Friday, June 28, 2013


We survived the 20 hours of flight to Kenya, and truth be told, it wasn't as bad as we anticipated, thanks to sleeping pills. We enjoyed four hours of sleep at the hotel last night before having to wake up at 6:30 for breakfast because our safari guide is picking us up at 8. From the hotel, we will travel to a smaller airport and fly on a tiny plane, a la Denis Finch Hatton, to the Porini Mara Camp. We'll spend three internetless days there, then come back to Nairobi for one day. We really haven't rested well for the last 72 hours, so we are THRILLED to go to a camp where someone else will be taking care of everything and our only job will be relaxing and looking for animals! Now, back to our full English breakfasts...there are still lasting effects of colonialism, but I have to say, they taste delicious. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

One down, two long ones to go

After packing all night and getting only two hours of sleep, we made it to Chicago. Time for our extra-long layover. My wonderful dad got us a room at the airport Hilton for the day, and we are ever-so-happy to sink into their down comforters and sip on their restaurant's Bloody Marys. Might as well relax while we can! Our next flight is to Brussels-- 8 hours. Not too bad, right?  But 3 hours after that, we head Brussels to Nairobi--11 freaking hours!!! Those who know me well know I have two fears in life: airplanes and, 19 hours on a plane? Bring on the anxiety meds!!! In the meantime, I hear a Bloody Mary and a delicious breakfast calling my name. Appreciating creature comforts while we still have them! Thanks to everyone who sent us messages this morning at the beginning of our journey. Your support and kind words mean a ton to us!


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Everything but the Kitchen Sink

We just packed until 11:30 at night. So much to take--clothes of many sizes (because we don't know the kids' sizes), baby food, diapers, formula for the orphanage and G, care packages from other parents, snacks, toys. Almost ready! Our suitcases can't be any heavier than 50 lbs, but we don't really have time to take them to the airport to get them weighed. Instead, we are going to take them to our vet's office (very close by) and put them on the animal scale! (After the thousands of dollars we've spent on dog surgeries over the years, surely they can do that for us!!!) If the bags are too heavy, we'll have to weed out some stuff,  reshuffle, etc. Fun, fun, fun! I'm also off to buy presents for the kids and nannies at the orphanage tomorrow. Wish me luck! 

Headless Chickens!

We have been running around like chickens with their heads cut off for the last two days. Walmart, Target, Sam's, Walgreens, REPEAT. At least that's what it feels like. 

We were so uncertain of whether or not our adoption would be finalized (and that we would actually get to bring K and G home) that we purposefully prepared very little. We had a loaner crib, a twin mattress, and about half as many clothes as we needed. Needless to say, since we got home from Maine on Saturday, we have been SCRAMBLING to get ready before we depart early Thursday morning. 

This is what G and K's bedroom looked like this morning. After working all day, it has gotten a little bit better. Tomorrow is my last day to finish it and to all of their stuff and mine packed. On top of that, I had to get their insurance papers in order, consult with their pediatrician, and host a birthday party for one of the kids I work with, plus a million other smaller things. CRAZINESS, and every bit of it is worth it!!! 

Monday, June 24, 2013

From March: Our "Mental Adoption Break" Trip

(Not sure why this was never posted or why it is saying it's from June. It's from March.) 

It's spring break, and, in an effort to take our minds off this endless adoption delay, the Boltons have headed to one of the Bahamas' Out Islands. We knew we'd be staying on an island with few restaurants and activities. We expected to lay on the beach all day and go out to dinner at night. Sounds nice, right?

Upon arrival at the teensy tiny airport, a cab driver named Rasta took us to the only grocery store. What we found was one small room with pretty bare shelves. It turns out that the Out Islands get all food from "the mail boat," which is supposed to come three or four times a month, but it sometimes doesn't come at all!

Apparently the boat hasn't been here in several weeks, which means there is very little food and beer on the island. (My worst nightmare!) We bought a bunch of individual cans of beer, and we had brought a bunch of ham and cheese with us, so we made a picnic dinner at home last night with that. Why did we stay home? Because the home owner we rented from neglected to tell us that this was an all-cash island and that there is no way to get cash on the island! We brought enough to get our meals, but not to rent a car. The temperature outside is mild (if not cool) though, and walking instead of driving to the beach bar down the road this morning for breakfast was quite pleasant. The mail boat will supposedly come tomorrow, at which point we will call the cab to take us to the grocery store to get as many bottles of Kalik (our favorite Bahamian beer) as we can get our hands on! In the meantime, we've got rum, a rainy day, good books, coverage of the papal conclave, and, best of all, a view of incredibly turquoise waters and powder-fine sand.

On Sunday we will go back to Nassau, and I plan to get my hands on some cute Bahamian outfits for K and G. There is no adoption news. We seem to be indefinitely stalled. Please send kind thoughts, brainwaves, and prayers to the US Embassy in Kinshasa for a speedy investigation so that K and G can come home soon. We received a video of K recently asking when we are coming to get her and saying she is ready to come home. It just about broke my heart. Your kind thoughts and prayers are greatly appreciated. We hope that this time next year we will be taking our first beach vacation with K and G!



After waiting for four months for my investigations to be completed, I finally received an email from the US Embassy saying they had finished! We were up in Maine, and my mother and I had just gotten out of a yoga class and were shopping for antiques when I absent-mindedly checked my email. I was shocked to find in my inbox the email I had been waiting for for so long!!! We ran home and celebrated with champagne and lots of family photos, then spent the next week preparing. We had to apply for our travel visas, make travel arrangements, etc. We got home to Memphis on Saturday, June 22, and hit the ground running. Because we were never 100% sure if the adoption would go through, we never really prepared, so now we are racing around like madmen to prepare the kids' room and get packed. We leave for a short safari in Kenya on Wednesday, and it will take us 19 hours of flying time plus 14 layover hours to get there! We will fly Chicago to Brussels to Nairobi. After five nights in Kenya, we will fly to the DRC on July 3...and get this--we will pick up the kids on JULY 4! How amazing is that? We are so excited that it is finally time to go meet G and K! 

Investigations have begun...for us??

Well, the new investigations that the US Embassy is putting in place have been slow as molasses to begin. They were announced on February 4, and all the Congo Mamas (there is a large group of us on Facebook) have been going NUTS trying to figure out what the holdup is. But there's good news, finally! The investigations seem to have begun! A parent visiting her children encountered two field investigators (in our commune, no less!), and they confirmed that they would be investigating two other children in the same commune that day. (A commune seems to be similar to a county within a province.) Could those two children be my kids? Who knows, but it is good to know they are finally getting the show on the road.

Many people wonder what they are investigating. Their goal is to determine whether or not the children are true orphans. While this new investigation has lengthened my process by at least 3-6 months, my family and I are grateful that the embassy is digging into cases. The last thing we want is to find out that our children were taken from someone, were victims of human trafficking. The investigations have been instituted in order to fight that kind of corruption, and we are all in favor. There are millions of orphans in the DRC, and we'd love to see adoptions a very ethical manner.

Anyway, that's where we are right now. We have no idea when we'll be traveling but as soon as we know, we'll be shouting it from the rooftops. The only thing we are waiting on is this investigation and the issuance of US visas for the kids.