decided that tomorrow we would go to the care center and Michael (in country staff) would bring us the boys. AHHH!!
We then went to the Alert Hospital gift shop and watched the men and women make their beautiful crafts. They had lots of pot holders, napkins, table cloths, pillow covers, blankets, clothes, and other items for sell.
We then went and got some coffee before we had a processing group held at the Gladney office just to talk about our process and things to think about in future with adopting Ethiopian children. The woman leading the group had some nice insight and helped us think more about future issues that might arise. We were once again with the Lovin family and felt comfortable enough talking about our children's stories when asked by the counselor.