Friday, January 30, 2009

Sixth time lucky

No, I know that's not how the saying goes. Yesterday, I drove Ahmed across the border to San Diego to fly home for the sixth time since we began this odyssey. Guadalupe and kids came to stay the night with Maya, and we went over and stayed the night in San Diego, since Ahmed's flight was fairly early in the morning. Of course we had to go to secondary inspection, but this time, we were both finally feeling so light-hearted and hopeful, that it wasn't stressful and in fact, we had some very nice border guards! It was a positive blast.
Thai meal, Borders bookshop, Lafayette Hotel - aging behemoth of a hotel, grand once upon a time, but not now - airport, Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Tijuana. I've done that route so often now, that the car practically drives itself.
Ahmed said goodbye to Playas, to Pepi's place, to Aida, to the fish tacos stand, to Guadalupe and kids, as we know he's not coming back again. Our adoption is so close to finishing. We can feel it in our bones/gut/any other organs that fit this idiom.
Just a few more days now till we know for sure that the BM has signed and ratified. This will be the third time lucky. That's the saying. Am twiddling my thumbs trying to keep busy in the meantime. Maya's busy exploring and getting into stuff. Including falling over and biting her lip, poor bunny, which then bled, and she had a fat lip all day. I'm now trailing her like a bad smell, but she's just so determined to be everywhere, go everywhere, I can't keep her in one place!!!

Maya getting into stuff...

Hanging with her papa

Funky new hat & scarf knitted by Dadima on her last trip

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Can I please get a refund for this crystal ball? It doesn't appear to be working.

By Monday morning we were no closer to really deciding what to do. We drove to Rosarito to go and have coffee and hunt down the best massage therapist in the Northern Hemisphere, who's gone awol, unfortunately. Every ten minutes or so, we tried calling Aida to find out whether the BM's request to do the ratification had made it in to our court, and what that meant in terms of when it might take place. Our biggest question, these days. When? When? When? This innocent question is always the first thing we get asked by anybody who finds out we're adopting here: so when will it be finished? Ha ha ha. Wait while I consult my crystal, sometime in mid August last year would be my guess.

When we spoke to Aida, it turns out that yes, the request had been lodged at court first thing in the morning, and would likely be picked up by the judge's secretary for its publication on Tuesday, in which case Carolina, the judge's secretary, could go to get the signature and ratification on Friday, at the earliest. If she has time in her crazy schedule.

Today, Aida managed to speak to our judge, who has agreed to release Carolina to go and get the signature and ratification. Aida spoke to Carolina, who will be able to go on Friday at the earliest, but only if one of her other hearings that day is cancelled, as she's working round the clock at the moment. Otherwise, next week.

So, there's the situation. Not much different on the surface from earlier: we're waiting on tenterhooks for the judge's secretary to go and see the BM to get the signature. Might be on Friday, might be next week some time.

Here are the differences, however:
If, at the last minute, the BM doesn't sign and ratify this time, Maya will go and stay with a foster mother, and I will go back to Abu Dhabi until she signs.
The BM has now realized this and does not want me to go, hopefully enough of a push to get that ratification.
The BM has promised not just Aida, but the slightly more scary male lawyer she took to see her on Saturday as well, that she will ratify.
This time the request to ratify (to the judge of our family court) has come from the BM herself, rather than our lawyer.

Are these differences enough to make it actually happen this time? My crystal ball is blank. Who knows? We can only hope so. We're surrounded by lucky charms, hopes and prayers and good wishes coming from all corners of the globe. Without noticing, I bought some Lucky brand jeans on Saturday, and everytime I see the little tag: Lucky You, I wonder if it is a sign... We'll look anywhere for signs these days! I consult the card game on the computer for answers. Ahmed touches the lucky baby (that's Maya) when the phone rings, hoping for good news. I changed the ring tone on my cellphone, as the sound of the previous one just reminded me too much of all the bad news I'd received on it. Would have changed it again, but realised I might run out of ring tones before finding the one that brought good news. We've turned all superstitious in our desperation. Anyway, now's the time, surely. Scarily, we've said that many times since about April. Maybe this time it's true.

