• Posted by Meghan on 24 Nov 2009

We had an early start to the day and were all dressed and showered and in the taxi by 7:20. Eden was a trooper even though her eating and sleeping schedule was totally interrupted. We headed to the US Embassy and we got there at 8am. It was awesome because we are American citizens and so we just walked past this HUGE line of people waiting to go through security right to the security gate. We were taken through security and past the huge line of people waiting outside of the embassy building. We went to the American Citizen Services desk and took our number (425) then walked into the waiting room where they were serving #425. We went in to a private room and explained the situation to a girl (who by the way: first thing she said to me was “Nice Vera Bradley bag.” So nice to have someone notice!) She got a non-immigrant visa officer who came to us (instead of us going out into the big waiting room with all of the Kenyans). He discussed the adoption with us and talked to us about our plans then said he would call us when it was our turn.

When they called us 5 minutes later we found out that we had to have visa pictures taken and complete a form online. We left the embassy and went next door where they had a photo shop that did visa pictures and upstairs was an internet cafe. We were back at the embassy by 9. We went right to the window and turned in our papers then went to pay (where they accepted American Express!!!!) and then we waited for them to call us again.

They approved us and told us to come back on Monday at 2 to pick up the visa which is PERFECT because we had to go to Nairobi on Monday anyway to make our flight out of Nairobi on Tuesday morning. The man we talked to said that DHS normally only gives a 6 month visa but that he would put a note in her case file explaining the situation and would recommend a 10 month visa for her. We won’t find out how long her visa is until we get back to the US it seems, but we’ve been told that even if she only gets a 6 month visa, we can extend it once we are home.

God was still at work today (shocking, I know) and obviously had all of this in control. We can’t express how thankful we are to all of you for your prayers and words of encouragement. We can’t wait to be home so that all of you can meet our precious daughter. We are looking forward to a week of stress-free life as we prepare to come home.

Baby Elephant Sanctuary
After all of the visa stuff we had some time before our flight and we went to a baby elephant sanctuary where they raise orphaned elephants and then release them into the wild. Eden was very excited about the elephants and was flapping her arms, pointing and yelling “Ooo, ooo, ooo.” when the elephants moved. I’m posting some pictures so that you can see how cute the elephants and Eden were. :-)

  • Posted by Meghan on 23 Nov 2009

So God is constantly making Himself more visible to us throughout the adoption process. He has worked in amazing ways already and today was further proof that He has a plan for our family. The day that we got Eden’s passport we emailed the embassy to get an expedited visa appointment. We had not heard back from them and decided that we would make our own arrangements and plan to travel to Nairobi on Tuesday and just show up at the embassy and wait for them to see us. Ben booked our flight for 8:45 Tuesday morning (the first flight out) and a flight home for 4 Tuesday afternoon (the last flight back). I made one last ditch effort this afternoon to follow their procedures and tried to call the non-immigrant visa office in hopes of making an appointment. No one answered and so I called the American Services Center. The woman there offered to walk down to the non-immigrant visa office and see what she could find out. When she got back on the phone she told me that she needed Eden’s passport info and that we needed to be at the embassy by 8 on Tuesday morning. I called Ben and we both immediately flew into action. I started packing and he called the airport. The last flight to Nairobi left at 5 and we had to be there at 4:30. Did I mention that all of this was happening at 4?

EdensFirstFlight-smaller
Thankfully God wanted us here at 8am and I had us packed in 10 minutes (an amazing feat considering that it took me 4 weeks to pack to come to Kenya). Ben borrowed Sam’s car (again) and we drove very, very quickly to the airport. We pulled in at 4:35 and made it to the waiting area with 15 minutes to spare. Ben spent that 15 minutes booking us a room and finding transportation from the airport to the guest house and I spent it trying to calm Eden down who was suffering after getting immunized today.

The flight is only 35 minutes but Ben and I were both apprehensive since Eden already wasn’t feeling well and neither of us felt like we had had time to adequately prepare for the journey. However, she did GREAT!! She sat on my lap and played the entire trip.

A few people had recommended this bed and breakfast in Nairobi called Mayfield Guesthouse. Its run by the AIM organization. Its a pretty nice house with nice people (most are missionaries), good food (almost American), a large number of rooms (20+), free internet … and then shared bathrooms. :-/ We’re leaving about an hour before breakfast is served, so I’m hoping we’re not waiting in line tomorrow for showers.

