Saturday, February 27, 2010

Home Sweet Home

We have just tucked all four girls in bed after a very fun and "normal" day!

Our trip home went very well! We woke up early on Friday morning and everyone was ready by 9:00. Pretty much the only thing to do was watch tv and wait for the apartment representative to get there to check us out. She got there at 9:45 and it took about 30 seconds for her to look around, give us our deposit back and send us on our way! Our taxi was waiting for us and after loading up our 5 big suitcases and 4 carry-ons we headed to the airport. It took awhile for us to get checked in, the guy really looked over the paperwork that we got from the court that told our situation and that is was okay for us to have the girls in our care. Once we got our boarding passes we went found the right gate, then went to have some pizza before we left. They changed our gate 3 times, so we were going back and forth and up and down the stairs, which really annoyed the girls. They were so ready to leave and the wait was not fun for them!

Our flight to Munich was good, no delays or problems. We made it easily through the passport check place, took a tram to the right terminal and waited for our long flight. This flight was 8 hours and 50 minutes and with the exception of a bratty kid sitting in front of us (with an annoying mom who leaned both their seats back for the entire time, leaving us about 5 inches of room) the flight was great. The girls sat in seats behind us. Somewhere in Munich, Isabella lost her MP3 player, so Becca shared hers. The girls did great and the time passed surprisingly quickly.

When we were approaching Chicago, the girls were giddy! They took pictures of the city lights, which did look beautiful (even more so because we knew we were back on American soil!!!!). We had to go through customs, which also went smoothly. We got something to eat and then realized that our flight was delayed. They said it would be a half hour wait, but that turned into about an hour. The girls were completely exhausted and they fell asleep sitting in the chairs waiting. We woke them up, boarded the plane and made the short trip from Chicago to Springfield. Isabella was sound asleep for the flight. I was a little bit emotional and shed a few tears when they announced that we were making the final descent into Springfield.

I knew there were going to be family and friends greeting us, but I never could have imagined the crowd that was there! I literally ran with Becca once we got into the airport. I could see so many people, but there were 2 little faces that I could not wait to kiss! I don't even know exactly what happened, but when I reached the little girls, we somehow ended up in a big pile on the floor. I am sure we looked ridiculous to the people walking by, but I didn't really think about that until today! There were so many people to hug and thank and there were balloons for the girls and gifts and flowers and banners. It was an overwhelming and awesome homecoming! I am so thankful to each and every person who came that late to greet us. It will be a night I will never forget and I know my girls won't either!

Sometimes I get discouraged because there are people who I am not as close to as I used to be and I dwell on the fact that I have mistakes that people won't forgive. But I woke up this morning knowing that I am truly, truly blessed to have such a wonderful family and church family and friends that love us all for who we are! I wish I could have spent a lot more time thanking all the people who were at the airport! That show of love and support was so incredible. God has given us so much to be thankful for and I give Him all the praise for these blessings. We got lots of emails, too, from people who couldn't come to the airport that wanted to welcome us home and I really appreciate those special messages, too!

It was such a fantastic feeling to drive home in our van with our 4 girls all together! Reagan was so hilarious talking non-stop! They were all so excited to be together and I enjoyed listening to their chatter! When we got home, it was almost midnight, but that didn't stop us from having a mini-Christmas. We left our little fake tree up in the basement and put the girls' gifts under there. So for the last 2 months, those presents have been waiting! They opened everything and there was so much excitement from all 4 of them! Isabella and Becca loved their rooms and looked over everything with gigantic smiles and lots of "thank yous"! We were all so tired and about 1:30 decided we needed to call it a night. We prayed together and everyone climbed in their own beds. I have to say that laying down to go to sleep in my own bed after taking a shower in my own shower felt like a little piece of heaven! I slept so peacefully and woke up with a huge smile and sense of happiness knowing that it was our first day as a family of 6 together!

