Colombia Day 22 – First Day Back in Bogota

The Hotel Paris in Bogota

Well, our first day back in Bogota has been an adventure. Breakfast was provided by the Hotel Paris staff as are all of the meals, just like at Hotel Pension Stein in Cali. We met several families from the states this morning. Many of them are returning for their second or third child, so there are a lot of older children here in the Hotel Paris. It is very full.

We were surprised to learn that several of them have been here in Bogota for more than eight weeks! The court system here in Bogota is much different than in Cali. They told us when we started that the court process in Colombia could be up to eight weeks long if everything took the maximum about of time allowed by the law, and in Bogota I guess it does. They are always surprised to learn that we are only in our fourth week and are preparing to return home. We, on the other hand, are very grateful that God worked everything out the way that He did.

Speaking of which, we also learned that starting July 15th, the passport process in Colombia for adopted children will begin to take eight days! That is a lot different than the 30 minutes it took for us to get Cameron’s passport. All of that said, we would still adopt another child from Cali in a heart beat if the money were available to do so. Maybe it will be someday and we can adopt a sister for Cameron.

Anyway, after breakfast we waited for Isabel, our Bogota contact with Bethany Christian Services, to call on us. She came around 10 AM and we talked for awhile about the next couple of days. Isabel is a very sweet lady, and we look forward to working with her in the final days of our process. Isabel told us that the American Ambassador was having a Fourth of July party at his house and that American citizens were invited. She said that it is a very nice event and asked if we wanted to go. We said sure, but when we tried to get the address from the US Embassy, they didn’t want to give it out. They said the event had been change to Thursday, so it didn’t matter anyway, but is was fun to think about for a moment.

Many of the museums where closed today because of the holiday so we decided to head out on our own to explore a shopping mall and market that some of the families told us about. We didn’t even think about the big black clouds that were rolling in as we left the hotel on foot. About four blocks from the hotel the rain began to come down hard so we slipped into a big grocery store to wait out the showers. Most people in there right minds would have turned around and gone back to the hotel, but not us! When the rain let up a little bit, we headed down the street in the direction we thought the mall was, stopping at times to huddle under our little umbrella when the rain got heavy. We must have been a sight to see! However, we weren’t the only crazy people out in the rain. There must have been some event today because hundreds of people, young and old, were out riding their bikes in the rain. One side of the street was closed for the riders heading in the opposite direction as we were going. About eight blocks later we finally made it to the mall. We were wet and quite out of breath! We had forgotten how much higher Bogota is then Cali and the thinner air took its toll on us! But it was fun! =)

We explored the mall for a bit (it was really big) then decided to get some lunch. We were going to go to the mall’s food court, but it was so intimidating. Fast food means the people in line want you to order fast and there was no way that was going to happen! So we decided to sit down at a pizza place. Not wanting to miss a Colombian experience we ordered the Colombian calzone, which turned out to be a mix of meats and vegetables. It was really good. We also ordered another calzone just in case we didn’t like the first one. I figured a regular beef calzone would be safe. Turns out the word Burger is pretty much the same in English as it is in Spanish, so we ended up with a Hamburger calzone! It had it all, hamburger, lettuce, onion, tomato, pickles, and mustard! It was good, but not what we expected. The experience was fun and it gave us a chance to see how Cameron would do in a restaurant with just us. Of course, he was fine and really liked the little cheese appetizer that we ordered. =)

After lunch we wondered around a little more hoping the rain would stop so that we could check out the market. The other families said it was a great place to buy authentic Colombia items. Unfortantely, it only started raining harder and Cameron finally went to sleep in the stroller, so we decided to take a taxi back to the hotel.

Taxis are always fun. Both in Cali and here we just put a couple of business cards in our pockets and hand them to the drivers. They always smile politely and take us back to the hotels. When they do ask questions, we just smile politely and say “si” hoping that they aren’t asking us if we want to take a tour of the city! So far, so good. =)

Back at the hotel we tried to put Cameron down for a nap, but he wasn’t having anything to do with that. We think that he is having trouble with the gypsy lifestyle that his new parents seem to be living. It will be good to get him home and adjusted to his new life.

After a couple of hours of entertaining Cameron, we ate dinner, gave Cameron a bath and put him to bed with his new little elephant we bought him today at the mall. We are going to name him Colombia the Elephant, or maybe just Bogota, he hasn’t decided yet. Cameron likes to bite the elephant’s nose, so we will see how long he lasts.

Unfortunately, in all of the craziness of the past 24 hours, daddy forgot to take the camera to the mall today so we don’t really have any new pictures. Hopefully daddy won’t forget it tomorrow as we plan to go to the ICBF national headquarters to pick up our final conformity letter and then off to the doctor’s office for Cameron’s pre-visa visit (is it a sign of insanity to talk about yourself like that? =). If all goes well tomorrow, we will plan to visit the US Embassy on Wednesday morning to apply for Cameron’s visa.

More tomorrow…thanks for your continued prayers. We hope to be home soon.