Thursday, July 30, 2015

"Gotcha Day"

At last the moment we have been waiting for... This afternoon at 5:30 we had our audiencia (hearing) that allowed us to bring our three babies home to live with us!! We are absolutely thrilled to have these three home with us. It was exactly one year ago that we said goodbye, for what we thought was the last time, to David and Audrey. It was one of the hardest days of my life. I remember weeping all day long. Clara told me that day, that saying goodbye to David and Audrey was the hardest thing she had ever had to do in her nine years of life. Now here we are a year later welcoming these that we said goodbye to, to our home for forever! We also have another "bonus baby", Peter, with us too! God is so good to us. We are overwhelmed with thanksgiving to Him who has made this possible.

So Happy!!
 After our hearing we went out to dinner with the Casa de Amor volunteers to celebrate. It appears that we have lost our camera, hard to believe right before this momentous occasion! Thankfully, the volunteers took pictures for us. We felt like celebrities with all those cameras pointed at us! Thank you, Hannah, Sarah, Danyelle, Isabelle, and Michelle for celebrating with us tonight!!
Biggest Sister with Littlest Brother!!
 It would be impossible to thank by name each one that has been a part of this adoption. Please know that we are thankful to each of you that have prayed for us throughout this process. Thank you also for giving both of your time and financially. We could not be here in Bolivia adopting these precious babies without you. We are so very, very thankful to you all!!!
Somos 11 y Alegres!!!!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Busy Weeks

The month of July was full of busy weeks. Part of me would like to give a detailed blog about each week, but the practical side says that is too unrealistic. This blog will hit some of the highlights of July. It will be random and jump from place to place, so hang on tight and enjoy the ride!

At the end of June we welcomed Joseph Lawrence back to stay with us for four weeks. He will show up in a lot of these pictures! We also welcomed two new volunteers from Chicago, Illinois, Gina and Michelle. We also welcomed back Sarah from Ireland, Hannah from Louisiana, and had a week long visit from former volunteer, Lindsey! I told you it has been a busy month! 

Michelle plays guitar and Gina plays the cello! Fun times!
We also took a long drive up into the mountains. Emily's blog goes more into depth on this here!

L. to R. Jeaneth, Clancy, Edgar, Me, Ruth, Myles, Danyelle, Clara,
Courtney, Joseph, Emily, Daniel, Paula, and Franco
The Cold and The Brave
Then Michelle and Gina, along with Emily, Kirsten, Joseph, Amber, and Myles, put on a Vacation Bible School for the kids at Casa de Amor! It was a great week!
Paula, David, B. and Eddie!
They did a great job with songs, crafts, and messages.
Leading the singing, Michelle on guitar, Anita, Gina, and Ruth
leading out with motions!
One of the days they wrote all their "sins" on a piece of white paper. The next day they "covered" them with red paint to signify the blood of Jesus that covers our sins! The day after (I wasn't there) they took off the red paint in the shape of a cross and it was pure white underneath! A pretty vivid picture of the work of the gospel!
The blood of Jesus covers our sins...
Meanwhile, our boys along with Joseph and Rudi some of the days were helping out at an outreach called Mosoy Yan. It is a home for unwed mothers that are pregnant or have had babies due to abusive situations. They worked with a team from the U.S., Argentina, and some young people from our church, painting, making bunk beds, cleaning, and just generally improving the home. Myles was there each day and absolutely loved his time.
Our boys with a sweet family from Argentina.
Myles and Clancy worked with this man on bunk beds
two of the days.
They were able to get A LOT done.
Some of the girls with some of the team!
And then of course, we finally got to visit our babies. Our main concentration has been on Peter, our youngest, since we did not know him yet. I have taken way too many pictures of our times with him, but I just can't resist!
Loving our little guy!

Bonding with big sister, Ruth!

