Our quiet Christmas season ended with a bang as everything in Isabel’s adoption fell into place as the government in Colombia came back from the holiday vacation. We are now racing to the finish line of Isabel’s adoption. Our last few steps were all checked off the list in the last four weeks.
Isabel’s I800 application was approved. She meets the legal definition of the word orphan and is eligible to apply for citizenship to the United States.
The National Visa Center received Isabel’s information and opened an application for us to apply for a visa on her behalf.
An ‘Article 5’ letter was issued by the U.S. Embassy in Colombia stating they have reviewed all of Isabel’s adoption paperwork and it meets the requirements of the Hague Intercountry Convention for Adoption. This was the final check of her adoption to make sure that it meets ethical standards.
We have made our travel plans. That was a whirlwind. With the help of a very capable travel agent, I booked 12 roundtrip plane tickets and a one way ticket for Joe to fly to Bogota two weeks from today. The children and I will stay for exactly two weeks.
We will meet Isabel on Valentine’s Day in her home city, and spend some time completing the “integration” process. Once that legal process is complete we will all fly back to Bogota. Joe will stay in Colombia to complete the immigration process to the U.S., and I will fly home with the other 11 kids. His timeline for arriving home is not clear. We are told it will occur somewhere between March 2-9, 2018. I don’t know that for sure though, so I am preparing to become single mom to 11 children for the foreseeable future.
The decision to adopt Isabel looks insane to people who only see our family from the outside and don’t know us in real life. I understand that. It is not insane to those inside of this family, and to those who know us well. I don’t know how to state that in any other way. She is worth it. We understand the risks of this. We also understand what we all stand to gain. This is a path we have walked before, many times. No two experiences with adoption are every quite the same. Could this process, including the very expensive trip we are about to take, be a disaster? Absolutely. Is it worthwhile for my children to see that disaster, live it, breathe it in, and experience the adoption process from this perspective? Absolutely.
I have made plans for accessing top notch medical care in Colombia. This is not the Colombia of a decade ago. There are wonderful medical facilities there. We are a four hour flight from the U.S. Colombia is physically safer then it ever has been. I know that, for many people, this looks like an irresponsible decision. All I can say to that is, we live large and love bravely in this house. My kids will be alright. I will make sure of it.
The last step in the process is to just keep on trying.
We will document every step of this journey right here. We’re all in for Isabel. Love makes us brave.
–FullPlateMom, who can’t wait to be mom to TWELVE.