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.

A week at the orphanage

After Joel's arrival , we spent a week staying at the orphanage reconnecting with friends and children. We began the final process of the adoption and had 10 days to prove we were able to be parents. Here's a few pics of our parenting skills -

Joel arrives in Peru

Monday, November 16, Joel finally flew to Lima, Peru. I took an 8 hour bus ride from Trujillo to pick him up at the airport around midnight. After 6 months of being seperated, a few tears were shed and I believe we actually missed eachother! Tuesday was spent visiting MIMDES (who handles adoptions in Peru,) talking with our lawyers, and then we flew to Trujillo, where 5 little ones were waiting to see their Papi for the first time in over a year.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


After 5 months of Joel and I being seperated and waiting on more investigations, we finally have good news! The US Embassy granted the permission for the children to obtain visas - which was the document we've been waiting on for the past 2.5 months! Now Joel is able to join us and it coming to Peru on Monday and we will begin the stages of finalizing the adoption.

What does it look like from here? Joel comes, the kids are taken out of school, we spend 1-2 weeks in Trujillo (at the orphanage) bonding and taking pictures to prove it, we shed tears as we say goodbye and head to Lima. Then, Joel returns home and I stay with the kids another 2-3 weeks in Lima as they issue new birth certificates, documents and visas for the children with their new last name. Next step - FLY HOME - just in time for Christmas!!

The past several months have been very difficult as we have been tested in our faith and patience. Thank you for all of the emails, phone calls and especially your prayers. We have felt very supported and are so grateful to all of you!! The journey is just beginning as we work on bonding as a family and overcoming the obstacles set before us - but what an exciting journey!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Back in July...

I'm doing some back-tracking and sharing some of the events that have been happening since I returned to the orphanage in July. Besides Rocio's quinceanero and Windsor Christian church's visit in July, the orphanage also celebrated Peru's Independence day. We celebrated Dias de Patrias with a program put on by the children, representing several different regions of Peru. The kids dressed in costume, sang, danced, decorated the dining hall and shared foods from all over. Here are a few pictures:

Yamelit ready to perform a traditional dance from the jungle

Segundo and Edwin (right) representing the jungle of Peru

Nadia in traditional clothing the mountains

The Amigos Casita representing the coastal areas like Trujillo



Myself, Liz (director) and Sam (on-site Volunteer Coordinator)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Looking for an update?

I've abandoned this blog for some time. Mostly it's due to not having any 'real' information to share and feeling quite discouraged. I'm bound by not being able to share details and, truthfully, there are no real details to share... so it's a lose-lose situation.

There has been a lot of activity on the orphanage side of life. I suppose I should muster up some energy to blog about the events. However, on the adoption side of things - we are in the forever waiting mode. We are waiting for the US Embassy to issue an Article 5, where they assure they will be able to give our children visas to enter the country. We have been waiting for almost 2 months while they do an investigation. It's beyond frustrating as the clock is ticking on the amount of time we have left to complete the adoption - and we continue to pray for all of this to come to pass.

I will post when I have news that means something. Thanks for your prayers, encouragement and times when you scream with us and for us.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Windsor Road Christian Church

Tim Brooks and his wife adopted 3 sisters from Hogar de Esperanza about three years ago. Since then, Tim has kept connected with the orphanage by being the webmaster for www.perukids.com and has had it in his heart to return to Peru and serve. He and his oldest adopted daughter, Loren, led up a team from their church in Illinois and brought 25 people to the orphanage to share their talents. After spending many months emailing and coordinating their trip and activities, I was extremely blessed to be able to be in Peru while the group was here. They were very busy - painting classrooms, building a garage port for our bus, having VBS for the kids each day, holding medical training for some of the staff, playing with the kids and loving each person they came into contact with. I was touched by their open hearts and overwhelming generosity and made some beautiful friendships. Read about their trip and see pictures by visiting their missions blog http://wrcc-peru2009.blogspot.com . The group mentioned several times how the children touched their lives, but the children, staff and volunteers with never forget Windsor Road Christian and their selfless love!