Visiting the big kids home. The girls made a "train" one afternoon!
Their friend, Gracie, came with us that afternoon.
I also gave some haircuts at both baby homes. Let's just say that some turned out better than others. At Peter's home the one boy was hyper actively moving the whole time. It wasn't my finest moment! I am getting better at cutting moving targets though!!
D. sat perfectly still!

And I think he turned out great!
Then it was time for the kids and Rudi and a bunch of other folks to head for the mountains again! Emily also did an in-depth blog about this time also and you can see it here! I am thankful for a daughter who has more time to blog than I do!! Paula and I spent the morning visiting our kids at their various homes. It was good to take truffis and be part of the culture for a morning!!
Enjoying the snow in the Andes!

My handsome oldest "on top of the world"!

The group minus Rudi
L.-R. Jimmy, Michelle, Clara, Gina, Myles, Joseph, Clancy,
Emily, Ruth, Danyelle, and Isabelle(friend of Danyelle's and ours too!)
That evening we had all the volunteers over for dinner at our house. Lindsey brought some ingredients from the good 'ole USA for chimichangas! She also provided the rest of the ingredients and oversaw the making of them. I felt very pampered not having to make dinner!!

Isabelle, Lindsey, Michelle, Clancy, and Clara
Assembly Team!

Paula, Ruth, Hannah, and Sarah
The Chocolate Chip Cookie Crew
Lindsey, the ringleader! Love that smile...

Happily Eating Chimichangas
Myles, Emily, Amber, Gina, Me(sleeping?), and Michelle
Our Sweet Set of Volunteers!

I don't have pictures of Joseph after he got all four of his wisdom teeth pulled. He spent the first night in the living room in the recliner, spitting bloody gauze out every half hour. Myles was his nurse and slept on the couch! Thankfully, Joseph did really great after that first night and had no complications!!

Joseph helped us out almost every weekend he was here with the cinnamon roll business. He either helped make or sell them!!
Joseph and Myles at the "CinnaRollo Stand"!!

I also don't have pictures of the Horita Felizes we did each weekend, or the day we spent getting Hannah and Sarah appliances for their new apartment. Our car served as moving van with the fridge on top and the washing machine and stove right inside the door! We have been BUSY every moment with one thing or another, but it has been really good!

Goodbye dinner for Joseph at Limon!
The night before Joe left we took everyone out for dinner at Limon, our new favorite Mexican restaurant! We are going to miss having him around...

And, of course, every blog now a days has to end with pictures about our visits!!! I hope the next blog will be about their "Gotcha Day"!!

Happy Padres with their three youngest wawas!

Secrets for Daddy!
There you have it a random blog with a little of what we have been up to this past month! Hope you enjoyed it!!

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Long Long Wait

I know you have heard us complain before about how long the process is to adopt in Bolivia. So just in case you wanted to know some of the details, I am going to do a blog about some of the hoops you jump through and talk about just how long the wait has been for us. Now some of you will now seek out a more interesting blog to look at, but for those of you who are sticking around for the details, here goes!

Our adoption journey began the week after we returned to Bolivia in mid-October, 2015. In order for us to adopt in Bolivia, the first steps involved getting our paperwork together, as a couple. These steps included background checks from three different places: Interpol, FELCN, and REHAP. We also had to get our one year and two year visas certified. We had to wait a month to get our two year visa certification back from La Paz. We had to wait two weeks to get back our background check from Interpol. All of the steps included at least one day of dropping things off, another day for picking them up, and sometimes waiting for hours in lines. We got to know the banking system well, and where the Banco Unions were located, because each step required deposits of money into the bank. Think long waits at the DMV over and over again! Banks are set up like the DMV here. When you walk in you get your ticket with your number and then you sit down and wait to be served! 

It felt like a big giant treasure hunt, getting all kinds of stuff together from so many different areas. We had many days of not being successful with the treasure hunt! Like the time we walked clear across town twice to find the spot to certify our, three times already certified, birth certificates and marriage certificate. That day we gave up, because each place we went told us that they did not do it there and sent us to another location. I guess you had to “know” the right person, because our lawyer ended up doing this step for us, and all she had to do was go to the original spot we were told to go! Where they had told us that they hadn’t done them in that location for three years… go figure! We spent three full days getting where we lived registered and then didn’t end up needing that paperwork! Getting our bank information notarized was another fun day and step in the process.

