Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Encuentro Today!!!! (Colombia Adoption)
Our 'Encuentro' time was at 3pm, so the lawyer came to pick us up at 2pm, and we went to get a cake and some drinks, and then went to meet the orphanage. In our case, J is at La Case de la Madre y el Nino in Bogota, which she was transferred to from the Bambi Foundation in Cali. The Casa had us bring clothes for J, and J gets to choose among them on what she wants to wear to our first meeting.
So we dropped the clothes off and went to speak to the social worker and psychologist, all while feeling a bit anxious to get past all that administrative stuff and finally meet J in person.
The social worker said that they showed the clothes to J, and she chose a nice dress to wear, and that she said to them, "Today is an important day, so I will wear a dress."
Here is the photo they took of her just before she ran into our room to meet us:
Then we heard her in the hallway, and she was peeking around a corner to try and see us in our room, and they said she was ready...and then she ran in and gave us a huge hug and we got to then spend time with her. What a wonderful moment!
She then took us by the hand and showed us around the orphanage, the room she slept in, where she played or had school lessons, and the toys she played on.
In the USA, this day, the day you meet your child for the first time, the day you get to bring your child away with you, is called 'Gotcha Day'. So, March 8th will be our Gotcha Day, and it is celebrated each year, like a birthday or anniversary is, because it is an important family anniversary.
J then got to go home with us to our hotel, and will stay with us through the 'integration' period. So tonight we are playing games with her, and getting to know her. We are staying at the hotel Zuetana, which specializes in supporting families in the adoption process. I will write more about Zuetana and our experience there in my next post about our 'integration' period.
We will have 1 week of 'integration' before we get official custody and then travel to La Mesa for the adoption court appointments.