If you or your family or church group would like to come serve at Hogar de Esperanza, please contact me! I would love to have you come and get to know this special place.

It's been 2 months and counting

And the waiting continues... I've (Robyn) been in Peru a little over 2 months. Believe it or not - our 'last' document (I800) was approved 1.5 weeks ago - but that's really not the 'last' thing to be done, apparently. Tons of little tiny things need to take place - filing of the visa photos, filing a DS230, re-filing the acceptance letter, paying the Visa fee, the US Embassy investigation of our case, an article 5 and an article 25... then Joel can travel - or so they say. I said I was done guessing - but it seems like our anniversary is a good date to hope for - October 5. However, my sister said to just keep telling people 'two weeks' in honor of the movie Money Pit.

I've been pretty busy while I've been in Peru - working with the administration on some upcoming changes for the ministry, working with our Volunteer Coordinator on creating manuals for some of our programs, visiting friends, and trying to not be depressed or disillusioned. I will try to post some updates on some of the activities happening here, at the orphanage and in Peru.

Please continue to pray for us, the kids, Joel and the whole entire process.

Monday, July 27, 2009

How much longer?

The questions used to be: when are you getting married? when are you having kids? how many kids will you be adopting? when will you be able to go to Peru to pick up the kids?

Now the question is: how much longer before you can go home?

I don't know the answer. I keep guessing and, basically, doing a poor job of it. We had a big delay and then a small miracle. As I explain it - people get confused and still don't understand where we are in the process. To tell you the truth, I barely understand myself. Our delay was a second request for more information. Our small miracle was the intial approval (from Peru) to adopt 5 siblings between the ages of 3 and 11. The next delay was that they didn't just go ahead and name the specific 5 on the approval. So, we have to wait for the official assignment and this week (Mon-Wed) all government offices are closed to celebrate Dia de Patriats, which celebrates their independence from Spain. Hopefully by the end of the week, we'll get our official assignment - and we can file our last document with the US Immigration office, which asks for the immigration of these specific children.

I hope and pray that Joel is able to travel to Peru at least by the last week of August - and then we'll be home 5 weeks later. Yet, again, another guess.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Quinceanero de Rocio

Last year, I was able to be a part of the 15th birthday celebration of Yessenia, who had been adopted to the United States in 2006. She came back to the orphanage to celebrate this important birthday in the Peruvian culture. This time, I was able to be here for the 15th birthday of Rocio, who still calls Hogar de Esperanza her home. Rocio stole my heart 3 years ago by singing to me each night that I spent at the orphanage and, now, we are celebrating her transition from a girl into a young woman. Her party was a collaboration of the staff, volunteers, and visitors - and celebrated with all the children at the orphanage.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Apart from our wonderful adoption - it is a pure pleasure to be at the orphanage. One of the wonderful blessings is to see all of the fruit of the countless hours of labor by the staff and volunteers over the past few years. I have been spending some time talking to different staff, children and volunteers and hearing about their experiences at the orphanage - the blessings and the challenges. I spent some time walking through the facility and observing all the physical changes that I've seen happen since my first visit in 2006 and contemplating all of the programs and organizational changes I've been able to be a part of. It is a wonderful feeling to take it all in. When the work gets tough or overwhelming and I think of all the things I still want to see happen - taking time to reflect on what God's already done is a huge encouragement and gift.

Pictured - kids from the orphanage on their way to school.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Back at the Orphanage

At this point, I can't write too many details - so the updates will be lacking a bit. However, I can say that I arrived at the orphanage the first day of July. Visiting with the new volunteers, laughing with the staff and hugging all the children has been wonderful - feels like home. I hugged a few very special children - who waited up for me the night I arrived. It was so hard to say goodnight and go to our separate rooms.

