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Travel back to Manila for ICAB!

We spent a mostly uneventful day traveling back to Manila from Davao on Sunday. The day consisted of eating, packing, traveling, eating, traveling, unpacking, eating, and then sleeping. Although the day didn't have a lot of excitement, we still shared a lot of smiles while playing UNO during a short plane delay and trying new fruit taffy type candies (even though most of us didn't like them).

Breakfast of champs - Noodles for Tope, Cocoa cereal for Caleb

Tope insisted on carrying his bag which had to have weighed almost as much as him!

Caleb dutifully read all of the emergency procedures. So cute!

We're back in Manila!

Even the boys got pictures along the way. :)

There were lots of smiles once we got to the hotel and saw our view! We could see the huge ferris wheel from our hotel and it was lit up with changing colors. The boys stared at it for a long time and Caleb questioned us repeatedly to make sure we got pictures of it and a video. It's the small things in life.  :)

My little superheroes!

Showing his airplane folding skills!

Monday we got up early and put on our nicest clothes, rushed to breakfast, then got in a taxi to go to our ICAB visit!

ICAB stands for the InterCountry Adoption Board. Here they handle all adoption
cases in the Philippines. The taxi trip was going to be long anyway, but on top of it the driver got a little lost, so our 45 min drive turned into over 1.5 hours, and poor Caleb got car sick towards the end! I felt so bad for him. He's never gotten sick like this before. I was thankful for the small gift of chocolates I had brought along to the ICAB because I had put tissue paper on top of it... that tissue paper came in better handy for Caleb than it did looking pretty on top of that bag. Who knew tissue paper could be so helpful!?!

We did indeed make it to ICAB, albeit quite late, but it didn't seem to phase them. Right as we walked in there was a sign posted telling our family congratulations! It made me so happy to see.

Hello ICAB! Glad to finally walk in your doors and sign papers!

Can you tell Caleb was still feeling icky?  :(
Tope didn't know what to think,
last time he was here he was interviewed for his VISA.
 We had about a half hour meeting with the social worker and she gave us a "goody bag" of items. Seriously, there was a bag with the ICAB logo on it - loved it! Inside were some gifts for both of the boys, decoratvie jeepneys and a Philippines flag. We got updated information about Christopher, his passport/VISA, and all of the VISA paperwork that was NOT to be opened by anyone but US immigration officials. Then we were asked to write a letter to Christopher. This letter will serve as a starting point for ICAB if Christopher ever seeks them out to request information about his biological family. This letter kind of took us off gaurd, I had never heard about this being a part of our visit, but I got to work and was happy with what was written. We wrote about how much we love him, his orphanage family loves him, and his biological family loves him, and that we are so very happy to call him our son. I know I wrote other things as well, but those three things pretty much summed it up. Still gives me chills to know someday he may read this letter. Although, we plan to tell him all of the same things as he grows up, so hopefully none of it should be a surprise once he sees it. Once the letter was done, we had to wait for a taxi to be called and then we were on our way for some lunch.

Checking out the basket peddlar display.

Waiting for the taxi with their journals.

Lunch was at the Mall of Asia which is a very popular mall in Manila. It is HUGE, much like the Mall of America and just goes on forever and ever. We got some quick McDonalds so Jon could hit the road quick and meet at the National Habitat for Humanity headquarters where he got to visit two different offices and learn even more about how the organization works in the Philippines. He learned so much insight and I could see him wanting to take part in some kind of work here someday, whether it be through a big donation, or bringing a group over for a service project. Hopefully some day he can return in that capacity.

The boys and I finished our food and then did some quick shopping at Kultura, which is a store that sells local goods, such as their freshwater pearls, woven bags, bowls made out of shells and a lot of other souvenier type gifts. I say quick, as I kind of knew what I wanted to get and trying to shop with two young boys was quite the adventure... maybe the word "overwhelming" is more like it! We got our things and then hurried back to the hotel where I finally got to meet our friend Imee and her son and Mother. It was a brief visit, but it was so great to chat! She looks just like her daughter, who is friends with Caleb in karate class. We are hoping she gets her VISA soon so they can visit us in Rice Lake! Caleb and her son, Iver, really were hitting it off, so I know Caleb is hoping to see him again soon too! We then went and had a little swim in the kiddie pool while we waited for Jon.

Once Jon returned home, we decided to head back to the Mall of Asia for supper where we got one last more traditional Philippine's type meal - which included one of my favorites, lumpia - yum! Then we headed once again to Kultura and got even more souveniers! ha! So excited to fill our house with some Filipino Love and culture!!! Then off we went to put the boys to sleep and then pack for our journey HOME in the morning!!!!  

Caleb didn't eat much of the "traditional" food, instead he opted for the corndog stand!


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