Monday, August 31, 2009

SUMMARY: Day 21

Most of the day was spent waiting (as patiently as I possibly could through a veil of complete excitement!) for confirmation that our attorney was able to get Mariana's new birth certificate from Buga. At about 5:00 my time I got a fax copy of the certificate and danced around the lobby of the hotel with it. It was so nice to look at her name MARIANA KAY MURRAY with my name listed as her mother and Bill's name listed as her father! Not to mention it was a huge relief to know that we really could get her passport and get ready to go to Bogota. Even though I hadn't yet heard from our attorney personally, I decided to go ahead and try to book my ticket since I knew our attorney had said that as long as we get the birth certificate on Monday we would be able to leave for Bogota on Tuesday.

To book the ticket I went to the airlines website directly and decided on the 2:20pm flight, thinking it would get me to Bogota early enough in the day to do what the agency needs us to do. I selected the flights, filled in all the traveler information and payment information. When I hit the button to purchase the ticket it came back with a message that informed me that the "transaction was rejected." Wait -- what??? I quick prick of panic was followed by a wave of annoyance as I figured the transaction had been declined by our credit card company. We had called to tell them we'd be using the cards in South America and they said "ok, we've noted your file but that doesn't mean it won't get denied in Colombia and you'll have to call again." How's that for efficiency? Anyway, I emailed Bill and asked him to call them (so I wasn't paying 3 bucks a minute for their lovely hold music, you know). I got a call that my attorney was here to see me so I went to see her (and HUG her for the millionth time in the last several days!) and she went over the plan for tomorrow and told me I really need to be on the later flight to make sure there are no problems. I thought that would be no big deal since the transaction for the early flight didn't go through anyway.

When I got back to my room I had an email back from Bill saying there is a little over $x.xx avail and there's a pending authorization from Avianca for over $200. Again, wait -- WHAT?!?!? So it wasn't the credit card company but some other internet boogeyman that caused the problem? The next step, then was -- you guessed it! -- asking Bill to call Avianca (they have expensive hold music, too you know) to find out what was going on. Poor guy had to go through about 6 or 7 different people in order to find our reservation, confirm whether it had been booked, switch us to the correct flight, book it, and get confirmation of all of these steps emailed to me.

It was a pain in the arse but it's done now...and once again Bill is my knight in shining armor, even from thousands of miles away! Soooooo...the bottom line is we're going to Bogota tomorrow! Woo -hoooo!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

SUMMARY: Day 20

Ahhh....Sunday. The quietest day at the hotel. Everybody leaves. Except the staff, of course...and me and Mariana. The guests typically take an excursion on Sunday and, unfortunately, it's typically a LO-O-O-O-NG one. This Sunday, the same as last Sunday, the trip today was a 7~ish hour long trip to another hotel to play in the pool. (Which I have never really understood, since there is a pool here but...) So again I opted to stay behind and spend some quiet time with Mari.

When she napped I started working on the Thank You cards for the staff here at the hotel. We are going to be leaving soon and it could take awhile to get a thank you card written for everyone. Especially since the cards are blank and I have to decorate them too. I decided to go with a quote, "The future belongs to those who give the next generation the reason for hope."

El futuro pertenece a los que den a generación siguiente la razón de la esperanza.

On the reverse side I wrote: " Thank you for all you have done to make sure our adoption trip has been filled with hope and joy. With love, The Murray family," in what I'm sure is VERY broken Spanish...Google Translate and Yahoo! Babel Fish can only get you so far!

Monday is going to be busy trying to confirm all of our travel plans for Bogota. There is so much left to do. I am feeling a little overwhelmed. But, as I said in an email this morning, I know all this craziness has to happen in order for me and Mariana to get home. That's what keeps me going. That, and maybe a little bit of art therapy today!

PHOTO RECAP: Day 20

My facebook status for awhile today was, "Jenn is exploring her artistic side, in a preschooler with an unsteady hand kind of way."


Why?

Because I spent the day working on these.

