Fast Forward Three Years

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Wow. It’s been more than three years since I last posted. The last time I posted was the day before I met my daughter.

What a life it has been since that day.

There’s so much to say, but I guess I’ll summarize the past three years the best I can!

LIFE IS GOOD.

SOOOO GOOD!

I love being a mom more than anything in the world!! From day one, it was as if I had known her forever. Our souls connected and it’s been that way ever since!

So here’s an intro video of us:

 

Our first year flew by! In our first year together, Adriana started school. She happened to be in MY class. It doesn’t sound like a good thing, but I believe it was the best thing that could have happened. She saw that I wasn’t going to leave her. She also got to experience consistency 24/7 which was necessary in getting everything established and helping her learn what is acceptable behaviors and what is not. Adriana is a very well behaved kid, but it definitely wasn’t easy in the beginning! She had some behaviors that terrified me. While still in Colombia, she literally was so upset that she broke a statue at a hotel. She threw plates to the ground and shattered them, etc. However, also while in Colombia, I got to experience love like I’ve never known. She learned several signs to help her communicate within days of meeting her. She was already proving to everyone how amazing she was!

Adriana also had surgery during this year. We had to go to San Antonio for the surgery due to my BCBS insurance not being accepted anywhere in Houston to do Pediatric Cardio Surgery. Since we had to take up residency in San Antonio for a while, we did lots of time at SeaWorld which led Adriana to fall in love with Sesame Street!! Anyway, the week before her heart surgery, she got ear tubes. The anesthesia made her so sick that she literally threw up nonstop for over 12 hours. I was terrified that the heart surgery would be the same way and couldn’t imagine her being so sick with an open chest wound. Anyway, fast forward a week. The open heart surgery was 12 hours long!! We arrived at 5 am that morning and took her back there and then didn’t get to see her until almost 14 hours later!! It was an insanely long day. She had two nurses assigned only to her that first night or two in ICU. It was intense, but everything worked out beautifully!

Adriana also got her first ambulance ride during our first year together with a second hospital stay that lasted a few days (I can’t remember if it was 3 or 5). We never got a diagnosis from it, but when I brought her to the ER, they gave her some blood tests which raised high concern due to some counts so they sent us to Galveston (also due to BCBS not being accepted in Houston and the hospital closest to us wouldn’t accept pediatric transfers).

Just shy of our one year anniversary home,our house flooded in Hurricane Harvey. We lived in a hotel for a month or two and then we moved in with my dad (who’s house also flooded).  Adriana was a trooper through all of it! Ohh…her room also partially burned during the flood which damaged everything in our house that didn’t flood with smoke.

Here is our video to summarize year one:

Year 2- Adriana did lots of growing and learning. She played lots of sports. She stole lots of hearts! We tore down our house while living with my dad and bought a double wide. We moved into it and we love it!

Video to summarize year 2:

 

Year 3 was a great year as well. We did struggle with some health issues. Adriana threw up A LOT. She had lots of abdominal pain. She ran lots of unexplained fevers.  We went to lots of doctor appointments and got no answers for those things. She also began grabbing her chest and saying “HOT”. No doctor acknowledged it, but I knew it was something more. I finally got an appointment and we made the drive to San Antonio for a cardio appointment.  She got diagnosed with another heart issue that we have to also monitor and it was discovered that her valves were leaky again so they put her back on medicine. That isn’t the best summary of our year though because just like the other years, it was AMAZING! Adriana is the definition of PURE JOY!!!!!

 

Here is a video of our year 3:

 

We are currently on our 4th year. We haven’t quite reached the 4th year anniversary yet. Adriana is starting to talk better and better everyday!! We are still fighting for answers with Adriana’s health. We go for more blood work tomorrow in hopes that this time, we will be led to an answer. While I desperately want an answer, at the same time, I pray that we never see the symptoms again. Adriana is now in kindergarten. I got a job at a new school so Adriana goes to a new school now. It is going well now. Adriana is learning how to READ!! She is doing so well! Adriana is a determined little girl who will prove this world wrong. When people see her face, they assume that she CAN’T. She is here to prove to them that SHE WILL. Adriana is currently playing basketball and loving it! She also loves soccer and baseball!

 

There is so much more, but I guess that’s why you’re not supposed to quit writing for years at a time!

Just know that I am living my best life. I am blessed beyond measure and SO VERY THANKFUL!!!

