Wednesday, July 8, 2009


The boys seem to be very happy in their new home. The first few days they just "pinged" from one thing to the next to the next. It has been so fun to watch them explore and discover and get acquainted with the place.

Some of their favorite things are...
*Moses (the dog)
*trampoline (though they give me gray hairs and heart attacks when I watch them)
*board games (especially Looney Tunes Monopoly)
*Kinex, Legos
*gathering eggs (which is a good thing, because eggs are their favorite food)

We got home in the wee hours of the morning Thursday (June 24th) and on Friday (the 25th) around 5pm we left for Des Moines. Darin and I had signed up to compete in the Hy-Vee triathlon and used it as a fund raiser for the Brittany's Hope Foundation who gave us a generous grant to help with some of the expense of the adoption. The race was really fun. I even finished a minute faster than last year. And family and friends generously donated almost $1000! Awesome!

The boys really didn't want to leave their new house after only one day, but we let them watch movies all the way over so they were really quiet:) I hate to use the TV as a babysitter, but there are times when it is a "sanity-saver". This was one of those times. It was a very quiet trip. They really enjoy meeting family. They warmed up quickly even though they tend to be quite shy around new people. Whenever we introduced them to a family member they beamed. They seem to love being a part of a big family and feel immediately accepted and included. That's cool. We got back home Monday morning and I've been trying to catch up and settle into a routine ever since.

We all went to church together for the first time this Sunday (July 5). I cried during worship as I sang praises to my AWESOME God thanking Him for who He is and for the PRECIOUS gifts He's given me in each one of my family members. I cried during the sermon as I looked around at our large family sitting together in church. And I cried at the end when pastor gave the invitation as I thought about the day my sons may walk forward and give their hearts to God. I am so BLESSED!

We took the boys to see fireworks on Sat. and Sun. nights. They enjoyed them for the most part, except for the really loud ones that hurt your ears and thump in your chest. By the end of the weekend Mauricio said, "No mas amigos." No more friends. They were a bit overwhelmed:)

Saying Good-bye to Colombia

We are actually back home now, but I didn't want to leave this blog just hanging. It is now quite difficult to find a few quiet moments to think. I thought I had journalled (apparently that's not a word because it's not in my spell check) the last day there and the first days home, but I didn't. So I'll try to recall them the best I can.

Of course nothing is easy. After I shut down and packed up the computer ready to leave, we had a little "incident" in the hotel. After dinner that last night in the hotel the boys didn't want to go upstairs right away. They were playing a game and having fun. All of the other families were milling about, so I went upstairs to send Darin a quick email confirming my flight time the following day. My middle daughter Miranda popped up online to chat. So we sent a few comments back and forth. I told her that the boys were downstairs playing and she said, "That's cool that you don't have to supervise them 24/7." I said that I probably should be down there but wanted to pack up the last few things. Not 45 seconds later I hear a CRASH...breaking glass. Parents come running out of all the rooms and down the stairs. There stands Miguel beside a riding toy which had crashed into a glass door. He had no blood, no cuts, not even a scratch. He didn't even seem particularly shaken up. Great! I'm leaving tomorrow and now I have to pay for a glass patio door. That just sent my bill a bit higher. So I take the boys upstairs and send them straight to bed. Miguel is still acting rather chipper, but Mauricio is being very quiet and compliant. As I was talking to Miguel about the incident he said, "But Mauricio...." Mauricio's face fell and he started to cry. I don't know how long he was going to let his brother take the rap, but he did confess. God is GOOD...the door only cost about $75, Mauricio apologized to the owner the next morning, and we were off!

The boys thoroughly enjoyed the plane rides, the headphones for the movies, the food and drinks, the lavatories, the air vents, the reclining chairs,...they watched intently as the pieces on the wings moved as we took off and landed. Mauricio even checked under the seat cushion to make sure that it was indeed a flotation device. From the time we left the hotel to the time we got home was a 16 hour day of travel. The boys were wonderful. They helped with the luggage, they were fairly patient as we waited in customs and again in immigration and again because our flight to Chicago was delayed.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Day 6 in Bogota

Today has been uneventful and VERY LONG. Why do the hours seem to crawl when you are anxiously awaiting something?

The morning was spent packing. The afternoon we tried to walk to the park but got rained on, so now we are in the room watching some silly movie.

All day we've been saying "This is our last lunch in Colombia. Tonight is our last dinner in Colombia. Tonight is our last sleep in Colombia. Tomorrow is our last breakfast in Colombia." Can you tell we're all a little excited?

This will be my last post from Colombia. Tonight I'm going to Skype with family and friends then pack up the computer and be out the door tomorrow morning at 10:30am. I'm sure none of us will sleep tonight:)

Day 5 in Bogota

Today is Monday and we will be home on Wednesday!!!

This morning I took the boys for haircuts. They were looking pretty shaggy and knowing that it's 95 degrees at home I thought they might appreciate it. Miguel went first (because Mauricio was too chicken:). The guy put the #2 blade on and went to work. Miguel wanted some left in front so he could spike it up and I could tell he was pleased with the finished product by the huge smile as he admired himself in the mirror:) Mauricio was next and, being the more conservative of the two, asked the guy to buzz it all. He was pleased as well and I think they look extremely handsome!!! Then we went to the mall to buy a new suitcase since the zipper on one of mine broke on the way to Bogota and I know customs is none too gentle when they go through your bags.

When we got back to the hotel Maria Consuelo picked us up for a wonderfully delicious lunch at her home with her son Santiago. We had a great time and then went to the US Embassy to pick up the boys Visas. That was the last piece to the seemingly endless puzzle. They can come home now!!!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Day 4 in Bogota

Today is Father's Day and the boys are very disappointed that their Papa is not here and we can't even get our internet to connect to call him.

After breakfast this morning we walked to the mall (Unicentro) and found Mauricio a new pair of shoes. He had brand new shoes when we picked him up at the orphanage, but in 5 weeks he had already worn a hole through the toe. Then we headed to Jeno's Pizza for lunch. They have a huge play area and game room. The boys were enthralled with the video games (no surprise). They asked how long we could stay and I received the biggest smiles when I told them we could stay as long as they wanted. It beats sitting at the hotel for more endless hours of board games! We ended up staying for 4 hours!! I think I learned my lesson about setting time limits:)

Only 3 more days and we will be home!! They are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The first thing Mauricio does when his eyes open in the morning is check his calendar. Every morning since Darin and the girls left his face fell when he saw how many more days it would be until we would be together again. But this morning he had a huge smile on his face!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Day 3 in Bogota

Today is Saturday. It was more of the same. Meals together in the dining room, board games, puzzles, Foosball, and a short walk to the park.