They're Thank You cards.
Lots and lots...
and LOTS of Thank You cards.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

SUMMARY: Day 19

Oh happy day! What a difference today! We woke up in a good mood and it lasted. We went to Chipe Chape again today with our friends from Sweden. And we basically just hung out all afternoon. We are praying that we are home by this time next week. Now begins the whirlwind of figuring out the trip to Bogota and how to accomplish everything quickly and efficiently. We've spent the last (nearly) three weeks with very little to do but wait. Bogota, I'm finding, is going to be much busier! More to accomplish in 3-4 days than we have in almost three weeks here. A tight schedule will be required! Better get that sorted out!

PHOTO RECAP: Day 19

I've been talking a lot about the porch later. That would be because I spend a LOT of time out there. So, in an attempt to bring you out on the porch, with me I present:
The Porch!
This is the light fixture - Mariana LOVES to look at it in the evening when it's lit.
My "office" - all the meetings with our attorney have been held at this table on the porch.
This is the view of the porch from my doorway. So, in case anyone was concerned about me escaping to the porch while Mariana sleeps, it's always with my door open and I'm no further from her than I will be at home...and always with an eye on the door!
This is my morning routine on the porch, although I have begun to substitute tea for coffee...an Mari's on my lap or in the stroller.
This is the view from the porch into my room. See -- not far! :)

Friday, August 28, 2009

And then..

Later in the afternoon I was again sitting on the porch talking with some other families. The Norwegian family had gone to sign their Sentencia and we were chatting waiting for them to return. It was nearing 4:00pm and Mariana and I were sitting, relaxing, enjoying the knowledge that by this time Monday we would likely have our Sentencia too.

All of a sudden, our interpreter (who is also the interpreter for the Norwegian family) appeared at the top of the stairs and said, "Jennifer, you're ready, let's go!" I must have looked at, her funny because she repeated it again. "Come on! Let's go sign your Sentencia!" I smiled and asked if she was kidding and she replied, "NO! Come on LET'S GO!" I snapped to attention at that moment, for certain! I quickly ran to change my clothes and off we went. About half an hour later I was crying in the judge's administrative office as I signed the document that says legally and finally Mariana is ours!

Today we received our Sentencia! Mariana is now officially MARIANA KAY MURRAY, our daughter forever.

Jeremiah 29:11 (NAB)

For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare, not for woe, plans to give you a future full of hope.

Thank you, Lord, for this amazing gift!

SUMMARY: Day 18

Even after the darkest night, the sun brightens the day. Today started slowly with neither Mari nor I really feeling like getting moving very quickly. Late nights do that to us all, don't they? After I showered and we put on pretty outfits to try to brighten our mood that way, we went with Karin and Elin (our Swedish friends, at least mother and daughter) to Exito to pick up some comfort foods - we've all been wanting chocolate! - and baby foods. This was our first "girls only" trip and we did just fine, if I do say so myself! I had one moment of panic where I thought I'd lost my debit card but then remembered debating with myself over whether I should even bring it since I have cash. I hoped I had left it in the room. I did.


Then when we got home we were sitting on the porch when I thought I heard a phone ring. Not unusual, we're close to the front desk and the phone's ALWAYS ringing. Still, something made me check to see if it was the phone in my room. It was. It was our lawyer calling to tell me that we should have our Sentencia either this afternoon or Monday morning! I was beyond thrilled! I no longer had such a craving for those comfort foods (but now that I'm thinking about them again...chocolate, here I come!) and suddenly everything seemed so much brighter.

Jonah 2:2 (NAB)

Out of my distress I called to the LORD, and He answered me; From the midst of the nether world I cried for help, and You heard my voice.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

For He Shall Give His Angels Charge Over Thee...

I had to get out of my room for a few minutes so I opened the door and stepped onto the porch to sit outside for a little while. Two other Mamis were sitting out there, one in the throes of frustration with the delays in her process and one overwhelmed with emotion on her second day as a Mom. With very little explanation we slipped into conversation. Pretty soon, the newest Mami returned to her room and left the two of us to chat, joke, lament, rationalize and just relate. I have mentioned before how nice it is to have so many people around who "get it." As we got up to return to our rooms to try to get some sleep I felt better than I have all day. Walking back to my room I thought "For He shall give His angels charge over thee..." One of my favorite quotes from Psalm 91 (Psalm 91:11, KJV to be precise). Here it is in full:

PSALM 91 (KJV)

Abiding in the Shadow of the Almighty

1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High
shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

2 I will say of the LORD,
He is my refuge and my fortress:
my God; in him will I trust.

3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler,
and from the noisome pestilence.