Tim and I made breakfast after spending some time cuddling with Reagan (she was the first one up). When the other girls got up, we ate and then they all wanted to go outside to play. I spent some time watching and listening to them from my bedroom window and again had so much praise in my heart for the blessing of my 4 daughters and the miracle that they each are. Tim and I couldn't get over how bright the sun was shining and how beautiful the day was, especially compared to what we have seen the last 3 weeks! We did most of the unpacking and the girls did a lot of playing, which is what they all needed!

My mom had made some delicious food and stocked our refrigerator, so that was a huge relief to not have to go to Wal-Mart today for groceries (thanks, Mom!). Then Tim's parent's brought over pizza for dinner! (Thanks!!)

We are looking forward to church tomorrow! I have really missed being at SHCC, I am used to being there at least 6 days a week, so it has been very hard to be away from where we worship and where I have 2 jobs! I have dreamed about this day for a long time and Ryan and Danielle put my favorite song in the worship set, "Count Your Blessings". How sweet and thoughtful is that?! They sang this song after Ryleigh was baptized, too! No wonder he was voted top Worship Leader in Lebanon!!!!

Ryleigh is not feeling very well, bless her little heart, she has pushed herself all day to have fun, but it is obvious she doesn't feel like herself. She didn't have a fever today, but she didn't eat much and she is coughing and looking a little pitiful.

Well, my eyes are getting very heavy and Tim is snoring now, so I think I better wrap this up! We are so glad to be home! We will post pictures tomorrow for those of you who didn't see them on facebook!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Last Post from Latvia!

It's late here and we are all ready for our last sleep in Riga! To say we are excited to be home is quite possibly the understatement of the year!

We just talked to the little girls and my mom. Ryleigh had to go home early from school because she had a fever (only 100.3). Please pray that she is not coming down with something that would prevent her from meeting us at the airport. She was looking and acting fine, so I am hoping it was just a fluke thing.

We got everything packed that we won't need in the morning and had a hodge-podge of leftover food for dinner! We cleaned up the apartment and feel confident we will get our deposit back. It was a pretty laid back day again! Tim and Becca went to the Embassy to get the visas and everything went perfectly smooth with that. We said good-bye to the Hendersons and exchanged info to keep in touch.

It's been a loooooong stay here in Riga, but definitely one I will never forget. We are anxious and thrilled to be headed home to be a family of 6! We will keep updating the blog because I know there is going to be a lot of excitement and changes in our household and I want to document it for the future!

Thanks to all of our friends, family, and even strangers who have taken interest in our blog and followed along on this journey. We have so much support and love from so many wonderful people. We are so thankful that my mom was able to stay at our house during the week and keep our girls in their normal routine. I could not ask for a better mom! She inspires me to be a better mom to my girls! Thanks a million, mom! I know this time spent with Gram will be something the little girls will remember forever.

It's so emotional for me to be typing the post and I wish I could put into words what my heart is feeling right now, but for some reason I can't. Maybe it will come to me later... So for now, I will say good-bye from Latvia and God Bless you all!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Looking Forward to Tomorrow!

Tomorrow is our last day in Latvia- Hip!Hip! Hooray! We will be leaving Friday morning at 9:45 from the apartment and our flight leaves at 12:25 from Riga to Munich. Then Munich to Chicago and last Chicago to Springfield! We are scheduled to land at 9:46 pm. We would love to see you there!

Today was very relaxed. We were up early to head to the U.S. Embassy with Daina. She "briefed" us about what questions they would ask and what we should answer. We went over the paperwork that I was confused about, but she said it's for Trip #2 anyway! I stressed out for nothing! We had to go through 2 security checkpoints and then we waited in a waiting area for them to call us in to this little cubicle. The guy talked to us through glass with a microphone like at a bank (or jail!!!!). He was so nice and friendly. He talked to the girls and told them how beautiful they were. He checked all of our passports and told us that he knew Daina would have everything in order and that he would pretend to check it anyway. He asked a few questions, just like Daina said and then he told the girls they were very lucky and that we were approved to bring them to America! He and Daina talked about the timeline and she said she hopes we will have everything completed in the next 4 months. We have a 6 month window, just in case, to get things finalized. Daina was talking to us about our agency and how they are the best for a Latvian adoption. In fact, she had some very negative things to say about the other agency that we had looked at. Thank you, God, for leading us to An Open Door! She said it is such a pleasure to work with Cathy and we agreed! Daina also said that there was a really mean guy that used to work at the Embassy that never granted permission for the kids to leave with the parents on the first trip. She said they called him "Little Napolean" and after he said some nasty things about her to a family, she confronted him and asked him what his problem was!!!! She is so feisty! She said that they switched people when Obama became president and she is so happy that the ones that are there now care about the families and kids. I am thankful that we only had to deal with the nice guys! It would be absolute torture to have to leave the girls here after all this time with them! Even though the adoption will not be final for a few months, it is definitely final in our hearts and that is what matters!

