In 2 weeks it will mark 4 months since we welcomed 2 girls into our family forever. Has it really been that long? In some ways it seems to have gone by so quickly, in other ways it feels like our time in Colombia was a lifetime ago. Some of you may be questioning why it has taken us so long to update our blog and part of the reason is life never slowed down long enough to afford us the opportunity to blog! The other reason is the topic of our blog post today. Let's take it from the top...
On Wednesday, February 6, at 10:50 a.m. we boarded a plane and embarked on the journey known as parenthood. We landed in Bogotá, Colombia late Wednesday evening and laid our head on the pillow for the last time as a family of 2. Early the next day, on February 7, we saw our girls face to face and held them in our arms for the first time. It was the most surreal moment I have ever had in my life. It was the day we had always imagined, the day we had waited for for over 16 months, the day we thought would never come, and that day was finally here! It was the first day of 42 that we spent in Country. The first 11 days was a period of bonding for our family, where nothing related to the adoption took place. On the 12th day, we met with the defender of minors for a brief interview to ensure that everything was going well and that the entire family was happy and willing to move forward. After the interview, we all signed an agreement to move forward as a family and so began the waiting period to pass court. We passed the time by swimming in our apartment pool and sight seeing in and around Bogotá. Some of our favorite places we visited were Monserrate , La Candelaria , Catedral de Sal , Iglesia de San Francisco , Museo de Santa Clara , Iglesia del Carmen , Cascada la Chorrera , and DiverCity. Some of our favorite restaurants were Crepes and Waffles and Mi Gran Parrilla Boyacense. There is so much beauty in Colombia, it would take a lifetime to see it all! Although we enjoyed seeing a new part of the world and experiencing the culture of our girls, it didn't take long for us to become desperately homesick. Nothing can prepare you for being away from everything and everyone you know for 6 weeks. After our bonding interview we waited 3 more weeks for our court date. On March 13, we met with the judge assigned to our case to sign sentencia. He was truly one of the kindest men I have ever met. He went above and beyond his "duty" and made our day in court a true celebration. It was a very special day we will never forget! We could never say enough about his kindness and dedication. After sentencia we scurried about to have new birth certificates made so we could apply for the girls' passports and visas. Because the girls were born outside of Bogotá a courier was sent to have the new BCs made in their place of birth. We received the new BCs the Saturday after sentencia and applied for passports on Monday, March 18th. Thankfully, in Colombia it only takes 24 hours to have passports made so we received those the next morning. We were able to get an appointment with the U.S. Embassy for Wednesday, March 20th, which was the final step before we could head for home. We received their visas the very same day, in fact it only took about an hour! With visas in hand, we were able to book our flights that very night. We quickly packed up the entire apartment and managed to make it to the airport just in time to board the plane to Panama where we spent the night waiting for our next flight to Houston, TX. When we landed in Houston we went through immigration with no delays and made our final connecting flight to Baton Rouge. On the evening of Thursday, March 21, 2013 we were finally HOME!
We have been home for exactly 9 weeks. We have experienced ups and downs, joys and sadness, but through it all we are being conformed to the image of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Although we feel privileged to serve our Lord in this tangible way, nothing about this is easy. But, in the difficulties, in the times where we are overwhelmed, we learn to trust God. We learn to depend upon Him and we walk with Him unlike we ever have before. All along we have known the obvious purpose for adoption: to care for those who have been abandoned that they might experience the love of God, but the purpose that was unknown to us before, that has become so apparent now, is the change that God intended for us. God chose us for these girls, but He has also chosen them for us. He chose them for us that we might experience Him in all of His glory and learn to love as He loves. His purpose has always been two-fold.
Not only is God's purpose two-fold, but our story is now two-fold, actually it is four-fold. Which brings me to the point of my blog post today. There are many stories I could tell about what our family has experienced in the last 4 months, but the stories aren't only mine to tell. You see, now our story involves 2 others and we have to give them the choice of telling or not telling it. It would be unfair to them for me to bear it all on the world-wide-web for anyone who comes along to read. So, Blaine and I have chosen to protect them and to keep our family matters just that. One day, when our girls are old enough, should they choose to tell the story of their adoption, the story will be theirs to tell. Until then, the book will remained closed.
You may still see a blog post from time-to-time, an update here and there, so be on the look-out. :) Until then we leave you with our heartfelt thanks for all of the prayers and support you have given. Our family is forever changed because of your kindness!