The first day in Bogota started with a trip to the passport office to assist a family in obtaining their 15th month old son's passport. Then to San Mauricio to finalize details for the trip and have lunch with the staff. Then the best part of the day.... shoe shopping!! It's amazing to see the store manager's face when you walk in and let him know you want to purchase 150 pairs of shoes. I've never had such amazing customer service! Sadly the options were limited with the budget and sizes required, but we got everything we needed plus an additional 20% discount off the entire purchase! Lucy Martinez, our legal representative in Bogota, is an amazing negotiator.
After shoe shopping it was off to meet with another adoptive family who had just finalized the adoption of their 3 children ages 2, 3, and 4. My goodness how 3 and 4 year old girls can talk! Having spent years working with the families and assisting them with paperwork it's incredible to actually get to see the family in person all together. By tomorrow both families will be on their way back to their homes in the US with their children to start the real journey!
230am the next morning Beth Nichols, Gladney adoptive mom of 5 Colombian siblings, arrived in Bogota. She is volunteering in Bogota with the Colombia program as well as with the Service Trip. Beth called a couple months ago because she had raised money and prepared to take time away for a mission trip to Peru which had been cancelled. She wanted to know if there was any opportunities for her to assist Gladney abroad. With 7 adoptive families getting ready to travel to Bogota how could we resist a volunteer who is not only knowledgeable about the adoption process, but also spent 7 weeks in Bogota for their own process! Beth will be our Floater assisting adoptive families with their appointments as needed and in the downtime translating for our team at San Mauricio. Have you ever considered giving up a week of your busy summer to help children around the world? Would you like to spend time at Gladney volunteering? If so contact Mary Ownbey at firstname.lastname@example.org .
The next day Lucy was off to meetings with ICBF and Beth went to meet with an adoptive family for their embassy appointment. It was a long day of appointments and it turns out the shoe factory didn't have the last 10 pairs of shoes so they are going around to all the stores in Bogota to find the last few. There is no way we can let down 10 kids so today we're on a mission to get the last 10 pairs.
Tonight the team arrives at 11:30 and 11:50 which means they'll be at the hotel around 2am? :) It's going to be a fun morning tomorrow at 9am getting everyone up!
I'm still not able to upload photos so check back for those...