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 served...no 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?...no
Do we have 40 days left in Colombia?...no
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...