Posts Tagged ‘Gladney’

I’m Finally Making a Colombia Scrapbook

September 15, 2011

Yes, we’ve been home with the Colombian princess for almost nine months…. next Thursday, it’ll be nine months.  I’m finally getting around to making a scrapbook of our trip.  I’ve spent much mental anguish on the Colombia scrapbook topic over the past six months. (The first three months home I just needed a nap.  That’s all.)  I know there are LOTS of photos.  I know there are LOTS of photos that I want to include.  I also know my scrapbooking speed is not what it used to be in the days of old when I got 65 pages completed on a weekend retreat.  I’ve weighed the digital vs. traditional issues too.

This morning my problems were solved when I opened my email and Snapfish had sent me a free digital hard-cover scrapbook.  Well, the first 20 pages are free.  I was all over it…. but the deadline is Sept. 21.  My husband and I are leaving on a jet plane in three days… and not coming home until the 22nd.  So today, instead of teaching my pupils (well I did have Nora do math… and the others are pretty self-motivated at the moment)…. (yes, those were guilt justifying comments)… I uploaded 296 photos and put them in a digital book.  BAM!  Done!  Well, almost.  I only did half of the journaling… and it’s too late in the day to write coherent sentences, much less remember the Spanish names of places and fruits.

Into my closet I went searching for my journal from our trip to South America.  One paragraph smacked me between the eyes and I want to share it with you.  For all those who have adopted, want to adopt, are trying to adopt and are thinking they might adopt…. here’s some cold, hard facts to think on:

“As I drove home the seven hours from the Colombian consulate in Beverly Hills, I had one of those God-moments where I realized that this whole adoption is not about me… or Rick and I… or even Nora.  It’s about God taking care of His children – about His children taking one step at a time, obeying the call on their lives – about God providing everything we need – far before we figured out what we needed.”


This was taken right after we landed in Bogotá!

That was so philosophical of me…. and rare… here’s the next page in the journal for your pure enjoyment.

(This was the night before we were leaving Cali to fly to Bogotá.) “As late as it was after packing, 12:30 a.m., I simply could not fall asleep.  The thought that Nora was leaving behind her life as she knows it – kept me awake.  One reassuring thought was that we LOVED Cali SO much – we will return someday.  I also wondered at 2:30, 3:15, 4:12 and from 4:35 on…. would Nora have motion sickness? Would the airplane terrify her?  Did we check under all the beds? And finally – I was awake at 5:00… “ready” for our adventure to Bogotá.”  No wonder I needed three months of naps!

Houston, We Have a Problem!

January 1, 2011

The most hair-raising part of our adoption tale has not been shared, I just realized.  Here you go.  May you learn from our mistakes if you are embarking on an international adoption journey.

No one told us that we would need more than two hours on our Houston layover to make it through customs, immigration and security on our trip home from Colombia.  We discovered this information as we were checking in for our flight from Bogota to Houston…. too late to make flight changes.  Plus, we knew there would be a disappointed crowd at the Phoenix airport if we didn’t show up at 4:30 when scheduled.  We had exactly 95 minutes between flights.

The plan was to hurry through our pit stops… not imagining that we would be reenacting the Joe Namath airport running commercial of old!  We rushed past people to make it to the customs line.  Thankfully the line for US citizens was considerably shorter than the line for visitors!  The agent was thorough, but not entirely slow.  She advised us that after clearing her booth we would have to wait for an immigration officer to take us to a secret room for clearance of Nora’s visa and her entry into America as its newest citizen.  We divided to conquer at that point.  I took Nora.  Rick took the rest of the kids to gather luggage. 

Seated in the immigration room, while three officers worked at their computers, Nora asked why we couldn’t go up to the counter.  I told her that we were waiting for one of them to call her name.  After ten agonizingly long minutes, one of the fine officers asked, “Nora, How old are you?”  To which she replied, “Nora, How old are you?”  I explained in Spanish that she needed to say her age.  Thankfully the officer then asked her the same question in Spanish.  To which she answered, “Catorce!” (14!!!)  With a hushed voice I told her that this was highly importante and that she needed to obey the officer.  Under her breath, she counted in English on her fingers until she got to seven, then she announced in a loud voice, “Tengo SEVEN.”  Spanglish would have to do.  Brother!  She was fingerprinted and signed her name “Noro Crosby” on her form and we were on our way. (BTW, her passport application was signed Nora Crosdy.  Her Passport was signed Nora Croby.)  Thankfully we know who she is!

