~A baby I’ve been visiting at a bridge turned 3 weeks old.
~I’ve been back in Bolivia 3 weeks (Can’t believe that 3 weeks and a day ago I was in Tennessee, in the winter! Another life!)
~Baby F turned 4 months old, wow! (Yeah, I agree it would have been super if I’d had a chance to take pictures of her. It’s on the list...)
~Gabriel was a day away from turning 1 year and 4 months, although I have my hunch that he and his sister were also born on September 11.
~It was the 3 year anniversary of street fighting and bloodshed in our peaceful city, as opposing political/social groups clashed. Much of the blood ran on our prettiest avenue, where I had been literally a couple hours before. “Enero Negro” (black January) 2007 was a very sobering month that changed the political and racial scene in our city forever.
It was a full, busy Monday too! Rosa (social worker) and I started the day at court and ended it at child social services.
Actually technically I started it by following up with a Friday meeting with our physical therapist. This year we have asked her and another staff member to change from full time to part time. There were various reasons. Of course saving money is a nice one, as we want to be wise with sacrificial donations. The crazy thing is, even with reducing staff this year in several ways, we still end up paying roughly the same each month thanks to continual government ordered increases and the fact that most of our staff has been with me years now (a great thing, really) and that means they get extra benefits.
So for the court hearing, we had high hopes that Gabriel would go to live with Caregiver Luz yesterday. The hearing had already been postponed and everyone was anxious. In the hearing with the judge (which was almost changed again because child social services’ lawyer wasn’t showing, unfortunately all too common), all was found to be in order, all 4 parties were in favor, but………one piece of paper was missing and thus Gabriel returned home with us instead of his waiting adoptive mother. Because of the timing of when his twin sister died last year with a big national vote coming up, we were unable to obtain the official, signed, stamped, sealed death certificate. Social services promised us they would take up the charge. Then those people changed out. We insisted again. Then those people changed out. We insisted more. And so on and so on until yesterday, Gabriel did not go home with a doting mother and three siblings because of one piece of paper. What to do? That's life here so we try not to dwell on it
As an aside, due to all the recent judge changes, it was the first time we’ve had a hearing in the actual “Palacio de Justicia” instead of the crumbling old court building (literally unsafe for habitation!) or a nearby office building. We were in lawyer land as we navigated the huge building full of court rooms and judge offices. I had a chuckle when I saw a window all decorated up for Christmas exclaiming (in Spanish) “Merry Christmas from the correctional jail court!” How nice.
I met with several staff members and volunteers to straighten out which specialist appointments happened while I was gone, and which did not and why. Then we talked about which babies/children we should get new medical certificates/reports for just because they are close to being assigned and we could be asked any day for all new papers. Then I started making appointments and coordinating with the houses and THEN completely overhauled my master “doctor check up” list. Organization, organization, organization!
I emailed my sister an updated kid list because she said she was “missing a kid” in her head after the recent changes, and that she’s glad that at least I know how many we have! :)
My accountant and I had a meeting with the owner of our new house for Casa de Amor II (yeah!). The important point here is that his daughter and grandson (an extremely noisy, wiggly child) also came. And almost everything we had decided on just 2 and 3 days before had changed. Funny how that happens. When we were simply talking about the house, every answer was a “yes, of course!” but now that we were ready to sign a contract, it was like “wellll, we discussed that over the weekend and changed our mind”. Sigh. Reminds me of a time or two when I’ve hired one person and found they were another person entirely once the 3 month trial period was up!
And then we were in social services until way past their closing, trudging through our 27 page Foster Family Program proposal, with a lawyer with a completely pie-in-the-sky vision of how things "should" work. After 10 months of this, I still get the feeling that they think I’m proposing some new and unusual punishment, when in fact even other developing countries in the world use this model!
I’m discovering that this lawyer's favorite thing to say is, in a calculated way while staring deep into your eyes like she’s trying to figure out why you’re such an idiot, “We just really need to keep thinking through all of the details of this very slowly and very well, now don’t we?”
If the lady only knew how I live, eat, sleep, and breathe this work, my life passion, whereas she clocks out Monday through Friday and goes to a quiet house….. Just because SHE can’t wrap her mind around it, doesn’t mean that we haven’t spent 10 months researching this and presenting dozens of well-thought-out documents to them so that they can collect dust in her office and get lost!! Sorry. Gotta vent somewhere. They just have the strangest capacity to overlook any benefit to children, or child rights, over their need to have full control and say in EVERYTHING. I just don’t get it.
As I’m writing this in Outlook, we’re having a major windstorm and thus little-to-non-existent internet. Who knows when it will post! Have I said “such is life in Bolivia” yet?!
Adios, Shana and Hillary - Thanks to Carla Booher for the blog! :) Wednesday night we had a "going away" party for two of our volunteers. Shana is from Texas and has been touring...
3 years ago