4 He shall cover thee with his feathers,
and under his wings shalt thou trust:
his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night;
nor for the arrow that flieth by day;

6 nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness;
nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.

7 A thousand shall fall at thy side,
and ten thousand at thy right hand;
but it shall not come nigh thee.

8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold
and see the reward of the wicked.

9 Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge,
even the Most High, thy habitation;

10 there shall no evil befall thee,
neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.

11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee,
to keep thee in all thy ways.

12 They shall bear thee up in their hands,
lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.

13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder:
the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.

14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him:
I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.

15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him:
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him, and honor him.

16 With long life will I satisfy him,
and show him my salvation.

SUMMARY: Day 17

This will be short and still no pictures. Sorry. Today was a rough day. I really miss my family and want to go home. This is to be expected and I am still VERY thankful that we are making progress (and quicker than several of the other families too!) but I still have been really bummed today. But it's another day to check off the list of days to wait. Maybe we'll have good news tomorrow? If not, we are one day closer nonetheless.

Mariana is still uncomfortable because of her teeth, but even in pain she is so cute. Today I was leaning over to kiss her on the cheek (like I do a half a million times a day) and she grabbed my head and smashed her drooly, wide open mouth on my cheek. I think that was her kiss. Or she was trying to chew because her teeth hurt...I'm going with the kiss!

I'm going to bed now because the sooner I sleep the sooner I wake up one day closer to getting home. That's enough for today.

SUMMARY: Day 16

I'm doing yesterday's post today...Mariana was up until almost midnight last night and I couldn't bring myself to do a post even though yesterday was a really good day. There are three steps of the legal process here. Our attorney gave us an estimated timeline in the beginning that, from the time our papers are filed in court, we're looking at about 5 days for the first step, 3 days for the second, and UP TO 10 days for the final decree (SENTENCIA). She also told us, over and over, that the 3rd step almost never takes that long. Our papers were filed last Friday and she has gone out of her way to stay on top of our case. Yesterday she confirmed for us that we have completed the first two steps! So, this means we should have our Sentencia within 10 days. We are praying that it comes much MUCH sooner than that, but I am happy that we are this far. We are so blessed to have the attorney we have. Our agency works very diligently to find the people who will work hard for the families and, believe me, IT SHOWS. Many of the families here are frustrated and upset because they can't get any answers from their attorney. I am thankful that we don't have that problem.

I have said all along that God is guiding us on this journey. He is providing for us and making our path straight. Thank You, Lord.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

SUMMARY: Day 15

The photo recap post says it all, really. Poor Mari has her very first two, tiny teeth trying to poke their way through her lower gums. She was pretty miserable most of the day. We spent some time playing and listening to music and when she got too uncomfortable I gave her a little Tylenol and we rested together.

We have just been hanging around the hotel today, talking with our friends and making new friends. A new family has come to the hotel and will meet their son tomorrow. We are very excited for them.

Not much else to report for today; just hoping Mari feels better tomorrow, poor thing. Someone told me today that I am a very good mother to her. I had to admit she makes it easy! She's such a sweetie. It certainly doesn't feel like it's only been two weeks that we've known her. It's like she's been with us her whole life! I can't wait for her to get home and meet the rest of her family...she's got no idea how many awesome people are waiting for her!

PHOTO RECAP: Day 15

Poor Baby!!! Today was a rough day for Mariana...


apparently no one warned her that cutting teeth HURTS...

but after a bit of Tylenol and some love from Mami she felt a little better.

Colombia Commercial

There is a commercial that plays at least 10 times per day on the one English language channel we get here at the hotel. It is a commercial by the Colombian Tourism board. The tag line is Colombia: The only risk is wanting to stay. Great commercial, with lots of beautiful scenes. My only thought is, "I am already IN Colombia. I never saw this commercial at home." Perhaps they should expand their market base?

