Posts Tagged ‘Colombia’

May 21st! The END…. sort of…

May 21, 2016

School is kind of “out for the summer” but in a different way than with my usual end-of-May homeschool mama joy and celebration. There was no counting down the days this year.

We have learned that some of the Colombian Princess’s challenges with memory are due to vast breaks in education… you know, like summer. So in a much diminished fashion, we are schooling a few days a week while home this summer, just to keep the pump primed. She was not real thrilled about this news, and I couldn’t let her know that I was not real thrilled about it either. Someone has to be excited about education… and it SHOULD be the teacher in most cases.

So now the home front needs some love and attention. In case anyone wonders what the Crosbys are doing for the next three months, get out your notepads and pencils… here you go:

  1. We bought a stand up deep freeze to put in the garage.
  2. Cleaning out the garage so we can fit in the stand up deep freeze.
  3. Buying a shed to put the stuff that doesn’t need to be in the garage somewhere else. (Does the cost of the shed and deep freeze justify the savings on large quantities of meat? I’m not sure.)
  4. Hauling junk from the side yard to the dump so we can put a shed in the side yard. (Is anyone besides me thinking of “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie?”)
  5. Switching Austin’s and Nora’s bedrooms. (Austin gets the yellow room with the flowers and butterflies around the top of the walls! Oh goody!) This is happening because my niece from Maui is coming to live with us on the mainland for a bit… sharing the BIG room with Nora.
  6. Picking up a room divider from a generous friend for the BIG room.
  7. Gathering and selling an enormous amount of American Girl doll paraphernalia that is no longer played with. (She will be 13 years old in two months…. I feel there are a few more years to play with dolls…. because she is my baby girl after all.)
  8. Selling the cute white dresser from the yellow room. (Wide is no longer cool when you share a room. Tall is where it’s at.)
  9. Selling all the cutesy little girl purple and lime green room decor. (Awwwww.)
  10. Borrowing a single bed from my brother’s house. The BIG room is only so BIG.
  11. Cleaning out the master closet. (I am going to start this today as soon as this blog is finished.  Blogcrastination is what that is called.) I mean TOTALLY cleaning it out. It’s been 12 years since we’ve seen the walls and back carpet in there. Don’t judge. If there is dust lining the shoulders on top of the hanger marks, Rickey, it’s leaving.
  12. Buying #2 new door handle and bolt lock for the front door. My first attempt was feeble even though the lame wrong size handle is on the door right now. It looks like Billy-Bob came by and changed it for us. Wrong size… with a screw hole two inches below the handle. Dumb.

I’m hoping to have this all done by next week. I know that will not happen, but I am a positive thinker! Where are my minions?

Enjoy your summer, peeps!  Let me know what projects you have going on! I need some company.

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If You Give a Homeschooler a Computer…….

August 7, 2015

We are doing school a bit differently this year, and we got Nora, our 12-year-old Colombian princess, her own computer for her work. She was SOOOOO excited! Like she’s a big kid now, or something. The other kids never got their own computers! FINALLY! Something that she was FIRST for! Because in her world “that last shall be worst!”

Okay, so a new computer means that she needs a desk to work on, because this mama ain’t sharing. I am the sharing type, but not work space at a computer desk. I do have my limits. Up in the loft, that is only used for book storage and sewing, there sits a perfectly good desk that was holding junk that never found its true home. I decided THAT could be Nora’s desk. But then, I need a desk in the loft too, to work along side her [so I don’t lose my ever-lovin’-mind while she takes F.O.R.E.V.E.R. to sound out moss-quit-toe (mosquito) and mett-hodd (method) repeatedly incorrectly while my eyeballs cramp from trying not to roll into my brain.] I love that kid!

My son has a desk in his room that matches Nora’s new desk. They should be twinsie desks in the loft, I decide. One quick trip on Swip-Swap (a facebook garage sale group) and I find a new IKEA desk for my son for $10. Perfect. An hour later there is a blonde desk sitting in my dining room. BAM. (Too many things have to move before it can go up the stairs.)

Then I realize I must put away all the fairy garden paraphernalia from Nora’s birthday party that is on her new desk, but the craft closet door is dragging across items hanging out of their designated boxes. I must organize the craft closet FIRST.

