Saturday, December 31, 2011

Ecuador Day 26 Gotcha Day! Part 1

Friday Dec. 30th
Late last night our in country rep, Maria Jose called to see if we had any questions..and to let us know we needed to pay our lawyer $200 for the power of attorney fee..I let her know we had already done the POA and Priscilla didn't want paid for it, but she insisted we still give it to that was very wierd, but we'll do as she has requested.

Zac let me sleep in this morning, so I didn't get up until closer to 8...which was great! We all got up and Zac made pancakes for us while I finished up making sure Zac's bags were plenty full. =) Trying to send as much stuff home with him as I can.

Priscilla called to let us know she had to be at the court house for another case in the morning and gave us the address to have a taxi take us in the morning. She let us know she'd meet us in the front of the court house with the translator. We finished getting ready...I tried on a couple different outfits before I decided on one...
(I thought I would lose weight while here since we are walking so much and eating so much fresh fruits an veggies...but it is very interesting that I have actually put on weight and I think it is 100% related to the fact that I went from not eating gluten to eating a lot of gluten...the bakeries here are amazing! So i'll have some work to do when we get home! LOL)
Adriana wore her Christmas dress and got just as excited to put it on as she did on cute!

We arrived with plenty of time in front of the court house and were standing out front taking pictures and talking with our translator when a man walked up and told us he had a 14 year old son with Down Syndrome! Turns out he is lawyer here in Cuenca and wanted to know why we were adopting a child with Down syndrome and said we were very kind people to do such a was a very interesting conversation. Adriana had said hi to him as well as calling me mommy and saying agua (water) and the man said his son must have Down syndrome worse because his son is very slow and doesn't talk...I felt sad for him as the education about DS was clearly still years behind what it is in the states and his son as they don't have the early intervention here like we do in the states. I was sad, but was happy that atleast him and his wife chose to keep their son with them at home. I also felt so blessed for what we have in the states and happy that Adriana was going to be able to reach her best potential! Amazing how God puts people in places as just the right time, huh?

We walked up to the same area we were yesterday and went to the judges office...a nice office with large windows and a view of the mountains. The judge was very quiet and did not show a lot of emotion. He welcomed us and asked for our passports again and sat at his computer and typed away. He started with Zac asking him questions of what his motives for adoption were and why he wanted to adopt a child with Down Syndrome. Zac said that he felt that God had called us to adopt after our friend, Tiffanie, visited Adriana's orphanage and we saw her picture and heard about her orphanage. He explained that to us, DS is really nothing, it's just part of who our daughters are and we wouldn't change it. He said that we wanted to expand our family and the timing just seemed right to bring Adriana into the Harlan family. The judge then asked me the same answers were pretty much the same and I just added that we had been looking at adoption as an option to expand our family but it wasn't until our friend Tiffanie went on the mission trip to work in the orphanages that we knew it was time. We also told the judge that Addie and Adri have been able to talk via Skype on the computer and he seemed happy about that. We also told him that we already have Adriana set up to start Speech, Occupational, and Physical Therapy once we return home and that Addie's preschool has a spot for Adri if we chose to enroll her in preschool this year. The judge was interested in knowing more about the school system and if it was all special needs or what type of school. We explained that she would be with typically developing peers as well as other children with special needs, and he seemed pleased with that.
After he was done questioning us, he let us know that adoption is forever and he wanted to make sure we couldn't return her...he explained that a family had done this a while back and it concerns him now whenever he works with adoption and wanted us to know this...we let him know we were so attached to this little girl and we knew it wasn't always going to be flowers and roses, and there would be hard times, but she was ours forever.
He finished typing up the document and printed it out for us to all sign. He told us that there are no fees for his services, but that we would need to pay our translator $60...we weren't preparred for that, but our translator had been very good and it wasn't like we were going to argue with the judge! He started to loosen up quite a bit and was interacting with Adriana more so that was neat to see. We asked to take pictures and he showed us a painting on his wall...he explained that a student of his with Down Syndrome had painted it...very cool! He then asked us to send him a picture of Adriana and Addie together and that he was happy for Adriana. (Priscila later told us he was on FB and we could find him there) LOL. It took about 45 minutes start to finish.

Ecuador Day 25

Thursday Dec. 29th

We found out last night that our court hearing will be Friday at 11:30. Praise be to God as Zac wll be able to fly home and spend a couple days with Addie before returning to work on Tuesday. John took us out to a nice dinner at this place that brings the meat out on this huge platter....we quickly found out that Adriana loves steak!

Zac is working today while I am getting his bags packed and sending emails to make sure all is ready at home and schedules are set for Addie.

We are waiting to hear from our travel agent on Zac's flight but are planning on him arriving in Chicago Saturday night and driving to my parents to get Addie on Sunday morning...I so wish I was there to see Addie's reaction when she sees him.

John called to see if we wanted to go to lunch (I think he's sad Zac is leaving as well as I know they've enjoyed talking to each other) and we also needed to go to the bank to get some cash out as we were running John took us to the local place that served the traditional soup, rice, and meat dish...however the soup was this fish base with corn, bananas, and pieces of stomach still turns thinking about it..and the meat dish was something that involved some kind of hot dog...I ended up being not very hungry.

I was also having a hard time with the whole idea of Zac leaving and Zac kept analyzing everything and asking me all these questions about time frames remaining...and the fear, anxiety, and stress of it all was starting to get to me...I feel sorry for John as I was somewhat emotional and ended up having to leave in the middle of lunch to have a time out in the bathroom and just let myself cry for a minute...I know I'll be fine...but it is so easy for the devil to creep in and fill my mind with all sorts of a couple minutes to let myself cry, repeated some scriptures and had a chat with my Heavenly Father and I was good to go..I also felt bad as I know Zac is worrying about Adri and I and I want to show him that I am confident and will be OK...but I guess I failed at doing that at lunch! LOL

Across the street was the Bank Museum that is one of the larget museums here and has all sorts of differnt things to look at as well as the history of the money system here in Ecuador. (they now use the American dollar) It was interesting as there was carpet in the museum and Adriana would run from the carpet to the linolium and back again...she would also reach down and feel the was pretty fun to watch. John and Zac enjoyed reading and looking at all the money history and Adriana and I enjoyed running around chasing each other amongst the pillars of coins...we had fun.

We got back to the apartment later than expected and we were able to all take a nap. I had another good cry over Zac leaving and spent some more time filling myself with scripture and the truth. When I woke up from my nap I could tell the Holy Spirit had completely rid those negative thoughts out of my head and I was filled again with the truth that God was carrying us on this part of the journey and Adri and I would be just fine as well as Zac and his flights.

We decided to head out to the pizza place near the Supermaxi for dinner as well as stock up on groceries as Zac wanted to make sure I didn't have to try and haul water and groceries back when it was just Adri and I...have I mentioned by husband is amazing?

We enjoyed just snuggling and hanging out together one last night with the three of us...I made sure all of our clothes and things were ready for the next day as Priscilla was picking us up at 11:00 to go to the court house...

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Ecuador Day 24 cont..

Signature verification....complete! This was something both Zac and I were nervous about as Zac's signature is never the same...but it was very easy for us and our judge! We had a very nice traslator who did a very good job for us. The court building is huge and very intimidating! We walked in, met our judge, and sat down...he and his secretary looked at our passports and typed up the document for us to sign to verify signatures. We had to stand and take oathe that this was our sigantures that we use for all things...and we were done! Both Priscila and our translator asked the judge for court tomorow...the judge said he'd have to check his we wait and see what he enters into the system. Priscila thought we should know later tonight....wish we had gotten an actual date...but nothing much we can do. We walked outside the court houe and there was a very bright double rainbow! I'm translating it is a signal from God that He's got it all covered...

John called us and invited us to dinner, so we are waiting for him to pick us will be good to get out while we wait to hear something from the judge.

We are still very hopeful that we'll have court tomorrow and Zac can leave tomorrow night. Addie has contantly been asking for mom, dad, and Adri...and has also had runny stools today, so that's great...wondering if she's got an upset stomach over us being gone so long...either way, we need to get Zac home to her! So wish I was there to see her reaction when she sees her daddy!

Ecuador Day 24

Wednesday Dec. 28th

Today we are having a lazy day around the apartment. I have dragged out the suitcases that Zac will return with and started to throw things in them that he'll take home. Zac has maintained a good internet connection, which I think has helped him calm down a bit since he has been able to work all morning.

Priscila is going to be here at 3:00 to take us to the court house. For those that wonder here is what will happen in the coming weeks

Today - Signature recognition will happen today...they have to verify signatures between our passport, our adoption application, and our dossier...and Zac's signature is never really the we are praying they grant us a good verification. We will also find out today when the judge will see us for our "audencia" or court hearing for the adoption...we are praying he will give us a time for tomorrow (Thursday)

Thursday - we pray to have court this day and will also schedule Zac's flight out of Cuenca. He will spend the night in Quito with other friends adopting and then will fly out of Quito on Friday morning arriving in Chicago Friday night.

After court...we have to wait 3-5 days for the judge to write is official report. Once that is ready he will let our lawyer, Priscila know and she will pick it up. Then we have to get the court document notarized. Once we have the court report we take it to get a sedula or Ecuadorian ID for Adriana. With the sedula we can then apply for her birth certificate and passport. Typically, we can do all of this in one day provided there are no hiccups...

