Saturday, August 28, 2010

Have We Really Been Home 3 Weeks?

Sometimes it feels like we've been home "forever," & Gloria Grace has always been here. I keep thinking about how long the two year process seemed @ times. Really looking back, that two years wasn't really that long. It's hard to explain. There were bumps in the "paperwork" road over & over again. There were so many times when it was 1 step forward & 10 steps back!

I would love to say that I never got upset & that I knew God had it all under control the whole time, but I'm human--so many times I cried & got frustrated. Now, on the home side of this journey I hope that I can be an encouragement to those people in the process. Those of you reading this who are taking a step forward only to take 10 back. Truly, God knows what He is doing!!!! If only we were able to read the "end of our book," so the middle chapters didn't seem so hard.

God uses the middle chapters to build our faith & trust in Him. I truly found peace in the fact that well before we even knew we would adopt, God knew who our daughter was. In May 2009 we were told we could expect a referral & travel in 3-6 we know now, that didn't happen. I was so disappointed, and allowed myself to be upset more than I should have. There was no way we could have travelled last year, because Gloria Grace wasn't born yet. I didn't know it then, but now it all makes perfect sense.
We are constantly trying to hurry life along, but in the end it is so sweet to wait on God.

The sweet little pink 147 million orphan T-shirts GG & Tim are wearing helps feed orphans in Uganda. Our dear friends the Oatsvalls were a huge support to us in our journey. They are co-founders of You can help feed orphans & help bring kids home by buying the gear. If you are adopting & need a fundraiser, check out their site.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What I Am Glad I Packed for Colombia

I have talked to a couple of other mom's that are about to journey with their families to Colombia. When I was getting ready to go, I also had a couple of mom's share helpful information with me. I thought I would try to post a some travel tips.

Before you go, when you first get your referral & you are putting together your child's care package, SEND A DISPOSABLE CAMERA. I am taking ours to be developed today...can't wait to see the shots the sweet caregivers took of GG.

Now, on to packing for your trip. Souvenirs & food are reasonably priced in Colombia, but baby stuff is not. I paid about $15.00 for 6 baby spoons! We also needed a dark shirt for GG's visa picture & had to pay about $12.00 for 1, yes just 1, plan (ugly) onesie. This was not from a designer store, either. It was a department store much like walmart. So, all that being said, take as much of you baby/child's stuff as you can. The orphanage will tell you what formula your baby is eating, and it is priced about the same as in the US. Our orphanage only bottle feeds the babies, until they are 6 months, so GG was not eating baby foods. I did see baby food jars, but mostly fruit. Not vegetables. If your baby is older & may be eating baby foods, you might want to bring some. Here is a list of what I brought.

Stuff I would for sure buy in the US & bring:

  • Baby bottles (you will buy formula in Colombia)
  • There are really not as many bottles here, as it looks. There is a mirror behind them :) I brought 2 different kind, not knowing what kind she'd be used to. Chiquitines uses the older type, like the ones on the right in these pictures. GG doesn't like the fancy NUK kind at all.
  • Baby Spoons
  • Diapers/wipes--these are only a little more expensive in Colombia, so if you are running out of room, you could wait & get them there.
  • Clothes (I had about 10 warm weather outfits & 4 cooler/fall outfits for Bogota)
  • Don't forget your dark shirt for your Visa picture
  • Burp clothes/bibs
  • Light weight blankets
  • nail clippers
  • infant carrier- we used a "hip hammock" You can bring a stroller, but the streets are not as stroller friendly & the carrier lets you bond with your baby even more.
  • a few small toys
  • I brought GG some shoes, but none of them fit her.
I also packed a little "medicine cabinet:"
For the baby:
  • saline nasal spray
  • infant tylenol
  • infant motrin
  • diaper cream
  • orajel
  • vicks vapor rub
For Us/older kids:
  • tylenol
  • motrin
  • cold meds
  • allergy meds
  • bug spray
  • beandryl/itch cream
  • bandaids
  • neosporin
We also brought our laptop computer & a magic jack w/a telephone. We used skype to video chat computer to computer with grandparents & friends. Skype is free to sign up & use computer to computer. We also purchased the magic jack @ Walgreens, before we went to Colombia. It was $39.95, and is good for a year. The magic jack plugs into a USB port in your computer, and allows you to call anywhere in the US for free. It's like you are making a call from home, but you are calling from Colombia. You must have a decent internet connection to use either of these. Both of our hotels (Cali & Bogota) had good internet service. The trip would not have been the same, if we couldn't have talked to family & friends back home so freely.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Life is Good

We've been home a whole week now. Sometimes it seems like life has always included our sweet 3rd child. She has been such an easy baby. People have asked how she is adjusting. She has had no problems. She is truly a blessing. There isn't much she doesn't like.