Interview

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Today, we woke up and took a cold shower. Breakfast is included with the hotel.

At 8:00, we met Hector and went downstairs to the hotel’s dining room. We were served eggs with bacon, an arepa, and a piece of toast.

The drinks were hot chocolate and orange juice.

I do not like hot chocolate or orange juice, but I definitely found that I would much rather orange juice than hot chocolate so that is what I drank.

After breakfast, we came up to the room and then met Hector downstairs for a meeting at 9:30. Hector went over all of my papers and a powerpoint presentation about the in country process with me.

After that, the translators came to meet us.

Today was the interview at ICBF so they wanted to familiarize themselves with me before the meeting.

After we met with them, we came back to the room.

At 1:50, we met Hector and caught a taxi to the ICBF.

The interview was at 2:30.

I wasn’t scared exactly, but I was unsure of what to expect. I had in the back of my mind what would happen if they did not like me.

Anyway, I brought a list of questions to the meeting. It turned out that having questions written out was perfect.

 

They allowed me to ask questions and I got a ton of information on Adriana. They did not ask me any questions! I guess they had enough information gathered on me from 2 years lol.

At the meeting, they gave me the board book that I sent Adriana back. They also presented me with a gift. It was a book in the shape of a butterfly. They put pictures of Adriana and wrote different things in it just like a scrap book! It is a huge treasure and I love it so much!

Everyone at the meeting was wonderful. There were two girls on skype who were answering all of my questions.

There was the head famliy defender (Sandra) who was great, a psychologist, another lady, the two translators, me, my mom, and Hector in addition to the two ladies on Skype.

After that, we left and went tothe mall for dinner (hamburger) and then looked at cakes for tomorrow.

TONIGHT IS THE LAST NIGHT OF MY LIFE WITHOUT KNOWING MY BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTER!!!!!![‘/

Fly to COLOMBIA!!

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So…the actual adoption trip has begun!!

Last night, my mom and I were on a flight that left at 11:59 pm.

What is really awesome is that there is a girl named Crystal that I have met over the past year. Her family is also adopting from Colombia and we happened to be on the SAME FLIGHT!!

I can’t get over that because it is so awesome. The girl actually went to school at Hamshire Fannett for several years! Now, we are adopting from the same country. We both meet our children on the exact same date!

Anyway…We landed at 4:54 am in Bogota. Mom found some man that was helping us but it was getting me worried because I knew Hector was the one who was supposed to help us. It ended up taking us about an hour longer than it should have to get out and find Hector. I felt so bad for him because he got to the airport at 5 and we didn’t come out until a little after 6!

We sat at a table and visited for a while and then went upstairs to a restaurant for breakfast.

After breakfast, we made our way to the Avianca airline service terminal (it was a bus ride away).

We waited at Avianca and then flew to Florencia at 11:44 am.

The drive to our hotel was quite interesting. Ireally wanted to film it but didn’tknow if they would care.

We came back to the hotel for a couple hours.

THE SHOWERS FREEZING COLD BY THE WAY!!

At 6, we walked to the mall.

I was so interested to see everything as we walked by. There were a lot of barber shops and restaurants. There were also many stores.

The roads were extremely uneven and made out of random materials (some stones big as my and mixed with asphault) and many deep holes to look out for.

I loved walking the walk. It gives me a glimpse of what Adriana is used to.

We walked by many people’s homes. They were wide open and you could see the beds inside.  INstead of furniture, there were plastic chairs. They even parked their motorcycles inside their home.

The traffic and driving is pretty scary. They have no lanes and just have tons and tons of motorcycles all jammed up together as they drive along. Walking across the street was quite difficult because there are so many motorcycles coming constantly.

I saw a man juggling at the redlight. He stood on top of someone’s car and juggled some more.

They sell water in a bag. I really want to buy one!

Tomorrow is my interview. I need questions to ask!!

After tonight, there is only one more night that I have dinner without Adriana! This is so exciting!

I meet her Wednesday at 2:30!!Woo hoo!!

Early September

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All week, I was looking forward to being given travel dates. They told me that I may get the travel dates by Monday (august 29). I didn’t get the dates Monday.

This Thursday morning (Sept 1), I woke up thinking that, “today is the day”! I went to work. I hoped that I would get an email or phone call all day long ( I knew I’d probably miss the phone call while at work but she would leave me a wonderful voicemail).

