Tuesday, February 26, 2013

What's the Story, Morning Glory?

Not sure why that song is stuck in my head. I do know that I'm singing because I'm so happy.

A lot has happened in the last 24 hours. I know that my facilitator and lawyer have continued to stalk the courthouse and do everything in their power to get this woman to fix her mistake. I know that they spoke with someone very high up in the social services office. I'm sure other things happened as well.

I got a call a little before 3. The facilitator asked if I could come sit at the courthouse with her and the lawyer. She thought maybe my presence would help. Of course, I agreed to go. I was willing to try anything.

As I was getting ready, she called to say she had gotten word that I could sign. We rushed as quickly as Bogota traffic allows to arrive as quickly as possible.

I signed the decree even though the mistake hadn't been corrected. It only took about 10 seconds. (It was kind if anticlimactic after all the drama.) I don't really understand all that happened but the secretary will fix her mistake tomorrow.

I should have the official decree and the new birth certificates on Thursday. We will go to apply for Sara's passport on Friday and pick it up on Monday. We should be able to go to the embassy on Tuesday for her visa and got home Wednesday.

Through this entire process, things have happened the day after I got to the end of my rope and had a meltdown. This time worked the same way. I lost it yesterday. I tend to bottle things up until I can't hold anything else in and then I fall apart. It doesn't happen often but it isn't pretty when it does.

I don't regret what I wrote yesterday. It was what I was feeling at the time. However, I want people to understand that this weird glitch is an exception to the process and shouldn't reflect on the entire program. I've had other friends come and go smoothly. I know several people who have adopted here more than once. There are beautiful children here who need families. Don't deny them that because I had a meltdown. Just look at the picture below. She's well worth all the stress.

Monday, February 25, 2013


There is still no signed adoption decree. I keep being told tomorrow morning, this afternoon, at the end of the work day, tomorrow morning, etc. No progress has been made. I keep getting promises that so and so is going to talk to her and it will be ok. And yet, nothing.

I am beyond frustrated. I passed that point days ago. I feel like I'm being held hostage in a country I don't even like. Each day that passes is costing me significant amounts of money and cutting into the amount of time we have to adjust to real life before I go back to work. If I don't have a signed decree tomorrow, we will spend yet another weekend in this place. All because some woman is on a power trip.

I am physically sick and emotionally exhausted but leaving is not an option and there doesn't seem to be any plan to get us out of here. I'm tired of waiting for phone calls that just say "No news. Keep praying."

There have been countless other delays in this process. While they annoyed me, this is the most ridiculous and hardest to handle. I'm not home with my support system. I don't have anything here to distract me. I can't plan to do anything with my day because I'm waiting for a phone call that says "Come to the courthouse."

There are several kids here that I would love to advocate for. They need families. They deserve families but how can I encourage families to pursue adoption here? I would hate for this to happen to anyone I know.

I've been told that people enjoy the honesty in my blog. Well, there is some honesty for you. The adoption process is not all butterflies and roses. It's a lot of tears and frustrations.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

No words

Where to start? I got up really early this morning and left Sara for the first time so I could go sign the adoption decree. I really didn't like either of those things.

I chatted with my facilitator on the way to the court house. She said she thought we could get the sentencia, birth certificates and passport application done today and we could be home on Tuesday. I was on top of the world.

When we arrived, the lawyer told us there was a mistake. The paperwork says I'm Swedish. She assured us it wasn't a big deal. It could be fixed quickly.

EXCEPT the very cranky secretary insisted she didn't have time to fix it today. (It was her mistake!!!!!). She says she will fix it when she gets a chance. So, until this lady feels like fixing her typo, there is nothing we can do but wait.

Waiting isn't the end of the world. I hate that I knew when I would he home and now it's all up in the air again. We all know I hate the unknown. It will probably just be one extra day. It's just frustrating to me that my future is in this very uncaring woman's hands. It's expensive to stay here even one more night. And, I really want to go home!!!

After we left the court house, we walked around the historic district. I was glad to get to see some more of Bogota. I saw the president's house and lots of old, beautiful buildings. It was nice to walk around and chat but our spirits were definitely dampened. (I even got to see some of the red light district in action on my cab ride back.)

I got back to the hotel and was greeted at the gate by my girl with lots of hugs and kisses. She makes all the struggles and waiting and frustration worth it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


The judge's secretary called the lawyer to say that the judge will sign today. So, I will go to the court at 9 AM tomorrow to sign. Sara will officially be a Keller. (There is still some confusion about her actual name but Keller is the important part.)

After that we will get new birth certificates, a passport and a visa. If all goes well, we will be home on Wednesday.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Counting days

Although it doesn't always feel like it, we are in our final days here. From what I understand, the judge has until Friday to sign. (I've been wrong before but I think I'm right this time.)