Then I notice the horizontal blinds have somehow been missed on the spring cleaning list …. possibly for the past six years. That is sadly not an exaggeration. Sorry, Mom. Don’t judge me. My kids are fed and one chicken is still alive. And the windows in the loft…. have they ever been washed on the outside? We’ve lived here for 10 years. So the windows and blinds are all sparkly and shining and clean now. DOUBLE BAM!

But as I washed the blinds (and had to rinse the rag after only four slats each time….ewwwww) I noticed the walls are sorely in need of paint. They WERE white……. ten years ago. So I need to paint the walls before we set up the desk for the computer.

There was a day-bed in the loft…. it got posted on Swip-Swap and left my house within 24 hours. CASH in my hand for wall paint! But with the day-bed missing, we need something cozy to sit on. Back on Swip-Swap I find a red loveseat and within 24 hours it is sitting in my living room next to the blonde IKEA desk…. with cash to spare STILL! (Does anyone else hear angels singing or is it just me?)

Then I notice the drab, tired-looking tan/pinkish color of my curriculum bookshelf and remember the can of darling light turquoise mis-matched $9 can of paint in the garage. A homeschool-room-vision-of-lovliness is materializing in my head. An oasis of higher learning. (“Higher” = upstairs.)

After 27 hours on Pinterest, (just KIDDING!)(kinda) I found homeschool rooms to die for. Seriously… death by darlingness. So adorable… makes me WANT to teach my kids for HOURS if I could just sit in THOSE rooms. The vision is ALIVE!

Turns out my red loveseat is really a brick-rust color. Shoot. Red and turquoise are so cute together. But after a redeeming trip to JoAnn’s Fabrics (my mother ship) all is well and curtains and pillows will now tie together the rust mini-sofa and the soon-to-be-painted light sea-mist turquoise shelf in the loft that will be painted off-white tomorrow.

turq n rust fabric

Tomorrow is homeschool day #5. We are SOOOOO close to setting up the computer!

Taking a Little Test

March 24, 2015

Nora at the beach

(The beach has nothing to do with the test.)

Today was the long awaited day when I took the Colombian princess to a reading specialist for testing to determine if this homeschool mama had just “lost her touch” or if there is something else going on in that cute little dark-haired, dimpled head. As requested upon arrival, I sat at the table with the teacher and my daughter the whole four-hours-when-I-planned-on-getting-stuff-done time. When she initially stated “stay during the testing” I translated that to “be in the house” not “pay attention for four hours.”  My mistake.

So this is what I learned from the testing: I have OCD WAY worse than I originally anticipated. There were crumbs on the table…. WITH the animal flash cards and the blue and white bottle caps used for Morse code. I believe I was the only one who noticed them. Miniature crumbs…. a red hole punch, bread crumbs, half a staple and (gag-reflex warning) a fingernail. EWWWW. Just EWWW!  But my self control is also WAY more advanced than it used to be. Those items are STILL on that table… and I’m not there to worry about them any more.

The plaid and sunflower placemat would have needed to be removed for me to put ten animal flash cards in line. WAY too much going on for this sister. I’m not sure what that means…. it could also be OCD, but visual clutter makes me crazy. Hmmmmmm. This could explain a few mountains I have to climb every time I want to work at my desk.

My auditory memory is quite good for letters and words, but not for numbers. This was a test for an 11-year-old and I knew I couldn’t pass it. A sheet with numbers 1-100 (in order) was placed on the table and she was given three sets of instructions before she could follow the directions. “Draw a line from 27 to 34. Draw a line from 78-79. Draw a line from 17-20.” Bam. That was it. By the time drawing commenced, I could barely remember the last combination of numbers, let alone the first two sets. And math was my favorite. I love numbers. I simply don’t remember them. This may explain why I can’t tell Mr. Wallet how much groceries were upon returning from the store. I don’t know!  Look at the receipt, Mr. Math-a-Holic!

Walking backwards on a balance beam is hard, especially toe to heel.

