Monday - Day 23.
April 26. Sweet Azahria Peace's birthday....what a way to celebrate.
This morning once we got going...we went to Lusaka Trust Hospital to get my Visa Medical File. Hilarious. I spoke to FOUR different docs/nurses who all led me in a different direction. Finally I just went back to the waiting room and the lady that was helping me last week says to me "this is not good...you were supposed to speak to ME after you had your doctor appointment...now the file is not done!" I said "but the doctor said he would have that file ready first thing Monday morning and no one told me to come talk to you". She walks away clucking like hen. She comes back only to disappear into the bathroom for ten minutes. Finally comes out and not even looking at me says "follow me" I do. She sits me in another waiting room ... and says "secretary is sealing the documents. Sit". So funny. So the secretary comes out with my sealed envelope and I'm out of there. I felt bad for Tanis and the kids (and another nurse that was in our car catching a ride to town) since I really thought I'd be like 2 minutes!
We then went to Manda Hill mall...for lunch. Also bought a few gifts for my kids that I've been eyeing up for a while :) By the time we left there ... it was the right time to be heading to US Embassy.
So we go. Security is rediculous. Tanis has this HUGE, NASTY looking comb for African hair in her bag ... definitely could be classified as a weapon...and no problem. Take it through. My lip gloss? What are you thinking?? That has to stay in a bin. By the time I went in, I had an empty bag. :)
We go in and mr Agrippa asks for my documents. I give him all I have and we sit and wait. You know...after having sat and waited at sooooooo many appointments this trip..this was by far the most peaceful one. It was so much so...I thought...I wonder who prayed specifically for peace for me today. They took a very long time...40 minutes or so before anyone spoke to me. Finally the Consular called me into the interview room . We start going over documents. I keep thinking its a good thing that she's filling forms out. First thing she says is "Wow you were so prepared thank you for having all those forms filled out and all the documents with you". Nice to hear. Then we get to the concern. Orphans. If our children qualified. We know that do. Their standards were pretty crazy though. We have birth notifications of children, death notification of mother and father's relinquishment document from court. Orphans right? ahhh.
She was giving me this very direct eye contact that was a little denerving ... even through the glass window. Asking me about stamp dates being corrected. Why my sister in law had signed mother's death certificate etc. But we were prepared. The letter we had sent to us from Chitokoloki Mission hospital went over all of that in great detail. Tanis is the head mission nurse of the hospital...thats why she signed official documents. The letter even gave an apology for stamp dates often needing correcting. Her face when she read the letter (that was backed up by copies of the doctor's passport and medical license) was just awesome. She was like "WOW". "You were prepared". I said "you told me to come prepared". Then the one hang up was the fact that I came with no court documents. Now...I came last week and Kate said "no we don't need court documents, you couldn't have gotten this far without them...so obviously they are fine". Today she changed her mind. I said "I only have 3 documents, everything else has been given to Zambian officials just to get to this point". She said she wanted to see them. So Tanis takes off to meet a missionary half way..after telling him to find a pile of papers on my bed and race to Manda Hill to meet her with them. I was unsure what all was in my pile. Kate (consular) was hoping for some documentation further discussing children's family. As Tanis is running out the door, I'm in this tiny interview room with Z and C and Z says "I has to pee" (yes thats how he says it). I know when he says it...he's probably peeing..as he speaks. Fantastic. I yell at Tan .. they run to her and she takes them. When she sends them back, Zunduka is soaking wet. ahhh. 25 minutes or so later Tanis returns with the doc's. I bring them to Kate who tells me to go wait in waiting room again. She then buzzes me in and says "your documents were PERFECT, they definitely prove the children are orphans so we are a GO!" I'm smiling from ear to ear but I had the peace all along. It was a very cool moment. My first thought...honestly..."this is so awesome...on Azahria's bday. :)". Think of it...even though some of the timing of events would lead the best of us to struggle on this journey...in hindsight...and even right now...the timing is actually smile-worthy. I lose our baby the same day we adopt twins. Though completely in tears about missing our baby's birthday....we get the biggest answer to prayer ON her birthday!
A couple of delays...just to make things exciting :)....
1. Our photos were wrong size. The photo shop gave us Canadian Visa size instead of American. ahhh.
2. The payment office closed at 3:30pm so we need to come back first thing tomorrow (Tuesday) morning to pay and bring visa photos.
3. There is a process called "photo verification" that needs to be done before visas are printed...that can take 24 hours.
.... you know what that means? We may be picking up our visas...at 8 am and heading to the airport at 11am for our 1pm flight :)
So we left there at 5pm...and raced to Manda Hill arriving at 5:30...to get in before 6 closing time to get pics redone. Got it and were out of there. Headed to Dr. Goran's (plastic surgeon from last night) house for dinner. It was a wonderful meal and was especially wonderful after dinner to go through his hundreds of photos of cleft repairs. Very very very interesting. He was given the Humanitarian of the Year award last year in LA for all his work. Incredible. Some of the cases were a bit too much for me ... clefts that went all the way up to the eyes etc. I showed him Azlan's photos and he thinks he looks great. Then he told us how "even in Zambia" (his words) if you kill a child you go to jail. So they do 'silent killings'. They just do not feed the baby and it dies. So sad. So he said "we are on a mission....to show before and after photos so they can see there is hope...these babies are healthy and can look beautiful too". He looked at me and said "you know that". I thought of so many of us moms of cleft babies ... as we sobbed seeing our babies new faces. Interesting contrast. But neither we were thrown out of our homes and families as cursed...because we had our precious babies.
It was late when we left...and headed home. I knew Zunduka was completely overtired.. As I was rubbing cream on his head....oh ... another story...he has ringworm. I'm asking no questions..Tanis keeps saying its no big deal...but the sound of it alone makes me shiver...anyway as I'm rubbing the rx on his head he SOBS. Saying its hurting. This is what he does when he's over tired. Just sobbing. So he went to bed with a very white head as I couldn't rub it in...and I knew it didn't hurt (we've been rubbing it in several times a day)...crying. Joy comes in the morning :) Two more days.
What a perfect ending to a crazy journey. 25 days...on my knees. Not weary...refreshed. Not broken....whole. Is this what He had to do...to get me to this place...? I believe so. To get me to cry on His shoulder...I had to be out of reach of my husband's. To get me find my complete joy in Him...I had to be a world apart from our four children. This is what it took.
Tirzah, Zion, Azlan and Azahria Peace (who is now 2!)...Soon we will be counting down in HOURS to how soon we see you all. We are so excited. Zunduka and Chazano just BEAM when I talk about meeting you!
Thank you. For every step you took with our family. Thank you.