This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
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The next day I went out to survey the damage done by the flood. Of course, I wasn't alone the three children hung right by my side. I noticed the river was higher than it use to be by about two feet, so our bathing site was too deep to use anymore. I said something to Padre Miguel and he said they had just been using buckets of heated water to bathe in. I said I would have some canvas siding sent in along with a couple of tubs. That way we could have some privacy. We could heat buckets of water, fill the tubs and take a real bath. He thought that was a great idea. I made another phone call and got that taken care of.
The food supplies I had ordered arrived that day. We sorted through them and allocated the supplies to the families whose houses were still standing. I'm glad that when I had the school built I also had a kitchen installed. We kept quite a lot of the supplies there to feed the children living in the school.
The following day the rest of the supplies arrived, mattresses, clothes, canvas siding, tubs, etc. We spent the better part of late morning and early afternoon heating water and making sure all the children were bathed and dressed in new, clean clothes.
I figured it was time to make our way back to Veracruz. Padre Miguel had the necessary certificates ready for me. I told the three children we were going to Veracruz for a few days and stay in a big hotel. Their eyes got very big and said, "Really." I said yes. We left about 3:00 PM. The repair crews had done a good job on the roads and we arrived at the hotel about 4:00 PM.
I left the Hummer with valet parking and had to explain to the children that he wasn't taking the Hummer but was just going to park it for me. We walked into the hotel and they were dumbfounded. I started to the desk to pick up my room key when one of the Assistant Managers came over and said, "We don't allow this type of people in our hotel," and started to shoo the kids out. I grabbed his arm and told him to hold on a minutes and asked to see the manager. About that time the manager had walked out to see what was going on. I explained the children were with me and if he didn't want them in his hotel I would be glad to cancel my suite and go across the street where I am sure they would be welcome. He started apologizing and told the assistant manager everything was okay. He personally went to the desk and handed me my key. I herded the three children to the elevator and we started up. As soon as the elevator moved they immediately grabbed onto me. I laughed and said it was okay that this was better than walking up ten flights of steps. We entered the suite and they didn't know what to think. I showed them one of the bedrooms and said this is for Padre Juan when he is with us(he elected to stay in San Pedro). I showed them the other bedroom and said this is for us, one bed for Carlos and Maria Theresa and one for little Pablo and I.
We went back into the living room and I turned on the TV. Of course they had never seen television and were astounded. I surfed the channels until I found some cartoon show. They immediately flopped on the floor and were mesmerized. I told them I had to make a phone call. I called downstairs to the concierge and asked where was the closest children's clothing shop, barber shop and beauty salon. He told me there was a clothing store just around the corner and both barber shop and beauty salon were in the lower level of the hotel. I thanked him for his information.
I told the kids as soon as that show was over we had to do some shopping. After the show we went to the clothing store and I outfitted all three children from head to toe, long pants, short pants, sport coats, polo shirts, dress shirts and ties, boxer shorts (the boys had never worn underwear), socks and shoes for the boys and several dresses, shorts and tops, underwear, socks and shoes for Maria Theresa. I also included bathing suits as the hotel had a pool. I asked if all of it could be delivered to the hotel. Due to the amount I spent they, of course, said yes, at once. I gave them the room number. We went back to the hotel and found the barber shop. I told them to give the boys a regular boys haircut and shampoo. I told them I would be across the hall with Maria Theresa at the beauty salon. She was a little hesitant at first but the beautician was very good with her and immediately put her at ease. We looked in a book showing a lot of different hairdos for little girls. She picked out what to me looked like what we call a pageboy. I told her I was going back to check on the boys, but would be back with her in a few minutes. She said okay.
The boys were giving the barbers fits as they kept trying to turn around to see what was going on. I told them to sit still and after the barber finished he would hold up a mirror so they could see how good they looked. They settled down and I went back to Maria Teresa. She was doing the same thing the boys were doing. I told her the same thing, sit still and then you will see how beautiful you are. The boys finished up first. I told them how handsome they looked as we crossed the hall to wait on Maria Theresa. She finished up a few minutes later and really looked cute.