Now, at least, I feel in a way that we are in control of the situation to a small extent. If she signs, adoption is finalized two weeks later, and we go home. If she doesn't sign, I go home, Maya stays here, in a couple of months I come back when adoption is finalized - and it will be, there is a reason why it definitely will be in a couple of months compared to the possibly will be now, but can't disclose that here - and then we go home. So at least we've made that decision.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


I am going absolutely crazy right now with the 'what ifs' of our situation. We decided a couple of days ago that I would leave Tijuana on the same day that Ahmed goes this time, Friday 30th. Just get out of this madhouse, away from Mexico, and Maya would stay with a wonderful foster mum we know here. Horrible, hard decision, leaving our baby behind, but when we looked at the alternatives: me finally going off the deep end, lack of income, etc etc, we just felt it was time. The interminable waiting, and maybe today, maybe tomorrow here has pushed me to the absolute limit of my patience, and beyond, many times, and I really need to get out.

So, decision was made, I was planning to spend the week with Ahmed and Maya, just enjoying ourselves, feeling sad at leaving, but knowing that I'd be back in probably two months, when the adoption HAS to be finished surely, and bringing Maya home then. We know Maya would be fine with Ana and her family. She's a happy little pickle and would forgive us.

Then we got a phone call from Aida yesterday saying that Maya's BM freaked out when she heard I would leave, and said, yes, yes, I'll ratify. What the hell??? Of course, it will take several days of permissions, trips to and from court (for Aida) to get the judge's secretary to do this again, before it will happen, but now what? Will she do it? Will she lead us on again just to refuse at the last minute like the last two times? There are so many stupid consequences of each decision, staying or going, that my head is once again spinning, and I can't make a decision to save myself. And of course the decision to leave needs to be made before the ratification would happen, as there are all these other factors at stake. Stupid catch 22. I have no clarity. No idea. No gut feelings. Just murky dunnos rolling around in my head. I've identified at least three other stages in our adoption when a different decision would have really benefited the process, but at the time it was too difficult to judge. Now we're here again, having to make a decision, time marching on, and aaaaargh??? Who knows?

If I stay, BM either signs & ratifies and Maya and I get out of here in about 3 or 4 weeks, hurrah, or she doesn't sign and I need to check into the nearest mental health institution. Could then go back to Abu Dhabi, but would miss the opportunity to do teacher training course, which starts next Sunday. And new term starts next Wednesday.

If I go, I could start back on a teacher training course the day after getting back to AD, but then wouldn't be free to leave again for at least 8 or 10 weeks. If BM signs and ratifies, we'd be kicking ourselves, as Maya would be free to come home, but we couldn't come here and get her birth cert, passport, etc till... April? If BM doesn't sign and ratify, well then, that was the right decision. Or if she says she'll do it, but doesn't sign and ratify before I leave, then finds out I've left, who knows what then? I think she'd totally refuse to do it. Too many variables and key players in this game. Am going round and round in circles.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Visit to judge, part III

Aida went into court again today to see the judge and other lawyer. Judge didn't go in to work again today. Aida then tried to go and see the BM with another lawyer, and discovered she couldn't see her either. Welcome to a typical week in our world. Monday morning sees us all optimistic for action and solutions. Friday evening sees us frustrated beyond belief, and no further ahead. Aida is going mental with the frustrations of our case as well, and has never experienced anything like it in her 24 years as an adoption lawyer.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Visit to judge, part II

Aida went in today, to meet other lawyer and judge, and what ho? The judge didn't come in to work today. So nothing going there. Tomorrow, she's got an appointment to see him instead. We went to see Lic. Sanchez, the lovely adoption coordinator from DIF Tijuana today, just to talk about the frustrations of our case, and see if there have been any similar cases in her memory. Nothing like it, unfortunately, and our only option is to sit it out and wait. Had to ask at least.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Visit to judge

The judge was too busy, and unable to see Aida today, despite her going in and trying her best to get an appointment. We hung around outside the courthouse, in the slight chance that we could also go in and put forth our two cents' worth. Tomorrow, she has an appointment with the judge and another lawyer. Ok, we'll wait till then.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Phone call from BM, part II