Mauricio and I had an "incident" today. The boys were tussling in the bathroom, supposedly brushing teeth or washing hands or something and Miguel starts crying. A real "I'm hurt" cry, not the "I'm not getting my way" kind of cry. I go in to see what happened and he has big alligator tears and is holding his ear. Now in the past few weeks we have witnessed countless times of Mauricio pinching and twisting Miguel's ear to get him to do what he says. It's obvious that he is used to being the boss. So I assumed that is what happened and sent Mauricio to his bed for a 12 minute time out. He started to cry and say something that I could not understand and after 12 mins I went over to enforce my point and let him up. He refused to get up and come down for lunch so Miguel and I went on down. After 30 mins I went back up to try again. He still refused to come down. An hour later I went back up. He was off he bed playing with the Rubix cube (actually taking off the stickers). I asked him if he wanted to go to the park and he said yes. So off we went and he seemed to be just fine. I have been told that boys don't hold a grudge like girls do, so I didn't give it a second thought. When we got back they went up to wash their hands for dinner and he successfully explained to me that the incident wasn't his fault. Miguel confirmed the story. He had fallen and bumped his ear on the towel rack and Mauricio didn't do it. I felt TERRIBLE! I took Mauricio's face between my hands and sincerely apologized. He forgave me instantly. I still feel bad though. I hate this language barrier. I hope he doesn't want to take back what he said last night:) I am so thankful for a loving son!

Day 2 in Bogota

Today we took a nice long walk in the afternoon. We ventured pretty far and found three different playgrounds to play on. Other than that we played board games all day until my eyes began to cross.

Before bedtime tonight Mauricio wanted to send an email to the orphanage. I got him logged onto gmail and switched the keyboard to Spanish and let him go. He composed such a sweet letter. The best I could interpret it he said, "Thank you for helping me to get my family. I am very happy. We are in Bogota. It is cold here." There was more but I'm not sure what it said. I will decipher the rest later when I'm not looking over his shoulder.

Day 1 in Bogota

I haven't been able to get online for a few days so I'll try catch you up briefly while the boys are gainfully employed.

Thursday morning (still in Cali) we got the boys passports. Our lawyer knows the director of the passport office so she pulled a few strings and we were in and out of there in 45 minutes even though the place was packed!

Back to the hotel to organize all the papers we would need for the various appointments in Bogota and off to the airport.

It was the boys first time flying and they were VERY excited. When they saw the plane come up to the gate they thought it was huge! It was a 149 passenger plane. When I told them that the ones we'll take to Miami and Chicago will be MUCH bigger, their eyes grew huge and I don't think they fully believe me. The flight itself was uneventful. Just 30 minutes (the taxi ride to the airport was 45:) They each took 15 minutes by the window. Mauricio already asked how many minutes each of our other two flights will be and figured out how many more minutes they will get by the window.

As soon as we landed our representative, Maria, took us the the ICBF office to review and sign more papers. Then straight to the U.S. Embassy approved doctor to make sure they are healthy and up-to-date on shots. This took about an hour, $175, and a polio vaccine for Miguel. He wasn't too happy about that, to put it mildly:)

After that we went to our hotel, the Hotel Paris. It's more like a large house than a hotel. It's kind of old and a bit run-down, but the staff are very friendly and helpful, the price is right, and there are other adopting families staying here. One couple is from Italy adopting 3 siblings ages 2,4,&6. They have already been here for 8 weeks and won't be heading home until sometime next week. Another is from Puerto Rico adopting two siblings ages 3&7. Another couple is from Miami adopting a 5 month old baby boy. And the other family is from Cinncinnati adopting an adorable 3 year old girl with a ton of spunk and personality and a captivating smile. They have their two other children (10&12) with them. It has been so refreshing to have other people to talk to and interesting to hear their stories.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


That is what they say here in Cali when things are going great. Well today I got a call at 7:30am to say I will pick you up at 9am to sign the papers! I was so relieved. The boys are usually difficult to get out of bed in the morning (especially since they were up late waiting to talk to Papa), but when I said that we were going to sign papers to make them officially Jones boys they hopped out of bed and were dressed and ready to go in no time:) It was very anticlimactic. We stood in this stuffy small office and looked over the papers to make sure that everything was spelled correctly and passport #'s were correct, I signed one paper, and we left. That's it? Really? We didn't see the judge or the secretary that has been holding up the process...lucky for her, huh?:) Anyway that was all that was needed to make it official. We now are the proud parents of Mauricio Nathanael Jones and Miguel Angel Gabriel Jones! Since we didn't get the privilege of giving them their names at birth we chose to give them middle names. Nathanael means "a gift from God" and Gabriel means "devoted to God". They really like both their names and what they mean. They practiced their signatures today because tomorrow they will have to sign their passports.

One slight frustration is that I cannot get in touch with our lawyer to ask her what time we will be finished with the passports and final notarization tomorrow so that I can purchase tickets and know when to pack and check out and arrange airport transportation.

This may be my last post until we get home on the 24th because we are not staying in a nice hotel in Bogota. We are staying at an adoption house with other adopting families. It's cheaper, a change of pace, and hopefully there will be other children for the boys to play with. There's still a lot to do in Bogota before we can come home and the timing will be tight, so please keep praying. If I can keep you updated, I will.

Thank you so much for all of your prayers and support during these last few days especially! I know they helped me make it through with my sanity still intact:)

P.S. Since I'm technically challenged the picture of our first meeting at the orphanage is at the bottom of the blog:) Miranda, HELP!

P.P.S. Just got tickets to Bogota. We fly tomorrow afternoon at 1:30pm. We have an appointment with the doctor at 4:30pm and an appointment at the U.S. Embassy on Friday. It sounds like everything is put into place. We will be home in one week!!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The past few days have been very emotional and draining, hence the lack of blog entries. I'm still not sure I can get my thoughts out so that you can understand. Where do I start...? I'm not sure. To make a REALLY long story short...apparently the secretary of the court where our paperwork is sitting is too busy to get it all together and take it to the judge for him to sign them. Our lawyer and agency representative have begged, pleaded, and pulled every string possible and still no signature and no promise of when that may be. We've been told "maybe tomorrow" for the past three days now.

As you may have read in an earlier blog we had to purchase return tickets before we could get our VISAS to travel here, so we chose today thinking we would certainly be done by now (31 days). Because we still don't know when we'll be able to come home, and since there weren't any reasonably priced tickets available at all next week, and since we thought the papers would be signed today, and several other reasons, Darin and all three girls flew to Bogota yesterday and on to Chicago today. Actually they should be arriving at the house in about 30 mins. Meanwhile the boys and I still wait. We celebrated Miguel's 7th birthday (which is actually today) on Sunday so we could all be together. And today I took the boys to the movies to see "UP". It looked pretty cute even though I couldn't understand what they were saying. When Darin and the girls left yesterday the boys cried and cried (actually we all did...except Darin, but I think he wanted to:) Then after we talked to then last night the boys cried and cried again. I ended up putting them both in bed with me and they cried themselves to sleep. It broke my heart. Today Mauricio sent Darin an email in Spanish that said, "I love you very much. I am waiting to be with you again soon." So sweet, again I cried.

I'm so tired of waiting. I've been clicking my ruby red slippers and saying, "There's no place like home" for about a week now and nothing's happening. It's very lonely being in a place where no one speaks your language, even your two sons. We do pretty well with the basics, but I'm not able to explain the details of why we're still here and why they can't go home with everyone else. I think they understand, but it's still difficult for two little boys that have only had a family for 3 1/2 weeks to say good-bye to them and still be stuck in the same hotel room. They are good boys and really they are being troopers. I'm proud of them. I hope to send some great news tomorrow.

