I suppose we have finally experienced what they call "Gotcha Day". It's not the day the actual adoption decree is signed, but it's the day that our child was finally given to us and placed under our care. We signed papers for provisional custody of Juan David, and they told him we are now his parents. We are his family. We meet again next Thursday to discuss how things went over our first week together. They will interview all of us, including him, and as long as everyone is still in agreement to proceed with the adoption, then our lawyer can present our paperwork to the courts. (That's when Mike can go back home to return to work while the rest of us stay through the court process.) Our lawyer said that should take 2-3 weeks before we sign the adoption decree, then it goes before the U.S. Embassy, which is probably another week or so, and then we come home. Anything could happen to delay any of those steps--it is all just a guide to go by. All I know is that he said he has no intention of keeping us in Colombia any longer than is absolutely necessary, so he will do all he can to make it go as quickly as possible. That man is a miracle worker and I have complete confidence in him. When we were leaving our "meeting place" today, he looked right at Juan David and let him know just how difficult this case really was. Both lawyers couldn''t stop telling him what a wonderful opportunity he's been given and also what an immense advantage he has because he has a bilingual mother to communicate with easily throughout this transition.
We left the office, took a taxi to the mall, ate lunch together, and then he asked if we could go to a shoe store because he needed new shoes. We planned on getting him new shoes, anyway, but he had some money that they gave me that he'd earned at a job, and he wanted to use it to buy new soccer shoes for both him and David. We'd thought about putting his money in an account at home, but this was something he wanted to do and we didn't want to deny him the privilege of doing something so kind for David. David was so overwhelmed with gratitude that he just wrapped his arms around Juan David in a huge hug right in the middle of the shoe store. I'll never forget it. We saved the rest of the money and will start an account for him at home.
Once we got home to the apartment and showed him around, let the boys have a nerf-gun war, and watched a little TV, we broke out the Colombia version of Monopoly to play together. Wow. I do believe David and I have found our match at Monopoly. Juan David ended up owning the entire board, driving us all to bankruptcy. I knew he enjoyed Math, and now I saw all that mathematical thinking and reasoning in action!
Our journey to Juan David started in June of 2008 with two little pictures that came through on an e-mail from a summer hosting program. Actually, there were fourteen little pictures, but only two of them caught my eye and my heart. I cut them out, put them on the refrigerator, and we all began to pray for the two children in those pictures. Five years later, guess what I found in the packet of papers and documents that his social worker gave me today? The originals of those two pictures. Both of them. Talk about a story coming full circle. Wow. The orphanage also gave him a memory book of pictures, and the very first picture in the book is of all three siblings together, including Julian. A picture that none of them knew existed. I will treasure it forever.