When we got home from Colombia last Saturday night. GG & I turned the corner from the gate to see our warm welcoming party :) How sweet it was to see so many familiar loving faces waiting to see Gloria Grace. I was glad to hand off my sweet 16½ pound bundle :) She had been in my arms since 10:00 Saturday morning. There were a couple of times I spread a blanket out in the airport floor, but only for a few minutes. My arms were "done" by the time we got to Nashville. We made our way home around midnight & gave GG a bath. She was tired & this helped relax her after our long day of travel. She had a bottle & was asleep by 1:00.
This is GG in her own crib for the first time :)

She slept until about 7:00am, and we got up & got ready for church. It was nice to see everyone that had been praying for our daughter over the last 2 years. She fell asleep right before we went into service, but woke up shortly after worship began. I can not even begin to describe the feeling of worshipping, singing "Glory to God," while holding the gift that we had waited 2 years for. This is GG getting ready to go out the door to church in her monogrammed outfit Tia Kristi gave her :)
GG got a little noisy (not fussing, but just making noises) so I took her out into the concourse. We went to meet the ladies that will be her teachers in the pre-school hall. It has been 3 years since the boys were in the pre-school hall! WOW!

The boys started school on Monday. We went to see them for lunch. They were both very sweet. I heard Coy say "have you missed me." They are truly in love. I am so happy for how God has worked on their hearts.
The boys heading out to their 1st day of school :)
GG & I went to have lunch with bothe the boys on their 1st day. I only got a picture of Seth @ lunch ~~mom fail :(

I did get a picture of Coy swinging w/his sister, though :)Tuesday we went to my work to turn in the rest of my FMLA paperwork. The ladies in the nursing office of course loved Gloria Grace.

Wednesday Daddy kept GG, while I went w/Kristi for a pedicure--ahhhh :) Then we came home & Kristi got to love on her.

Thursday my small group met for the 1st time since school let out @ the beginning of summer. I have missed these ladies!! It was nice to share our experience in Colombia & everyone was able to share in loving on Gloria Grace.

When Seth got home from school on Thursday, he was complaining that his throat was sore. I looked & it was red & I could see a lot of sinus drainage. I gave him a sinus tablet, but then he layed on the couch & fell asleep about 7:30. He had a low grade fever (100.4). Friday his temp was only 99.5 when he woke up, but his throat was hurting a lot. Sure enough--he tested positive for Strep :( We went to pick up his antibiotic, and they were out of the chewable tablets. They asked him if he wanted liquid or if he could swallow a capsule. He choose the capsule. He has swallowed small pills before, like a motrin. This was a capsule, and it was a little bigger than what he'd swallowed before. I took him to Sonic for a watermelon slush, and told him to take a drink-put the capsule in his mouth, and then drink until the pill went down. He did really well, and about 2 minutes after he swallowed the medicine he said "I can't believe I just swallowed plastic!" That boy cracks me up!!! He was highly restricted about being around GG. When he got up this morning he said "mommy, can I at least kiss her foot." Poor kid!

GG got to meet Auntie Trudy & Uncle Earl today. They were here visiting from Kentucky. We've pretty much just hung out @ home since the visit @ Grandma's.
It's been a nice 1st week home. We've begun to get into a routine. Gloria Grace has been going to bed between 8:30 & 9:00 & sleeping until around 7am. She naps usually twice a day. Once around 10am & again in the afternoon around 2pm. She's started eating some cereal & fruit. She is working on getting a tooth, and she's very close to beginning to crawl. We are loving life w/her.
God has blessed us beyond measure!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

We Are Home

What a warm welcome home we received last night. Just 3 weeks to the day that we arrived in Colombia. Travel was pretty easy, being that it was just me & GG. We got a little bit of special treatment, since she's so cute ;) Just kidding, but seriously--we did get to go to the front of many of the lines, because she is an infant :)

I will post more details about our travel home, but I wanted to thank everyone for your prayers. They were always felt. God has been so good to our family.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Last Night in Colombia

I have been very emotional today. It is Coy's birthday, and I am sad that I am not with him. I've talked to him twice on the phone, and he's fine--Me well, @least I haven't cried while I'm talking to him :~/

