Welcome Home Johan Mateo

Welcome Home Johan Mateo
March 12, 2010 - Cars make me happy!

Feliz en los brazos de Mami

Feliz en los brazos de Mami

Todo la Familia

Todo la Familia
Enjoying the day at Monserrate

Our View on Adoption

Adoption is a wonderful metaphor for our salvation in Jesus. We are all adopted sons and daughters of God, brought fully into His family and loved unconditionally. We hope and pray that we honor God in this journey and come to know more deeply the depth of His love and our true identity in Him through this awesome experience.

"I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty." 2 COR 6:18

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Heading home

We are happy and a bit sad as well to be heading home with Johan Mateo -- happy for him to get to know his new home, and sorry for all of us to be leaving our "second home" of Colombia. 

What a great month full of memories. We capped off our time with a visit from Gigi, and pretty quick she and Johan were buds. We stayed at Abuelita's house in Bogota for a few days and then spent a wonderful long weekend in Villa de Leyva, an old, preserved colonial town about 3 hours away in Boyoca. Pics to come. Now our last day is filled with packing and a last chance to eat arepas, roast chicken, papas saladas, REAL aquacate, etc. Tomorrow... enchiladas!

Mike Oakes

Monday, April 5, 2010

Sentencia Day, Florencia Caqueta, March 31

Sent from my iPhone

Diary: April 1 - Fools on a train

Thursday – Up early and took the Turistren from Usaquen to Zipaquera with Mariela, Tio Alvaro and Manuel. Fun 2 hour ride on the old steam train into the beautiful countryside north of Bogota – musicians played vallenato, ladies sold homemade empanadas, etc... 

From Zipaquera, we took a bus to the salt mine in Nemocon, a cute little town 25 minutes away. We toured the active salt mine, which was beautiful and interesting.

After a tour, we bussed back to Zipaquera, got takeout and ate in the train on the way home. Good times. 

Diary: March 31 - Sentencia Day

Wednesday – Mami flew in the morning to Florencia. She almost didn’t make it due to heavy rains in Caqueta but finally arrived, about 3 hours late, at 2pm, giving her 2 hours to get everything done. The Sentencia was finalized and JOHAN MATEO IS OURS! The civil registration office was closed, though, so Diego, our lawyer in Florencia, will finalize everything on Monday. Mami flew back and arrived at the hotel at 8pm. 

Meanwhile in Bogota, Abuelita came over at noon and took Papi and the girls to Santa Fe, a fancy shopping center. We had lunch and tried to go to Divercity, kind of a mall-based Disney land, but it was packed because of Semana Santa. So we had ice cream - Johan was crazy for the chocolate – and did a little shopping. Came home and waited for Mami. 

Diary: March 29-30

Monday – Mami went to the dentist, while Laura from Zuetana gave all the kids an empanada and arepa cooking class. Yummy stuff.

Tuesday – Relaxed morning. Papi took Johan to his last gymnastics class, while Mami took the girls – along with Antje and Paula - to Norberto’s for a fancy haircut and style session. The city is starting to slow down for Semana Santa, with shops starting to close and people leaving town. 

Diary: March 27-28

Saturday – Spent the day at Romel and Alejandra’s house on the northern edge of Bogota. Saw Edward, 14 years old now and getting bigger but now real change in his situation. Played some games, ate dinner and had a good time, especially Camila and Manuel. Johan did well but had trouble napping in a place besides his bed.

Sunday – Beautiful day for a long Cyclovia trip. We walked up Calle 116 to Usaquen. We walked through the traditional market, did a little shopping, ate obleas and arroz con leche., saw some little puppies for sale, doggie tricks and jugglers in the plaza. Really cool place. 

Then Mami headed home with the kids, while Papi rented a bike and rode south along the Septima to 70th street and back, stopping at a church for an outdoor Palm Sunday service. Camila and Gisele spent the night at Abuelitas, and Mami, Papi and Mateo went on a “date”. We went back to Usaquen, to a cool restaurant overlooking the plaza called Tinaja y Tazon. Johan ate at least half of Mami’s bandeja paisa, took a little walk then home to sleep. 

Diary - March 26 - Monserrate

Friday – Big news, we heard that Mami can travel down to Florencia next week for the Sentencia (the signing of the adoption papers making the adoption legal and final). This was a big surprise considering next week is Semana Santa, but the courts in Caqueta are open (the only state in Colombia where the courts are working this week!)

In the afternoon, we went with Sylvia and Jaime to Monserrate, met Mariela. The kids got their pictures taken on “Mateo” the llama, then we rode the cable car to the top. All the stations of the cross were being repainted for Semana Santa. Day was hazy and became increasingly foggy, rained a bit. Postponed visit to La Candelaria.

Diary: March 24-25

Wednesday – big family park day in the morning with the Pfeiffers and Ybacetas, everyone had a big time. Mami took Johan home early for his morning nap, then we had school time. Went back to the pizza playground place for lunch, met Livia and Abuelita. New shoes for Johan’s little feet in the afternoon and then back home. The heat really took it out of us all. Dinner and put kids to bed early, then played Farkle with the Pfeiffers, actually had some semblance of adult time.

Thursday – Johan is still eating well, and increasingly fun and funny. Loves tickling sessions, playing hide and seek with Camila and Gisele, and anything involving cars. His “little devil” side is starting to come out a little, including biting a few times (usually Camila when she tries to stop him from doing something he shouldn’t). But overall as sweet as ever and attaching great. Today we had gymnastics for Johan – he’s showing some improvement in coordination but needs lots of work on strength, enjoyed class a lot. Gisele had swimming class, swam like a fish. Then Camila did gymnastics. Teacher was very impressed with her skills and encouraged us to continue her in classes. 

Diary - March 23

Entegracion day at ICBF, went with whole family and met with social worker. We have been so blessed with a really smooth transition. Johan Mateo is blossoming, and the folks at ICBF noted the difference in his face and countenance. We got our necessary paperwork to continue with the court process down in Florencia, which by all accounts is going smoothly. We might be ready to go by mid-April or even earlier. After that went and had Johan checked for parasites, results negative which is good news, just hope he starts gaining some weight. He seems a little heavier, and eating certainly isn’t a problem. 

Integration day at ICBF Bogota - March 23, 2010

Diary - March 22

Monday – Big day, went with kids, Abuelita, Alvaro, Romel and Alejandra and their kids to Chicaque Park, a nature reserve south of Bogota. Strikingly beautiful, we had a big hike down from the cloud forest, dropped probably 1500 feet along a pretty rough trail, took about 2 hours, tiring especially with the kids. 

Camila and Gisele did great, actually kept pace with Manuel. Papi carried Johan Mateo in the Baby Bjorn, and he was a little trooper and seemed to really enjoy being outdoors. At the bottom we ate lunch in a cool restaurant overlooking a further drop into a valley, then luckily took a jeep back up the mountain to the top. Everyone was exhausted by day’s end.