Monday, August 24, 2009

SUMMARY - DAY 14...with a little Day 13 thrown in!

My daily updates have become inconsistent and my photo-taking even moreso! Today to see the photo you have to get all the way through my rambling summary post. You're welcome. teehee

Yesterday (Day 13) I spent the day at the hotel, as usual. Sundays are quiet days around here and many of the adoptive families went on an excursion to the countryside. They visited a hotel where they could swim in a river and sightsee a bit. I stayed behind as I often do on the 6+ hour trips. It's a long day for Mariana, and for me! The staff of the hotel has been taking such good care of me. No lunch is served on Sundays so I was expecting chocolate chip cookies and Avena from my personal stash to serve as lunch. Around 1pm the receptionist called and told me that they were coming to spray for cucarachas y hornigas and I would need to leave the room for a little while, so Mari and I went to the porch/lounge to sit outside for a bit. I was completely surprised when Mecy came with a lunch tray for me. When I returned the tray to her I told her thank you, of course, and that I thought there was no lunch service on Sunday. She said," Yes, but for you there is." How lovely is that? I am so thankful that we are in a place where they actually care for us. It's almost like home...


Last night it rained all night. Mariana didn't want to go to sleep and was up playing until nearly 10:30pm. I read for another hour or so and then we both slept in late, enjoying the crispness in the air and the sound of the rain. I drank my breakfast on the porch -- I can't usually eat much that early in the morning so I have been drinking an Avena as my breakfast...I think I may be addicted! -- and played with Mari for a while.


Our Swedish friends invited me to share a taxi to Exito to pick up some necessities so I agreed to join them. Several other families decided to make the trip as well, so there was some waiting time in the lobby while everyone got themselves together to go. While I was waiting I actually met another American! She was staying in the hotel with some friends and they were traveling throughout Colombia on vacation. She is from Boston and "hasn't hit the baby stage yet" (her words, not mine) so she was a little amazed by all the families with babies in the hotel. We chatted for a little bit and then it was time to go.


In all, we were 9 adults and 6 children piled into three taxis (roughly the size of a Chevy Aveo hatchback) for the trip to Exito. Which brings us to an opportune moment to again discuss riding in Colombian taxis, at least those in Cali. I don't believe this is an experience that one can ever really grow accustomed to. It is like a rollercoaster ride without the subconscious understanding that much planning has gone into assuring your safety. Not to say that riding in taxis is unsafe; I don't mean to insinuate that at all. However, as a small town girl (whether I've experienced life in several metropolitan areas around the US or not is immaterial, I am still a small town girl!) who very well could count on one hand the number of taxi rides I've had before this trip, each ride is every bit as unnerving as the one before. Have I mentioned that I dislike roller coasters, subconscious indications of safety or not?


Anyway, I was glad to make the trip to Exito to bolster my supply of (cheap!) diapers, (cheap!!)formula and some junk food for my midnight snacks. I was able to find the notecards that I forgot to bring from home so I can write thank you cards for the staff at the hotel when it is time to leave. I also was able to withdraw the money needed to pay our interpreter from the ATM and then climb in the cab and get back to the hotel without being nervous about carrying all that cash (approx. US$300) in public.


Afterwards, it was back to the hotel to relax and play. We had lunch and then napped in the afternoon. We woke up just in time for tea. I have implemented my own personal afternoon tea at approximately 3:30pm (4:30 at home) where we go to the porch and I have a cup or two of tea. It's a nice little routine, I am enjoying it.


Mariana fell asleep just as the clock struck 7:00pm, which is the time they begin serving dinner, so I requested dinner in my room. As usual, I ate myself sick with the delicious dinner. I am getting rather used to having such delicious meals every day. I actually have found myself wondering if I could recreate some of these dishes at home...anything's possible!


I only took a couple of photos in the last couple of days. Here is one of Mariana sleeping. She is so precious. I have noticed in the last couple of days that she is smiling at me more, she laughs her own special little laugh more, and is expressing herself more (or maybe I am just understanding her more). Today I was laying with her on my chest patting her back. When I stopped patting her, she started patting my shoulder until I started again. She is just a doll. We are so blessed to have her in our family!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Oh How I Love That Girl!

