A week, that is all it has been! One WEEK! A full one at that. We landed in Lima last Sunday at 1am. I am always amazed at how much I feel a sense of belonging while I’m in the air, either going to the States or coming to Peru. I read a book about exile and expats once that explained something similar and this time around I truly felt it. I’m not so much from here because I have been gone for so long and things have changed so much, and I’m not so much from the U.S. because there is so many things that differentiate myself from, at least those in my close circle. I’m not saying its bad but sometimes it can get lonely. Why was I thinking about all this you ask? Well I just want to make sure I understand that feeling as much as I can so I can identify it in them, maybe.
Anyway, moving on to telling you all how this week went, what we learned, what we miss, and what we want. We flew to Trujillo, which is where our kids are from, on Monday after our first session with the Director of General Adoptions here in Lima. That meeting was a bit disheartening since we learned that the timeline we had was pretty set in stone and there was no way of doing this quicker than 5 weeks. We were in Trujillo that night, the flight was 45 minutes, but a bus ride or car ride would have been 8 hours because well….Peru. I have only been there once as a child for a swim meet and I shared that with Chris, but somehow he heard “I have lived there, using public transport and knowing streets”
Chris (the whole week): “where is that?”, What is that building?” What road is that on?”
Me: “You are killing me smalls”, “Dude I said I was 8 when I stayed here for 4 days, what do you want from me.”
Tuesday morning we first had to go to a government building to sign the start of our long end of the process. We were then free to finally travel to the orphanage and meet our kids. It took 25 minutes to get there…….Actually we can now say it took 5 years and one month to get there. Yes, that was the distance in time and 3,386 in miles. We had finally arrived! And they were ready, soooo ready for us. After an initial meeting at which we felt the whole world had disappeared and it was just us and them, we looked up to see the entire staff in tears. They shared with us that they thought all those delays meant we had either changed our minds or had not been cleared to adopt them (AKA a failed adoption) and they would have to explain this to them with a psychologist.
Tueday: After signing more papers, we were allowed to leave with them out of the orphanage. I immediately had the same panic and shock I felt when, after having Charlie, the hospital wanted me to take him home all by myself. What the What? The day went surprisingly well! It felt somewhat natural. It helps that I speak Spanish of course but it was mostly Chris’ calm and natural demeanor that made it fun and comfortable for everyone. At the end of the day neither Chris nor I wanted to drop them back off at that place. After hearing their story and seeing where they lived for 3 years (they were in another place for 2 before that) we just wanted to have them with us.
Their orphanage (albergue) is called Hogar de Esperanza (house of hope). It is located in Salaverry Trujillo near a fishing port and, for 2 years now, next door to a Coal factory. Yes, coal. The orphanage now operates entirely on charity/state contributions since the philanthropist douchebag that started it decided he was now bored with it and pulled out with 2 months notice. Honestly, his dad should have done the same! I know, I know, that’s mean of me! But really, who does that to orphan children! Anyway back to the coal discussion. Because of this factory, their entire playground and activity areas are completely covered in a black film that I’m sure can’t be healthy for children. Lack of funding has also made the grass areas bare and non existent, so mainly they play in black dirt. Do you see why we were so hesitant to leave them back there that night? Would you leave your kids there for even one night? Well mine have been there long enough.
Wednesday: We got up early to go back and get them out for the day and we were surprised to find out that the psychologist had made her recommendation for us to be able to keep them with us from then on. They were with us in the hotel until we departed on Thursday night after their goodbye party.
Thursday: We flew to Lima as a family of 5 (6 if you count my sweet Charlie, who has been skyping with the kiddos since). Their first flight went well, granted it was only 50 minutes. They were so shell shocked with everything from sensor opening and closing doors, elevators and escalators, to planes and the crazy Lima traffic.
We are now in Lima in our comfortable apartment where we can start getting them in a routine that will work for us all and I’m happy to say, so far so good. We are getting to know their personalities well and what they like and don’t like. Chris is learning so much Spanish and they are picking up some english just for him. This is what we know of them so far:
Y: Is quite and dainty. She is quite content playing with her dolls and coloring. She will say if someone is bothering her but we are still trying to get her to tell us if she doesn’t like something rather than just eat it.
J: Is funny and playful. He smiles a lot and likes to tell us everything he has experience thus far….in his life….in his whole life….his ENTIRE life. Uhm we are grateful he likes to talk to us and we are learning a lot about them because of it but WOW, Charlie has competition.
L: This one is a bit of a hot mess. She likes cars and playing with soccer balls and getting dirty, yup, Chris noticed I will get along with her best! I knew she was my spirit animal when I found her legit footloose dancing in the bathroom after her bath. Now that is joy!
So that’s it so far guys! We are getting along as best we can here. Pictures will come soon, right now we can’t yet have their pics shown, but soon!! Here are some pictures of the orphanage so you can see what we saw.