Thursday, August 30, 2012

Zoo Day

This post would be longer except that blogger crashed while I was attaching pictures and I lost the more detailed post that I typed.  So, lets just say we took the kids to the zoo today and had lots of fun :) 

Bonding + Discipline = Ugghhh

For all of the soon to be parents out there, I have to share this thought.  If you think you know what to expect when becoming instant parents, you are probably wrong :)  Sara and I had a good idea what to expect, we were close, but we had no idea how truly challenging parenthood can be.   Especially when that parenthood begins in a hotel and not at home.  The last three days have been the most challenging by far.  Why you ask?  Well, the first 6-8 days are bonding days, this phase seemed very natural for Sara and I, not to say easy, just natural.  During bonding, there is very little discipline, so it is easier to "get along" with the kids.  After bonding, starts the bonding + discipline phase.  Here the kids start to be told things they don't want to hear, like no!  Be prepared for crying, lots of crying, very loud crying, screaming, hitting (kids hitting us, not the other way around :)), and did I mention very loud crying.  We have learned a lot in the last three days.  We have also made lots of progress.  We finally got Angie to say "I'm sorry for misbehaving" (Porque me porte mal).  Cristian is a little to young to understand right from wrong, and is often in playful mode, so there is some work needed with him (especially since he is sooo cute).  Speaking of Cristian, we do want to celebrate a wonderful nights sleep last night without him having any nightmares.  With a little Milo, small playtime, a fan, and a night lite for him in case he woke up, the night went much smoother.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Should we stay or should we go?

With our paperwork submitted we are allowed to leave Pereira and travel within Colombia if we want to.  In particular, we could go to Bogota which is where we have to end up anyway.  This brings up our weak reference to The Clash, should we stay or should we go?  I think the decision to not go to Bogota is an easy one, the weather there has highs in the 60s (F) and lows in the 40s, in Pereira we have highs in the 80s, lows in the 50s, plus we have a pool :)  The real question is should we go to the beach in Cartagena?? 

And now we wait...

Today was our last meeting with the ICBF!  Our paperwork will be submitted to the courts this afternoon, and then we wait for sentencia!  Hopefully everything moves smoothly through the courts and we will be on our way to the Embassy in Bogota in just a few short weeks!  We have been prepping the kids, showing them videos of their new casa, telling them about their new rooms, their new schools, and about their dog Shadow.  They are very excited to take the plane ride to their new home :)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Ballena o Tiburon (Whale or Shark)

A few funny moments we experienced over the last few days:

1)  While swimming, Papi was swimming towards Angie and she said "Watch out, there is a whale coming" :) This was an example of child innocence and had nothing to do with Papi's body build :) Papi prefers Tiburon...  Now every time Papi swims towards the kids they yell, "Ahhhh Tiburon!"

2)  After getting into the pool for the first time, Angie asked "Where is the shampoo?"  We had to explain that shampoo was for baths, not for the pool.

3)  We were talking to Angie about her new family name, not only did she know her new last name, she told Papi he was pronouncing it wrong when he repeated it for her reaffirmation!  Evidently 43 years of living with his last name isn't long enough for him to figure out how to pronounce it :)

Hotel - Lessons Learned

Something that we really didn't think about, but should have, is finding the right hotel to host us and the kids for up to 4 weeks.  After 5 days with the kids, we now realize how lucky we are to have ended up at the hotel we are currently staying in.  It has 7 rooms, and some very patient people running it that understand we are going through an adoption process.  I can't imagine being in a "standard" hotel, and I am not even sure a "standard" hotel would have hosted us for that many days.

Also, having meals prepared for us, our laundry done, a driver/facilitator, and a swimming pool have taken a lot of pressure off of us as parents and allowed us to concentrate on bonding/raising our kids.  Even more important is the wonderful support structure that is around us!  Rosario and Nata are amazing hosts and truly enjoy helping adoptive parents.  These amenities may seem excessive, but try becoming a parent of two kids in one afternoon :)

Bonding Meeting

Today was our bonding meeting with ICBF.  The meetings intent is to check in on the kids AND the parents to make sure bonding has occurred, the kids are OK, and that the parents don't have any outstanding needs.  ICBF also makes recommendations if there are any obvious problems.  Our main problem is mosquitoes and the fact that both Mami y Papi caught a cold from the young ones :)  We took so much time packing for the kids that we forgot to pack cold medicine for us!  Everyone told us we would get sick, or the kids would get sick in the first week, this proved to be true.

