Friday, January 16, 2009

03/21/2007 Adoption Update e-mail - U.S. Adoption Completed

Hello friends and family,

We just wanted to let you know that today we finally had our court appointment to re-adopt the girls in Illinois. The hearing itself went off without a hitch, and only took about fifteen minutes. This re-adoption is mostly a formality. It makes it easier for the girls to get birth certificates in the U.S., and I think it makes it easier for them to acquire U.S. passports. It also officially makes their last name Brooks, rather than Brooks Wett. Wett is Andrea's maiden name. It is customary in Spanish speaking cultures for people to have both the last name of the father, which is listed first, and the last name of the mother, which is listed second. So, when they were adopted in Peru their new birth certificates and passports gave them the last name of Brooks Wett. Of course, that custom doesn't work so well here, and it even confused the judge. Most people here, when they see their full name think their last name is Wett, and Brooks is a second middle name. So, this change will make things a little easier down the road.

It has now been just over six months since the official adoption in Peru. Everything with us has been going fairly well. We have had our first post placement visit which will happen twice a year for the next four years. These visits are required by Peru as a way of monitoring how the girls adjust in their new family and community. The girls have adjusted quite easily to the American lifestyle. They have learned quite a bit of English, but of course, have a long way to go. The boys and girls for most part get along, but there have been a fair share of brother and sister arguments, except for Andrew who gets along with everyone. School homework for the girls has by far been the biggest struggle, but that's mostly for mom and dad. Our weekday evenings are now pretty much consumed with translating and teaching. It almost feels like we are homeschooling. We are definitely looking forward to summer. Next year, we hope, will be much easier as they get a better grasp of English, and as they catch up to their grade levels in science and social studies.

Once again, thank you for all your prayers and support.

The Brooks Family - Tim, Andrea, Loren, Veronica, Donna, Josh, T.J. and Andrew

10/22/2006 Adoption Update e-mail - The last installment, but not the end of the story

Greeting friends and family,

By now most of you have either seen us, talked to us on the phone, or have figured it out on your own, that we are all back safely in the United States. However, I thought I would back track and fill you in on Andrea's final days in Peru, as well as tell you how we are all doing.

First Andrea's story, beginning after the boys and I left on the taxi for the airport, Wednesday, October 11th:

10/11/2006 - Wednesday: Andrea decided to double check the documentation to be sure she had everything. Unfortunately, there was one document not mentioned in our Adoption agencies check list, that was mentioned in a letter sent to us by the U.S. embassy while we were still in the states. This form was the very first thing mentioned in that letter. So, I'll take the blame for missing that one form. Big oops! I had focused on the Adoption agency check list, and hadn't, obviously, read the embassy letter carefully enough. So Andrea was thinking "Thanks a lot Tim!".

10/12/2006 - Thursday: The ladies went to the immigration side of the embassy to find out if they had finished the immigration investigation, and to get the missing document form. After sitting for an hour, they just told Andrea that they'd call her that afternoon. After that, she tried to go over to the consulate side of the embassy to get the missing document form, but the guard told her it was too late to get the form. He said they would have to come back at 8:30 am on Friday. Andrea called Maria Elena to explain that the guard would not budge even though she just needed to get a form. So Maria Elena was able to call a friend who works in the embassy. And the friend told Maria Elena that Andrea should come back again to get the form. However, when Andrea and the girls returned the guard still wouldn't let her in. So, she argued with the guard until he finally called the office who told him to let her come in. So, she finally got the form thanks again to Maria Elena's verbal magic. At noon, she also got a call from immigration in which they told her that the investigation was complete, and they'd be passing on the documents to the consulate side of the embassy which does the visa process.

So having received this call, and now having all the forms ready, she followed the next step in the procedure according to the embassy letter instructions and also according to the verbal instructions from the immigration side of the embassy. That step was to call the consulate to set up an appointment for the visa interview. These calls were limited to 3:00 pm and 4:00 pm, big surprise. Andrea tried calling beginning at 3:00 pm and received busy signals for the whole hour. At 4:00 she finally got through to an operator who quickly spewed out the hours and then hung up. She called back again, and once more the operator hung up on her. She tried again and got the operator, but this time she begged the operator, saying: "Don't hang up on me, please! I've been calling for an hour, and I need to set up this appointment!" The operator put Andrea through to her supervisor who told Andrea that they don't have the paperwork from immigration yet, and Andrea needed to wait for them to call her for the appointment. So, much for trying to follow the instructions.