Just got an email from Bill. Katie and I had a secret plot to put a jar of sweet potatoes (baby food) in her Daddy's chair when they got home from Colombia. I'm actually a little surprised that she remembered, but she did...and Daddy caught her opening the jar to POUR THEM IN the chair! Too funny! She wanted it to be a real deal kind of experience, I guess!



Don't get it? WATCH THIS and you'll understand.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

OUCH!!!

I just got a call from my Katie. She was crying and trying very hard to explain to me through her sobs that she misses me and her sister so much. She wishes she could come back to Colombia to be with us. I miss you too, Katie Kat... You have no idea how much. I love you.

SUMMARY - Day 12


(What's Mariana thinking? "Obviously the art of the self-portrait is one that should be reserved for Daddy, Titi Nellie and Katie...Mami's no good at it!" That's what!)

I'll resist the urge to say today stunk and end the post. Bill and Katie left bright and early this morning. I was doing fine until the cab got here to take them to the airport and Katie burst into tears. It was all over from there. After they left I moped my sobbing self back to our room and decided pretty quickly I couldn't stay there. Thankfully, my new room was already arranged and I already had the key. Bill moved much of my stuff over last night, so I grabbed what I had left in the old room and made my way to the new room.

When Mariana got restless we went out to the porch for a bit and I spent some time talking to our Danish friends who were preparing to leave for Bogota. After that, I went back to the room until lunch time. When the Danes knocked on the door to say goodbye I nearly cried again. At lunchtime I went to the dining room and greeted the few families who were there and sat down for lunch. As our Canadian friends were leaving I asked when their flight to Bogota would be. I was taken by surprise when Christine said it was in half an hour! I had thought they would be here until tomorrow. Happy for them but, again, sad for me. I'm so glad our Swedish friends are staying for a while. Otherwise, I'd be inconsolable!

I spent parts the afternoon talking with our Swedish friends, usually alternating between husband and wife depending on whose turns was up with their baby...and depending on whether Mariana was feeling cooperative or not. We had a good time comparing average temperatures and houses and such. The power of the internet allowed each of us to show the other our homes and neighborhoods. Amazing, and a little creepy all at once!




Bill and Katie made it safely home and I had a non-eventful day. Mariana and I had quite a bit of fun singing and playing in the room. She very kindly allowed me to eat lunch AND dinner today without too much fuss and promptly fell asleep right on time at 8:00 local time (9:00 EST). So that's it... I'm here until we get our Sentencia and will do my best to enjoy it. Still, I would truly appreciate if you would join me in praying that our Sentencia comes QUICKLY so Mari and I can join our family at home as soon as possible.

PHOTO RECAP: Day 12



I was so happy to see the surprise Katie and Bill left for me in our new room. When I walked in to the new room this morning I was greeted with a note from each telling me they love me and some beautiful flowers Katie gathered for me.



The room is still pretty big...it's just the two of us after all!



There's a double bed, a sitting area, a big armoire and a nice desk, the crib and two shelves.


Didn't take me long to just toss my stuff on the bed! This is why there are no pictures of the other room -- we came in and trashed the place before we could take pictures! But just for the sake of reference -- the other room had two beds this size, a twin bed, the crib, a desk and bookshelves. PLUS the patio! It was HUGE! But like I said...this one's pretty big too!




I can't figure out how to rotate this picture in Blogger but you get the gist -- we were playing on the bed when I paused to do something for a moment. That was long enough for Mari! She rolled over and flung her leg over mine and fell fast asleep. Poor thing hasn't learned yet that getting that close to her Mami's feet can be DANGEROUS!

PHOTO RECAP: Day 11

This princess wasn't exactly thrilled with the party at first.

Goofy fun shot of four of our five.

THIS princess enjoyed EVERY MINUTE!

Who'd have thought that a bunch of different balloons on the porch would be the most fun birthday party we've been to in a long time?
HAPPY 4th BIRTHDAY, DIANA!!




