Friday, May 22, 2009

Toronto, Ont.

Yep, that's right, that's where Maya, her papa and I have now been for more than 24 hours. We're here with Ahmed's parents and Maya's now met tonnes of new cousins, aunts, uncles, great aunts, great uncles, second cousins, third cousins and has enjoyed every minute of it. She's a happy little flea, and has all these wonderful people and toys to play with, so she's loving it. And she's gone straight back to her papa as if he'd hardly been gone.

Getting Maya's passport was a doddle (after a minor drama of going to the wrong passport office, despite numerous checks on the matter) after all these crazy months.

24 hours after the application was made on Monday morning, it was ready to be picked up. I have to admit I wasn't really ready for something to be done so quickly, so we waited until Wednesday to pick it up. Actually, I wandered back to the passport office on Tuesday, only to discover the office closed at 3.00pm and we were there at 3.10pm. Ah well, we weren't leaving till Thursday anyway, so what's the rush?

Maya and I had four days in Mexico City, checking out the sights, eating in cool cafes, going to the zoo - biggest hits for Maya: the porcupines, lemurs and prairie dogs, of all the strange things. Hippo - yeah, whatever. Elephant - yeah, seen them in books. Lions - nah. Rhino - nup. Funny what things interest a 14-month old.

Ahmed left Abu Dhabi on Thursday morning, 14 hours later, arrived in Toronto airport, and nearly gave his mother, father and sister heart attacks by surprising them by being there. Then a couple of hours later, we popped out of the plane, had the easiest customs walk-through ever. I admit, I was worried. Baby on Mexican passport, mother on NZ passport, both of us with coughs (yes, that's right, arriving from Mexico...) But, it was also a doddle. What's going on? The stars are truly lining up and shining an easy path for us. It's nice for a change.

Back to AD on Thursday, if Maya's visa is ready, which it should be, then back to our 'real life', whatever that may be...!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Mexico, D.F.

It seems that only the tourists call it Mexico City. The cool people say: D.F. (Districto Federal). And yeah, Mexico City is coooool. Cool people around. Cool looking places. Tijuana is light years away. Maybe that's just my rosy-tinted first impression, and tomorrow I'll find all the broken footpaths (sidewalks, pavements for all you non-NZ folk), homeless people, grime and dust.

I had about 44 kg of luggage, in two suitcases, including Maya's travel cot, and allsorts of accumulated schtuff. I'd say about 5 kg of that was the gigantic dossier that Aida handed me on Friday night. Probably more stuff than we'll need to apply for Maya's passport, but we're dotting all the i's and crossing all the t's, just to be on the safe side. I feel rather tentative carrying around these 14 months' worth of blood, sweat and tears (predominantly tears). Sat up late on Friday night reading some of these documents, our DIF reports, BM's DIF reports, final decree, etc etc. Everything has been stamped and signed to within an inch of its life.

Tomorrow morning at the crack of dawn, we'll be up and off to passport office, and should soon have an idea of how long it'll take before we're off and outta here.

Maya seems to take all this moving, flying, sleeping in strange places, in her stride. She is such a 'coqueta' - little flirt - and bats her eyelids at everyone, flashes cheeky grins, and does little dances, and offers people her half-chewed pieces of cheese.

Not long now...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Photos from Adoption Day

Here's Maya & her verrrrrrry happy mum on adoption day

Playas de Tijuana, Friday 8th May

Fiona, Clifford, Margot, Maya, Emma, Aisha and Elsa at Playas de Tijuana

Fiona, Margot, Clifford, Aisha, Elsa, Maya & Emma off to the beach for a swim...

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Adoption Day! 414 days later...

Friday 8th May, 2009. Official adoption day! 414 days after first meeting Maya.

We had a lovely day yesterday. Got up early and drove to the court to see our judge and plead our case to issue the final decree asap. I was shaking in my boots, Maya was charming everybody left, right and centre with smiles, waves, toddles, dah dah dah, etc.

Saw the judge, in her office, with her assistant, one of her secretaries and another random lawyer, and she was lovely. Came and gave us a big hug, big kiss to Maya, said, right, where's their case? to her assistant, let's get this finished, these people have suffered enough, what a beautiful girl, blah, blah, blah. And as we were standing there, me agog, too nervous to get any words out, the assistant pulled out our case, and they got working on it right there on the spot. Wow.