10/13/2006 - Friday: At 8:00 am, Donna brang Andrea the cell phone, that the owners of the house where we were staying at were nice enough to let us use, just as it stops ringing and goes to voice mail. Andrea didn't have the voice mail code, so she had to wait until Patrizia, the owner, came home at noon to get the message. The message had been to set up the visa appointment for Friday afternoon. However, by the time Andrea called back it was too late to get the appointment for Friday, so they had to wait until Monday. She wasn't happy for another weekend delay, but at least things were moving. With this information, she went ahead and got flight tickets for herself and the girls purchased for Tuesday 12:20 am.

10/14/2006 - Saturday: Andrea and the girls were invited to Maria Elena's for lunch. Loren had been feeling bad that morning, and by the time they go to Maria Elena's she had 101 degree fever. So with Loren being sick they spent the rest of Saturday taking it easy.

10/15/2006 - Sunday: Loren was feeling better, so they went to a craft market with the girls in Lima. During their walk to the market, they saw some street artists, a magic show, other sites in the park (pictures attached). And for lunch they went with American cuisine and had McDonald's.

10/16/2006 - Monday: Andrea and the girls went in the morning for the visa interview. After she gave them all the documentation, they waited for an hour or so, then called her up to pay the $380 per child fee, and they waited another hour or so. Finally, they called Andrea and the girls up for the visa interview, which took all of 10 minutes. After that, they told her to come back at 3:00 pm, and the visas would be ready. The girls went home, did laundry, had lunch, then went back at 3:00 and got the visas. Hooray, they were free to go home at last! To celebrate they went out for ice cream. Just before 9:00 pm, Raul and Maria Elena came to see Andrea and the girls off on their last taxi ride to the airport.

10/17/2006 - Tuesday: After a one and half hour flight delay, I was finally reunited with the girls in St. Louis at 12:30 pm. There, they met their uncle Ronn, my brother, Aunt Barb, and their cousins, Jeremy and Chelsea. At 5:00pm we arrived back home where Grandma and Grandpa Wett were waiting to meet their new grandchildren. They were all tired from their overnight flight and three hour drive from St. Louis. So, their first impression of our house was mostly silent observation. My impression was that they were most excited about the pets, their dolls, our trampoline and bicycles.

Ok, that's all for the nitty gritty details. The rest of this week we spent registering for school, getting physicals and shots, and shopping for clothes, playing with their brothers, and meeting and playing with our neighbor's daughters. Also, this morning at church, so many of the people who made this adoption financially possible, finally got to meet Loren, Veronica and Donna.

Tomorrow, the girls will begin school, and we all begin learning our new routines. There are still many more things to do. We need to re-adopt the girls in Illinois and I still have paper work to complete. However, the next chapter of all our lives has already begun...

To Be Continued...



10/14/2006 Adoption Update e-mail

Greetings once again,

This is the second to last installment of my updates. Here are the
major events from the last few days:

10/10/2006 - Tuesday Night: I wasn't going to leave Peru without getting some
strange illness again. About the time we were getting everyone showered
and ready for bed, my hands and feet started turning bright red and
began itching like crazy. Within 30 minutes my whole body started to
feel very strange, and I broke out in hives all over my body . Once again,
it was good to be staying in the house of a doctor. Unfortunately, the
doctor and his wife, Patrizia were out that evening, but Consuelo, who
works at the house, was able to call them. They broke off their evening
out, and came home where the doctor decided it was probably a food
allergy, and not a spider bite, which is what I had contemplated. We
still don't know what it could have been because I didn't eat anything new
that day. Anyway, the shot worked, and by morning I was back to
normal. The doctor offered to let Andrea give me the shot in the butt,
but she declined.
Consuelo and her helper

Patrizia, Juan Manuel and Daniel Villacorta with Andrew

10/11/2006 - Wednesday: We didn't get the call from the embassy, so it became clear that the boys and I would be leaving alone. We spent our last day in
downtown Lima where we visited a beautiful cathedral on the plaza, and
another cathedral which had catacombs underneath. There we saw lots and
lots of bones. On Wednesday night we said our farewells, and the boys
and I made it through all the Peru customs pretty uneventfully. Our
flight left at 12:20 am., and we had a whole row on the plane to
ourselves. Josh and T.J. each had two seats to lay down in. Andrew and
I had three seats in the middle to share of which Andrew used two. So,
suffice to say the boys slept through the night and I shifted around
trying to get comfortable.