Friday, June 12, 2009


Yesterday we received an invitation from the hotel staff to attend some kind of gathering at 5pm. When we went down to the restaurant there were about 50 people there with cake and pop to wish us good-bye. They gave us a poster (with 16 different little pictures of various staff members and about 50 signatures) that said "Dear Jones family, Now that the goodbye is near, we want to let you know that you will always be in our hearts as the special persons that you are. We wish you to have a great life and hopefully in the near future we will be able to meet again. Don't forget about your friends in the Radisson Royal Cali ad be sure that we will never forget you. Receive the biggest hug from us and remember that here you will always find a second home in Colombia. Sincerely, The Radisson Royal Cali Family." Everyone from the sales manager, restaurant manager, another manager, waiters/waitresses, cooks, bellmen, front desk people, cleaning crew, everyone was there to say that they enjoyed having us and would miss us very much. They said that they have never done this for any guest before but they wanted to express to us that they had "fallen in love with us". We were blessed beyond words...well Darin wasn't:) He told them that the way they all served people was like Jesus matter rich or poor, rude or polite, race or gender or religion...He loved and served and so do they.

Today I didn't want to look at these same four walls or walk to the same park or go to the same mall, so we went to the zoo again. The first time we went we were only able to spend 2 1/2 hours and had to rush through. But today we were there for 6 1/2 and covered every square inch and some of them multiple times. We spent an hour and a half in the butterfly habitat alone! It was slightly cool today and everyone came back exhausted so it was dinner, quick showers and right to bed (without much complaining!)

The judge will sign the papers on Tuesday to make the adoption final, so I will finally be able to post names and pictures!!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I HATE Rollercoasters!!

We got some more info on our time line this afternoon. Our lawyer said that the judge made an appointment for TUESDAY, June 16th (Monday is ANOTHER holiday) to sign the papers to finalize our adoption. As you may remember the 16th is the day we were ALL hoping to fly HOME together. I have to admit that I am 100% BUMMED!! I don't understand God's purpose in this, but after a good cry, I can honestly say that I believe He is in control and His ways are higher than my ways and He knows more than me and He wants the best for all of us. So this is what it is...Darin and 2 girls will have to fly to Bogota on Monday so that they can fly out on Tuesday to come home. Miranda, the two boys, and I will stay here in Cali. Tuesday our attorney will go to court and get the papers and get the birth certificate for the younger boy who was born here in Cali, Wednesday she will drive to Buga to get the other boy's birth certificate, and we will get their passports Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning. We will then fly to Bogota Thursday. While there we have to go to ICBF, the doctor, and the US Embassy. That Monday is ANOTHER holiday, so we will probably wrap things up there on Tuesday and fly home Tuesday afternoon (23rd) or Wednesday morning (24th). So that's that.

Three Simple Words Completely Turned the Day Around

You may have noticed that I haven't blogged in several days. Well that's because I've been a bit "down in the dumps" with all this waiting and waiting and waiting. As I think about it I am being a little ungrateful. I have someone to cook my every meal, vacuum my floors, clean my bathroom, and do my laundry (even match my socks!). What do I have to be bummed about? Well I just am. The boys are asking more and more questions about home and getting antsier everyday cooped up in this hotel. We all miss our friends and family back home. Darin needs to get back to work. We are ready to get started with life as a family of 7! Yesterday we found out that the judge has to sign one more piece of paper which he will probably do sometime this week. Then we will be here two more days in order to get the boys' birth certificates and passports. Then we will be able to go to Bogota and stay for not more than a week. And finally we can go home. So what we do know is that we will not all be able to fly home together. BIG BUMMER!!

Then we got our hotel bill for the charges so far...BIG BUMMER!!

Then we were going to walk to a cheaper restaurant for dinner and found out that the students at the university nearby were protesting and the police were shooting tear gas all over the area. When we walked out of the hotel we immediately felt the effects of it because we were downwind. So we ended up eating at the hotel again.

When we tucked the boys in last night we let them watch the video of their good-bye party at the orphanage. They named all the kids and talked about what happened and at the end Darin gathered all the kids together and prayed for them (with the help of an interpreter). At the end of his prayer he simply said, "Thank you, Jesus." Our older son asked, "What's 'Thank you, Jesus'?" I told him in Spanish and then said, "Thank you Jesus for Chiquitines (the orphanage), Thank you Jesus for all the children, Thank you Jesus for you and your brother..." And he piped in and said, "Gracias Dios yo tengo mi familia." In English, "Thank you Jesus I have my family." That completely turned my day around. My son had reminded me that I was in a "funk" because I had taken my eyes off of Jesus and let them fall on my current circumstances.

No matter what is going on I can say,


And thank you, son, for reminding me:)

Sunday, June 7, 2009


You might be wondering what the significance of the title is...

Have we been here 40 days?
Do we have 40 days left in Colombia?
Have I played 40...thousand games of UNO?...almost
Do we have 40 dollars left?...getting closer:)

Those are all very good guesses, but you're wrong.
I celebrated a birthday today, and actually it wasn't as bad as I thought it might be:) I think being in Colombia helped a bit. I mean how many women get to celebrate their 40th birthday in a tropical location surrounded by family and (new) friends! I had a candle in my pancakes for breakfast and very rich chocolate cake after dinner. I was sung to in English and in Spanish and was wished a happy birthday from the whole hotel staff throughout the day. I certainly got to be queen for the day. And except for my family not forming a Conga line to exit the restaurant after dinner and missing all of you back home, I had everything I could have ever wished for. I have such an amazing husband and children (all 5!) and my most treasured times are spent with them. So turning 40 is not so bad after all.

P.S. No news yet about when we get to come home. We hope to hear something tomorrow. I will keep you posted. KEEP PRAYING!!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Rest of the Story

We got home so late last night that I couldn't even think about blogging, so I will fill you in now on the "Rest of the Story"...

After our fiesta at the orphanage and a nice nap, our attorney picked us up again and took us to the market. It's basically a few streets lined with shops with handcrafts, birds/chickens/goats and other animals, fruits/vegetables/coffee and other foods. We didn't do much walking around because it was raining. It was the first time we've seen rain since we've been here because they are in their summer season. But it was a good hard rain and it lasted all day long. It was in the "rougher" looking part of the city. We are staying in the southern part of the city which is a very nice residential area. This was on the other side of the city and more of what you would expect to see in a third world country. So we purchased a few things so the boys could have something from their heritage to take home with them. Then we went up to a very old church (about 400 years old). It was very beautiful with stained glass windows, cobblestone road, up on a hill with a beautiful view of the city. There was also a convent and Darin checked to see if they had room for three more :)jk. Cali is lined on both sides by mountains and cut through the middle by the Cali River. On top of one of the mountains is a huge statue of Jesus with his arms outstreched and on top of another are three crosses. Our attorney wouldn't take us up to see it because it is too dangerour. The mountains and outlying villages are where all the guerrilla activity takes place. As we were discussing this in the car the girls were thinking "King Kong, really?" We did a little more sightseeing from the car since it was raining and then went to Cali Viejo, a very old (that's what viejo means) restaurant for authentic Colombian food. It was delicious!! We had soup (I forgot the name already), tamales, and I was even brave enough to taste cow tongue! I can't believe I did it, but I have to admit that if I hadn't know what it was it would actually have been pretty good. We also had a big sample platter of all the traditional Colombian desserts. YUMMY!! There was a small group of musicians that played traditional Colombian music, two guitars and a singer. They were fabulous. There are two very different styles of music in Colombia. The music from the Pacific coast is very rhythmic and "Latino sounding" and the music from the Atlantic coast is much more melodic and flowing. It was all very beautiful!

