Posts Tagged ‘international adoption’

The Worst Adoptive Mama on the Planet

March 23, 2013

Quietness and darkness have enveloped our home.  Only because it’s 4:35 a.m.  Our house is rarely quiet, rarely dark and rarely active at this time of the morning.  It has been one week since my car accident that has driven me to sleep on the couch (I couldn’t even THINK of climbing stairs for the first four days home).  And as much as I love sleeping with my husband, I love sleeping …. without fearing that he will kick my battered legs, bump my aching arms, yank the sheets against my seatbelt bruises on my neck or snore and make me crabby.  I’m starting to understand why my grandparents had separate rooms.  (Don’t worry, Honey, I’ll come back upstairs eventually.)  Aching arms woke me up in these wee hours… and it’s not time for the wonder drugs yet.  The fact that I can wait it out gives me hope that I’m not completely addicted to pain killers. Even in weariness, I have some level of self control.

My six year old habitual pastime of reading adoption blogs is still a passion of my soul.  It always will be.  Reading about a young couple tonight faced with infertility who have chosen a child in Ethiopia makes my adoptive mama heart beat with glee.  Another baby will have a mama.  Another daddy will cry tears of joy.  Another child will be placed by God and the nightmares might just fade a wee bit, making life a better place.  A safer place.

As an adoptive mama, I have had the normal adoptive mama fears that I am the worst adoptive mama on the planet.  I have cut off the Colombian princess from sugar at times, even sending her to bed with no cake!  Imagine!!!  I have sent her to her room when I couldn’t think of answering one more question about heaven.  I have not taken her to Disneyland.  I won’t buy her cute clothes just because they are cute, when her stuffed closet has more than enough.  I am sure I have been caught on surveillance tapes more than a dozen times in the Walmart parking lot saying, “We are not here to buy anything for you today.”  And I’ve wondered if she was in a different home, would she be granted more stuff and have more privileges.  I have expressed this self-doubt to other mamas and one in particular has told me again and again, “You are the perfect mama God chose for your girl.  She is in the right home.  You are the right mama. You are loving her just the way she needs to be loved.”  And it does my heart good for about three minutes and then the doubts return.

The before mentioned car accident was actually a glimpse into my “good adoptive mama” side that I needed to see.  The crash happened in the blink of an eye.  The air bags exploded.  Stinky smoke filled the van. And all I could think to do was jump out of my door which only opened half way to get to my nine-year-old baby in the seat behind me.  We hugged each other and balled our eyes out together.  She was not hurt.  I quickly realized that my legs were not fine and I was needing to sit back down.  Yes, the metal hitting metal sounds were ghastly and hurt our ears, but I believe what scared her the most was hearing me cry for the first time.  The ugly cry with snorts and uncontrollable guttural sounds. She kept reaching up and touching my shoulders in the front seat. Through the tears and pain, we bonded at a deeper level.

On my girl scout sash of life, I feel like I earned my “Unconditional Adoptive Mama Love” badge.  And my bruised body is a mere side effect of the stamp of approval on my heart.

From Wonder Mama to Blunder Mama

November 17, 2012

With the arrival of our Colombian princess’s second GOTCHA DAY next Sunday, memories of that time in our lives have been frequent, heart warming and still alarming in some cases.

November 25, 2010 the day we received Nora, is alive and well in my memory banks.  The morning began with my first Spanglish lesson of ordering breakfast from the kitchen in the hotel where we had arrived just seven short hours previously.  Translated from my lame Spanish back to lame English for your enjoyment….my order: “Eggs.  Milk.  Five people.  Juice.  Cooked bread.(toast)  Coffee.”  The kind person on the phone kept asking me questions and I had NO idea what they were saying.  I repeated my eight word order several times.  Surprisingly, we did get everything we asked for, plus hot cocoa, arepas, jam, honey and some fruit!

On our drive home from ICBF (Colombian social services), we were all jolted beyond belief in the traffic, on the steep hills and due to the driving style of our guide.  Thankfully we only had a 20 minute ride or we would have all been losing our breakfast.