The President of Peru's House

Cathedral Crypt



10/12/2006 - Thursday: We made it safely to St. Louis, where I was able to learn through an e-mail, by the son of the family in whose house we were
staying, that Andrea had learned that we had passed the immigration
investigation, but had not gotten the appointment for the VISA's. She
said that they expected to call her on Friday to set up the appointment
for next week. So, she told me to just go home and not wait for her.
However, I was too tired to safely drive home, so I spent the night in
St. Louis.

10/13/2006 - Friday: Hooray! Home at last! Andrea's mom was here to meet us, as well as all the neighborhood boys. They were jumping up trying to catch
a glimpse of the new sisters in our van, but they were not to be found.
However, they gave Josh and T.J. a hardy welcome home. I learned via
e-mail from Andrea that the appointment for the VISA interview is
scheduled for Monday at 8:00 am.. She says they should have the VISA's
the same day. She has already purchased her tickets for Monday night
(Tuesday 12:20 am). So, I'll be picking her and the girls up on Tuesday
morning at 10:45pm.
Friday was also Andrew's third birthday, and I know his mom was
disappointed to not be here for it.

That's it for now. I'll send out one last letter and picture when we're
all home together. Please pray for Andrea and the girls to come home



10/10/2006 Adoption Update e-mail

Hola Family and Friends,

This morning we went to the American Embassy and submitted the forms for
immigration. The good news is that everything was in order, and nothing
was missing except for a few copies of passports which they made for
us. They assured us that adoptions are processed first, and they would
do ours as quickly as possible. However, they didn't give us any time
line at all. So, this afternoon we canceled Andrea's ticket for
tomorrow. Delta gave us a voucher number to use when we actually know
the date we can leave. So, unfortunately, Andrea and the girls are in
limbo. The boys and I will leave tomorrow night for St. Louis (actually
Thursday at 12:20 am) as scheduled to avoid paying penalties on our
tickets. I hope to hear something from the embassy tomorrow before I
leave. Once they finish their investigation, Andrea should be able to
get VISA's for the girls on the same day. Once they get VISA's they can

That's all the news I have. Depending on what I hear tomorrow, the boys
and I may stay in St. Louis if Andrea and the girls will be coming right
behind us this week. Otherwise, I'll have to go home, and come back to
St. Louis for the ladies next week.


The kids playing with Bimba in the backyard.

Larco Mar

Larco Mar

Barney at the Lima Zoo

El Parque Leyendas Zoológico

El Parque Leyendas Zoológico

Consuelo (the housekeeper) and T.J.


Maria Elena and Raul and the kids

Patrizia Villacorta (the owner of the house) and our family

Patrizia, Dr. Juan Manuel and Daniel (the son) Villacorta

10/04/2006 Adoption Update e-mail

Hola mi familia y mis amigos!

No news, just pictures now that I've had some time.



Our Final Goodbyes to Hogar de Esperanza.

Elizabeth Bernuy and Our Family

Melva (the madre) with Veronica and Donna

Jesus, Josh and Josue

Andrew in our new temporary home in Lima. It's the closest thing to a bathtub we could find.

The gated backyard complete with turtle

Inside our little upstairs apartment

Room for 8 (just barely!)
The kids in the backyard.

10/03/2006 Adoption Update e-mail


Here's what's been happening the last few days, and some things I left
out last time. On Friday, we celebrated Veronica's eleventh birthday.
And since Loren's birthday has already passed, and Donna's isn't until
December, it should be the last birthday the girls will have in Peru.

Veronica's Birthday

Celebrating Veronica's Birthday with Maria Elena, Raul and their daughter.

Maria Elena Alva (the daughter)

The two Marias

Veronica with her present.