There's been another back up with the adoption process. Peru's official government office that handles adoptions has a new director and new staff. They have asked for, yet, another document. Our social worker and agency is working hard to get the document prepared and send it through the tedious legalization process. This just means another 2 week delay... and more waiting. Even though I am here, the waiting is still hard. Now we want Joel here and we want the process to go quickly so the children can start school on time. Every step is one step closer, but somehow it still feels a million steps away.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

My ticket is bought

I wanted to be in Peru by the end of June.... and I will be!! Although the adoption is not ready, yet, I am going to travel there to do some work for the orphanage and... just to be there. Peru is my other home - and I am overjoyed to finally be going back! Joel will join me when we get the approval of our I800 form - please pray that goes quickly! I may be gone through early/mid August, but will stay connected online.

More updates will be coming... so keep checking back!

ANOTHER medical report

This past Tuesday, we recieved the resolution for our adoption. Basically the Peruvian government approved us to adopt - pending another medical report for Joel and I. Yes - another physical and more HIV, TB and HEP tests. This will be the 3rd we've had in the past 10 months. It seems that the one we originally sent in looked unprofessional and like maybe it wasn't real. Luckily, we were able to get it re-done quickly (next day) and notarized. To speed up the process, I drove the report to Denver (2 hours) and had it certified by the Secretary of State, then over to the Peruvian Consulate to be legalized and Fed-Exed to Peru for approval.

What next? Well, that seems to be the only 'clarification' that will be needed. Next, they will officially assign us the children. We will file a I800 form to our government to request the immigration of these specific children. Upon approval of this form - the adoption will officially begin and Joel will get the 'okay' to go to Peru. We have no idea how long this will take - but we are a HUGE step forward.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The gift of a book

I had the honor to speak on behalf of Hogar de Esperanza to a group of middle school dual-language students. They wrote stories and created bi-lingual books for the children at the orphanage. I plan to deliver the books when I go to Peru for the adoption. I love the creativity and gifts others share!

Check out the story here!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Our dossier has been in Peru a little more than 2 weeks and is in the final steps of translation. The stack of papers that, now, represent our life will be submitted to SNA Thursday morning. I hope and pray that SNA will expedite our paperwork and that we will hear good news quickly.

I do not have control. This is a struggle for me. When I talk to the kids, I feel their disappointment, their lack of ability to understand why it's taking so long and my frustration that I can't do anything about it.

Even though I've never been pregnant, I'm sure there are similarities to a mother in her final month of pregnancy... exhausted, consumed and wondering when. When the children are finally home, I'm sure I'll forget all the pain of waiting.

But for now, I feel like I'm living with ghosts. The children's rooms are filled with their beds, toys and clothes - but the house is empty and quiet. My mind can tolerate no other thought than being with them again.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Delays and Paperwork

Seriously - the adoption process is definately a way to test one's patience, flexibility and ability to be kind.

Two weeks later than hoped, we get our documents back from the Secretary of State and Peru Consulate in Denver - only to find that 3 documents were unable to be legalized by the Peru Consulate in Denver. Instead, I have to send these papers to the Peru Consulate in Chicago - which delays us, yet another, week.

HOWEVER - our adoption agency said we could go ahead and Fed-Ex the majority of the dossier to Peru - yes, indeed, there is a bit of good news! Since all the documents have to be translated first, our person in Peru can go ahead and get started on what we have. Then, when we send the last 3 documents down, she will be ready to finish up. Finally, some good news - the only reason I'm not in a rage or breaking down into tears. The picture above is our dossier - every paper and copy is notarized or certified, then legalized by our Sec of State and then by the Peru Consulate.

The process from here?

- Dossier gets translated - finishing when the last 3 docs arrive. Could take 1-2 weeks.
- Dossier gets submitted to SNA - the officials in Peru - and 3 of their departments have to read through all of our paperwork and approve us.
- SNA officially assigns our children to us and sends us an acceptance letter
- We sign and return the acceptance letter
- We file a request for approval of the specific children from USCIS
- A little more paperwork
- Peru gives us a travel date and we're GONE - for 4-6 weeks!