Then we take all of the above items and go to see a doctor for a physical for Adriana to show she is in good health to travel to the US. Once we havd the doctors report we fly to Guayaquil or we may drive..Priscila is hopefully going to be coming with us as Guayaquil is a large city with a large amount of crime. Good times.

Once we have the visa and all of the above items, we do an exit interview and wait for approval to leave Ecuador.

Right now Adri and my flight is schedule to leave Cuenca on the 17th and leave Quito to Chicago on the 18th...I am confident we will have all of the above completed in time to travel at our scheduled time if not before...if we are done ahead of time, we will just have to wait and see what the fees and price of airfare would be to bump our flights earlier...

That's about it in a after court...Zac leaves and Adri and I hang out and wait for the report...prayerfully I can keep her entertained as we are running out of ideas..LOL.

For now, it's lunch time then naps, then we head to the court house....prayers appreciated!

Ecuador Day 23

Tuesday Dec. 27th
We got all of Zac's flights cancelled today with a hefty $275 fine...lovely..we do get a credit from the flights, but our travel agent let us know that flights from Dec. 31st to Jan. 14th are extrememly pricey from Ecuador due to everyone traveling after the holiday. Awesome. So we are praying we can get Zac flown home on Dec. 30th to avoid a sky high airfare...praying.

Today we were hoping to hear from our lawyer that it was time to go do signature verification, but it unfortunately didn't happen. Last night our internet here completly went we called our friend John to see if he knew of an internet cafe Zac could go to for work and he suggested we just come over there...and could get laundry done as well.

We headed over to John's house and Zac started working and Adri and I got our two loads of laundry done...and of course watched a Dora while we waited...with Addie it is Little Bear or Backyardigans...with Adri it's Dora or Mickey Mouse we shall see who wins at home when its time for our shows...typically morning, naps, and I suppose we can trade off between the three times.

We took John to the nice restaurant nearby that we went to a couple weeks ago....$8.75 for the four of us to have a nice Ecuadorian meal. We headed home in time for naps...and we were all needing one as the stress of waitig for the court day was starting to wear on us...and I truly believe that Adri understands that this is not our home...she got so excited to fly I am just sure she knows we have yet to fly to her new home and see her sister. She gets so excited when she sees Addie on Skype...

I have a couple friends on facebook that have adopted in Ecuador and have been encouraging me along the try and not focus on our wait here..and just enjoy our time here....we have been trying to not just sit around and wait...but it is just hard when part of our family isn't here with us...but it is good to have the encouragement that others who have traveled this journey ahead of us.

After naps the internet was still not working the greatest so we decided to head out to the markets and do some sight was a successful trip as we were able to get to all the places we wanted to with only maybe three or four wrong turns...LOL...those that know Zac and I well know that we typically don't go anywhere without either our Garmin or the GPS turned on on our us trying to get around by walking is just comical....well...we laugh now....three weeks ago...not so much. LOL.

At about 5:00 we heard from Priscila! The judge had finally reviewed our files and was ready to see us for signature verification tomorrow (Wednesday) at 4:00. Priscila said she'd pick us up at 3:00 in time to get to the court house and get assigned a translator. Zac and I were so very happy and praising God for an answer to prayer. It really isn't that we are sick of being is simply that we have a daughter at home that needs us and my husband's job can only be patient for so long..Zac needs to get back to work on Monday..well..Tuesday with the holiday..but getting him flown home is a two day process and back to Iowa is another day as he needs to stop in Illinois to get Addie. Praising God and knowing He has it all under control. Definetly a test in our we not only trust in our Heavenly Father...but do we also trust on Him? I fail often in this area and this journey has helped me to learn how to rely and trust competely On Him...

We had our famous rice, chicken, veggie soup mixture and all went to bed early...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Ecuador Day 22

Monday Dec. 26th
Adriana got out of bed on her own today and came into my room!!!!! THIS IS HUGE!  Since she was still sleeping in a crib at the orphanage she has not gotten out of bed on her own when she wakes up from naps and I know some parents would think that was a good thing....but in this case, it is such a blessing that she feels safe enough to get out of bed and come crawl into bed with me.  Such a blessing. (Zac was already out working)

Priscilla called (via her brother Andre translating) and let us know she was going to be at our place in 20 minutes to pick us up and take us to INFA to sign some papers...luckily we were already up and ready as we were getting ready to get some groceries...

Priscila and her broth Andre took us to INFA to sign the papers. Priscila let us know she would hope to hear from the judge this afternoon and we could still get a signature appointment yet today and court tomorrow...she asked us if we wanted to ride along to Cholegal...a town about an hour away that is known for their silver and gold...of course that sounded good to me! And Zac was up for the adventur as well..they  dropped us off at the Supermaxi to get groceries and let us know they'd be by around 3:30 to pick us up for our trip. Grocery shopping is getting easier now that we know what to look for and what our typical items are..  We got a taxi home and had lunch and took a nice nap.

We rode out to Cholegal and had nice conversation with Pricilla and Andre with Andre translating. =) Andre purchasing some gifts for his wife that was flying in from Canada on Wednesday...we enjoyed looking at all of the jewelry stores and Adriana of course enjoyed seeing all of the dogs and pulling on our arms whenever she saw one that looked interesting..she is going to LOVE Daisy and Kona!

Our drive home was good....a little rough and both Zac and I's stomachs were feeling it as we neared our apartment...we had a nice dinner of Mac N Cheese (thanks Shalane!) and got Adriana to bed.

Priscilla called to let us know she had not heard from the judge and that she was still hoping we could do signatures tomorrow and court Wednesday...which obviously meant Zac would need to cancel flights...bummed, but it is what it is and it's really not worth stressing over.  She let us know she would call us as soon as she heard from the judge...she is still thinking we'll have court this we will pray!

Ecuador Day 21

Sunday Dec. 25th
Happy Birthday Jesus!
Adriana slept in a bit and the Broaddus girls woke up soon after she did...she was slow to wake up until I said..Adriana...Papa Noel....Regalos para Adriana! And she perked right up and jumped out of bed! It was the cutest thing ever!  We had all of the presents and stockings in the living room for all of the girls...they waited patiently while we got cameras ready..
Adriana first got to her bag of candy in her stocking and that was really all she needed..she was so excited...she kept holding it up and showing adorable...the bags of candy are an Ecuadorian tradition...
It took Adriana a little bit to figure out exactly what to do with the presents, but once she saw the other girls opening their gifts she decided she would too...I had purchased a signing Dora doll in Iowa and had purchased a few smaller things at a toy store in Quito...of course the most popular item was the cheapest item...a $1.00 cheapo plastic cell phone that talks, etc...she was loving that thing!
And she has also enjoyed her little princess purse that the Broaddus family got for her to keep all of her accessories she received...cell phone, comb, mirror...etc...she's a 4 year old little girl! =)

Stpehanie and I spent the rest of the morning preparing the meal for the day.

We had a good flight from Quito to Cuenca.  Adriana is really enjoying that is good since her and I still have to fly to and from Guayaquil for her visa as well as our three flights home....hopefully this momma can do as well as she is. =)

Once we got home, we called John to wish him a Merry Christmas.  It is traditional Ecuadorian way to celebrate Christmas at midnight and that is when they have their big meal, etc...and that is how they celebrated! Pretty neat, but I don't think I could do that...

We also called to check in with Priscila and let her know we were back in Cuenca.  She sadly informed us that INFA made a mistake on the papers and that we wouldn't be doing signatures or court on Monday. =( She let us know she would call us in the morning as to what she finds out from the judge.

At this point, there is still a small chance we could do signatures tomorrow afternoon and court Tuesday before Zac leaves....

Talking to Addie was good..but she really doesn't want anything to do with us lately..not sure if she is mad at us or it could be since Evie and Corbett are ther so she is busy with them...she has started to hit the computer screen when mom asks her to come talk to that's awesome. =(

Zac and I decided to zone out for a bit and watched some more Modern Family episodes...not sure if we'd think it is as funny if we were at home...but right now it has been so good for a good laugh.

We both have also been reading more of our books, so that has been nice as well...I think I could have another post on things I'm reading as well..

Ecuador Day 20

Saturday Dec. 24th
This morning we woke up to a lovely blowout by that was good times! She hasn't had any accidents during the day...she sleeps in a pull guess that's a good thing this day!  We ran a couple errands with Stephanie to get a couple more items for the Sunday dinner...I am going to attempt to make homemade stuffing!  I'm excited and hope it turns out!

Today we finally got to meet the Perry family that is adopting Flor.  Very nice family with two other biological children.  We went to the English Fellowship church for Christmas Eve Service at 5:00pm.  It was so nice to have a good message and be able to sing praises to the one person that has gotten us to where we are today.  Such a blessing.  I was pretty emotional just singing the Christmas songs and being there with three other adoptive families...such a blessing that four families from four different states...18 people total...gathered together to worship our Lord and Savior on Christmas Eve.  Such a blessing!

