Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Two more beautiful daughters

Our Sweet Princesses


Well it's official!!!! We are now the completely and amazingly proud parents of 2 more precious girls! Yay!!!! It was decided in court today at about 10:30 a.m., that it would serve both girls' best interests for us to adopt them!!
How cool is that!?! :)


We think the girls are happy about the decision!

Victoria Margaret Hope Westbrook
21 months
Anna Michal Faith Westbrook
19 months
Aren't they just the most precious little girls?? I am not biased or anything.
Since we were pretty much all by ourselves, we took pictures of ourselves to note the happy occasion..... :)



And we did not have a ton of time afterwards, so I snapped this picture of the courthouse as I ran to jump in the cab that was taking us back to our apartment! Cool, huh?

We are so happy they are finally ours!!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

No Court today



We were really hoping to have court today, but it did not happen. :( Talk about being seriously disappointed! We tried to prepare ourselves in case this happened, but sometimes it is just almost impossible to do. The good news is, court is planned for tomorrow at 9 am. The bad news is, our 10 day wait actually becomes a 13 day wait because our 10 days will be up on a Friday, but we can't actually start our necessary paperwork to come home until the next Tuesday. So anyway, that is the news for today! We did get to visit the girls today even though we were late and that was really nice! Both are just as sweet as ever and so so cuddly!! We sure do love these girls already!!
Here's some pics from today!


Pretty in pink

Reading books with Daddy


Making funny faces and blowing bubbles

Our sweet itty bitty!!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Saturday

We didn't get to go to the orphanage today because it is a weekend. :( We are missing the girls and hoping they are doing well these 2 days we don't get to go and see them.
It was kind of a lazy day for us. We only got a couple hours worth of walking in today! :) Hee hee... Everyday we are learning more about this city and where things are. We walked all the way to a main center area of the city this afternoon, then all the way over to the SDA. (That is the place we went for our referrals when we first got here.)



Remember this church? It is right next to that
place.

Can anyone tell me what this sign says??

This is a pretty good ways from where our apartment is. But now we know how to get there by foot and where some other places are too. And we got a little shopping in at some souvenir stands down there!

On our way there, we saw these huge beautiful churches.





We did not get to go in them, but taking pictures was a must!


On the way back to the apt, we passed by the Opera House.




There was a lot of people going to enjoy the opera tonight!
Apparently this is a pretty famous place!

We didn't know who these people were heading into
the Opera. I thought it might be the Pope
or something, but Mark didn't think so.

We are still praying for court on Monday. Apparently it is not set in stone, and could possibly end up happening on Tuesday. Please pray that we will have court on Monday! It would set us back another day for starting the paperwork to come home. It would actually set us back 3 days. Instead of being able to start the paperwork on Friday the 8th after the 10 day waiting period ends, we would have to wait until Monday the 11th to start it. We would really love to be able to be coming home by the 16th of October! And getting the new birth certificates and passports for the girls takes time! Once that is done, we would be able to have our appointments at the U.S. Embassy for medicals and visas, the last thing we need before we could fly home! Oh, man I just can't wait til then!!! :)))

Anyway, there is still much left to do. But we are trying to take it one day at a time and keep trusting that God will continue to be with us during this journey! He has been so faithful and good to us so far! We are so very thankful for what He has already done here, and are looking forward to see what is next! Thanks so much to all of you who are continuing to pray for us!!!

Oh, yeah, I realized I never updated the blog about the possible ban on adoptions that was being voted on by this country's parliament. Well, they didn't vote, they just put it off until some future date. So for now, adoptions can continue and that is a really good thing!

Friday, September 24, 2010

While We Wait

If you are wondering if it is the right time for you to adopt...

If you've ever even thought about adopting...

If you are waiting for God to tell you something loud and clear...

If you think God may be calling you...

If you are even considering it.......


Then consider this....while you wait.

http://reecesrainbow.blogspot.com/2010/09/while-we-wait.html

Just pics.....















Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sorry for no posts yesterday. To be honest, we are just plain exhausted. We have done ALOT of walking in the last few days. Actually more like the last week. We walk everywhere we go! Except when we are with our facilitator doing adoption stuff and she drives us around. When we go see the girls, we walk a little ways to get on the bus, drive for about an hour, then walk about 15 minutes down a little country street to the orphanage. Can you believe we've been here 10 days already?



We did not get to visit the girls yesterday. :( That was a bummer, but we did get some necessary paperwork done and that was really good! As it stands now, we should have COURT on Monday!!!! Isn't that awesome?? I suppose it could change if something comes up, but we are praying that won't happen. Then our 10 days waiting period will begin. Mark will go to the U.S. Embassy on Tuesday to sign some papers and then he will probably fly back on Wednesday. I will stay here so that I can continue to visit the girls. We really think that it would be best for the girls for me to continue going to see them as much as I can. The kids at home keep asking when Dad is coming home, so it is nice to think that he will be back there with them in less than a week hopefully.



Since we had no visit, we had more time in the afternoon so we went to a mall here and found some things for the girls. And we got Magda a brand new binky!!! She had it today and we sent it with her caretaker when she went back, so hopefully she will have it when we see her tomorrow! I guess we will see....



Here's pictures and a sweet video from today:



Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bright sun and smiles

We had a great day today!! We made it to the orphanage on time and we were not soaking wet! Yay!! The weather was really sunny and nice. It is definitely fall here and much cooler than I expected it to be. I packed for summer type weather, thinking of how hot they were saying it was here this summer. Silly me… but oh well, hopefully it won’t get too cold while we’re here. I already got some looks the other day when I was wearing shorts. Everyone here is dressing for late fall/early winter weather. Back home, I know most people are still wearing shorts even into December. And we don’t live in Florida, we're in Colorado….. Oh joy!

We had a great visit with the girls, too! Magda was in a much better mood and we even got some smiles from Arianna! She is starting to warm up to us more and we are happy about that! Today, Magda came in with a pacifier. She really sucks away on that binky, so we’re thinking that was part of her problem yesterday. She was chewing on her hands like crazy and I think she might just be used to having it! The pacifier is a tad bit old (see pics), so my mission for tomorrow is to find her a brand new binky!! What a great excuse to go shopping, don’t ya think?? Anyway, here’s some pics from today:



Here's Magda in her first couple layers of clothes before they brought in her cute sweater outfit for me to put on her! She's so tiny!


And her in her cute little outfit!!!



Arianna is sporting her multi-layered look as well. She was not thrilled with us looking under her jammies! I think she’s saying, “Have you no shame?”.



Magda pushing up on her hands! She can roll over and gets up on her hands and tries to rock back and forth.


What precious smiles!!!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday

This morning we got up to skype with our kids at home in Bayfield. It is so nice to see their faces even though the connection isn’t that great sometimes. We miss them so much! Then after we skyped with them, we also got to “talk” with our older son, Jordan at college in Golden, CO. (instant messaging with skype). Isn’t technology great?! (most of the time) At 6 a.m. here, we are getting up and saying goodnite to our kids in CO who were heading to bed at 9 p.m. there.

Then we headed out into the rain to catch the bus to the orphanage. So we were a little nervous considering we totally don’t speak the language or understand it or read it! However, we do know what the name of the town we were headed to looks like and we know which bus number we were supposed to take to get there. So we after some deliberation, we got onto the bus we thought was right and tried to pay the driver. Luckily, she knew a tiny bit of English and so she was able to confirm the town we were going to and how much we needed to pay her. Remember, we come from a small town where there really is no public transportation and we are used to driving our own big SUV’s around wherever we need to go! We were bumping along stopping and starting for quite some time, and more and more people kept getting on this little bus (kind of a mini bus). We rode along for a long time and we were starting to get nervous that we were way far from where we were supposed to be. But as usual, God was taking care of us and we finally reached a place that looked familiar and were able to get off the bus. It was actually the very last stop for the bus and we had to get off!! LOL!