One of the big things was the work we had done with SEDEGES, the Bolivian equivalent of Child Protective Services. This involved many days of interviews, psychological exams, and a home study. Our team was good to work with and got our stuff done in record time for which we were very thankful. 

Everything having to do with our paperwork as a couple, was ready by the end of December. We thought that everything having to do with David and Adriana’s paperwork was done also. Now we were waiting on Peter’s paperwork to be done, to get him ready for adoption with his older two siblings. 

Side note: At the end of October, David and Adriana were assigned a family that wanted to adopt a sibling pair. This couple had two days to respond saying whether they would like to adopt them or not. After the 48 hour period they lost their chance to adopt them. During that two days or right before they were assigned, the wife had an accident that burned her badly. I never confirmed whether it was an automobile accident or something else, but the couple was unable to accept OUR BABIES, because of the accident. It was such a close call that we could have lost them to another family. It strengthened our feeling though that God truly has these children for us. Our lawyer made sure after this close call that they were “removed” from the system until we could ask for them.

Our lawyer traveled from mid-December through mid-January. When she returned we officially requested to adopt David, Adriana, and Peter. Although, Peter’s paperwork was far from done, we didn’t realize how far until later, we wanted the judge to know that we wanted to adopt them when Peter’s paperwork was ready. It felt good to get the ball rolling and we were sure that we were on the home stretch at this point! 

What it comes down to is the baby home that was caring for Peter, was not working on preparing his paperwork like they should have been. It wasn’t until April that we finally figured out what the problem was. With a bit of cash and our lawyer running paperwork around for the social worker at Peter’s baby home, we were able to advance his paperwork rapidly and it was ready by mid-May. We went to get our “official visits”, one of the next to last steps in the process, on the 21 of May. We were disappointed to find that we did not get the visits, instead we had to present more paperwork about the medical issues that David and Peter had. 

In Bolivia you are not allowed to “choose” children to adopt. However, like every law in Bolivia there are exceptions. A big one is if the child you would like to adopt has a physical problem or developmental problem. Bolivians typically do not want to adopt children that have a potential medical problem or if the child has had a surgery. David was born with a large dark birth mark that covers about 1/4 of the back of his head. This could potentially be cancerous one day. It actually has a medical name and therefore can be “played up” to be a real crisis. I personally do not see him having problems with this in the future, but even if he did, we are fine with that. Peter is behind for his age. The fact that they are a sibling group of three also makes them less desirable and lessens their chances of being adopted by another family. This latest hiccup at the end of May had to do with what we had stated were our reasons for choosing to adopt these particular three children. They wanted more proof that David truly did have this “dangerous” birth mark and that Peter was delayed in his development. To us it just felt like more headaches!

Our lawyer once again traveled from the end of May to the end of June. We worked on three different things while she was gone by ourselves. Every week and almost every day we were doing something involved with the adoption. Rudi even made cinnamon rolls as incentives (bribes!) for two different government agencies! However, without her help we were pretty hopeless! Our lawyer has a way of getting the impossible done. She is worth more than her weight in gold. We could not have done this whole adoption without her! 

When she returned at the end of June, you can guess from whom was the first phone call she received… Yep, it was us! I think she was on her way home from the airport when she got the call! It took three more weeks, but by mid-July we finally had our official visits, just seven weeks later than we thought they would be! Or was that FIVE months later than we thought!! Either way, it doesn’t matter now that the end is finally in sight. 

An interesting point is that David's paperwork hadn't gone through one of the steps and it ended up being his paperwork that we were waiting on the last few weeks! Supposedly his paperwork was completely finished TWO years ago. If it isn't one thing it's another here!!