The day ended and I did not get my numbers.

I was sitting on my swing outside at 7:38 pm. My phone rang. It was an unknown number from Ohio. Since my agency is in Ohio, I answered it.

It was N (not going to put her name)! She was calling from her personal cell phone to tell me that I got the dates!!!!!

I will have an interview on September 13 with Adriana! I will meet Adriana on September 14!

THAT was the phone call I have waited for almost 2 years for!! I was so excited and still am!!!

I called people who needed to be called. I emailed the principal to let him know. I typed up a letter to send to parents so that it could be approved.

Today is Monday, September 5. I am off work today but it has been a super busy weekend. My letter will be sent home to parents tomorrow to inform them that I will be traveling.

Saturday, I tried getting all packed up. I ended up going to mom’s house to work on the gifts (she is putting vinyl Texas on some items I bought).

Mom and I ended up going to town. We went to buy vinyl. We also went to some other stores. I got myself two dressy outfits for court and whatever else I will need to dress up for. I also bought cookie cutters in the shape of Texas to give as part of my gifts.

I already have Texas handkerchiefs, little bags (brown country looking material), a few fake Yeti cups, and a few magnets.

Mom was putting the shape of Texas on the little bags for me with vinyl and also putting Texas on the cups.

The bigger gifts to the people that help me the most will get a cup, bag, cookie cutter, handkerchief, and a small tobasco. (I ordered them on SAturday).

The smaller gifts will get a bag with a cookie cutter and tobasco sauce in it (not a special bag, but a small brown gift bag)

I needed around 30 gifts so this added up quickly.

While in town today, we saw several people we hadn’t seen in a while and had wonderful conversations with all of them. We saw my uncle and cousin. We also saw my cousin named MAcie and talked for 2 hours in walmart with her! I even saw my old principal today.

After buying various things needed for travel, we went home.

Sunday morning, I packed up what I could, weighed it, etc. I went to moms to work on the vinyl stuff with her again for the gifts. We ended up going to town again.

This time, I found pot holders and bought 32 pot holders. We went home and put vinyl Texas on each pot holder. This will be the gift. I will get my money back on most of the cookie cutters. The pot holders came out SO CUTE!!! I am super excited.

We also made myself and Adriana a matching shirt set that I love. My mom put a design on me and her a fake yeti cup that we will take to Colombia. Mine says “life is better together” and has Colombia. (it’s all glitter). My mom’s has a Colombia on one side and Texas on the other (also all glitter). They look GREAT!!

After all of that was done, it was 2:35 when I got home!!

I woke up this morning. I am typing this blog and will soon begin trying to pack again. My goal today is to have everything packed and ready to go. It is like a game beecause I have to weigh and move things around to make the weights work out for each suitcase and then I also have to move things around to fit in the bag like a puzzle.

I am so excited! I will be meeting her so soon!!!

I wrapped a few small things for Adriana so that she will have something to open on her birthday. My mom is going to wrap her a gift too. SO EXCITING. I will be with her on her third birthday!! YAY!!!!!

August

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August 2- went to Colombian Consulate in Houston to get visa. I was there several hours waiting. Finally, it was my turn and they told me they had to work on it. Said I could leave and come back another day but that it might be done today. I waited in Houston (ate lunch and shopped with Kristi) until they closed. Nothing. They called after closing time and told me that my visa would be ready to pick up so I could come pick it up any day that I was ready.

August 4-I went back to Houston to the Colombian Consulate to get my visa. I got there before they opened. I was second in line. I was literally the LAST person to leave at closing time!! I was there for hours and hours and hours. They let me take a lunch break so I went to lunch with Kristi. They said it would be ready when I got back from lunch. I ended up waiting from after lunch around 2 to about 4 something to finally get to leave. I was locked in so I couldnt tell Kristi (left my phone with her to charge). She and Greyson waited for over two hours. I felt so bad but she stuck it out!!! We went shopping for bows afterwards (-:

I GOT MY VISA! It expires in December.

August 10-  i800 approval came in!

August 11-teachers go back to work

On this same day, I was told that I need new medical report, FBI clearance, employee letter, and financial page because my others were on the verge of expiring…all notarized and apostilled.