After the service the Broaddus family and the three of us went to go get Papa Murphy's (we heard it was the same as in the states..) but when we walked up to the location we saw it was closed...bummer...Allison (the 8 year old girl the Broaddus family adopted) really wanted McDonald's.(they do have those in Quito) but then we found a Tony Romo's restaurant...only to find out it was closed as McDonald's it ended up being! Our Christmas Eve meal consisted of chicken nuggets, french fries, and coke....about the same as it taste back home...but not even close to my mom's traditional lasagna or chili on Christmas year. =)

We piled all 8 of us into a very small taxi...Zac in the front the and 7 of us girls in the looked like a clown car and there was a lot of laughing...but we got back to the Broaddus apartment.  (Andy Broaddus had left from home last week and due to him owning a vet clinic and being a vet in Idaho he was unable to return for Christmas)

We got the girls to bed and went to wrapping some gifts.  Stephanie made some Spanish Wedding Cookies which were amazing...need that recipe! Went to bed and awaited the excitement of the morning.

Ecuador Day 17, 18 and 19

Wed.Dec. 20th
We were hoping to hear that Priscilla had acquired the file from INFA today..but not so...a typical day of Zac working and hanging out around the apartment...Adriana is starting to do more playing on her own with toys...but still is mostly relying on Zac or myself to help entertain her...which I'm totally ok with. =)

Thursday Dec. 21st
went to veggie and fruit market with John. Priscilla let us know no file from InFA so no chance of court Friday...decided to go to Quito to spend weekend with friends. Spent the day packing and Zac working. Went to airport and waited for 2 hours as that is how far ahead you have to be there....Adriana loved watching the planes land and take off. She was very excited but a little scared when it was time to get on the plane. We got to our seats and explained she had to have a seatbelt on...she did long as Zac's arm was draped across her lap she was good. She was very nervous and looking to Zac and I for reassurance. ....but overall she did so well! She had just fallen asleep when we landed in Quito.

Friday Dec.22nd
Slept in a bit and got showered for the day. Stephanie walked us to a nearby bakery and then walked Zac and I to the Plaza de las America's where he was going to spend the day workingvas there was wifi there. Quito is solo much different than Cuenca! Much more modernized and much larger...there are high rises, etc..whereas Cuenca is much more historical, older buildings, etc...Stephanie and the girls and I got groceries for Sundays dinner and Adriana enjoyed having so many playmates for the day!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Ecuador Day 16

Tuesday Dec. 20th
Today we all woke up we all had went to bed quite early...Zac worked while Adriana and I played...John had invited us to go into the Cajas National Park and we were able to head up there mid morning...we went from Cuenca at about 8000ft to the peak of the Cajas which is about 15,000...we got out to take a short hike to see a view...and we were all winded!  It was quite a view and quite an experience.  We stopped at a local restaurant that serves a tea that the Indiginous people make that is supposed to help with altitude sickness...none of us are having issues with that...but it was still yummy tea!  We also got to see several free ranging Llama's which was pretty neat as well...just hanging out, sitting in the middle of the highway!
We also went to this hostel that is known for their trout dishes....It was the best meal we have had in quite some time!  While at the restaurant, I had ordered potatoe soup that we've had at other places as I knew Adriana loves it....I was trying to help Adriana and was unable to eat my own soup or pour my cola from the bottle..(mom's you know how it is...but we're used to it) anyway...I could see the waitress continue to watch me...first she came over and poured my cola into the glass...then she went back to her perching post and continued to watch me...then she came over and picked up Adriana's spoon and started to feed her!  I was guessing it was kind of a customary thing here, so I didn't say anything....however, Adriana started choking!  She was able to cough up the piece that she was choking on, but I think the waitress felt bad...and I nicely told her I could finish feeding Adriana and I would be OK...she did continue to make sure my glass was full of the cola from my bottle. =)
On the way home from the Caja's we saw an Indiginous funeral..people walking down the street...a large number of people and at the front of the group were several men carrying the casket high in the air...there were also people playing instruments as well...a very unique thing to see..
When we got home, Priscilla, our lawyer, and her brother (who is in town visiting for Christmas from Canada and speaks a bit of he was helping to translate) came over to let us know INFA has still not released Adriana's file and is saying that it won't be ready until January!  Ug!  Priscilla told us that she had called the INFA office in Quito to complain as well as our agency rep in Quito, Maria Jose, and that phone calls were placed and INFA was going to get it to us sooner....Priscilla was thinking we could get it as early as tomorrow (Wednesday)...we can't have court until we have that file...
Priscilla also told us we would need to go to a notary to get a Power of Attorney signed for after Zac leaves so I can continue on with the rest of the process in order to bring Adriana after three different notary offices, we found one that would do it for us (turns out later they only agreed to do it for a small "extra" fee)
Priscilla let us know she would call us tomorrow to let us know if she got the papers from INFA...we were so hopeful to be able to spend Christmas in Quito with our friends, but the chances of that are getting slimmer...

Ecuador Day 15

Monday Dec. 19th
Today we had a pretty lazy morning and waiting to hear from our lawyer regarding court...she called to let us know that she was still waiting on papers from INFA that we have to have in order to go to court...and she was still hoping we could do signatures and court on Thursday or Friday....

Our friend John called around lunch and asked if we wanted to go on a drive into an area he calls the was very to see quite a lot until it got pretty foggy and had to turn around (fog sets in around 3 or 4, since we were higher up in the mountains, but for some reason, it was earlier on Monday)  It was a very good drive and got to stop at a couple local shops that John has come to enjoy.

I ended up falling asleep putting Adriana to bed at 8....

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Ecuador Day 14

Sunday Dec. 18th
We have been in Ecuador for two weeks! What did we do to celebrate? Well....I cut Adriana's bangs! And how do I learn....the hard way!!! So....Adriana now has some bangs that are a bit crooked and a bit too short really...but it's just one more way I know she's my kid! I've done it to both my girls now! LOL

We were really hoping we could find an English speaking church by now, but from what we've learned, there aren't any in we had a nice breakfast and decided to head to the Mall Del is a newer mall with about 150 shops in it....we knew going that the items in those shops would be way out of our budget as even shoes at Payless cost twice as much as in the states...but we thought it would be fun just to get out and walk around..(we had went there on our second day with Adriana but didn't get very far since we were all getting tired and hungry when we were there)

Upon leaving the apartment, we soon learned how quiet Sunday's are for Cuenca...first, the street our apartment is on was is closed for bikers and walkers on Sunday mornings...then, we found it very hard to get a taxi....later we learned there are about 2500 taxi's in Cuenca...and on Sunday's there are about 200....and on Sunday's, they can charge up to double the normal normally our taxi would have been $1.50 to the the mall..but instead it was $3! Lesson learned. We walked around both the top and bottom levels and just enjoyed some time together. It was nice to see how family oriented Cuenca is...especially on Sundays...there are a ton of people out and it is all families...the entire family...all together...very nice to see! ( last Sunday John and Carmen had driven us to a large park and we also noticed how the park was just filled with complete families enjoying time together)

We have noticed that Adriana is getting a little bored with us..she's used to having playmates 24-7.....playdough and coloring are fun for only so long I we went to the Supermaxi there at the mall and went up to the toy section to see what might help.  She loves balls and that was one of the things we got to see her enjoy playing with her friends on the we bought her a little kickball of sorts...all of $ has the alphabet all over it, so I figured I could double it as an educational toy as well. =)  The orphanage workers also said Adriana was always wanting to help feed the we found her a baby with a bottle, plate, and spoon...I seriously don't know how people afford to buy toys for their kids here...and there were tons of families there shopping with full carts of toys! For instance, a baby alive doll that I think is about $25 in the states is $50 here! So we started with the nicer toy isles and quickly moved to the less expensive toy isles to find this baby...It was still $15 but it fit what we hoped Adriana would enjoy playing and pretending with.  She was so excited to carry that box and was already trying to get the baby out of the box before we could get to the check out!

Before heading home, Zac had been craving a burger...poor guy, he loves his red meat, but beef is just not a big item as we were walking out through the food court we saw a Burger we decided to eat there...he got his burger and said it was good....Adriana and I had chicken strips and french makes me sick to my stomach thinking that we ate that much grease today, but I suppose we'll survive.  Adriana thoroughly enjoyed the french fries and I had to move them out of her reach as she was just shoveling them into her mouth as fast as she could...guessing that was her first experience of french fries...and if you know me well, french fries are my weakness.....Addie and I both love some french fries!  They definitely weren't as good as the ones in the states...but Adriana liked them.

We got a taxi home...after waiting for a bit longer than normal... Adriana wanted her baby opened now...she was so excited..I wish I could explain how she shows her excitement...we got the baby and her bottle out and she crawled up on the couch and went to work taking care of her baby.  She was feeding the baby and taking the baby to the potty and finding a blanket to put on the was adorable!

We needed to get some laundry washed..Zac and I had plenty of clothes, but Adriana needed some clean jammies and clean undi' we called John to see if we could come crash at his place for a bit and do laundry. We once again had to wait a while to get a cab...we tried to put Adri down for a nap, but she just wanted to play with her baby and enjoy the extra space at John's place to run around....

Carmen later came over to John's and it was nice to get to know her more on a personal level as well instead of just our translator.  Between her and John they have both traveled a lot and have some good stories.

Tomorrow we will hopefully find out if the judge is going to see us on Tuesday for signatures....prayers appreciated that we get the appointment with the judge for Tuesday and that court will follow on Wednesday.

