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!