So all-in-all yesterday was the second-best day we've had since coming to Colombia (the first of course was the day we got the boys!) We were all exhausted and even now the boys are still in bed (at 9am-unheard of)! So I'd better get them up and around or we'll miss breakfast!

Friday, June 5, 2009

A Good-bye Fiesta

Today we went back to the orphanage to throw a good-bye party for the boys. There were 46 children there (that's everyone except the 30 babies). First each child gave the boys a card or picture they had made for them. Then the pop, brownies, and candy which we brought were quickly and eagerly devoured:) For the next hour and a half we played with, took pictures of, held, hugged, and talked with all of the children. They were all so happy! They had so many questions...You have so many big children, do you have a big house/car?, Who is older, Mama or Papa?, Why is your skin so white?, What is your favorite color/animal?, and so many others that I couldn't understand:) They all love having their picture taken so we got tons of great pictures and video for future enjoyment. Many of the older children huddled around Darin talking with him, two older boys in particular. One little boy, who must've been about 6 touched Darin's bicep muscle and then pushed up his own sleeve to show off his scrawny little arm. This started a chain reaction of little boys flexing their muscles! It was hysterical:) At another point Miranda (our middle daughter) was being literally swarmed by a group of little boys all wanting her attention and their picture taken. At that moment our younger son came up, grabbed her hand, pushed all the other boys away, and led her off to another area. It was as if he were claiming her as his sister and rescuing her from trouble. Absolutely priceless! Finally we gathered all of the children back together (no small task!) and Darin prayed for them, for the orphanage, for the staff, and for God's plan for each of their lives. We had such a wonderful time! I will pray daily for a loving family for each one of those precious faces!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

An Awesome Day!

Today was an AWESOME day. I really had my doubts after what happened last night...
Our older son decided to challenge Darin's authority at bedtime which ended in an hour-long test-of-the-wills. Of course Darin won, but we were both a bit concerned that he might decide to run away in the middle of the night. So, needless to say, I slept lightly. But this morning we were rewarded with the confirmation that the lesson sunk in when he asked me to read the chapter in his story Bible based on the commandment "children obey your parents..."

This afternoon we went back to the orphanage for a meeting with the entire staff. This included the social worker, medical doctor, psychologist, and the boys' school teachers. They gave us every piece of information they have on the boys past and every detail of their lives since coming to the orphanage. We got their school records, medical records, shot records, dental and eye exam reports...They have been EXTREMELY well cared for while living there. They all love the boys dearly and got teary-eyed when giving their reports. We are so grateful for the love they all gave the boys over the past four years. They answered all of our questions. We shared many stories from the past 12 days and they were all very much convinced that the boys would excel in our family. Then they showed us around the orphanage. We saw the boys' rooms, lockers, showers, dining area, play area, and classroom. We also went through the baby area which caused quite a delay on our tour because we had to play with all the babies:) We also got to meet all of the boys' friends. They were all very excited to meet us asking, "Are you the Mama?" to each of the girls. They liked to touch our hair and hug us all. They all seemed very happy for the boys. I think all of the girls decided that they want to come back next year for more!!:) We get to go back on Friday to throw a "Good-bye" party complete with brownies, candy, and pop. The hardest part for me was looking into each of those precious faces and wondering if they thought, "Why can't you be my Mama?"

And now they are sleeping peacefully in the other room, so I'd better do the same.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Boys are Different Creatures

Nothing exciting happened today and there's nothing to update on our paperwork status. But I do have a few questions that some of you may be able to help me with since I only have eleven days of experience as a mother of boys...

*Do little boys always miss when they get up to potty in the middle of the night?

*Does everything make noise and cause some kind of destruction?

*Is every moment in life a competition with your brother?

*Does every competition end in wrestling, punching, and possibly name-calling(I'm not positive on this one 'cuz it's all in Spanish, but the body language and tone of voice are a clue)?

My daughters did none of these things. Sure Sydney had a brief time of biting, but that was when she was really young and it didn't last long:) These other things are foreign to me. Why does it matter who drinks the most water the fastest or first to push the elevator button? Are these really important things in life?

I'm sure this is just the beginning...

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Like Familly

Parks here are nothing like they are back home. We've been to three different parks and they have all been beautiful walking trails and some open space and not much else. One of them had 4 slides built into the side of a small hill and some of those exercise stations, but that's it. The boys are going to love our parks at home!

Since we've been here 15 days now we've gotten to know a lot of the staff personally. We have limited Spanish and they have limited English and we all help each other learn. They are so friendly and they have all been so helpful. They tell us often what a beautiful family we are and they treat us as part of their family. Today at breakfast we found out that one of the guys in the restaurant died in a motorcycle accident last night. His name is Diego and he has a wife and 6-year-old daughter. He was one of the people who always stopped to talk to us at breakfast not matter how busy they were and he always took the time to really listen to how things were going. He genuinely cared and his servant's heart was plain to see. Please keep his family in your prayers.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My

Yes, we went to the zoo yesterday. It was so much fun! Eighty-five percent of the animals in the zoo are found in Colombia. There were many of the same animals that we see in our zoos in the U.S. There were our older son pointed out, there was a Papa, a Mama, and 5 children just like our family:) ...and tigers...he was sitting right up in the window washing his face with a gigantic paw just like our kitties at home... ...and bears...we couldn't figure out what he was doing, either he was getting ready to jump the ditch separating him from us or dancing or something he ate didn't agree with him... ...oh my! In the monkey house one of the monkeys jumped right at our older boy and smashed into the window; he and Sydney jumped at least 3 feet in the air. My favorite was the butterfly habitat. There were so many different colors of butterflies; they were beautiful. The boys stuck their fingers in the mangoes that were out for their food and some of the butterflies landed on their hand to get at the juice. Well, the younger one couldn't stand still long enough so I don't think he ever managed to get one. They also had a display of a bunch of cocoons in various stages. It was awesome!

We found out that we didn't get the fastest of the ten courts, but we didn't get the slowest either. Our attorney knows the secretary in the court we were assigned to so she will try to get her to speed the process. But the procurator is out of town next week (I'm not sure what his job is in the process) and the judge is a "strictly by the books" kind of judge. So please continue to pray for a miracle. We flew over here as a family and we'd really like to fly home as a family. Our tickets are for June 16th. That is our younger son's 7th birthday. What an awesome birthday present!! Keep praying!

Today was uneventful. A little grocery shopping, a walk to the park, and a stop for ice cream. Not much else to tell and I need my rest:)

Thursday, May 28, 2009


We are learning as we go. And today had many lessons. It started out like every other day since we got the boys. They wake up about 7 o'clock and it actually takes them about 20 minutes to fully wake. So I take this opportunity to get in some good cuddles. I rub their backs and scratch their heads. While they haven't said, " Wow, I love it when you do that.", they don't move away either so I like to think they enjoy that time with Mama (Papa is usually finishing up his early morning workout so I have them all to myself.)