We scrambled downstairs to find the family waiting with two carts full of our luggage.  After pushing each bag onto the re-check-in belt, I thought we were sitting pretty with 30 minutes to spare.  I almost started crying when we reached the next floor and witnessed one of the longest security lines I’ve ever seen!  We got in line and I started praying…. hard.  Rick analyzed the situation and took matters into his own hands.  He found a security-line guard and asked if we could be moved up.  I was still praying hard.  We wove our way around the maze until we came to the spot where Rick was standing by our guardian angel, and she opened the ropes to let us through, skipping about 60 or 70 people.  I whispered “thank you” to her and to God.  She then directed us to the shortest of six lines for the x-ray machines.  Before she put the ropes back, she hollered, “Any more Elite Members in line?”  We are not Elite members and I almost burst out laughing… but I restrained my hilarity at that moment.

At this point I told my boys to remove their belts and put them into their backpacks so we wouldn’t have to wait for them to re-dress.  This was brilliant on my part for timing, but not so comfortable for my sons who had to hold their pants as they ran through the airport.  After x-raying our bags, Rick took off with our boarding passes to run to the gate.  Seriously, it was a 1/4 mile run.  Larisa and Nora didn’t get their shoes put back on… we carried them and cleaned the airport floor with their socks.

We arrived at Gate E9 to discover that our flight had been moved to C33.  If you have been to the Houston airport, you understand that all things are BIGGER in Texas.  Good grief.  The kind counter lady called the C33 desk to tell them we were on our way.   To say that I’m not exactly fit for a 1/2 mile run would be an understatement.  The family took off and I followed not quite as rapidly.  Finally I flagged down a man driving a golf cart and requested immediate delivery to C33.  Upon arrival, I jumped out of the cart to find my four children… but not my husband.  The kids said, “He went back to look for YOU!” 

At this point it was five minutes passed the scheduled take-off time and the ticket-taking lady regretfully replied, “We cannot hold the plane any longer.”  Lacking grace and poise, I screamed down the terminal, “RIIIICCCCKKKK!” in my loudest voice…. twice.  Half way between Rick and gate C33 there was a group of airport employees who also yelled, “RIIICCCKKK!”  Thankfully, he turned around and started another 300 yard dash.  As he passed the workers, they were chanting, “Run, Rick, Run!”  I turned to the ticket-taking lady and informed her that we were ready to board and my husband would be arriving by the time she scanned his ticket.  WHEW!

We rushed on the plane, the doors were closed and it started to taxi out before we were all seated in row 32.  I have never been more relieved in my life.

In Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix were over 60 of our crazy friends waiting with signs and cheers.  They had NO IDEA how close they were to greeting a Crosby-less plane!  Again, God showed up in the details, for the 127th time.

Hindsight is 20/20

December 4, 2010

I’ve learned several valuable lessons while staying in our daughter’s homeland, Colombia.  I thought I’d share them with you, just in case there are readers who are anxiously awaiting their little Colombian bambinos and their adventure to Colombia!

1.  Bring bug spray and USE IT even if you don’t think you need it.  I’d post a picture of my mosquito bitten legs, but it would be detrimental to those traveling to this beautiful land.  The swelling and hotness only lasts for two to three days…. then you simply look like you have some horrible jungle disease.  Keep the doors closed as much as possible.  Go mosquito hunting IN the house before you go to bed each night.  In our experience, the liquid squirt type works better than aerosols.  We are going through one can a week with five of us using it.  The little Colombian Princess doesn’t need any!

2.  Don’t spray bug repellent on yourself while standing on tile floors.  The floor becomes more slick than and ice rink and it’s difficult to wash off.

