We have been in country for 4 weeks today. It is amazing to think that in that period of time we have become a family of six! We were blessed with a court date and positive ruling on Anita Hope. We get to pick up her passport today and can start the process of applying for her visa to the U.S. We are still awaiting a court date on Hannah and hope to hear some news to this regard either today or the beginning of next week.
It is very easy to become frustrated while we wait. Believe me, I have had my moments! I am trying VERY hard to focus on something positive. One thing that keeps coming to mind is how blessed we are that we were granted temporary guardianship of Hannah so that she is able to be with us right now. If we had not been granted that guardianship than she would still be living in an orphanage 6 hours away from us. Instead, we get to start each morning with her smiling face, a kiss on the cheek, a "Good Morning Mommy" and "Good Morning Datty" and a request for a "Huggy" (every one syllable word that ends in a consonant automatically gets an added syllable at the end). It's quite cute! She is very precious. It is amazing to see how she has come out of her shell and is beginning to find her role here in our little family.
When we first got her she was shell shocked. She had spent her entire life at the same place. She was loved and cared for by the nuns and she was fed, clothed and protected. If you know anything of orphanages you know that there is some sort of "pecking order" that goes along with the children. Even if there is structure in their day to day routine, the children still figure out a way to all have their "place". When Hannah came to us she struggled to find her "place" in our family. For the first few days she would just wander around with a very forlorn look on her face. She would do whatever you asked her to do, would kick the ball if you kicked it to her, would return a hug, etc. but she would never initiate any form of play, affection or other activity.
After a few days you could see her confidence growing. She would feel free to venture out of the room on her own, started talking and singing (in her language) and would repeat anything you asked her to. She started to feel comfortable sitting at the table with us instead of on the floor to eat, using utensils instead of her fingers, playing and laughing with her daddy and big sisters. It is amazing to think of the transformation that she has undergone in 3 1/2 short weeks.
She is an absolutely lovely little girl. She is at that wonderful age where she likes to "help". It is becoming more apparent to us that she most likely had roles and responsibilities at the orphanage and she feels most in her element when she has a "job" to do. She already can sense when a meal is about to take place and will go and get the extra chairs for her and Anita, ensuring that bibs are placed on the seats, and that they each have their drink. After dinner, she is quick to bring her dish to the sink, clean off her seat (which is usually covered in rice), return it to the porch and sweep under the table. Last night she decided to help Anita finish her meal. It was precious to watch her feeding her little sister complete with facial expressions as she put the spoon in Anita's mouth.
She has quite a shoe fetish. When we first got her she came with one pair of sandals that was too small for her. She insisted on wearing them all the time (usually on the wrong feet). We would try to take them away and she would cry and cry for her sandals. We decided that it wasn't a battle worth fighting so left it alone. Over the past week she has rediscovered her shoes and will often be found changing her shoes so that she wears all of them in the course of a day. She loves her dressy church sandals and likes to clomp around in them.
She likes to help fold the laundry and she actually does a very good job! She also already knows which clothes belong to who and picks things out of the basket one at a time and will proudly announce who the owner of the item of clothing is. She hasn't quite mastered the art of placing them in the proper piles and just piles them all together before putting them back into the basket and bringing the basket into our bedroom.
She is obviously a child that has been raised in structure and feels most comfortable when everything is in it's proper place. She makes her bed in the morning, gets dressed and places her pajamas under her pillow. She feels most comfortable when she is able to pick out her own clothes the night before and having them placed at the foot of her bed. As soon as she gets up and gives her morning hugs she heads back into her room to get dressed. She also feels that it is important to have Anita dressed and she gets very upset if she is running around in just her diaper. She will quickly go into Anita's drawer and pick out an outfit for her to wear. It took her a while to realize that she and Anita did not have to share the clothes. I think at the orphanage all of the clothes went into one big pile and everyone wore all the same clothing. She tried to put some of her clothes on Anita the first couple of days before realizing that they each have their own. Now, she likes to just look at all of her clothing and will often be found taking them all out and looking at them, refolding them and putting them away again. (just wait until she gets home and sees ALL of her new clothes-Wow!)
So, while we remain frustrated that the "system" does not seem to be moving forward to allow us to bring our sweet Hannah home we are trying to just enjoy being with her and cherishing each special day that she is part of her forever family.