GG & I had a very leisurely morning. Sylvia came to get me just after lunch @ 1:30. I went with the other Gladney mom that is here to take her daughter for her Embassy doctor visit. The other mom's that have been here for a few weeks told me that the hotel ladies will babysit. I debated letting GG stay behind, so she could get a good nap, instead of a "car" nap. I was feeding her a bottle right before I was to leave & she started falling asleep. That helped me decide, and I left her w/Juanita. She is one of the ladies here, that mostly helps cook & in general takes care of the families. While I was gone, GG got her nap. The other mom's told me this evening, that when she woke up all the ladies were just loving on her. She is nothing but loveable!!! I am really glad I let her stay. We were an hour @ the doctor & the rest of the time running around in the car. It's not much fun. Traffic here is terrible.

After we went to the Menefee's doctor appointment, we headed to the Embassy to get GG's packet & Visa. You have a window of 3:30pm to 4:00pm. We got there @ 3:50pm. When we got to the gate it was heart sunk, until Sylvia started yelling to the workers through the opening in the bottom of the window. She was telling them I had to come in to get the visa, because I was leaving tomorrow for home. It was all I could do not to break down & cry. They opened to door & rushed us through the security scanner & on in to the Embassy. The windows are on the outside of the building, but the area is covered. When we got up to the windows, there was no one @ any of them. Again, I began to get a little anxious. After a few minutes, a worker came to the window. I picked up the phone & told her I was there to pick up my daughter's visa. She had the packet there beside her & gave it to me. I didn't have to sign anything, or even show my passport. When I started to offer her my passport, she said I believe you are who you are. And that was it....In my hand's I had everything I needed to take my daughter home with me!

Tears began to flow! This was only like the 15th time I have cried today. These were tears of JOY, PURE JOY!!!

Tomorrow, 3 weeks from the day we landed in Cali, I will be boarding the plane & bringing Gloria Grace Gabriela Watson HOME!!!!

God is Good, and He has blessed our family beyond measure!

A few last detailed prayers to ask for:

Tomorrow is the inauguration of Colombia's president. I have been told that many people may not be happy about the president & there is a chance of violence. ---I will be staying in the hotel until it is time to go to the airport, but please pray for a safe ride there. Also, pray there is no flight delay because of the ceremony.

In Miami we only have a 3 hour layover, and I have to go to immigration with Gloria Grace. They search all of our luggage & go over every document. The envelope is THICK. Please pray for favor during this time, so we will make our flight to Nashville.

Here is our flight information:
American Airlines Flight # 916 Bogota to Miami (1:55pm to 6:50pm)
Flight # 410 Miami to Nashville (9:45pm to 11:00pm)

I just realized as I was typing this flight info that I have 3, (not 2 hours as I thought) in Miami, God is so good to take some worry off of me tonight :)

Happy 11th Birthday Coy

Eleven years ago today God was changing my world like I could not even begin to imagine. He blessed me with my first born, Coy. He is such a cool kid. I am so happy to be his mom.

We thought he would be spending his birthday in Colombia, but instead they got to go home early. I was hoping to make it home for his birthday, but that just didn't work out. He has been very sweet about it, and said that as long as I was home to have a party for him--he'd be fine :)

I made it throught talking to him this morning without crying, but now it's hitting me a little hard. Don't get me wrong, I have enjoyed having a little time alone w/GG, but I really do miss the boys already. Tomorrow! Tomorrow we will all be on US soil as a family of 5 :)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Happy 6 months Gloria Grace

Gloria Grace is 6 months old today. While she has only been with us for 18 days now, it seems like she has always been a part of our family. She fits in perfectly! Truly God has blessed us beyond what any words can express.

We slept well last night. I choose to let her sleep in the bed w/me, because the crib is an older style. The wooden slats are about 6 inches apart. Her whole head will fit through, and she is a squirmy sleeper. I would not have been able to sleep w/her in that crib. We slept just fine in the full sized bed. She did stir/squirm a little around 3am, but went right back to sleep when I patted her bottom. She woke & ate a bottle around 6:30, but went back to sleep. I got up & got ready for our day. This is a picture of her asleep in the bed in our room. I had to wake her, so I could get breakfast before we were leaving to go to ICBF & The US Embassy. Sylvia came about 8:30 & took us 1st to ICBF. We had our first, and hopefully only little paperwork scare. I was checking the document & saw that they put the wrong birthday for GG. Her birthday is Feb. 5th & they had typed dia 02, mes 02---I said they typed the wrong date, and thought they would just look @ her passport or birth certificate (which I had with me) & fix it. Nope! They had to contact Chiquitines. Sylvia called Magnolia, while the man at ICBF was emailing Chiquitines. Magnolia talked to me & asked me what the problem was I told her, and like the angel she is she called Chiquitines & within just a few minutes we had the paper with the right date----I dearly love Magnolia. She is yet another gift God has given us during this journey.