Ecuador Day 13

Saturday Dec 17th
Today we decided to get up early and head out for a day of taking in Cuenca...We got a taxi to down town and went to the Tourism office there...the lady (she spoke English) =), told us of the best museum to go to and that it closes on Saturdays at 1, so we decided to go to that during the week...there were several shops we wanted to visit from a list I found on the OSSO website that the American volunteers have recommended.  We went to a shop called Galapagos...Laura is the owner and she was so happy to meet Adriana and made us feel at home in her store.  It was neat to look around and see all the fun things she had there.  Adriana (and Zac) feel in love with this large rain stick....but we decided it wasn't needed and would most likely be an issue getting it home...since it is about 5 feet long...oh well.

Adriana has been watching this Dora Christmas movie we brought and in it, Boots opens a set of maracas and every time he does Adriana gets so we found her a set of maracas! She loves them...and we liked the cost...$1.50!

I had been hoping to get a traditional Ecuadorian dress as a keepsake type item for Adriana...and when we visited the Casa De La Mujer, which is where the Indiginous people from Otovolo come to sell items...we found it!  After some bargaining with the lady, I was able to get exactly what I wanted....Tiffanie....I need to schedule a photo shoot of her in this outfit before she outgrows it!

Growing?! Yes, I think Adriana has already put on atleast 5 pounds since she started living with us last friday...maybe more...Zac and I laugh because we know she's our kid because she eats like Zac and she rubs her feet together at night when she is going to sleep like I do!  Love it!

After doing some shopping and enjoying some of the cathedrals, we decided it was time to eat...while standing in line at Raymipapa's (also recommended on the OSSO list and right next to the "new" cathedral) three of the volunteers from OSSO came walking by...Adriana was SO exited!  She gave all of them hugs and we took some pictures...We got seated at Raymipapa's and felt a little uncomfortable as people were very curious of us...lots of looks and that awkward moment when you look up to see people looking at you..oh well...starting to get used to it...We all had this very good potato soup....Adriana loves soup...I had ordered this traditional Ecuadorian dish that included a black sausage...I didn't eat the sausage...but learned later that the black sausage is black because of the blood that is used to mix the meat together that's inside it...(holding back my vomit as I write this)  EWWWW...I thought I was being brave and venturing to do a traditional dish...yeah, bad idea!

We headed home as it was starting to rain pretty good (it has rained every day..usually around 2:30 for a couple hours).  We attempted to put Adriana down for a nap, but she wasn't interested, so we played some play dough and I made dinner...the hamburger, rice, vegetable combo that has little to no flavor but fills you up. =)

Zac and I started watching Modern Family tonight...I have heard several people say they enjoy the is very funny....I have mixed feelings about it...but it was nice to just zone out and feel as if we were just hanging out at home watching a show....

Ecuador Day 12

Friday Dec. 16th

Our Internet connection is much better today...although trying to upload pics to the blog has yet to be able to happen...I'll keep working it....Since the connection was better today Zac has worked all of today since early this morning. We woke up to a lot of sun and it was already quite warm at 9am so Adriana headed down into the common area and played and took some photos. Xavier's sister has a 9 month old little girl and Adriana had a lot of fun playing with wish I could take her back to see her friends and play at the orphanage....but I know that would just add to the confusion.  We had also thought about going to visit other area orphanages, but I just don't think Adriana would handle it well...maybe when Adriana and Addie are older and Addie's heart is cleared for high altitudes....

Prisicilla and another lady came by at 1:30 for the Demand of adoption name was mis spelled on one of the documents so they had to run down to an Internet cafe and print new ones...they came back and we got everything signature is pretty much the same always...but Zac's is not....he is so nervous about the signature verification with the judge and the papers he signed today...we can only pray the judge understands his passport was signed 8 years ago and hope all is well...

We had a pretty low key afternoon and evening after Priscila left...Adriana is warming up to Zac quite a bit steps...answered prayers!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Ecuador Day 11

Thursday Dec. 15

Today John wanted to take us to the fruit and vegetable market, and there continues to be issues with Zac and logging in to he got to go to! John picked us up at was awesome. So many fresh and locally grown fruits and vegetables! Zac was absolutely in love and so was I. Adriana continues to only be impressed when there are dogs around....and there were plenty asking for hand outs from the vendors. =) We bought the following items for less than $10....why can’t it be this cheap in the states! It’s not expensive to eat healthy here!

After the market John drove us downtown Cuenca by the Cathedrals and John pointed out some of the other markets that he thought we needed to make sure we go to...there is also a ton of museums as we’re compiling a list. =)

We got back home in time for lunch and to wait for Priscilla to come, but Xavier, the manager here, came up and let us know that Priscilla called and she couldn’t make it today so she would come is so very easy to read into there a problem? why didn’t she come? will court still be next week? Again, so easy to start stressing and worrying about things...but we just have to continue to keep our trust and faith in the Lord and let Him guide us on this incredible journey.

I was pretty bummed that Priscilla wasn't coming, so after Adriana woke up from her nap...we need to get some grocery's so we headed out to downtown Cuenca first to visit the hippie's the place where you can get jewelry and some neat bags and purses....didn't purchase anything, but very fun to look!  I tried to navigate us to the Artisan market on foot...but we kept going to the wrong was starting to get dark so we decided we better get to the Supermaxi and get home...we got grocery's and grabbed a pizza at the place we had pizza the very first night...I had been craving pizza and my wonderful hubby suggested we have pizza to help us all feel better...and Adriana ate just about as much pizza as I did!

I continue to get homesick at night...we miss Addie so much...and I just thank God everyday for how well she is doing...we got to witness her reaction that she has every morning when Catherine, the lady that is caring for her while mom is at work, arrives...she literally screams, runs for the door to open it and says Catherine! Catherine! When we are talking to her on Skype, we become chop liver and off Catherine and Addie go to play. Addie’s teacher from preschool had sent some work with us for her to do...and Catherine and mom have been making sure she is doing it. Her speech is amazing me...saying 3 and 4 words phrases, but my most favorite has to be that she can now say “I love you” clear. as day. So blessed.

Adriana is attached to my hip....and it is starting to catch up with me a bit...nothing terrible, but Zac and I made a plan tonight so that tomorrow I can have an hour or so during the day to take a break and go read or do something blessed to have an amazing husband! Most days, I love how much Adriana wants to be with me...she always wants to help...she helps me put my shoes on, when I dry my hair in the morning, she has to do hers as well...when I put my belt on, she has to help me...when I wash dishes, she helps dry...and if I go do something while she is coloring or something...she'll pat the seat next to her to get me to come sit.  So blessed.

Ecuador Day 10

Wednesday Dec. 14
This morning we got up and Zac did his normal work and Adriana are also starting to get into somewhat of a routine....wake up, eat, watch a Dora show, shower, clean up the apartment and get ready for lunch.  

Adriana has been more quiet today...I think the new-ness of mom and dad is starting to wear off and she is starting to wonder about her friends at the orphanage maybe...
We had a good day, since the internet was so flaky Zac was having problems getting work done, so we decided to head downtown Cuenca where all of the Cathedrals and open air markets are located.  It definetly raises your confidence in being able to speak the language when you can tell the taxi driver where to go!  I was also able to make a couple of purchases and even bartered with the vendors to get the best deal! We got Adriana a sweater that is native to Ecuador...made out of’s pretty neat.  I am absolutely in love with the scarves here.....if anyone wants a neat scarf, let me know what colors you like and I’ll pick one up for you!  (They are $12  for one, but when purchasing multiple you get a better deal) =)  We only made it to the main open air market, and there are several more to go to....even when we don’t purchase is just so neat to see all the different handmade materials and people!  We also went into the “new” Cathedral and the “old” cathedral...I’ll have to look up the dates they were built..the old was built in 1500’s when Cuenca was first founded, and the new was built in the 1800’s...they are amazing...we weren’t sure if it was OK to take pictures, but when we talked to John later that day, he said it was no we’ll have to go back and take a few photos!

Tonight we made Spaghetti for dinner...which Adriana had three bowls of!  We also are enjoying the bread that we got at the bakery John took us to...we’ll need to go there again soon to get more. =)

I got to spend some one on one time...well, I guess two on one time talking with my sisters on Skype today as Kellie was over at Leslie’s that was nice.  Adriana enjoys Skyping with people, but she enjoys it more when there are children present....She’ll talk to Leslie and Kellie a very tiny bit, but when Corbett or Evie enter the picture she’ll wave and say hieee.

I had emailed Priscilla today to confirm that the judge was coming tomorrow and realized that somewhere things got messed up in translation between her husband and I....the judge is not coming tomorrow(Thursday) and only she is coming for us to sign the Demand of Adoption...which she then takes to the court place to go into the “draw” to get assigned a court and a confusing!  It is still looking like court will be sometime next week...but obviously prayers are needed and much appreciated!

I’ve been working more with Adriana on signing when she is requesting things....she doesn’t have very many understandable words...Pee, Poo, Ti (yes)..which in Spanish is really Si, but T is easier than S to say...she says mommy and daddy very well as well as Addie and Nana and Papa...she’ll try to say anything we ask of her...but non are very understandable...but she is doing very well and we are so very thankful she is adjusting so well.

I’m gonna be honest and say there are plenty of things I will not miss here, but there are also things I will miss...I’ll go into more detail later in our trip.

The internet continues to be quite an issue, but it sounds like other patrons here at the apartment are starting to complain as hopefully it will get better.  We tried to watch the Biggest Loser Finale on and had no that was a bummer...

Until tomorrow...

Ecuador Day 10

Wednesday Dec. 14
This morning we got up and Zac did his normal work and Adriana are also starting to get into somewhat of a routine....wake up, eat, watch a Dora show, shower, clean up the apartment and get ready for lunch.  

