On Friday, the day after we received our court date, I was sitting in my office and I had the most intense feeling come over me. I was thinking about everything (as I always do), especially the fact that I would be meeting Seth in less than two months. I suddenly felt my entire body freeze - I had shivers everywhere, all the way from the inside out - my eyes became fuzzy - my head was cloudy - my heart skipped quickly - and the butterflies took over my stomach. It only lasted about a second or two, but it was so intense. It was not a bad or scary feeling, it was an anticipatory overwhelming feeling, like this IS all really happening!
We have busily been planning our trip to Ethiopia. Well, I should say "I", as I am travelling to court by myself - yikes!
This is how it is suppose to happen:
I am required to be in Ethiopia 3 days before court. I have already BOOKED MY FLIGHT - EEEEEEE, what an amazing feeling... I arrive in Addis Ababa on December 3. As of today, there are 51 days before I leave (but who's counting)...I can do that, right???
Prior to court, I will have an opportunity to see Seth for the first time. This visit will last only about 15 minutes, there is no one-on-one time, and NO pictures can be taken. It is an opportunity for me to observe him and ask few questions about his development.
I appear in front of the judge sometime on December 7. I believe there is no specific time set, I have to arrive in the morning and then just wait for my name to be called.
IF we pass court, we become the legal parents of Seth - AHHHHHH!!! He will be moved from his orphanage to the Imagine Transition Home. Once at the Transition Home, I will have a chance to visit with him. I will spend about 1-2 hours with him (and TH staff), give him his gifts, hopefully play a little, hold him (hug him, kiss him, touch him) if he lets me, and take a MILLION ZILLION pictures and videos.
IF we DO NOT pass court that day (or in other words, the court decision is delayed), I leave on my scheduled departure day, without another visit with Seth and not one single picture of him. Not passing court, does not mean that we will not become Seth's parents - it means that we do not pass court on that particular day (for example, a document is missing or clarification is needed on a document). My appearance/testimony would be logged and we do not have to reappear in court again. However, it may take days or weeks to acquire what is necessary to pass court. I pray that this is not the scenario that we are faced with.
I depart on December 10, arriving home on December 11.
Then what? We have chosen to bring Seth home as a Canadian Citizen (the other option was to bring him home with a Permanent Residency Visa). Seth documents will be sent to the High Commissioner in Nairobi, Kenya that processed immigration for Ethiopia (and several other African countries). Once Seth has been issued the appropriate travel documents, we (Chad, Sara and I) will travel back to Ethiopia to BRING HIM HOME!!! The wait between passing court and finalizing immigration papers can range anywhere from 3-6 months... I hope and pray that Seth is home sometime in March, but it is entirely possible that it may take months longer.