Saturday, March 27, 2010


Ever seen anyone so happy to have a bath? Oh the joy of your own tub (on loan from Santiago), your own rubber duckie (on loan from big sister) and your own squeaky dragon (handed down, again from big sis). Oh dear Sammy, we need to get you some of your own stuff my boy.

Check out the teal green walls. Psychodelic.

A folk dance from Sinaloa, state where Maya and Sammy's birth mother is from. He sat mesmerized while I tried to shield his ears from the wall of noise blaring from the loudspeakers.

Dance from somewhere around this region. Big street festival of tacos and beer (of which we had neither) in Rosarito at the moment, for spring break.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Adoption day take two

Super happy chappy, trying his hardest to grab hold of the camera.

First set of wheels.

Spent all week in limbo waiting waiting for some news that Mr Judge had reviewed and signed off our case, and then suddenly on Wednesday I just got a feeling that it was going to be done on Friday. Sure enough, got the happy phone call from Aida today.

I can always tell when I pick up the phone. She says "Emma" and her intonation either goes down (95% of the time, as it's no news) or up (meaning, yes, something has happened and it's good). I was in the queue to buy a pair of jeans at the time, of all things.

Yes, judge has reviewed and listed our case, it gets published on Monday, something or other happens then for a few days, then court is closed for Easter on Thur and Fri, and it's likely to be all done and dusted by Monday week. Then the real fun begins... getting the final decree and then birth certificate legalised (or whatever the term is) by about fifty different government departments here in Baja California and Mexico City. And then applying for his passport. So still no idea when we'll be home, but at least it's happening at last.

Sammy, well he's a different baby from the wee lad I picked up last week. Super smiley, happy little monkey. He's a delight, and since he's got over his bronchialitis, he's just been the bee's knees. Can't wait, can't wait to go home...

Today, adoption day take two, I was in San Diego of all places with Niamh and Karen, two lovely Irish girls out here with their babies. Meanwhile Sammy was with a lovely friend of Dawn's (one of Sammy's witnesses). Had a great trip to Whole Foods, foodie paradise, and Las Americas where we whizzed about and got lots of goodies for our babies and selves.

Dawn, was one of Sammy's adoption witnesses. Bless her heart!

Sammy starting his formal education at Gymboree at the grand old age of 9 months.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

I primi passi

What a surprise this was, little monkey, he's soooo determined to do the things he wants to do, and this is one of them.

Friday, March 19, 2010


Crazy days. Aren't they all?

Here's a bit of time line of past week:

Monday 3am - left Abu Dhabi, via Istanbul, Madrid, Mexico City, to Tijuana 40 hours later.

Tuesday 10am - got picked up in TJ airport by the lovely Muriel, another hardy soul braving the TJ adoption labyrinth.

Tuesday 12pm - picked up a poor, bewildered, sick Sammy from Mirna, who howled the whole way home in the car to Rosarito.

Tuesday afternoon - moved into our accommodation with one super sick, clingy, distraught baby, one shopping trolley full of all the clothes Mirna had packed, one giant suitcase, a swathe of gear that Mirna piled on us, and myself: jetlagged to the eyeballs, bewildered, missing my wee girl and husband like nothing else. Sammy pretty much cried from the moment I picked him up until the moment he fell asleep at 9pm. Poor guy is in this completely new environment, with this strange person, feeling rotten, and he doesn't have a clue what's going on. Told him in English - a totally foreign language to him - that it's all going to be ok, and I think those words were equally meant for me.

Tuesday 9pm - after 3 hours solid of yelling, Sammy collapsed into sleep, and I did the same, fully dressed, with all the lights on in the kitchen and food on the bench. Couldn't stay awake a second longer.

Wednesday am - took Sammy to the doctor at the little hospital clinic next door, who said he had a bad case of bronchialitis, hooked him up to the nebuliser for three sessions of sucking up vapours, which he quite enjoyed, and prescribed a list of drugs as long as my arm. Have four more sessions of nebulising to go over next three days.

Wednesday pm - met some of the other families adopting here on the beach for a walk and to celebrate Hilary's birthday. Little smiley boy from December still hasn't cracked a smile. He's looking very pensive and serious indeed. I'm pretty spaced out myself. Judge's signing off of last decree was supposed to (by law) be done last Friday. Still not done. Still about 5-6 working days of bits and pieces after he signs, but we need that dumb signature. All the other stories are equally long and frustrating, it seems. Not sure why everyone adopting in this country has to suffer so much. Though, I know that the intense joy of having Maya and now Sammy in our lives (well, it hasn't been very joyful with little man yet, but I'm optimistic on that count!) does make us appreciate being parents sooooo much. More nebulising.

