Hodson's Colombian Adoption Journey

This blog will document our journey in beginning our family through a Parent-Initiated Adoption from ICBF in Colombia. We will mark the stages and key events along the way as well as blog frequently from Colombia after we receive the call of our lives.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Time Flys When You're With Gabriela!

Well it's been a fast and fun couple of months since our last time we posted here on the blog and I just thought I'd catch it up a bit. On March 1st we celebrated Gabriela's first birthday with our family & friends and had a terrific time and Gabriela got to enjoy her first cake.

The past few months Gabriela has been blossoming so much it has been amazing to watch and enjoy. We had a great visit at my mother's cabin for just before Easter with Monica's sister and nieces. At the end of the visit, Gabriela took her first couple steps without holding anything during Easter Sunday mass! After that, she started easing it in to it taking a few more steps each day but after about a week or so she was hustling all over the house, sidewalk, and anywhere else she could.

She doing so well overall and is talking more with a mix of both English & Spanish and Monica and I are now also trying to teach her a little baby sign language too. She has developed a full blown obsession with the "Itsybitsy Spider" which we have certainly had fun with singing along with her. She says "hi" & "bye" in English still; but loves to point in the air looking for an "avion", or ask for a drink of "agua" and much more.

Gabriela was baptized yesterday, in a small gathering at our church along with two other little ones. The entire family came together again and celebrated this beautiful day. As you can see by the photo below, Gabriela was absolutely beautiful in her gown but at the end of the ceremony she wanted to back to the holy water to play & splash.

Well, as I used to say in Bogota; "it's getting late" so I'm going to call it a night. Enjoy some photos of Gabriela from the last couple of months. These photos include her brilliant smile, fun with birthday cake, walking in the grass with her "Gran-Mare", playing with her friend at a mall play area (this one is new to us), and of course one of Miss Gabriela Sophia in her baptism gown with her beautiful mami.






Monday, February 05, 2007

What...11 Months Old!!!!

Well, Gabriela is now 11 months old and she is doing very well. She has discovered the joy of climbing up the stairs but not so much with the climbing down yet. She is now up to 3 intelligible words (we think); "baby", "hi", & "bye". She recently started with a couple of walker toys to help her walk a bit, but for now she is happy riding around on her car and discovering the buttons and music. And last but certainly not least, she is learning her animal sounds. Or at least one animal sound. That's right our daughter.... can moo like a cow!

So as you can see is as beautiful as ever and is doing very well. She is still in the lower percentiles for hight and weight, but is growing steadily and is certainly very healthy.

I hope you enjoy some of the latest photos with her new hair style. In the first she is cracking up like she usually is but I'm not sure about the 2nd. It looks like she is telling me off or something.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Hodson's Visit Kentucky

Monica, Gabriela, & I decided to drive from Virginia to Kentucky to visit our good friends Amie, Justin & their son Spencer who live halfway between Lexington, KY & Cincinnati, OH for New Year's weekend. When we decided to visit Kentucky we also contacted one of the families in our Colombian adoption Yahoo Group who live in Lexington and have just last week received the referral for a beautiful baby girl in Medellin, Colombia. Monica and I tried to help them narrow down the long list of questions that they have now that they are planning their trip to Medellin to adopt their beautiful Sofia.

These photos of our family with Juan Fernando & Jennifer, Jennifer with Gabriela, & our good friend Justin sitting with his son Spencer & Gabriela





Friday, December 29, 2006

Feliz Navidad y Prospero Ano Nuevo!!!!






My goodness have we been busy since we've been home AND we can't believe that the 1st will be 2 months since we've been home and our little Angelito will be 10 months old!!! She is blossoming so incredibly much...she is crawling quickly, pulling herself up to stand, starting to imitate us, and so much more!!! Every day is such a wonderful day and we are so incredibly happy!!!

This Christmas was wonderful! We spent a wonderful time with our family and friends!!! And yes, Gabriela was more interested in the wrapping paper than anything else! We will say though, that her expressions and her personality are FANTASTIC!!!!

Enjoy the photos and cheers to you all!!!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Get Up, Stand Up!

Gabriela just stood up for the first time on her own. She is also transitioning from her "army crawl" that she has been doing to a full crawl on her knees; but she just doesn't have it down fully yet.

Can Gabriela be President one day?

I acutally don't know that the Constitution deals with international adoption, but I do know that Gabriela Sophia is now a United States Citizen! Having been home for just under 5 weeks, we received Gabriela's citizenship package on Monday. She will always be a Colombian citizen as well so she has the best of both worlds.