Our paperwork will be submitted to the courts on Wednesday, then we hope and pray for sentencia!  Until then, we are allowed to start venturing out as a family to go to the mall, the zoo, or any other local attractions we want to visit.  

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Finally Encuentro!

I really thought we would be posting like crazy to this blog, but becoming instant parents has kept us busy :)  Angie and Cristian are truly the most wonderful kids in the world!  Encuentro was amazing, however, we are happy we were prepared for some crying.  Angie cried for 20-30 minutes while Mami y Papi y Cristian tried to console her.  Crying is a good thing because it shows she understands what is happening.  Cristian on the other hand is a little to young to know what is going on.  One hour into Encuentro and the tears turned into smiles.  While we thought we were prepared for everything, nobody prepared us for two hilarious kids!  We had balloons, torta, and lots of love.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Great first sleep in days !

Late Breakfast, with tropical fruits, arepas, coffee and Colombian queso. We chatted with Rosario and Natalia last night, they have great stories of experiences with adopting families. All foreign, Norway, Finland, German, Spain, etc. This is the first time they have in the Hotel a Colombian adopting parent.  Here today's pictures (link to flickr) of the place, really nice ! Nothing is really going on Today, just waiting for Lucy. Just relaxing and lot of anticipation !

Sunday, August 19, 2012

En El Dorado

It's been a while since the last time I was in Bogota, and it is the first time I have seen the the "cordilleras" from the air in daylight. Those are the three branches of the Andes that come to an end at a point. We saw a volcano, not sure which one, steaming north, pretty cool. Landscape is beautiful, green with lots of mountains !  Smooth landing. City is supposed to be in the 60s but we are sweating here in the airport.  We are waiting for our connection flight in front of the Airports McDonalds, best spot to get free McDonalds wifi!  The Airport wifi did not work for us. We chatted with Ele and now Ardy is checking the Nats scores. We shared a huge carne asada with a plantain (sweet one). Ardy enjoyed the local beer and really enjoyed the Carne, it does taste different here. Our connection flight is in two hours, so Ardy is doing FaceBook, tweets, etc. Not very hungry, but we are both very tired.  Tomorrow is our first meeting with the agency people in Pereira for our ICBF interview (Tuesday) and the encuentro with our children :) on Wednesday!
We are sooo excited :)
Update: Actually going to our gate (Sala Nacional) was a better move. The AC is better :) and less crowded. Here at the BBC in the Sala Nacional. There is a Subway (sandwiches) too. You have to do security again, 4 people in line. Definitely Sunday was a good pick to travel as I thought :)

BBC at the Sala Nacional where gates for local connections are located.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The packing begins

With one week to go before we board the plane to Colombia, we have started packing the clothes we have bought for the kids.  Hopefully the sizes are correct, if not, we will have some nice donations for the orphanage.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Picked up Visa!

This morning was my second trip to the Colombian consulate in Washington DC this week.  Luckily we live close enough that this isn't really a big deal.  I decided to drive in again versus taking Metro.  I wasn't sure if there would be parking at the Metro since it is a work day.  I parked in a close by PMI lot, $10 got me valet parking.  I was in and out of the consulate in 10 minutes with Visa in hand.  My very weak Spanish skills got me far enough to ask Habla Ingles?  They did Habla, and they were very nice and helpful.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Colombian Consulate Visit

Today we went to the Colombian consulate to get my travel visa and Sara's national id.  The visit went pretty smooth except that the consulate wanted a notarized copy of our referral letter from ICBF.  All we had was a copy sent to us from our agency that was not notarized.  After a little pleading, what we had was sufficient!  I pick up my travel visa in two more days.  Keep in mind that you need to pay $50 even though the documents sent to us state exemptions for US nationals.  We had to walk a few blocks to HSBC Bank to pay the $50 and get a receipt to bring back after the three day processing period.  Driving in to the DC consulate wasn't that bad, garage parking was $16... Metro may be a better option.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The countdown begins!

After returning from a journey on the bay riding Sea Fighter, my beautiful wife and I embark on the greatest ride of our lives!  In 14 days, we head to Pereira Colombia, to unite with the two most wonderful kids in the word!