Isabella did a lot of artwork today. She traced every page in the two coloring books we bought for Ryleigh and Reagan so she could have a copy of the pictures, too. Talk about perserverance! Becca watched a lot of tv today, she was tired from getting up so early, but of course, at bedtime she got wound up and started acting crazy! I warned Ryleigh that she was going to have a wild roommate! It's been so fun to really get to know not just their personalities, but their hearts, too. I can't wait to watch our four daughters together. I am so blessed!

Tim and I passed the time today playing Scrabble. I won both games! He got so cocky when he beat me the first time we played in Latvia, so I thought I better let everyone know that I am back on a winning streak!

Thanks for all the prayers for Ryleigh. She had a much better day today! The situation is still not resolved and after some blunt emailing by my husband, I don't know what is going to happen. I tried to stay out of it and pray for a way for us all to see the other side. I do not like conflict in any form and this whole ordeal is leaving me with a pit in my stomach. God is good and faithful and He will help us see what we are supposed to do for Ryleigh. Thank you, God, for being with us in all circumstances.

As our time here is coming to a close, I have been reflecting a lot about how much adopting a child changes you. I am so thankful that I have had the opportunity to gain a view of the world through all three of my adopted daughters and that my tummy baby has the chance to grow as a person through these experiences, too. Although I have been so homesick and missing my little girls, I have learned a lot about myself while being here. I watch the people here and think about the differences between them and the people in Lebanon. Nobody smiles at strangers here, I mean nobody! It's sad that people don't hold the door open for eachother, say "excuse me", make eye contact, or share the sidewalk. It's all little things, but I have missed the friendliness that I am used to. There will be groups of people or couples who will be talking to eachother and laughing and smiling, but nobody show any manners to other people around. We have been run into numerous times, glared at, splashed with mucky street slush by cars, and felt invisible by people. Apparently it has something to do with Latvians and Russians hating eachother and not wanting to be friendly with anyone in case they are from the other background. 60% of Latvia is Russian, so there's a pretty good chance you might make a mistake if you showed any niceness to anyone. It is very sad to me. I think about all of the times that I have worried about what people think about me and what I have told myself is that I should be more like Jesus and just be nice to everyone, even when it is really, really, really hard! I have learned that close friendships come and go in life, but life is also to short to dwell on people that don't want to be friendly to one another. You cannot please everyone, but you can be nice trying! That's my new motto!

There are so many other things I have been thinking about here. Adopting Isabella and Becca has been a completely different experience than adopting Reagan as a baby or giving birth to Ryleigh for a ton of reasons, but the thing that has really struck me is that God is in control. He has protected these girls from so many horrible things. I truly believe that He wanted their Latvian mom to change, but since she didn't he has blessed us with the opportunity to give them a family. It is definitely a challenge with the language barrier and their ages and lots of other factors, but the joy and happiness I see in their faces is worth it. They are two children who just need to be loved unconditionally and we are ready to do that. Our life together will not be perfect, but it will be blessed because that is what God promises. If anyone is starting to think that we are so nice for saving these girls, please reverse that statement... because what is really happening is they are saving us from having 2 empty spots in our hearts that only they could fill. I have learned more from them than I could ever teach them. What if we had not been open to the idea of adopting older children from previous prayers for a 14 year old in China? What if we did not have our church family guiding us and growing us spiritually so we could hear God's calling? What if we didn't have two little girls who were so open to having 2 older sisters? What if Tim and I were afraid to share our feelings with eachother? What if Stacy had not picked these girls on the New Horizons sight? What if so many people hadn't donated to our fundraisers and letters of support? I could go on and on...