Please pray for things to go quickly - for the kids who are waiting and for our sanity

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Notaries - please sign your name correctly

I heard that notaries can be the one reason documents are returned. For most of our documents, our notary was a wonderful lady from our church. She was so careful in signing each form correctly and making sure the wording was just right. We had 2 other documents that were signed by a notary from the Sheriff's department - as the documents were print-outs of our police background checks.

Well, those documents were rejected by the Secretary of State. Apparently the notary signed the document like a doctor and her signature on file didn't match. This was a huge disappointment - as I had hoped our documents would be going to Peru today. Instead, I'm waiting on this document and we're set back another week, which is an eternity in our world of wait.

...documents, notary, certify, apostille, authenticate...

All words that our in our daily vocabulary - maybe our hourly vocabulary. As we collect more documents for our official 'dossier' (which means the final packet of documents that will be used in Peru for the official assignment of kids and adoption) we have to have a notary for each one. Copies of our passports need a notary to say they are exact, true copies of original documents. Our medical exams and tests had to have a notary. The psychological evaluation (which we suprisingly passed) had to have a notary. The deed to our house, marraige certificates, and birth certificates all had to be certified with the fancy raised seal.

Then, here's what we do with all the notarized, raised seal documents:

FedEx all documents to the Secretary of State in which they were notarized. This office will, now, certify all the documents with their fancy seal. ($2 per page - 25 pages)

When they come back with the fancy seal, we FedEx all the fancy sealed documents to the Consulate of Peru in Denver. This office will authenticate the documents - hopefully they have a fancy seal, too. ($30 per page - 25 pages)

After each government office puts their seal of approval on each piece of paper, we finally can FedEx the documents to Peru - yes, the actual country. In Peru, the documents will be translated and given to MIMDES - the division that approves adoptions. Hopefully within a few weeks of receiving our paperwork, they will officially assign the children to us and we can jump on a plane!

Asking for more info is, apparently, a good thing

We asked everyone we know to pray that USCIS would approve our paperwork sooner than the 3 month expected wait. When we heard about the request for more information, we were worried it would be delayed. WRONG! Our approval form arrived one month and one week after they recieved our paperwork!!! Yes, we did a little dance.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

More fingerprints?

As I mentioned in a previous post, our paperwork is with USCIS. They sent a letter to us about a week ago, requesting more information. Usually, this is not a good thing, as it can delay the process. However, our agencies were on top of it and sent the needed documents in the same week. We also received a letter informing us of an appointment with INS for another set of fingerprints. Another set? This will be the 3rd time we've had our fingers rolled over the glass and impressions were made and saved in the system. Maybe someone forgot to push the 'save' button. The repetitive fingerprints, copies of birth certificates and setting appointments for, yet another, medical exam can be a little frustrating.

However... we also see it as a good sign. At least now we know that USCIS has actually looked at our paperwork, that they've taken it out of the stack of hundreds and given us some attention. At least we know we are one step closer to receiving their approval, which will lead us to some of the final steps in the US - finishing our dossier and sending it to Peru. Basically the dossier is more copies of documents - the LAST copies - and then we can head to Peru to embrace our children once again.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Community is life shared

Friends, family and strangers gathered with us to share this life and this adventure of adoption by hosting event in our honor. There was a band, tables full of balloons and pictures of our experiences in Peru, a silent auction, hundreds of baked goods, an amazing kids corner - including games and 2 bouncy castles and a wonderful dinner cooked by one of our dearest friends. Over 300 people came to show their support, share kind words and participate in the event. The evening was a success, but in more ways than you might think. The hugs, kind words, questions and excitement from so many people made us realize that our children are not just being adopted by Joel and I - they are being adopted by our community. We were introduced to new people who shared their own story of volunteering, their desire to serve and even their own adoption stories. We are overwhelmed with gratitude and humbled by the love and generosity that so many people have lavished on us. Our hearts are anxious to have our children home and to share this life with our community.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Keeping it general

In hopes to keep my blog open - and not have to reduce it to invites only - I need to be more general with information regarding our adoption plans. Yes - everything is still in the works, but we are 'technically' just in the beginning phases. Please know that when our paperwork is approved and children are assigned, we will definately be posting pictures and information about the children to share with all of you!