It's cold here in Virginia!!!!!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Settling in at Home

We have been home for a couple of weeks now and are trying to settle into our rutine as best as we can. We had a beautiful family gathering on the first Saturday that we were home and although we were very run down and I was actually sick by then, it was so nice to have both of our entire families here with Gabriela. She actually seemed to recognize the faces of much of her family from the photos that she looked at every day while we were in Bogota and also the voices of her Abuelas from the telephone as well.

This past Saturday we had a big "Welcome Home" party for Gabriela at Tia Maria's house and Gabriela enjoyed being the star of the show and all the wonderful and generous gifts she has been given by everyone. Our old friend Mary came all the way from Rhode Island and our great friends Amie, Justin, & their son Spencer drove all the way from Kentucky for the party! She has received so much love from everyone and we appreciate all of the support and love we have been given as well.

We hope you enjoy a few of the pictures from this magical homecoming and we will try our best to continue to post reguarly with updates in the life of Gabriela Sophia.




On our way Home!!!!




In the airport with my two Abuelas!



I'm so happy with my Tio Jim!



So much fun with my two Abuelos!



I finally have my own highchair and boy am I having fun eating!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Home Sweet Home

No photos tonight since I have no idea which bag the camera cable is in, sorry! We arrived safe and sound and on time tonight although we had a crazy day, but in the end all worked out as it was supposed to. We were met at the airport by a great gathering of family and some good friends as well. It was so beautiful to see so much of Gabriela's new family there waiting for her and for us.

The family then helped us get all of our bags back to the house, which is strange to see after so long by the way; and a hot dinner was waiting for us. Everyone was so excited to finally meet Gabriela and it was a lot of fun to see her with her cousins especially. Thank you to everyone for doing so much for us while we have been gone and for the amazing welcome home.

The day stared at 4:30am to get to the airport 3 hours before our scheduled 9:25 flight. Unfortunately, we were told that the flight had been canceled due to problems with the plane. The nice people at American Airlines helped us transfer our ticket to Miami to a big Colombian airline, Avianca; however this flight was scheduled to arrive in Miami an hour later than our previous flight leaving a very short time for Immigration and Customs. I'm still not quiet sure just how we made our connection in Miami, but we did!

Gabriela was really very good on both flights, sleeping for the firt half of each flight and playing most of the 2nd half. She did get a bit bored at the end of the 2nd flight but wasn't too fussy as long as we tried to entertainer her. Monica is now feeling a bit under the weather and I'm feeling pretty run down myself. So on that note, I'm going to stop blogging and go to bed.

By the way, Gabriela is sound asleep right now in her own crib in her own room and our dog (Zuny) is sleeping outside her door.... Life is Good!!!!!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Not Goodbye, but....


Hasta Luego, Bogota... we will be back!
Well, we did receive Gabriela's visa today without any problems and we are pretty much all packed up. It's amazing how much stuff you can accumulate a) with a baby and b) living in a foreign country for nearly 2 months. Let's just say we are going home with more bags than we came with but that's ok because we are coming home with something so special none of the rest matters anyway.

For Halloween Gabriela was "Minnie Mouse", well she at least had the ears. We didn't have too much time for shopping for a costume for her but when we did we didn't have much luck finding anything small enough for her. So she was an adorable Minnie and although they do celebrate Halloween here she'll have to wait till at least next year before we are able to take her out trick or treating. It just wasn't possible this year with everything we needed to get done, not to mention it would have been 100% for us and not for her so we easily decided to skip it this year. We had to get busy getting ready to come HOME!!!!!!

We are finishing up packing the carry on and then it's off to sleep hopefully. We are leaving the hotel around 6 in the morning and we'll be seeing some of you just after 6pm tomorrow night!!!! We can't beleive that we are finally coming home and although we are a little nervous about the flights and everything we are just so excited that this is finally happening.

So good night Bogota, we'll see you in the morning and we'll see you again soon.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Ready to come home?




Emotionally and mentally we are ready to come home but we still have a lot to do to actually pack up the last nearly 2 months and return to our happy home. We went to the US Embassy today and everything went really well there for us. We have to go back tomorrow afternoon to pick up Gabriela's completed Immigration Visa. She will be traveling on her Colombian passport but as soon as they stamp her visa in Miami, she will be a naturalized American. We can get her U.S. passport right away if we wanted/needed to, but I think we'll give ourselves at least a short break from that kind of paper work.

It's so hard to believe that we will be home so soon. As my dad used to say to us, we have "one day and a wake up" left here in Bogota. We are sad to be leaving the place where our precious daughter was born but it is certainly time to head home and we are so excited to see everyone.