The final decree was issued today, and now, Ahmed and I are Maya's parents, totally, officially, completely, irrevocably, forever. What an amazing relief!

Next steps (just so you know):

Monday 11th: Adoption order is published on court's public announcements website, and our lawyer submits some papers we signed

Wednesday 13th: Adoption papers are ready to be picked up from court

Wed or Thur: Apply for Maya's birth certificate with her new name and us as her parents. She has been Maya Iliana Noriega Medina until now and will become Maya Bulbulia Smart

Same day (hopefully): pick up the translations of adoption decree, birth certificate, and get them notarized

Same day (possibly): leave to Mexico City

Next day: Apply for Maya's passport

??? days later: Get passport/birth cert/adoption decree notarized at three different ministries in Mexico City. Scan copies and send to ??? to apply for visit visa to UAE

Same day: leave Mexico to Toronto, avoiding the USA, as Maya won't be able to land there as a Mexican citizen without a visa (takes months to apply for apparently).

So, potentially, we're looking at being out of here in 2 weeks' time...! I thought we'd be at this stage when I arrived in Tijuana, hence the rather frustrated feeling when I first got here, and had the swine flu scare, but now it's full steam ahead!

In the meantime, Ahmed's found a villa to move into in Abu Dhabi, just off the island, so since our lives are obviously very boring and we need more excitement, he's going to move, possibly in the next two weeks. Madness!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Here we are!!

This is a common pose at the moment, arms outstretched, imploring: pick me up, you naughty mummy!!! I love the fact Anna and Yara are doing their own callisthenics as well. Looks like aerobics in the park...

Cuddly little bubby

Maya and Yara up to mischief with their new-found toddling. Yara goes flat out - she's super fast and confident - while Maya takes her time, holds her arms up and is quite careful.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Tijuana Time Black Hole

This is how Maya walks: hands up, ready for the inevitable tip-over. Very cute and girly.

Maya and I have been back together again for exactly one week. Which feels like about one hour on one hand, and about 10 years on the other. Time is so fluid here, and minutes, hours, days, weeks and months have a habit of mixing it all up. Symptomatic of the mañana phenomenon, perhaps?

During this week (or hour or decade):
- swine flu panic took over the country (and then quickly disappeared from the front page)
- people walked around in face masks
- shops ran out of hand sanitizer
- lots of shops and offices closed
- courts had a five day holiday
- Maya and I moved into house one
- I finished an assignment for my Masters
- Maya grazed her nose (not a good look for her passport photos, will wait till it heals)
- I discovered that our judge's promise of finalizing all documents in a week was another casualty of mañana disease (one bonus - ONLY bonus - is we'll have time for Maya's graze to clear up before she needs her passport photos)
- I got millions of delicious, snuggly cuddles from a very clingy baby, who will not let me out of her sight

Luckily for Maya, I also desperately needed those cuddles, as those two and a half months without her were just horrible, horrible, horrible. She used to be little-miss-independence, happily heading off in any old direction, looking for action and trouble. Now she's very snuggly, very keen to stay close by, and as a result, quite easy to look after. She enjoys playing within about two metres of where I'm sitting, and doesn't venture off much. I imagine this is a temporary phase until she realizes I'm not going anywhere without her, but I'll enjoy it while it lasts. Though I'm not finding it very easy to cook with a toddler on my hip! The alternative is a cling-on toddler hanging onto my leg, grizzling and imploring me with a ferocious look to pick her up.

I can see our wee girl being quite into dolls. Yesterday she went and got a nappy (diaper for you NA folk) from the shelf, picked up her nut brown hare, opened up the nappy and put hare on the nappy. (The right way up, BTW) Then was trying to figure out how to close the nappy. I wish I had our camera back, to video such moments!! It's still with Myrna and co, being fixed. She's also very interested in shelves and putting things on them, moving them from one to another. Including my pencil case, which I presently can't find, as it's been moved to some shelf somewhere in our house. There's hope for a tidy, organized future in our house. Or alternatively, lots of missing objects.

Can't wait till Ahmed can catch up on his many months of missing cuddles too.