Saturday, May 3, 2008

Journey to Adoption?!?!?!

Thanks everyone for your prayers for us and for Anjela as we traveled!!

So here’s the update of how our trip to Western Kenya to pursue adoption of baby Anjela went. It was quite the adventure that’s for sure. Let’s just put it this way, in just the 3 weeks that Anjela has lived with us she’s slept in 6 different beds, traveled on 4 airplanes, in cars, in several squished matatus (public transport vans), on a cow, on a boda boda (bicycle taxi) with her new Mommy, and bumped around with us in a broken down pickup truck. Welcome to the life of the Omondi’s Baby!! We love the adventure most of the time and hope that you do too Anjela!

We specifically asked for prayers for the plane ride with Anjela. and God truly answered them. Anjela did exceptionally well on all 4 flights. I saved her bottle til it was time to take off and on almost every flight she sucked the bottle and then fell asleep in my arms until we landed. She is such a good baby and we were so thankful.We traveled by plane to Nairobi and then on to Kisumu the same day. We reached Kisumu in the evening almost at dark, and that’s when the adventure began. Our brother in law Harun graciously came to Kisumu to pick us up in his little pick up truck. So all 4 of us squished in the front seat and we were on our way. The baby carrier auntie Jill bought Anjela in Germany came in handy on the entire trip b/c it served as her car seat strapped on the front of Momma. The drive to Busia from Kisumu usually takes 1 ½ to 2 hours but it turned into a 5 hour adventure. The little pick up truck broke down about 3 different times in the middle of the dark but praise God not too terribly far from a Petrol Station or place that had lights. Praise God for the mechanic we found just before he was leaving too . I have to admit I was a little scared. As many of you know its not very safe to travel in the dark on Kenyan roads so we praise God for his Mighty Hand of protection on us. After reaching Busia at about midnight we decided it was safer for us to go and stay with Harun’s parents, the Onyangos (they are the couple who represented Dennis’ parents in our wedding.) for the night instead of traveling all the way to Dennis’ mom’s place. And them being the good hospitality Kenyans that they are, just had to feed us a HUGE welcome meal at midnight. Yep, beef, chicken, rice, greens, the works…and if that wasn’t enough good ole Kenyan tea just before bed. YUMMY!!

Over the next few days Dennis went to town in Busia, first trying to get Anjela’s birth certificate and find out the process of trying to adopt her. It took about two days (which was amazing) to get her birth certificate, then we started down the rabbit trail to finding out how she can legally become ours. Well, the officials in Busia town all said that this was a legitimate case b/c of the condition of both of her parents and told us that it should be pretty easy. But they weren’t sure how to handle it so they sent us on a full day’s journey to Kakamega where there is an NGO who can handle adoption cases. So off we went on a 2 ½ hour ride by matatu and then boda boda ride (bicycle taxi) to the provincial hospital there. There we met Jane, the only social worker for Child Welfare Services in the whole region. She was new at her job but helped us very much with what she knew. She sent us on another trail telling us that we would have to go through the Nairobi office which meant we needed to change our plane tickets to allow us to pass through Nairobi a few days. Leaving that office we felt a little confused. As we reached town again and were about to board a matatut she called us back and said we needed to come back because one of the head social workers of the hospital needed to meet us and talk to us. So again we took a bike back and sat and talk to the mzee (older gentleman) for another hour. He told us that there was much more we needed to do than what Jane had told us. So we ended up taking Jane, the social worker, back home with us to Busia to talk to Anjela’s parents and see the situation for herself. It got dark so of course the social worker stayed the night with us. (can you imagine that happening in the States☺) Jane left the next morning and was suppose to type up her report and send it to the Nairobi office so it would be there when we arrived the following Monday.

On Saturday we traveled 2 hours to Kisumu again to try to change our plane tickets. We stayed with our friend Sally (a former college student with us in Mombasa) in a village just outside of Kisumu and Anjela got to experience just what it was like to take a bath outside with all the other village kids and chickens.