The good news is, after discussing my case of dyslexia for the first time in history with a professional, mine is a very minor impediment. A one on a scale of 1-5. Which I knew, but it was my very first diagnosis and I’ll be the last number of the 40’s in a few weeks. That’s a long time to go through life knowing something is different and never having discussed it. All my skeletons are now out of the closet.

So the testing was all worth it. We got a two-fer!  2 for 1 and the specialist didn’t even know it.

P.S. Nora did great!

Living Room Make-Over…. TA DA!

December 24, 2014

We painted our entry, front room and stairwell a brown-paper-bag color nine-and-a-half years ago.  I figured out I didn’t like the poopy color before it was dry….. but there it hung for almost ten years. I was swayed by popular color choices… earthy tones and textures… that I never really liked.  They were just IN. I’m not sure why being IN was a concern for me… it’s never been before. It was a dumb decision, but it is now in my past.

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For more than five years I have dreamed of having a light turquoise room in our home for my own eye candy privilege. There’s something delicious about turquoise. To say that I love turquoise would be an understatement. Turquoise is the color of the ocean and Lake Tahoe and Greece and Colombia… all of my favorite places. Those who know how to decorate and coordinate have cautioned me that it could look like a little boy’s room… and quite frankly I don’t care. I just love turquoise. So there.

2014 was a hard year for me. I have not fully recovered from the March 2013 car accident and then my big slip-in-the-mud-cut-my-knee-open episode in October slowed me down even more. Constant low-grade pain wears on you! I didn’t do a creative thing in all of 2014… and creativity makes me happy. I needed some happy. So, in the dark of the night, when Mr. Wallet had his belly full of Mexican food and he was half asleep, I asked if we could paint the living room. He said YES! What he didn’t realize was that “Paint the Living Room” = “Get New Furniture and Wall Decore and Get Rid of EVERYTHING in the Living Room”.  Heh heh heh….and the scheming preparedness began.

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The scouring of magazines commenced. The collection of paint cards grew. The measuring of furniture and walls happened. And then Mr. Wallet escorted me to the paint department of Lowe’s.  Be still my turquoise-loving heart. Painting began.

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Second-hand furniture shopping began for end tables. Then painting furniture commenced.

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A fabric painting tutorial was watched and then BAM, I was painting fabric like a pro.… an unskilled, untrained pro.

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And more projects were found and purchased at Goodwill.

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The entryway was completed first. I was still in hot pursuit of a white couch for $25… well, not exactly but real close. Mr. Wallet likes a good deal.  A REALLLLL good deal.

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Finally, last night, the white couch from my dreams appeared in my turquoise living room and all is well in my world. Merry Caribbean Christmas to me!

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The maps behind the French doors are my favorite. Their order, however, caused some stress for my 10-year-old nephew as they are not all on the same scale and they are definitely NOT in the correct places. He stood there in shock and disgust….”Auntie Linda, Mexico is NOT under England. And the Philippines are WAY too big and shouldn’t be at the top.” His tone implied, “I thought you were a teacher!” I tried to explain that I picked the maps for COLOR… I like turquoise, remember! And I randomly placed them… because I had to do it from the backside. I did make sure the important places are all accounted for: Canada, USA, Colombia, Maui, Greece and the Mediterranean Sea.

Every morning I descend the stairs and I smile. Thank you, Mr. Wallet.

Does God still Speak Today?

October 30, 2014

Almost four years ago, God spoke very plainly to me four times within a half hour through a Christian radio station. Now quit shaking your heads, you naysayers! Read on, and judge for yourselves.

Nora

We accepted an adoption referral for our little Colombian princess on a Friday night in November 2010. We assumed with Colombian courts closing from Dec. 15 – Jan. 15 we would be traveling to get our daughter in the new year. We discovered on Saturday that we could actually complete all the in-country paperwork IF we left for Cali, Colombia in FOUR days. That’s 96 hours, in case that seemed like plenty of time to you. We purchased our plane tickets on Sunday night for the following Wednesday, and then my Dad and I drove seven hours one-way to the Beverly Hills, California Colombian Consulate to obtain our visas.

