Saturday, June 6, 2009

So Much to Tell You

(This is Chris)
The last few months have been a busy with so many activities and first experiences for all of us. I’ll try to summarize some what we have been up to.

We have been able to see the girls personalities come out a little more. Vanesa is excellent at organizing. Manu loves to clean things and help mommy clean. Angee is the goofiest little lady. Often she emphasizes things by making silly faces or using a different voice. She is the most animated.

Vanesa started school on March 18th. She is in the 1st grade and has a load of excellent teachers. Four weeks after starting school, she began reading to me -small books, but what an accomplishment in such a short time. She really likes school, especially P.E. She is getting to be pretty proficient in her addition and subtraction of numbers 0 – 20. She has had a couple really frustrating days, but she always pulls through. She really likes school. Vani started summer school on June 1st. She keeps asking when the last day of school is. She had a couple days off before summer school and it was nice to have her home.

Vanesa was the first one to begin really speaking English. Within her first week of school she would come home and tell me full sentences that only consisted of the words, “Mommy, this one and that one, but then this one.” She pretty much uses only English now. She has never stopped being curious and has excellent retention when you explain or define something.

We moved Vanesa into her own room today. I wonder if she will make it through the night.

(Also, Vanesa celebrated her 7th birthday in March.)

Manu immediately took over the big sister role when Vanesa started school. She really upped the bossiness, but that has died off since she and Ang are best friends. I think Manu has changed the most. She is not the same little girl she was in January. She has more confidence; she reaches out more for attention and gives affection more easily. She is still a giggle box and loves to be tickled under her chin. She has been doing home schooling with me since we’ve been home. She knows her colors and how to count. She is working on numbers and letters. She was the last one to really start speaking English, but she is doing well with it. She is the most tender-hearted little thing. She is the best at sharing. She is our girlie girl – certainly 100% girl!

Manu and I get to spend a lot of time one-on-one while Angee naps. Sometimes we just rock in the rocking chair or she helps me with laundry. She always wants to help.

Quite a while ago, Manu said she wanted to be called Isabelle (her middle name). We haven’t quite converted to that, so in the mean time she is often called “Manu Belle.”

Angee has really been growing lately in knowledge and height. She loves to play outside. She adores our dog Bailey and always gives her kisses. Angee really loves animals. She kisses the ones in her books and her stuffed animals too.

It is amazing how the 2 year old mind works. Sometimes she just says or does stuff that is so funny I’ll laugh about it for days. For example, the first couple of times we stopped at QuikTrip it was just to use the bathroom. One time I stopped to grab a drink and when we pulled in she said, “Mommy, I don’t need to chi chi. I don’t need to chi chi.” It cracked me up that she associated QuikTrip with using the bathroom.

Ang was the second one to start speaking English. I knew she had turned the corner when, on Mother’s Day, she said in English “Mommy, this shirt on me is big.” What a big girl.

Mother’s Day was a monumental day, not because it was my first Mother’s Day, but because we had the girls blessed that day. I had thought about that every time we were at church for the last 4 years now. It was an emotional day because so many desires were being fulfilled that day, but Ang managed to lighten my sentimental mood… After church, I was asking Angee if she would please stop growing because I wanted her and her sisters to just stay this way forever. She was just giving me a blank stare and I was wondering what she was thinking when she broke my concentration by breaking wind, then she giggled and ran down the hall.

I used to always want 5 children, but I feel content. I can see us living the rest of our lives with our 3 wonderful blessings. It is nice to have peace and contentment.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Leaving on a jet plane……!

We are leaving for home on Friday morning!! Tomorrow we pick up the visas from the US Embassy and we are clear for takeoff. I will put the flight info at the bottom of this post.
We invite all family and friends to come to the airport to greet us! We would love to see you and have you meet the new additions to the family! Vanesa is getting really excited to meet everyone and see her new home! Manuela and Angee aren’t quite old enough to really understand so they will figure it out as it happens!
Today we went to the US Embassy to turn in all the Visa application paperwork. On the way there, poor little Manu got car sick all over her shirt. We also felt bad because we were in David’s (Lucia’s son) car. He has a nice SUV, now a little bit more used! This afternoon we went to the mall to but the girls a few more outfits. We didn’t have enough long sleeve stuff for this climate. After we got back from the mall we let the girls play on the playground here at the hotel. It was good for them to run around and stretch their legs a bit.
I will get some more pictures on the flickr site tomorrow!! I know it’s been a while.

Here is the flight info:
Flight Itinerary
Flight #1 Bogota to Atlanta
Delta Flight # 310
Depart: 10:30 am EST
Arrive: 3:36pm EST

Flight #2 Atlanta to Kansas City
Delta Flight #1587
Depart: 6:46pm EST
Arrive: KCI 8:00pm CST

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

We Made it to Bogota!