Day 11 Disappeared!

Okay, not really, but it did go by very quickly! We spent lots of time together and a LOT of time laughing and giggling last night, so I didn't get the update posted. Sorry.

Yesterday's big adventure was a birthday party for little Diana, who turned 4 yesterday. She is being adopted by one of the families who arrived earlier in the week from Sweden. We had cake and played with balloons on the porch/lounge and had a great time!

Bill moved the majority of my things from our old room to Mariana's and my new room before dinner and we actually got to enjoy dinner together last night. A couple of our friends from Sweden joined us, as well as one of our friends from Norway. It was a nice evening.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

PHOTO RECAP - Day 10

Since Mariana has missed out on some photo face-time lately, I decided to do a Bath Time Fun photo recap post. I call it "fun" because I am SO not used to these little baby bath things...I took my two oldest kids in the shower with me from birth and never used one. I would lather them up like slippery little piglets and rinse them under the shower. But we thought we'd give it a go with the baby bath provided by the hotel...she loves her baths and it was fun.
Mariana had lots of fun looking at her sister sitting nearby...

and trying to lick Mommy's wrist...

and laying on the bed with her sister...

until she was over it...

and decided to snooze while Daddy gathered her diaper and clothes.

SUMMARY - Day 10

Today has been a pretty lazy day. We stayed around the hotel all morning. Sleeping in (after a 4:30 a.m., local time, feeding of course) and waking up slowly. Today was a first because Mariana was very vocal in letting us know she was ready to eat. Usually she has been laying in her bed grunting and fidgeting but not crying (lucky for her Mommy's a light sleeper!) but this morning she let loose! This is a good sign, I think.

Also new today is the fact that I added rice cereal to her second bottle of the day (around 8:15, local time) so I guess that could officially be considered "breakfast" now. We've tried spoon feeding her on several occasions but she doesn't take anything at all unless it is in her bottle; so, we have been slowly adding fruits or vegetables to her "lunch" and "dinner" bottles. According to the information we received, she was taking a type of "soup" in her bottle at lunchtime before but we weren't given any real specifics on what types so we are improvising and it seems to be working well. This morning, with her first taste of rice cereal in her bottle she wasn't really taking to it as quickly as usual so I started to pull it away to re-evaluate and she quickly used both of her hands to grab my hand with the bottle to pull it back to her face. HOORAY MARIANA! I was thrilled!

This afternoon we learned that our Italian friends are leaving for Bogota tomorrow, and our Canadian friends are finally getting to go to Bogota this weekend as well; the Spanish family left yesterday, and our Danish friends are leaving in the next few days. It sounds crazy but I'm really going to miss them all. It's really nice to have such a big group of people who "get it" around to talk to. On the sunny side of the street, our friends from Sweden and our Norwegian friends are still here, and over the last couple of days another Swedish family and a German family have moved in.

Tomorrow is our last day here together; Katie and Bill will be leaving bright and early Saturday morning. We'll have to make sure we enjoy it!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

PHOTO RECAP - Day 9

Today was our trip to the Cali Zoo!

These are Katie's newest, best friends. She is going to be so sad to leave on Saturday.


They've had a ball playing together.


These two are like two peas in a pod...or two yolks in an egg?


Caterpillar wranglers! (It was too gross inside to get a shot of their heads coming out of it!)


Katie was a little afraid of the Rhino skeleton but took this picture just for her big brother!


They loved to play on these lily pads

Cheesy grin, much?

Mariana didn't get much camera time today, but she was there with us too!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

PHOTO RECAP - Day 8

HERE ARE A FEW RANDOM SHOTS FOR YOU...NOT NECESSARILY FROM TODAY BUT THEY'LL DO ONLY MY HONEYS GO TO COLOMBIA AND SEEK OUT DORITOS...

I REALLY DO GET TO SNUGGLE WITH MARIANA FROM TIME TO TIME!

SHE IS SO BEAUTIFUL.



INTEGRACION! Day 8

Today was our Integracion meeting with ICBF. I can honestly say that for most of the day today I was more nervous about this meeting than I was for our Encuentro last week. Shortly before we left for the meeting I spoke with another adoptive Mami who gave me the run-down of what to expect at this meeting.

