Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Home at last

It is hard to describe how wonderful it is to be home.  This process started years ago (not really that long since Mami is Colombian), with fears, anticipation, annoyances, and plenty other emotions related to the adoption process (Not to mention the costs!).  How long will it take, what will the kids be like, how can we take so many weeks of work off, how is this possible?  These are questions that can't really be answered until the moments occur.  The hardest moment for me was telling my wonderful wife that I had to go back to the US before the process was complete.  Why?  Because I ran out of vacation/sick time at work and we had to get paid.  Paying the bills seemed so insignificant to the situation, but then reality kicks in.  To pay the bills, someone has to go to work.  So I did, and it hurt.  Skyping with Mami and the kids really helped, but I knew she had to bring two kids back with her on a plane on her own, ugh.

All of that is over, the family is home, we are all together and we can't wait to start our lives together.  We walked Angie down the street to her new elementary school to show her how close it is.  She loved it, Cristian enjoyed being pulled in a wagon behind his sister, and I could tell Mami was just happy to be home.

More later, or not, we are just happy to be home!    

Thursday, September 13, 2012

New Birth Certificates

This morning I went with Lucy to get the kids' new birth certificates...  We had already been to the registrar the night before and went back and forth between them and the court to resolve an issue with my last name.  Be warned, if Papi has a last name with a surname, in my case I am the third (III),  this is not something that is done in Colombia.  The registrar didn't know how to handle the surname, they wanted to put III on the kids' last name.  When I told them this doesn't make sense,  they said they had to make it match my passport which has the surname III on it.  We resolved this by getting a resolution from the judge stating that my name without the surname is valid and the kids don't need to have the surname included in their last names.  This was only possible because we had included with our paperwork a name verification form that stated the various legal versions of my name, one of which did not have the surname included.  This made it very easy for the judge to agree that both version of my name are valid and that the kids didn't need my surname. 

Lessons learned, if your name is John Baxter Jr., make sure to fill out a name verification form stating the various legal versions of your name.  Namely, John Baxter Jr. and John Baxter, otherwise you may end up with a daughter's name of Maria Baxter Jr :)  Not to mention the possible delay in getting your kids birth certificates.


Sentencia!  Sentencia!  Oh, did I mention Sentencia!  I went to the court today with our lawyer Lucy to see if the judge had signed sentencia, and he had!  This is a very big deal, it is the most important aspect of our adoption.  It means the kids are officially ours, legally ours, and irrevocably ours!  This is good because we can't imagine living without them.  Today, La Familia Llewellyn is for real!  Tomorrow we go for the kids' new birth certificates and their Colombian passports, then we travel to Bogota to get their TB tests and get their travel Visas.  Then, gasp, we get to go home!  We have loved our time in Colombia, but are so ready to go home.  We can't wait to get on a normal schedule, live in our house, and introduce our new kids to their new lives.   

Monday, September 10, 2012

The real test...

After several trips to shopping malls and grocery stores, we continue learning more about how the kids behave in public.  As you can guess, the first several trips are full of "I want this", "I want that", and various forms of child "melt-downs".  With two kids, usually one behaves perfectly and the other melts down when he/she doesn't get the gumball he/she wants (I never knew how many gumball machines there are in shopping malls).  The most important take away from these trips is that we as parents have learned how to deal with the melt-downs while in full public view.  After these "training" periods, we decided it was time for the "real test", can the kids actually sit through Mass on Sunday...  We took a taxi to a cathedral in downtown Pereira, a very beautiful cathedral with a wooden ceiling.  It was interesting to see the kids reaction as we walked into Mass.  We were a little late, the cathedral was packed, but the kids could tell it wasn't a place to  make noise.  They were very quiet and respectful.  To our amazement we made it through the rest of Mass and took some pictures afterwards.  I guess you can say, the kids passed the test!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

In our humble opinion, demeaning

The only time you will see the phrase "Gotcha Day" in this blog, is in this entry, and only in the first sentence.  Wikipedia says Barbara Bizou states in her book that the phrase "is designed to show your adopted child how much you wanted him and that every year you continue to cherish him."  Whether wikipedia is accurate or not, to me, the phrase is demeaning, it demeans the enormity of the moment.  The moment when you meet the child or children that you are ready to take into your home for the rest of your lives.  To care for them, love them, and provide for them what hasn't been provided to them in the past.  This moment is "encuentro", a very special moment, full of tears, full of anxiety, full of happiness, full of the unknown.  Very simply "first encounter".

Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary to the love of my life.  Today is our wedding anniversary and I can't think of any place better to celebrate our anniversary than here in Colombia!  OK, I can think of one other place, our home, with our children!  We are all a little stir crazy wishing we could go home and start our lives together.  It really is hard trying to establish a routine, establish rules, and establish a strong family bond while being stuck in a hotel.  If we the parents are getting stir crazy, imagine what is going through the kids heads,they want normalcy as much as we do, even more so.  Living in a hotel just isn't normal.  We love the hotel we are in, and are blessed by all of the people helping us, but it isn't home.
It may not be home, but a cold glass of wine, my beautiful wife sitting next to me, awesome weather, and a view of the cordilleras does a lot to celebrate our moment.
P.S. -  We are still working on Angie's obedience issues, it is clear she was not disciplined in the past.  She  is smart, vibrant, independent, but needs discipline.  

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Today was a good day

Today really was a good day, not sure what the difference was, maybe the kids are starting to understand the whole discipline thing, or maybe Mami y Papi are starting to relax a bit.  Or, it could be the new family here from Norway adopting a 2 year old (same as Cristian)... they are really great people, and they have their 10 year old with them whom they adopted from Bogota around 9 years ago.  They are here for round two I guess :)
No news from the courts yet, so we continue to enjoy our stay in the beautiful country of Colombia.  Can you tell it was a good day?