Now I'm into counting days.
•If we get sentencia today, we could be home this weekend.
•If we get it today or tomorrow, we shouldn't have to do laundry again. I guess I'd better set aside our traveling clothes.
•If the judge waits until Friday, Sara will miss her appointment with the developmental pediatrician next Wednesday.
•How much money do I need to get our of the bank to pay for the hotel if he signs today, tomorrow, Friday? (Have you ever heard of a hotel that only takes cash?)

Lots and lots of thoughts in my head and no control over anything.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


I finally asked my facilitator to explain the judicial process to me. I was clearly misunderstanding something. I thought that based on the updates she was giving me, I should be on my way home right now. It turns out, I misunderstood her updates and we aren't really that close to going home.

Here's a summary of the process here and where we are in it:

•Once the attorney receives the integration document, she goes to the court and submits the case.

•The computer chooses where the case will be sent. (There are multiple courts.).My case was submitted on January 24.

• The judge has the option to admit it or not. He does not have a time term to fulfill. Mine was admitted on January 31.

•It is then sent to be reviewed by the family defender who had 3 working days to give his opinion. She went to the court office on February 5 and took my file and gave it back on Friday the 8th. (So glad she let it sit for six days first. Thanks!)

•It has been on the judges desk since then waiting for his signature.

•We have been in this process 13 working days. A normal process would take 24 (working) days....

•The judge has ten days to sign. He could take them all or he could sign today. There is no way to know.

So, as you can see, we could be here another two weeks. Not the news I wanted but I'd rather be informed and stop stressing about a phone call that probably isn't coming for a while.

There is another RR family at the hotel this week. Just having someone to talk to had greatly improved my spirits. I'm not sure what I will do when they leave this weekend but I guess I'll worry about that later.

I'm attaching pictures of the three RR girls meeting in Colombia. We had hoped to get a pic of all three today but I'm not sure that's going to happen. Jason is pretty busy trying to get out of here.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Museo de Los Ninos

If you ever find yourself in Bogota, you should visit the children's museum. I haven't really done much since I've been here but Jason and I both decided we needed to do something this weekend to make it pass faster.

I found the children's museum on line. It was very reasonably priced so I didn't have high hopes. I figured even if it was lame, we'd get out of the house.

We got there around 10:30 and appeared to be the only ones there. We found out that there are about 20 different stations but you buy an hour and a half slot and get the three stations that are offered in that slot. We bought 4 tickets for the 11:00 slot. It was about $20 for 2 adults and 2 kids.

Our stations were mini-gymnastics, something about teeth and another one I don't remember. Just before we went in, a woman came over and said they wanted to offer us different stations because if the weather. (The museum was all inside so it didn't make sense to me.). They offered us mini-gymnastics, a sensory tunnel and gigantic food. Perfect choices for two preschoolers with Down syndrome! I didn't know that the big food was all about but gymnastics and sensory are the exact thing our girls need and love. I'm not sure why they gave the weather the credit for the change. I loved their willingness to accommodate our girls without even being asked.

We went through the three stations with a guide. She was really sweet and quickly adapted to our girls. (I was a little concerned when she wanted the girls to pick a group name. Neither of them really talk.). The three stations were all perfect. The sensory tunnel involved lights, music, bubbles and mirrors. Mini-gymnastics was mats, balls and tunnels. The giant food turned out to be a couple of slides. One of them ended in a ball out. Sara loves slides and Claudia found her happy place in the ball pit.

After an hour and a half, the parents were ready to go! I now have a snoring 4 year old next to me. Today, she's tired from lots of fun and not from boredom.

Friday, February 8, 2013

More on Bogota

I knew I'd think of some more things after I posted.

•Private security is a huge industry here. Everyone has a private security guard. Even the construction sites. Almost every store in the mall has well armed security. Hunting guns don't bother me but being around so many hand guns and high powered rifles makes me a little nervous.

•The police all seem to be 16. I've been told you have to do 6 months of service after graduation. They all roam the streets with night sticks. I've yet to see a police car but I did see two of them on a dirt bike.

•A lot of places have bomb sniffing dogs at the entrances of their parking lots.

•I could never drive here. You have to back into your parking spot every where you go and the spots are small.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Reflections on Bogota

Or more accurately, this neighborhood in Bogota. (I haven't really seen much else of Bogota.)

I've finally gotten brave enough to take Sara out by myself. Usually we try to walk for about an hour each morning. She's in the stroller and I'm getting all the exercise. I keep thinking I'm adjusting to the altitude but I'm usually huffing and puffing early on in our walk.

We are staying in a rather wealthy part of town. It's the safest place to be and it's where the adoption hotels are. I'm sure my observations would be different in other parts of the city and country.

