After a few rough days, today was back on the upswing! We only had a few short issues of disobedience, but nothing long and major! Progress, again! At dinner I even said to Luisa that she hadn't had any grande pelea's today! (big fights) And that I was so proud of her! Her eyes got really big and she grabbed my hands and squealed "baile!!" (let's dance!) Then tonight at bedtime I was mentioning to Brent (in English) about our conversation and she understood enough of the words and she said, "Manana, yo tengo no grande peleas!" (Tomorrow I won't have any big fights!) I told her "THANK YOU!" and she replied (in English) quite emphatically, "YOUR WELCOME!" We all cracked up at the whole thing! Hopefully she is right and we will have another good day tomorrow!
This morning Sylvia, our Bogota agency rep, picked up the chicos and I and took us via crazy cab driver to the Bogota ICBF office. It was pretty busy, so I didn't end up meeting with any ICBF people. We just sat outside the office door and checked the accuracy of names and birthdates in order to get the super special ICBF letter that is required for HAGUE. Then I filled out a survey asking how our adoption process had been. It all took about 10 minutes.
Then we were off in a cab to the US Embassy. I showed the kids the US flag for the first time. They were excited to see it! There was a LONG line of people waiting to get into the embassy, but Sylvia marched right up to the front and talked to the embassy worker and in we went. We dropped off the visa photos, application, and their passports at a front window and then sat to wait. It was a very long wait! The kids immediately had spotted the little concession stand when we came in, so I let them each pick out some chips and juice to pass the time. I had brought some little new toys and that entertained them most of the wait. I ended up running into the same family that we had met in the Colombian Consulate in Washington DC when we went to get our visas. What are the odds of that! They had their two new children (12 and 11yo) and were there dropping off their paperwork too!
Finally after about 3 hours of waiting, we were called up to the front window to turn in the last bit of paperwork- the copies of their old and new birth certificates, sentencia and legal proceedings. Of course, at this moment the kids had had enough of waiting and started fighting with each other. They also decided they wanted to play with all the office equipment at the front window. It was a little stressful trying to talk to them about not touching or fighting, but not push them into a tantrum, and also try to answer the questions the embassy worker had while using a phone on the wall to speak through the window! LOL!
We went to a second window to pay the bill (yes, adoptive families, you can use a credit card!) and to a third window for a short "interview" which really wasn't an interview at all. All I had to do was sign my name and the kids names a few times. The kids were at their breaking point and, of course at one point Luisa whined "No quiero el nombre Trautman! Yo soy Luisa Fernanda Tangarife!" (I don't want the name Trautman, I am Luisa Fernanda Tangarife!)
Oh, boy. I thought for sure I'd be interrogated and hassled at that point, but the worker only laughed and asked if I knew Spanish. (I guess she was wondering if I understood what Luisa had just said.) I told her "a little". She just laughed again. LOL! I guess she wasn't too worried about what Luisa wanted! Then she said that tomorrow only I needed to come pick up the visas. No need to bring the kids because they don't like it here! HA! She totally understood! She must have been a mom too.
We got home just in time for some lunch and then I headed back out to the Avianca office with Sylvia to try to change our flights. What a fiasco. We had been told on the phone that if we went to an actual office that they would change our flight code to an adoption fare and we wouldn't be charged a change date fee. So we explained that to the girl in the office and she agreed to change the fare. I was so excited! It was going to save us about $3000! Then she happened to get a phone call from the main office in Unicentro and she was told by someone there that they are only allowed to offer adoption fares if we were residents of Spain! WHAT? That's crazy! But she wouldn't budge. So after 3 hours in the office, back to the hotel, and then back to the office, we ended up having to pay the whole amount. What a ripoff. But it was cheaper to do that then buy new tickets. That would have cost us over $10,000 (which we wouldn't have done...). Oh, well. It's just money, right? God has no problem supplying all our needs, so I'm trusting that we won't need that $3000 once we get home.
Since Brent had been with the kids for several hours, they all needed a break so we and the other family took a walk before dinner. The kids had so much fun. We played little games the whole way to keep their attention and taught them all the hokey pokey. I'm really going to miss this family! They are awesome!
Once we got back, we heard some sad news. There was a husband and wife who arrived two days ago to adopt a 5month old baby boy. They got him yesterday, but he has been sick and on oxygen. They were told he was doing better, but when they gave him his meds today, he turned blue and almost stopped breathing. They rushed him to the hospital where he is now on a ventilator and may possible need surgery to remove scare tissue in his trachea that is impeding his breathing. We are so sad for them. They are an emotional mess. He is their first child and they've been waiting for 3 years for him. I would ask that everyone at home please pray for his healing and their comfort during this time. It is so scary for them.
The evening ended well. It is nice to have a bit of relief from the intensity of the past few days. I'm still pretty sure that our homecoming will be a challenge again, but it looks like we just need some time to reestablish boundaries each time there is a change.
I will go with Sylvia tomorrow at 3:30 to pick up the Visas. Then we'll pack everything up and on Thursday morning we will head to the airport for our flight home! We should arrive at Dulles airport around 3:30pm, but who knows how long immigration will take. (Thankfully, we were able to get a direct flight so we don't need to worry about trying to fit immigration into a layover! That sounded stressful to me! Too easy to miss a flight if immigration takes a long time!) But, it is exciting to think that they will become US citizens right then!
Several people have asked if it is ok to meet us at the airport. YES!!! We miss you all so much and we can't wait to see everyone! And we can't wait for you all to meet the newest additions to the Trautman family!
Even though I'm excited to be home, I'm going to miss Colombia. Actually, I'm not going to miss Bogota, but I will miss Medellin. I haven't cared for Bogota as much. So much pollution and smog and the people haven't seemed as friendly. Of course, we haven't been here as long, so it might be different if we were here for 3 weeks, but I could go back to Medellin in a heartbeat. I loved it there!