Being the prepared official mother of four children, when Nora started looking woozy, I grabbed a gallon zip lock bag from my purse and she used it well.  Just a teeny bit of mama pride surfaced as I had anticipated the problem and solved it in the nick of time.  We also learned at that moment that she had been fed chocolate cake for breakfast.  LOTS of chocolate cake.

My mama pride dissolved into nothingness that same evening when we tucked Nora in for the night.  We all kissed her, Larisa brushed out her nine tiny braids before she was wrapped in her cozy new jammies and ready for beddy-bye.  My sweet husband has done the tucking-in for all of the kids’ lives.  He is such a thoughtful dad and spends time talking with them and listening to how their day went.  The kids love their Daddy time as much as I love my freedom time.  Rick went to put her in her bed in the second bedroom of our “apartment”.  I could hear him singing and talking to his new little daughter whom he couldn’t understand… nor could he speak a lick of Spanish.

About six or seven minutes into this familiar TO US ritual, I realized for the first time Nora was alone with this strange man whom she was to call Daddy.  The information we had about her past was sketchy, but it dawned on me that she could be terrified of my sweet, kind-hearted husband…. just because he is male.

As quickly as my little fingers could type into Google translate, I wrote the sentences “Your Papi loves you.  He will never hurt you.  He will always protect you and take care of you.  He is a very nice man.  He has never hurt anyone.  You don’t have to ever be scared of him.  He loves you.”  I unplugged the computer and rushed into the room where, as I suspected, she was clinging to the far edge of her bed with wide fearful eyes.  My heart broke… once more.  How stupid of us!  I read the sentences of love and assurance to her in Spanish and I visibly saw her relax and sink into the pillow with relief.

I went from Wonder Mama with the barf bag to Blunder Mama with the scary husband…. all in 11 hours!  I had a lot to learn…. and the learning curve was quite steep two years back.  Thank God for Google translate!

Adoption FUNds….

May 17, 2011

Many people have asked us how we raised our adoption funds.  We smile a knowing smile… because WE didn’t raise the money, God did.  He funds what He favors!  Adoption is expensive… domestic AND international.  Personally, I don’t think it should be expensive, but that’s another story for another day.  We didn’t have nearly enough cash to adopt from Colombia, but we had some “seed money” that we planted and waited for God to harvest. Our dream of adoption came from the Lord so we relied on Him to show us where the adoption money was hiding.  It was a huge step of faith! Huger than any we’d taken previously!

When our adoption process began, we had faith that we would be one of the QUICK families…. not so.  It took us 10 months to get our dossier together (we had to work with two Canadian provinces and five American states!) and then we waited three months until we were approved.  THEN a 34 month wait for our referral. From the referral to us kissing our girl’s soft cheeks was eight days.  Eight days of FLURRY, scurry and hurry!

The 34 month wait was when we put our noses to the grindstone and searched hard for adoption funds.  I applied for 10-12 grants, and we received only one from Show Hope (MaryBeth and Steven Curtis Chapman) right at the beginning of the journey.  It was the sweet priming for the fundraising pump that we needed!  Thank you, MBC and SCC!

We also sent a letter to friends and family far and near telling them of our expanding family and asking if they felt the Lord nudging them to help bring a child home.  The monies from that one pink letter came in over four years.  It brought me to tears time and time again. Faithful friends, doing their part!  Thank you, if you were one of those loving people.

My sister-in-law, Jennie, came up with this fabulous idea to sew purses and carrier bags from recycled and donated fabric.  She nick-named our daughter Zaza, and Bags for Zaza was birthed!  The sewing escapades went on for over a year with six or seven contributing seamstresses (with three solid contenders).  She auctioned them online and it went over brilliantly…. 10 times more brilliantly than Jennie originally hoped for!  Thank you, Jennie!