At breakfast we got a call from our attorney that she will pick us up in fifteen minutes to go to the notary. After that we came back to the hotel to swim. That's when the twists and turns began. We had our first big fight between the boys (over a certain color pool toy) which sent the younger one off pouting. After that a test of Darin's authority ensued with the older boy. Needless to say, Darin won. I think we did a decent job communicating the pecking order AND our unconditional love for them both.

Then a quick lunch, short siesta, and off to ICBF. Our appointment today was not actually in a court, rather it was in the Child Protective Services office. They had reviewed all of our paperwork and needed to interview us and the boys. The meeting went really well. They boys said they were happy to be a part of our family. They asked the boys such questions as "What do you do together?, Are you happy?, Is this the family you have been waiting for?, Do you understand your parents?" They asked us why we would want to adopt two young boys after we already had three teenaged daughters...a question we've asked of ourselves many times over the past year. As we guessed it...more tears from me and our lawyer and the ICBF official! She said we could come back again and she would approve us for more children! Actually Miranda already mentioned that several days ago:) So she gave our lawyer an approval letter which was the last document that she needed in order to present our case in court. She will take our file tomorrow and we'll find out which of the ten courts we are assigned to. Some are faster than others and we are praying for the fast one.

The rest of the day was uneventful...and now after a long tickling match, there are two angelically (if that's a word) sleeping boys in the next room and two tired parents in bed. As I'm typing we are drifting off to sleep.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Just Another Day

Today was just another day. There was a miscommunication and we ended up not going to the zoo today:( We will go Friday instead:) We spent the morning learning about engineering and aerodynamics--just basic stuff. And to show for it we have quite an impressive fleet of paper airplanes! They started out very simple and got progressively more complex. It was so fun to sit back and watch the gears turn in ALL the boys' heads as they tried out their individual aircrafts, came back to the table, made a few adjustments (a cut here, a fold there, sometimes starting over from scratch), trying them out again, going out into the hallway where they could go farther, realizing they fly differently in the cold air of our room than the hot air of the hallway, more cuts, more folds, more test flights... There were intense moments of laughter, "smack talk", victory dances, and frustrations. I love to hear them laugh! This kept all three boys busy for more than two hours! It was quite entertaining!

Then we headed out to the park. We had a great time and got some good video... ...and had our first casualty. The younger one, competing with the big boys, fell pretty hardand scraped up his elbow. Although I'm new to this mother-of-boys thing, something (or Someone) told me before we left to stick some antiseptic and bandaids in my bag, so I was prepared, and he was back in the game in no time:)

Since we played hard right through siesta time, we had an early dinner and shower and watched Ice Age with them in Spanish. I love to hear them laugh. Did I mention that I absolutely LOVE to hear them laugh? The younger one has this bubbling-up-from-the-toes, diabolical kind of laughter that is quite contagious. So needless to say, what we thought would settle them down and put them to sleep ended up being a bed full of giggles! It was great!!

More good, actually great, news!! Our court date got moved up to tomorrow. Only one day, but we're happy for every little bit. It's a day closer to being a family legally and a day closer to coming home and introducing them to all of our family, friends, animales, etc. I see changes in them already. They now wait for Darin to pray before starting to eat, they are saying please and thank you and showing thoughtfulness, they know that Darin will pray for each of them when we tuck them in bed and willing give him their hands. I know they are watching our every move--the way we relate to and care for each other and those around us, the way we talk to each other, our habits- they don't miss a thing. I can tell that they are becoming more comfortable and feeling more a part of the family each day. When we go to court tomorrow we have they opportunity to change their names if we want to. We decided to keep their first names and just add a middle name and of course change to Jones for the last name. When we told them that we wanted to give them a new name, they said that they really liked it and practiced saying it several times. We chose Nathanael which means "gift from God", and Gabriel which means "devoted to God". We feel these are very appropriate and pray daily that they will grow to be amazing men of God.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Boys, boys, boys!

The past couple of days have been fairly uneventful. Just spending time together and continuing to discover their personalities as they come out of their shells more and more each day. They have made us laugh so much! The younger one is quite the clown and, as I suspected from the impish little grin on his face in the one picture we had of them this past year, he's a bit of a stinker! His older brother beats on him and beats on him and he just laughs harder and harder. I don't stop it right away because they both seem to be having so much fun and I couldn't understand what got it going in the first place. I've never heard so much "smack talk" over a simple game of Uno or Battleship. Sometimes I really wish I could understand what they're saying to one another and other times I'm really glad I can't:) And oh the victory dances! Boys are so much different than girls. I've heard it many times over the past 18 years, but now I'm experiencing it first hand...and loving it!

We went shopping yesterday and got a soccer ball, Pirate Battleship game, and a new puzzle. They've put together and taken apart and put together everything we brought with us so many times, we thought a few new things would be good. I can't get used to these Colombian pesos. We paid something over 25,000 pesos for a soccer ball. I don't think I've paid 25,000 for a vehicle. Of course $1=2200 pesos so it wasn't that bad, but I have constant sticker shock. Unlike some Latin American countries we are finding that our dollar doesn't go as far as we had hoped it would.

Today the older brother figured out how Miranda's camera works. So she has tons of little brother in very silly poses (i.e. jumping off the sofa, making faces, posing with his soccer ball, etc.) But when younger brother asks to use it, he gets told no because I said so. I think he's used to being a father figure. He was really testing Darin's authority a bit today, but they seem to have gotten the "pecking order" worked out...for now anyway.

We are hoping to go to the zoo tomorrow. Stay tuned for the highlights.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


We sure do turn heads around here!! All of the staff at the hotel and restaurant were very excited to meet the boys and whatever we are doing we catch them watching and smiling. It seems that so many people think that we are doing such a "good deed", but I think we are the ones that have been abundantly blessed. These two boys are such a joy. Yes, this is only day 2 and I know there will be some testing, but watching them and getting to know their personalities is bringing us all great joy. My cheeks hurt from smiling and laughing and I feel my heart will burst with pride. They are both quite the "thinkers". They study even the simplest of things for long periods of time trying to figure out the "how to". They seem to feel very safe, secure, and loved. Although we tell them daily that we love them, neither has said it back to us yet. I know whenever the day comes, I will cry yet again:) We are looking forward to a trip to the zoo and to the market (and sometime soon to the laundromat:). The walls of the hotel are closing in at times. Tomorrow I think we will walk to the park. Just a change of scenery will be good.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Today we finally got the boys!! It was such an awesome experience. All of their teachers and caregivers were there. They came into the room carrying flowers and gifts that they had made for each of us. They had made a picture book for Darin, a necklace for me, and earrings for each of the girls along with cards. They were a bit shy but gave us all big hugs and smiles. Darin asked the director to translate a message to each one of them that he was their father forever, he loved them, and he would give his life for them. There were tears all around!

The care they were given while in the orphanage was excellent we can tell. Everyone loved them and though they were sad to see them go, they are all very excited to know that they finally have a family after 3 years of waiting.

