This morning at 9 a.m. was our first embassy appointment. I was a little nervous with all the paperwork stuff-which turned out to be completely unnecessary! We have been through so much paperwork-this was a walk in the park! I was picked up by a taxi, who had a little difficulty finding where I was at, so we had to walk a little to where he was in the rain. Then we had to get the passport pictures from Y.'s husband, who also had a difficult time finding us. But we found each other, and eventually the driver found the embassy, and I found Niko-a little late but it was no problem! He is such a wonderful driver and "helper." He had all the remaining documents I needed save one. He checked to make sure that I had everything I needed and walked me inside the embassy past a long line of people standing in the pouring rain waiting for their turn. Eliisa's ticket out of her country is an easy one as a child of an American citizen. For most people who want to leave this country even just for vacation to America, it is VERY difficult-most will never be granted permission to leave for fear that they will leave and NEVER return. If you wonder how I know this for sure, I recently spoke with someone who is from Eliisa's country and how he applied for exactly such a visa to leave this country, and all the hurdles he had to go through to get it. In the end, it was a divine act of God that he actually got permission to leave.
Anyways, I went through security screening and then was ushered into another building where a kind officer helped go through all the paperwork to make sure it was completed correctly and that I had everything. We paid our fees and out the door we were. We will return either Wednesday or Thursday (depending on when we get the passport) at 2 p.m. for our second appointment where we will officially receive a bundle of paperwork and Eliisa's visa, and we will be FREE to come home! Hallelujah!!!
The past few days since returning to the capital city have not been an easy transition. Yes, Eliisa has done extremely well and continues to do well for the circumstances that she is going through. Over the past five years, she has acquired some very typical though very challenging orphanage behaviors, most of them she probably acquired during the last year in the institution where she was at. She has a difficult time expressing her needs and controlling her behavior when she is frustrated or hurt or needs something. She does not know how to understand "No," and that "No" really means "No" in mama's book. It is my responsibility as her mama to keep her safe, so there are times when I have to say no even when I know all that she has been through and my heart hurts for her. She is also having a very difficult time going to sleep at night. NOT because she is not tired, but simply because she is being exposed to so many new experiences. We have also had a LOT of rain, and getting out is very difficult in the rain in a city where no one speaks your language, and a society that has very little tolerance for children with disabilities. Eliisa has some very typical food issues as well. For example, if I give her food in her hand to put in her mouth, she will not put it in her mouth, but rather hold onto it forever in case there is nothing more to come. Also, when it comes closer to the end of a meal, she will start to just keep the food in her mouth rather than swallow it. Again for fear that she will not get something else later. Many of the issues she faces are typical for a 6-12 month old. It will take time to give her the security she needs to know that we love her unconditionally, and that we will be here to provide for all of her needs-physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
At no point in this adoption journey, did I doubt that it was God's will for us to adopt Eliisa. However, I have had plenty of doubts that I/we would be capable to finish this journey, and to bring her home, and to give her what she needed to heal from the past wounds and to overcome the physical and emotional difficulties she has. However, the Lord is reminding me daily that He is NOT asking me to be capable to give her everything she needs, but He is asking me to be a moldable vessel to be used by Him to give her everything she needs. I am learning how to be that vessel of clay that the Lord needs me to be, and sometimes, just like in the hands of a potter, it requires some "beating, bending, and stretching." I have given Him plenty of resistance as He has been trying to mold me. Lately, it has required a lot of bending, beating, and stretching, and I am sure in the weeks to come, there will be much more. :) Please pray for strength and endurance as we make it through these past few days here in Eliisa's country. I am weary and lonely and ready to come HOME! I know it is tough on Eliisa to be in this place of transition as well. There are only so many things you can do in a little room on a rainy day! :) Also pray for Abe and the girls as they prepare for us to come home. This second trip has been harder on all of us, and the lack of communication with each other has made it even harder.
I have no new pictures of our day today, as it was cold, windy, and VERY rainy, but I have the promised pictures that Alla sent me. Enjoy! :)