We flew into Bogota last night. It was a lot of fun to fly with the girls. Paul and Vanesa sat together and I sat with Angee and Manu. Paul said Vani did really well. Angee would have little spurts of being really excited. She would cover her mouth and squeal and smile really big – it was sooooo cute! Manu did really well too. She loved playing with the buttons on the entertainment thing. She kept hitting the button for the stewardess. After a couple times, they told me there was a button on the remote – I kept a close eye for it after that.

We are staying at a place called “Hotel Paris.” It seems to be pretty nice. It is much more kid-friendly than the B&B – not better, just more kid-friendly. The girls each have their own bed and they helped me make them up this morning. This is good practice for when we get home.

We like that the food is served family style here; now we are able to fill the girls’ plates with food we want them to eat. In the past, the plates of food were served to each individual so it was hard to get the girls to eat meat if there was something else they liked better. Today Angee actually ate meat! We told her she had to eat the chicken before she could have fries and the chicken was gone pretty quickly. Manu has been the brave one when it comes to meal times. She is good about at least trying something. Usually she finds that she likes it and sometimes, okay rarely, this encourages the others to try it too.

There are several American families staying here. They all seem to have had a bit of hard time with something or another in the process. One family has been here over 5 weeks and their adoption isn’t even final yet. And their new daughter has been so sick that she has had to be on oxygen. I’m so thankful that we used Children’s Hope and that they have not dropped the ball on anything. I’m also thankful that we had to opportunity to be immersed in Spanish and the Colombian culture. In Pereira there were only a couple people that we could talk to because we knew just enough Spanish and they knew just enough English. Most of the time it was Spanglish, but we were able to communicate well with a German family on their limited English (they have 2 wonderful, adorable children).

Today we got photos for the girls’ visas. They turned out way better than the ones on their passports and we didn’t have to bribe Angee with a sucker :-) The girls were not allowed to wear earrings for the pictures. They were very nervous about me taking them out, but they did fine with it. We were hoping to find a way to take them out since they are so young and this situation provided the perfect opportunity. They have not asked for them back and I doubt they will after how squeamish they were to have them out.

We also had our doctor’s visit with the embassy doctor today. It went very smoothly and fast. He said the girls appear normal. He and his wife have also adopted too. We walked out and while we were waiting for our ride, someone came down and said we needed to go back in to the office. When we got up there they told us we forgot to pay. Three weeks ago I knew we were supposed to pay, but I forgot today (we have paid for a lot of services up front).

We also went to a huge store that has stuff made solely in Colombia. We were able to pick up some great souvenirs for the girls and people at home. I think the girls got tired of us asking them to stop touching stuff, but they did a good job of minding when they were asked.

Tonight Vanesa and I had a very good time talking (the other girls were already asleep and Paul was talking to one of the other families here). We talked about our next trip on the airplane and coming to the U.S. She is excited to meet all of her new family and friends. We went through the list of names and their relation to her. She told me that a baby from the orphanage, Stephanie, is here in the U.S. She is excited about the snow too.

Tomorrow we will go to the embassy to apply for the girls’ visas. We are hoping to fly home on Friday.

Other stuff:

Jose’s son, Juan, has been very sick. He went into the hospital on Saturday and as of yesterday he was still there with a high temperature and still throwing up. He could really use some prayers. He just turned 1 on January 9th.

This trip to Bogota has made a much better impression on us than the first night we were here (3 weeks ago we stayed one night on our way to Pereira). Today was a beautiful day. The weather was a lot like it is in KC in the autumn. The girls will have experienced all 4 seasons in a matter of about 8 weeks – Summer in Pereira, Autumn in Bogota, Winter in KC and shortly after that it will be Spring in KC.

Angee seems to really like dogs until she comes across one. Every time she sees one, she points and says, “bow wow!” The girls also point them out for her and she gets excited. There are 2 golden retrievers here that are so calm, but she is afraid to get too close. We have to pick her up when we go past them.

This hotel has play equipment outside and a playroom. The girls actually got to run around and scream. I was excited for them.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Bogota Bound!

Just thought I would give a small update. We are flying to Bogota this afternoon! Our flight leaves at 6:35pm. We got the girls passports this morning. It was incredibly fast! We got there at 8am and had their passports in hand by 10am! So the next post will be at our new hotel.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Fiesta and more swimming

Yesterday Rosario threw a party for us since we are all officially Sinclairs. It was a really nice party. I wish there would have been one sooner so that all of the kids could have gotten to know each other from the start of the trip instead of the end. In the B&B there is one family from Germany adopting a boy and girl, a German mom adopting a boy, a family from Denmark adopting a girl, a family from Spain adopting a boy and girl. It’s a full house J

Yesterday Paul also got the corrected birth certificates for the girls. He was gone from 7 -5pm. The girls and I went to the mall for a little, then to Exito to get a belt for Vani (she is so skinny that most of her pants don’t stay up). In the afternoon we made brownies for the party.

