Finally, we were able to start on some adoption paperwork! (Never thought I'd be happy about more paperwork.) Monday morning we hit the ground running, heading to MIGEPROF, and then to the orphanage for a very short visit. Then we headed to sector to work on our Act of Adoption paperwork. We were so excited to get it done!
The first thing checked off the list! (I know this is probably absolutely boring to those of you not in the adoption process, but it's good for us to be able to remember. So bear with me!)
After that, we went back to the orphanage for like two seconds. Then we headed to a new restaurant for lunch. Called Afrika Bite, it was Rwandan food and delicious. Especially the traditional bread. Chipote? I have no idea how to spell it, but I could eat it every day. And the peanut sauce. Yum.
Then we all headed to the airport to pick up the five families who were coming today. It was hard to believe that we were supposed to just now be arriving, when it felt like we had already been there so long. Meeting some new friends (only known to us online) and seeing old ones was so good. And the size of our group more than doubled. Yikes!
More running around all afternoon, dinner at the pizza place, and home to the hotel. We switched rooms this day, unfortunately in that we went from a nice room overlooking the courtyard to a very loud one overlooking a construction site and an insanely loud road. But fortunate in the fact that we got to have a room adjoining the Bowers' room. Fun!
The rest of the week was filled with running around to different offices and buildings, requesting a court date, visiting Laina, going to court, waiting for our ruling, eating at various places (meals take hours in Rwanda), waiting for things to happen.
I learned to do laundry in our room, and we never had to use the laundry service. It was actually kind of relaxing and normal in the midst of stressful and different. Not that I typically do our laundry in the sink, but you know what I mean. Mindless repetition and all that.
We attended court, which was nerve-wracking before and surprisingly quick and painless. We went to the Genocide Memorial (I wrote about it here). It was beautiful and heartbreaking.
Then the big day arrived: Gotcha Day, the day we'd pass court and Laina would be ours forever. May 6, 2011.
It was a bit surreal for me because I missed it. I was pretty sick that day and had to stay at the hotel the whole day. Yuck! So I found out via text that we had a new daughter, and I had to wait until the next day to see her.
But the next day (Saturday) was another good one because we got to take her out of the orphanage for the day! The families who passed court got up bright and early to be at the orphanage by 6:30 and take our babies with us. It was amazing to walk out the doors with her. We had a lot of firsts that day.
First nap on our bed (on top of the ergo, in her orphanage clothes still).
First bath with us (in the sink!).
First outfit chosen by us (a shirt the boys picked out for her with Aunt Kelsey, grey leggings, and a headband and bow from Aunt Lindy).
It was a bit intimidating--okay, a lot intimidating--to be given this almost-ten-month old baby and being supposed to know what to do next. How often did she nap? How much formula did she need, and how often? Was she on solids yet? And on the questions went. I felt like a first-time mother again, except more relaxed. As in, "I have no idea what I'm doing, but it'll work out."
We hung out around the hotel for a lot of the morning, and then we took a trip outside the city to a nearby village. The country of Rwanda is amazingly beautiful, as are her people.
We had to bring Laina back to the orphanage that night, which was heart-wrenching. This trip was so full of highs and lows it was astounding. But Sunday morning, we picked her up again and got to go to church with her. And it was Mother's Day! Church with my daughter on Mother's Day. Now that's a good day.
And so ended the first full week in Rwanda. We made great strides in our paperwork, we spent time with Laina, we missed our boys like crazy, we learned and loved Rwanda some more.