We’ll send another update out tomorrow hopefully with good news from the embassy!

  • Posted by Ben on 21 Nov 2009

We had a few hiccups getting the birth certificate and passport, but its all done now! The only step we have left is to get the visitor’s visa for her and then we can fly home!

First, the thorn in our side named Philip was in Ethiopia this week, so our lawyer (Were) was able to “convince” the registrar to let us have Eden’s birth certificate. We took this to the Eldoret passport office but they said that everyone mustmust have two names (her cert only said “Eden”). So we went back to the registrar the next day and had him change it to “Baby Eden”! (all the paperwork so far has said Baby Eden for whatever reason). The Eldoret passport office was happy now and authorized/filled out the rest of the passport papers. However, Kenya is so advanced that they are now printing the pictures right onto the passports and digitizing them for some sort of archiving purposes. This means that there are only 3 places in Kenya that do this: Nairobi, Mombasa, and Kisumu.

Kisumu is about the same size as Eldoret and is a 3 hour ($80) cab ride away. I would have borrowed Sam’s car and driven us there, but not having an international driver’s license made me nervous going longer distances. The chances of hitting a police roadblock out of town is about 1000 times higher than just around Eldoret where I have been driving.

I made one Hail Mary call to the director of the AMPATH drivers to see if anyone was going down near Kisumu on Thursday. Luckily, there was a doctor going there for his weekly visit to an AMPATH clinic thats only 20 mins outside of Kisumu! The benefit (and terrible thing) about going with them was that they were leaving at 5:30 AM! We were lucky because this meant Eden slept for 95% of the trip and that we got there even before they opened. We weren’t lucky because, well, its 5:30 in the morning!!

Eden-with-kenyan-passport-1

We sat in the lobby for 45 minutes before they let anyone in. We were the first ones in line and apparently had the magic word: “Mbakaya”. Our Eldoret passport office friend had just txted us to ask for her and she would make our lives easier. Sure enough, she was extremely helpful! She did what seemed like only a cursory look over the papers once she knew that Timothy in Eldoret had done them. She then said, “ok, everything is in order, come back at 3 to pick it up.” That was it, no staying overnight, no begging for faster processing, nothing!

So we toured Kisumu a little bit: rode to the Nakumat Mega (aka Walmart + mall) in a tuktuk, went to the Sunset Hotel to relax for a bit, had lunch with an OpenMRS implementer that I know, then went back to the passport office right at 3 o’clock. Unfortunately it wasn’t ready yet, so we had to wait around for another hour and a half. Unfortunately this squashed the time that we were going to use to go to see the lakeside and the impala park, but we were so happy to have the passport that we didn’t really care!

We are now trying to contact the US embassy to get an expedited visa appointment. However, everyone says that in the past they have just flown to NBO and waited in line (for most of the day) and had success.

  • Posted by Ben on 14 Nov 2009

Meghan neglected to include a few important points from the magistrate meeting.  First, we actually made a date to see her back here on Sept 2nd 2010.  Second, she said that at that time she will do everything she can to help us with the adoption and that no one will deny us an adoption of Eden!  We’ll still need to worry about getting her adopted in the US and/or getting an immigration visa for her…but as Meghan keeps saying: “one step at a time.”

We had our second ultrasound of Baby Andy yesterday.  We had the same bed-side ultrasound machine as last time, so I took our video camera and recorded the entire thing.   You can watch it here or find one of the HD versions over on the http://wolfes.blip.tv site.

  • Posted by Meghan on 13 Nov 2009

YEA!!  Yesterday morning we went to see the magistrate (for the 3rd time this week) and it was a success!  We were granted our travel order and the magistrate decided she needed to sleep on the birth certificate order.  The lawyer went back today and the magistrate said said that we didn’t need a birth certificate to bring Eden home.  She says we just need the travel order and the custody order.  We will go on Monday morning to apply for the passport and then as soon as we get her passport number we will head on to Nairobi for the embassy.  We are very excited that things have gone so well (even though there have been delays it has been nothing compared to what other families have gone through trying to adopt) and we’re also very anxious about our time constraints.  We are scheduled to leave December 1 and it would be best if we could all go at that time.  We appreciate your continued prayers for speedy processing of the paperwork!

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