This really bothered me! I had all summer to get this stuff done. I would have been able to freely drive to Austin for apostilles, etc. But I didn’t find out until the day that I was back at work.

August 12- found out that my i800 was approved on August 10!!!

August 17-doctor appointment to get new medical suitability certificate

August 18-NVC Numbers came in through email at 5:31 am!! This is a huge deal because it means that I can fill out my ds260…one of the very last things I need to fill out!

Also…bloodwork appointment

August 20-doctors office for tb skin test check up

August 22-FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL WITH KIDS. Finally got to send my ds260 (talked on the phone at night with agency to fill it out)

 

July

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July 1- My updated homestudy for Colombia came in the mail. I was told that H (initial for his name) thinks that I will only be in Colombia for 3 weeks…4 weeks at MOST!!

July 8-I sent i800a Supplement 3. This is to extend my expiration date on my i800a.

I really hate how everything is expiring. It is costing a lot more money to update my homestudy, mail in papers, etc. I wish the adoption world would allow things to last for longer because it is an added expense that is really frustrating.

July 12- I received the english version of the official referral!! I now learned a lot of things about Adriana!!!!

July 13-Filled out i800 and sent to agency to review. They said that I can’t mail it so it won’t be until July 18 or 19 that it is sent )-:

July 15- the fingerprint refresh on my i800a supplement 3 was sent by my officer today. This could take 2-6 weeks to get done

July 19- my agency did not send my i800 yet because there were some medical parts of Adriana’s file that did not get translated. I was told it will take about a week to get those translations in so that my i800 can be submitted. blahhhhhh. I know it’s necessary because we need my i800 to be perfect when sent so it doesn’t get sent back to me, but it just bites it can’t be sent yet.

July 20- Got the i797 Notice of Action on my Supplement 3 in the mail. The receipt date was July 11.

July 28-my i800 was finally mailed!!! WOO HOO!! This is a huge step! The i800 is for the United States to approve Adriana specifically!

 

 

The rest of June

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June 27- Adriana flies to Bogota for medical appointment with her foster mom

June 28-Adriana’s appointment is at 3:00. I GOT NEW PICTURES OF ADRIANA!! FIRST ONES I HAVE SEEN SINCE THE VERY BEGINNING OF THE ADOPTION PROCESS!!

June 29-Adriana flies back to Florencia

Also, I found out Adriana’s measurements!! I am so excited to have a good idea about her size!!!

She is 29.92 pounds and 21 inches!!

According to size charts and a few other people with children this size, she is around size 18 month clothes.

I am so excited to get all of this wonderful information!!!

June!!

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June 3- that was the three week mark since I was told Adriana was removed from the foster home and receiving counseling for 3 weeks. So…counseling should be complete and the counselor should be writing a report by now and the referral should come SOON!

 

June 8-found out that Adriana is still in the foster home and that it will be a couple more weeks.

Also assigned a new worker to my case

June 9- I was emailed and told that they do not know how long that Adriana will remain in the foster home. I was told that there was great progress being made with counseling though (so that part is good news).

June 15- I just so happened to make a ton of phone calls to insurance companies today. I had done this before, but decided to try again today to find a cheaper insurance than the one that work provides. I ended up finding Blue Cross Blue Shield as my top choice but there was also Humana as an option. Both are much cheaper than my work insurance would be.

June 16- I found out today that Adriana will have to have surgery. They gave me the choice of whether I want her to have it here or in Colombia. I called the insurance company I had just chose yesterday to get information on heart surgeries and how insurance worked. It turns out that they can’t exclude me for a pre existing condition, so I chose for Adriana to have surgery here.

June 17-I was told that Adriana will fly to Bogota, pending ICBF approval. In Bogota, they will have all kinds of appointments to check her out and make sure the heart surgery can wait.

June 21-I was given the opportunity to send a list of questions to the cardiologist!!

Here is my list:

How serious is Adriana’s condition?

Does she have partial AV or total AV (AV=atrioventricular)

What is her pulse ox?

How soon does she need surgery?

Will this surgery slow her down physically? What kind of limitations will she have because of this heart condition (if any)?

How long does the actual surgery take, on average?

Will she be admitted into the hospital for any amount of time?

How long does it take to heal?

How often will she need to visit a cardiologist?

How many more surgeries will she need after this one?

What surgeries has she previously had?