While searching other adoption blogs and fundraising sites, I learned about having a Media Drive.  Great idea!  Ask all your family, friends and enemies to donate unused, dust-collecting media….. I gathered books, CDs, DVDs, videos, games, collector cards, plus more.  The valuable ones I was able to sell on eBay and the less valuable ones I sold at a local used book store.  This really encouraged me as friends far and wide donated boxes and boxes of stuff!  It made me feel great that there was a way everyone could contribute to helping an orphan…. it wasn’t just people with extra cash.  Everyone.

I also looked around our house and decided we didn’t need all this stuff that had accumulated over the last 20-something years.  I started selling everything: furniture, clothing, sports equipment, household trinkets, silk trees, books, lamps, you name it.  I sold most of these items on  There is one in your area!

Our neighborhood group decided to have a “Large Item” garage sale for us…. held at our house.  More than 20 families donated large items for this day and it was a great success. Thank you, neighborhood groupies!

Right when I needed another idea, a flyer was squeezed into our front door crack telling about a children’s clothing consignment sale.  I sent the word out for friends to donate kid’s clothing.  I gathered, ironed, tagged, hung and delivered over 200 items!

Most unique of all: Matt’s Meals with a Mission.  A high school grad in chef training (friend of daughter’s) set up MMM to raise money for different causes.  So, our adoption was one of the causes he supported by cooking meals for different families for special occassions.  We were so amazed by his giving heart, generosity and cooking! Thank you, Matthew!

The day before we flew to Colombia we received a phone call from a businessman we are acquainted with.  He asked how much we still needed and transfered the funds into our account that day.  It still brings me to tears, knowing that God had people lined up to take care of the needed funds.  We did our part and others did their part, as a body of believers and unbelievers alike, God used MANY people to bring our girl home. The blessing is spread far and wide.  Be encouraged if you are fundraising!  Be creative!  God funds what He favors!  Here’s our breakdown for you:

  • Our Savings – 19%
  • Show Hope – 7%
  • Letter to Family & Friends – 23%
  • Bags for Zaza – 16%
  • Media Drive, Garage Sale, Craigslist, Consignment, MMM – 8%
  • Last minute Donation – 27%

Milestones for the Month

January 23, 2011

We have reached several milestones in our lives this month. None has gone by without notice…. and with much thanksgiving in our hearts.

Jan. 14…..   FOURTEEN years since we made the big move from Alberta, land of the Oilers, to Phoenix, land of the Coyotes.  The two hockey teams face off this Tuesday night here in Phoenix and we will be there.  Oilers are doing so poorly this year, I can’t bring myself to wear the jersey.  But Rick will…. and I’ll be sitting next to him. 

Jan. 20…. my baby sister turned 40.  That just means I’m closer to 50.  Milestone… whatever.

(I made this cool t-shirt that says “Christy is 40… yippy!”)

Jan. 22…… Nora has been in her forever family for one month!  It seems like so much longer than that!  She is fitting in perfectly… unbelievably, really.  She is such a happy little girl from the moment she wakes up… bringing pure joy to our home.  We are thankful that God had us picked out for her years ago… as we prayed and waited.  If I had made a list (which I partially did in my mind) of all the characteristics I hoped she would have that are similar to our family, I don’t think I would have listed all of the ones she came with!  God knows what he’s doing, people, when he places orphans in families. 

Jan. 23…. the end of the first week after Austin’s snowboarding accident.  I am amazed once again at God’s healing hand and his creation of the body that heals itself!  Austin’s face looks 90% better than it did seven days ago.  We are so thankful that no bones were broken (a hairline nasal fracture does not count – no cast required!) and he’s doing okay mentally and physically.  It could have been so much worse!  Austin has an appointment in Feb. with the neuro-psychologist for baseline testing.  I’m relieved that it is finally being done!  Sadly, it took 6 (or 7?) concussions to get him into the office!  Sheesh!

Thankfulness is leaking out of my heart today.  What do you have to be thankful for?