Late Monday night as I was driving home to Arizona on Highway 10 with my Dad sleeping in the seat beside me, I tuned into a Christian radio station, attempting to get my racing mind off the 2,727 things I had to do in the following 36 hours. I had lots of questions for God. And I wanted answers. There were several loose ends that needed to be securely tied up before we took off on Wednesday morning. It was one of those moments when you are so completely at the end of your rope you plead, “O.K., God, time to show up. We have no other option than You working this out. Please, please, please answer a few questions for me….. NOW! I have been pretty patient for FOUR years… but right now, it’s game time.”

At that moment, feeling feeble and vulnerable before the God of the universe, I looked out the side windows and was surprised that I could see the cacti and sage brush on the sides of the highway in the middle of the night. Craning my neck to find the moon, it was indeed one of the brightest nights I had ever witnessed in my life. Then I recognized the lyrics to the song that was playing by The Afters.

Light light light up the sky
You light up the sky to show me You are with me
I I I can’t deny
No I can’t deny that You are right here with me
You’ve opened my eyes
So I can see You all around me

O.K., Good! was my first thought! I’ve got God’s attention for a nanosecond, I better not waste this opportunity!

Our funding for the adoption was only 2/3 accounted for……TWO days before departure. I sort of lamented to the Lord reminding Him that I had done ALL I knew to do for fundraising. I reminded Him (because He might have forgotten) that He funds what He favors. I had given it my ALL for four years and I had nothing left to give. (Like He didn’t know that either.) I also reminded Him that He promised to complete what He started. Then the song No Matter What by Kerrie Roberts started seeping through the speakers.

I’m running back to Your promises, one more time
Lord that’s all I can hold on to
I’ve got to say this has taken me by surprise
But nothing surprises You

Once again, O.K., Good! I was reassured that God was not surprised by this whirlwind trip to South America. So I brought up our main dilemma …. if we don’t have enough funds for our whole family to stay in Colombia for a month, should we leave the boys behind? Our boys were 12 and 14 at the time. They could have stayed with their Grandparents, but I really felt that this was a family bonding time for all of us. We had until midnight Monday to cancel the boys’ plane tickets. So I asked, “God, do we take the boys or not?” It was Tobymac’s turn to bring God’s answer to me in his song City on Our Knees.

Tonight couldn’t last forever
We are one choice from together
As family
We’re family

Tonight’s the night
For the sinners and the saints
Two worlds collide
In a glorious display
Cuz its all love tonight
When we step across the line
We can sail across the sea

At that point, the tears streamed down my face. Our choice was clearly to stay together as a family. So incredibly awesome! So God was going to show up BIG TIME …. tomorrow, because that was the last day. The 11th hour. It was time. I couldn’t wait to see how this played out!

Right after Tobymac helped us decide to take our boys to Colombia, Matthew West sang to my soul, just for some more reassurance about the whole adoption gig. Here is part of his song My Own Little World.

Father, break my heart for what breaks Yours
Give me open hands and open doors
Put Your light in my eyes and let me see
That my own little world is not about me

What if there’s a bigger picture?
What if I’m missing out?
What if there’s a greater purpose?
That I could be living right now

I don’t wanna miss what matters
I wanna be reaching out
Show me the greater purpose
So I can start living right now

The remainder of the drive home was filled with thankfulness, a grateful heart, humility that we are called to care for one of God’s chosen children, and supreme faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Nora. I was riding higher than a kite on a faith walk that shielded my heart from doubt. I knew God was going to show up tomorrow. I didn’t know how, or through whom, but I KNEW He would.

And He did.

Milestone Day at the Homestead

August 13, 2014

My little Colombian princess went to the movies last night with her Daddy.  Bedtime was delayed almost two hours from the usual schedule!  This little girl sleeps 10 1/2 to 11 hours EVERY NIGHT!  It is God’s little gift to ME!  But, as we have experienced, she doesn’t do well with LESS than 10 hours of sleep. Tiredness makes her moody and sassy.  If there’s one thing this mama don’t want is more sass in the house. ‘Nough said.

This year is an adjustment to our whole household as son #2’s band class got moved to first hour at the local high school.  Yes, we still homeschool, but homeschool marching band doesn’t exist so he goes to Wind Ensemble every blinkin’ morning at 7:45.  Last year I had to wake up at 8:15 to get him to second hour band…. this year will be interesting, for sure.