Let me tell you this long wait has been HARD for me. For all of us, but sometime back in February when I thought this process would be over soon, I let my heart go and these babies became mine. That has meant that each time we drop them off or say goodbye after visiting them, a little of my heart stays with them. It truly hurts my heart to be apart from them. The mama bear instinct has kicked in and I want my babies home with me for forever. It has been the hardest thing I have had to do, for the longest amount of time. I have reached the end of myself over and over again. I keep thinking, “I can’t go on waiting anymore” and that is when the Lord takes me up and comforts me again and again. When I am stretched beyond my endurance that is when He takes over. I know that what I am “suffering” is nothing compared to what Jesus suffered for me. He suffered for me, so that I could become his daughter. The verse at the top of our blog says, “Who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross...”. Who for the joy that was set before him. I am that joy. You are that joy. He endured the cross to adopt us, to allow us to be called the children of God. I am enduring “this cross” for the joy that is set before me: David, Adriana, and Peter. I know that I will look back and it will just be a blink in my life; this time we have waited and labored for them to be adopted by our family.  

Yes, adopting in Bolivia is anything but easy, but since when was anything worth having been easy? 

....We are hoping that we will be bringing our babies home NEXT WEEK!!! Can't wait to share that blog with you all....

Winter in Cochabamba

Winter in Cochabamba
Tunari covered with snow!!

A rare sight, snow covered mountains!! It is winter time here in South America. However, it doesn't usually rain in the winter, so we rarely get snow on the mountains. This picture is actually of the second snow we got this year. The first was on the Fourth of July!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Our First Visit!!

"But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God: yea, let them exceedingly rejoice. Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon he heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him. A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widow, is God in his holy habitation. God setteth the solitary in families..." Psalm 66:3-6a

At last, the moment we have been waiting for these past many, many months has come. The court has given us our "official visits" of seven working days!!! We are THRILLED!!!

For those of you who wonder how we got to this point, I am composing another blog that will explain all of that, to be published later. We have been encouraged by our lawyer not to post information about our adoption on social media, so I know that many of you are in the dark about it all! For now I am going to move ahead with this moment and not break it up with a lot of explanation about the adoption itself!! I also am going to be using the first names that we are giving our soon-to-be adopted children.  I will officially introduce them in a later blog, after they have come home to live with us. Okay, I guess that was the "small print"... Now on to our exciting first visit!!

Currently our children are in living two separate orphanages: David and Adriana at Casa de Amor; Peter at Creamos. For our first visit, we picked up David and Adriana and a social worker from CDA and took them with us to meet their younger brother, Peter, for the first time. It felt really, really good to, finally, be ALL together as a family!!

Unfortunately, our little boy Peter had a cold and wasn't feeling super great. I was the only one that could hold him at first (bummer!) and I had to be moving the whole time for him to be happy, but  after awhile he perked up!

"Meeting Peter"

David meeting Peter for the first time!
We had told David that he had a younger brother about two months ago. He often asked us when we would go by and visit him, "Where is Pedrito?" He was very eager to meet his little brother!
The hardest part of the visit was leaving my little baby boy at the orphanage when it was time to go. I just want to take him home for forever! That day is coming soon!!
Falling in love with Peter!
Adriana was happy and on the go the whole time we were at Creamos! The orphanage was very hospitable and gave us the front yard area to ourselves, so we could bond with our new children. They all had fun on the toys that were new to them.
Adriana on the go!!

So much fun!

David with his favorite person... Daddy!!

Bonding with our new baby!

Our beautiful little girl, Adriana!
Our adorable, David!

