Saturday, July 24, 2010

Lord, I just want to be REAL

What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."
excerpt from The Velveteen Rabbit

what a busy day!

I met up with our lawyer at the court where we went to finalize the adoption on the 12th. I was to be there at 8am. I sat with Grace and we waited for a man that works in the judges office to stop what he was doing and get our file. The judge happened to walk out of his office and see Grace and I sitting there. He immediately walked over and she threw her arms up in the air for him to pick her up. He stood there for serveral minutes holding her tightly with her arms wrapped around his neck. he thanked me again with tears in his eyes. I know he said kind words to her but I cannot recall what he said. He then walked into the mans office and things started moving. God is so faithful. He hovered over the documents until things were complete and we were on our way. I know he was frustrated by our situation. He shook his head numerous times and told me as we were getting ready to leave that all was well in their office.

From there we went to the Notary again. That process took quite awhile as well. I was pretty concerned while we waited my lawyer had to move her car and it wouldnt start. I thought we were going to have to hire a taxi to get where we needed to be in a timely manner. But she assured me that if she gave it about 15 min wed be on our way. Sure enough while we waited for"F" to go complete the process the car started.

Then a long journey to get the old birth certificate voided and new certificate, an identity card and her Visa/passport. It was a HUGE office with hundreds of people in lines and chairs waitng for their turn. Grace ended up needing to go to the toilet midway through the process, MJB told me where to go and to meet her "over there where the man in the coat is" as she pointed across the room. (Paul can attest that this might not have been the best description. I just cant see well even with my glasses.)Once we compelted her business I went to the table where a man in a jacket sat in the direction she pointed and waited, and waited...... finally I got nervous as I continually had been scanning the crowd and no MJB to be found. I asked a security guard if he spoke any english and then promptly explained what we were there to do and that I wasnt able to find my lawyer. He took me to a desk and as we explained the situation MJB walks up with a frustrated look on her face asking what happened. She gave me no time to try to explain and then pointed to a chair and told me to "SIT!". I felt like a reprimanded 2 year old. Sigh.

I shudder to think that this meeting will happen again on Monday and I have to fly to guayaquil with her sometime very very soon. She speaks no english and IM REALLY trying to learn spanish!

Yes, you read right, we meet again on Monday. We got almost done with the process only to find out that Graces thumbprint was not accepted by the machines for her pasport. The machine shuts down for 24 hours. SInce today was Friday we will return sometime Midmorning or early afternoon to get the thumbprints. I asked her what wewould do if it doesnt accept her fingerprint on Monday but either she didnt want to answer or she didnt have an answer.

I was then brought back into town and dropped off 5 blocks from a major shopping mall to get a bite to eat and hail a taxi. SHe had to hurry in the other direction to get our papers turned into the council before 2pm. I dont know how long it will take for the council to approve us to leave the country.

The day ended up with my host family taking me to a beautiful restaraunt,on the top of a mtn where we could see all of Quito spread out in the night with lights twinking.... warm wine, hot chocolate and hour derves. Many toasts were made... to family.... to Grace.... and a Happy Birthday for me......I had forgotten I had a birthday around the corner!Was a perfect way to end the day esp since my BD isnt for another few days! I think I will have a birthday week again like last year! ;) wink wink! Grace signed more many times for the wonderful food and HOT CHOCOLATE! (Today's new sign was dulces, "candy". Thank God I had a small handfull of skittles left from an emergency early on in our trip. They have been helpful when my blood sugar plummets......)

Thank you for following along and for your prayers!

I remain,

Under His wings,


Thursday, July 22, 2010

please keep praying

Okay, aptartment-mate was able to talk to the lawyer tonight and try to make sense of all that is going on. We still have SO MUCH PAPERWORK left to do before we can fly home. Our tickets with Delta are a week from Sunday. The 31st of July. Tomorrow I have to be at the court to complete some paperwork and Monday is the Dr appt for Grace to enter our country and Visa/ passport paperwork. From what I understand there is a waiting period to get permission to leave the country and that falls somewhere in there PLUS our trip to Guayaquil. That is a day trip, fly in the morning or the day before because the embassy is only open from 8-12 on business days. I am trying so hard not to stress about all this. I CANNOT do anything to change the situation.

I trust that God has a plan.
He knows what is best.
Money is not an issue for him and he started a good work and will complete it.
His word is true.
He is faithful.
He has taken good care of Grace up until now and doesnt need our help Thank-you-very-much.
So that is my pep talk for tonight.
I want to share a beautiful post from another family that has a heart for adoption>
I am praying this is our last weekend in Quito and I will enjoy being with our host family and the beautiful things that lie ahead.