Current Household Update

January 13, 2011

We have been home from Colombia with our new daughter for three weeks!  I believe we’re all adjusting as well as expected…. considering that her whole life changed, I’ve been sick since we got home, my husband was out-of-town for four days and we started homeschooling this week.  It’s been a draining time for me.  I need a nap every day… thankfully I have the freedom to take them!  This morning Nora dragged out of her room with her hair all wild and asked where Papi was!  I told her he was at work.  She slumped over, dragged back up the stairs, got back into bed and pulled the covers over her head.  Well, he was home for her every day for the first 5 weeks!!!  How could he leave her now almost every day!?!

Many monumental occurences have transpired as well.  We got a new dishwasher!  This may not seem that important to others, but we have been hand washing for 14 months….. when we weighed the importance of adoption funds and a new dishwasher….. adoption won… hands down.  But for Christmas, a little bit of everyone’s gift was the new kitchen appliance.  The kids were genuinely thrilled!  When the first cycle was completed, I cracked open the door and breathed in the hot steam that smelled of new appliance!  Sweet mercy, it did my heart good.  When the truck pulled up to deliver it, I did a happy dance in the cul-de-sac that mortified my kids who have known me for more than two months.  Nora, however, thought it was fantastic and joined me!

My husband, the one who owns part of a pest control business finally took the first of his two insecticide exams… and he got 90%!  When he told us, our daughter said, “That’s better than you EVER did in school!”  And it’s almost true.  He is currently studying for bug test #2.  He just read to me tonight the dangers of sitting on a portable potty and disturbing the web of a black widow spider hiding under the seat.   Gross me out.  That adds uneasiness to my already uneasy porta-potty stops.

Nora is totally addicted to riding her bike!  Every single day she asks if someone can go outside with her and watch her ride!  It starts when she is still in her pajamas at the kitchen table…. and continues until dark.  She is a persistent little thing! 

Nora was in complete shock when we first arrived home and she discovered that we don’t watch tv.  We don’t even get any channels.  At first she didn’t understand… so we handed her the remote and she clicked through about 20 totally blurry channels.  Her shoulders slumped a bit!  Then we turned on the movie Winn Dixie in Spanish for her!  She’s been fine with no tv ever since.  Every time she sees a dog, if it’s white she calls it Trixie (our dog) and if it’s brown she calls it Winn Dixie!  So cute!

Nora’s first English sentences are emerging…. slowly.  Yesterday she said, “This is so cute!”  Probably because I say it all the time to her!  She also asks everyone, “Are you ok?”  We respond and ask her the same.  She replies, “I’m ok.”  I wondered if she was just repeating or if she understood it.  Then she wiped out on her bike and scraped up her hands.  Austin asked her, “Are you ok?”  and she said NO!  Daily she is correcting my pronunciation of Spanish words.  My Spanish is so lame, it’s not even funny.  But we get by.  We’re also discovering many words that must be different in Colombian Spanish than Mexican Spanish. 

Nora went to McDonald’s playland for the first time yesterday.  She wasn’t fond of the food…. go figure!… but she loved the climbing tubes.  She was in there yelling, GWOW! the whole time!  (We don’t know why WOW starts with a G, but it does.)

Our 14-year-old son went to school for the first time in his life today!  We signed him up for a writing course that is 90 minutes on Thursday mornings.  He was pretty excited to be leaving with his sister this morning!  We asked how it was at nerd school (It’s a collection of homeschool kids) and he said there was a kid in his class with Crocs and socks.  Ultimate nerd alert!  Oh well.  Get used to it!

Ciao for now!

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.

The Taxi Driver Sent by God

December 17, 2010

Two days ago our interpreter/guide showed up at the house without me knowing she was coming.  Rick knew, but he neglected to mention it to me.  She needed Nora’s Colombian identification card for some such important business.  She was only stopping by quickly because she needed to deliver the card to our lawyer on the far side of Cali. 

We invited our neighbors for dinner that night, making a trip to the grocery store in town necessary that day.  I figured we would do a family trip on the bus.  We had not yet been brave enough… but adventure is out there!  Then I realized I could get dropped off at the store by our guide and take a taxi home!!  I quickly ran a brush through my bed head and asked Austin to accompany me. 