All week Katie's been asking if she could go play in the room where we met Mariana, and all week I have told her I wouldn't count on it. Imagine her thrill, then, when we got to the ICBF office and the Director of Adoptions sent us back to that room to wait. Our interpreter was busy with the Norwegian couple staying in our hotel who were having their Integracion meeting as well. After waiting only a matter of a few minutes, the Director came back into the room and asked if either Bill or I spoke any Spanish at all? I told her I speak un poquito and almost fell over when she said "Okay, come on, we'll get started and your interpreter can join us when she finishes." WHAT?! Actually, it worked out very well. She told me that if there is anything that I didn't understand or if I couldn't respond we would wait for "V" but she would start with a few questions and see how we do.

I was surprised at how well I was able to understand and respond to her questions - all two of them she asked before "V" joined us. (Gracias, Senora Phelps!) After "V" came in I continued to try to respond in Spanish but was thankful to have her there. I kept slipping back and forth between Spanish and English. All in all it was a really neat experience. In the end, she told us that from what she has observed and from our answers to her questions she believes we have begun the integration process very well and she is comfortable recommending that we be allowed to legally complete the adoption process. Throughout our whole process we have waited, walking by faith when we needed to take a step and trusting that God would bring us through it all. Today, even though we are far from being completely finished with our adoption process, I finally was able to sigh a small sigh of relief. A weight has been lifted from me and I am waiting with joy for the completion of the legal process.


Isaiah 25:9 (New International Version) In that day they will say, "Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the LORD, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation."

Monday, August 17, 2009

PHOTO RECAP - Day 7

NO REAL SUMMARY FOR TODAY BUT HERE ARE SOME PHOTOS. TODAY WE WENT TO EL MUSEO DE CANA DE AZUCAR


WE WERE SURPRISED TO FIND RECYCLING BINS...THEY DON'T SEEM TO RECYCLE MUCH HERE.


WE ALL WENT TODAY, ALONG WITH MANY OF THE OTHER FAMILIES FROM THE HOTEL

AND WHEN IT WAS TIME TO LEAVE THE MEN IN THE GROUP GOT TO PUSH-START THE VAN

LOVE THESE PICTURES THAT WERE SNAPPED ON THE WAY HOME


FUNNY HOW MANY OF MY FAVORITE PICTURES ARE TAKEN OUT THE WINDOW OF A MOVING VEHICLE!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

PHOTO/SUMMARY - Day 6

Here's a shot of lovely Mariana for you since today's summary will be really short. The day's excursion was a trip to a water park, which excited Katie immensely. The plan was to leave the hotel around 10:00a.m. and return around 5:30p.m. Bill and I decided that a 7 1/2 hour outing may be just a little much for Mari so she and I stayed home again while Bill and Katie went out to play. We walked the grounds and played and lounged in our room. We enjoyed a nice lunch with our new Swedish friends. And we enjoyed time together. Katie and Bill had a ball on the waterslides and became quite the topic of conversation. As I hear it told, there were 72 steps to the top of the waterslide. Katie was the only child in the group who actually wanted to go on the slides...and she wanted to go OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN. This makes for some serious fun for Daddy, since my only rule was that he ride the rides with her and not leave her side. So again, as I hear it told, they walked up those 72 stairs somewhere in the ballpark of 30 times this afternoon. Me thinks Mr. Murray's legs will be aching tomorrow!

As we sat here this afternoon we heard the thunder rolling and I was pretty sure they'd be getting wet over at the water park (no pun intended). As luck would have it the only water was from the attractions and they had a great time, back again just in time for supper. Tomorrow is a holiday here in Colombia so no business will be conducted. We have another outing scheduled for the Sugar Cane Museum. Mariana and I will be going along on this field trip...time for us to get out and see some of the countryside too!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

PHOTO RECAP - Day 5

WHAT A FUN DAY TODAY!
RIDING MULES...

HOLDING BABY LAMBS (WITH BLUE LEGS?)...

FEEDING THE HORSES...

AND THE SHEEP!
YAKU WAS FUN!