Week 2 with Maria
What a week it has been! We are excited to share our ups and downs.
To catch you up on the last week, it feels like we have done so much and so little at the same time. Early Tuesday morning we left Bucaramanga and flew to Bogota. Maria was a bit on edge for travel. She seemed to sense change coming as we packed up all of our things the night before. She decided to let us hear her voice Tuesday morning in the airport. I took her for a quick walk to distract and get some exercise before the hour long plane ride. I thought it would be a great idea to let her play in the children’s play area we discovered! We only had a few minutes so after a short play I rushed her along. Up until this point, Maria would cry these sad, sweet little whimpers. In the airport she showed me how powerful those little lungs are!! She wailed while Mama whimpered back to Papa and let him comfort both of us. This was the beginning of a long day.
The flight was great! The plane had in flight entertainment, including Mickey Mouse’s Clubhouse (one of her favorites)! Maria was happy as a clam the whole ride. Once we landed, we went straight to a medical appointment. Certain medical tests are required to allow Maria to enter the US. Our embassy has designated one clinic in the entire country of Colombia to perform the blood draws, which does not specialize in pediatrics. The visit was horrible. Sweet Maria, who was being such a trooper through a day full of unknowns, was stuck about 7 times in order to fill 4 tubes. Again, she wailed. Four different staff members rotated through attempting to find a good vein to supply more blood. They poked and prodded until Andre looked like he would punch someone, our adoption representative left the room because she was feeling sick at the sight, and Maria was bruised all over. It was a traumatic morning.
We followed up with a delicious breakfast and a three hour van ride through the mountains to our new home for the week. Andre entertained the van with his karaoke, despite Maria’s efforts to get him to stop. (Andre edit: the driver put on some good classic rock. What was I supposed to do, NOT sing?!?)
Wednesday morning we went into town to meet with the judge. She conducted a brief interview. Maria proudly pointed out Mama and Papa and convinced the judge she is happy to be part of our family! We have an appointment at the court again on Monday, which marks two weeks with Maria. If everything goes according to plan, the judge signs the adoption decree and Maria will legally be our daughter! (Fun fact: then we can post pictures without her face obscured!)
We are staying in a hotel in a very rural area so we feel a bit isolated. It’s a nice retreat in a lot of ways! The hotel has one outdoor restaurant where we eat all of our meals. There is a beautiful pool, mango trees, a playground, and a trampoline! This is the city where the courts are known to process adoptions quickly so it is common for a lot of adopting families to stay here. We have met families from around the world. It is very encouraging as the staff and fellow guests understand when we order “arroz con pollo” (rice with chicken) “sin pollo” (without chicken, which results in flavored rice with some veggies, as opposed to ordering rice which comes plain), or when the gringos try to comfort and love a screaming little girl while dragging her away from the swimming pool.
Maria loves the swimming pool! She has gotten to the point of swimming with pool floaties by herself (with an adult giving her a hand at any seconds notice). She will gladly go to the pool at any time, and now that she’s warmed up those vocals, she isn’t afraid to say she is not interested in leaving the pool.
She also loves running through the grass. We’ve invented some sort of football game where we chase the ball up and down the field. Occasionally she’ll sit and admire her painted nails!! I love the combo of playing hard while looking pretty.
Bonding as a family is continuing to go well. Maria has days full of attitude and sass, but we remember that she only has her behavior to communicate with us right now, since she doesn’t really speak. I can’t imagine all of her feelings as we continue to move around and remove her farther from her sense of normal.
Next week will be busy as we go from the judge on Monday straight to Bogota for more appointments in order to get paperwork ready to bring our family home!! We will try our best to continue with frequent updates!