We still had to walk down a long street to the orphanage and it was still raining. Needless to say, we got pretty wet as we had no umbrella, but we finally made it the the orphanage about 10 minutes late.

We got to see the girls and that was the highlight of the day! We even got to visit with them about an hour longer than we were supposed to. Not sure why but it was great by us! Our little Magda was a bit fussy today and we are not sure if she was not feeling good or maybe just not familiar with us enough yet, or just hungry or tired. Either way, she was not too happy. Poor sweet thing, she loves being held close and doesn’t like sudden movements. I held her and rocked her until she fell asleep and I was really excited I got to do that! Arianna was her typical serious and curious self. We have to work hard to get her to smile! We have seen her smile only about 3 times so far. But she is happy and content to be held and to play with toys. She also snuggles in when you hold her and I think that is a really good thing!


Hope you enjoy the pics of our little sweeties!!!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The last few days....

Here's an update of how our first visit with the girls went and what we have been up to since then...

Ok, so Friday we got up early, skyped with the kids, and then waited for our facilitator to come pick us up. We went to the inspector’s office first, waited a bit to get some paperwork, then headed to the orphanage. It was about a 30 minute drive. The orphanage is in a beautiful area and it is a well kept up building surrounded by tall pine trees and flowers. It is also very nice and clean on the inside as well. We went in and headed up stairs to the director’s office and our facilitator introduced us. Then they sent us back downstairs to a little visiting room where there was already another family there playing with their little guy.
Well I was distracted by them and while I was looking away, they brought Magda in. I turned around and there was this teeny tiny little girl in the caretakers arms. It was so exciting and so amazing to see her for the first time! I actually thought for a second that she was Arianna because she was so small. All this time I had been thinking that Arianna would be smaller, and I don’t even know why. So I got to hold her right away and she just snuggled right into my arms. I started telling Mark “get the camera!” because I wasn’t sure how much time we would have with her.
Then the orphanage doctor came in to talk to us about the girls and Mark held Magda while I tried to write down everything the doctor was saying. They brought Arianna in while the doctor was still talking so they handed her to our facilitator (dang!) first. When the doctor was done, she wanted to know why we were adopting children with Down syndrome and also why we were adopting 2 of them. I was a little nervous at first, but I just told her that we already have a child with Down syndrome and that she is such a blessing in our life, and that we wanted to help other children with DS that needed a family. I also told her that we had 6 boys and only 1 girl and that we really wanted more girls! I could have gone on some more of course, but she seemed satisfied with that answer and smiled and left. After that, I finally got to hold Arianna and it seems like right away they came back in to take the girls back. I don’t know what our facilitator said, but they left and we ended up getting to spend almost an hour with the girls while she was taking care of paperwork! That was awesome!!

We have tried to keep ourselves busy this weekend. We met 2 other RR families (the Lewis family and Wendy Harper) and had dinner with them Saturday night. It was really nice to be able to chat with other American adopting families! On Sunday, we walked about a mile I think (mostly uphill) to the TGI Friday’s restaurant and got to meet Meredith and Shelley and the developmental pediatrician that they are here with for the DownsEd conference! It was really awesome to get to meet them and we really enjoyed our visit! After that, we walked around the city with Wendy, who is a great tour guide. I guess that is what happens when you have been here as long as she has. She was full of good tips on how to get around the city and good places to eat and stuff like that. We walked a long ways and and we were really tired by the time we got back to our apt.

Tomorrow morning we are off to visit the girls again!! Yay finally! We will attempt to ride the bus to the orphanage by ourselves! That should be interesting. Your prayers would be greatly appreciated!!

A Prayer Request

This coming Tuesday, the Parliament of this country is scheduled to consider a bill that could ban international adoptions. This bill has come up before, and has not passed, which is great! But if it did this time, it would end international adoptions. We are not sure how this would affect our adoption as we are already here, but we have not had court yet so we just don't know. We do not know the details of the bill. But if it passes, we for sure know what that would mean for all the children living in orphanages and institutions in this country! It would be devastating for them!! Please just pray that this bill will not pass and that the many adoptions that are already in progress will be able to continue!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

2 Little Cuties


Thanks to everyone for all comments! We love reading them!