Adriana has been more quiet today...I think the new-ness of mom and dad is starting to wear off and she is starting to wonder about her friends at the orphanage maybe...
We had a good day, since the internet was so flaky Zac was having problems getting work done, so we decided to head downtown Cuenca where all of the Cathedrals and open air markets are located.  It definetly raises your confidence in being able to speak the language when you can tell the taxi driver where to go!  I was also able to make a couple of purchases and even bartered with the vendors to get the best deal! We got Adriana a sweater that is native to Ecuador...made out of’s pretty neat.  I am absolutely in love with the scarves here.....if anyone wants a neat scarf, let me know what colors you like and I’ll pick one up for you!  (They are $12  for one, but when purchasing multiple you get a better deal) =)  We only made it to the main open air market, and there are several more to go to....even when we don’t purchase is just so neat to see all the different handmade materials and people!  We also went into the “new” Cathedral and the “old” cathedral...I’ll have to look up the dates they were built..the old was built in 1500’s when Cuenca was first founded, and the new was built in the 1800’s...they are amazing...we weren’t sure if it was OK to take pictures, but when we talked to John later that day, he said it was no we’ll have to go back and take a few photos!

Tonight we made Spaghetti for dinner...which Adriana had three bowls of!  We also are enjoying the bread that we got at the bakery John took us to...we’ll need to go there again soon to get more. =)

I got to spend some one on one time...well, I guess two on one time talking with my sisters on Skype today as Kellie was over at Leslie’s that was nice.  Adriana enjoys Skyping with people, but she enjoys it more when there are children present....She’ll talk to Leslie and Kellie a very tiny bit, but when Corbett or Evie enter the picture she’ll wave and say hieee.

I had emailed Priscilla today to confirm that the judge was coming tomorrow and realized that somewhere things got messed up in translation between her husband and I....the judge is not coming tomorrow(Thursday) and only she is coming for us to sign the Demand of Adoption...which she then takes to the court place to go into the “draw” to get assigned a court and a confusing!  It is still looking like court will be sometime next week...but obviously prayers are needed and much appreciated!

I’ve been working more with Adriana on signing when she is requesting things....she doesn’t have very many understandable words...Pee, Poo, Ti (yes)..which in Spanish is really Si, but T is easier than S to say...she says mommy and daddy very well as well as Addie and Nana and Papa...she’ll try to say anything we ask of her...but non are very understandable...but she is doing very well and we are so very thankful she is adjusting so well.

I’m gonna be honest and say there are plenty of things I will not miss here, but there are also things I will miss...I’ll go into more detail later in our trip.

The internet continues to be quite an issue, but it sounds like other patrons here at the apartment are starting to complain as hopefully it will get better.  We tried to watch the Biggest Loser Finale on and had no that was a bummer...

Until tomorrow...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Ecuador Day 9

Today Zac got up early to work and Adriana and I slept till 7:45 again...I'm going to have to start setting my alarm clock a week before we go home so I don't have a hard time when Addie is getting up at 6.  Mom and dad....if you could get her to start sleeping till 7:45 that would be fantastic! Guessing that's not gonna happen, but hey, wishful thinking!

We were planning on having a day at the apartment, but we really needed to do some laundry.  Here at the apartment place, they charge $.50 PER ITEM! On their website it is $.40 per item...but they told us since we had bigger items (in other words, we're bigger than they are) that it was going to be $.50 per item instead of $.40.  We were telling our translator, Carmen, and her friend John about this and John insisted we do laundry at his place from now on.  At first we were hesitant as we don't want to be free loaders...but we knew we couldn't afford to continue doing laundry.  When I packed, I thought laundry was $.04 per item...yeah. Oh off we went to John's today to do laundry.  We were there most of the morning.  Very nice place in a nice part of Cuenca.  Zac was able to get online and work and Adriana and I enjoyed John's two balcony's.  Adriana also was very curious about the washer and dryer and kept wanting to go back to the laundry room to put her hands on the warm dryer or watch the water enter the washing machine...I forget how everything is so new to her. And such a blessing to be able to experience it all with her!

John said he had to go up into the country to pay a man for a job.  John had recently purchased some land and was building a house.  Land is cheap here as well as building homes...crazy thing is, everything is done by hand.  We knew it was a chance that we probably wouldn't get again, so we agreed. (If you can't tell, John has been an absolute God send to us)  After last nights yuck of feeling homesick, it was nice to see some great stuff of Ecuador.  We first took John to lunch for letting us use his laundry...A very nice place just down the street from his building.  It is one of the more expensive places in Cuenca..$2.75 per person.  It was obviously Adriana's first time at a restaurant, so she just sat on my lap and shared my lunch.  First they serve a fresh pureed juice(with lots of sugar added), then a soup, and then rice, a meat, and a small salad.  Desert was one slice of a peach. It was very good...Adriana ended up eating most of my lunch...have I mentioned how much this girl can eat?!  Luckily I had brought a cliff bar...

We drove through the Andes mountains..Adriana took a nice nap most of the way there...about 45 minutes...when we got there it was absolutely gorgeous...most of the way there was highways, but as we got closer to John's land it was a one way dirt road...even scarier when we would meet a bus!   We paid the man that is working for John.  He had three boys...I was taking pictures and the boys were so interested in my camera...I took a picture of them and they were so excited to see themselves on the camera.  I am hoping I can get the photo printed off and give to John to take back to them.  The man that he hired, had his three boys..his wife, a sister, and his mother...and they were all hand.  The land was obviously on a slant as it was on the mountain..they were digging it out and level...with a little hand tool...they would move the wheelbarrow to move the earth with the two boys pulling with a string on the front of it and the mom pushing the was so incredible to watch..but also made me so thankful for so much.  John pointed out a house...well, not really a house, more of a run down hut...tin roof, no windows or could see what looked liked a bed inside....he said that is most likely what the type of house that family lived in together.  Wow.  How ungrateful I have been for what my family has been blessed with.  

After we left where John's land was we drove into the town..Paute I believe it was called...John introduced us to these corn like pancake things that the street vendors cook and sell...We bought 4 for each of us...Adriana loved hers! I was planning on sharing with her in the back seat...but she wouldn't share! LOL  It was a good snack...not something I would need to have again..but good.  It was starting to rain pretty good, John was bummed as there were some small markets he wanted to take us to....we did stop at one of the markets that was selling some fresh fruit...we bought 2 large papayas and a large bunch of banana's (I'm talking like 20 in this one bunch) for $1.00.  Crazy!  So inexpensive for fresh, organic, locally grown food.

When we got back into Cuenca our lawyer Priscilla and her husband were at our apartment to get get copies of our passports for court.  Her husband helped to translate as he spoke a little bit of English. (And I must say, am shocked at how well Zac and I are doing with our Spanish...I've even found myself talking to Zac in Spanish! LOL)  Priscilla explained that Laura from the orphanage got the report done Monday and passed it onto Carmita at INFA on today!  (they had originally told us they might not have the report done till Wednesday) Priscilla and her husband explained that the judge would be coming to our apartment on Thursday at 1:00 for the signature verification. What?! Are you kidding me? The judge is coming to us?! Wow.  That is awesome!  They went on to explain that there is a chance....a small chance...that the judge may tell us to come to court on Friday...Wait, excuse me, what did you just say?! Friday?  Like this Friday. sure we're talking the same day?! Priscilla said, that yes, there is a chance it could happen this friday, but if not friday, then probably Monday or Tuesday. I don't care if it's Friday, Monday, or Tuesday..any of those days would be an absolute miracle from God!  (When we met with INFA just a week ago they were telling us that more than likely Zac would need to change his plane ticket to January as they were fairly confident we would not get court in December) Zac and I were absolutely elated! We were hugging Priscilla and thanking her for all of her work for us.  Obviously, we know that things fall through, appointments scheduled sometime's don't happen, etc, we are trying not to get our hopes up...but obviously it's in someones else's Hands than ours. =) How amazing is this God we serve?! I mean, really!  We are going to continue to pray that the judge does actually come here Thursday and that court does happen either Friday, Monday or Tuesday.  What an incredible Christmas it will be! 

Priscilla and her husband invited us to their house for dinner and explained that Priscilla's brother was coming from Canada and spoke English fluently, so we shouldn't be worried about that.  We thanked them for their offer, but let them know we hoped to be able to go to Quito to spend Christmas with the three other families that are there right now adopting as well...but it would all depend on when our court date was, etc. Zac also has to go to Quito to the US Embassy to get an emergency passport since the officials here gave him such a hard time since his passport had gotten wet...good times! So time will tell what the next 10 days hold for us!  I am confident today that whatever it is, God is going to carry us through us....and what He has waiting on the other side of all of this is so much better and bigger than we can even imagine!  

