The big day today!
We were up early, showered and headed down for breakfast. We ended up buying a box of Cornflakes to have at breakfast, since the only cereal they serve are “Zucaritas”, essentially the same as “frosted flakes” – cornflakes coated in sugar. We would prefer something wheat based like Weetbix, but nobody seems to sell anything like that in the supermarkets. Cornflakes plus whatever else they serve for breakfast will have to do.
We hurried back to our room to get dressed for our big meeting – a driver was picking us and the Danish family up at 8:30am to take us all to Chiquitines.
Our car arrived pretty much right on time, we all managed to fit in okay, it was an 8-seat people mover with plenty of room in the back (although not as much headroom as I really needed), and thankfully it had good air-conditioning. The shirt and trousers I was wearing were making me rather hot in the humid weather. Typical – it has been relatively cool since we arrived, and the one day I have to get dressed up, it turns on the heat early!
The trip was largely uneventful, we were kept busy talking to Andres about the things we saw and answering all his questions. A huge difference to the last time we did this journey to meet him for the first time – we were both so nervous, we thought we might be sick back then!
After picking up our translator and guide, Magnolia – we arrived at Chiquitines – actually starting to get a bit nervous by now.
The Danish family had their meeting first, so we sat in the lobby trying to keep cool (in temperature) and calm – very difficult being made to wait!
After about half an hour or so, it was our turn – Magnolia took our camera to go and take some photos of our daughter getting ready. The director of the orphanage went through the final paperwork for us to take custody of our child pending the court case to make the adoption official and then it was time to meet our daughter.
All of the staff crowded in to the director’s office for the introduction. They brought our daughter, Nicol in to us and took lots of photos of our happy family.
Andres was so good during this time – he got a little nervous with all the people and the fuss, but he still did so well and was genuinely interested in his baby sister.
One thing we noticed immediately was how light she was – especially after carrying Andres around so much. He is a very solid muscular boy (and incredibly strong), so is surprisingly heavy for his height. To then hold Nicol who of course is so much smaller, she felt almost weightless. Interestingly though, I think she might actually be heavier than Andres was when we picked him up – she is nearly a month older than he was anyway.
After some photos, the staff left us alone for a while to get to know our daughter, Nicol. She was very interested in what was going on around her and very attentive.
Finally, we headed out and we all piled back into the car with our babies and headed back to the hotel.
Nicol was quite happy during the trip. Andres insisted that she sit on his lap, so he sat in the middle with Nicol sitting on his lap and leaning on Leanne. Leanne held on to both of them. She was interested in what was happening around her, but eventually fell asleep.
When we arrived back at the hotel, we said hello to a few of the staff who were very happy to see the new babies and then retired to our room. Nicol was fascinated by Andres’s silly antics and he had no trouble making her laugh.
The first thing we have to do is to try and work out a routine for her. We found last time with Andres that the routine they use at the orphanage just doesn’t seem to work outside of that environment – not because of what they do or don’t do, but because our environment is different and there are too many external influences which dictate what works and what doesn’t. So, we use their schedule as a guide but try and work out something that works for us.
After lunch, we all had a long sleep – it had been an exhausting day.
Before dinner we were able to do Skype calls with Leanne’s parents and then my parents so they could see their new grand-daughter. It is so great to be able to talk to people and see the online from such distance – makes it possible to share events like these with family far away.
One thing we found immediately is that Nicol seems to enjoy nappy changes immensely. We just need to bring out the nappy mat and she starts smiling and kicking her legs. Lie her down on it and she almost bounces herself off the bed with all the excited kicking. It is such a change from what Andres was like – he was so placid and easy to manage, while we actually needed at least two sets of hands to be able to change Nicol with all the kicking and arm waving. I’m sure we’ll learn how to manage a nappy change on our own – indeed, we’re going to need to work it out – there won’t always be both of us around at the time she needs changing!
Here is a 3 minute time lapse video of our drive from the Hotel Pension Stein to Chiquitines, camera mounted on the rear window of our hire car: