I made a list of all the blog posts I wanted to write while we were on our last trip. The truth is, I've been sick since the last day of our trip, jet-lagged and trying to get ready to leave again in 6 days! We never really adjusted to the time change while there and the smog is so terrible, it made me sick! Neither of us have seen traffic this terrible. We must have been in traffic for 2- 2 1/2 hours each way, bumper to bumper, breathing in car exhaust. My husband says I should just post pics cause that's what people want to see anyway!
We brought the same purse as last time with the toys she loved. This time we added a play cellphone and it was a big hit. I also kept trying to put a clip in her hair. She would pull it out and throw it. Oh, I will win this battle eventually :)
Maria does NOT like to pose for photos. She is trying to get away as fast as she can!
She LOVES to brush mommy's hair. New meaning to "Tangled."
Maria and our driver/translator/landlord, Vladimir
This is really fun, mama. Uh oh, this phone's ringtone is getting old...
I see beautician in her future
Fall in Maria's country= new winter wardrobe for me. When we left our home, it was in the 80's.
We got to meet Juliana Moreno- Orphan no more!
And meeting Ashley and Gus was pretty awesome too! Their adoption took almost 2 years. Bless them for their faithfulness to follow God's call, despite the circumstances. And she is the author of Ashley's Almost-Famous Key Lime Pie, which many people here bought and enjoyed to support our adoption.
Playing peek-a-boo in a tunnel. She loves this alphabet picture book and names all the objects in the pictures. We bought her one like it to enjoy on the flight home.
Enjoying outside playtime. Yes, it was this cold to be this bundled up.
Sightseeing at a place overlooking the river. Wedding parties come here to celebrate and toast the occasion. We saw about 5 wedding parties here.
Old Arbat Street. Souvenir shopping and people watching. Many women dress very elegantly and lots of high heeled boots. Many wear mini-skirts too. I had a knee-length down jacket. I like to be warm :)
Visiting our host family's church. He is the pastor of the church and our new neighbor's brother. His son translated the entire sermon for us. Lilia helped translate a little. She is studying Spanish and was practicing with us.
Maria is signing "more". Her nurses have never seen signing used with children with Down syndrome before. They have asked me to bring them materials to learn sign to use with the children.
On the way to Maria's orphanage, there is this restaurant called Mt. Ararat and on the other side, it is shaped like Noah's Ark.
Another restaurant shaped as a castle.
Luda, our favorite caregiver. She has spent a lot of time with us during our visits with Maria. They say she's been telling everyone everyday that we are coming to see her. She really seems to be understanding on this trip who we are and she likes being with us.
On our way into town to get Maria's passport photo. Usually this is done on the third trip, but they let us get it done early.
The courtroom. I probably took this photo illegally-shh don't tell.
Alyona- our faciliator, Olga- the local inspector and me after court- see our happy faces?
Us with Alyona after court- yay, it's over and our adoption has been granted!
Visiting Maria after court- Very happy day!
She calls Kike "Da-da and calls me Pa-pi" She gets her words mixed up a little, but we know what she means:)
Maria Elena Zuzunaga
So you can understand how lost we feel. This says "Fitness Club"
Hanging with our host family: Simon Sr, Simon Jr. and Tania
We are so thankful God has sent us on this journey. We have learned so much about who God is and about ourselves. We also cannot wait to bring Maria home and share in all that God has planned for her life and watch her become all that she is meant to be.
We also are anticipating that this transition period will be difficult. We've prepared for it as best we can, but we don't really know what to expect or how it will affect all of us. We DO trust and believe in God's promise "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28
Please be aware, however, that we will need to adjust for a couple of months and some of our activities will be minimal. We probably will not join in activities with large groups. However, if you would like to stop by and meet Maria, we would love it. If you would like to help with a meal or getting our children to their activities, that would be welcome also. We just might need to put the Welcome Home party on hold- for now.
Thank you all so much for your prayers and financial support over the past year! We truly hope the Lord has blessed you and you have seen His glory displayed through Maria's story, a story of redemption.