Monday, November 26, 2007

We Got Sentencia!!!

Hola Friends & Family!

Well, I think we may have broke some sort of record! After our papers being officially in the courts just 6 days, we received Sentencia! Sentencia is the final notice bringing us in to sign before the judge that makes us official parents to our three children! It also starts the ball rolling for us to be able to come HOME!!!
Typically the court process takes up to 25 business days. The court process starts after the Integration Meeting, which takes place about a week after the children are received (you may remember us talking about that meeting in a previous post). Once the Integration meeting is over, the clock 'officially' starts ticking on the court process. Having Sentencia within 2 weeks is considered lucky - that the process moved very fast! Having Sentencia in only 6 business days is almost unheard of. Our dear friend Tamara from Massachusetts has been here for 6+ weeks already, and still has up to 10 business days before her case will be completed. She received a slow court that had an additional step (over the other courts). It is truly the luck of the draw...but of course we believe there is more than luck going on.

It will be great to come home! Great for the kids to be in their new home, great to get a routine established, great to have the process completed and the children officially ours, officially Americans, officially 'forever'! There are also some tangible things that are difficult in our current situation...bedtime being one of them! It is hard to put 3 kids to bed in the same room! It is hard to enforce our rules when other families living in the same house have very different rules for their children. It is hard to get a routine going when every day has different stuff going on in the house (new families coming, old families leaving, outings, parties, etc.). Most of all we miss home, friends, families, everyone...WE CAN'T WAIT! Thanks for your prayers - we cannot attribute our quick process to anything but those!

So what happens now? Tomorrow AM bright and early we go to court to sign the Sentencia documents. Immediately after we FedEx the Sentencia documents to the Records Department of the Region where Laura & Juancho were born (Meta Region, Cumaral) which is about a 4.5 hour drive from here on unsafe roads. We have to FedEx the documents to request new official birth certificates that display their new last name - Dressel! Once those are received (probably Thursday) we will be able to apply for their passports on Friday, along with have their US Embassy doctors appointments. Monday we will apply for the visas for the children, and those will be ready on Tuesday to pick up. Pending no delays to the plan laid out above, we will be flying home on Wednesday, December 5th. A day late for my birthday - but a GREAT present nonetheless!!!
Today we went to Archie's Pizza for lunch. It is a spot nearby where they have a Children's Kitchen. The kids go in and pay a nominal fee (about $2 each) and they learn how to make their own pizza! The chef leads them through all the steps in a fun child-friendly way. They pound the dough, flatten it, throw it up in the air, all the great things pizza chefs do to make great crusts! Afterwards they put on their toppings - tomato sauce (called salsa napoliteano), cheese (queso) and whatever toppings they choose. Our three all chose pineapple (pina) and ham (jamon). They were very proud of their pizzas...and ate them all! (except Angie - she only ate half!).

This morning, before Archie's, Robert and I went to an emerald dealer in the city. He is very official and top notch - he doesn't even have a retail store - he sells by appointment only! We felt very upper crust when he sent his driver to pick us and another family up. Did you know that emeralds and rubies are amongst the rarest precious stones? Did you also know that Colombia provides 70% to 80% of all the emeralds in the world? Did you also know that these facts make emeralds (good quality emeralds, like the ones this dealer had) pretty expensive?! There were BEAUTIFUL stones in his collection - he had loose stones and stones set in rings, necklace pendants and earrings...they were all gorgeous. Gorgeous color, clarity & brillance. But all with price tags to make you gulp! There was a ring priced at $22,000! One of the loose stones itself was over $12,000! A little out of our league, don't ya think?!? But fun to look at!

But what a great note our day ended on...with SENTENCIA! Hip Hip Hooray! The kids are very excited to come home to Minnesota! We are going to make a paper chain to count down the days!

Good Night! With LOVE from Bogota!

PS - the pictures below are from making pizza's at Archie's earlier today!

Juancho, Laura & Angie at their 'prep table'

Pounding their pizza dough with their elbows (they also used their chins, their cheeks, and of course, their hands!)

Juancho practicing throwing (and thankfully catching) his pizza dough!

Juancho at the table enjoying his 'appetizer' (yogurt)

Laura at the table also enjoying her 'appetizer'

Angie with a big grin for everyone!


mnmeadows said...

Yippie Skippie!!

Beth said...

Congratulations on your speedy process. We have been following your blog. We are a waiting family in OH for two Colombian siblings. We will continue to be praying for your journey. Eric and Beth Hollis

'Lil Hawk said...

AMEN!!! ALLELUIA!!! PRAISE THE LORD!!! I am so happy for all of you!!! What a FANTASTIC birthday present, Holly!!! (Can you tell I'm excited with all the exclaimation marks!!!!????)

Lisa said...

I am so happy for you all! And, we at TreeHouse cannot wait for you to bring your precious babies home so we can meet them! We miss you, and love watching the videos, not only to see Angie, but to hear your laugh too. Sara and I decided yesterday that we miss it very much around here...

Donna said...

Yeah!!! Congratulations!!! Yes that is very fast for Bogota courts. I'm so happy things have gone so well for you guys and I am sure you are excited to get home. Take a deep breath and get through the next week. It is a busy week, but you will be home soon.

Jill said...

I'm so happy for you guys. What a blessing to have this part finished. I can't wait for you guys to come back!

Jes said...

Yeah! God is good. We are excited and looking forward to your return and to the future as we get to meet and know your children!