We are finally home and we are all doing well.
After a brief Q&A under oath at the U.S. Embassy last Wednesday, we were granted Abraham's visa to come to the U.S. We spent Thursday focused on packing, burning off Connor energy and getting ready for the loooooonnnnnnggggg flight home. As a last hurrah, we went to visit the Ethiopian Orthodox church where Emperor Haile Selassie and his wife have their tombs. The Emperor was buried in an unceremonious grave in the palace after the coup by the Derg. With the overthrow of the Derg regime, his remains were exhumed and he is now enshrined in the church where he and his wife worshipped. It was very interesting to see the church as well as understand the practices of their worship -- they all cover (both men and women) in long sheetlike wraps so that all are equal in worship. The services are roughly three hours long and the men and women enter through separate doors and worship together -- the men on the left of the sanctuary and the women on the right -- no pews either, just standing or kneeling. Very interesting and a really beautiful church.
So our long journey home began as we headed to the airport at 7 p.m. to check in for our 10:15 p.m. flight. We left late but arrived early, about 18 hours later via a refueling stop in Rome. Connor was trooper and we gots lots of help with Abraham -- as he got passed around among the lovely 'ready to be Ethiopian grandparents' sitting next to me and numerous other passengers who just HAD to hold the beautiful baby. Did we mention that they just looovvveeee children?
Also, I have to give a plug to Ethiopian Airlines -- they get the highest marks for service and especially for patience, care and attention to families! They have this great thing where they bolt a baby bassinet into the bulkhead after takeoff so I sat in the bulkhead seat reserved for Abraham with Abraham asleep in the bassinet (when he wasn't busy making friends) -- and Connor stretched out four rows back on the row of seats that were reserved for Connor, Chris and me.
We landed, breezed through customs and immigration and Uncle Jaime greeted us at Dulles to take us home. We managed to stay up all day Friday and Friday night went reasonably well with highs and lows since. Last night was our best night yet with Connor asleep in his own bed at 8 pm (and through the night -- hallelujah!!) and Abraham asleep by 6 pm and up for feedings at 8:30, midnight and 5 a.m. . . . and everyone slept until 7:30 this morning.
We have also had lots of great family time since our return home. While we were gone, Chris' sister Sara (and her husband Jaime) gave birth to the beautiful Marcos. Sara and Marcos are doing well and big brother Antonio (2) is adjusting nicely. So Sara and Chris' folks -- Jim and Kathie Mailander -- doubled their grandson count in a period of 24 hours -- and they are here helping out the parents, getting to know Abraham and Marcos, and enjoying the attentions of Connor and his cousin Antonio. (We are grateful for the company and the help!!)
As for news of Abraham, he is doing well. He has his first trip to his pediatrician on Monday and was pronounced beautiful, engaged, and healthy. He is gaining weight daily and also building strength. In the nearly two weeks since he joined our family, his back and neck are noticeably stronger, he is more active and demanding (in a good way!), he is getting fatter and he is happy and babbling and seems to know he is home. His big brother is sharing family affections well -- with only the occasional 'you're my mama' meltdowns . . . Connor is just amazing and we always pinch ourselves to remember just how lucky we really are!
So here we pause . . .with two very healthy boys and a great family and wonderful friends to support us. . . . we'll update on occasion as we go forward but for the moment, we just want you to all know that we are well and grateful for all of your support.
Chris, Elizabeth, Connor and Abraham