This is your offical invitation to meet us at the airport, if you want to and are able to meet us at the airport and see little Gabriela; please feel free. The schedule is to fly into National Airport from Miami on American Airlines and arrive at 6:10pm. If we have any problems at the embassy tomorrow with the visa we'll certainly let everyone know but you'll have to check the flights online on Wednesday to make sure that all the flights are on time.

Well, we are very tired and have a lot to do tomorrow so I'm going to sign off for tonight and dream of the little Hodson family seeing our family, friends, sleeping in our own beds, in less than 48 hours!

Enjoy tonights' photos and we'll see you all very soon!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Wonderful time with our CAC Friends!!!!



In this group photo John and I are holding Gabriela, Melinda is holding Alex and Moises is holding Mateo.



This is Mateo. Melinda and Moises were united with Mateo when he was 3 days old!!! Mateo is 5 years old in this photo!!!




This is Alex. Melinda, Moises and Mateo were united with Alex on Monday! Alex is 1 year and 10 months old in this photo!!!





John was taking a surprise photo of Gabriela and I jumped in to also get in the shot!!!




John, Gabriela and I at El Parque 93!!!!


Yesterday was such a wonderful day! After a nice long day of shopping with Gabriela, Maria Alejandra, Nicolas and Esteban (Nicolas' brother) we met up with our friends from the Yahoo Group Colombians Adopting Colombians (CAC)!!! It was so wonderful to finally meet such a wonderful family face to face and see them with their precious children and us with our little princess!!!! It was so wonderful to meet one of the families that we have been in constant communication with throughout our entire adoption journey! There are several other families who will also be traveling here to Bogota within the next couple of week and unfortunantely we won't be here to meet them, but hopefully our paths will cross sooner than later!

I can't believe that we are really going home! I am sad to leave Bogota and the family here, but I am thrilled to be coming home to see my parents, John's parents, our brothers and my sister and all of our wonderful friends!!!! We miss everyone from so much!!! We are counting down the days before we arrive home; however, in the meantime, we will enjoy the remainder of our time here! Thank goodness that the weather the last couple of days has been wonderful!

Hugs to you all!!!!!

Friday, October 27, 2006

BABY, WE'RE COMING HOME!!!!






For the most part today was a rainy day, but that didn't bother us one bit because in our eyes the sun was shining bright!!! It's amazing to have this wonderful feeling of being able to breath without constraints! John made the very important call to the airline and AS OF NOW our plan is to come home on Wednesday night around 6pm to Washington National Airport!!!! The reason that I am saying that AS OF NOW is because if something additional is needed for all of our paperwork with the Embassy on Monday we may need to have change it, but we honestly don't see anything that will keep us from coming home on Wednesday!!! We are VERY thrilled to be coming home to our wonderful family and friends; however we are sad to be leaving our wonderful family and friends here.

We continue to be amazed that everything that we worked so hard for is finally a reality! We are all so incredibly happy and are very much in love!!!

As we finish up this portion of our adoption journey many of our "on-line" friends are either already here in Colombia or on their way to Colombia to fulfill this portion of their Colombian Adoption Journey. We wish you all of the best and we will continue to keep you all in our prayers!

Enjoy the photos!!!

Much love to you all!

Monica, John and Gabriela

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Sweet Sweet Words





In the last 7 weeks or so there have been several words that were oh so very sweet. The words "congratulations your daughter was born on March 1st" might just of been the sweetest. Or I think the first time Monica and I each heard ourselves say "our daughter", or when the social worker at ICBF said "esta es su Hija" (this is your daughter). Ok I'm positive it was the last one but there have been many words that have sounded so sweet in these last weeks.

Well this morning we received some more sweet words, "su Cedula esta lista" (your Cedula is ready)! We received this news at about 8:15 in the morning and so our day was flipped upside down and Monica made some quick calls, we had a little breakfast and then she rushed out to the Cedula office with Gabriela. This is what we have been literally waiting for and we finally have it in hand!!! Monica was also able to go the passport office today and obtained Colombian passports for her and little Gabriela. We wish we had a scanner right now because her passport photo is so freaking cute! We’ll try to get our hands on a scanner so you can all see it!

Ok, so what's left and when are we coming home then you might ask? Well, tomorrow we have an appointment with the Doctor for the US Embassy who has to give everyone getting an immigration Visa to the US a basic physical so before we can go get the actual Visa for Gabriela she has be checked by him. Unfortunately, the Embassy here isn't open for Visa work on Fridays so the earliest we can go is on Monday, which of course we will be there bright and early Monday morning. The Visa has already been approved but there is some paperwork for them to complete so the final Visa will be ready either that afternoon or the following day assuming that there aren't any problems. We are going to call the airline tomorrow morning to ask about flights back to DC for Wednesday next week. This would give us that extra day for the Visa if needed and if not an extra day to enjoy this wonderful city and the great people we have been fortunate enough to spend time with.