We left the ICBF office went to the US Embassy. We got to skip the very long line outside, because I am a US citizen. It made me feel a little bad for all those people waiting, but I was happy not to have to wait. Sylvia presented all the paperwork, and a few minutes later I was called to the window. You talk to the lady on the other side by phone. She went over all the papers one by one. She asked me if I was aware of GG's heart murmur, and then had me sign the last page. She told me to go to the 1st window & pay, and then have a seat & wait to be called. You can pay the fee in US dollars, but must have bills less than $100.00. You can also use a debit/credit card. The fee is $404.00. I paid the fee by card, because I did not want to carry that much cash with us. The wait was probably about 30 or 45 minutes. They called GG's name & told us to go to window #5. I picked up the phone. The lady told me how beautiful GG was & congratulated me. She asked me to sign one more paper & said you can come back tomorrow @ 3:30 & get your daughters visa. She said when she is on US soil she automatically becomes a US citizen, and gave me information on applying for a passport in the US, for her :)

This is us on the way out of the Embassy. It's a little hard to see, but the US flag is flying behind us :) We went back to the hotel & decided we needed to celebrate. We will have the visa tomorrow & be ready to go home on Saturday, and today GG is 6 months. The hotel owner took me to Unicentro & we had GG's ears pierced. Isn't she just adorable!!!!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Bogota Day 1

GG & I started our day saying our goodbyes to Tim & the boys & my mom @ the hotel in Cali. As we were driving off, I was trying to hold back the tears. Magnolia said "I think your huband looks like he is about to cry." I said, so am I. I couldn't hold them back anymore. I thankfully didn't break out into the ugly cry, but I needed a tissue.

We left the hotel around 9:00am, and went to the records office to meet our lawyer Judit. We got the last few documents we needed to take to the passport office. We walked to the passport office with the papers & were taken right away, no waiting. Magnolia said it is usually very busy, with so many people you can hardly breathe. I told her we have been praying for things to go smoothly & God had answered our prayers :) About an hour or so later & $163,000 pesos we had GG's passport in hand.

Magnolia took us on to the airport. We had enough time for a diet coke & a bathroom break for me, before I was to be on my own. She walked me up as far as she could go to security, and we hugged & said our goodbyes. After I went through security, I was walking down the long corridor with GG & I was beggining to get very emotional. I did my best not to break out into the ugly cry, because I knew if I started I wouldn't be able to stop! It has been so surreal this week--things have suddenly started moving so quickly--when I have a moment to really think about itI am just so overjoyed it makes me teary.

GG did well on her first plane ride. She was a little fussy when I was trying to get settled into our seat. I poured her a bottle of just water, because it wasn't really time for her to eat. That settled her. During take off I guess the cabin pressure got to her & she had a poopie diaper :~P The poor girl sitting next to me did not look like she had any children :) I told her I was sorry. She said it was ok, but I really felt bad for her. I took her to the bathroom as soon as we were given the ok to move about the cabin :) This was an intersting accomplishment. Changing a poopie diaper in an airplane bathroom is something I can cross off my to do list, and hope to never have to do again :)

The flight was short, a little less than an hour. I got my luggage & headed out the door. We stood outside just a few minutes, before Jamie & Sylvia walked up & asked if I was Kelly. We went to their van & I immediately noticed the car seat! The only strapped seat I have tried to put GG in was a highchair @ the hotel resteraunt. She did not care for it @ all. In fact she had screamed like a cat that got it's tail stepped on :~P I waited until Jamie had all our stuff in & was ready to go & put her in it. To my surprise she never fussed @ all. She ended up falling asleep on the way to see the Embassy doctor. :)

The Embassy doctor was very nice. He did a physical & okayed us waiting to do her 6 month shots until we return home. She turns 6 months tomorrow, and they are sometimes picky about having them done before you can get the Visa, so all shots are up to date upon entering the US. He reviewed her medical records, and did a physical exam. She weighs 16.5 lbs & is 24.5 inches long. I totally needed to have been working out my arm muscles before I got here :) We left the doctors office & came straight to the Hotel Paris.