On Sunday we got back on a plane to Nairobi and stayed with our sweet American friends Danielle and Becca who are teachers in Nairobi. We haven’t seen them since our wedding. What a joy it was to spend time with them and introduce them to Anjela. At the Nairobi Child Services office we found that Jane had yet to email her report to them and again we learned something new. Because Anjela’s parents are still living, and adoption is looked at so differently in this country, she said that legal guardianship might be the fastest and best option we have. Of course we questioned whether that would allow us to take Anjela to the States when we go for a visit but 4 days later after returning home, Felistas called us back to say she checked with the US Embassy to confirm that. So right now that’s what we have to do, hire a lawyer to file for legal guardianship for us. We have no idea how long this may take but we are trusting God. For now, we are just thankful that Anjela is living with us and has become a part of our family. She really has adapted so well.

We can’t tell you the number of stares we’ve gotten and the comments that have been made to us as we walk in town. It just adds to the amount of stares and comments I already get as an mzungu (white person)☺☺ If they all only knew that I understand what they are saying. The most interesting one so far, is when we were at the airport in Nairobi and I was carrying Anjela on my tummy in her baby carrier. One man looked at Dennis and said, “CEO’s mboch” which meant, he was telling Dennis that he must be a chief executive officer with a white house maid. The comments we get aren’t always pleasant or enjoyable but we endure and smile anyway, happy to have the love of Jesus and be together as a family.

And here’s another funny story. Yes her name is spelled ANJELA…many of you are saying, but you spelled it ANGELA when you made the announcement about her. Well you are right. But here’s what happened. When we were in Busia we had to go searching for her birth certificate. When Dennis finally got it her legal name was spelled Anjela Grase Akinyi. As Dennis was requesting a certified copy of it he tried changing it to Angela Grase, but when he went to pick it back up the next day her name was now written Anjela Grace. They obviously changed the S in Grace back to a C, but decided they didn’t want to change the J in Anjela to G. We didin’t have any remaining days to spend in Busia so we decided to just leave her name as Anjela…still pronounced Angela but she will have the Swahili version of Angela. So now she’s “Anjela with a J” She’s a unique baby with a unique story so why not have a unique name to go with it!!

Anjela is such a happy baby…that is unless she’s hungry or very sleepy. Just in the last 3 weeks that she has lived with us she has gained several pounds, is learning to scoot on her bottom, has learned to make clicking noises with her tongue, clap her hands and wave bye bye. And of course her favorite words (really just sounds right now) are Ma-ma and Ba-ba and also tow-tow which sounds like mtoto, the Swahili word for baby or child. She’s so sweet and really lures people with her smile. What a little people person she has already become as we have welcomed so many visitors in our home.


Anonymous said...

Hi Allison,
I am glad to hear things are going well. As I was reading this current blog, I was thinking that you should (if not already doing so) journal all your adventures of being a Muzugu in Kenya. You could make it a book one day, like the "white Massi". I think it would be fun to read and would be a great testimony. I would buy a copy, you have to sign it though. Love ya
Erin Perry


Jessica said...

What an adventure!! Parenthood is a ride of it's own, and you guys added a treck across kenya to it... I'm very impressed. I am so proud of you guys and your willingness to step into this trying situation. I know you will be blessed.

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness she is soooo cute I can't stand it! You and Dennis look like Amazing Parents! I am soooo happy for you both!! She will be one loved baby! Thank you so much for sharing your adventures with us! Laurel Fuller

Tales of a Girl said...

Dennis and Allison,
What a lovely gift from the Father! She's so cute. I can't wait to meet Anjela one day!

BlackJack said...

Praise the LORD GOD ALmighty!
Ya'll have a baby!! I never thought I would see one as beautiful as Alejandra. Anjela is Sooooo Beautiful! GOD Bless ya'll and your New Daughter.Next time we meet, Ale & Anjela will be the Princesses of the Ball. We cant wait to meet her!
GOD is Awesome!

Bryan & Placy Fox