Raul Alva

Veronica's second cake

On Monday, our lawyers had the birth certificate officials correct
Andrea's and my age, we then went to SNA for the third and final time.
There we met the Chief in Lima, and for about the 10th time signed a
post placement agreement. Due to the limited hours that the Peruvian
passport agency is open, we were unable to get the girls their
passports, but they did take our money. :)

This morning (Tuesday), we went first thing to the immigration
department of the American Embassy (which is Homeland Security). But,
SURPRISE, they are out of the country for the rest of the week. And
since they are only open between the hours of 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., on
Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, we can't go back until next Tuesday
morning. Your tax dollars at work my fellow Americans! So, needless
to say, I'm a little irritated and upset. Our lawyer thinks that it
takes roughly three days for the American Embassy to do their
investigation and approve the girls. After that, we then apply for
their VISA's which I think we can receive on the same day. At this point,
our best hope is that it will be finished by next Friday. Of course,
this means we will not make our Wednesday night (Thursday 12:20 am)
flight back to the states. Either Andrea or I will go home that night with the boys, and the other will stay to finish with the girls.

The U.S. Embassy

With the help of my friend, Bill Glick, I started looking into how we
can reschedule the one ticket for whoever is left behind, and what kind of options we will have for booking flights for the girls. Unlike my original understanding of my
Orbitz tickets, which I thought would only have $130 fee for
rescheduling, it seems that they are making me go to Delta, who will not
reschedule the ticket, but instead refund the remainder of my ticket after the $130
fee. So, I'll have to buy another round trip ticket for myself or Andrea as well
as the girls. At least this is my understanding as of now. It also
appears that, as I thought, buying round trip tickets is cheaper, but I can't
use one of the cheap website offers like Orbitz because they don't book
round trip tickets originating from Lima. And if I buy the ticket
originating from St. Louis, which is where we flew out from, and then do
not use the ticket to get to Lima they'll cancel the return tickets.
That leaves me with buying four round trip tickets somewhere here in
Peru, if not from Delta directly, which is expensive. I'm sure that was
as about as clear as mud... Suffice to say, I'm not sure what to do,
but I have a whole week to figure out. Hooray! :(

As to the remainder of our tasks, we did manage to get the girls'
Peruvian passports today after this morning's fiasco. However, it was an
extremely stressful situation. It seems that in the passport agency, they
are very particular about the name on the parents passport being
precisely the same as that on the girls' birth certificates. At first
it began with a little argument about Andrea's name being different on
her passport. This is because of the cultural differences in how we do
last names. In Peru, everyone has two last names, first that of your
paternal parent, and second that of your maternal parent. Of course,
Andrea's passport only has Brooks, but the girls' birth certificate
required that we use her maiden name also. That conflict only took a
few minutes to resolve. However, it took over an hour, and talking to
three different agents, stacks of documentation to explain that Tim E.
Brooks (my passport) was indeed the same as Timothy E. Brooks which is
on my birth certificate and the girls' birth certificate. Maria Elena,
our lawyer, was very patient and eventually got it resolved. I,
however, was becoming quite red in the face. And I think smoke was
coming out of my ears. I even pulled out two credit cards, one with
Timothy E. Brooks and one with Tim E. Brooks to make the point that I'm
the same guy. Our adoption resolution even stated that it was the same
person, but the agent thought it should declare that "Tim E. Brooks is
the same as Timothy E. Brooks" instead of "Timothy E. Brooks is the same
as Tim E. Brooks". Little did I know when I was 16 and got my drivers
license with only Tim on it that it would cause such consternation to me
so many years later. Maria Elena worked her magic somehow to finally
convince the guy approve the passports. We then went and waited in
another line for passport photos, and then we waited about an hour for
the passports themselves. Today, was another lesson in why I dislike
bureaucracies no matter which country they belong to.

Tomorrow, the girls go to an American doctor which is required for the
American Embassy VISA's. After that, we wait until next Tuesday.

Pray that we figure out how to get Andrea or myself to the U.S. with the
girls relatively inexpensively and soon. A nice miracle of having the
Embassy rush the process on next Tuesday so that we could all leave on
Wednesday, would be nice too, but pretty improbable.


Timoteo (a.k.a. Timothy, a.k.a. Tim)