We arrived at Jardin Plaza, where we had shopped before, but didn’t realize there was a grocery store!  We only needed the ingredients for a fine Mexican meal… plus we realized we would have to carry all the bags, so we wouldn’t be long.  I was thrilled to find my first quality flour tortillas in Colombia!  Auntie Connie’s burritos are now famous in South America!  Our neighbor asked for the recipe… twice.  :o)   As we were leaving the store…. sad realization sunk in that I didn’t remember the full name of where we are staying to tell a taxi driver.   The name is Ciudad Campestre El Castillo Conjunto Herrerier #1.  I could only remember Castillo. 

Austin thought he solved the problem by suggesting we call our guide.  That’s all fine and good if I had the cell phone she gave us.  But I didn’t.  I didn’t know her number either.  The next solution I thought of was to call Santiago, a wonderful taxi driver that we have been using for three weeks.  But I didn’t have his card with me.  We knew where the hundreds of taxi drivers lined up at Jardin Plaza so we headed there…. with dread in my heart.  I knew I could explain that we needed to go toward Jamundi… but you’re supposed to agree on a price before you get into the taxi… and we didn’t need to go all the way to Jamundi.  I could say “our house is in the middle of Cali and Jamundi”… but that wasn’t true… it was ALMOST to Jamundi.  I had heard Rick negotiate with the taxi drivers in that very spot… they started at $28,000 pesos ($15 US).  I knew Santiago only charged us $13,000 pesos. I hate bartering!

Just as we emerged from the plaza, I spotted God’s little gift to me that day…. SANTIAGO was the first taxi driver in the line of 57 cars!!  “Look who it is, Austin!” I said quickly as I hurried to get his car!  “Hola, mi amigo!”  and I truly meant “my friend” at that moment.  I asked if he could take us home, he said it would be his pleasure and he removed the grocery bags from my hands.  “God is taking care of us today!” I told Austin and he agreed.  I marvelled once again at the Lord ordering our steps!  Santiago speaks very rapidly in Spanish and I can’t understand most of what he says, but after we got in his taxi he said something to the effect of “that was perfect timing!”  I replied, “Gloria a Dios!” (Glory to God!)  Then he smiled in the rear view mirror at me.

I Officially have FOUR Kids!

December 10, 2010

Today was the final Sentencia in the courts for us to sign on the dotted line and make Nora ours officially.  It’s not all as fancy as that sounds…. the court that you sign in is a room full of desks…. looks like a crowded newspaper office without cubical walls.  Rick actually went without me to sign.  I’m not feeling that great and our guide didn’t think it was a good idea to take the kids downtown at this busy time of the year.  I was good with that.  I stayed home and have been taking any and all cold medications we brought with us! 

When Rick got home he handed me a stack of official papers in Spanish and I read through them the best I could in my Spanglish.  It made me cry all over again.  Why any child would have to go through this is so SAD!  I keep looking at our new daughter… she’s so stinkin’ cute!  And talented… and I’m not just saying it because I’m the momma!  Even her toes are darling.  And she has dimples and wavy hair… not that any of these things matter to me… but they are the icing on the cake.  Every child deserves a home with love and acceptance and I’m so glad she’s in ours!

I had the typical new-mommy fear: What if I don’t think she’s cute?  Rick reassured me that Colombian girls are all cute!  He also reminded me that I didn’t think one of my bio kids was cute either….. but that child has grown on me and now I do!  (No names mentioned!  Ever!)

Nora is spunky… today was the first morning that she woke up before me… at 6:30!  She came jumping in on our bed and kissed me and said her only line in English, “Good morning, Mama!”  She wakes up happy.  She goes to bed without too much of a hassle!  But even if she didn’t, we would still love her to pieces.  In our adoption training, we heard worse case scenarios that had us holding our breath waiting for weeping and gnashing of teeth.  Our transition has been so much better than we could have hoped for.  I do realize this is the honeymoon phase and her true colors will shine at home in a month or so, but I expected so much more trauma!  I’m thankful!