  Our six older children were so happy for this day. They too have been waiting a long time and have been so supportive of all the times we have had to run out to do paperwork! Each one of them has been praying every day that their little Bolivian brothers and sister would be able to come home soon. They love these three like they were their own flesh and blood. They all have been not only willing, but eager, to leave the comforts of the U.S. to come back to Bolivia to adopt. I am blessed every day by them and their attitudes toward our adoption. God has blessed us beyond measure. My cup is full and running over!!
Finally, all together in one place!!! Happiness!!!
The Rudi and Carla Booher Family 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Check It Out

I wanted to let all of my blogger friends know that my daughter, Emily has just started her own blog. She has more time than I do for blogging and has been able to do some blogs that I just haven't gotten around to doing...yet! Maybe, I will just let her pick up the slack and you all can pop over there and see what is the latest and greatest with the Rudi Boohers. I learned how to add a link, it was incredibly simple even by my standards, so you can click HERE and it will take you directly over to her blog, Standing on the Promises!! Be sure to check it out!!

Friday, July 10, 2015

A Visit from Another Friend

During the month of June we also had the privilege of hosting a dear friend from our home state of Oregon, Richard McDaniel. The McDaniels have been really supportive good friends for over 14 years! Richard and his wife, Julie have been not only good friends, but also examples both in their walks with the Lord and with their marriage. Julie did not make it down for a visit this time, but Richard came and stayed for ten days!

The only bummer part was that his visit almost exactly coincided with the "Dream Teams" visit! Thankfully, he came a day before the team and left two days after, so we did have some time alone with him. He was able to spend some quality time with Rudi and Myles, evangelizing in the Plaza Bolivar one morning. He played lots of games with our children and we had some really good talks together while he was here. He also spent a lot of time with Myles. They managed to get somewhat "lost" while shopping one day. It all turned out in the end, because they made it home! Hopefully, Myles learned some more things about where the various Micros go!

One of the Sundays he shared at our church at Km. 0. A friend of ours translated for him and both did a good job and everyone was blessed!

I think the highlight of his time was the last day he was here, Rudi took Richard and some of the children driving up into the Andes. The views were spectacular and it was a blessing to be in some of God's amazing creation!

 The night he left we snapped a "selfy" in our living room. Sorry, it is so far away, but I thought it turned out nice.

Thank you, Richard, for coming down and being a part of our busy lives here in Bolivia. We were encouraged to do more evangelism by your visit and were strengthened by our mutual faith in Jesus Christ. Next time Julie has to come with you!!
Ephesians 3:20 "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worth in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Dream Team

Anyone who has taken care of teams that come down from the U.S. will know what I mean when I say that we had a visit from the "Dream Team"! The  Twelve people that came from Alaska, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, Ohio, Illinois, and Tennessee, one man and eleven ladies, all had hearts of gold, willing hands to help, they came prepared to serve and love the children at Casa de Amor. They were a blessing start to finish. 

The first day they had brought crafts for both the little kids at Casa 1 and also for the big kids at Casa 2 & 3. One of the crafts was a flagrant overuse of bandaids! Every kids dream to open bandaids and use them as stickers; at least it has been my kids' dream! All of the kids loved it:) 

Some of the team helping the littles with their craft!

Craft time!
 The team also did various project throughout the week, as simple as hanging out the wash and cleaning, and as complicated as painting the dining room at Casa 2.
Sam, Suzanne, and Mary hanging out the never ending wash.

Shawn and Casi pruning the trees along the road!
 In the afternoon we headed over to Casa 2 where they did the craft with the older children. The little boy in the picture below is going to be having heart surgery soon. The craft theme "God heals my heart" couldn't have been more perfect for him!! (Please see Hannah's blog, for how you can help with his surgery....)
K. with his band aided heart!

More crafts with the older kids.
(This room is now a cheery yellow) 
 Throughout the week there was always a game of soccer going on in  the back yard or some other fun game!

