We and two of our best friends went into DC for the Kaypi Peru festival at the National Museum of the American Indian.  We had a very full day and enjoyed music and dancing, arts and crafts, traditional food, a documentary, the museum exhibits, and a seminar about the production of pisco (which we also got to drink).  I loved learning about the kiddos’ culture, and I got a few more little things to add to their bedroom.  Even better: I conducted all of my shopping transactions en espanol!

To go with our yummy rice the other day, I made asado de res, a slow-cooked beef recipe that seems to be the Latin equivalent to pot roast.  

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Into the crockpot went flank steak, red wine, red wine vinegar, carrots, cumin, oregano, and vegetable oil, and it cooked down for several hours until the beef was tender.  The end result, though admittedly not so pretty to look at, was very earthy tasting with a nice acidic kick from the wine and vinegar.  The leftovers were pretty awesome fillers for quesadillas, so that was a bonus too.

En la cocina: arroz con chimichurri

The day that we got our dossier mailed out, we celebrated by cooking a few recipes from our Peruvian cookbook.  This one, arroz con chimichurri, is an amazingly creamy and herbacious rice dish loaded up with vegetables, vinegary chimichurri sauce, and a dollop of creme fraiche.  We paired it with carne asado and cooked carrots, and there were no leftovers to be had.  I think this side will become a staple in our cooking lineup.

This is the shirt I was wearing yesterday as I readied our dossier for the mail (kissing the manila envelope twice for luck).  We’re coming for you as fast as we can, mis amores.

The dossier is triple-checked and in the mail!

I’m a doofus and realized that I forgot two pages when I went to the apostille yesterday, so I got to drive to Annapolis yet again this morning.  Luckily, I started my new part-time schedule at the library and was off this morning anyway, so I was able to get it done with no trouble.  Even better: it is about 20 degrees cooler today than yesterday, so my travels between government buildings were actually quite pleasant.

On the way home, I stopped off at the first post office I could find and got that bad boy in the mail to our placement agency.  It should arrive by Saturday!  Until we get further instructions, we play the waiting game, which is a game that we’re getting pretty good at throughout this process.

It took me several hours sprinting between different state government buildings in the blistering heat, but I got our entire dossier certified and apostilled.

It would have gone a lot faster if I was better prepared, but some very nice people helped guide me through the process.  I didn’t realize, for instance, that my neat stack of notarized documents had to first be certified at a district court before they could go to the apostille.  When I got to the office I needed (after an incorrect detour through the Maryland State House, oops), I was told that my documents weren’t able to be apostilled.

Before I could melt into sweat and tears all over the desk at the Secretary of State’s office, the apostille arranged with the courthouse in Annapolis to re-notarize all of my forms and certify them there.  He even drew me a little map to find where I needed to go, and I got in and out in 30 minutes.  The apostille was waiting for me at the office when I darted back over, and he got everything taken care of for me and wished us luck with the adoption process.  Thanks, apostille man, for all of the help.

On my way back to the car, because the universe is a strange and wonderful place, I turned the corner to find a Peruvian boutique I had never seen before.  I couldn’t afford any of the gorgeous alpaca wool capes or sweaters, but I did score a sweet alpaca toy for the kids’ room.  I also grabbed lunch and managed to climb into my car at exactly the same moment my meter ran out.  Kismet!

I’m really hot and sweaty and frazzly today, but I am also feeling pretty darn accomplished.  The post office was closed by the time I got home, so our dossier goes in the mail first thing tomorrow.  I might even spring for express postage!

In one week, Bee and I and two of our best friends are heading into DC to take part in the annual Kaypi Peru Festival at the National Museum of the American Indian.  Conveniently, all four of us have the same weekday off next week, so I’m considering it meant-to-be.

From what we’ve read, we can expect to enjoy dancing, music, crafts, food and drink, lectures, films, and photo exhibits that all celebrate the many different indigenous peoples of Peru.  I’m so excited to be able to explore more about our children’s homeland, and so lucky to live close enough to a city that gives us access to resources like this.  So excited!

At long last, the USCIS has approved our I800-A application, so we can now move forward in the adoption process.  When I checked the mail on Saturday, my neighbors were all treated to the dazzling sight of a short bespectacled lady in a taekwondo uniform jumping up and down and shrieking in her driveway.  You’re welcome, neighbors.

Next up?  We take all of our dossier documents to the apostille in Annapolis to be certified and we then send them all off to our placement agency, Villa Hope, to be translated and forwarded on to the Peruvian government.  Once the dossier has landed in Peru, the government officials down there will review our case and decide whether to approve us as adoptive parents, and they will then help to match us with our children.

We’re just one step closer, but it’s a REALLY big step.

Through the combined efforts of t-shirt and coffee sales, direct donations, online and in-person yard sales, and our recent Pampered Chef show, Bee and I thrilled to announce that we have PASSED our fundraising goal.

We were hoping that we might be able to raise $5000, and we just clocked in at $5071 in just one year of efforts.  We’re blown away by everyone’s help and generosity, and we are happy to take a break from fundraising now.  The yardsaling, especially, was a lot of work!

Now, besides my obsessive mailbox stalking (come on, USCIS!), I’m switching my efforts into applying for adoption grants, which has been quite a process so far.  I began my part-time hours this week, so I have some more time to work on putting my applications together.  Hopefully something will come from it!

Asker fernclouds Asks:
I don't know how much Spanish you already know, but Duolingo could potentially be useful! It's not really the best for my personal learning techniques, but it does teach you a lot of vocab and grammar for free. I've been using it for Portuguese, but I use it to brush up on Spanish sometimes.
bringinghomebebe bringinghomebebe Said:

Thanks for the tip!  I haven’t heard of Duolingo before, but I’ll definitely take a look.  So far, I have been using a combination of Pimsleur CDs and my library’s Mango Languages database.  (This mostly seems to result in me chattering to myself in Spanish while I’m driving and running errands!)