• Posted by Ben on 30 Nov 2009

We flew into NBO this morning without any issues. Our driver picked us up and took us to Mayfield, then to a mall where I met with some new OpenMRS implementers who wanted some “professional” advice. We ate a very non-Kenyan lunch at a little coffee shop, then went for our two o’clock appointment at the embassy. The embassy trip really wasn’t all that exciting, apparently all the hard stuff really was last week. Meghan and I were halfway through security (unpacking liquids, metal, coins, etc) when she asked if we were just picking up a passport. Apparently there is a little window where you give your “passport pickup ticket” and they just give you the visa-stamped passport back! Yep, that easy!

So, in conclusion, we’re coming home! We look forward to seeing you all very soon. We might post an update from our hotel in Amsterdam, but that all depends on how much sleep we’re needing at that point!

  • 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?

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!

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