We spent the day drawing, reading, swimming, eating (the younger one is a bottomless pit:), doing puzzles, building with Legos, playing Play-Doh. That's pretty much all we brought to do and we did it all in one day! What will we do for 3 more weeks?!?!

They are amazing little guys! They are both very smart, obedient (so far:), loving, playful, and very willing to work at bridging the communication barrier.

We are having so much fun! What a blessing to finally have them in our family!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Day 6 in Colombia--our first meeting

Today we met with the psychologist and a social worker from the orphanage. They came to the hotel to prepare us for meeting the boys tomorrow!

They told us what a typical day looks like for them. It is very scheduled out...up at 6am (hopefully we can change that!), shower, breakfast (they love chocolate milk and eggs), school, snack (fruit), school, lunch, 1 hour nap time (Darin is excited about this!), activities (include swimming, soccer, English class, art/crafts, etc.), snack, finish activities, dinner, bath, 1 hour of free time, 7:30pm bedtime.

Then they told us a little more of the personalities of the boys. The older one is very analytical, likes chess, puzzles, board games, any kind of "thinking" games, and soccer. He is artistic, quiet, responsible, and always finishes what he starts. The younger one likes anything that moves:) He is an explorer, curious, outgoing, knows his limits, and handles criticism well. They are both a little shy at first meeting people, but warm up eventually. They go on field trips with the orphanage. So they have both ridden horses and are very excited to have them at home.

Interesting side note: I found it very interesting that the workers from the orphanage were very adamant about limiting the amount of television they can watch. They seemed very pleased when we told them that we don't watch T.V. very often.

We got the impression that they have been very well cared for and the staff at the orphanage are very happy that they are going to have a family after being there for three years.

Then they wanted to tell us the reactions of the boys when they were told about us. This is where I lost it. I was doing really well up until this point. They first talked to them about a family in general terms, and asked what they hoped for in a family. Then they told them that they already have one. The younger one reacted with an immediate, "WONDERFUL!". The older one put his head in his hands. We don't know for sure, but we think it was disbelief initially. He is one of the oldest children at the orphanage and we think he must've been thinking that hope for a family was running out. He then started asking many questions about us. They gave them the scrapbooks that we sent and the older one immediately memorized everyone's names. They went out of that meeting telling all of their friends, "WE HAVE A FAMILY! WE HAVE A FAMILY!"

So tomorrow we will meet them at 10am and we will bring them back to the hotel with us. At that point they will be ours forever! Of course there's plenty more legal paperwork to get through, but we will be a family of 7!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Day 4 in Colombia

Nothing happened yesterday to make any progress toward getting our boys. This would be a great place to vacation, but we can't fully enjoy it because we are here for a very different reason. We will all be able to relax a bit once we have the boys with us. There are many things we'd like to do and see, but our plans are all on hold until we are able to get them. The weather is beautiful. The countryside is beautiful. The hotel is very nice, the people are all friendly and helpful. They are doing their best to help us learn Spanish. In Cali when someone asks you how you are doing, you say "Charity". That means "great", but only in Cali. We do get some strange looks when we're out and about. We know a little of what it feels like to be a minority. A man approached us at the grocery store and said, "Are you guys gringos?" Is it that obvious? :) He's an English teacher here in Cali and gave us his number if we needed any help.

Our representative has an appointment at the US Embassy today at 11 o'clock. After that we will know if we can go get the boys today or if we'll have to wait until tomorrow. So again we will wait and see.

P.S. We finally received a phone call. So this is what's happening over the next few days... ...tomorrow we have a meeting with some people from the orphanage at 2pm here at the hotel. We aren't sure who all will be here. Possibilities include the orphanage director, social worker, psychologist, medical doctor, and ?? This meeting is to prepare us specifically for the boys. They will answer all of our questions (I've accumulated quite a few these past few days of nothing to do) and tell us specific things about the boys that they feel we should know. Then they will tell us what time we can come to get them on Saturday. They don't usually do this on a Saturday, but since the paperwork took so long and Monday is a Colombian holiday (I need to ask what it is) they are making special arrangements for us. It's a good thing because I think I would've cried if they said we couldn't see them until Tuesday! Then there is a one week 'get-to-know-each-other' period and then things can progress. That's all I know for now. I will update tomorrow after our meeting with any other news.

Day 2 in Colombia

Today was a frustrating day. Darin made several calls to the US Embassy in Bogota. The short version is that we don't get to see the boys today. And not they won't even return our phone calls.

My verse for today is James 1:25 "But if you keep looking steadily into God's perfect law- the law that sets you free- and if you do what it says and don't forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it." I want God's blessings. This is an if...then statement. Cause and effect. So as I see it my focus needs to be on "looking steadily into God's word" and putting it into practice. Dig in and do it!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Day 1 in Colombia

We are now in Colombia and in another case of "hurry up and wait". We cannot see the boys today because we are waiting for the US Embassy to process one last piece of paper. I feel like I've been saying "This is the last document we need," for the past 2 or 3 months! But we do need one more thing before we can have the boys. Then we will begin the legal process. It takes 2 or 3 weeks becuase they want to be sure that therer is an attachment between everyone before they allow the boys to leave the country. Everything is in the best interest of the children although it is sometimes difficult to see.

It has been wonderful to have a relaxing day to unwind and de-stress from the long day of travel yesterday. Everyone we have met has been super friendly and helpful. It is sunny, 81 degrees, and a slight breeze. Absolutely perfect!

God is so good. Today my verse has been James 1:5-6a "If you need wisdom-if you want to know what God wants you to do-ask Him and He will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking. But when you ask Him, be sure that you really expect Him to answer." I need to ask, and expect, His wisdom daily.

The prayer for today is that the US Embassy in Bogota will process the paper we need!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hi, this is Sydney! I am not much of a blogger so bare with me! My mom told me that i needed to post something, so here it is! I wanted to tell you about our experience with the Psycho doctor! The Psychologist! (tee hee) Well ok so a while back my mom and dad had to go into the Psycho doctor just to make sure they were not Psycho! ya know? (i was a little worried about dad, surprisingly he passed, kidding!) Anyway so the Psycho doctor, after meeting Mom and Dad, wanted to meet us girls! CREEPY! We had to go in there to talk with him! AAAAA! I went into his office last because he took us in one by one! When i got into his little office, HE SAT BETWEEN ME AND THE DOOR AND HE LOCKED IT!!! The whole time he was talking i was planning my escape! Just in case! Some of the questions he asked me were "You know these boys aren't going to want to play dalls and paint nails right"? I was like DUDE i am 13 ok!!! He was VERY concerned that i didn't know where i was going to collage and he kept telling me "this is going to be hard for you to accept not being the youngest you know! VERY hard for you," and he was calling me dear, and he was talking in a REALLY slow even voice that gave me the chills! He told Alexandra "You know that this is going to affect your inheritance right"? Like there is even going to be an inheritance!!! Seriously!!! He was also concerned about our church. He told all of us "Oh you need to find a bigger church." Our church is fine thank you very much!!! During my talk with him he, out of the blue, said "my first impression of your mother is she is very gentle but she is tough and can handle all the work around the farm and anything that life throws at her! My first impression of your Father was he is very gruff and rough around the edges and but he is very strong in his faith and affectionate with his family!" DUDE, he wouldn't Shut up!!!!!! He continued "My first impression of your oldest sister Alexandra was she is snippy and tough even though she is small! My first impression of you other sister Miranda is she is very shy in public but at home i am sure she can be very goofy! And my first impression of you is that You are serious and spiritual! I think you REALLY need to get into the church more!!!" At this point i could barely keep in my laughter! It was like we were the first family that he had ever met that weren't psycho! Well... not all the way Psycho!!! I think that was the strangest experience in my LIFE!!! So that's pretty much it! I'll talk to you guys later! Bye!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

A Whirlwind


It was quite a whirlwind of paperwork this week! At the end of this week I felt like I do at the end of a race: out of breath, tired, and exhilarated.