God does have a plan. Let our story be proof of that and inspire you to really listen to what God is telling you. It may have nothing to do with adoption, but if it does, may you be as completely and utterly blessed as the Tucker family!

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Tim's new skills learned while here in Latvia.
Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

We also found a skating rink in Old Riga. We just had to lace up the skates!
Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tucker Family

2 More Full Days...

Okay, so our time is winding down, but not fast enough! We want to send lots of love to Ryleigh right now because she is at home crying and very hurt that she was left out of her basketball games tonight. We had asked several people to keep my mom informed of what was going on (because things seem to change all the time) and I guess everyone forgot (or they are leaving her out on purpose). She found out from one of her teammates that they have 2 games tonight. She called us after school and we were trying to help my mom get a hold of someone, with no luck. So, she is very aware that nobody cared enough to call and let my mom know where and when the games were. It is so frustrating!!!!! I know that our feelings are all going to be more on edge because of our current situation, but I had hoped that things could be pretty normal for Ry while we were gone. This has not been a very pleasant basketball season for us. It's sad that the idea of a "team" is completely lost and they are only in third grade. Please pray for all of us to move on...

We did lots of skyping today! The teachers and kids at Bright Beginnings called us! What a bunch of cuties! It was so sweet to see them and talk to them. They came up with some good questions and then some of them just told me what was going on. Some of them just said I love you! Which really warmed my heart! I am so blessed to work at BB! I can't wait to bring the big girls in to meet everyone! Thanks for getting everything
set up today, Danielle and Lenita and anyone else who helped! It was great to see the people I am used to seeing every single day!

We had a pretty lazy day here. The girls went to bed in the wee hours of the morning, so they slept until almost 1:00 in the afternoon! We walked to Double Coffee to eat and then to the grocery store to pick up enough stuff to make it to Friday. We talked to Mrs. Dickerson's class today, too. They seem like such an awesome group and I know they are going to make the girls feel so welcome. What a blessing! Isabella gets so shy and won't really talk to them, but Becca seems to really enjoy it! She is trying to learn the kids' names and is very excited there are lots of soccer players!

Tomorrow will be our Visa Interview at 11:00. Daina will pick us up at 10:30. I had some trouble with the paperwork that we were supposed to fill out. It was super confusing to me and I am pretty sure I messed it up. I will show Daina first thing and see if she can help. It was another example of being reminded that this is not like a China adoption where your guide walks you through every single bit of paperwork and you always know what to expect!

The girls get more excited every day about what is waiting for them at home in Lebanon... "Ryleigh, Reagan, grandmother, grandfather, school, church, Maci, Christmas presents, new rooms". Their smiles light up the room when they talk about it. 2 more full days and then we will be on our way to a new life!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Successful Court!

This is what Latvia has done to Tim!
Dressed for court, early in the morning!

Mommy and Becca, so happy together!