Maya's BM didn't call today either. Now Aida has said she'd go in tomorrow to another judge's office, to work something out, regarding the BM. So we'll sit tight till tomorrow.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Phone call from BM

Maya's BM didn't call today at 2pm, as promised. We sat in Aida's office and waited. I was all ready with my most convincing speech, that would definitely get her to agree to ratify now, this week or next, rather than in a couple of months, which is the other option. Tomorrow evening she'll call us, we're told.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Scary news sandwiched in between some cute photos

Let's start out with a lovely picture of our beautiful girl, happy as a flea on her papa's knee in her gorgeous duds, courtesy of Celia:

On Friday Maya's Dadima & Grandpa looked after her for the day, and I went to pick up Ahmed from the San Diego airport. On the way, I stopped at our lawyer Aida's office to wait for a phone call from Maya's birth mother (BM), in an attempt to convince her to ratify her signature (the one tiny, essential, final detail needed to complete our adoption) in the next week or so.

Unsuccessful, as firstly, BM was unable to call me, and Aida had to give the awful news that BM would not be able to ratify her signature for likely another couple of months, due to circumstances in her life that are totally beyond of any of our control.

I flipped out. This has become a scarily frequent occurrence, and I now have unpleasant memories of numerous times when I've sat in cars, offices, rooms sobbing uncontrollably. And swearing. I don't like swearing, but help, the words seem to bubble up on their own! Keep getting these comments from people about how 'strong' I am. Afraid not, am feeling incredibly weak and tired and unable to cope with the indefiniteness of this. Anyhow, apparently BM is going to be able to call Aida's office again on Monday at 2pm, so I'll have a chance to speak to her then, and somehow, who knows how? manage to convince her to ratify her signature in the next week or so. And it's not as simple as just convincing her to do it. So many external factors that are influencing her at the moment, unfortunately. Will have to pick my way very carefully through our conversation. I'm feeling quite scared that I'm not up to the task, and my Spanish isn't strong enough for this kind of pressure!

Picked up Ahmed from San Diego airport again with stinky news. Feels like a pattern, as the same happened in December when he came last time. He's becoming such a pro at the Secondary Inspection he gets every time he enters the USA, that the guy at New York airport 'inspecting' him recognized him from the time he was our 'inspector' in San Diego many months ago.

It is wonderful to have Ahmed back in Tijuana again. Though once again, we have all this uncertainty hanging over us, and BM not being available to ratify her signature for several more months is a very real and scary prospect. We've had to work out a variety of different scenarios for the outcome of tomorrow's phone call.

And to finish on a happy note, here's Maya in her cute hat knitted by her Dadima, busy with her favourite occupation, chewing on stuff:

Ah, this funny year, so desperate, scary, drawn-out, painful, frustrating, financially ruinous, and yet there's this amazingly positive constant throughout: Maya and her fascinating development and hilarious antics. No pleasure without pain.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Playtime at the Snot Farm

Everybody in our little world has been sick for some part of the past month, with a series of rather stinky colds making rounds. Nobody living in our house or next door has been spared, and various names for our situation have been put forth. Snots 'R' Us, the snot factory, the snot farm, our little snot monsters (the babies), snotlets, snotsters. Yes, it's gross, but snot has featured largely in our lives lately, and Maya's blown the most impressive snot bubbles. None captured on film, unfortunately. She's not at all impressed by the snot sucker ('nasal aspirator' in more refined circles, but snot sucker is a more apt description of its function, I feel), though it does help clear her up for a bottle or a feed. I guess all the playtime with her friends Yara, Clifford & Margot has helped to spread the bugs, but it's inevitable that colds will be passed around, and what fun is it to hang out in isolation anyway? Here's some of the fun:

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Beginnings & Endings. Actually Just Endings

I said goodbye to Anna and Yara today. Tomorrow they are flying to Mexico City, then Amsterdam, then Moscow, then Omsk, to visit Anna's family there for the next two and a half months. They're off to the minus 20 degree temperatures! Maya and I will definitely miss them and, given that it would be unimaginable that we are still here when they get back on the 31st March, I don't know when we will next see each other.

