Tuesday, May 10, 2011

We Have a Visa and We're Coming Home!!!

Yesterday (Monday) we met with the US Embassy for our final interview. They told us to pick up Millie Lynn's Visa on Wednesday after 4:00 if we didn't hear something sooner. Much to our surprise, we were greeted with an email this morning telling us her Visa would be ready this afternoon between 1:30 and 2:00. So...now we have it! We are ready to come home. You can tell from the picture that Millie Lynn is excite d! The picture of Rusty is in a traditional Nepali hat. Maybe he can set a new fashion trend in the U.S. After much arguing with American Airlines (that is another story), we are going to be able to come home on Friday at 9:10 a.m. We are so excited!!!!! We leave Kathmandu Thursday at 3:45 p.m., travel through New Delhi where we have a 7 hour layover then to Chicago and then on to Dallas. I am dreading the flight(s) but am so ready to get home. We are so ready to see the boys. Millie Lynn can't wait to meet them...she is going to love them so much! I can't wait to give them both a big hug and lots of kisses! Tomorrow we are going to do a little last minute sight-seeing. We can't wait to see everyone soon! Ellen, Rusty and Millie Lynn

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day - We're One Step Closer!

Happy Mother's Day!
We celebrated Mother's Day by getting Millie Lynn's Passport today. In case I didn't say earlier, the Nepali's work 6 days a week, with Saturday being their Holy Day. That worked out great for us so that we could get her Passport today. Tomorrow we have an interview with the US Embassy and will hopefully get Millie's Visa on Tuesday. If everything goes well, we will be able to leave here on Thursday and arrive in the US on Friday morning. Keep your fingers crossed!
Tonight we and the other two families staying at our hotel ate dinner at Pastor Vijays. His wife cooked a wonderful meal. Everything was delicious - by far the best meal we have had since arriving in Kathmandu! Everyone had a great time and all of our kids enjoyed playing with Pastor Vijay's children. This is a picture of Vijay and his family.
Yesterday we went to Vijay's church. Pastor Roy (the pastor visiting from Hong Kong, pictured on the right) was preaching and the sermon was in English, so we especially enjoyed that! Vijay translated. They had a great service with about 150 in attendance. They were celebrating their fourth anniversary and had lunch afterwards. We really enjoyed the service...it wasn't much different from what we are used to.
After we got back to the hotel, Rusty and Millie Lynn took a nap. I walked around the tourist district called Thamel. I have included a few interesting pictures. Yes...that is a pig that is being butchered and a chicken foot I found laying on the ground!
There have been weddings at our hotel for each of the last three days. We watched one from the balcony of our hotel on Friday. That wedding began about 9:30 a.m. and they were still going strong at 7:00 that evening. The wedding was held in the gardens at our hotel. It began with family and friends arriving and bringing what looked to be many platters of food. Then the groom arrived and then finally the bride. It looked like family and friends prayed blessings over them and then had a party. The bride wore read, which is the traditional wedding color here. White is reserved for funerals.
I hope everyone has had a great Mother's Day! I got to talk to the boys, my Mom and Dad and Kelly on the phone. Rusty left a message for his Mom. We will post more soon!
Ellen, Rusty and Millie Lynn

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mt. Everest and More!