A few of the nights we ate out with the team. I only got a picture the night we went to La Estancia. This team was truly American, nice and loud in restaurants! It was great to have fun and laugh in our "heart" language and culture. We did turn some heads in the restaurant though, Bolivians throw loud parties, but are very quiet in restaurants!
The team at La Estancia
 Another afternoon we all piled into Casa de Amor's truffi and ours and took the team and the oldest children from Casa de Amor to Parque Pairumani! Most of the team hiked all the way up to the waterfall and had a great time getting wet and muddy. I hiked part of the way with Casi and Audra, two sisters on the team. We had a wonderful visit and I was really encouraged by our talk together. Both of these gals have been through a lot, but have joyful attitudes about life and vibrant relationships with the Lord.
The crowd that went to Parque Pairumani

Our family also took the team to Tarata one of the mornings. Tarata is a small town about an hour and a half out of Cochabamba. There is lots of super old architecture in Tarata, as well as native people. It gives you a feel for the "real" Bolivia, rather than just the "modern" city feel of Coch. For lunch on the way home from Tarata, we stopped at Palabra de Vida's (Word of Life) large campus to eat. Our friends there were very kind to let us crash their place!! We had packed a picnic lunch for everyone to share. Unfortunately, one of the gals on the team, Mary, does not handle altitude well. She kept thinking she would get over it, but continued to get worse as the day progressed. Rudi ended up taking her to our house to sleep. Thankfully, she was doing better by the next day. She was very brave through it all and kept apologizing for being sick. Like she could help it! The altitude affects everyone so differently, but it is a major factor in traveling here in the Andes.

After lunch Emily and I took most of the group to tourist shop in La Concha. We made quite a crowd! Emily and I were kept busy translating prices and making deals for everyone. Thankfully, two of the ladies in the group spoke Spanish also, so they could help us. We didn't get a picture, but getting the team AND all the items they had bought into our car was quite a feat! They were stuffed into the car with stuff all over them!!

Tarata and Friends!

Enjoying our picnic lunch at Palabra de Vida
Making "handprints"
All too soon it was the last day with the team. The team made a special dough and pressed each of the  CDA children's handprints or footprints into the dough. They turned out really cute.

Chelsea enjoying baby G.
During this week some of the children at House 2 and 3 had Chicken Pox. Since Elianna (14), the youngest member of the team, had never had Chicken Pox before, her mother asked if she could hang out at our house when the team was at the older homes. Our girls became fast friends with her, as she is a lot of fun. Elianna was adopted by Jessica and her husband when she was 10 years old. It is a really sweet story how that all came about. Elianna could relate on a whole different level with the children at Casa de Amor. I am glad that she and her mom were able to come together. Her mother, Jessica was also a true kindred spirit in the food department. She is an adventurous eater and she and I chowed a whole huge plate of Charque de Llama together one dinner!! I am going to write and ask for the picture she took of us on her iPhone, so come back later and see this blog updated with it!
L.toR. Audra, Abbie, Elianna, and Casi...
Love those Bolivian Sweaters and Poncho!
Everyone has cinnamon rolls that Rudi made for them in their hands in these pictures!!
Chelsea, Nicole, and Shawn

Nicole, Jessica, Rebecca, Emily, Suzanne, L. and Abbie
One of the ladies on the team, Audra, has a real gift for photography. She took amazing pictures of each of the children in the homes and then printed them out and framed them. She had brought this really nifty photo printing machine with her. I was shocked when she told me that she was giving it to us instead of taking it home. Thank you so much, Audra. It has already been a big blessing and we have been able to share it with others.
Audra in her makeshift photo booth!!
One last game of Soccer...
The last evening the team was here Rudi and I were able to have dinner with them at Elena's Guesthouse, where they were staying. It was a super precious time for us. We cannot express how special each person on the team was. Before they came they were just names on a page, but as the week progressed each persons giftings and personalities unfolded and we came to love each one.  We are so thankful that they came down to Bolivia and "visited" our orphans! I hope that many of them will be able to come again.

Mary knitted these adorable hats for Elena and Vico's
twin girls! 

Our special friends Vico and Elena with their SUPER CUTE
twin baby girls!

And here is a parting shot for you! The Dream Team with the kids from House 2 and 3 of Casa de Amor in a "silly" shot!! Thank you for coming and sharing your hearts, your resources, your time, and your smiles with all of us at Casa de Amor. God bless you all!!
Visiting Orphans/Orphan World Relief, Bolivia 2015