Thank you for your understanding. More news to come!

Monday, February 9, 2009

USCIS has our paperwork

Many countries in South America are part of the Hague Adoption Convention, making the adopting process even more in depth and intense. Our homestudy was completed and our two agencies hashed out the details to make sure everything was correct and in place. The State of Colorado approved our homestudy and now our paperwork is with USCIS. They say it's a 3 month wait for their approval. THREE MONTHS? I'm sure they have stacks and stacks of paper representing people, like me, waiting for some kind of answer to their immigration and adoption situations. However, three months seems like an eternity - especially when the kids are waiting. We pray some miracle happens and we receive our approval before 3 months - but, if not, we will just have to pray for more patience and that our little ones have some understanding and comfort.

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Adoption Process Begins

In December, we 'officially' began the adoption process of 5 siblings at the orphanage. We couldn't start until then because things like having a house and a job seem to be pretty important to the adoption authorities.

To start, I'd like to explain how the adoption process works and clear up some misconceptions that are out there. Individuals can not adopt directly from the orphanage, but must go through agencies and the government within their own country. The cost of international adoption can be pretty hefty, but all of this money goes to the payment of filing fees, lawyers, agencies, documents, exams, investigations and traveling. The orphanage does not receive money. We are not paying for the children, but rather for the process. And, oh the process! We are lucky to have 2 agencies to help us through it all. Littlest Angels International , here in Colorado, handles our homestudy and Villa Hope , in Alabama, will handle the international side of the adoption.

Joel and I gathered all of our initial documents; clearances from every state we've lived in since we were 18 years old, medical exams, birth certificates, our marriage certificates, proof of parenting classes, CPR and first aid cards, FBI fingerprint clearances and more. We asked for references, filled out thorough paperwork on our personal relationships and family history and sat through lengthy interviews about who we are and what kind of parents we hope to be. Although we had only been living in our house for a few weeks - we prepared the children's rooms and, with the help of friends, we were able to get the house in order for our homestudy to be completed by the end of December. And this is just the beginning.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Moved In!

We took ownership of our new home the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Over 14 old and new friends came and helped us move in. A couple from our church brought lunch for the group and a few ladies worked hard to get all of the kitchen unpacked, washed and put away! A few days later, my brother-in-law, Jeff Hanson, and his family came to share Thanksgiving with us and helped us in our effort to repaint and unpack. Our new home was filled with friends, family and laughter as we shared Thanksgiving dinner together.

At the end of the week, Joel and I felt overwhelmed. We weren't overwhelmed by the work we had left or by the events of moving in. We were overwhelmed with a feeling of true thankfulness. I couldn't stop crying as I struggled with feeling blessed and then feeling guilty for all we had. A year in Peru proved that our lives can be rich and full without a big house and without all the 'stuff.' A dear friend reminded us of God's generosity and that our new home was a way to provide for the 5 children we plan to provide a home for. To others, it may not appear that we are living extravagantly, but Joel and I disagree. We feel we have been given more than we could have hoped for - more than just a beautiful home, jobs and all the stuff. God has blessed us with a full life, His grace in our failures and the opportunity to have a family of our own.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Blog Continues...

Since October, our lives have been a whirl of activity and we continue to try to get settled. We want to keep the blog current - letting others follow our adoption journey and keep up on all that is happening. So - here we go again! I apologize for the 2 month delay!