I remain,
Under His wings,

PS The picture is of Grace signing the word Papa on Pauls photo.
Grace signed and said the spanish word for cookie after supper tonight!!!!!!
My host didnt have cookies but it was so cute she found fancy crackers and put marmelade on them! SIgning and being so adorable will accomplish MUCH! Ha ha!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

a FULL day

While my new little darling is tucked in bed and settling in for a nights rest I need to type out all the events of today and a few from yesterday. Wink wink.
Last night while eating supper Grace used a new sign "full" I am so thankful for her signing time videos. She is learning so quickly. This is a huge step for her. When we visited the FUdrine they explained that they were trying to teach Grace to slow down when eating and to only eat until she was full. They were also trying to teach her that food is for nourishment, and another important thing, food can be shared. In an orphans life these are hard things to learn. ( and in all seriousness, in our own lives dont we need to learn these things. Oreos might make it feel better but really??? they are food.If I was to look to God for my nourishment and to feel better I would be alot thinner methinks)Back to last night, for her to sign "full" not only was huge because it was a new sign, but it meant that she is learning that there is a time when you can stop.... and food is still on the plate.... and that is okay!I had a lump in my throat and almost started crying. ALl day today I just kept thinking how big this really is. Its overwhelming to me. Not only have we given Grace sight with her new glasses but we are giving her words. Words are powerful. They can unlock doors for Grace.
Today I watched her play with her shadow and showed her something else. Her big sister sent a pinwheel and when the sun hits it just right it sends rays of light and rainbows on the wall. I just sat back and enjoyed her learning about cause and effect. I just sat taking pictures and watched... savoring her enjoyment over something so simple.
This afternoon a few of the people from our church visiting Ecuador to work with SIFAT joined us in visiting the orphanage. I am still processing all that happened. Grace did not want to be put down. She wasnt acting right and as I was processing it one of the young girls commented. "Ms Anna , Grace seems scared. Grace isnt acting like herself" As time went on she wouldnt go to the Tias. They held outstretched arms to her and she didnt want to be held or hugged by them. My hugging Kissing all over everyone child was aloof. She didnt interact with the other children either. Now there was one tia she went to to be held and another that bent down for her to hug on her own terms. Was just so odd. I really think she was afraid of being left or didnt want to get forgotten. Not that it was a bad place..... but maybe, just maybe she likes me? Maybe I will do in a pinch.

I now understand why they dont allow families to stay on the campus where the volunteers stay. It really is good for the children to be away and bond with their family.

Once we left the orphanage we drove to the hotel across town. We ate supper with the team and we were invited to devotion time. We listened to a few praise and worship songs and then the game began. What game you might ask.. "Pass the Grace" I am so serious. The chairs were in a circle and round and round she went. I got up after about 5 or 6 people held her and a dear friend said, " Anna share. Weve waited so long for this." The obedient person that I am.... I went back to my seat and almost had to sit on my hands! Round and round she went. Anout 30 people passing her from one to the next. I just sat and wept. Such contrast. To visit the orphanage, to watch her personality change so drastically. To think that she went from being an orphan to THIS. I kept worrying that she was being a distraction but she was an Attraction. My host family came with us to the orphanage and their daughter that is 22 joined me at the hotel for supper. She and I both started sobbing. We were both thinking the same thing. It was just overwhelming.

Of course when it came time to share two of them talked about Grace, the trip to the orphanage. I had to speak. God gives us a dream, a vision. No matter what the age it isnt too late! Follow Him. He created each one of us for a purpose, we are all beautiful. There is nothing that we can do to make him love us more. We are all adopted into the faith. He will not give up and quit chasing us, persuing our adoption. He wants each one of us to be part of the family. To rest in His love and peace.

What is your dream?
What is your passion????

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

what day is this?!

Have you ever been on vacation and you wonder... what day is this?
You can laugh. This is where I am. How long have I been in Ecuador? Will I EVER get to go home? Yesterday was one of those days that just didnt go as planned. I will spare you the details. Let me tell you just one, it took two days and several banks to get money out of the ATM. ;) and Our angels were watching over us. Thank you for your prayers.

We made it to Graces school late late late. But we had money and could pay the cab. I had a note to hand the office lady to request a "certificate" our lawyer wanted for the airline flight next week. One of the mothers spoke English and we plodded through the note and what was needed. I dont know how much past their usual time they left. :/ I ended up having to excuse myself to the ladies room to have a good sob. They understood the note to say that we werent going to be able to make it for our July 31st flight at least 15 more days. Once I returned to our hosts home and talked with her- my broken Spanish and her broken English we put together two and two. This was just precautionary measures in case we couldnt make our flight to avoid penalties. Well let me tell you. After all the dealings Ive had with Delta I am not holding my breath. This paper could be signed by the president himself and it wouldnt matter to them. Well..... maybe I shouldnt say that. Lets just see what happens.