In tonight’s photos Gabriela asked her parents some questions. Is it going to be cold in Virginia? Ok for just a sweatshirt or will I need a sweater and hat? Papi, is BMW leather seats always this nice? And lastly, when can I come home to Virginia and show off this beautiful dress?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Quiet Weekend?





We've had a couple of comments about the lack of blogging and more importantly photos of Gabriela from this weekend. So I'll go back to Friday night in order to shed some light and new photos on the situation.

We had made plans several weeks ago to go out to a very cool bar outside of Bogota with Monica's young cousins (19, 22, & 26) so Friday night it was time for Rosario & Jaime to babysit a sleeping Gabriela and we headed out to "Andres Carne de Res" with Pablo, his girlfriend Simona, Maria Alejandra, her boyfriend Nicolas, Juan Carlos, & his girlfriend Lina. The bar was really an amazing place to see and the food and drinks were delicious and plentiful.

Well let's just say that Monica and I are now feeling our age a bit and we required a bit of recovery time on Saturday but it was worth it. We have really enjoyed our time here with all of Monica's cousins and even though we are not leaving quite yet, it was a very nice send off indeed. It will also be a while before Monica and I are out on a Friday night without our baby girl so we enjoyed it but are very happy to be "home" with Gabriela even more.

As I said yesterday we had a lunch on Sunday with Monica's Aunt and cousins as well and then the move to the hotel here kept us offline on Sunday as well.

We are checking on Monica'a cedula every day now and pretty much everyday we are about a day away so it could happen any time now really. We are going to make some calls today to the embassy as well as to the airline to make sure we have everything we need for both and get an idea about the flight availability over the next week or so so we can respond quickly when Monica's cedula is complete. We miss you all and hopefully will be home soon. We would love to have Gabriela home in time for Halloween but we just aren't sure if that can happen or not. They do celebrate Halloween down here too so if we are not home, we'll get Gabriela a little costume and take lots of pictures.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Sweet Tooth?

Well I'm not sure how sweet it is at this point but last night during a two hour crying session in our first night in the hotel, Monica and I noticed something new.... a sharp little point in Gabriela's gums. Yup, last night Gabriela's first tooth broke through. It appears to be her right bottom front tooth and it was hurting her last night!

We arrived at the hotel in the late evening after spending a very nice afternoon visiting with Monica's Tia Livia, Primas Carolina & Livia Estela as well as Prima Andrea. We walked from their home to a nice mall that was built into a large old Hacienda that was built when the land there was a big ranch outside of Bogota and now it is a mall inside the city limits. They have urban sprawl here too! While we were at the mall, we actually ran into 2 of the families that we got to know a bit at the Halifax Hotel. They are both from Norway and are headed home together with their children. It was wondeful to see them again before they left and we exchanged email addresses and even house addresses for something called "mail"; I'm not sure about this "mail" they speak of but maybe it can work.

Unfortunately, no new news on the Cedula this morning so we are going to just settle in here to the hotel a bit and watch them all spoil little Gabriela. Everyone here at the hotel is already in love with her and are wanting to do anything they can for her and for us too I guess. Here we known as Gabriela's parents not John & Monica; sounds about right and we expect this to probably continue for the next... say 18 years or so?

All of you have been so supportive of us throughout this journey and today we ask that you think of some friends of ours from our Colombian adoption group who are going to receive their son Alexander today. At 3:30pm today (Bogota time) Melinda, Moises, & Mateo will be united with little Alexander; so wish them well and we hope to be able to meet them all in person this week. We miss you all and hope to be coming home soon. We have absolutely loved our time here in Bogota and can't wait to return here with Gabriela but we miss you all dearly and are anxious to get started in our lives back in Virginia.

Friday, October 20, 2006

No new information


















So I just made the call to find out about the status of my cedula and it's not finalized just yet. So, we'll just be spending the day here in the apartment packing up because we'll be heading to the Suite Jones Hotel on Sunday due to our month lease ending on Sunday and the owner not being able to comply with our request as it wasn't available.


Enjoy these wonderful pictures of Gabriela which were taken on Wednesday and Thursday! We'll make sure to post the photos taken today asap...we know that all of you need to have your Gabriela-fix!! 8-)

Who's Who? 2

Some additional photos from my birthday!!!

1. John and I with Gabriela

2. Juan Carlos (my cousin's oldest son) with Lina


























3. Maria Alejandra (my cousin's youngest daughter) and Nicolas
4. The family at the dinner table
5. Tango, the family dog and Gabriela's favorite dog in Bogota!!!!