The greatest experience, the one which shakes a soul with hopes and fears, the results of which are never ending, and incidentally, the one which pays the biggest dividends, is to be found in the adoption of children.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

YES!! WE ARE HOME!!!!!............

And I'm sorry it has taken me so long to post!  We arrived home on the 10th and life has certainly been busy........challenging........and full!  We thought we were prepared for this but I have come to the conclusion that nothing prepares you for life with a 5 year old who has lived in an orphanage and is basically a stranger.  Nola is a survivor and I'm so glad to say that.  Because of her survival skills, she has learned to do for herself when many times no one else would.  Now, to plop that little strong willed girl into the middle of a fully functioning family was almost more than she could deal with at first.  We've had lots of tears and several screaming fits but every day seems to be getting better.  She's learning more about us and we're learning more about her and I know together we're slowly starting to meld together.  Her fears have been enormous as well as her anger and her frustration but in two weeks time she has come a long way in her trust in us and her comfort level in being in a new strange place. 
She was terrified of the dog when she first came home but he is now her new best friend!  He happens to be enjoying some quiet time right now laying beside me on the floor while Mark is outside with the girls in the pool.
I am exhausted every night when I fall into bed but I'm beginning to feel more confident in my ability to love her through her fears and her challenging tests of my love.  I pray every night for patience and I know those prayers are answered.  She's home!!  God knew from the start that she was our daughter and she's here with us now where she belongs.   She is an absolute ball of fire when it comes to energy.  She has a smile that will melt your heart and a laugh that is contagious!  She loves to sing and she really loves to dance and bath time is generally her favorite time of the day.  She has a baby doll that she cares for like a little mommy and she loves taking pictures of anything and everything! 
She is home!!  There are times when I look at her and I still can't believe it but it's true!  Thank God, she's home!!
Nola with her baby Lulu!
Bath time........all smiles!
So sorry the pool days are soon coming to an end because we dearly love them!
The top photo is my brother Jay's home coming gift for us.  The best things in life truly are worth waiting for!! 

Friday, August 9, 2013

We're Coming Home At Last!

Well, I have neglected to post a few important updates.  We received Nola's new birth certificate just the following day after submitting to RENAP.  That was record time!  And now......we are in Guatemala!  We arrived Wednesday August 7 and hit the ground running.  Our lawyer wasn't able to get the passport because there was a problem in one of the documents.  Mark's middle name and last name were inverted so they wouldn't issue the passport to the lawyer.  We had to do it in person but only after we went to the hogar and picked up Nola and had a very short Good Bye time with all of the staff and kids.  After getting the passport, off we ran to the Dr's office to have her final medical exam.  Nola was a bit worried about getting shots but she did fantastic!  The Dr did us a favor by scheduling her TB  test reading for first thing this morning (a little early).  Yesterday, we went at 9:00 to submit our I-600 supporting docs to the Embassy and begged for a visa appointment for this morning.  The gentleman who received the docs was afraid he wouldn't be able to review the documents in time for an appointment today but indeed he did.  We went to the Dr's office at 7:45 this morning for the nurse to check the TB test and then off to the Embassy.  We now are waiting for our 11:00 appointment to pick up the visa!!!  Still not believing it's real!  We will be going home tomorrow morning with our little Nola at last!  Praise the Lord!  Thanks to all who have prayed for us over the years and especially these last few days.  Honestly, it was nothing short of a miracle that we were able to get everything completed and in the correct order in these 3 days. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

She Is Legally Our Daughter!!

I am officially a mother of six!  Our case has been approved in Family Court and we received a copy of the judges ruling that shows Nola with our last name!  Now we wait for the certified copies of the ruling one of which will be needed to submit for a new birth certificate which will show our names as her parents.  Hopefully the paper work will be submitted this week and once we have the birth certificate we will be making travel plans!!

Still pinching myself!!

Nola is pointing at a plane, telling me she is going to ride on a plane to the United States. 
It won't be long now sweets!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

One Step Closer.......

Heart beats fast
Colors and promises
How to be brave
How can I love when I'm afraid to fall
But watching you stand alone
All of my doubt
Suddenly goes away somehow

One step closer

I have died everyday waiting for you
Darlin' don't be afraid
I have loved you for a thousand years
I'll love you for a thousand more
Time stands still
Beauty in all she is
I will be brave
I will not let anything take away
What's standing in front of me
Every breath
Every hour has come to this
One step closer!!

Yesterday our file was submitted to Family Court!!
The lyrics to "A Thousand Years" keep running through my head so I decided to open this post with some of them.  We are definitely
 "One Step Closer"!!!!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

I can't believe that three weeks have gone by so quickly!  Today we take Nola back to the hogar where we will celebrate her 6th birthday with a cake, pinata and treat bags for her friends.  Then we have to say good-bye to her for now.  We fly out in the morning at 6am.  Hopefully we'll be hearing soon that our file has been approved by CNA and we can move on to Family Court.  Praying for a quick process from here on out!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Our Empathy Time

I still can't believe it but we have been here in Guatemala since Saturday, April 27.  We visited with Nola for a couple of hours on Saturday and then again on Sunday and on Monday, she came to stay with us.  The director of her hogar and his wife did a wonderful job of preparing her for our visit and she has been completely at ease with us.  We spent our first few days at our favorite hotel, La Casa Grande.  It was so good to see Gloria again as well as the rest of the staff there.  We are currently at the Grand Tikal Futura.  It's a bit fancy for my taste but the girls love the pool here.  I'm wishing I had worked harder on my Spanish but we're getting along pretty well.  I usually can get the main idea of what she's telling me and she is helping me out when I need it.  Mark is going to be here with us until the 11th and Maria and I will stay until the 19th.  We're meeting with our lawyer on Monday and will be going over what to expect for the rest of the process.  I'm wishing the rest of the process included Nola coming home with us when we leave on the 19th but unfortunately, that's not going to happen.  For now, we're enjoying every minute and praying our case speeds through the process and our little girl will be home with us this summer.

Our first meeting together on Saturday

Walking to the park
Loving her Papa when she said she was tired and he picked her up
Two sisters enjoying each other's company


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Family Album

Nola's hogar director e-mailed early in the week and asked for pictures of the family.  I looked through recent pics and sent several.  On Thursday, we received an e-mail titled "Family Album".  I opened it to find the sweetest surprise.  The message said that Nola is so excited about her new family!  There were also pictures of her sitting on the floor making a family album.  The director said she has shown the album to everyone.
We have been so blessed to have our little girl placed in a home where she is loved.  The director and his wife are doing their best to see that Nola's transition from their family to ours will be as smooth as possible.  Thank you Lord!!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

We're Getting Closer!!

Last week we received our Empathy notification!  After several messages back and forth, we have our Empathy time scheduled.  We leave Saturday, April 27.  We plan to go to the hogar on Saturday afternoon for a visit with Nola and again on Sunday before we meet at the CNA on Monday morning where Nola will then be able to come with us to stay for a supervised two weeks.  Mark will have to go home after that but Maria and I will stay for another week.  After the two week period, the Social worker who interviews us will write a report and present it to the head of CNA for a formal approval.  That process should take about a week and a half and then the case will proceed to a family court. The family court time frame is the most uncertain.  Some families have had approval after about a week and some have had to wait closer to eight weeks.  For now my focus is on Nola and the time we will get to spend with her and finally get to know her.  We have missed out on so much and we'll never get that time back but we know we are one of the fortunate families.  Our daughter's coming home.  So many families have heard the news that their child will never come home to them.  I can't imagine the pain.  We're going to cherish every minute we have with our little girl during our visit and when we get home, we'll be waiting not so patiently for the day when we get to go back and bring her home with us and finally be all together as a family.
Thank you all for your prayers and please continue praying for the families who are still waiting to hear news on their cases.  This has been a long 5 and 1/2 years but some families have waited even longer.  I pray that all of the families waiting will be united with the child they love.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

My Morning Nature Watch

 In an effort to keep myself occupied during this insane wait, I've opted to spend some time (that I don't really have to spend) enjoying of my favorite mental diversions.  There is a nest of Eagles not far from our house.  If you commonly see these majestic birds where you live you should consider yourself blessed.  Until recently, a bald eagle sighting around here was very rare.  I still stare in amazement when I catch a glimpse of one.  I'm hoping to rent a good telephoto lens and get some better pics before the trees leaf out but here's one from this morning.  It's pretty grainy since it's zoomed in quite a bit but still such a beautiful site!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Happy Birthday Maria!

9 years old!  Wow!  Where has the time gone?  We celebrated with family yesterday.  The birthday girl took it easy on me this year.  She just wanted a cake that looked like the beach!  The only way it could have been any easier is if she had asked for a white cake with white icing and no decorations.  I borrowed Alison's bundt castle pan, colored some icing blue, made some fondant shells and some toothpick and colored paper flags and voila!
Happy Birthday Maria!!
We love you sweetheart!!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Whoopin' it up here in Indiana!

We have moved another step closer in our journey to Nola.  This morning, our packet of documents was delivered to CNA.  We were told by our contact at the Embassy in Guatemala that they will notify us if any additional paper work is requested or if anything we submitted doesn't meet the standards of CNA and needs to be reworked.  I was hoping "previos" were something we left behind in PGN but is sounds like we can still get them in CNA.  Hopefully, everything will be accepted as is and the next thing we hear from them will be our invitation to come down for Empathy.  Only positive thoughts here!!  What a wonderful feeling to be moving forward!!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Feels Like Old Times

There was a time.......back in the beginning........not the beginning of my life but the beginning of my blogging.  There was a time when we documented everything.  We celebrated each small step in the forward process of this adoption.  Over the past 4 years at least, there weren't really any events to celebrate.  But today, we had one.  It was, again, just a little step but it felt HUGE!  Today I mailed our packet of required documents to Guatemala for translation.  Our dear angel Mayra works with a translator who will be preparing the documents and then submitting them to the USCIS office in Guatemala City.  What a wonderful feeling!  Waiting.........waiting is never easy but at least now we are waiting on a process.......a process with actual steps............and yes, we will celebrate every one!

Gordon Mote - Don't Miss the Glory