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!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Fifth Visit Trip

My mother and I had another wonderful week with Gabriella. She is so beautiful with big, gorgeous eyes; a cute little nose; perfect little baby doll lips; and striking, shiny black hair. She has an amazing, funny personality. She is smart and picks up new concepts really quickly. She is strong willed and very determined and she knows what she wants. She is also very curious and nosy, a trait that has been evident from early on. She is also still a big flirt; she LOVES the men who work at the hotel. We could tell that she is rather spoiled and often gets what she wants; if she doesn't get what she wants she whines!

We landed in Guatemala on June 26th at 1:30 PM and met Gabriella at 3:00 PM at the hotel with N. and S. When Gabriella saw us she began to cry. It was the same type of cry that she did last time at both pick-up and drop-off. It is not a typical cry, but a whimper-type like she knows something is about to change. She reached back for S. to hold her. After N. and S. left we settled in the room.
Gabriella was very attached and bonded to me. She wanted me to hold her a lot and she would look for me if I went to the bathroom or somewhere out of her sight. She would also do this really funny thing where she would push her face on mine really, really hard, almost as if she were kissing me. It took her a while to warm up to my mother, though. I am wondering if it was because she remembered me from the trip from only a month ago, or if it is because her foster family shows her pictures of me often.

Gabriella had a few new "tricks" to share with us this week! She LOVES music and she "dances"! When she hears music she instantly starts bobbing her head. I think she particularly likes popular Latin music because one evening as we were flipping through the television channels we passed a Latin song. Gabriella looked up from what she was doing as we passed the channel. When we put the channel back on she started dancing to the song. She also "kisses" into the air, she has not yet combined the kissing motion onto a person's face. She also did "Champion" a lot, where we would say "Champion" and she would raise one of her arms and smile.
She says a couple of words, "papa" and "esta." "Esta" essentially means "this". That was the cutest word to hear her say because of the pitch of her voice. She said it often as she pointed to things or reached for things. She also often made the sound "ba" with her lips pursed tight against her teeth in a breathy repetition.

Gabriella learned a couple English words this trip, which helped us realize that she will quickly grasp the language when she is home. She learned "jump" by me holding her up and helping her jump while I said "jump, jump, jump" to her. Anytime we said "jump" to her after that she would bob her head in the same way she does when she dances! The most wonderful word she said this week, though, was "mama"! We were at dinner on our final night together and she said "mama". I instantly started laughing and clapping. She was sitting in a high chair and she lifted her hands above the tray and clasped her hands together and smiled. It melted my heart!

Gabriella is a pretty good eater, so long as she can feed herself! She would occasionally take food from us, but, for the most part only wanted to feed herself. She ate spaghetti, pizza, stuffed pepper, chicken, fish, vegetables, and fruits, among other things. I was surprised by how well she seemed to enjoy the fish. She also really enjoyed the spaghetti and pizza. She loved eating fruits and vegetables, particularly watermelon, strawberries, and peppers. For snacks she loved saltine crackers (with no salt!) and Cheerios. She also got to "taste" a gummy worm and loved it, of course! We held the gummy worm tightly while she sucked on it and savored the sugar!
Gabriella was much more active this trip, obviously because of her age. She also was very playful. She LOVES being on the go. When I would say "vamanos", which is "let's go", she would get excited. She loved leaving the hotel room for any activity.
She would get a little wild at night! She would roll around, squeal loudly, and carry on in a hysterical way. It was quite amusing. During our final night at dinner, she was especially wild! She was squealing loudly (very loudly!), laughing, and "talking" to the waiters. She would start out the evening looking like a pleasant little girl...
...and then transform into a wild woman! Too funny!
She looks like a little angel when she sleeps. She sleeps in the bed with me, since this is what she does in her foster home; she sleeps in the bed with S., not in a crib. On previous trips, I usually would put a pillow between us as I was afraid I would roll over onto her. This time, though, since she is bigger, I did not separate us with a pillow and found her snuggling with me a lot! Absolutely precious.
More cute photos:
We played with a couple of friends this week as well. We played with Sarah, who is being adopted by my friend Danie's neighbor, Tracy.
We also spent time with Nicholas. He is so handsome and absolutely precious. He was giving Gabriella her bottle then would take it from her mouth and shake it to make sure there was liquid in the bottle!
My mother and I talked during the week about how much easier we though it was going to be to say goodbye to Gabriella this time since we knew it would not be long before we would be back to pick her up to take her home. For me, though, it was actually the most difficult departure. I was holding Gabriella when we went down to the lobby to meet N. and D. When Gabriella saw them she started crying, held on to me, and put her head on my shoulder. She had really attached to me and knew she had to leave again. I cannot explain the heartache I felt, but I am sure you can imagine it. I played a game with her and D. so she could warm up to them again and by the time we left she was smiling and content.
Earlier in the morning of July 3rd, the day we left, N. had signed the final decree for Gabriella's adoption as Power of Attorney in place of Gabriella's birth mother. Gabriella's birth mother could not make the long trip to Guatemala City again. Signing this final decree impacted N. as they realize the short amount of time they have left with Gabriella. So when Gabriella arrived back to N.'s house they had a "Welcome Home" party for her with hats, cake, and balloons!
It was a wonderful trip, but I am praying this will be our final visit trip. I am hoping that the next time I see Gabriella it will be for her pick-up.

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