Our hosts were going to take us to the beach for the weekend and I got an e-mail today saying that Grace had an appt with the Dr for immigrations. So no beach this weekend. I really dont care. I just want to go home.

This has been a good experience. I needed to know what it felt like to be surrounded by strangers. To hear an unfamiliar language day in and out. To crave all that I knew. Grace will have such an adjustment and I need to remember what it feels like. Strange bed, strange foods, strange music. Plus she is terrified of dogs. (we own 3!)

Keep praying. I just dont want to stay here any longer than we have to. I dont want to have to switch our flight date. We need prayers that our papers end up on the tops of the piles and that we can just go home.......

Also, pray for my health. I am trying to get in to see the SIFAT Dr. My asthma and allergies have been a wreck. Add that to the altitude and I just dont move very fast at all these days.

I remain,
Under His wings,

PS. Just want you to know our missions group is here and they brought a whole suitcase of love!Loving packed by our daughter. We spent the day with them on Sunday and look forward to going to visit the Orphanage with them tomorrow. Then I hope to go to the market on Tursday and see them maybe that evening. Eric saw the Dr and was put on an antibiotic. He seems to be having fun and serving with a full heart!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


I need to begin the post by letting you know that this new adventure in our life has just been so much more than I imagined.
Before we left for Ecuador I knew in my mind that I didnt want any expectations of Grace and her abilities. But lets be real for a moment. After approx two years there are expectations. Since I had set the bar so low I am dealing with a typical toddler and I didnt expect that!

Let me tell you a few of the things I love about Grace, my sweet Little G. And maybe a story or two.

- I love that she wakes up at 6am HAPPY..... the 6am part is hard for me. but her sweetness makes it tolerable.

-I love watching her dance. Grace can hear music of any Genre and she starts to boogie! And she can dance! Its so funny. (We are going to enroll her in some form of dance class when we get home.)

-I love her palms. If you have never seen someone with Down Syndrome up close let me explain. There are creases on your palm that are missing on Grace's. ;)

-She is spunky and determined. Right now that makes things challenging from time to time. I keep reminding myself that this is a GOOD thing. Grace HAS to be a fighter. If you were to watch her you would never know the lengths she has had to go to to get where she is developmentally. My friend read her perscription and what she said brought me to tears. But to watch little G youd never know it! She is a trooper.

- I love watching her "sign". She wiggles her fingers and makes the cutest noise that sounds like "tickle tickle" when she wants to be tickled. She waves her fist in the air to "potty". Just in the past few days she has gotten "more" perfected. and when she says all done you KNOW she means ALL DONE! (big swooping arms!)

- I love coloring with her and cant wait to get in the US. due to import fees plain old markers that we can buy for $1 when school starts are $5-$9. Just unbelievable!(I may ask daughter to send some with our church Missions team. She will be able to see those much better than the colored pencils I brought.

-I love how hard she works to dress herself. Not all the way there yet. But VERY close. Socks are hard for her. Holding them open wide enough for her foot to enter...

- I love when she belly laughs and her eyes squint up.

-I love how when you lie her down for a nap she falls asleep in less than 2 mins. NO LIE!!! No fussing or crying.

-I love that she cares. She makes sure no one is a stranger and even wants to kiss/hug someone that may seem stand-offish.....

_I love watching her eat a happy meal!

We were at the mall enjoying lunch the other day during the World Cup. Ecuadorians love their Football.....(soccer to us)Our of the blue the crowd of people that gathered to watch the game on the big screens in the food court let out a Whoop! It was so loud my hair stood on end. She was in Paul's lap and crouched real low. There was no way he couldve heard me over the racket so I pointed. He lifted her up and she was crying hysterically. I knew then I loved her and didnt need to worry about bonding with her. Tears were streaming down my face. She had never heard a crowd cheer before. how terrifying for her. I pray we get to enjoy many more "firsts" together.

Keep praying for our process. Weve hit a snag and I continue to lean on the Lord for strength and wisdom. Paul is afraid to share all the details since its all very political here. Lets just say the court lost her file. Not our adoption file but the file that proved her ablility to be adopted. it was filed in December of 2006 and will take weeks to re-do. Just say some prayers.

I will end with a phrase from the "Wizzard of Oz"

"theres no place like home.....Theres no place like home."
- Dorothy