Last night I used google translate to ask Nora a bunch of questions.  I told her that we have been waiting four years for her!  And that we prayed for her that whole time.  I asked her if she prayed to.  She answered in Spanish, “Yes, to Jesus for a family!”  I told her Jesus answered her prayers and ours!  It will be so interesting to get more of her story from her own lips once we are on the same language page. 

I realize her entire life has been changed forever… but so has mine.  I’m a mother of four.  Two girls.  Two boys.  And I get to do ponytails again… and ruffle sockies.  Being a mom is the BEST!

Estados Unidos Excitement!

December 9, 2010

Tonight I went into Nora’s room to dry her hair (from swimming!) and put her to bed.  This was obviously the first time she’s had her hair dried with a blow dryer.  First she was scared of the noise, then she giggled and danced and spoke rapidly in Spanish the entire time I dried her hair.  It was hilarious. 

As I tucked her in, I explained in my supremely lame Spanish that tomorrow we are going to the zoo.  She obviously didn’t understand the word ZOO because her eyes got BIG and she asked excitedly if we were going to the Estados Unidos tomorrow!  (The United States)  No, I unfortunately explained.  It is seven more days until we go to Bogota and then seven MORE days until we go to the USA.  That’s a long time when you’re 7 years old!

Rick asked me tonight if I have heard what Nora thinks about the United States.  The only thing I’ve heard so far is that she thinks it is in another galaxy.  Wow!  We plan to ask Nora a bunch of questions and videotape her answers so we have it as a keepsake.  We were going to do it today, but after last night’s rockin’ party, our naps interfered with our illustrious plans.  Mañana!

The Festival of Lights

December 8, 2010

Here in Cali, Colombia on the night of December 7th (last night!), the Festival of Lights is held to commemorate the Immaculate Conception. The candles are lit to show Mary the way on her journey to Bethlehem on the donkey.  Cheesy cardboard luminaries of multiple sizes and color go on sale on the streets and in the stores for the event. Of course we participated by buying some colorful Mother Mary flimsy stand-up holders for our six little blue candles…. one for each family member. With great care and enthusiasm, we lined them up in the sprinkling rain in front of our little home. Yes, they kept blowing over. Yes, the candles kept going out, but the spirit of the night was alive!

Our measly display was nothing compared to the streets, sidewalks, balconies and terraces of our little gated community. The band of 12-14 year old soccer players even came by our place and lit a small fireworks display in our driveway for us! We were told that the celebration of the Night of Candles is one of the most beautiful ones of Colombia and it’s true.

There was also an all-night fiesta of the Colombian nature held in the cabana next to the pool outside our back door. A live band, salsa dancing and mucho food kept the party-goers laughing and dancing until 6:00 am. Yes, you read that right… SIX in the morning. Thank the good Lord someone invented orange foamy earplugs. Our neighbors invited us to go with them, since we weren’t aware that we were supposed to bring food. That’s what good neighbors are for! The festivities didn’t get started until 9:30 last night, and with Nora needing to go to bed, I stayed home and contentedly watched through the sliding glass door.

Rick took our three eldest kids and they all laughed and ate with our Colombian neighbors in the balmy 80 degree night. Austin, our 14-year-old, came home first. He reported that he only went to see his father make a fool of himself and that happened in the first five minutes on the dance floor… so he was done. About an hour later, Keeve, our 12-year-old son, wandered in with a wide smile on his face reporting that Dad can “almost salsa dance” and that Larisa “is totally getting it!” At that point, I was thankful for our little muchacha needed a guardian to stay home with her. Another hour later, Larisa, our dance-loving 17-year-old came through the patio door and told me that Dad is actually learning fast and is pretty good “but don’t tell him I said so.” I questioned if she knew when Dad was planning on returning. She replied, “Well, he’s dancing with all the ladies who don’t have partners and he’s about done.” Of course he was!!!

A new Crosby tradition was born last night. Forevermore, we will light candles on Dec. 7th to remember our night in Cali once upon a time and to keep the Colombian traditions alive. After all, Mary played a significant part in the Baby Jesus story.