Monday, August 31, 2009
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
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."
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!
El futuro pertenece a los que den a generación siguiente la razón de la esperanza.
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!
Saturday, August 29, 2009
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
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!
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
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.
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.
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
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!
Monday, August 24, 2009
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
Don't get it? WATCH THIS and you'll understand.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
(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!)
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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!