I haven't blogged since early in the week and I apologize. I can explain later. For now, I will try to catch you up on the week.
After the meeting Tuesday morning, we did indeed get on a plane and go to the city where the kids are. It was like a dream all day! You can't really be prepared for it, now matter how much time you've had to think about it. We flew about an hour and then had to drive another 2, on 2 different vans. Pretty far out.
We arrived to Casa de Paz which is different than I thought, even after I had seen pictures. It is a big place land wise, pretty far out of the city. Painted on the outside is a big picture of "Baby Jesus" as Laney says (though he is a grown up) and 2 big Scripture passages. It is immediately evident that God has planted and used people to train up the kids that live there in His ways.
We got told immediately that the oldest had fallen down at the river that day so he wasn't there. But when we walked toward the girls side of the living area, the girls saw us and came running. They hugged us like they knew us. Pretty emotional but more fun! Then we walked around and the boys found us too. They were a little more, playing it cool, but hugged us too. We spent a little bit of time there that night and with help from the attorneys that are escorting us around, talked to the kids about things. It was good. Just good. Not sure how else to describe it.
The following day was a day full of the kids! We walked in the next morning to more hugs. These kids are very affectionate. They walk around holding our hands and Laney's. We played around at the volleyball court for a little bit and then we left for a bit. We knew the "goodbye party" was coming up so we needed to get some new clothes. We went to our hotel and had them try on some of the things we brought; some worked and some didn't. So we made a trip to the local market to buy just a few things to get by; we will be in bigger cities to buy more. Our hotel was on the beach there so we all played in the sand and goofed around. It was one of the things the kids wanted to do the most they said. We did a TON of walking that day and wore the kids out! But no one complained.
The following day, we heard there was going to be games at an arena so we met the kids there in the morning. There were volleyball games with the girls first and then soccer games. It was great fun to see the kids with their school friends in their element! They were proud to show us around and Laney ran around like she knew everyone too. There were lots of questions, to us and to the attorneys, about who we were and what was going on. Very sweet.
Later the attorney told us that 2 teenage girls had very specific questions about Americans adopting. One of them mentioned that she heard that Americans adopt kids to use for their organs. But now that she has seen it happen and be a good thing, she wants a family too. Wow!
We left the arena and came back that afternoon for the goodbye party. We were kind of dreading the party because we were expecting it to be brutal! All of the kids walked in with new clothes on and smelling so good! They were so cute and proud. It started rough because a house mom opened up the party and got choked up, which got the tears started in both of us. But to hear the moms and their friends talk was very sweet. And the kids were champs; Scott and I were the ones a mess. It is so humbling to stand around a room full of people who loved and cared for your kids, like their own. There are many people there who really love these kids! We took lots of pictures of them with their friends. The boys with lots of girls I might add!! And ended on a good note! They met us the next morning to trek to another city. That van ride was quiet and heavy. Especially for the oldest. He is loved by many and loves some of the younger ones like he was their father. It was a long ride. (On a lighter note, I was truly thanking God for no vomit on that ride! We had been warned that the younger boys get very car sick and I had horrible images of me joining them if that happened!) That was a long day of logistics and waiting. Lots of waiting which isn't fun at any age. We were grateful to find a place to land that night and order pizza in. Today was a new day! I will tell about it later! :)