This week we have a lot of important trips. In the van we piled in, Jilma, Jamey and I and our boys, Pastor Loma, two drivers, Mama Josephine and 3 children that would be going home soon too. If their paperwork gets completed in time, we are hoping to be able to bring back two of these children with us to the States. At first I am really uncomfortable with the fact that we don't have carseats, but then I realize traffic goes so slowly, I can't imagine a very bad accident occuring. The van ride is probably the most miserable trip I had ever been on at this point in my life. But right now I was just as happy as could be to be holding my babies. I don't seem to care that we all could have heat stroke at any minute, that it takes hours to go a few miles, and that my sinuses burn from the pollution in the city. None of that mattered at all.
I am trying to take everything in that I see. Taking pictures in public is against the law. I keep thinking this is my babies' homeland. I need to take pictures. Jilma reminds me that I do not want to be arrested and that we should not even have our cell phones out. This might risk the police stopping us and accusing us of taking pictures. Although, now I know with enough money I could have took pictures and not gone to jail.
I am amazed by all of the people everywhere! Kinshasa has a population of 12 million people and it seems most of them are in the streets. (There is an estimate of 50,000 children live on the streets.) There are four lanes of traffic and people walking in between the cars selling water in plastic bags, tissues, maps, bananas, jeans, glasses, lunch, just about everthing. It is like a continous line of drive-thrus. We quickly learn not to make eye contact or they will follow us banging on the window. Yes, traffic is that slow, they can keep up on foot.
Little plots of land through out the city are being gardened. There are beautiful large trees that have to be hundreds of years old lining the streets. These are being cut down by the Chinese. To make room for a bigger road to make it easier to transport whatever they are taking from the Congo. Garbage is everywhere. Not just a little bit of litter. There is no garbage pick up or any trash cans to be found. It just all ends up on the ground.
I loved seeing all of the people in their colorful clothing. Everyone looks so dressed up. The ladies are all in colorful dresses. Most of them have a matching wrap that carries a baby on their back. I am amazed what these lady can do with a piece of fabric. They put our fancy bought slings to shame. The men all wear slacks. Shortlys are very rarely seen, despite the hot weather. These people despite the poor conditions of the city, take great pride in their appearance.
Oh, I almost forgot to tell you of the ditches. On each side of the road their are concrete ditches about 2-3 feet deep. These ditches are the sewer system. Yep, people just walk out there and do their "business". (This woud later explain Chad's amazement by toilets everywhere in the US). This really adds to the aroma of the city. You see this city has grown way to quickly. People have ran to the capital city for safety from the on going war.
Our first stop is to the Doctor's office. The boys have a check up and blood drawn for another HIV test. The doctor will then fill out the appropriate papers that we could give to the U.S. Embassy (if we ever get another appointment!). Sitting in the waiting room I began to stress about the possibility that one of my babies might have HIV. Their tests ended up being both negative and they have had tests here in the States that have all been negative too!
Jilma came and got Ian and told me they wanted to see him without us. I then heard lots of crying and screaming. Apparently, they were trying to hit a vein and did not succeed. He was soon brought back to me. They of course had to try again and I made sure I was there! It was hard to have just gotten the boys yesterday and then today we were already putting them under such painful circumstances.
In the waiting room we soon got a smile back on Ian's little face.
Chad loves little baby Chloe.
(He still enjoys seeing her on her Blog!)
We also stopped at the U.S. Embassy to register. We found that the Consulate would not be back in the office until next Monday and that his next available appointment was November 28th! This just seems so crazy we had an appointment with him that he skipped out on, he should be getting us in as soon as possible. The lady at the desk told us that would be up to him. His schedule was already full until the 28th. We left thinking that surely he will see us Monday or Tuesday and we will be able to go home next week. So, when we returned back to M.P.H. that night we had to make a really hard phone call. We would not be returning in 10 days as planned. Our kids at home were pretty tore up and a lot of tears were shared that night, but they thought we both should stay until we could come home together.
The next morning they woke up to tell their Grandma that they had decided we were going to adopt 10 Congolese children. She asked, "Are you sure you want them to be from the Congo? That means Mommy and Daddy would be gone a long time again?" Parker said, "Yes, there are so many kids that need mommies and daddies there." When I was told about this conversation the next night, I realized just how much Chad and Ian had already changed Livia and Parker and they have not even yet met.
To be continued.....