We all needed to shower and since Adriana wants to shower every single time she goes to the bathroom....we started up to the shower only to realize the apartment complex was out of water...good times.  The manager said it happens every 6 months or so and that it would be better by we all went to bed stinky....they change the linens every Wednesday I guess we'll be ok. =)

I am obviously trying to get as much detail as I can about our trip...but realizing I'm leaving out a lot about how well Adriana is doing.  She is amazing.  She has started to really get comfortable with us and started talking more.  She'll repeat almost anything we ask her may not be understandable, but she's trying.  She loves to take a shower...she loves to watch Dora....loves anything with Santa and will try to say HO HO HO....she loves that she has clothes in a drawer all her I put on her underwear this morning and turned around to realize she was taking them off and picking out a different pair and putting them on. =) The kid has an opinion! She likes to try and put on Zac and I's clothes....she likes playdough and coloring.  She loves to eat.  She loves chips and requests them often...first thing in the morning, she'll point to the chips.  Um., no baby girl, you maybe cute, but this momma does have some rules. No chips until atleast 9:00am LOL....I can't remember which night it was, but I was laying in bed with her and we've been telling her often...I love you....and after I said I love you she rolled over on her side and wrapped her arms around my neck and her unique way....I love heart melted!  This morning she did the same thing to Zac! 
At every meal, if we don't pray before we eat, she will oh so gently remind us by tapping me on the arm and putting her hands together....and then we pray. =) (they prayed with her in the orphanage at each meal)....she loves animals....birds, dogs, any animal she sees, she makes sure Zac and I see it by tapping us on the shoulder or arm and pointing at it...

The bonding with Zac continues to be a work in progress....she is just not used to male we try to have Zac help her more with meals...and just encourage the two of them to hang out together as much as possible.  She typically will only lounge with him if he has the computer or the portable DVD we're working on it...we know it will take time...when we are out and about if Zac needs to carry her she has been acting up a bit and reaching out for we will just have to keep praying for and working on that bonding process.  The internet connection has been absolutely miserable today (Wednesday) so Zac hasn't been able to work as much so he is getting to nap with her now.

When we go out to the market or a store she doesn't last hour at most...before she starts getting a little ornery and a bit's all new....and it's a lot for a 4 year old little mind to take in.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Ecuador day 8 Monday

Today Adriana and I slept in while Zac worked...slept till 7:45! So nice!! We hung out around the apartment most of the morning and got everything prepared for Adriana's going away party at the orphanage. We put her down for an early nap since the INFA social worker, Carmita, would be here at 2:00 to take us to get cake and ice cream for the party.

When Carmita arrived, she had another lady with her, who also didn't speak we grabbed a taxi and off we went to the orphanage with our gifts and donations. We first stopped at a bakery to pick up cake and ice cream for the party....we didn't realize we were feeding the entire orphanage..$35, two cakes, and three pints of ice cream later we were on our way(that was the amount Carmita suggested). We first had to stop and pick up Carmita's granddaughter because she was going to sing for the children and also help serve as a translator.

Adriana was extremely clingy at the orphanage...wondering if she was worried we were going to leave her..not sure...they had all the children and adults from the orphanage there in the lower common area and all the workers and volunteers. We handed out stickers and balloons and blew up some beach balls we had brought. Priscilla, our lawyer, was also there as well. Adrianna stayed pretty close to Zac and I most of the time...She was very happy to see Theresa, her groupa mother, which was sweet and sad at the same time....she wanted to go up and see her groupa, Casa Aguilla, so we was very nicely decorated with streamers and balloons and signs that said Chow Adriana.

The director from the orphanage welcomed us and we enjoyed our cake and ice cream with the others. There was a older boy who had a lot of fun interacting with Zac. After the party we went into a room to talk with all person involved with the adoption process from the orphanage. Zac, Adriana, and I, Priscilla, Jackie, Laura, Carmita, her granddaughter Michelle and the other INFA lady, and the couple who are the directors of the entire OSSO orphanages...can't remember their names now...but very nice couple.

Jackie presented us with all of Adriana's medical records, echocardiograms, CT scans, ultrasounds.all of it. So thankful for that. She also gave us a pillow case that the volunteers made for Adriana. Then Laura presented us with a CD of pictures that had been taken of Adriana over the last four years!! And a photo book of pictures of memorable moments...firt steps, first birthday thankful for all of those things as I know many adoptive families get nothing.

Then we all had to sign the document of responsibility of Adriana....pretty much states that we are her guardians and that we have a pending court case someone asks or she needs to see a dr or something..

When the meeting was done we went up to Casa Aguila to give Theresa a gift and to take a group picture of the kids. Adriana was happy to be in the room...but really didn't have much of a desire to leave that was a good sign. It was then time to say so so soooooo very hard. Theresa was crying, volunteers were crying, I was crying...but Adriana was such a trooper...she hugged everyone without even leaving my arms and waved goodbye as if she knew exactly what was going on and that she had a forever was a very emotional time. We said goodbye to Laura who had taken such good care of us and was becoming like a friend.

We got a taxi ride back (it was not a yellow cab, However, Carmita did give us permission to start using Adrina's name and pictures!!

Adriana did so well...such and anwer to prayer as that is a lot for a little kid to go through! I made a successful dinner of cream of chicken soup with veggies and Adriana went to bed easily.and tired.

I had an emotional evening that I think was just a culmination of the day on top of really starting to miss Addie terribly and the anxiety of the looming 5 more weeks ahead. After a good cry, spending time with the Lord, and Skyping with Addie I was feeling much better and was more confident that I'd be able to tuff out 5 more weeks. Addie is doing so well at home with my parents, and I am so very thankful for that.

And the massage lady never showed today... But my back is feeling soooo much better! Thank you for your prayers!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Ecuador day 7 Sunday

Today Sister woke up at about 7 am...didn't sleep in as long...but it was still a good nights rest. She seems to be s bit restless when we put more blankets on her....I think sleeping in the crib she only had one blanket each night and it was probably warmer the windows don't close the greatest so it does get pretty chilly at we may just have to start dressing her in multiple layers and not worry about the blankets..

I felt good this morning whe I woke up. My back was not as sore as it was Saturday night so that is good. Prayers are being answered! I was able to go about my day with minmal if any pain. I made pancakes for breakfast and Sister really enjoyed that! She is still eating quite fast and gets annoyed if you try to take her plate a away while she chews what's in her mouth..

We were hoping to find an English speaking church, but have not had any we listened to some music, Zac worked and Sister and I played. She enjoys playing with play dough. I also brought some cards that our speech therapist used with Addie when she was younger and Sister seems to enjoy looking at the cards and attempting to repeat what I say. I need to take a video of that.

Our translator and her friend John came by today to check in on us. They asked us if we wanted to go this big park in Cuenca..can't think of the name right now..but they drove us there and it was a lot of fun. We just walked around as Sister didn't show much interest in doing anything. She pretty much just hung on to Zac and seemed nervous if we tried to have her walk. Its amazing to see how comfortable she is once we step inside the gates of the apartment vs. how she is when we are outside our apartment. It is all so very new to we just have to go slowly and spread out the days that we do big things..oh and she is absolutely in love with dogs....anywhere we go, if she sees a dog she is so happy..she'll say puppy and then attempt to make the woof woof sound...very cute!

We had a good night tonight, Zac made spaghetti and papaya. Sister loved the spaghetti and kept saying "ma" for more...but after two helpings and some papaya we had to cut her off. :-)

We got to talk to Addie again today. We are both relly missing her and praying that it gets better. It is so very hard to not be able to have her hugs and kisses everyday. Makes me cry just writing this. I know this is Gods plan and we are trusting in Him....but man this is hard!

Tomorrow we go to the orphanage and pray that the INFA social worker has the paper work done. Please pray with us that once the report is submitted we get assigned a good court number and that the judge that has our case gives us a date soon. We need to have court next week so that Zac can leave Cuenca on the 27th.

We're also praying for a court date next week so that once court is done we can move to Quito as there are three other families there adopting and residing in Quito so we'd have some like minded people to hang out with and I know Zac would feel better leaving if he knew I had other families here to call on if need be.

God is good. Thank you for sharing our journey. We love the comments as if we were still in the states. We are so thankful for your prayers during our journey. Hugs to all!

Ecuador day 6 Sabado

Sister slept very well last night....a little restless, but for the most part, slept well. I slept in her room with her...we pushed the two twin beds together to keep her from rolling out as she was still in a crib at the about 4:30 I woke up with extreme pain in my back...pain I have never experienced I laid there for a while trying to figure out the best way to get up. When I finally got up I walked into our room where Zac was asleep and woke him up...i was now very nauseous and dizzy...Zac helped me to get situated so I wasn't in pain and he went in to be with about 6:00 I was starting to get very panicky as I couldn't fall back asleep nor could I move without major pain...

Crazy thing is..about 2 weeks ago Zac hurt his back and his doctor gave him some medicine to help with that and the doctor encouraged Zac to bring it with him incase the plane rides and travel caused a flare totally another God thing! So Zac helped me to eat a banana and take the medicine.

Sister slept until 7:45 which was nice so we could figure out a plan of what to do since the people from INFA were coming at 9:30. We went down and talked to the manager as just yesterday friends that we met via Facebook had emailed to let us know the managers sister is a certified massage therapist and the cost is $15/hour! So the manger set up an appointment for Monday morning for her to come take a look a see if a massage would help.

The people from INFA and the social worker from the orphanage didn't arrive until 10:00....we just sat in the apartment and chatted about how Sister was doing and how we felt about the bonding process. We told them how Sister had been talking much more last night and today. They were very excited to hear that as I guess she didn't talk a whole lot at the orphanage. When they asked who was mommy and daddy she gave us each a kiss! They were very happy with everything. They stayed for about 2 hours chatting...the INFA lady had a translator who was also her granddaughter, who was 16.