Thursday am - more nebulising. Now Sammy has decided he's not a fan at all of nebulising and I have to pin him down while he turns beet red and screams. A not-very-pleasant 20 minutes. Pretty similar experience when I have to give him his meds.

Thursday pm - no more news on judge, who took a day off today. Oh joy, this bollocks again. Sammy definitely has a 'lucho libre' streak in him, little Mexican wrestling star. Nappies are prime time for squirming, yelling, arm-flailing. As is bed time, changing clothes, eating, pretty much anything. He loves to bang on things, has finally started to smile (and what a charming little full-face grin he has!), loves things with buttons (the lift, the hospital bed, mobile phone, remote control - typical baby in that respect, but so much more interesting in whacking things than his dainty big sister)

Friday am - last nebulising. Screamed blue murder again. No news on judge.

And another week closes with... no news. I really can't complain, as there are others here in similarly bad or worse situations of frustrating no-news waiting. But my goodness, just coming here brings back all the sense of despair and dread that was there with Maya's adoption. I thought I was safe from that this time, as it seemed so cut and dried, but ha, I should just wait until Aida says yes, the papers are ready for you to pick up and walk out of court with. But on the other hand, I couldn't leave Sammy a minute longer. He's now 9 months old, and I can see the trauma it's caused him to be suddenly uprooted from all he's familiar with. He's coming round slowly, but it's so hard on him. I miss Maya like nothing else. Our skype conversations so far have been so sweet, with her telling me: I yuv you Mama (she doesn't say 'l's yet), I miss you Mama (admittedly that one was prompted by Ahmed!), Mama cuddle? Ohhhh, wish they were here, but not really a possibility. There is no way on earth I could have coped with Sammy if Maya had been here too - 3 hours of trying to put a screaming baby to sleep with severe jetlag, nope, couldn't have done it, if I'd had a two-year old here as well. And one of us needs to be at work! And with this stage supposedly just a few days of stamp, stamp, well, it seemed pointless for anyone else to come out. Oh how foolishly naive we are. Every time. Don't we learn???

Have a surprise for next blog entry. But it needs to wait for a couple of hours.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The perennial question

The question I probably get asked more often than any other is: so when are you coming home? Here's the answer (and it hasn't changed since the very first time I was asked back in March 2008 when I first jumped on a plane to go and adopt Maya):

I don't know.

It's such an insanely complicated process that involves lots of steps. Each step depends on a series of other steps before it, which can get complicated by silly things like the person who needs to sign the document being away at a conference, or sick, or forgetting to sign the right page, or a typo on a document requiring a new document, or any of a hundred different things. Even at this nearly finished stage, there are so many little steps that need to be completed, so many stamps that need traipsing across cities to obtain, so it will be a minimum of three weeks, I'd say. That's my guess, but my guesses tend to be horribly wrong.

At the very end of it though, I get handed a gigantic stack of papers (almost 5 kg worth, I reckon) which is the sum of all that stamping, signing, couriering, traipsing across town. Quite impressive.

What not to wear

After much thumb-twiddling, sighing, waiting, grumbling and false starts, our final decree is nearly ready to be published. Again this is a process which involves presenting of reports from one government department to another, 8 working days for the judge to sign something, then 2 days for something to published, then 3-4 working days for something to be somethinged and then finally the important something is ready to be taken from court and used to apply for Sammy's birth certificate. The inner workings of the Mexican court system are still a mystery to me after all this time.

Well we're presently quite near the end of that series of 'working days', and I'm off in 24 hours. In the past week we've been in a mad scramble of packing, preparing, printing, assignment-writing, money-exchanging, video-making, iPod-loading, birthday-party attending and nanny-hiring.

Sammy is exactly 9 months old today. Never thought he'd still be in Mexico, but, well, heck, who were we kidding?

Ahmed asked me to tell him what clothes Maya can wear before I leave - I swear he believes he's colour-blind, when in fact he's pretty good at finding pants and tops that match - so I've made a little folder on the desktop of photos with acceptable outfits, in case he's having a what-to-wear-for-nursery-crisis. Here are the entries under What Not to Wear: