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!
Tim's new skills learned while here in Latvia.
We also found a skating rink in Old Riga. We just had to lace up the skates!