They let us know the INFA lady and her granddaughter would be here Monday to pick us up at 2:00 to take us to the store to buy ice cream and cake ( I guess that is customary for the going away party) then they would take us to the orphanage for Sisters going away party. We will be bringing the donations we received as well as gifts for the orphanage social worker, psychologist, INFA social worker, the orphanage director, and Sisters groupa Tia's (moms). We decided to do small bottles of lotion and some chocolate. (suggested from previous families adopting)

After the INFA people left we ate lunch and took naps. Sister went down very easily as I think she was tired. I'm starting to relialize she gets very clingy and shy around other people...wondering if she thinks they are going to take her back to the orphanage...who knows..

After naps we took a taxi to the supermaxi (like Walmart) to get groceries we realized we would need for Sister...we could survive on ramen and pb and j...she could not as we needed to get some meat on her bones!

We had a good evening, I made hamburger, rice, and mixed in carrots and peas with was ok...Sister liked it, I guess that is what is important!

We were able to have success in giving Sister a shower. (no bath here) we had been told she didn't care for showers(I have a feeling it was usually cold showers they had at the orphanage)..but I just got in with her and she thought it was the greatest thing! She was laughing and splashing and didnt resist at all she we got her all washed up. Her hair is so shiny when it is actually clean!

My back continued to be very tender with different motions throughout the day...I just had to take it easy and let Zac do most of the lifting if needed this point I was still conerned I'd need to go to the doctor. I had a difficult time after we got Sister in bed...just had a good cry as I was scared for 5 more weeks with the back pain. We also stick out here very much and it makes it uncomfortable to go anywhere really...5 more weeks in this small apartment was getting a little bit overwhelming. I'm learning the language very quickly and communicate with most people....but it's just that we stick out like a sore thumb! Zac helped to reassure me we'd be ok and that God was going to take care of us. We continued to pray and trust God to help with my back pain and trust Him in our situation. We are also really starting to miss Addie and so wish she could be here...we know it's best for her she's in the states, but that doesn't help how much we miss her. :-(

Zac slept in with sister so I could try to get a good nights rest...we went to bed at 8:30 as we were very exhausted...emotionally and physically!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Ecuador Day 5 Friday

This morning we got up and packed a bag for our day at the orphanage.  We really didn't know what to expect...we knew that we were going to go to places in the city with Laura and Sister.  Laura had told us to bring the stroller and an we got a taxi around 9:30AM and one of the managers here, Sarah, helped to explain how to get to the orphanage to the taxi driver so we didn't have to deal with the language barrier. (Priscilla had called and gave her the address and instructions)

We arrived at the orphanage and immediately went up to Sisters casa.  When we opened the door Sister ran to me again and was putting her cheek up to my mouth...she wanted kisses. She then went to Zac and gave him a big hug.  Laura and Theresa then explained that Sister had been sad most of the morning...until now. =) Praise be to God!

Sister wanted to see what was in the bag I had brought...I had brought some clothes for her..but the outfit she had on seemed fine so I didn't try to change her.....however, she found the Dora underwear I had brought and immediately wanted them on.  She had a dress on with a onsie...but when I put the underwear on her I didn't snap the onsie...she was running all around the room smiling and dancing and lifting her dress to show everyone her underwear....wish we'd had the video camera out for that....but it will forever be in our memory!

Laura said that we would be going to the mall today as it was quite warm and sunny.  She told us that if things went well today that we would probably not be returning to the orphanage!  Theresa and the psychologist took Sister and I into Sister's bedroom and they wanted Sister to help pack her bag to leave for was really a plastic sack with some of Sisters favorite clothes...size ranges from 12 months to confusing for this momma who was trying to figure out if anything I packed was going to fit her!  I already knew the size 9 and 10 shoes I had brought would be way to big.  We packed her bag and said "chow" to her bed and room.  Theresa gave us a blanket that she said was a "keepsake"...a handmade afghan that she'd had since she was a baby..She gave Theresa a hug but didn't seem sad at all to be leaving.  The social worker Laura and the psychologist were both Spanish to Sister that she was taking her bag to live with her mama y papa.

We did know that we would be returning on Monday for a going away I will make sure to take plenty of pictures of her care takers and if they'll let me...her house mates...they are very strict about pictures of the children.

We left her casa and Sister kept hugging and smiling at was absolutely precious.  Laura explained that we were first going to go to Sister's school to say goodbye to her friends....Her teacher introduced herself and   let us take a group picture of her classmates.  Many of her classmates are the same kids that are from her orphanage.  Then her teacher explained to her classmates that we were Sisters mama y papa and that it was time to say goodbye...The children lined up and all gave Sister big hugs.  You could tell that Sister was somewhat understanding what was going on.  After the hugs she went outside and sat down on the step...I just wanted to grab her up, but knew she needed this time with her friends.  Her friends came out and they all stood on the steps and keep yelling Sisters name as we walked away.  Sister grabbed tightly onto my neck  as we walked away...and I cried...her classmates continued to yell her name as we left the gates of the school. Ugh...I still cry just thinking about it and writing this.

After we left the school we got a taxi to the car seats here, so that wasn't an issue.  Sister has been in cars before to go to the doctor and they have taken some of the children to the mall before as an exposure exercise...we went to the mall and Sister seemed to be a little overwhelmed by it was Zac and I.  When she saw the escalators she was very excited.  We went down and then she wanted to go back up..we had to pull her away as I'm pretty sure she would have done that for hours.  We went to a store as we didn't not have milk and Sister is used to drinking milk.  Here, the milk is sold warm on the is the eggs..the reason was explained, but I can't remember now.  We also took Sister to a toy store and let her pick out a toy.  Laura said she had been exposed to Dora with different toys and puzzles they have at the orphanage.  Sister picked out a Dora doll with hair you could brush...I'm guessing in the states the doll would be less than $ is was $21. Expensive!

They did have Burger King and KFC in their food court that was good to know in case we needed a fast food fix! LOL

At that point it was obvious that Sister had enough stimulation for one day.  Laura suggested we head back to our apartment and get lunch...when we got here we showed Sister her bed and she smiled so big and climbed right up...she kept feeling the Dora blanket we had put on her bed.  She also loved the lights and stockings.  Laura then told us it was time for her to head back to the orphanage.  She gave us her cell phone in case we needed anything.  We got some lunch...Sister had a ham sandwich and seemed to enjoy it! She then spent some time just going from room to room in the apartment and exploring...there is only three rooms plus the bathroom...but she was very curious.  She kept pointing to the door and when we asked if she wanted to go outside she said "Ti"...her version of yes.  So we walked down to the common areas of the complex.  She enjoyed the small fountain and especially enjoyed the two dogs here...The managers here Sarah and Xavier welcomed Sister here and she acted shy around them...she really just wanted to see the dogs.

We decided it was probably time for nap and we laid down with her in her bed until she fell asleep.  She fell asleep pretty quickly and I ended up sleeping as well. Zac went out and did some work for a good portion of the afternoon.  Sister and I slept for about 1 1/2 hours and she woke up happy and content.   We got up and walked around outside for awhile and then were able to Skype with some friends back home. So thankful for Skype!

We decided to order pizza from a pizza place the manager had recommended here called Little Italy.  It was ok....$12 for large pizza...not something we'd order again, but it filled us up and Sister like it!  So her first real meal with us was pizza and an apple....note to self...we need to get to the grocery store tomorrow! It is so hard to meal plan without an oven...but I have some recipes to use now for the stove, so we'll be good to go.

She really started to get comfortable after dinner...talking a lot more and giving both Zac and I kisses...

Around 7:15 we started getting Sister ready for bed.  We put her in some fleece footie pajamas...3T ones fit her well and she kept feeling how soft they precious.  We let her watch a Dora Christmas movie we had brought for a little bit and then read some books.  She didn't settle in for bed for easily...but finally fell asleep at about 8:45.  She has been sound asleep ever since....even with the random fireworks going on every now and again. (which we found out is a normal part of the Christmas celebration...random fireworks at any time of day)

Tomorrow morning the social worker from INFA who oversees the adoption is coming to the apartment with Laura to write a report for the judge that will trigger us getting a court prayers that we have a fantastic day and both of the social workers see that Sister is a fantastic addition to the Harlan family! Buenas Noches!

Ecuador Day 4

Thursday Dec. 8th

Today our lawyer, Priscilla, and our translator, Carmen came to our apartment at 8:45 to pick us up to go to the orphanage.  Carmen's friend, John, an american retiree also came with us as he wanted to discuss with the orphanage director about dressing up as "Papa Noel" (Santa Klaus) and bringing gifts and goodies to the orphanage.

It was about a 20 minute drive to the orphanage.  All along we had been very excited, but as we neared the orphanage, I became very nervous...what if she doesn't recognize us? what if she doesn't like us? what if she is scared of us?  We pulled up to the place and Priscilla got out and rang the bell for them to open the gate for us.  We entered into the place and went into a large room with a table and chairs and they also had a very large picture/painting of Jesus with children with different disabilities.

The director, Jackie, the social worker Laura, and the rest of us gathered around the table.  They told us that they have been preparing Sister with the book we sent and she is very ready and excited to meet us.   As she was getting ready this morning she was singing Mama, Mama, Papa, Papa. They said she is doing very well in preschool and is loved by her typical peers and her teacher. She has homework that is sent home each day and the volunteers that help at the orphanage speak English and her homework is also in English.  She understands both English and Spanish.  They asked if we wanted to return to our apartment for lunch or we could stay and eat with Sister.  We of course said we would like to stay.  They were worried that we wouldn't like their food....and I honestly could care less if I had to starve.  We were staying.  Zac felt the same way.

