What a week! I'm feeling a bit scattered right now, but I cannot emphasize enough how incredibly happy I am to be home. I will not hesitate to tell you that I was pretty miserable our last two to three weeks in Colombia. Don't get me wrong, we had some very memorable experiences in those last three weeks, but I missed home more than I've ever missed home before. Just the whole fact that you have no control over your schedule, have no ability to plan ahead or even plan your day, and you have no idea when you can go home is psychologically hard and extremely challenging. Living in Colombia is expensive enough, but when you can't plan ahead, that makes it even more complicated to manage your money well. Even Colombians went crazy trying to understand that I had no control over my day or my schedule. Add to that the whole issue of parenting one child way out of his comfort zone and the other who I relied on a little too much to help me out, keeping me from being the parent he needed me to be. The closer I got to being home, the more agitated I became in trying to wait it out.
We moved out of our apartment on Sunday, even though we'd paid through Monday, so we wouldn't have to worry about the details of getting everything moved on Monday. We had way too much to do on Monday. Our friend bought air mattresses and let us "invade" her small apartment for us to finish up the process. I slept in her daughter's bedroom with her daughter, and the boys slept in the TV room, though they weren't allowed to watch TV. We ate breakfasts and dinners with them, and we planned to eat our lunches out. We hoped to only have to stay until Tuesday night.
Monday morning my lawyer called around 9:00 and said that the "conformidad" was ready to be signed anytime that morning. We got there around ten to review it carefully before signing. I found one mistake, they corrected it, printed out a new one, and then I found another error on a certain date. They couldn't find the right date, so while we waited on them to find the right date and correct it, we left with our lawyer and went straight to the passport office. Juan David's passport was ready and waiting for us, so we picked it up and then found a secure place to go pay our lawyer. We also found an internet cafe where I could try to get in touch with Mike or our agency to get the document we needed with the correct date. Within an hour or two, the agency e-mailed me the document, we hopped in a taxi to take us right back to where we were, and walked the document back up to the office. They changed the date to the correct date, printed out a new "conformidad", and I signed it. They put all the official stickers on it, then sent me on my way.
After that, we called the Embassy doctor to say that we were coming to pick up the results now that we had his passport. They had said the week before that we could pick up the results between 3-5, but when we called, they said we had to arrive before 5, but they couldn't give us the report until 6:30. So, we hopped back into a taxi, stopped for some ice cream, and made it to the Embassy doctor before five. We waited until about six until they gave us the report. After that we went to drop off two documents with the translator and finally made it back home between 7-8 that night. I went to bed with a splitting headache about two to three hours later.
Our lawyer requested an appointment with the Embassy for what we hoped would be Tuesday. Everything was done, except for picking up/paying for the translations, and we wanted to go home. Mike got us seats on the midnight flight for Tuesday, just in case. By nine a.m. on Tuesday, the lawyer called to tell me he was still waiting on our appointment time. He suggested I call since I am a citizen, but when I did, they told me I couldn't call until 2:00 in the afternoon. I asked about coming without an appointment, and they told me it would be very unlikely that they would talk to me. Our friend drove us to pick up the translations around noon, so we tried to go to the Embassy, anyway, while we were out. By that time, the lawyer called to say our appointment was not until Wednesday at 2:00, but we tried to get them to change it to Tuesday. Just as the lady told me on the phone, though, they wouldn't let us in without an appointment. We went back home, sorely disappointed. I soooooooooo wanted to be home already.
Thanks to Delta, we didn't have to worry about any change fees, so Mike changed our flights to Wednesday at midnight, and we just hoped to be on that flight. If we didn't get Juan David's visa at our 2:00 appointment, David would not make it back in time for camp on Friday morning. Just a little added stress, that's all.
We woke up on Wednesday morning, packed our bags, and left mid-morning for our appointment with the Embassy. We ate lunch out at our favorite restaurant and then headed to our appointment. They let us right in this time, called Juan David right away, and took his fingerprints. The guy said he couldn't print the visa without getting the results from his fingerprints, but he said since it was still early in the day, we'd likely have the results within a little over an hour. Two and a half hours later, they called him again, gave him his passport with his Immigrant Visa in it, and said we could go. Finally, we were cleared to go home!!!!
We got back to our friends' apartment by about 5:30, gathered our bags, and headed out the door to the airport by 7:30. We spent up the rest of our money at the airport before boarding our plane at 11:30 that night. By midnight, we were in the air, finally on our way HOME! It felt grand. We could hardly wait! With having to get our bags, go through customs, and then turn in more of Juan David's paperwork with immigration, we barely made our connecting flight in Atlanta. However, by 8:30 in the morning, we made it to DFW and finally got to be a complete family again.
We stopped for Chick Fil-A, headed home, and then unpacked, did laundry, and repacked David's suitcase for camp the following day. Less than 24 hours after getting home, he left for camp, for an EPIC adventure. I'm so glad he got to go! After watching him sacrifice so much of his summer in Colombia, I knew he deserved to go. I miss him, but I know he's having a blast and making some awesome, English-speaking memories!
- I am a wife, daughter, mother, bilingual teacher, poet, author, women's Bible study teacher, world traveler, orphan advocate, and an adoptive mother. Our adoption journey has been filled with a lot of hurt and loss, along with even more hope, grace, and healing. Through it we have experienced more of God than we ever bargained for and have watched Him miraculously redeem our story when we surrendered all the broken pieces to Him.