April 6th, 2009

We got our official approval from Colombia on Monday! It was a crazy mix of emotions, everything from joy, relief, excitement, fear. I couldn't stop shaking for quite awhile! It finally seems like a reality. It's been over a year, and at times it has seemed like a dream. With this approval letter we got more specific information about the boys. We now know that they like cars and anything with wheels, football (American or Colombian, I'm not sure), puzzles, hiking, painting, clay, swimming, and horses. They are becoming more and more a part of our family with every passing day!

April 8th, 2009

Wednesday we mailed our final acceptance letter to our adoption agency saying that even after receiving more background, physical, and health information about the boys we still want to adopt them. That was a "no-brainer".

April 10th, 2009

We mailed the i800 form which basically says that we will provide for these two children and they won't end up in our welfare system. This has to be approved by our immigration office before we can leave.

We still need to apply for our visas, book plane tickets, buy some clothes for them, book our hotel, and several other details I can't recall right now. We hope to fly on Sat. May 9th. We just have to make sure that our visas will be back, our i800 gets approved in time and that the date works with the orphanage.

WOW!! I'm out of breath.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Right now I am sitting in the Sheraton Hotel downtown Chicago. Just as I was a year ago. Well last year it might have been the Hyatt, I don't remember. I am SO thankful that Darin's company gets him really nice hotel rooms when he goes to trade shows and that I can come stay with him when he's in Chicago. The bed is so big and comfy. After our run along Lakeshore Drive this morning, a yummy breakfast, and a lukewarm shower (my only complaint), I didn't leave the comfort of the bed until now. I have been reading all morning! It's something I LOVE to do, but usually there are other things calling for my time and attention. I finished my book, GODS AND KINGS, which was fascinating! It is fiction, but it told the stories about the kings of Judah and Israel and sent me straight to scripture to get the rest of the story. It is amazing to read the accounts of each of the kings. Whenever they did what was right in God's eyes, they enjoyed peace and prosperity. Whenever the king did evil in God's eyes and worshipped other gods, the country was at war and in poverty. Whichever way the king chose to go (good or evil), his people always followed. How could they not see a pattern?!? How could the children that grew up under the reign of a king who followed God's laws choose to turn their back on God? As I read I found that often it was their own pride that brought them down. Their hearts were poisoned by their success and they decided that they didn't need God. Could we learn from their mistakes? Maybe that's one reason why those stories are there. FASCINATING reading!

Anyway, on to what I really wanted to write about...

It was about a year ago that I was on the train coming down to stay with Darin when I got the phone call in which I first heard the names Mauricio and Miguel. I wasn't sure at the time what I felt. I think I was too afraid to hope that God had chosen these two boys to become our sons. What if I was wrong? I see that as a pattern in my life. I am afraid to hope for great things, afraid to dream big dreams, afraid to ask for much; because what if I'm wrong? I have limited God in my life by doing this; but He, in His awesome tenderness and power, has shown Himself to me time and time again to be big and faithful, merciful and oh so generous, kind and loving, patient and amazing! In spite of all my doubts and fears, He has brought us along the seemingly daunting path toward the reality of bringing Mauricio and Miguel home to become part of our family. I am so excited!

On Feb. 25 I was "dumping" on a friend of mine. I was just sharing my frustrations with the lengthy process and how our paperwork seemed to be stuck at the US Immigrations office (thanks for listening, Gwen) and not even an hour later I get the phone call that it has been approved. "Lord, I do believe. Help me overcome my unbelief!" (Mk. 9:24) We eventually received the official acceptance letter (8 days later). And now everything that Colombia needs is down there. It just needs to be approved by their committee. Our adoption agency tells us that the orphanage, Chiquitines, is very excited! The boys have been there since May 16, 2006. Could they have given up hope of ever being a part of a loving forever family. It makes my heart sink to think of it. On Monday I sent the scrapbooks that we have been working on for so long. It was so hard to put together a few pages and pictures to tell the story of who we are as a family. We wanted it to be an honest account, but we also wanted it to look very appealing to the boys. We want them to be as excited to come live with us and be loved by us as we are to have them and to love them.

And now we wait...yet again. But it shouldn't be for long this time. Then the whirlwind of preparations will begin! Of course this seems like the worst timing. I thought that sometime in December through February would actually be the best. Right now we are trying to plan Alex's graduation, prepare for a couple of triathlons, planning to attend several cool field trips, and Darin's company is rolling out their new product. Will we miss all of these things? Will Darin's boss be OK with that? But every time I question or doubt, I remember God's faithfulness to me in the past and I feel His peace wash over me. He is in control. He knows what He's doing. I don't have to worry.


Saturday, March 7, 2009


Hey Blog world! I'm not very good with putting my thoughts into words so sorry if I confuse you! =) The first time I got a hint about the smallest thought of adopting was in the car with Sydney and Mom on the way back from visiting my Aunt Jaime, Uncle Jon, and cousin Jaxon. We were joking around about how Sydney is never informed about anything going on. So I told her "O Sydney I forgot to tell you we're adopting." And Mom freaked out and was all like "Where did you hear that?!?!"

Then after I heard the whole story about the wrong number call Mom and Dad told us about the day they were listening to the interview with Stephan Curtis Chapman. We started thinking about adopting Michael (the boy who hadn't bonded with his first adopted family) and I thought the idea was pretty cool. Then we got the call about how Michael had already been adopted but they would like us to consider Mauricio and Miguel. The first time I heard the message i was SO excited!

As most of you know I've been on 5 mission trips to Latin America (2 times to Nicaragua, 2 times to Mexico, and once to Honduras). I seriously fell in love the the kids and even the culture of Latin America. I've also always wanted brothers (big or little) so this was like a dream come true! Not that I think the whole process and having brothers is gonna be a dream. I'm prepared for the night mares I know having two little brothers will bring! Right now I just can't leave for Colombia soon enough! I hope I can show them how much I love them, how much God loves them, and how special they are! I hope I can be a good example for them of someone who is in love with God and I hope they will want that kind of relationship with Him also!


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

IT'S A BOY...part 2

Ahhhhh, peace and quiet. Everyone else is out of the house for a couple of hours. It's the only time I can coherently collect my thoughts. It doesn't happen often. Actually I have my most profound thoughts when I'm running. I went six miles today which takes me nearly an hour and my ipod wasn't charged, so I had plenty of quiet time to think. In my mind I very eloquently composed the rest of the story. Unfortunately as soon as I stepped into the house some kind of vacuum must have sucked every word from my brain. I wish I could carry a tape recorder with me when I'm running, but I can't speak and run at the same time. The only thing I would capture on tape would be heavy breathing. Maybe if I had some sort of device that could record my thoughts; that probably wouldn't be too good either :) So I will do my best to continue the story...