We made it up early today and everyone was ready by 8:30 for court. The girls even put dresses on without arguing! They looked beautiful! Daina picked us up at 8:40 on the dot and we headed to the Orphan Court building. We had to wait out in the hallway for awhile and then they called us in, but told the girls to stay out in the hall. Our interpreter from the first court date was there to translate. They started with the formalities of introducing everyone and stating what the purpose was, blah, blah, blah... Then they asked us several questions about our time here and what we have been doing, how we feel about the girls, our plans to leave Latvia, how we communicate with them, what our education plan is for them, how we feel our other children we react to the girls being their sisters, etc. We answered everything and they seemed satisfied with what we said. They asked Daina if she had anything to add and she said a lot of really nice things about what Aina (foster mom) had told her about how the girls felt when we told them our plans to adopt them and about their feelings about the time they spent with us. (During the time we were in the courtroom, we could hear the girls laughing and goofing around in the hall! It turns out they were taking silly pictures of eachother! ) Then they asked us to leave and they had the girls go in. Later, Becca told us they asked about our time together and if they were ready to be in our family. She said Isabella wouldn't say anything, so she did all the talking! This is how is usually is! They called us back in and gave the verdict that we could indeed have custody of the girls and bring them to America! Hooray! We thought this was a for sure thing, but it was still a little bit scary thinking that they had the control to make the girls stay here. So then we had to stop in the social workers office because the girls had messed up a few things on the paperwork they signed last week when they visited us at the apartment. It took Isabella 4 tries to get the form filled out right (we are suspecting that she needs glasses) and Becca 2 times. We waited patiently for them to be done. Daina gave us a packet of forms to fill out. These are the first forms that will have their new names on them! We will get them done and give them to her on Wednesday when we go to our interview for the girls' Visas at the U.S. Embassy.
Tomorrow is a free day. We did a lot of packing tonight. The girls got super excited and started getting everything packed up. They cannot wait to be home in their new rooms. They look at the pictures on the computer and get so excited. They are anxious to open their Christmas presents that have been waiting for them!
Three of us took a nap this afternoon to recover from our very early morning, early when you don't go to bed until 2:00! Becca watched tv instead of taking a nap... that girl has more energy than anyone I have ever known! I think she is going to be a superstar Soccer player for the Lebanon Yellowjackets!
We ate dinner with the Henderson's again. We made spaghetti, bread, and salad. It was good food and nice company! Then we all watched G.I. Joe. The girls loved all the action and I think Tim has been happy to see a couple of non-chick-flick movies here!
Our time is winding down here and the excitement is definitely building! We can't wait to step off of the plane in Springfield!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Visit with the Hendersons

We had a good time tonight eating pizza and watching "Night at the Museum" with the Henderson Family (actually Stacy and I talked the whole time!!!). They are from Florida and are adopting a 13 year old boy. They hosted him Christmas 2008 and last summer. Our girls knew him from the plane ride over. He is a very nice boy who speaks very good English. He has a 13 year old brother waiting for him at home. I am sure they are going to have tons of fun together! What a blessing to be able to meet this family and spend time. We are planning to keep in touch and compare notes about our transition time, especially the education part. Stacy is a teacher, too.

We have court in the morning! The girls are supposed to wear the dresses (very casual ones) I brought. Becca said "okay, mommy" and Isabella said "no, I will be cold". We will see if there is a fight at 8:00 am when we have to wake them up (4.5 hours earlier than they rolled out of bed today!). We better get them to bed and ourselves, too!

I Love Skype!

Skype has been our lifeline here and I am so thankful for this technology! We have been able to talk to and see our little girls everyday and my sister several times. Yesterday we had a video call with my grandparents and cousin, Hilary! It was so awesome to see them and talk to them and let the girls "meet" them. We usually only visit them in the summer because they live in Wisconsin, so I am glad the girls had this chance. It made me smile the rest of the night!

Ryleigh informed me that she "hardly even notices I am gone". Talk about a knife in the heart!!!! I am hoping that just means she is having fun.

The past few days have been huge milestones for my dad. He had has last day of work Friday, so he is officially retired from dentistry! I was sad that we missed the big party (my kids reported that the cake was awesome!) of about 200 people wishing him well. I am anxious to see what projects he starts now and what the future holds. He worked hard for so long and deserves some free time to enjoy life!

We went to the movies again yesterday and saw Avatar. It was in English with Latvian and Russian subtitles. The girls loved it! I didn't, but it was fun to watch them get excited and enjoy themselves so much. Then we had McDonalds for dinner. It was the coldest day yet and it snowed about 6 more inches. The wind was blowing and it was very hard to walk with your whole body stinging from the cold and eyes watering. Needless to say we took a taxi back to the apartment!

Ed and Dominickcame over last night and let us borrow a DVD player that they brought, along with a few movies, so we watched Black Beauty. It was nice to cuddle with the girls and watch something we could all enjoy! We are going to the Henderson's apartment tonight for pizza and fun!

I am going to start packing a little bit today, mainly the stuff we know we won't be using. I've got dishes to do and we need to sweep the floors again, too! Hopefully we can all be bright eyed and bushy tailed for court tomorrow morning!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Pictures from Reagan's Party (Feb. 6th)

I almost forgot (well, I did forget earlier) to post a huge THANK YOU to all our friends and family who made Reagan's birthday special yesterday! It makes us feel so good to know that so many people love all of our children! Hard to believe our baby is 5 years old! :(

Here are some pictures from her birthday party, which we had on Feb. 6th (the day before we left for Latvia.). Love you little Reagy rooster. See you in one week!!!

An artist at work.
Becca let me fix her hair!!!!! By the way, she didn't like it.

Isabella loves to look beautiful!

Yes, about 3 more inches of stupid snow.

Enjoying TGI Fridays!

Waiting for her chicken strips!

Awesome 3D glasses!

Toy Store 2 in 3D- very good!

We love our dad!

School time!

I'm Lovin' It!

Okay, for the record, McDonald's in Latvia tastes exactly like McDonald's in Lebanon! And yes, we love it! Go ahead and make fun all you want... we love McDonald's!!!!!!!!

We shopped at the "open air" market again yesterday. Not much fun because it is super cold, super yucky slushy snow to walk through, and ridiculously high prices for everything. We didn't buy anything and I was starting to think I would never find souvenirs for the little girls!

We also had a little bit of "school" yesterday. I gave the girls some math sheets to do and some writing activities. Isabella had a little attitude about it, but it was a good time to bring up how school will be in America. We explained that she has to do her best and not get frustrated. She needs to learn that it is okay to ask for help. She straightened up and did really well! They like writing their American names! Becca tries to work really fast and get things done. She will have to learn that everything is not a race! It was a great time of talking about the future. Isabella is excited about art class and Becca can't wait for Lebanon Yellowjacket soccer!

Today we went to the movies and saw Toy Story 2 in 3D. The girls have never been to the movies in Latvia, but did go in America with their host family. It was a great time and they absolutely loved it, especially the 3D. We looked hilarious in our glasses! The theater was awesome, with the most comfortable seating ever. We also ate at TGI Fridays. It was super delicious and our waitress was so nice! She was talking to the girls in Latvian and then she said "Your girls promised you would come back and eat here again!" We just might have to do that!

We have court on Monday at 9:00. Daina will pick us up at 8:40. This could pose a problem because our time schedule has been go to bed between 1 and 2 and get up between 10 and 11. So, we will probably have 2 grouchy kids. Hopefully they will still say they want to come home with us! Please pray that the judge will say that the girls do not have to come back on the 2nd trip. It's so much money for the tickets and it seems so pointless to make them travel all that way. Daina says it is totally up to the judge. I believe in the power of prayer and would appreciate everyone mentioning this to God for us!!! It is really stinky that we have to come back two more times. Tim will probably be the one to travel and I will stay home with the girls. It's depressing to even think about it...

We visited with the Hendersons (from Florida) today and will hopefully get together in the next few days. They will be here all next week. too. Tim is teasing the girls about liking their son, Dominick. He is pretty handsome!

Tim found some photos of the girls birth mom on the internet. There is a site in Latvia that is kind of like Facebook and Becca has a page. Tim did a search and found her. He showed them and they were surprised, but didn't have a sad reaction. It's so strange to see her. She looks like the kind of person she is, if that makes sense. Don't want to say too much, but please pray for her to get her life on track. And please pray for the girls to have closure with that part of their life. Although she is the woman who gave birth to them, she has never been a mother, like I know they deserve. I don't want the girls to ever think it was their fault that she doesn't love them or never took care of them.

Okay, now I will post pictures!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

So, You Think You Can Dance?

Apple Juice Ice Cube Face
Mid-spin collision

Stir the Pot!