We went back up to the suite. The kids were getting used to the elevator and wanted to ride back down to the lobby and up again. I said we would have plenty of time to ride the elevator. When we entered the suite they immediately wanted the TV turned on.
It was getting to be about 6:30 PM and I figured we had better make some plans for dinner. As a matter of fact Carlos came over to me and said, "I'm getting hungry but I don't see a kitchen or anyplace to cook something to eat." I explained to all three of them that when staying in a hotel like this one we would take our meals in the formal hotel dining room. They asked. "What's that?" I told them it was a large room off the lobby downstairs that had a lot of tables. I asked the boys if they remember McDonalds where we ordered our food and then took it to a table to sit and eat. They remembered and I told them a waiter would bring us a printed menu that listed all types of food we could ask for and they would cook it and bring it to our table. I called the hotel dining room and made a reservation for four at 7:30 PM.
I told them it was very formal and they would have to get dressed up in their new clothes. I picked out the outfits I wanted them to wear and started getting them dressed. The boys were going to wear their new gray slacks, white dress shirts and ties and dark blue blazers. I picked out a real frilly, light blue dressy dress for Maria Theresa. I told them I would help them get dressed and they could then watch TV while I dressed.
The boys giggled as they pulled on their boxers as they had never worn them, but didn't object because they knew I wore the same thing. Maria Theresa really liked the panties with ruffles. The boys pulled on their slacks, threaded the belts through the belt loops and then put on their shirts. I helped them button up their shirts and then clipped the ties on. They pulled on dark socks and put on their loafers. I told them they could put on their blazers as we left to go to dinner. I helped Maria Theresa get her dress on and buttoned it up the back. She pulled on her socks and I helped her buckle her black patent leather shoes. They all look so good and I was proud of them. I turned on the TV and said I would be ready in a few minutes. I pulled a pin striped suit out of the closet and got myself dressed. It was 7:15 PM and I said we should go on down to the dining room. I told them to wait a minute, went back in the bedroom and got my digital camera. I posed them and took a few pictures of them including one of all four of us by using the self timer on the camera.
As we got off the elevator the same assistant manager that had given us trouble earlier was on the front desk. He glanced over and then back down at the desk. He did a quick double take and I thought his chin was going to hit the floor. I grinned and said, "Yes, these are the same three that I came in with earlier."
We went into the dining room and the matre 'd met us at the door. He led us to a table and held out a chair for Maria Teresa. She looked at me and I said, "He is holding the chair for you." I picked her up and placed her on the chair which he slid up to the table. The boys quickly caught on and sat down while he placed them up to the table. I took my seat next to Maria Teresa as I figured she would need some help with her meal. One of the waiters came over, poured water for us, then took the napkins off the children's plates and placed them in their laps. He then gave me a large menu and a smaller children's menu to each of the kids.
I told him the bring me a gin and tonic and "Shirley temples" for the kids while we looked over the menus. I explained to him that they had never eaten in a place like this and would probably take a few minutes to help them with their menus. I thought the boys would be able to read their menus, but would probably have many questions as to what some of the entrees were. I was right. The waiter came back with our drinks as we were discussing the entrees. The kids immediately asked, "What are those drinks?" I explained that they were non-alcoholic drinks and just to taste them. They took a couple of sips and were ready the drain the glasses. I told them to slow down as the drinks were supposed to be drunk slowly. After going over the menu the boys decided on hamburger steaks, French fries and a salad of lettuce and tomato. Maria Theresa decided on chicken nuggets, French fries and the same salad. I ordered a New York strip steak, baked potato and salad.