More back story.  Our little princess had a few previous issues with being left alone so we have made sure that she is NEVER by herself… ever. She is 11 years old and very responsible, but we wanted to make sure she always felt safe with us.  This past summer is the first time I left her alone at the house while I took her brothers and their friends up to go swimming… two miles away. She rolled her chocolate eyes at me and assured me that she would be fine by herself with the dogs and chickens.  She was.  When I returned eight minutes later I asked her if she looked out the front window.  “I did! Because I wanted to check if you were really going to leave me or not.”  hahahaha.

Remember the slumbering princess this morning?  Well, I decided to leave her having visions of sugarplums in her head instead of waking her up for the drive to school.  This is the first time I have left her alone without telling her first.  I put this note on the dirty bathroom mirror:

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As I suspected, she didn’t even wake up until 8:55.  But I forgot to take down the note.  DOH! Thankfully I was talking on the phone and she knew I was there before she read the news of my abandoning her.  Whew!  Catastrophe averted.

 

Mother Guilt

July 25, 2014

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If you’re a mother, you get this.  It’s very real.  So real it’s tangible.  Guilt that only mothers can have, get or put on themselves.

Three years ago, I dutifully accompanied the Colombian princess to her first American dental appointment.  After the x-rays and examination, the dentist handed me a sizeable Mother Guilt trophy explaining that her Colombian fillings were of poor quality and ALL needed to be replaced.  She had multiple cavities that would need to be filled immediately and there was so much work necessary that we would have to take her to a pediatric specialist to put her under for the procedures.  He had the nerve to ask if she brushed her teeth.  He meant AT ALL!  If nothing else, my little girl is diligent with personal care tasks.  She is the most regular flosser in our house, I’ll have you know, Mr. 24-year-old not-shaving-yet white coat!!

After listening to his entire money-hungry spiel, I inquired the location of the cavities.  As I suspected, they were all on baby teeth AND they were all minor.  With the referral slip in hand, I slipped out of the office and took the princess home to her father.  Being fully versed in dental procedures and examinations, together her father and I ascertained that the Colombian fillings were just fine and we wiggled all the baby teeth with cavities.  We noticed they all got more wiggly as we took turns wiggling them. Nope, not fixing them.

This is a translation for those who aren’t mothers.

What dentists say: “Your child has cavities.”  What a mother hears: “You are not taking care of your child.”

What dentists say: “There are two types of fillings.” What a mother hears: “There are $250 fillings that good mothers choose, and $75 fillings that bad mothers choose.”

What Dentists say: “Is your child flossing?” What a mother hears: Are you concerned at all about the health of your child?”

What Dentists say: “Is your child brushing after each meal?” What a mother hears: “If you haven’t taught her to BRUSH HER TEETH, what the heck are you doing all day long?”

What Dentists say: “She hasn’t been in for a long time.” What a mother hears: “Why are you a mother at all?”

This entire dental event had me swear off my motherly duties of dental visits.  Period.  I somehow forgot the six month check ups… for two years.  It’s easy to block episodes that cause Mother Guilt.  Finally, after almost all of her baby teeth had fallen out, I made an appointment for her with her FATHER to go back to that horrible place.

Her appointment was this morning at 8:00.  By 9:40 I had not heard from them and was envisioning my little Colombiana strapped in the reclined chair, wearing a bloodied paper bib with tears running down her little cheeks into her ears.  Just then my husband called and relayed that they were at Denny’s having breakfast.  He casually mentioned that she had NO CAVITIES! WHAT?  And I wasn’t there to receive my Mother of the Year trophy!!!  When they got home, she reported that they put fluoride on her teeth and told her not to eat anything for 30 minutes, but that Daddy took her to Denny’s anyway.  Nice!  Father guilt doesn’t even exist!  If her fluoride wore off with a Jr. Grand Slam, it is SOOO not this mama’s fault!

That’s MY Girl!

