Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Trip Home - Dec 11

Waking up at 3am, after 3 hours of sleep, I began the adventure of bringing our five children home. We loaded our bags and our bodies into 2 taxis and headed to the Lima airport. We were met by the wonderful, Peruvian staff of American Airlines, who were waiting for us. They were notifiied that a crazy lady was planning to travel alone with her 5 children. :) I pulled out the passports, visas and all the documents showing I had, in truth, adopted them and had the right to travel with them to the U.S. We waited an hour or two before boarding the plane and started the 7 hour flight.
I sat with Yen and Zuzu and Karina, Dany and Araceli were in the row behind. All boasted about being brave, until the plane began speeding down the runway. I slipped my arms through the spaces between the seats and the kids grabbed my hands, gripping tight. However, once in the air, my hands were released and the series of "ooooo's" and "ahhhh's" began. The kids were prepared with all kinds of goodies and activities in their backpacks and enjoyed taking pictures!

The plane ride was full of interesting 'firsts.' I had to go to the bathroom with each of them, opening the door, turning on the light and showing how it all worked - which meant staying in the small bathroom while they did their thing. Dany was amazed that soda came in a can and did much better drinking it after a little instruction. They each had headphones of their own to use to listen to movies shown up on the screen or the radio. They even got to eat airplane food. A nice guy sat in the row next to me and was so helpful, picking up things the kids dropped, answering questions and even offering to take them to the restroom after the 4th or 5th time.

Arriving in Miami led us to our encounter with Homeland Security. We sat in a small, glass walled room with about 55 other immigrants waiting for approval to enter. The kids were troopers as we waited for 4 hours for them to just take one fingerprint. Off we went to the next flight, which would give us another 4 hours in the air before arriving to Denver. Traveling alone with my kids for the first time went amazing well! Seriously a blessing! I think it's because Yen, 5 yrs old, read all of the instructions.

One week in Lima

Upon arrival to Lima, Joel had to return home, but the children and I had one more week of paperwork (which seemed like nothing after 6 months of waiting.) We had to get our kids Peruvian passports, a series of vaccinations and the final visit to the U.S. Embassy to obtain the children's visas. Most of our days started at 8 or 9am and were spent waiting in lines and a variety of offices. Every piece of paper had to be translated and every translation needed a million copies. The kids were troopers as we hauled them around from place to place. We did get a few fun things in like a trip to El Parque de Leyendas - or, as we call it, the zoo. It was the first time for the kids to see these kind of animals live and I was asked several times if certain animals really existed - like lions, tigers and bears. I guess the animals didn't seem to lively - except the one who tried to eat Yen's cotton candy.

Our lawyer, Maria Elena, and her husband, Raul, were wonderful hosts, giving the kids and myself a ton of encouragement and tips about adoption. When the last step was completed - having the visas in hand - we took a picture across the street from the Embassy and booked our tickets home!

Our final night in Peru, we ate traditional dishes - sudado de pescado, pescado frito, ceviche, milanesa de pollo and pollo frito. Then we went to a live presentation of the characters from the popular TV series 'Al Fondo Hay Sitio.' This is a typical 'South American' life, so they say. The title comes from the guys on the micros (public buses) that yell for the passengers to move to the back because there is more room - even though there might not be. It was a great way to say good-bye to Peru.... at least for now.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


November 30 Joel and I signed the official adoption resolution. What an amazing feeling. After over a year of waiting and so many difficult trials and wonderful blessings it became official. We had help in getting their new birth certificates ready in just 2 days (with Hanson as their last name and a few middle name changes) and we all boarded a bus and headed to Lima to complete the final paperwork on the visas with the U.S. Embassy.
The 2 story bus was a long awaited adventure - comfy seats, snacks and several movies. The adventure got better when the bus broke down at 2 in the morning and we waited for almost 3 hours while it was being repaired.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Saying Goodbye to the Orphanage

Our four older children have spent the last five years living at Hogar de Esperanza. When Zuleice was just over a year, she joined her other brothers and sisters. In saying that, this has been the place they have called home for most of their lives. I had also learned, once again, to call the orphanage home. The children, staff and new volunteer friends have become very close to my heart. Needless to say, leaving was difficult for all of us. A few days before we had to say good-bye, Joel and I hosted a going away bonfire for the kids, workers and volunteers. A christian Peruvian folk band, called Moyapampa, livened things up with music and games. It was a wonderful night of fun and laughter with a ton of sticky fingers from making smores.