Today we went to the country club again with Rosario and the family from Spain. It was nice for the girls to get one more good swim in before we leave. We had a good day together.

After the country club we got passport photos. Manu and Vani did good, but Angie was so tired so didn’t want to hold her head up for the photo. Paul told her she could have a sucker (boom boom) if she let them take her picture. You just have to say the majic word and all of a sudden she is more than willing to get her picture taken!!
……okay Chris is in bed asleep so I will finish the post for her.
Vanesa and Manuela were a little squirmy tonight, maybe because to the suckers. It took them a little longer to fall asleep than normal. After the passport pictures were done, we let them have their suckers. The suckers Chris bought were blue. So for the rest of the night the girls got a kick out of their blue tongues, lips, cheeks, hands, hair,…….you get the picture.
Bedtime has been such a pleasure lately. Angee pretty much asks to be put in her bed once she is done with her bath. Once Angee is in bed, we read a story to Vani and Manu and lights out. The last three nights Vanesa has asked me to hold her for a while after the light has gone out. I’ve been taking advantage of the opportunity!! She had crawled in my lap and I rock her to sleep. I know these days are numbered, so I am taking advantage of it while I can. She has opened up a lot more lately. She give us hugs more often and she likes saying in English “ I love you…good night”. We love hearing it. Slowly but surely she is starting to open up, and it is wonderful to watch happen!
We really don’t have much planned for tomorrow. Hopefully tomorrow will be our last full day in Pereira. The lawyer told me yesterday that we should be flying to Bogota Monday night sometime. That was music to my ears!! That means it is very possible for us to be home maybe by next Friday!! Once we get the girl’s passports on Monday afternoon we will fly to Bogota. Once in Bogota it takes about three days to do all the required documents for the visa’s for the girls. So hopefully Tuesday or Wednesday I will be making flight arrangements to come home!! We will post the flight info as soon as we get it. Again let me say everyone is invited, family and friends, to meet us at the airport. We can’t wait for you to meet them!
Chris and I are going to start packing tomorrow night. Yikes!! I’m already looking around for stuff we can leave behind. We will probably do most of the packing tomorrow night, after the girls go to bed. It will definitely get done faster without little hands trying to help!
I will put more pictures on tomorrow. Good night!!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Other Stuff

The orphanage: Vanesa was the lady of the hour yesterday at the orphanage. She soaked up all of the attention and took the opportunity to show off her new Papi. She had him carry her around, she held his hand and talked about him to all of the girls. Paul said that while they were eating cake, Vani would say something and all the girls would look at him and giggle - I'm sure it was all good :)

Manu is a giggle-box! She giggles at everything!

Vani's seems quiet, but only if you don't speak Spanish. If you get her in the car with Jose, she will talk to him non-stop. Sometimes we have to ask her to leave him alone. Today she was really talking it up with the chef showing them how to make pizza.

Sentencia and Archie's Pizza

Today was our sentencia - the official adoption of the girls on the Colombian side (we will have to re-adopt them in the states).

Paul called our translator this morning to see if he could find out if we were having our sentencia and what time it would take place. He said that it is today, but he would have to call back with a time. When he called we were all in the pool and he said "Are you ready now?" I told him no, but give us 15 minutes. We ran upstairs and I began giving out orders to get your dresses on, get your sandals on, brush your hair,... I can't believe it, but all 5 of us were dressed and the girls had their shoes and hair brushed in 15 minutes. I fixed their hair in the crazy cab ride to the judicial building.

The process was very simple. You walk into a room with a counter, they ask to help you. You double check the girls' names, sign your name and your done. We were able to get all of the girls middle names added. At first we were not sure they would allow us to it here. It's nice to have it done.

As of today the girls names are (my maiden name is required to be part of their name down here):
Vanesa Jane Huseby Sinclair
Manuela Isabelle Huseby Sinclair
Angee Abigail Huseby Sinclair

Tomorrow morning Paul and the attorney are going to pick up the girls new birth certificates. It will be Monday before we can get passports for the girls. I don't think we will be home next week :( Hopefully we will be able to get to Bogota the following Monday.

After the sentencia, we took the girls to Archie's Pizza (the place where the kids make their own pizza). The girls loved it and we loved it because we got sit at a table all by ourselves. The girls didn't eat much of their pizza, but they really enjoyed their milkshakes.

Tomorrow Rosario is having a party for our family since we will be leaving soon. We are going to make brownies for it. We need to get to the store today to buy the stuff.

Paul, Manu and Angee are all taking a nap right now and Vanesa is working on a new puzzle. The 30 minute quiet time has been a blessing.

We're posting a few pics today of the pizza place.