Well, it’s been a long road, but we’re finally HERE! A brief summary of our first week…
Our last few days in Minneapolis were a blur of last-minute shopping, packing, and visits and phone calls with our incredible family and friends, without whom we never would have made it this far. We have been amazed and humbled time after time at the depths of generosity, support and love that we have been shown. We are so lucky!
After pulling an all-nighter Wednesday night, our first travel challenge was maneuvering our enormous quantity of luggage from the taxi to check-in at the airport in Minneapolis.
Eliana was a champ as we flew from Minneapolis to Atlanta and then from Atlanta to Bogota. She even managed to sneak in a nap in the Atlanta airport.
We flew into the brand-new wing of the airport, which was surprisingly calm and empty, and breezed through Immigration. By the time we got to our hotel, it was nearly midnight. Somehow, we managed to fall asleep, which was a real challenge as we knew the next day we would be meeting our SON!
The next morning, we met some of the other families staying at our hotel, which caters to adoptive families. It’s so fascinating to hear everyone’s stories, and we feel an immediate kinship with these folks, who have all experienced their own versions of what we’ve been through in the past two years. A German man and his new daughter were preparing to go home, and the occasion seemed to merit a balloon bracelet.
We ventured out for a quick lunch and returned to the hotel to get ready to go to the orphanage. I was strangely calm – I just kept thinking how incredibly surreal it all felt…this day, the day we had been waiting for for more than two years, was finally upon us!
At 3:00 pm, our agency’s representative Cecilia came to pick us up. She stood by indulgently as we crammed Eliana’s booster seat and a carseat for Miguel into her small sedan, and then we were off! She darted expertly through the Bogota traffic to the casa/orphanage Ayudame, where our son spent the first four months of his life. We went in and sat in a little waiting room while the staff bustled all around us, and while Eliana asked repeatedly, “When do we get to see Miguel?” Finally, the director, Maria Clemencia, invited us into her office. We presented her with a gift for her as well gifts for the children: books and school supplies from us, and stuffed animals and medicine from our good friend Judy, who adopted her children from Ayudame 17 and 18 years ago! Then Maria Clemencia went over basic information: a quick summary of Miguel’s health, as well as his routine (bottles, bath, naps, etc.) After that, we needed to sign lots and lots of documents. Honestly, all of it is a blur, because all we could concentrate on was the fact that our son was upstairs waiting for us! That, and Eliana’s continual question, “When do we get to see Miguel?” I think Maria Clemencia must have finally gotten tired of it, because she suddenly took Eliana’s hand and led her upstairs to meet her baby brother! Meanwhile, Michael and I were left in the office, Michael wondering which camera angle would be best, and me unable to shake the feeling of utter disbelief that this was finally happening. And finally, it did! Maria Clemencia came down the stairs holding our little Miguel Angel, walked into the office, and placed him in our arms. It was magical!
Before we left, we gave Maria Clemencia some gifts for Miguel’s caregivers, and we chatted briefly with his primary caregiver, Rocío. Thanks to the incredible photos our friends and fellow adoptive parents Carol and Steve had sent us before we came, we knew that Rocío had cared for Miguel with genuine love and compassion, and I got choked up as we prepared to take Miguel away. However, Rocío said it made her very happy to know that Miguel now has a family of his own.
We came back to the hotel, where our new friends oohed and aahed over Miguel, and Eliana got to experience the moment she had been waiting for: she gave her baby brother a bottle. We had dinner with all the adoptive families, including a couple who was leaving the next day with their new baby boy whom they adopted from the same orphanage that the husband was adopted from 33 years ago!
As this momentous day came to a close, Eliana decided she couldn’t bear to be any farther from her new brother than she absolutely had to be, and slept on the floor, right next to Miguel’s crib.
We are are thrilled beyond belief to welcome this little boy into our family!!