The next day was a gorgeous day so we headed to the Baltic Sea. There was practically nobody there and we had the place to ourselves so we settled in and had a great time.
The next day was a bit overcast so we headed to Sigulda, an ancient city with tons of history and lots to do. There were castle ruins from the 13th century, tragic love stories and deep caves. We finished the day off with a ropes course and ziplining for the girls. They had a blast! I was so proud of Sarah and Dee. It was their first time and they did great. Bill took the Littles on their own mini version and they all had a great time.
We drove back into Riga Friday night and Edgars put us up in a new apartment. This place is even bigger than the first one. It has massive 12 foot ceilings, windows from ceiling to floor, rooms that are 20 x 20! It is in a building that is over 100 years old but has all of the modern conveniences....including a bidet (some funny stories go with that!)
We didn't go anywhere this weekend. We spent Saturday getting caught up on laundry, as we hadn't had a washer and dryer at the cottage, doing Anita's hair, playing games, and watching movies. Sunday was more of the same but included a venture out to the park for some playground time with some friends from Alli's orphanage. That night was hard for her as she was very sad at bedtime. I think seeing her friends had been hard for her and she was probably mourning the only life she had ever known. These girls had all been together at their previous orphanage, before moving to the one where we picked them up. So they had ultimately been "sisters" all of their young lives.
Monday morning we had our final social worker visit which only lasted about 45 minutes and went well. Tuesday we had to return to court, where we met with 3 different judges than we had seen previously. They had to rule on 2 different petitions. The first one was to prolong the care and supervision period and to rule that pursuing adoption was in the best interest of the child. The second ruling was to allow us to take Allison out of Latvia and to keep her in our home during the remainder of this period. The second and final court hearing won't be until mid-November most likely. This is a huge blessing to be able to bring her home with us. In other cases this part of the adoption process would mean either staying in country for 4 months, or returning her to the orphanage while we return home to await the court ruling. We are so happy that Latvia has approved this special situation to allow these children to start integrating into our family as soon as possible. They truly do want what is best for these children and for that we are very grateful.
Today we had to go to the US Embassy. We had a brief interview where we had to state that we realized that Allison will remain under the guardianship of the Latvian court system until the adoption is final and that we promise to return to Latvia for the final court hearing as well as for the final US Embassy hearing. Our 7 month travel visa was approved and we will get that tomorrow. Then, we fly home Friday!
We are all very ready to be home! The older girls are getting "bored", but they have been troopers through all of this...helping with dishes, laundry, babysitting while we run to all of these different meetings, even running to the store downstairs for whatever is needed. We have seen so much maturity in both of them and we are amazed every day at how far they have come. They are a true blessing to us! Hannah continues to waffle between "good" and "bad". She is having a hard time figuring out if she should look at Allison as an ally in making bad decisions or if she should be the "good" girl and help us out by showing Allison what is expected of her in this family setting. Allison continues to make small improvements every single day. She is an amazing little girl and we are all slowly falling in love with her. She definitely has taken to Bill easier than me this time, which is a switch from all of our other girls who took time to warm up to their new daddy. Bill is eating it all up and I am trying to not take it personally. I take it as a small victory when she will come to me now and we have seen improvements in this area in the short time we have had her in our custody. Anita has regressed in some areas...thumb sucking, potty accidents, screaming instead of using her words...good times! I am hopeful that returning home will reset all of our clocks and that we can get into a good groove of "normal"!
Well, that should get you all caught up with our adventures this past week. Tomorrow we will walk around Old Riga in hopes of tiring everyone out for one last good night's sleep before flying home on Friday. Tonight we wrap up laundry and packing! Thank you all for joining us on this journey. I think it has just begun...