Today was "Gotcha Day".
Our facilitators have been frantically rushing around getting paperwork together. Sasha drove out to the town we tried two days ago at 6:00a this morning to be there when the doors opened. Violetta said that this was a personal record for her - she was able to get everything done in one day. We have the new certificates of birth. We have the new Social Security numbers. We went to the orphanage and picked up the girls for about an hour. We got pictures made for passports and visas. We took the girls back to the orphanage again. We went to the bank and cashed out their accounts to give to the orphanage.
This time (4:00p our time) we took them for keeps. They dressed the girls in the clothes we had bought this morning at the market. We took pictures of the workers holding the children one last time. They have been the only mothers these girls have known. We left and hurried to the passport office. We had paid the $400 apiece "expedition fee" ($600 each for passports, plus $400 "expedition fee") that ensured the passports were completed in three hours instead of 2-3 weeks. We took their new passports. We now have the girls and all the paperwork that says they are ours according to the laws of this country. We went to the train station and bought tickets. On Saturday we will head back to the capital city where the girls will get permission to travel to the US.
It is an odd feeling. When we were being driven through town, we were both so aware of how fragile these little ones were. All of a sudden the crazy driving is a lot more serious matter (there are no car seats for these children, and a decent amount of cars lack seatbelts) - we were holding the girls in our laps.
I am not sure the realization has sunk in. There is a huge difference between playing with the children for a couple hours and taking them home. While they lived at the orphanage, we could always hand them back when they were dirty or cranky. Now - we are their parents. We have gone from married with no children to having a infant and a toddler. Juliana has special medicines and feeding schedules. Elena is destructive and into everything.
Kelly tried to feed Elena her dinner (oat cereal). In her haste to get to the food, Elena promptly kicked the bowl off the table (while cats land on their feet, bowls of porridge always land top-side-down). She made the connection (food was here, now food is gone) and started crying. Kelly made up another bowl and this time Elena ate it (relatively neatly).
Needless to say, we have been busy all day running between places. Needless to say, we have been busy all night juggling babies and now both girls are finally asleep. Oops, now we have to wake Juliana for a scheduled feeding. Hopefully they will stay asleep throughout the night while we contemplate packing and/or babyproofing this apartment. Elena was very very excited over our laptop. Currently the laptop is still in one piece.