Ok, so here are some more details about the girls.

Arianna – is 19 months old. She weighed about 6 ½ pounds and was 20” long at birth. She was approximately 15 lbs as of a month ago. She has big beautiful brown eyes and light brown/blondish hair. She can roll over, sit up, and crawl!! We even got that on video! She is very curious about everything, loves toys and Mark’s beard, and makes great eye contact! Her eyes just show so much expression and we can already tell she is going to be quite a smart little monkey!! And I could stare into those eyes all day long…..

Magda – is 21 months old. She was about 7 ½ pounds and 20” long at birth. She has greenish-blue eyes and light brown hair which is really red underneath!! We found out that she had open heart surgery about 3 ½ weeks ago to repair her heart defect (VSD). This came as quite a surprise as we did not know this had happened!!! Before surgery, she weighed approximately 12 pounds. She is very tiny and seems fragile. She still needs to be handled with great gentleness and care as she must be still somewhat sore from surgery. ( After Madalyn had surgery, we were very careful about how we held her and carried her for quite a few months!) She can roll over and hold her head up by herself, but gets tired easily. She doesn’t like loud noises or too much stimulation, but loves to have her hair and head stroked gently and to be snuggled close. This is great by me for now and bonding with her comes quite easily!

Both girls are just so sweet and we can’t wait to visit them again on Monday! (we get to visit them Monday thru Friday from 10:30am to 12pm)

We are just so very blessed and thankful that we have these 2 little girls in our lives now!! The process is so hard and long and frustrating at times, but they are just so worth it!

Friday, September 17, 2010

A "JPEG" no longer....for us anyway :)

There are just no words to describe the feelings we had today as we saw our daughters for the first time. They are so beautiful and precious and we are just so in love with them already! What a sweet reward at the end of a very long journey! Yes I know this journey is not over yet, but these cutest-most-adorable-faces-ever make it so much easier to continue on and finish it out!!!
Hope you enjoy these long awaited pictures!


Holding Magda for the first time


Arianna - Little Miss Curious
Magda is sooo tiny!!

She is such a little cuddle bug!












Look at those big eyes! Oh, man, they have already melted our hearts! Gotta love the hat!



Too cute. Sweet sisters!
More details later about the girls and the events of the day! Just wanted to get the pictures posted first!


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Going to meet the girls!!!

We are leaving in a few minutes to go to the orphanage!! We have been waiting so long for this day and now it is here!!! I can hardly believe it. Next time I post, hopefully I will have pictures to share!! Yay!!!!!!!!!! :)
This morning we got up early about 5:30 a.m. here (8:30 p.m. CO time), headed to the 24 hour coffee shop, and skyped with our boys back home. Then we came back to the apt and packed everything back up so we would be ready when they came to pick us up to take us to our new apt. Here is a pic of near where our new place will be. The big yellow part is the grocery store.





Here’s some pics of the place we’ve been staying. It is pretty decent. There’s a TV and Mark finally figured out how to change it over to English so that is nice. The place is clean and quiet. The elevator to get up here is interesting, but it works and is better than walking up 8 flights of stairs. It has given us a few laughs!


living room


bedroom


kitchen


And some more pics of the city surrounding that apt building. Samuel, you were wanting to see what it’s like around here, so here you go.


a different apt building






Down on the street below - notice how the cars park on the sidewalk by the building and sticking out in the street. And that is a busy street, let me tell you! They do things way different than we're used to around here! :)


This afternoon we went back to the SDA and got our paperwork to go to the orphanage. YAY!!!!! We are getting so close to seeing the girls! I am sure it is going to be an emotional day for us! We are leaving about 8:30 am tomorrow to head over there!
And your ears will hear a word behind you, "This is the way, walk in it", whenever you turn to the right or to the left. Isaiah 30:21

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Psalm 139:13-16

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.