So once we had the court decree at 9:30 it was time to get Joey's birth certificate changed to his new name and stating us as parents.
***Many of you have asked about what we are naming the boys. No they will not be Valentin and Joey. I want so badly to share their new names with you but we have decided not to on this blog. 95 percent of the comments on here are positive and most of you would never do or say anything to harm our kids....but it's always those few that ruin it for everyone. We have received some almost threatening comments but more then that is the fact that some very small but very hateful groups have set up their own websites and blogs and their goal seems to be to mock international adoption and spew as much hateful things as they can. It is important to protect our kids, you never know how far these mean people will take what they say and we don't want them to know our kids by name. Sadly that means we cannot share them here. It makes it confusing when talking to our friends and family because they know the boys as Valentin and Joey so when we are using their 'real' names it gets confusing. It's really sad that a few hateful people have to ruin it :( Sorry.
To get Joey's birth certificate changed we had to travel to the village he was born in or at least the closest local administration (I do not know yet if the village we went to was where he was born but at least I know it was close if not). It was about an hour and a half drive away. It would have been more like a 2 or more hour drive but our driver...how do I explain our driver? Let's just say he has a fast car that handles well and when he says he is going to get you somewhere - he's gonna get you there quickly. Traffic, bumpy roads, it doesn't matter. This is particularly for my husband - honey I knew we were in for a ride when they both buckled their seat belts and the driver put his glasses on! We had a lot to squeeze in today if we were still going to make our flight that we already booked for next week so I appreciated the urgency and thank God that I am still alive :)
The drive to the village was absolutely beautiful. And the farms and villages we passed along the way were so quant and charming. In the States we live in the desert so seeing all the rolling hills of green here was breathtaking. The pictures were taken at mach speed through a dirty window so they just don't do it justice.
We came across a beautiful reservoir and my facilitator said it is where the drinking water in the city I am staying in comes from. I wouldn't know, I am not drinking the water especially after how sick I got. But it was a beautiful lake!
After asking for directions we found the local administration office. I had been warned by the team and other families that sometime you can drive all the way out there just to find that no one came to work or that it is closed for the day. I prayed that it would be open and not only was it open by 4 ladies helped us and they were some of the kindest people I have worked with here. They got the birth certificate done in probably under a half hour. I am not much of a city girl even in the States so maybe I tend to gravitate toward more rural areas and way of living anyway, but I fell in love with this country being outside of the city. I really struggle in the city, but today as I saw how kind people are in this village, it changed my whole thinking toward this country. Plus I would love to have a ranch where we could farm and be fairly self-sufficient so seeing these rows of house all with their own yard garden and people walking around with their goats and cows while chickens run around was pure joy. I guess I am more the country girl no matter what country I am in. Anyway I was really pleasantly surprised by the village and it really had me reevaluating my opinion of this country!
Somehow I also felt closer to Joey. Even though he hardly ever lived there I felt like I got a taste of his heritage and I tried to picture what his birth family might be like. His sister and brother live with his grandparent in a village not far from there so I tried to picture what their lives must be like. It is very important to Tyler and I that we leave the door open for our adopted kids to explore their birth countries and try to find their birth families if they choose to, so I am so excited by these adoptions because I can tell them about the places they are from and there is birth information and family information available to them. With our China kiddos we sadly don't have any of that.
I am so mad at myself that I only took one picture there. I was too busy watching all the people and looking at the animals and farms that I completely forgot to get my camera out. I cannot tell you how mad I am at myself! So whats the one picture I took? I had to go potty before we made the long trip back to the city and asked for a restroom. My facilitator said "in the yard, can you wait?" Not an hour and a half and what do you mean by in the yard? I have done a lot of camping so wilderness peeing doesn't bother me but certainly it would in someones yard. Those funny things that don't translate well...it was an outhouse in the back yard. Like I said I am a country girl at heart so an outhouse will do, I am just happy if it has a door. So this is what you get at the local administration office of several small villages:
And I loved it, it added to the experience of my crazy day :)
So then it was back to the city since that is where Valentin was born and they took me back to my apartment while my facilitator went to the birth certificate office here for Valentin's birth certificate change. She said it always takes them 3 hours and I do not have to be there until the end to sign so she graciously let me stay at the apartment while she took care of it. The driver came to pick me up about 2 hours later. It was coming down to the wire because it was almost 5:00 and we still needed this change to Valentin's birth certificate and we needed to run and get both boys' names changed on their identification numbers (the equivalent of our social security numbers). Finally we got Valentin's changed birth certificate at 5:30 and I was so disappointed at how rude the workers were after I had such a great time with the workers at the village office. It really shows you the different between city and rural areas!
This is where having a well established team came in very handy, my facilitator knows the woman at the identification number office so she called her and even though it was after hours she said she would wait for us. This is a huge blessing because if not it would have thrown us off a day and we would have to change our flights next week. We got the names on their identification numbers changed in about an hour.
It has been a very crazy 2 days but I am thanking God that nothing has been held up and that it is really working out very well and on schedule. I cannot tell you all how good it feels to finally be here at this stage, nearing the end. I am so excited!
And guess what???? I GET TO SEE THE BOYS TOMORROW! I am thrilled! Tomorrow morning we get to take them out of the orphanages and bring them here to the city for passport pictures. It's going to be interesting to take them out of the orphanages and will give me my first glimpse of how they will handle new environments and changes. I am praying they have built enough trust with me that I am able to help them. One of the orphanage nurses will come with Valentin, just in case. We shall see how it goes...