3.  Bring ziplock bags.  OK, I did do this, but not to the extent that I should have!  Bring 20-25 of each size: sandwich and gallon. You never know what you will need them for!  Also, wash them out and stick them to the tile backsplash to dry. (We learned that here!)

4.  Bring peanut butter.  Well, only if you like peanut butter.  Bananas are plentiful and cheap and what better to smear on them than peanut butter? I did find some Peter Pan creamy PB in the foreign food section of 14LA (Colombian Walmart), but it goes for about $.50 per ounce!

5.  Stay in a vacation villa!  Not a hotel!  The one we found is less than a third of the price and twice the size as the hotel we started in.  My husband found this 3 bedroom, 2 bath little house online for $1200 per month!!!  It is gated, has a pool, playground and ball court, nice friendly neighbors, garbage service, security cameras, shuttle service for $.75 into town, and a little shopping area with the equivalents of: 7-11, Asian Nails, Garcia’s Dry Cleaners, Rolberto’s (with delivery!), Kinkos, and a small Albertsons… REALLY small, but satisfactorily equipped.

6.  Hire a housekeeper!  Our adoption guide recommended one for us and she is FABULOSO.  She only comes three times a week but it is a blessing to me not to have to cook on those days, clean (hardly at all!) and do laundry.  We discovered that it is a blessing to her to have work and it is a mere $15 per day.  I’ve already told my dear husband, Mr. Wallet, that he needs to give her a BIG tip at the end!  She’s my new best friend!  Oh, can she cook!

7.  Pack light!  I followed the “4 underwear” rule from the book The Complete Book of International Adoption by Dawn Davenport and carried it out for each family member.  (4 bottoms, 4-5 tops, 2 shoes + flip-flops, pjs, swimsuit, 4 undies, and a jacket.) Six of us are traveling for a month with 5 carry-ons, 2 large (but not huge) suitcases and 6 backpacks.  We can move by ourselves in the airport without assistance and we fit into a minivan with luggage!  Best advice I ever took!  We also tied thick turquoise ribbon on each one for easy identification at the airport.

8.  Laundry advice:  We are washing clothes every other day…. there is a nice washing machine at our villa…..which is all fine and good… but it is the rainy season and jeans and thick cotton clothing do not dry fast at all.  It rains every afternoon and most of the night…. so we have laundry hanging on closet doors and patio furniture in the house.  I’m not quite sure how I would solve this and stick to the 4 outfit rule.  Thin cotton and polyester dries well and non-wrinkled, but who wants to look like an old lady while traveling??  We are definitely wearing our jeans SEVERAL times before washing them.

9.  Things I’m glad we brought:  scissors, needle and thread, games, camera with two storage cards, laptop to load photos (and upload to Costco for storage), magicJack to phone home for free, DVDs, LOTS of crafts for our new little girl, little blanket for our new little girl, two sizes of blow-up beach balls, draw-string light-weight backpacks for day trips, reading material, lots of snacks (granola bars, protein bars, nuts, trail mix, dried fruit, ginger snap cookies – they don’t break!, small packages of crackers with peanut butter), the book The Usborne First Thousand Words in Spanish, and flip-flops.

10.  Things I wish we’d brought:  duct tape, scotch tape, peanut butter, more chocolate (or better rationing skills), cinnamon (for PB and banana toast), another tube of toothpaste (we brought one big one to share… but it’s a hassle with two bathrooms), and a hand-held electronic translator.

“As it happened….”

November 20, 2010

(Thank you, Jane)  As it happened…. we read the new report on the same little chunk of darlingness from Cali, Colombia.  She is healthy, happy and hearty.  The new pediatrician was favorable of the new report and helped us with where to go from here.  Her final statement to me was, “Make your decision and wait for your miracle!”  Oh, I loved that… almost as much as “As it happened” which means God has been Jehova Sneeky again.  Always working on our behalf, knowing what’s best for us and our family…. beyond what we can imagine or think.

We accepted the referral for Nora, but she has asked us to change her name….. but we don’t know if she means her first name, or middle name or last name.  So we don’t really know what to call her at this point.  “Zaza” still pops out because a nickname of 3 years….. sticks.