Our salads arrived and the waiter had four different kinds of dressing for them. I told him to put just a little of the French dressing on the kids to see it they liked it. They did. I had Italian dressing on mine. Fortunately the tomatoes in the salad were in bite size pieces so I didn't have to worry about cutting sliced tomatoes for them. They dug into their salads and polished them off in no time. Our entrees arrived a few minutes later. I know Maria Theresa would not have trouble with her chicken nuggets as she could pick them up with her fingers. I started cutting Carlos' hamburger steak for him. The waiter asked if he could be permitted to help little Pablo. I said, of course, and thanked him. I asked for some sour cream for my baked potato. The boys asked if they could have some of that "red stuff" for their French fries. I said that's called ketchup and they could have some.
The kids must have really been hungry as they cleaned their plates seeming to enjoy every bite. Naturally they each had to have a bite of my steak and baked potato with sour cream. They leaned back in their chairs seemingly full. I said, "I guess your little tummies are too full for dessert."
They said, "What's that?"
I told them I thought I remembered from the menu that the desserts were something like ice cream and cookies or apple pie. They all said they had room for that. I ordered them vanilla ice cream and cookies while I just had a cup of coffee.
While I was drinking my coffee I noticed across the dining room the contractor who had built the school. I told the kids to sit here and finish their desserts while I went over to talk to the contractor.
I walked over and spoke to him. He immediately introduced me to his wife and children. He asked me jokingly where I had picked up my three. I asked him if he had heard about the flood in San Pedro. He said he had but didn't know any of the details. I explained a little to him including the fact that those three had lost both parents in the flood. I told him I intended to adopt all three and take them back to the States with me but I hadn't told them yet until I made sure I would be able to adopt them. I asked him if he knew of any attorneys practicing family law. He said he didn't but knew someone who would know.
He got up and took me over to another table where he introduced me to the mayor of Veracruz who also happened to have one of the largest law firms in Veracruz. He explained to the mayor what I wanted to do. The mayor told me his brother-in-law was in his firm and practiced family law. He pulled out his card and wrote a number on the back. He told me to call that number in the morning and talk to Alicia telling her to set me up with an appointment with Luis that afternoon. He said he was familiar with the problems in San Pedro and told me it was a wonderful thing I was doing for the children. I thanked him and told him I appreciated what he was doing for me.
I walked back to the contractor's table and asked him if we could get together tomorrow to discuss the new building I had spoken to him about on the phone. He said sure, anytime. I said I would call him after I found out what time I could meet with the lawyer. His wife asked what we were doing tomorrow evening. I said we didn't have any plans at this time. She said why don't you join us for a cookout? I'm sure my children would be glad to have some company. We have a pool so be sure to bring bathing suits. I agreed and the contractor wrote out directions to get to his house.
I noticed my three were getting a little antsy just sitting at our table, so I said my goodbyes and went back to them. They all three looked a little sleepy so I said let's go to our room and get ready for bed. As we walked toward the lobby I told them what we were going to do tomorrow evening with the contractor's family. They thought that would be fun as none of them had ever been in a real pool.
We arrived back at our suite after another exciting (for the kids) ride on the elevator. I told them to get undressed, of course I had to help Maria Theresa with the buttons on her dress. I carefully hung up their clothes. The boys kept on their boxers and I gave Maria Theresa one of my T-shirts to wear over her panties. They wanted to watch TV for awhile. I agreed but said they would have to take baths before going to bed.
I told them the bathtub was too small for all three of them. I put Carlos and Marie Theresa in together and gave them their baths. Little Pablo and I then took a shower together. It was his first time in a shower and he really enjoyed it. We watched TV for awhile and then they went to bed, Carlos and Marie Theresa in one and Little Pablo and I in the other. We awoke early the next morning.
Carlos said, "I'm hungry. What are we going to do about breakfast?"
I answered, "You are always hungry."