Anna has not only been a wonderful friend, but she was also our witness for the court process, so played that important role in Maya's adoption. And without her I'd have been lost when Pepi's car got towed away. In fact without her, I'd have been generally lost and extremely bored. Thank you Anna!!

Another 'ending' this week was volunteering at the Red Cross thrift store. Since June last year, Maya and I have spent our Thursday mornings sorting through donations, putting them out in the shop, tidying up shelves and in Maya's case, chewing on the clothes hangers & charming all the other lovely volunteers there. Not sure if I can say the same for myself, though of course I did my best!! It's so much easier when you weigh 9kg and have the world's cutest grin. Despite weighing about the same as my carry on luggage usually does (!), Maya is getting just a bit too big to lug about in the front pack for two hours straight. Maya's also now in level 3 at Gymboree (who'd ever have thought?), and that's on Thursday at 11am. I will definitely miss the Red Cross as well. Lovely & quirky Oscar, Julia, Dawn, Efren, Lucia, Tom, Frances and Helga.

Here's a sight for Playas that I'm sure caused a few double takes: Three (obviously foreign) women and their four (quite Mexican) babies trundling down the street in their various strollers/buggies/pushchairs. We're having gorgeous weather these days, and it's a crime to stay indoors.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Yes, courts opened in Mexico on Monday, 12th January. That 'magic' day came and went, and another day after it. Nothing is happening, yet again.

We are now waiting upon an unknown person, who needs to go and meet two other unknown people, to resolve an unknown case, before Maya's birth mother will be in any state to sign off our adoption. All feels very bitsy and out of our realm of influence.

So once again, we're left here focusing on the minutiae of everyday life: Pink or white tights with the burgandy dress? Does the spoon make a difference with how much dinner Maya eats? Does she really not like broccoli, or is she just tired? Where is the warmest spot in the house to get the bread dough to rise? Where oh where did the Tui Bee Balme disappear to? These and other trifling thoughts occupy my mind all day long, while the REALLY BIG issue just hovers around behind those thoughts. When my mind wanders from the everyday, trifling matters for a moment, and the REALLY BIG issue drifts in, I get too scared, and have to go back to wondering whether I need to buy more cleaning products.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Ice, ice, baby

On New Year's Eve, Maya's Dadima and Grandpa arrived in Tijuana for a much-anticipated three week visit. Ironically, they've arrived from sub zero Toronto, with snow up to their knees, into Tijuana, temps in the low teens, and not a snowflake on the horizon, but my, it's so much colder here. Because, of course, those hardy Canadians have it figured out. Their houses are geared up for the cold, and they're all toasty warm during their indoorsy winters. Meanwhile, the cold of Tijuana doesn't really warrant super-insulated, state-of-the-art centrally heated houses, so we shiver our way through the cold months, huddling around feeble gas heaters and wearing far too many pairs of socks.

With all this hard work battling the cold, our bodies have succumbed to bugs, and Dadima, Maya, Clifford, Margot (the twins from next door) and I have all had an array of colds, running noses, sneezing, coughing, sore throats, and eye infections.

Despite all this, Maya is delighting in the company of her grandparents, and keeping us all entertained with her new antics. She's a barrel of new tricks these days, and in the past month or so, she's started clapping, waving hello and goodbye, putting things in boxes or bags and pulling them out again, pushing all the chairs (and anything else she thinks might prove a decent object to hold her up) around the living room, wiggling her bum in time to clapping or music, repeating sounds, and (just) standing up on her own, unsupported, for a few seconds. A definite precursor to walking, but we're trying to put her off that particular 'trick' till papa comes back to Tijuana next week. She's exploring everything she can get her little hands on, and finds the following objects infinitely fun: gas bottles, water bottles, tissue packets, the paper bag full of plastic bags, the kitchen cupboards, the kitchen stools, the dining chairs, her shoes, my shoes, my hairbrush, remote controls, cellphones, keys. She's our wee explorer, and is happiest 'trawling' about looking for action.