Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Back From Our Trip!

We had a WONDERFUL visit with Olivia last week! She is such a special little girl and we just love her to pieces!

We arrived in Guatemala at 11:30 Saturday morning, got to the hotel around 12:30 and found that our room wouldn't be ready until 3:00. We were expecting Olivia and her foster family to arrive around 2:00. We went to get some lunch and then waited in the lobby till about 2:30 when Olivia arrived. Once again, when she saw me she ran full-boar towards me and gave me the biggest hug! She held on for the longest time, then it was Bryan's turn. We finally got into our room, talked to the foster folks for a bit and then they left. Olivia gave Brenda, her foster Mom a hug and said adios!

To our surprise, Olivia has been working on her English! Her first words to us were "thank you", later she proceeded to point to each of us and tell us who we were in English. "Mommy, Daddy, Emily and then she'd point to herself and proclaim loudly and matter-of-factly, OLIVIA!" Brenda said since our last visit, Olivia has wanted to know what the English word is for everything! We worked with her on that during our visit through flashcards, memory matching games and lots of repetition. She is VERY bright and catches on very quickly.

We had wanted to make this trip a productive one by hopefully speaking to someone about the status of our case. Our attorney, Beyla was trying to arrange for us to meet with the Officer of the Court in charge of our case on Tuesday, but unfortunately, he was tied up pretty much the whole day. However, we did get the opportunity to sit down and talk with Beyla for about 2 hours and she was able to fill us in on where things stand at this point.

The last we knew, we were waiting for the police to bring in M. (Olivia's birth mom) under the Court order that our judge issued at the hearing in June. Apparently, as we suspected, M. has made herself scarce once again. The judge has given the police a timeframe that ends this Friday to give him their report on their findings. I'm not sure what he will do if they come up empty. Beyla is hoping he might declare Olivia as abandoned at that point, but the likelyhood of that is pretty slim. Meanwhile, Beyla and our translator Mirna, have come up with a plan to try to "lure" M. to come out of hiding. They explained it to us and it COULD work, but we're not betting the farm on it. We'll wait and see what happens.

As we have mentioned before, our judge is not friendly nor compassionate for these children and parents. He is not in favor of adoptions, period. That said, he has allowed three things to happen in our case that are pretty much unprecidented for him and other cases similar to ours. First, last February, he allowed Olivia to stay with her foster family, where he has removed other children and sent them to orphanages. (We're so thankful for the miracle of chicken pox!) Secondly, he allowed Beyla to come in and be our mandatory (primary) attorney, apparently at the recommendation of the judge's own son. And thirdly, he has allowed Bryan & I to be part of the case, which essentially means, we can be present at the hearings and be heard by him. He has not allowed other families that privilge.

We will be going down again in November for Olivia's 4th birthday on the 15th and for the next hearing on the 17th. What we understand at this point is that if M. hasn't come forward and submitted to the DNA by that time, the judge can do one of two things. He can declare her "abandoned" (adoptable) and our case would then go to the CNA to actually begin the adoption process, (this is the second best scenario for us, obviously we'd love to have a positive DNA, it would make things much easier all the way around). The other thing he could do, and has been known to do, is to draw out the search and set another hearing date months more down the road. This is definitly NOT the decision we want him to make.

We're praying for more "out-of-character" decisions by our judge. Not just for our case, but for the other cases that are languishing in his court. Unfortunately, we're not the only family from our agency that is being affected by this man. Please pray for them as well.

We took lots of pictures of our time together for you to enjoy. As you'll see, Olivia is so happy and so full of life. She and Emily play together so well and she is just a joy to be with! She is an absolute doll!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Off To See Our Girl Again!

In a few short hours we'll be on our way to Guatemala to see Olivia! Hopefully we won't have to wait as long this time for her foster family to bring her to the hotel.....we shall see.

We're not sure what to expect on this trip. We made it clear that we want to talk to someone and get to the bottom of why nothing it has happened in the 3 months since the last hearing. There's a slight possibility that our attorney, Beyla might get us in to talk to the judge on our case. We've been reminded that he's not a very friendly fellow......again, we'll see what happens.

We're returning Wednesday night, so hopefully Thursday or Friday I'll have an update and a report on our trip.

We appreciate everyone's continued prayers!