At the end of our meeting they wanted a picture of us with them.  They laughed and joked about how tall Zac was.  I'm guessing he is about 2 feet taller than the workers was comical.  They asked us if we had anymore questions and we just wanted to know when we could see her.  Finally just before 10AM they said it was time!

So we gathered our things and I instructed Priscilla on the video camera and John got instructions on the camera.  We went up the stairs to Sisters groupa.  The orphanage is organized into different groupa's of 8 children.  Each groupa has a "mother".  Sisters groupa was Casa Aguilla.  We rounded the corner and could hear Sisters "mother" saying, it's your mama y papa!....As we entered the room Sister gasped and said oooooooo! and promptly RAN into my arms.  I had pulled out her doll out of my backpack thinking I would need to coax her to me...yeah...I had to practically throw those things down as she was running to me. Yes, I was a sobbing/laughing/relieved mess. God is so good.

The room was full of most of the volunteers from the orphanage as well as some of the other children from her groupa...the others were still at preschool.  They had Sister dressed in a pink dress and white tights with some glittery shoes.  Her hair had braids and she was beautiful.  She must have taken a spill days prior, because she had a pretty good scrape by her eye and on her cheek. We later realized the dress was a size 24 months, as well as the tights and the shoes were a size 5.

I pointed to Zac and said Papa.....she was unsure and ran back to her "mother" Theresa.  She wanted to show the doll to Theresa.  She was very happy with it...Theresa carried her back over to us and she went to Zac and gave him a big hug.  I got out the bubbles and she came over and sat in my lap.  It didn't take long until she was blowing bubbles herself and having both Zac and I blow bubbles for her.  She kept saying "ma" for more.  I showed her the sign for more and it wasn't long and she was also signing more! (later on they explained that they tried to show her the Signing Times video we sent but since she wasn't used to watching TV she didn't show interest)

After the bubbles started to get a bit messy, I brought out the magna doodle, which she also loved.  She drew on that for a while and then Theresa wanted to tell us some things about her.  I felt so bad for Theresa as she was fighting back tears much of the time.  She has cared for Sister since she was 2 days old! What an amazing blessing she has been to our daughter.

The social worker came over and asked if we wanted to take a tour of the we went and Sister wouldn't leave my arms.  She had a firm grip around my neck and wasn't going anywhere. So very precious.  They showed us Sisters room...she was still sleeping in a crib with 3 other kids in a small room.  They showed us around to each of the different casa's.  They also had a room for therapies where Physical, Speech, and Occupational therapists come to work with the children (and adults with disabilities).

After the tour Priscilla, John, and Carmen left as we felt comfortable enough there without them...even with little Spanish I knew...we were both picking it up quickly.  Laura, the orphanage social worker, knew very little we were teaching her and she was teaching us.

We took Sister down to the area where there is a small swingset but she didn't want to go on the swing...she just wanted to sit with Zac and I.  She would go and find a bench and then tap the space on each side of her for us to come sit.  If only one of us sat down, she would tap the empty space harder and point to us and then point to the seat.  Very cute!  We ended up sitting for while playing with her doll and magna doodle under this tent like area they had set up but was more of a tarp.  She was very intrigued with what else was in the backpack. =)

Laura came over and let us know she was going to open the therapy room if we wanted to go in there an we went in and Sister went to the table with some puzzles to play.  She seemed to enjoy the puzzles the most...basic wood puzzles...can't wait to show her Addie's puzzles at home that make the noises of the animals!  After she seem to bore of being in there Zac pulled out his doesn't work here...but the apps still do and she was very intrigued with touching the screen and having it react.  We showed her some videos of Addie and she kept kissing the phone. Melted our hearts!

At this point, she was still unsure of Zac as she is not used to male caretakers.  We decided to go back out into the common area and blow some was then that she started to show more interest in Zac...we soon realized she was buttering him up to get his phone out again.  And once he did...she became more comfortable with him and would touch his face a lot.  She was also very intrigued by his arm hair...which was very funny.

Laura came over and let us know that lunch was ready.  We sat at a small table with Sister and Theresa first served us a creamed soup of some sort...I think it was creamed peas...which Sister inhaled and Zac and I didn't really care for that. Then we had rice, a type of large corn...can't remember what it's was mixed with cabbage and carrotts...and some form of meat...I think beef, but really not sure..Sister inhaled all of her food.  I have never seen a child eat so quickly and so much.  Later on we learned..that was a special's usually not that good. =(  We finished the meal with some sort of yogurt type/juice smoothie.

Sister told me she had to "peesh"..go to the away we went and she did both!  I was very impressed.  She even took down her own underpants!  Theresa also came in and asked me to brush Sisters teeth and she tolerated that well!  But man oh man can she be ornery!  She would just do things like splash the water at me or try to run away without her underpants on.

At that time they said we could walk to a nearby park with Laura.  So they wanted me to put a different outfit on to do so.  This time they handed me a pair of 12 month pants...which were more like capris and an 18 month onsie with size 4.5 tennis shoes.  I could hardly get the onsie snapped...but didn't want to offend anyone so away we went with a little girl with one major wedgie! And I had to cram her poor toes into the shoes as they were very small as well...we later learned she is a size 6 shoe..

The walk to the park wasn't far and we saw a cow hanging out nearby.  Sister was very interested in the cow and kept saying moo! moo! The sun was out and very bright...Zac ended up getting a nice lil sunburn...they also gave us a hat for Sister which was just too cute.  We walked to the different play areas but because the sun was so bright the slides and things were metal and way to hot to go on.  Sister really didn't seem to care as she was mostly content just pointing things out to us and holding our hand...not leaving our sides.  She took turns going back and forth between Zac and I...but was still definitely favoring me.  We ended up sitting on the grass under the shade of a tree for awhile and talking.  Sister sat with Zac and drew on the magna doodle while I took some pictures and video of our surroundings.

We walked back and the children that had been at preschool had returned and were very excited to see Sister.  One little girl came over and asked us, in Spanish, if we were Sisters mama y papa...and we said yes. I later found out she is a good friend of Sisters and is not taking the news of Sister having a family very well. =(  An older boy came over and was playing with Zac...he was absolutely years old I believe...his house mate had recently been adopted and is now kind of lonely...I pray his mom and dad find him soon.  He also was very interested and asked if we were Sisters mom and dad....when we said yes, he went and was talking to Jackie, the director and I could somewhat make out that she was explaining to him family.  So sad.

A while later it began to rain quite hard....a nice thunderstorm and Laura and Jackie came over and asked if we were tired and if we'd want to take a siesta with Sister.  I could see that they were preparing a room for us so we agreed and went in.  This was bout 3:30 and our translator Carmen and her friend John were returning at 5:00 to take us back to the apartment.  Sister finally settled in and fell asleep at about 4:15.  It was so adorable as she feel asleep nestled in the crook of Zac's arms and both Sister and Zac were snoring! I of course couldn't sleep so I got up and found a English/Spanish dictionary and continued to work on my spanish.  At 5:00 Carmen and John arrived and Laura came in to let us know they were here.  Zac and Sister were still sound asleep so I went in to wake them...Sister was having a very hard time waking up so I carried her out to the living room area in the apartment type space we were in.  She kept dosing off and then I realized she was peeing....a lot.  (she normally sleeps in a pull up but we didn't put one on her for our siesta) So I took her into the bathroom and got her undressed and took my pants off as well as I was also soaked.  Laura came in and brought a towel and a sheet for me to wrap up in and took my pants to wash them for me...she insisted as I was just going to towel them off...but I guess they didn't like that...

I got dry clothes on Sister...this time some 2T jeans and a 2T top....Carmen and John came into the area we were and Laura introduced us to the Psychologist that has been working with Sister also on preparing her for our arrival.  She explained many basic things of how to care for Sister when she has temper tantrums, that we have to establish boundaries,etc...most things very similar to Addie.

They then explained that they felt that Sister was bonding well with us and they were considering letting her come home with us that night!  Laura explained (through Carmen) that they would like us to act like we were leaving to see how Sister would react. If she became sad, they wanted us to take her with us and if she didn't seem to mind, she would stay the night at the orphanage.  We took her back to her Casa and when we opened the door she saw Theresa and ran over to her.  Two of her friends that live in her casa also yelled her name and were very excited to see her.  It was then that I knew it was best she stay.  She wasn't ready.  It was sad..sad to know that we were taking her away from the only "mother" she's known as well as her "sister's and brother's" she's been raised with...but also sad that she didn't seem too upset we were leaving.

Laura explained she'd like us to come back to the orphanage at 10am tomorrow (friday) and that we would go out into the city to do things with Sister.  We left with Carmen and John.  John is seriously a gift from God as he offered to take us anywhere we needed to go.  It was now getting dark and we knew we needed to get back to our apartment, but it was also becoming obvious that we needed to get a cell phone if we needed to call Carmen or Priscilla or our agency rep, Maria Jose.  So John graciously took us to the mall to get some groceries as well as to the phone place to get a phone..very cheap...$39 for a cell phone and $5 for 30 minutes of time...

We headed home and were exhausted...we Skyped with family and headed to bed.