A 5 or 10 (business) day stay, called an Empathy Study, is a requirement by the Guatemalan adoption officials to show that the family has a bond with the child they're adopting. Because we hadn't been able to spend time with Olivia for so long, we were required to stay for the 10-day (2 weeks, including weekends).
We went places and saw things we'd never had the opportunity to on our previous 8 trips. Guatemala is a beautiful country with equally beautiful and gracious people. (And the sunny, 85º weather was a welcome change from the 112" of snow we've had here this winter!)
Olivia is such a sweetheart! She's smart, thoughtful, polite, helpful, artistic and has a great sense of humor! We still have a bit of a language barrier, our Spanish is pretty pathetic, using one and two-word phrases to hopefully get our point across. She however, is very eager to learn English and understands and can read and speak certain things pretty well. I don't think she'll have any problem mastering it.
We are very encouraged that it will be just a few short months more until we travel back for our 10th trip and this time she will ride that airplane back with us! The wheels of the adoption process have started to roll and after 7 years, we can confidently say that our little Olivia will finally be coming home!
Here are a few photos of our visit.
Emily drew this picture for Olivia to illustrate where she will be living in the U.S.