We were a family of six, yet the sixth little wonder was 12 hours away from being in our arms! We landed late at night to the cool, dark skies of Cali, Colombia and met our “already” friend and our translator. What a blessed relief her welcome hug was to me that night when we got off our third airplane and stepped onto our daughter’s homeland soil.
We broke a few rules with our adoption. I presume the three year statute of limitations is up and I can freely discuss a few happenstances from our adoption journey that have remained semi-covert until now.
We weren’t supposed to have any contact with our interpreter until we got “in country”, but we needed questions answered ASAP. It was a Friday night when we accepted the referral and we were to fly out the following Wednesday, so the flights needed to be booked pronto. I also had 27 million questions. No one at the agency was available to answer our “last weekend” questions, so I called a gal across the country who had returned from Cali with her little angel a few months earlier. She put me in contact via facebook with the lady who would be our interpreter. She was a godsend, for sure! She helped us with flights. She booked our hotel/apartment for our first few days. She gave us a list of what to take/what not to take. And then her smiling face met us at the airport near midnight.
We weren’t supposed to go visit the village where Nora was born. We were told that this could cause bad memories or frighten the child. As far as we could tell from the gargantuan paperwork pile, Nora had not lived in that village since she was a baby. We had the name of the hospital and thanks to adoption blogs, I learned that we could take our final adoption papers to the hospital and ask for records. So we did. LaCumbre was an hour away up in the misty Andes Mountains. The hospital was clean and shiny and had an open air courtyard in the center of the building. Hanging plants and freshly painted blue trim did my heart good. We requested a copy of the record from the day Nora was born and were blessed beyond measure to get information about her birth mama (health history, height, weight, medical history, etc.) AND we discovered that Nora’s birth weight was incorrect on our paperwork! We also found out what time Nora was born and how long she was. I couldn’t be more grateful for those little tidbits of information that are worth their weight in GOLD to an adopted child.
We were supposed to stay in one of the adoption hotels recommended by the agency. We contacted three of them and the going rate for a family of six was $330 per night… and we were staying for three weeks. ($6930!) Now we are thrift-loving souls and frankly didn’t have that much to spend on accommodations/food. The night before we left, my husband found a vacation villa a few miles out of town in the country in a gated community with a pool and a line of shops to meet all of our needs…. for $1,000 for the three weeks! Thank you, God! There were four bedrooms, two full baths, air-conditioning, a washing machine and beautiful surroundings. We hired a wonderful woman to cook and clean for us every other day…. she also went shopping with me and picked lice out of our hair. She was a saint!
We weren’t supposed to have any contact with the foster family who took care of Nora. We were told they might try to take advantage of us and our situation in the USA. Unbeknownst to us, Nora came bearing a little heart-shaped notebook minus all the pages that used to be inside. I thought it a bit strange until she pulled out the back lining and revealed all the contact info for the foster family. We had Nora call them and say one last goodbye the night before we left for Bogota. We have since been in contact and they sent pictures of their home, Nora’s bed, the family, her friends, the school, the church and the neighborhood where she lived. Another blessing to an adopted child! We send them current pictures of Nora and have chatted with them online a few times. They are very thankful for this contact as she is the only child they have fostered who they have heard from.
Usually I stick to rules like a fly to flypaper, but sometimes there are very good reasons to break a few rules.