It’s official! Maria is now part of our family!
It has been a very busy week. On Monday, we checked out of our hotel pretty early, and drove over to the government buildings in La Mesa. There, we signed some documents, and boom, legally Maria was our daughter. It felt like an extremely anti-climactic event: a process of over two years, with thousands of pages of paperwork involved, and we didn’t even get the bang of a gavel. Well, legally adopted is legally adopted!
Then we went a few buildings over to get a new birth certificate issued for Maria, with her new last names and us listed as the parents, followed by a two hour van drive back to Bogotá to file an application to Colombian passport office. Finally, we got to check into the hotel.
Tuesday, we went to pick up her passport (they have a rapid-issue policy for adoptions), and then went to visit the U.S. Embassy appointed pediatrician. We were a little concerned with this visit; Maria’s medical records fill two binders, and we weren’t sure what to expect. As it turns out, the doctor was amazing. He was incredibly nice, very encouraging, and was able to clear up several questions we had about discrepancies in her records. He told us there were no other unknown issues he could see, which was a big relief.
With a Colombian passport and the medical approval, we received an appointment at the U.S. Embassy on Wednesday. That also went very well and her travel visa was approved, and we can pick it up on Thursday. We had the afternoon off, and with another adoptive family decided to do some sight-seeing.
Maria has been a champ through all of this. She is usually incredibly sweet and kind, and is a lot of fun to play with. The pediatrician remarked on this as well, saying that in most cases where kids have had the kinds of medical issues Maria experienced, they tend to be withdrawn or afraid. She is pretty much exactly the opposite.
After the visa is issued, we’ll be able to look at flights. Our original return tickets were issued for next week, but we thought we might bump them up and return a bit sooner. Then we saw the weather forecast at home was hovering around freezing for the next week. So now we face a very tough decision: sunny Colombia or snowy Colorado?
I want to take a moment to say thanks to everyone who has made this possible. From friends who picked things up at consulates to those who went out of their way to help us get our documents notarized properly, from those who filled out (apparently good!) letters of recommendation to my sister and brother-in-law who are watching our dog while we are gone, from the verbal encouragements to all the financial and emotional support, from all the social workers who helped us get ready to be parents to every prayer for this process to be completed successfully: There is no way we could have done this without you. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for helping us add this amazing little girl into our family. We are incredibly grateful to God that we have you in our lives, and that you are part of Maria’s story.