•You never see a stroller pushed by a mom. Always by a nanny. You can tell because the nannies wear scrubs. I've never seen a nanny out alone with a child. Always a nanny pushing an empty stroller and a mom carrying the baby.

•Anything can get a license plate here. Motorcycles, dirt bikes, four wheelers. Even horses and trailers. They all mix in the traffic with taxis, busses, and cars. It's crazy. (Lima, Peru was worse.)

•People here have no personal space. I think they walk that way because they drive that way. It's not uncommon to have someone's shoes touching the back of yours while you wait in line at a store. They will also shove their shopping basket between your feet while you wait.

•If you go to the grocery store right after breakfast, you will be the only person jn street clothes in there. The maids that are there shopping all wear scrubs. Every job here seems to have a uniform.

•The dogs in this neighborhood are all well bred and trained. (Nothing like the mangy dogs in Baja.). It's not uncommon to see a young man walking 8 to 12 dogs at once. They all walk nicely. It's the weirdest thing.

•All the cars here are small. You almost never see trucks. I've seen people carrying and using wheel barrows down the city streets to transport all kinds of things to construction sites. (There is tons of construction in this neighborhood right now.)

•On Sundays, the major streets close down to cars. There are bikers and roller bladers everywhere. (Most with their dogs.) It's a nice day to take the stroller out. You can walk easily in the smooth road. The sidewalks tend to be a challenge.

•The stores in the mall seem to open whenever they want.

•Just because it says its a Boston donut at Dunkin Donuts does not mean it has Boston cream in it.

I'm sure I will come up with some more things after I post this or tomorrow when we go out.

I think the big difference for me is that I'm not used to being in the nice neighborhoods in foreign countries. (Or in the US for that matter.) When I've traveled, it's almost always been on missions trips. Missions trips don't usually go to this kind of neighborhood. Maybe if I went to the south side of Bogota it would seem more like the Latin America I know from Mexico, Peru and Costa Rica.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

You'd think I'd be used to waiting.

Today marks a week since the judge signed the papers and we still don't have sentencia. I have no idea why. I must be misunderstanding something or missing a step in the process. I thought last week that we would be getting ready to leave by now.

People keep telling me to enjoy my time here but, in all honesty, I'm really ready to go home. Even if we get sentencia today, we won't be home until next week. I'm starting to think we may be flying on our original tickets for next Saturday.

If you know me at all, you know I am a doer. I love lists and checking things off. I'm very time oriented. If I say tomorrow, I mean tomorrow. I don't mean sometime in the next two weeks. These two things are combining here to drive me crazy. There is nothing I can do but wait. I've done lots of that in the last year and I still hate it.

I know we will survive. I think a piece of me will miss it when we get home. I know things aren't perfect at home either. I know all these things. Right now, I just want the phone call and to go home. That's just where I am right now.

Friday, February 1, 2013


I realized that I've updated a lot about the process but not so much about my princess.

Sara is everything I dreamed she'd be. It's hard to describe her because she's growing and changing daily. She's very independent and determined. She wants to learn. She's starting understand some English.

Her speech is her biggest struggle but she definitely gets her meaning across. She has about 15-20 phrases that she uses regularly. It's amazing how much she can communicate with those few phrases.

She calls everyone Tia--Aunt. Men and women. If you ask her who her mom is, she knows. If she sees a picture of me, she says papa. She calls me Tia, though. I've tried to get her to say mama but she doesn't make the m sound.

She's really kind hearted. Most of the time, I just have to look at her and she will hug me and change her behavior. However, she still has the occasional melt down. Usually when she's tired and doesn't get her way. Overall, she's a lot calmer and better behaved than she was 3 weeks ago.

She's a great sleeper. She naps 2 hours a day and sleeps about 10 hours a night. It takes her a solid hour to wake up. She plays and chatters right up until the second she falls asleep.

She loves people. We're going to have to work on some boundary issues since she definitely prefers men. I tend to keep her in a stroller when we go out because she will join any group of people that look interesting.

I can't wait for you all to meet her! She's as precious as the pictures make her seem.

The judge has signed

The judge signed the paperwork Wednesday night. Now we just need the family defender to sign and we can get our adoption decree.

After that, we get a new birth certificate, her passport, and her visa. These things will take about three days. So, if we get our decree today, we could be home on Thursday. (I am dreading the trip but so excited to go home and start our life together.)

Even if the decree takes a little longer, we will still be way ahead of schedule. Saturday will mark 3 weeks. An adoption in Bogota in 3 1/2 weeks is unheard of. I was expecting at least 5 weeks and was told that was a conservative estimate.

Please continue to pray. There are still quite a few details that need to fall in to place but the judge's signature is a huge step!