He just grinned and I explained again that we would be taking almost all of our meals in the hotel dining room. I had the kids dress in shorts and tops as the dining room was less formal for breakfast and lunch. We went on down to eat. Rather than take the time to explain the menu to them I ordered for them, pancakes and sausage. I order a western omelet with a side of fried potatoes. Of course, again they had to sample my selection, but they did enjoy their pancakes and sausage.
After breakfast we went back to the suite and I turned on the TV telling them I had a few telephone calls to make and then we would go out. I first called the number the Mayor had given me and asked for Alicia. When she came on the line I explained who I was, what I wanted, and that the Mayor had given me her name and number to see if she could set up an appointment with Luis that afternoon. She checked his schedule and said he could see me at 2:00 PM that afternoon. I thanked her and said I would be there. I then called the contractor and asked if he had any time that morning to see me and discuss the building of the orphanage. He said he was free all morning and to come by anytime.
I gathered up the kids and we left for the contractor's office. I had picked up some comic books to entertain the kids while I was in the meeting with the contractor and later the lawyer. I had drawn a rough sketch of what I wanted for the orphanage. The first floor would consist of a large living/play area on one side and a dining room/kitchen on the other. The building would have a center stairway to the second floor which would have a dormitory style sleeping area on both sides, one for boys and one for girls. It would also have a large bathroom on each side.
The contractor said he could work with this to draw a little more detailed plan and would call me on my cell phone in the next few days with the estimate. I said that would be fine.
We left the contractor's office to find a place for lunch as it was about 12:30. Of course the boys opted for McDonalds. I thought I remembered passing one on the way to the contractor's office. We found it and it was a large one with a play area. We had lunch and the kids spent about 45 minutes in the play area until it was time to go to the lawyer's office.
We arrived at the lawyer's office a few minutes early. I settled the kids in the waiting room with their comic books and asked them to behave. Luis's secretary said not to worry about them, she would keep an eye on them. Luis came out, introduced himself and invited me into his office. I explained about the flood in San Pedro and the kids losing their parents. I told him I wanted to adopt them and take them back to the States with me, but I hadn't said anything to them yet until I knew it was going to happen.
I gave him the birth certificates of the kids and the death certificates for their parents that Padre Miguel had prepared for me along with a statement that they had no living relatives. I gave him a notarized statement of my net worth which raised his eyebrows somewhat. I also gave him three references of friends of mine in Baltimore. I had called my friends earlier and told them what I was doing and they probably would get a call from someone asking about me. He said he would prepare the necessary paperwork and I could come by tomorrow and sign it.
I asked about how long it would take for the proceedings. He grinned and said his brother was a local domestic court judge and we could probably get this done in a few days. I said great. He told me to go ahead and tell the kids because when we went before the judge he would want to talk with the kids and make sure that is what they wanted to do. I thanked him and told him I would talk with them that evening.
We went back to the hotel arriving there about 3:30 PM. I told the kids since we were invited to the contractor's house for a cookout and swimming that evening, I thought we all needed a short nap so we would be up to the event. I decided I would tell them about the adoption proceedings when we returned that evening. We all stretched out and went to sleep. Carlos woke me up about 1 1/2 hours later with his usual statement, "I'm hungry." I explained to him what a cookout was but would try to find a little something to tide him over. I woke the other two, turned on the TV, and made a quick trip down to the lobby. I returned in a few minutes with 3 cartons of milk and several packages of crackers for them to snack on.
We left the hotel about 6:00 PM for the contractor's house. His directions were excellent and I had no trouble finding the place. Being a contractor he had a beautiful home with a large in-ground pool in the back. His wife showed me to a spare bedroom where the kids and I changed to our bathing suits. We had a great time. My kids and his kids immediately took to each other. We had some great food also. While all the kids were in the pool I told the contractor and his wife what had transpired with the lawyer that afternoon. They were pleased that it could happen so fast.
About 8:45 PM I told the kids we had to go back to the hotel. They were disappointed they couldn't stay longer. We got back to the hotel about 9:30 PM.