It has been a while since I have posted because things have been fairly mundane. Tuesday we went to a local botanical garden to let the kids play and run around somehwere new. These were beautiful gardens called the Garden of Dreams. We also ate lunch while were were there.
We just relaxed Wednesday, Millie Lynn had her Medical Appointment. That was basically just an appointment to make sure she is healthy, alive and well. They will forward the documents to the U.S. Embassy to have in her file when it is time to issue her Visa.
Thursday I took a flight to see Mount Everest. It was beautiful, breathtaking, magnificent and any other adjective you can think of to describe the world's highest mountain! Rusty did not go because he did not want any turbulence to jar his neck, which was a smart decision. He stayed at the hotel with the other families and Millie Lynn. I however, could not let the opportunity pass me by while I was here. So, I left the hotel at 6:15 a.m. along with the other family with Mineral Wells ties and our pastor friend's wife and headed to the airport. I don't think I slept more than an hour the night before due to the apprehension of the flight and worrying about oversleeping. We flew on a 19 seat, twin engine airplane. It was worth it! The Himalayas were gorgeous! And Mount Everest definitely stood out! I am glad I did it! (On a side note, we weren't going to tell my Mom about the flight until after it was over to spare her the worry. Rusty however, spilled the beans last night when he told her "he didn't think it would be good for his neck to go on the tour". Thanks jabber jaws!)
After the Mt. Everest flight, Pastor Vijay took Rusty, Millie Lynn, his wife Cheng and another pastor from Hong Kong, Roy, and myself to tour the city of Kathmandu. Let's just say that this was a "behind the scenes" tour. First, we went to the city's first air-conditioned mall for lunch. Pastor Vijay ordered and the food was very good and fresh. Then, after our stomachs were good and full, and after asking if we were prepared for it, he took us to the city's main Hindu Temple. What a big culture shock! You will notice that Rusty fits right in with the locals (that's him with the make up on the left!) This Hindu Temple is one where Hindu people travel from miles around to visit. Today (and I think every day) they were cremating bodies. They have to cremate bodies of their loved ones on the day they pass away. So, in a city as large as Kathmandu, there are usually about 3-5 cremations going on at once any particular time. There are many rituals that they believe in as part of the ceremony. Rituals including, washing themselves and their deceased with the holy water, which is actually water from a dirty river running through the temple land. This water has actually touched the dead body and run back into the river. Other rituals include burning the body by the closest male relatives and the male relatives. They put the body on a large grate surrounded by wood and then cover it with more wood, leaves and cloth. (I tried to get Rusty to go lay down and take a nap on one of the grates while we all looked around, but he wouldn't fall for it. ha! ha!) All of this is watched by hundreds of spectators while cows roam and monkeys run around. Then the closest male relatives remain at the temple for 13 - 45 days after the cremation for a period of mourning. They also believe that they will be reincarnated in some form or fashion according to the good works/deeds they have accomplished throughout their life. The better the work/deed, the better the reincarnation. The cow being the best reincarnation of all. There was sadness all around without a sense of true peace or hope! I am including several pictures!
After our temple tour, we went to Pastor Vijay's school and relaxed for a while and then headed back to the hotel. Pastor Vijay runs the Himalayan Graduate School of Theology. Pastor Roy is visiting for a week and teching a course in Hebrew to the students at the school. Then we ate with the other two families at our hotel.
We are ready to come home! Wednesday night when Grant said that he missed us, Sam quickly asked "Are you kidding?" Uh Oh! I think it's time!
We will post more soon! Ellen, Rusty and Millie Lynn

Sunday, May 1, 2011

This and That

We woke up to the news that Osama Bin Laden has been killed. Thank goodness that we have CNN news in our hotel....you know who (RW) is glued to the TV. I know he misses his political talking buddies right now! Thank you to our military! I am trying to remind myself of the verse "Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice"..Proverbs 24:17. A little (lot) hard right now! Some of the people from other countries that we have talked to this morning are also happy. A few things about our stay. First of all the hotel is nice, especially for Nepali standards. It is a 100 year old palace that has been converted into a hotel. There is a pretty garden/lawn area where the kids can run and play. There is also a nice swimming pool, although the water is pretty cold. The beds are REALLY hard....like, so hard that if you want something softer you should move to the hard-wood floor.....Seriously! Breakfast is included, so we eat with the other two adopting families almost every morning. There are lots of people, especially from Australia here to trek. Everyone loves talking to our babies and asking questions about the adoption process. Today we met a German family who adopted their two children from Nepal eight years ago. It was interesting to hear their story. They especially loved our babies!
Although the country is really poor, the people are very friendly! I will say some of the things, like cows, goats and chickens walking in the middle of the street are really surprising. Most of the country is Hindu, so cows are sacred. Therefore...no McDonalds, although I did see a 7-Eleven.
Saturday night we ate dinner with the other two families at a popular, local restaurant called Mike's Breakfast. The restaurant reminded me of a Nepali version of Joe T's. We actually got Mexican Food that wasn't so bad! Chips and hot sauce, nacho's, burritos, enchiladas....we were in heaven! Almost as much as when we discovered Pace Picante sauce at the store yesterday! Now I think Rusty can survive!
Sunday we met with a local pastor who we had met in the States over three years ago. He and his wife and two kids came to our hotel. The funny thing is that Rusty had given him some support for his ministry before we ever started the adoption process. He had kind of forgotten about that until we got closer to actually travelling to Nepal. I had written to the pastor (Vijay), but it wasn't until he actually saw Rusty that he put the two together. He and his wife are going to take us to tour the area on Thursday and then have us and the other families to their house for dinner on Sunday night. We are also going to go to their church service on Saturday (that is their day of worship here).
Millie Lynn is really adjusting and bonding to us. She has already learned a few words... "Hi, Boo, Mama, No and Hot". She is really happy. The most animated she has been is when she has seen her brothers on Skype. She loved it! (Notice Grant's lost tooth and Sam's stitches).
We will talk to you soon!

