Tuesday, April 14, 2009

And Now, the Rest of the Story.....

Monday was such a wonderful day and when it was time for bed, Olivia got right into bed with Emily and slept soundly straight through the night!

Tuesday morning we had to get dressed up for our meeting with Mr. Jaime Tecu, an attorney who is a real important guy at the CNA. Our appointment was at 9:00 and we expected our attorney, Beyla to pick us up from the hotel at 8:00. Well, as we've now learned, Guatemalan "time" is a little different than U.S. time! 8:00 in U.S. terms means you'll be picked up at 8:00 or very close to it. In Guatemala, 8:00 apparently means 8:45! Beyla and her husband picked us up in their Toyota Yaris and got us to the CNA so we were in Mr. Tecu's office at 9:00 a.m. sharp!

The meeting itself was really just to show him that 'we're here, we're serious, this is our family and when you get our case remember what you see here today'. We asked some questions about what to expect later on, but his response was to just wait and see how our hearing in June turns out and we'll go from there. He took a few notes, we took a few notes, that was about it. A cool thing happened about 15 minutes into the meeting though, we experienced our first earthquake!!! Apparently a 4.4. Bryan and I didn't know what had just happened and we looked at the other folks in the room and their faces showed the tiniest bit of alarm, it had been an earthquake! They weren't terribly phased though, they get about 100 a year down there. We thought it was pretty neat though! When that happened, the girls were next door in a playroom and then Mr. Tecu went to get them. When Olivia walked into the room, she came right over to me, jumped up on my lap and gave me a kiss! I was so glad he saw that! Maybe with the unsolicited affection Olivia showed towards me and the earthquake, he'll remember us!

After the meeting, Beyla, her husband, Mirna, Bryan, Emily, Olivia and I drove back to the hotel in the Toyota Yaris. That's 5 adults and 2 children in a tiny car....I haven't mentioned how they drive down there....anyway we got there safely and were told that Beyla and Mirna would be back at 1:00 to take us out to lunch and have a meeting with Beyla and go over a document she needed us to sign.

1:00 became 3:30, again "Guatemalan time" and we went to Pizza Hut for lunch. The girls enjoyed their pizza and played on the "playland" they had there for the kids while we ate and went over the document. Afterward, Beyla treated us to Guatemalan ice cream, not bad!

Beyla took us back to our hotel and we said goodbye to her there. She is a wonderful Christian lady and I truly believe she will do everything in her power for us. We authorized she and her huband, (he is in the media, newpaper and TV and has his own investigation service) to do an exhaustive search for Olivia's birthmother. They have had great success in the past finding these women who have been missing for years at a time. They feel that the previous searches that have been conducted on our case, were not done sufficiently. Beyla told us that the absolute best case scenario for us is that the birthmother be found. If she's found within the next few months, we could potentially have Olivia home by the end of this year and the case would be completed under the old system that we started with. If she's not found, the case will have to go to the CNA and will take much longer. Please pray with us, that this woman is found...soon.

Brenda, Olivia's foster mom, told us that our 2nd hearing (to determine Olivia's "adoptability") is on June 7th, (that's a Sunday, so I'm not sure if they hold court on Sunday, or she meant the 2nd or something) and she will be there alone with Olivia and would like us to be there with her. We planned to be anyway, but it will be determined by the document that we signed at Pizza Hut, if we will be allowed into the courtroom for the hearing. The document has to be approved by the judge to allow Beyla to be our Mandatory attorney and not the previous attorney, Mr. Gallo who took Olivia to her first hearing. If he approves Beyla, then we'll be able to attend.

Anyway, back to our trip! When we returned to the hotel, we decided we should go swimming in "la piscina". The water was not as warm as we would have liked and poor little Olivia's teeth chattered a bit, but we had fun splashing around.

The girls played beautifully together. They colored, played with Barbies, drew pictures, played dress-up, blew bubbles, watched movies and had a great time. Emily proved to be a very good "big sister"! Olivia is very kind and likes to share. She has great manners and is quite independent. She's just a joy!