March 14, 2014

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Nora, my 10-year-old, came and inquired about the “easiest” dictionary for her to use.  “The Children’s Picture Dictionary that you keep in your playhouse is the easiest one,” I answered.  Then she spied it.  My pretty sky blue Complete Christian Dictionary was in arms-reach on the homeschool shelf in the family room.  She pulled it down and sheepishly asked if she could use THIS one.  “Of course you can but it doesn’t have as many words as a regular dictionary,” I explained.

She hopefully queried her daddy, Do you want to sit on the couch with me and read the dictionary?  Hahahaha!  That’s my girl!  The three males rolled their proverbial eyeballs at me.  Gah!

Sitting on the couch for about 20 minutes, she was flipping pages left and right and I could hear, under her breath, “J K L M,” and “S T U V W.”  Finally I questioned, “What word are you looking up?”  “Booty,” she replied, which brought on a burst of laughter from me, her father and brothers.  She’s not thinking baby booties…. unfortunately.  We (term used very loosely) taught her the clapping game Big Booty when she joined our family in Colombia.  To no avail, I tried to explain slang words. I eventually gave up with, “Booty won’t be in the Christian dictionary.”

“Why not?” she inquisitively asked.  One of her brothers told her, “Bad words aren’t in the Christian dictionary.”  Her big brown eyes flew open as she realized booty is not a good word to be using. “Is it a swear?” she almost whispered.  Her daddy replied, “Not really, but it won’t be in there.”

“Are you sure bad words aren’t in here?  Let’s look one up and see.  What’s a bad word?” she expectantly asked her daddy.  “Well, you tell me all the bad words you know and then we’ll see,” my tricky husband answered.  Hahaha!  She wasn’t falling for that!  Then her brothers glanced at each other and one of them added, “We can think of some bad words you could look up.”  Not funny and not happening, thankyouverymuch.

Nora settled for looking up “any” word.  Then she came up with TRAP.  Her and her daddy spent WAY too long finding the T… then the R…. then the dictionary fell and closed and they had to start all over.  She asked again, “What does it start with?” “C” said one of her mischievous brothers.  We all chuckled and I threw the wet blanket on the crowd conversation again adding, “It’s a CHRISTIAN dictionary…. trap starts with T in the Christian dictionary.”  Good grief!

The English Beast Raised its Head Today

February 25, 2014

For the Colombian princess, English has been her second language for almost three years now.  She has learned to read quite well now, but she SHINES in the creative spelling department. (ugh!) I have come to realize that in the Crosby household we must not speak very clearly.  You’d think I would have better pronunciation as I’m on my third time through the entire Downton Abbey series! Here is a little glimpse into our English lessons today.

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Nora reads a sentence and then checks the YES box or the NO box.

1. Can a tiny baby sleep in a playpen? NO is checked.  I ask her to explain.  “A tiny baby can’t sleep in the sand out in the open at the park by the swings!” she explains, horrified that I might think that is acceptable! Ah, playpen = playground. Situation rectified.

2.  Can cattle fit in a cradle? YES is checked.  I ask her to explain. “If the cradle is big enough and you have a small cattle, it could fit,” she justifies! I ask her to define cattle. “It’s the cage the dogs sleep in.”  Ah, cattle = kennel.  Situation rectified.

3.  Are there animals in a stable? NO is checked.  I ask her to explain. Rolling her eyes she points out the obvious for her mother, “How could an animal fit in a stable?”  I ask her to define stable. “It’s when you hit that silver thing and stable the pages together.” Ah, so stable = staple.

4. Do you put a kettle on the stove? NO is checked.  I ask her to explain. “There are big holes in the side of the kettle.  Water wouldn’t stay in there and I think the plastic would melt,” she reasons.  I ask her to define kettle. “Its the cage the dogs sleep in.”  Wait, I thought that was cattle?  So, cattle = kennel = kettle.  This is making perfect sense.

And this was all within fifteen minutes!  But that is not all.

5. Can a needle vanish in the tall grass? NO is checked.  I ask her to explain. “If you hold onto the needle it won’t bannish!” (implied: DUH, Mom!) I underline the V in vanish and she corrects her pronunciation.  I ask her to define vanish. “It’s when you bisappear.”  Oh my stars.

Three Years Ago Tonight…

November 24, 2013

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.

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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.

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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!

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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.