Not flesh of my flesh
nor bone of my bone
but still miraculously my own.

Never forget for a single minute
you didn't grow under my heart
but in it!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Third Visit Trip

My mother (Grammy), sister (Tia Candace), and I visited Gabriella from Saturday, April 13 through Saturday, April 19. It was an absolutely wonderful trip. Gabriella especially seemed to bond with us this time and she really loves her Tia! During our first visit trip, Gabriella was very, very little and during our second visit trip, Gabriella was very, very sick. I am thankful for that time that we spent with her during those two trips, but this trip was a blast!
Gabriella is at the age where most babies are scared of "strangers" so we were nervous that she would have a hard week. Gabriella cried when N. handed her to me. We brought her up to the room and she quickly warmed up and she was comfortable with us for the remainder of the week. I am sure the hotel room looked familiar and that my mother and I looked familiar. At the end of the trip, Gabriella was sitting on my lap when N. arrived to pick her up, but Gabriella remained contently on my lap and was not anxious to go with N. which is testament to the fact that she really bonded with us. It is always miserable and torturous to say goodbye (goodbye for now) to Gabriella, but it was especially difficult this time. I spent the evening that she left with swollen, red, dry eyes from crying.
She has the funniest, most enjoyable personality. She is extremely curios (that is the polite way to say nosey!). She watches everybody's every move. She loves being in public places where she can watch people. Even in the bedroom, when it was just the four of us, she would go out of her way to lift her little head to peek around the corner to see who was in the bathroom or moving about! She also seems to be very strong-minded. She doesn't really like baby food anymore; she prefers sitting in the high chair eating regular food. When I would give her something she didn't want or didn't like she would gag herself! One night at dinner she gagged so loud that everybody looked and all of the waiters came running because they thought she was choking - she just didn't want the piece of potato I gave her! When we would try to kiss her, if she didn't want a kiss she would either simply turn her head or tighten her lips and then cough! What a little stinker butt...! Gabriella also enjoys drinking from an adult cup, most of the liquid ends up on her chest, but she enjoys it!
She had a couple of new "games" that she enjoyed playing. One was that she would bounce a bit on the bed, look around for a good place to land, and then face-plant into the bed and start laughing. She would then sit back up and do it again. I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard! The other "game" that she played was that she would bend her head to the side, sometimes touching the bed, and look at somebody. I don't know if she was trying to play peek-a-boo, but it was very cute. Gabriella also enjoys chewing on her feet!

Gabriella loves babies and little kids. This is probably because she is being raised with Evan, who is only slightly older than her; N.'s son W., who is three; and now S.'s new baby who was born at the end of March. Babies and children grab Gabriella's attention and she coos at them. We brought Gabriella up to the family room of the hotel where there are baby toys and often other babies. We watched Gabriella interact with another baby who was her age and we realized that Gabriella is not a very good sharer! She kept taking away the block that the other baby was playing with.

Gabriella is not crawling yet but is very interested to do so. It seemed that it would not be long before she is pulling herself up to stand.
While in Guatemala we experienced an earthquake! I was laying in the bed and I thought I was having a dizzy spell. I said something to my mother and sister and they said they felt it too. It lasted for probably thirty seconds and was quite strong making the hotel sway. It was nerve rattling to experience. Parts of Guatemala City were destroyed by an earthquake in 1976.

We also visited “Mi Casa - Amigos de Los NiƱos" boy's orphanage (http://www.micasa.org.gt/). Mi casa is the home to 350 boys. We first went there to take a food donation - rice, beans, sugar, cookies but when we arrived we wanted to do more for the boys. Our driver, Victor, brought us on a shopping spree where mom bought shoes, balls, toys, cookies, and candy. The boys are very regimented and are very respectful and well behaved. Their facility was very abundant with soccer fields, a swimming pool, classroom facilities, a library with computers, and a video game room, among other things. Some of the boys did not have any shoes, they walked around barefoot. They also only had shorts and a t-shirt, not many had long-sleeved shirts, so if they were cold they would pull their arms into the short sleeves of their shirts. Their clothes were pretty soiled and they were not clean. We also did not see a lot of adults. The kids certainly received all of their basic living necessities plus some treats but they were severely lacking love and affection. We fell in love with a withdrawn five year old boy named Irwin. He was sitting by himself outside on the cement and was hesitant to speak to us. He looked so sad, I can still picture his sad eyes. All he needed was love.

We, unfortunately, did not receive any new news on Gabriella's adoption process while we were out there. I just have to stay positive and keep praying that she will be home soon.

We had an amazing trip and can't wait to see her again.

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