The momentousness of the decision made in our favour yesterday was somewhat belied by the circumstances. They could hardly have been less dramatic!
In principle, the adoption was confirmed on Monday morning, when we had our final hearing at the judge's office, in the company of the usual representatives from the appropriate agencies around town. As has been the case since we began fostering Sam, there were no objections whatsoever. All that was left was for the judge to prepare the 'sentencing' document, which she said would be ready by Friday. As well as confirming the adoption, this document would officially request the name-change (though known as Sam by all and sundry, he still officially went by his old name).
Yesterday morning, then, Amanda and Sam swung by my office -- where I was in the midst of writing a sermon -- and we drove into town one more time. And things could hardly have been less formal. We sat on the couch in the judge's office and had a natter with her (as well as a fine decision maker, she's a lovely woman!), while she waited for her staff to have the sentencing document printed. Half an hour later, one of her administrators summoned us to his cluttered desk, asked us to put our John Hancocks in the relevant slots, and that was it.
After that, there was really only one thing for it: off to Sam's favourite restaurant Pizza Hut, where we celebrated by playing in the ball-pool and having extra servings of chocolate sauce at the ice cream factory.
I jest. The closest thing Trinidad has to a Pizza Hut is, er, a literal pizza hut!
We did at least pick up a tub of our favourite ice cream on the way home from the supermarket. But after that, it was back into our routine: me finishing my sermon, Amanda attending an afternoon meeting, and then spending the entire evening with volunteers from Fundación Totaí, preparing for a major-league food sale this lunchtime.
Hollywood it was not. But, then again, our main concern over the past months has not so much been over the probability of an approval , but the pace of the process in general (the extinction of parental rights -- granted to us at the end of March -- is supposed to trigger a final consultation process for the adoption of 30 days; hah!). We're just glad the whole thing is at an end so we can start thinking about things like passports and visas. Things started feeling pretty 'real' some time ago anyway.
As for a celebration, we're off to Bolivia's capital city, Sucre, next Saturday morning, ostensibly for a conference and a meeting with Latin Link (see prayer points for more), but we're spending a week there to get some much-needed family time. Sucre -- really a colonial town, if anything, and a beautiful one at that -- is as child-friendly as Trinidad is not, so we're excited about that.
So we hope the adoption news is enough for regular readers to go on; the blog will likely take a break for a couple of weekends, but we'll surely get things going again with plenty of pictures from Sucre. Maybe we'll go skydiving or something too. At least then we'll have something dramatic to blog about.
- In Sucre, we are hoping to join Latin Link on the field in Bolivia. If you are a UK financial supporter of our ministry, you know that gifts are given through Latin Link. But our commending organisation is, in fact, LAM Canada, with whom Latin Link have an informal relationship, one which has enabled us to raise support both in the UK and Canada. We have never been formally affiliated with Latin Link. However, as the missionary team here has slowly dwindled (we are now the last ones standing), we have increasingly felt our need for fellowship. While recognising our commendation from LAM Canada, who have no missionaries in Bolivia, Latin Link are offering to welcome us to their team of missionaries in Bolivia, something which will give us greater accountability on the field, and increased fellowship opportunities, with built-in events each year on both those fronts. To that end, we have an interview in Sucre a week on Wednesday. Pray for a positive outcome.
- Craig is preaching on Titus 3 at church tomorrow morning.
- Pray for wisdom for Craig and the other elders in dealing with a difficult issue at church.
- Amanda is doing a lot better; thanks for your prayers.
- For Sam's adoption. Been looking forward to saying that for a while.
¡Que Dios les bendiga!
Craig & Amanda