June 24- I was at the Rainforest Cafe in Galveston with the Lovejoys (Jeff, Kelli, and Makenna). I got a phone call at 1:05 PM. I walked outside to talk.

I WAS TOLD THAT I GOT THE OFFICIAL REFERRAL!!! THIS IS WHAT I HAVE BEEN WAITING ON FOR A YEAR AND A HALF!!!! WOO HOO!!

Since it is just verbally being told, there is nothign that I can do yet, but I am hoping that next week, I will have the papers and stuff that I need.

There is a bit of confusion because my CIS expires in August so I have to figure out what to send first, the EXTENSION of the I800a or the I800 itself. Both have to be done, but I just don’t know which one needs to be done first. My I800a isn’t expired yet, so I almost would hope that I can do the I800 first because that will get everything started to get my “meeting date” for Adriana in Colombia

I am super excited that it is finally working out!! According to the average timeline, it shoudl be about 6-8 weeks before I travel. I am hoping that everything goes smoothly and QUICKLY. The sooner, the better!!! I would like to be able to leave weeks BEFORE school starts. That will be less vacation days that I have to use.

So thankful that I finally got it. Now for the actual referral that I can see with my eyes…that should have pictures, sizes, and all the information about her!!!!!! woo hoo!!

 

another month. what’s new?

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It feels almost impossible to get news. When I finally do get ahold of someone, the news just adds another month to my timeline.

I am getting monthed to death.

Surely, someday soon, I won’t hear bad news anymore.

Surely, someday soon, I will get the news I’ve waited for since January 2015.

I got monthed again today.

A month ago, at the beginning of May, I got what was supposed to be good news. I was told that Adriana had been removed from the foster home and that she would receive counseling for 3 weeks. I was told that I would get the referral at the beginning of June.

Wow. Just wait one more month and I’d have the referral?! YESSSSSSSSS!!

Well…the month has come and gone.

Do I have a referral? No. My news today (after struggling to get ahold of them forever) was almost word for word the same thing I heard a month ago. They are working to get her removed from the foster home and will receive three weeks of counseling.

Wait…wasn’t this what I was told a month ago? Has it not happened YET?!

I don’t know. I am getting frustrated.

I got assigned a new worker today. I could never get ahold of the president and she never returned my calls. For about a month, we were talking quite often, but for the past two months, that hasn’t been the case.

What’s new?

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So….

A lot has changed since the last blog.

I was supposed to send the I800a Supplement 3 in at the end of April. This is a form that is requesting the United States to change my country to Poland. I had it all ready, but the person at my agency that I had been working with was difficult to get ahold of. I kept trying to contact her to find out if my supplement 3 looked good enough to send, but was always unsuccessful.

On Friday, April 29, I planned on getting the papers in the mail because I was told that there was a tight timeline with the twins and I needed to have everything for my Poland dossier completed ASAP. I could not put the papers in the mail without the approval from this lady who I could not get in touch with.

On that day, I also wanted to question the fact that maybe I should NOT switch to Poland just yet. I wanted to verify that there wasn’t any chance of the Adriana case working out before I switched everything over. I was nervous to switch because while I quickly came to love the twins, there was not a connection like I had with Adriana. Adriana was my life for so long that it was hard to just let go and sending in the papers meant that it was truly going to be over.

When the girl did not contact me back that whole week, I wondered if it could possibly be a sign not to give up on Adriana.

The beginning of May rolled around and as it turns out, I was told that week NOT to send it because some things had turned in my favor for Adriana and the case was looking possible again.

WOW!! So the girl who was not doing her job and staying on top of things like she was supposed to actually worked out in my favor because I did NOT send the papers!! Thank God for that!!

In the middle of all of that twin stuff, my agency revoked R’s contract so he was no longer fighting the case for Adriana. It was a lot of drama that I really should have written a blog about because I will want to remember all of that later. I may find where I typed the “story” out to someone in a message and copy and paste it into my blog for me to read in the future. I was assigned a new guy to work on my case. Supposedly, he would be better because he used to work for the ICBF and was friends with everyone there. He also only had two cases to work on so he would be able to focus a LOT on my case. His name is Hector.

 

On May 13, I was told that Adriana had been removed from her foster home and that she would be getting counseling for three weeks. At the end of the three weeks, the counselor would write a report for the ICBF and then I would get the official referral.

YAY!!

They said I should have the referral by the second week in June!!!!!!