It was an amazing week, which we spent getting to know our baby boy and the city he was born in! Last Monday, our representative Cecilia picked us up and took us to a notary to sign and notarize some documents for the orphanage. It was surprisingly quick and easy.
After that, it was off to Ayúdame, our orphanage. Colombia has just started requiring new adoptive parents to meet with orphanage staff a few days after taking custody of their children. They asked us a number of questions about how Miguel is doing, if we’re following his routine, how he’s eating and sleeping, etc. We also had the chance to ask a few questions that we had about him, including some respiratory issues he’d been having. They ended up calling a doctor and scheduling an appointment for us that very afternoon- at our hotel, no less!
Then it was back to our hotel, where we ventured out for a very tasty lunch at a neighborhood grill-type place. I ended up leaving early with Miguel to make it back to the hotel in time for our doctor’s appointment. This is where things took a turn for the worse…or more specifically, where I took a turn for the wrong! Even though the restaurant is incredibly close to the hotel (and in hindsight, it’s basically a straight shot from one to the other), I managed to get myself completely turned around and ended up wandering around the neighborhood for at least half an hour. After asking several people if they knew where the hotel was (to no avail), I finally found a drugstore employee who took pity on me and directed me back to the hotel. By the time we arrived, Michael was frantic, and one of the other families here had gone out searching for us! AND the doctor had already arrived and was waiting for us – I had just assumed she would leave and reschedule. Embarrassing, to say the least.
The doctor examined Miguel, diagnosed him with a bad case of “slime” in his chest, and prescribed a two inhaler/mask treatment, as well as saline spray for his nose.
To let the kids expend some energy (and to celebrate Miguel and me not being kidnapped by the FARC!) we all went to a fantastic nearby park. A good time was had by all, but unfortunately, the umbrella stroller we had brought for Eliana chose to die a rather inelegant death. (Michael’s overzealous pushing may have had something to do with it!)
On Tuesday, all three families at our hotel decided to venture to a place called Divercity. It’s housed in a large mall, and it is simply amazing! It’s part amusement park, part children’s museum, and part career exploration venue. It’s basically a child-sized city, complete with businesses, roads (trafficked by ambulances, fire trucks, and other vehicles), and landscaping. As they enter, children go to the bank, where they receive some Divi cash as well as a credit card. Then they choose their activities! The children can do jobs, which will earn them more Divi cash, or they can choose other activities which will cost them. Eliana made toilet paper at the toilet paper factory, learned about being a vet at the veterinary clinic, put out a “real” fire as a firefighter, boarded an Avianca airplane, and got a driver’s license and drove a tiny car. The children receive job training before beginning their work, and they’re outfitted in the appropriate uniform, complete with hat! After three hours of non-stop fun, we decided to call it a day, and headed to the store so the kids could spend their hard-earned money. We discovered that they didn’t have enough individually to buy anything, but if they pooled their cash they could afford a small toy. All five parents looked anxiously on (adults are not allowed inside any of the activity areas) as the three kids managed to arrive at consensus: a package of bouncy balls. We all arrived home exhausted but happy!!
You can find out more about this amazing place at http://www.divercity.com.co/portal/bogota/index.html
Wednesday was a mellow day of balloon fun (even our agency rep Cecilia got in on the action),
lunch at Pan Pa’ Ya (one of Bogota’s many child-friendly establishments),
and helping Nancy, one of our hotel’s wonderful staff members, decorate for Christmas.
One of Thursday’s highlights was a nighttime visit to our favorite nearby park. Bogota outdoes itself when it comes to Christmas: it has designed an entire “Ruta de la Navidad”, a series of parks decked out in lights and decorations. Our park has been transformed into a magical wonderland of sparkling white and blue lights, hanging from the trees and lining the walks.
Another highlight was helping Carol and Steve, one of the other families here, celebrate the news that they would receive “sentencia” (the final adoption decree) on Monday.
Friday was a day of desserts: dessert for lunch…
and dessert BEFORE dinner – a special treat dreamed up by Nancy.
Perhaps as a result of the Day of Desserts (but more likely due to a nasty little bug), Eliana awoke in the middle of the night and ALMOST made it to the bathroom before she threw up. We cleaned up as best we could and tucked her into bed with us…and next time, she didn’t even make it out of bed before she threw up again. Michael followed suit a few hours later, so needless to say Saturday was an extremely low-key day. Michael spent much of it in bed, while Eliana enjoyed considerably more than her usual allotment of screen time.
By the time evening rolled around, we were all feeling a bit stir-crazy, so we headed out to our favorite park to experience the lights in all their glory.
Eliana was especially overjoyed to discover that Box, one of Santa’s elves who finishes her work early and visits us every December, had miraculously made her way to Bogota and even seemingly had a hand in decorating the park!
That night was the official “inauguration” of the lights, and there was music playing, performers preparing to entertain the crowd, and lots of Bogotanos out enjoying the spectacle. We spent quite a while at the park, admiring the decorations, taking photos and generally reveling in the festive atmosphere.
Friday the 7th is The Night of the Candles, and there are apparently even more special events planned!
Sunday was Ciclovía again, and the day began with the sights, sounds, and tastes of the marketplace…
…and ended with movie night. It doesn’t get much better than that!
It truly was an amazing week, from start to finish. We feel so incredibly lucky to be able to spend this time as a new family of four in the country of our baby boy’s birth!