We were at peace with the decision and figured we would travel to get her on Jan. 15th when the Colombian courts open again.  But NO!  We are traveling THIS Thursday… yes, Thanksgiving Day, to go get our little girl.  I’m in shock.  Real life shock where you have to take a nap because you can’t figure out what to do first.

A friend of mine showed up today with her notepad.  She said she would decorate our house for Christmas while we’re away and she needed instructions.  She also is going to pick up my newspapers and keep my coupons up to date while I’m gone.  This is a true friend!  Another friend showed up with huge cookies.  That’s a true friend too.  Meet the basic needs in times of stress.

AHHHHHHH! We leave in five days!  So, I’m re-doing Nora’s scrapbook, since the original photos are outdated.  I ran and got my hair cut and colored, since we need to take a close-up photo of Rick and I and we’re not supposed to change our hair before we meet Nora on FRIDAY!  She is attaching to this photo on Monday!  My wise-cracker of a daughter looked at me yesterday in the height of excitement and frazzledness…. bed head, no make-up and sweats… and said, “We should probably take your picture like this since this is more likely what she will see every day.”  Very funny.  Very true.  But not going to happen.

OK, I’m off to count suitcases and see if my boys have pants that fit them.  Prayers for peace to reign in our home would be much appreciated.

Adoption News! Yeah!

June 3, 2010

We are now #10 on the wait list.  For details, please see

This was interesting news for me, bringing mixed emotions to the surface.  I was thinking (read: hoping and praying) that we would be about #7 by now, so it is sad news in a way.  But good news in that we have more time to finish raising our adoption funds and more time to improve my Spanish!  I was second guessing our two-week trip to Lake Tahoe which commences next week, wondering if we should be using vacation days so close to when we could travel.  But now, it looks like we won’t travel until Fall.  Which is good and bad.  Bad for Larisa signing up for classes in the Fall, but good because OUR GIRL WILL BE HOME!

I just had a flashback to when we were number 185!  THAT was a long time ago!  We’ve come a long way, baby.

That’s all for now…. going to go upstairs and finish sewing Zaza’s dolly’s outfit #4.  :o)

Our Adoption of Zaza

May 20, 2010

I realize that this blog, my every day life blog, is the one listed with our adoption agency, Gladney, as our adoption blog.  It is not, but I do occassionaly put adoption news and tidbits on here.  For those who have never looked to the right —–> there is a counter that is unbelievably at 3 years and almost 6 months that we have been waiting for our little girl, Zaza.  Our adoption blog doesn’t get as many entries as this one, but it can be found at:  Our timeline is there as well as the worse-than- snail-slow process and progress.

Yes, I think about our little girl every day.  Yes, I miss her and I haven’t even met her yet.  We do not know her age, her name, her location (other than Colombia), her background…. nothing.  But she is our little girl… who is not home yet.  Our 11-year-old son prays faithfully for Zaza each night that she has a home and a bed and food and people who love her.  I pray they same prayer each night and that she will know God’s love at an early age.

Yes, we call her Zaza.  My sister-in-law came up with that nickname because we kept saying “our little girl from Colombia”… which is a bit long.  No, we will not change her name to Zaza.  We won’t change her first name at all because she will be 5 or 6-years-old and her name will be one of the only things she brings home with her from her mother country. 

Yes, waiting is hard.  I hate waiting.  I’m SOOO a right now girl!  This has taught me patience beyond what I thought was humanly possible.  We know some day she will be here and our family will be complete, but we don’t know when…… like I said, it’s hard.

This week I’ve been sewing a dolly, her clothes and a sleeping bag for the dolly…. all for Zaza to play with.  It keeps my mind on her and prayers sent heavenward on her behalf.  It also makes me feel like I’m doing SOMETHING!