Wednesday was our only full day to do whatever we wanted, so we slept in a little, had a wonderful breakfast from the Royale Floor lounge right next door to us that had incredible Continental breakfasts and free drinks and snacks all throughout the day. The girls got baths, well actually showers, there was no bathtub. We set out to visit all three malls within shouting distance from the hotel. We did lots of walking, took in some of the local flavor, ate lunch at Burger King and finally about 4:00 or so, after the big carousel ride, Olivia could go no more and fell asleep on Bryan's shoulder. We took her back to the room and she slept for another good hour. We had planned to go back out for dinner at Pollo Campero, but Bry went and brought dinner back to the room. Have I mentioned Pollo Campero??? (pronounced POY-oh Com-Pedr-oh). This is our new favorite place to eat...anywhere! Awesome fried chicken! Colonel Sanders has nothing on this place! I guess they have several stores here in the U.S., but of course no where around here! Maybe we'll open a franchise.

After we ate, I begrudgingly decided I should get our things packed so I wouldn't have to deal with it in the morning. The foster family was supposed to arrive to pick up Olivia between 8:00 and 9:00. As I was packing, the girls were drawing and coloring, at one point, Olivia came up and handed me a piece of paper she had just "written" on. She looked at me and proceeded to tell me that she had written "Te amo mucho, Mama Susan"! (I love you very much, Mama Susan). She then proceeded to make one for Papa Bryan too. Our hearts absolutely melted!

We put the girls to bed that night about 8:45, but because of Olivia's afternoon siesta, she wasn't ready to go to sleep. Bryan and I were in the bathroom/sink area with all of our camera equipment and our Kodak Easyshare printer trying to print out pictures of our time together to put in a little album for Olivia to take home with her. For the next half hour to 45 minutes we heard giggling and talking coming from the girls bed. I wanted them to go to sleep so they wouldn't know what we were up to, but at the same time, just hearing them enjoyng each other like sisters should, was priceless. Emily told us later that Olivia kept telling her that she loved her and fell asleep with her arm draped over Emily!

Thursday morning we got up around 6:00, Olivia slept a little later, I already had most of ours and Olivia's things packed and ready to go, all we had to do was have breakfast, get cleaned up and dressed and wait till 8-ish for the family to show. Our translator Mirna had told the family to come at 8:00 knowing that would mean at least 9:00 considering they had about a 45-minute drive from their home and of course, allowing for "Guatemala time"! Our doorbell rings at 7:05, it's the family! Olivia had just woken up and Bryan had just brought in our breakfast from next door so they graciously volunteered to wait in the lobby till we were done. We also wanted to wait for Mirna to get there to translate as she was due to arrive at 8:00.

So about 8:15, Bry went down to the lobby to bring them back up. We had a lovely time, they're such a beautiful and warm family. When it was about time to say good-bye, we asked to have a few minutes alone with Olivia. I had given her a bear from "Build-A-Bear" and put a recording of Bryan's, Emily's and my voices telling her we loved her whenever she pressed the flower on the bear's foot. We also gave her the photo album. We prayed with her and then took her out in the hall where the family was waiting. We said adios in the lobby. She didn't cry this time either, but we told her we would be back soon. The three of us held back the tears till they were out of sight.

We got home Thursday night at 11:15 p.m. our time.We can't wait to go back. We miss this special little girl who instantly wrapped herself around each one of our hearts.


The Heinrichs said...

ohhhh you have me crying (while reading your goodbye)! what an awesome visit, I can't wait for you to go back! I am praying Beyla can find her birthmother!!!

Greg and Felicia Huff said...

Loved it! EVERY word of it! We had an earthquake as well when we were down there last June. We were in bed and the bed started shaking. It was pretty neat! Thank you for sharing your story! Beautiful! She looks so happy with all of you! I'm praying that the birth mother is found. She just needs to be home!

Traci said...

JUST MAKE ME WEEP! I can just picture everything you are saying so beautifully! Te Amo Mucho Mama Susan!!! Just stop, I can't handle the preciousness.... (I know, I know, I sound like my Mom)haha.

Your pictures were beautiful and your time sounded so perfect, and so special. I look forward to the day you can truly call her yours, Lord Willing.

I love you guys!


Terri Fisher said...

Hi! I attend Lebanon Area Evangelical Free Church in Jonestown, PA. Your mother/MIL gave me your blog information, as we, too, are adopting a daughter, but from Taiwan. I have enjoyed perusing your blog and seeing how God is providing for your family, even though the road has been rough and unanticipated. I look forward to reading that Olivia has come home to her forever family soon! Blessings!