Although some days are tricky, especially trying to teach three kids to get along, share, not whine, etc, we truly feel like progress is being made. The kids are really starting to get along better, and though it is still a struggle, Samuel is getting much better at sharing and taking turns. Brent's dad reminded us that teaching a child to share and take turns in a few weeks isn't going to be easy when he hasn't had to the other 4 1/2 years of his life. After all, Rome wasn't built in a day. That said, he truly is making phenomenal strides in a mere three weeks. We are learning a "new normal" for our family, as is the case whenever another family member is added. He seems very much a part of our family, and it still makes my heart sing when I hear him say, "Mami! Mami!"
Yesterday, we were getting a nice case of cabin fever, so we (kiddos, us, and grandparents) headed to Parque Explora - a science museum for children. We divided up into two taxis, which was my first time without Brent in the city, and survived well! Of course I had Brent's mother with me, which made it far less scary. We had a lovely time at the museum! Much of it was over the kid's heads, but they didn't know that. They used a lot of energy, and there were lots of giggles and smiles! What a fantastic way to start out the day.
Brent's mother had read there was a delicious and inexpensive restaurant there, but somehow we only found the hot dog stand. My brother in law, Jimmy, has taught Brent to add mayonnaise to his chili cheese dogs, so Brent decided he would bring that delicacy to Colombia. He and his dad dressed up their chili dogs nicely and smothered them in mayo. (Sounds repulsive, right?) Tim took a big bite, and said, "This mayonnaise sure is sweeter than ours!" They had mistakenly put crema de leche on their hot dogs!!! I am betting Jimmy isn't going to want to try that one back in Alabama!
The taxi ride home was a little terrifying. Let me rephrase, a LOT terrifying. Our taxi contained Linda, Alex, Samuel, and me. The driver did not take us home the way we had gone, and I didn't recognize a single part of town along the way. We went through the slums, the homeless villages, and windy skinny back roads. I am pretty certain we were in the late Pablo Escobar's domain if I had to guess. I just knew we were going to be dropped off in some heinous dangerous neighborhood, but lo and behold we made it home! AND Mr. Taxi driver charged me less than his meter ran since I didn't have correct change.
The remainder of the day was uneventful. We napped, Brent and Tim worked in the afternoon, the kids painted with water colors, they played, Linda cleaned, and we had supper. I cannot stress enough how beneficial it has been having Tim and Linda here! When Brent is having to work and I am doing household chores, they keep the kiddos entertained. Frequently, they take over household chores so we can have some time to play with the kids. I certainly hope that Samuel and Lilly Grace remember the time spent in Colombia with their grandparents. Alex is only two, and likely won't be able to recall, but with enough pictures we will convince her she remembers.
This morning Brent and I slept in until 7:15! I rarely ever do that, but it certainly was a nice treat. If it wasn't for the insane birds and the fact that we have three children, I think I could have slept even more. These birds that live outside our apartment are clearly our Creator's most obnoxious critters. They look like pheasants, but their squawk sounds like someone is dragging a shovel along asphalt. It's horrendous and reaches unbelievable decibels!
The kids played hard this morning, then we had school. We covered a lot quickly, and they were awesome and obedient the entire time. They are starting to remember parts of the Star Spangled Banner, and watching them try is precious. Thanks to Tim and Linda, I was able to knock out three loads of laundry and prepare lunch while they entertained the munchkins.
In the course of the past several days, our wonderful attorney has been working hard with the judicial system here. Samuel's case is so involved, and long, and has so many facets to it - the most important being that his abandonment decree wasn't originally completed properly - which was the primary reason for our delay for traveling. Essentially, because of all of this, the judge requested tons of paperwork from different agencies and brought in the Attorney General's office. (Side note - I can not begin to talk about the legal field in America, so I am probably really butchering trying to explain what is going on in Colombia, but I am trying). The AG's office is not adoption friendly and can drag their feet. Things were starting to look bleak, to put it simply.
We have been told all along, "Things aren't final until you are in America." Although this is a fact, it is a rare instance that anything should happen and the adoption wouldn't be finalized. At this point, we still believe the adoption will be finalized, but it is terrifying and heartbreaking knowing the possibility that it won't.
Fortunately, our attorney, Blanca, and her brother Raul, who heads the adoption agency in Colombia, are organized, smart, on top of things, hard-working, and trustworthy. They consulted with the minor defender (similar to a guardian ad litem), and decided it would be best to immediately change jurisdictions. Therefore, we are changing the case to a different jurisdiction just outside of Medellin (Itagüí), which only has two courts as opposed to over a dozen, and doesn't have an AG's office to get involved. Our prayer is that the judge moves quickly and moves things forward so that the adoption of Samuel into our family will be finalized. Please pray with us, and pray especially for the judge and the judicial process to be resolved smoothly. The only thing we can do is pray, it is completely out of our hands. However, we know Whose hands it is in. If He has the whole world in His hands, he can handle this!
Thank you all for your encouragement, prayers, and kind words. I don't respond to everything you say, and I need to be better about that, but the words you say make a huge difference! Now, while the kiddos nap I will mop! Exciting news... tonight, grandparents are babysitting and Brent and I have a date!!!! Wahooooo!!!!