A Copy and Paste Blog from Kelly

November 8, 2009

Kelly is my blog sister who lives in Tennessee and is also adopting from Colombia with Gladney Center for Adoption.  We both decorated our little Colombian princesses’ rooms in mariposas de la lavanda (lavender butterflies)!  Her blog this past week could have been written from my heart as much as it was from hers.  So here is Kelly’s post that says exactly how I’m feeling too:

We’d Love a Referral in November–It Is National Adoption Month =)

I love talking about our adoption journey. I’m happy to share how God has called us to adopt. November is National Adoption Month, but even if it wasn’t I’d still be telling our story.I love how God has put this love in my heart for a little girl that I don’t even know anything about. I don’t know how old she is, what she looks like, where she is exactly (maybe she is @ Chiquitines, but maybe she’s not there yet). She may not even be born yet, but still I love her.
**(Zaza is born already, but we don’t know what region she is in.)
I love hearing the boys pray for their little sister. There isn’t much that is sweeter, if you ask this momma =) 

There are so many things that are hard to explain to people, when I’m trying to share our story. I have learned though, that some people just don’t get “it.” Countless times I have been asked why we are going to Colombia, and why we are not adopting here @ “home.” Really people just don’t get “it.” I am thankful that God has made it clear to us, that our daughter is in Colombia. Now, I just have to be patient & wait for the details of the rest of our journey. We know that we will not be traveling in 2009, because the courts in Colombia close Dec. 15th to Jan. 15th. There is still a possibility that we will get our referral this year & then we would travel when the courts opened in January. This is our prayer. Have I ever told ya’ll how hard waiting is? =)



No News is NOT Good News

September 2, 2009

School is underway and I am treading water with my head just sticking out of the water.  It’s hard to keep my mind from wandering off to Colombia and a sweet, little black-haired girl that is waiting for us to come and get her.  I keep thinking, Spelling and grammar are important but if the referral call comes, spelling and grammar are history, baby!  At least for a little while.  I made the most strictly structured schedule that has ever been in existence at L.A.K.E. Academy (our homeschool.)  L-arisa, A-ustin, K-eeve, and E…….  (Wouldn’t it be just like God to have Zaza’s name start with an E!?! )  The schedule is the only thing keeping school on track.  The boys check it regularly throughout the day and keep us on course.

We were supposed to have adoption news last week.  It didn’t materialize.  The next scheduled news about our case should be available next week… Sept. 10th, so we’re told.  Is it too much, after almost three years of waiting, to ask that our little girl is home before Christmas????  I had a hard time last year putting the kids’ birth ornaments on the tree without Zaza’s in the mix.  Another year with three stockings when we know there should be four.  Another year without Barbies under the tree.  {sigh}

I have this underlying anxiety currently.  I’m not sure what it means or where it comes from.  I hope it’s my maternal instincts kicking in to prepare for a new child.  We’ve cleaned, painted, scrubbed and wiped pretty much everything now.  If the call came tomorrow, I’m ready.  I try not to dwell on the time that we have been on the adoptive parent wait list in Bogota (19 months), but it does come to mind on nights like tonight.  The house is quiet.  There probably are three million things I could be doing, but I can’t concentrate on any one thing.  It’s like something or someone is missing…. because she is.

Come on, GOD!

Painting Again

August 8, 2009

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Today I got ambitious and sanded and started painting Zaza’s bedside table.  As some of you know, I painted her canopy bed purple… it’s darling.  So I did the bedside table white with purple drawers.  I’ll post a photo when it’s done.  Zaza’s room is slowly but surely coming together.  It seems like it’s taken forever because IT HAS!  I painted the walls yellow over two years ago.  They already need to be touched up from the boys playing in there.  (sheesh)  A clear and empty room is so tempting for boys with a car mat and a million Hot Wheels.

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Another family who has worked with the same agency as us, Gladney, returned from Colombia yesterday with their two little bambinos.  I have enjoyed following their blog because it’s the most current information from Colombia… with pictures to ease my curious heart.  Here is their link if you want to have a peak:  Their daughter could be my niece, Katelyn’s, Colombian twin sister.  It’s amazing how much these two little girls look alike!  Anyway, enjoy, you know, if you have time to spend reading blogs. 

Enjoy your weekend!

Adoption News Today!

July 7, 2009