O.K. so Darin and I spent the weekend in Chicago. Obviously we talked a lot about the whole idea of adoption, these two boys in particular, how this would affect our girls, if we were prepared for the emotional stuff that comes with older children, if two boys from Colombia would even want to be thrown into a family of teen age girls, can we afford this,...I can't even remember all of the questions that came to our minds that weekend. We prayed about it individually and together and our hearts kept saying, "YES!! Do this! You don't have to have all of the answers to all of your questions rights now. " We felt like God was telling us to trust Him, this was His plan for our family.

When we got home we began to tell the girls the whole story. We had told them that adoption was something that we felt God was calling us to do, but we hadn't given them any details up to this point or gotten their input on the matter. Their reactions were positive, but mixed. I hope they will each post their thoughts and feelings on this blog for you all to read, because they really blew us away with their maturity and incite. So after praying about it with them and getting their "blessing", we made the call and officially started the "marathon of paperwork".

This has been a very frustrating part of the process for us all. Once we made the decision to include these boys in our family, we immediately fell in love with them and wanted to go get them right away. That was a year ago. I don't want to bore you with all of the details, but we've had to collect multiple official, notarized and apostilled (which isn't even in the dictionary. I'll tell you a funny story about that another time) copies of every birth certificate, marriage license, passport, driver's license, medical record, letters of recommendation, numerous applications and forms, 3 different sets of fingerprints from 3 different places, etc, etc; and send them all over the country. Some of them had to be redone or reordered. We had to amend several things when Alex turned 18, because she then became another adult living in the home. We had to have a home visit/inspection, health checkups, and psychological testing. This is a story I hope the girls will share with you. Their experiences with the "psycho doctor", as he came to be referred to in our family, are quite humorous:)

So once we had gathered and mailed all of the required forms to the proper places, we waited. And waited and waited. Our paperwork was at the US Immigration office on October 1st. And we waited and we waited. We finally received notice last Wednesday (February 25th) that we have been approved by the U.S. for a foreign adoption! We think things will move quickly now! And we wait and we wait. A week later and we still have not received the approval letter in the mail that we must send to get translated and then send on to Colombia.

So that, in a nutshell, is where we are today. What happens next? Once Colombia receives our approval letter, they take it to their committee meeting (which only happen randomly 2-3 times/month) for their approval and official match of us to the boys. At that point they will tell the boys that there is a family that wants to adopt them. We will then send them scrapbooks that we've been working on, so they can begin to get acquainted with us before we show up in Colombia to bring them to Illinois. I would think that it would take some time to get used to the idea! In the mean time we will be filling out even more paperwork that must once again go through the US Immigration office giving us permission to travel to Colombia and bring the boys back as U.S. citizens. Once that is approved there will be the hustle and bustle of getting plane tickets, packing, and getting my mom out here to farm-sit for us. Colombia requires that we are down there from 4-6 weeks to complete the adoption. I don't even know how to begin to prepare for being down there that long.

But to back up just a little bit...during this whole year of waiting and waiting we have questioned ourselves over and over. Are we sure we know what we are getting into? Do we know how to raise boys? Do we have enough energy for boys? Is this going to be hard on the girls? What if they hate it here? How are we going to communicate with them? How do we tell them about the love Jesus has for them in a way they can understand? How do we instill our values in them since they are so much older? Will I be able to home school them or will it be best for them to go to school? What if they reject me? What if they reject God? What if they are angry with us for taking them away from everything they know? The list goes on and on. But when I sit quietly and listen to God's answers (not mine) to all of my questions, I seem to hear Him say, "Just love them. Just love them. Love them like I have loved you. Just love them." It seems so simple. And maybe it is. Isn't that good advice for any relationship? When I leave this earth that is what I want people to say about me, "She loved well!"


Saturday, February 28, 2009

IT'S A BOY...!!!

IT'S A BOY...or to be more accurate...IT'S TWO BOYS!!!!

This is the story of our journey to adopt two brothers from Colombia, South America. As our title suggests it has been quite a long journey and it's far from over. Let me see if I can concisely catch you up on the events of the past year or so...

In early December of 2007 my husband, Darin, and I were each in our own vehicles driving to separate commitments. It was a Saturday morning. As is my habit when I'm driving I turned on the Christian radio station and the weekend top 20 countdown was on. After a few minutes they featured an interview with Steven Curtis Chapman. He was talking about a song titled "Crazy" on his new album. When the interviewer asked what inspired that song, Chapman replied that his house was a little crazy right now because he had 3 older boys and they had recently adopted 3 younger girls. I thought, "He must be crazy!" Then I felt a tug on my heart for orphaned children. I passed this off as early symptoms of "Empty Nest Syndrome" and thought nothing else about it for the rest of the day.

Later that evening my husband says to me, "I heard an interesting interview on the radio this morning..." I instantly knew what he was referring to even though he VERY RARELY turns on Christian radio preferring to listen to his own cd's or talk radio. We talked about adoption in general for a few minutes, mentioned that our stage in life with 3 teen age daughters was kind of nice because we had so much more time for ourselves, and didn't speak about it again for a couple of months.

During those couple of months which were very busy with Christmas, New Year's, etc the subject of adoption kept coming up from random places. We'd drive by a billboard on the highway, hear an ad on the radio, see an article in a magazine, read a passage in the Bible, even notice the "adopt-a-highway" signs along the road.

Then in February 2008 we received an email from Darin's aunt who lives in South Dakota. It told the story of how she had received a wrong number call on her cell phone a few days before. Being Norwegian, she struck up a conversation with this perfect stranger in Arizona. She asked the woman who she was trying to reach and why. The woman said that she was trying to contact a friend of hers to ask for prayer for a 10-year-old boy named Michael. This little boy had been adopted at the age of 3 and had formed no significant bonds with his adopted family and was up for adoption again. Darin's aunt promised to pray for Michael and spread the word to others that she knew would pray for him as well. As Darin and I read this our hearts were stirred. We weren't sure what we should do. We prayed about it and felt that we should get some more information. Maybe God planned to bring this boy into our family. So with shaky hands and a quivering voice I called the adoption agency just to inquire, no commitments. I spoke with a woman named Leslie who told me that there was already a family committed to adopting Michael, but they had other waiting children if we were interested. Were we interested? I wasn't sure. I told her that we might be, but that at this point we were only gathering information. She asked what country we would like to adopt from. I said that we had been on several missions trips to Central America and were captivated by the big brown eyes of those beautiful children. She told me that they had a program in Colombia and asked for other particulars. I told her that IF we adopted we would want brothers over that age of five. She took down all of our information and promised to call me back.

The next day I was on the train to downtown Chicago to spend the weekend with Darin at a trade convention he was working. She gave me the names and brief information of two brothers, ages 5 and 11 from Colombia. Tears came to my eyes as I started thinking about the possibility of adding these two little boys to our family. Tears are streaming down my face even now as I remember that conversation and how it started the journey that we've been on for the past year.

That's all I can share right now. I will continue to post the "rest of the story" over the next few days.