Robot Dance

Push Ups

Old Man Break Dancing

Little Girl Break Dancing

Tickle Torture (Please don't toot, daddy)

The Natives are Restless

Tim is going wild with these girls, they are breakdancing, having dance-offs, and sliding across the floor in their socks (ending with a crazy pose). Daina and a lady from the court came (different one than last time) this afternoon. They talked to the girls about what we have been doing and if they are liking our family. Daina asked if they were ready to go to America and Becca said "tomorrow". She laughed and laughed. I told her we were all ready to go and she seemed sympathetic that it is such a long time. However, our hopes of leaving any earlier were pretty much squashed. We have court on Monday morning, nothing Tuesday, Visa interview on Wednesday, and pick up the visas on Thursday, leave on Friday. We need to find a couple of things to do in the next few days, to pass the time. We finally met the family from Florida that is staying in the same apartment complex as us. They are adopting a 13 year old boy that they have hosted twice. Daina visited them before us, so after we were done, she brought them over to us. We are planning on getting together with them and possibly going to a go-cart/video game place.

While the court lady was here, she talked to the girls and asked if they were sure they wanted to be adopted. Becca said "Yes" really loud before she even finished. Again, Daina laughed and laughed at her! The lady had the girls write out a statement that they are wanting to be in our family and why they want to be adopted. The lady told them that we will care for them while they are children and then when they grow up and we are old, they will have to take care of us. We have been joking around and acting like little old people and saying "Take care of us" the girls are cracking up! Daina also gave us the translated book that the social worker read to us that first day of court before we got the girls. It tells all the contact they have made with their mom and all the times they were taken away and where they were. It tells about each of their siblings, who have all been taken away and adopted (we believe by Latvian families). It gives the history of what places they have lived each time they were taken away from their mom. It talks about how living with Aina saved them and helped them so much. We will forever be grateful to her for putting their lives on the right track. There is no way they could have been in the hosting program if she wouldn't have been in their lives. Thank you, God, for Aina.

Daina helped us order pizza for dinner and it was so good. The girls ate a whole pizza in a matter of minutes! We had seen a delivery guy and thought it was just a mirage like when you are in the desert and you see water! Daina said that it was easy to order, just dial 1822! We were like "yeah, but we don't even know our address!" She did it for us! Tim also made some apple juice ice cubes that are a yummy little treat. We miss having ice. We try to keep making ice in our little ice tray, dump it in a bag, and make more. the girls make the funniest faces when they eat the AJ cubes!

We feel good that one more day is over. I am sure tomorrow will be hard, thinking about our little Reagy rooster celebrating her birthday without us. We love you, Reagan and we are sorry we are missing your birthday.

I'll try to get the pictures posted of the crazy dancing!

Mission Accomplished

Well, I didn't post yesterday because there wasn't much to say about the day, except we did finish the 1000 piece puzzle! We all worked together for the last several days to work it and we did it!

The girls got their visa photos taken yesterday and daddy and Becca went earlier and picked them up. They are super cute! Becca says "America, today?" I wish. They are not wanting to be here any more than their mom and dad! We had a little bit of a scare the other day. When I was putting the girls to bed we were talking about their Latvia mom and their sisters. Then Becca told me that they saw their older sister's boyfriend at the store the other day. What????? I was really nervous. They said they turned and went away quickly. I had a moment of panic that they would try to take the girls or that they were following us. It just seemed to much of a coinidence that he would be in the same small store at the exact same time as us. Anyway, we talked about what to do if they see someone they know when we are out. I am so ready to get them away from all these bad memories. It seems so stupid to make us "bond" here where none of us are comfortable or happy. Have I mentioned I am ready to come home???

It is snowing again, probably another inch already and it's still coming down. Second verse, same as the first...

Brenna emailed me messages from my preschoolers yesterday! It was awesome to picture them in my mind saying the nice things they said. So sweet! I miss them so much! I know they are in good hands. I can't wait for the girls to meet them!

Tomorrow is Reagan's 5th Birthday! I am so sad to miss seeing her on her special day If you see her give her a hug for me!

Daina and the social worker lady will be here in about an hour and we have the apartment all clean. The girls are super helpers, especially Isabella. We are all praying that they will help us find a way to leave earlier, even a day early would mean only a week left. I asked Tim if is was too early to start packing... he said "yes".

Okay, I'll have Tim post some pictures now.