Friday, April 29, 2011

It's a Girl!

Millie Lynn is officially ours! We met with the Ministry of Women and Children today and signed the paperwork. She is officially a Williams! After the Ministry of Women and Children, we went to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to apply for her Passport. They won't be ready until Sunday, May 8, so not much chance of coming home early. The other two couples staying at our hotel also signed their adoption decrees today, so that was kind of fun to all celebrate together. Millie Lynn celebrated by having two big blow-outs in her diaper, which I got to change. I guess I am officially her Mother!
After we returned to the hotel, Millie Lynn and I took a rickshaw to the supermarket. That was interesting, needless to say. Two other families came to the hotel tonight to let their children play. As we were talking the subject of where we were from came up. One of the fathers grew up in Mineral Wells...What a small world!
So that is what we are up to. We don't have many plans until we get Millie's passport. We will go see Mount Everest one day and have Medical Exams for Millie Lynn sometime next week.
We are hoping that everyone at home stays safe and well. I forgot to mention that we began our day be hearing that Sam got stitches on his forehead on Thursday. So now we have missed Easter, Grant's first lost tooth and Sam's stitches. From what we hear, he was a really brave boy! It will all be worth it and we will be home soon!
Ellen and Rusty

Thursday, April 28, 2011

We have her!

Millie Lynn is with us in the hotel. Our day started with a meeting at the US Embassy to make sure we have all of our documents etc. Then, our in-country rep., Raj, took us to the orphanage to pick up Millie Lynn. All of her didis (nannies) were there to tell her good-bye. Her main didi cried. You could tell that she really loves Millie. We were there for about 20 minutes and then left. Millie Lynn only cried for about 30 seconds and then she was fine. She loved riding in the car and fell asleep. We played for a few minutes when we got to the hotel and then met the two other adopting families for dinner (in the hotel). They also got their children today. A few specifics about Millie. She is really small. I brought 24 month clothes, but I think she is probably in an 18 month. She has long eye-lashes, just like here brothers. She is pretty calm and like almost everything I tried to feed her at dinner last night. She did not like her bath at all! Grant and Sam will have to show her how much fun bath-time is. Right before bed, we showed her pictures of her new brothers and I can tell that she really is going to love them! We will post more tomorrow! Ellen and Rusty

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Namaste! Day 3

Namaste! Today was our 3rd visit to the orphanage. We started the day by moving to a different hotel - The Shanker Hotel. There are lots of American families here. Many who are trekking and two others who are adopting. One is adopting from our same orphanage, so that will be fun once we get the babies that they will be able to play. When we got to the orphanage, Millie didn't cry at all. (Yesterday it took her a few minutes to warm up, but she did well once she got used to us). We were able to hold her right away today, although I'm sure that a little bribery with a piece of toast that I had brought from breakfast didn't hurt. The other lady brought several bags of cheese balls and I literally think Millie ate an entire bag. She couldn't put them in her mouth fast enough. She would take turns walking from Rusty to me and letting us give her cheese balls, too. She is really warming up fast. Right before we left I started playing "Ride a Little Horsey, Don't Fall Down" with her and got a huge grin. We kept playing that and she kept smiling and looking around to make sure that everyone in the room was watching her. Then I started tickling her under the chin and got a full-blown belly laugh. We were really sad to leave her today. I think we are going to have to wait until Thursday for her to come to our hotel with us...they are expecting a nation-wide strike tomorrow so everything will be shut down. (I think that is fairly common, the government is really unstable and people are protesting). Now we just can't wait for Grant and Sam to meet Millie. She is going to love them! We will touch base in a few days! Ellen and Rusty