It's not exactly Paris, but it's nice. It's an older hotel, but has several families here right now. GG & I got in our room & took a quick power nap before supper---that was her 4th nap of the day, after she slept all night long. I only let her sleep about 30 minutes, because I want her to sleep tonight. We went to dinner, which was yummy & a wonderful atmosphere. There were 2 other American families @ our table. Another table had 2 french families, and one other had a family from Spain.

Supper was grilled fish, with a creamy cheese sauce, white rice & boiled veggies---yummy. One of the french families got their son yesterday & today was his 1st birthday, so the workers came out with a delicious chocolate cake & sang happy birthday. I feel like I am spending the night @ a friends house....I really like it :)

It's a little after 9:00 & I need to get GG settled for bed. We will be going to ICBF @ 9:00am & then on to apply for the visa. Please pray all that goes as smoothly as everything else :)

Also, please pray for Tim & the boys & my mom. They will be getting a 4am wake up call, and ride to the airport @ 5am. Plane leaves Cali @ 8am, arrives in Miami @ 11:45. They will have just a couple hour layover & be in Nashville @ 5:15pm. Pray for travel mercy & patience for them.

Gracias y Buenas Noches :)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Gloria Grace Gabriela Watson Wright

Such a big name for such a bundle of joy :)
We had our Sentencia today. The sentencia is the court appearance to sign our adoption papers. It was surreal. The "court" is in the very busy downtown area of Cali, so Magnolia suggested only one of us go. I went & it was not at all what I was expecting. The court rooms are numbered. We were assigned to court #1. The room does not look like a "court room" in the US. It is just a small room w/several desks, more like an office type setting.

As we were walking in I asked Magnolia if it was ok to take pictures. She said don't ask, just take them :) I love Magnolia.

It was just me, Magnolia, & our lawyer Juliet. Juliet went over to one of the desks & got our paperwork. We checked & rechecked to make sure all names were spelled correctly & our passport numbers were all correct. It was not easy to hold back the tears. Even as I sit here typing this, I am getting a little teary. As my boys would say~~ "mom, you are such a girl." All I could think about as we checked all the paperwork, was that Gloria Grace was officially about to become ours!!!

They took me over to the desk to sign the paper. Magnolia took my camera & captured the moment :) Did I mention, I love Magnolia? :) I signed my name to 1 piece of paper & shabang Gabriela B, was now Gloria Grace Gabriela Watson Wright.
They use mother's maiden names here, and required us to use my maiden name in her name. I don't use my maiden name for anything, and we plan to drop Wright from her name, too. When we got done hugging (Magnolia, Juliet & I), we went to make copies of our passports to put with the documents. Our lawyer took everything to get GG's birth certificate changed & Magnolia & I went to her house to print a permission letter for Tim to sign stating that I can take GG out of Colombia without him. (since he will already be home, when I leave Colombia) We then headed back to Chiquitines for a copy of a paper I will need to give to the Embassy in Bogota. Last on our to do list, was to get the permission slips notarized. (I also signed one for Tim to leave w/Coy & Seth w/o me, they will be home on Thursday.
Tomorrow, GG & I will say our goodbyes to Tim & the boys & my mom @ the hotel. We will be leaving aroung 9:00am for the passport office to apply & receive GG's passport~~~yes same day :)

We will then go straight to the airport for our flight to Bogota, which leaves @ 2:00pm. It is an hour flight. We will be taken from the airport to the US Embassy doctor, for medical clearance. I will then take everything to the Embassy & apply for her visa. We should have this Thursday, or Friday.

The Saturday morning flight to Miami was already sold out. :( We will leave Bogota Saturday @ 1:55pm & arrive in Nashville @ 11:00PM. I am not loving having to take the later flight, but I am super excited to be getting home a whole week sooner than we expected. There is a very slight chance that we could have her visa on Thursday & make the Friday morning flight to Miami, but I would have to pay the fair difference + a $200.00 change fee. Friday is Coy's 11th birthday....I am really sad to miss being with him on his birthday, but he said as long as I was at his party (which I have yet to plan) he would be fine :) He's such a sweet kid!

Thank you all for your prayers. They mean a lot to our family~~~our family of 5 :)
Our Family Picture w/Magnolia: