Saturday, May 24, 2008

Focus on the positive

With all the stress of trying to get our case moving, it's easy to get caught up those details. One overwhelmingly positive constant in our lives, though, is Maya and her development. She's such a happy little pickle, our little bubbalicious, and she charms every person she meets. We are frequently interrupted in cafes and shops by people who comment on her beautiful eyes, her big smile, how cute she is, etc. Ahmed's Spanish phrases very quickly include:
Niño o niña? Cuánto tiene? Que hermosa! Que linda! Que preciosa! Es una muñeca!
Maya responds to all the attention by grinning and happily being lugged about by shop assistants/waitresses who insist on walking around with her. She's still too small to suffer any separation anxiety.

We also often get comments: "She looks just like you" to Ahmed. I think she looks just like herself, cutest little button nose (Ahmed and I have big honkers!), big bright eyes, whose colour I really can't work out. In daylight they're almost blue, other times they're grey, or even green. One cafe assistant describes them as 'aceituna', olive, which seems a perfect description. She hasn't got much hair, and a bald patch on the back of her head. Tiny little arms and legs, that flap and flail about when she's excited, which is a lot. A fist that she loves to suck on - our super sucky baby. She loves toys that make a noise, especially her rattle, and she's now able to hang onto her toys and wave them about. She's meeting all the milestones on or before the right time and is such a delightful baby. We're still pinching ourselves that she's truly a part of our lives. Despite all the setbacks with the proceedings, we are so lucky.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Paperchase #5

No, there truly is nobody else in the Tijuana visa office who can issue those visas, and now it's Friday anyway, so let's just wait till Monday to go and meet this woman, fresh from Shanghai, and see if we can get them. We arranged to go into the visa office with Aida on Monday morning.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Paperchase #4

Ahmed was fortunate enough to get the spring term off from teaching at his University. In its place, he'll be one of the few teachers teaching the summer semester. That's the time of year when Abu Dhabi and Dubai thin out as people escape the intense heat in June, July and August, if they possibly can.

We were certain that we would do the two main official parts of the adoption during these ten weeks:
1. The court hearing, with our two witnesses to testify that we are indeed going to be fit parents to Maya.
2. The psychological and socioeconomic interviews with DIF (Desarollo Integral de la Familia), the government department responsible for child welfare.
All the other families we'd heard of adopting here had got through those stages early on in their stay in Mexico.

The black cloud of Ahmed's return to Abu Dhabi in early June is starting to surface. Not only is it terrifying me that he'll be on the other side of the world, while Maya and I will be waiting it out in Tijuana, but neither of these official dates seems any nearer. We arranged a meeting with our lawyer to find out what to do.

The visa-issuing-woman is still a week away from returning to Tijuana, so Aida is going to see if there might possibly be someone else at the visa office who can issue those FM3 visas.

Every day we live in hope that we'll get a phone call telling us our visas are ready.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Paperchase #3

Today Aida contacted the Tijuana Gobernacion visa office to find out about our FM3 visa progress and discovered that the person handling the visas has left for China for the next two weeks. And no, there is nobody else who can issue those visas. And yes, we need to sit on our butts for another two weeks till she comes back and then we'll see. Unbelievable.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mothers Day

Mothers Day is on May 11th in the States, and there are lots of Mothers Day promotions on in the shops. My mum is due to fly home to NZ on the 11th, so we decided to celebrate it on Saturday 10th, since we have both our mothers with us, and I'm a new mother too!

We head for lunch at The Yogurt Place, sorry, El Yogurt Place (!). A great restaurant, overlooking the border fence and Estuary Park in San Diego. It has an emphasis on natural food, and is good for vegetarians like Ahmed's mum and me. It's very popular with the locals as well, but we figure we'll beat the Sunday/Mothers Day rush by going on Saturday. Ha ha, turns out Saturday 10th is Mothers Day in Mexico, so all the mothers are given roses on arrival, and as luck would have it, we're late enough in the day to get a table at this very busy restaurant.

So it was a very special day, my first ever mothers day as a mother, and with both our mothers present. Probably the only time that's likely to occur, given that we live so far apart normally.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Paperchase #2

My mum is due to leave in five days, and the plan had been for her and Ahmed's mum to be our witnesses in the court hearing. Back when we first found out about Maya, and made our frantic plans to dash across the world to be with her, we were told the following in an email from our lawyer:

Emma can come to stay with the baby when ever she wants. After I start the process I will need you and your witnesses for the court hearing in 3 or 4 weeks.

Our wonderfully supportive families decided that our mothers would be our two witnesses, so planned to make the trip to Mexico to be with us (and coincidentally meet their new grandchild, and see us at the same time) at around that time.

Well, I guess we were not sure what 'starting the process' meant. For us that had been back in June 2007, when we went to our first adoption support group meeting. Turns out that applying for FM3 visas isn't the start. The start is when the dossier and application is presented to court. And that still hadn't happened, as our FM3 visas were still not ready.

So my mother resigned herself to not being one of our witnesses, and just having a fun holiday in Mexico, meeting Maya, hanging out with us and learning 1 - 10 in Spanish, by repeating all the house numbers on letterboxes as we walked around Playas.

Aida contacted the Gobernacion office responsible for processing visas, and still no word on when our visas will be ready. We're starting to wonder if Ahmed's parents will still be here when the court hearing happens. Ahmed writes 'Court' on the calendar on 22nd May. He always looks on the sunny side of life, and decides that if we want it, the universe will provide. His parents are due to leave on the 24th. Gulp.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Our reverse pyramid

We are living like the modern Chinese family with a bunch of doting grandparents, mum and dad, and then, at the centre of their universe: baby.

Today Ahmed's parents arrived from Toronto. Nana Prue looked after Maya all day, while Ahmed and I went for a day out in San Diego. Another trip to Hillcrest, and this time we had some precious free time in a bookshop. Our idea of bliss.

Their flight was delayed by several hours, so we explored San Diego waterfront. Then we faced a rare queue going back into Mexico of about an hour sitting in a slow-moving line. Weird, usually the border crossing in that direction is straight through, without even a passport check. So we were away for a few hours longer than anticipated and it didn't feel good! We were both anxious to get back to our little universe, our sweet pea, our punky baby.

So our place is full, with three grandparents in the house. It's lovely to have such a supportive family, who have flown from around the world to be with us and meet their newest grandchild. We feel blessed.