Thursday, November 29, 2012


There have been times in my life when I've been nervous.  There have been times I've been scared.  There have been several "make or break" moments sprinkled in there too, but nothing like this.

After our final visit with Gabriel this morning, we came back to the hotel and got ready for court.  Then we came downstairs to wait for our driver.  We asked the front desk clerk to take a photo for us, telling her we were about to go to court to find out if we could be parents to the most wonderful little boy.


We felt as ready as we could possibly be.  We had gone over the potential questions we could be asked many times.  We still had about half and hour to wait, so we sat on the couches and pretended to care what was on our phones.  My nerves kept getting worse and worse.  So I asked Brian if he would come with me to the hallway to say a prayer together.  The lobby of the hotel had suddenly become busy with guests, and the hallways soon followed.  So we decided to make a quick trip back to the room to say our prayer.  It was a simple prayer, asking Heavenly Father to be with us, to give us the words we needed to convey our love for this child, our hope that he can be made a part of our family.  We asked for peace and calm in our hearts.  We also thanked Him, acknowledging His hand in every step of this adoption.  I thought of the scripture that talks about missionary service, where it says to go forth, that He will be on your left hand and your right.  I felt that way then.  I felt Him saying, "I have brought you this far, I will not leave you now."  We felt the prayers and fasting of friends and family back home.  I felt assured that those prayers had been heard.  But I did not receive an assurance that Gabriel would be ours.  So the prayer ended with "if it be Thy will..."

We came back down the elevator to find our driver waiting for us in the lobby.  The snow had not relented in the least, and the driving conditions were terrible.  Olga had told us that the news was reporting many accidents and delays.  Please oh please don't let us get in an accident, my silent prayer went up.  

We drove for nearly an hour, through swirling snow and wet, thick slushy roads.  We watched cars sliding and honking, crawling along on the crowded roads.  We passed cathedrals that looked story-like with the snow blanketing them.

Finally, we seemed to escape the main part of the city and were driving through a small forest of trees, enclosing many government buildings.  We broke through the trees and traveled a few more windy roads until we finally came to a stop in front of a large beautiful building.  The courthouse.  It was time.

We ran through the snow, up the slippery steps and into the building.  The security guard tried to tell me what to do, but I didn't understand a thing, and since Alla was already inside waiting for us, we had no interpreter. Finally he told me, "metal?", indicating I should put any metal into the basket in front of me.  I kept telling him I didn't have any metal on me, so he let me through the metal detector.  I set it off.  His exasperated look said it all.  He used his wand to check my body and asked me if I had any sharp objects.  Finally, he let us go.  We sat in the lobby to wait for Alla to come get us.  

She appeared at the top of a long staircase and waved us to her.  Igor wished us good luck, and we padded up the stairs of the very quiet and deserted courthouse.  It was nearly 4:00 p.m.

Alla led us to another large waiting area, where the social worker from yesterday was waiting for us.  She greeted us warmly and then proceeded to ask us a lot of questions.  "You have a garden?  Does it grow?"  "Do your kids help in the garden?"  "Your garden looks very small" (what's with all the garden questions??!) "Do you get rewarded in your country for having many children?"  I thought she was asking if a mother received government assistance for having lots of children, so I told her no.  But then (through our court translator, who was also present), she told us that in Russia, if a mother has 3 or 4 children she gets a medal!  There is a ceremony and everything and the mother is revered for taking on such a task!  I told her that I thought America needed this reward system!  She laughed and smiled.  She asked us about our cars, how far of a drive it is to our work.  She asked what our business was like, what we did for employment.  She asked what my typical daily schedule was like.  

All of these questions were a good warm-up for what was coming in the courtroom.  We had to sign an agreement to not disclose any details of the actual proceedings that took place in the courtroom because it was a closed hearing.  But I am sure it would be okay for me to generalize what went on so you can get an idea of what it was like.  

Before they summoned us to the courtroom, our court interpreter told us how the hearing would go in general.  She told  us first to not be scared of the judge, that she handles many civil cases that are unpleasant and that she enjoys this part of her job.  Then she told us that the hearing is very formal, and proceeded to go over the rules of conduct with us and what to expect in general.  She ended with, "but of course, anything is possible!"  Alla told us that in all of her 14 years of doing this, she still gets nervous every time she comes to court.  The social worker smiled and seemed ready to go inside.  The orphanage director arrived and greeted us warmly.  She is so kind, and she is so, so happy for Gabriel.  

Finally we were summoned inside and took our seats on the front bench behind a railing which held back the few rows of visitor benches.  The judge appeared from her chambers and we all rose to our feet.  My first impression was shock-this judge was younger than me!  I was expecting a judge like we are used to in the States-much older!  We came to find out that there are two judges here, a male and female, and that the male judge is even younger than our female judge!  But they have gone through the same schooling and experience that judges in America have, but are appointed to the court much sooner.  

She went through all the procedural things like we were told.  Then she called me up to the podium to ask me some questions.  Her face was stern and serious, but she managed a personable face once in a while.  I took a deep breath and answered all of her questions with a clear mind and confident answers.  The questions were pretty much what I had expected, with a few surprises.  Soon enough, my turn was over and she called Brian to the stand.  She asked him more about financial questions, and why we wanted to adopt a child this age and with Down syndrome.  His answer was beautiful, "because we know that a child with Down syndrome is a gift, and will bring great joy to our family."  I was so proud of him in that moment.  Here was the man who had taken this great risk with me-the risk to be ridiculed, rejected, judged for doing this adoption, but he did it willingly and with no thought of saying no to this child.  

Brian's turn was done and we both took a big breath of relief.  However, the judge then proceeded to go through every single page of our dossier.  This was a blessing and a curse.  The curse was that with every page she read to the court reporter there was a chance she would find something, no matter how small, that may end our hearing right there.  Some translation that wasn't correct, some detail that didn't suffice.  But the blessing was that it was like reliving our life of this past year, hurdle by hurdle, until we arrived at the present. I listened as she said, "Home study, complete.  Background clearances, no history.  Training hours, completed.  Medical exams, healthy" and on and on.  I couldn't help the tears that came to my eyes with each description of a document that had a real place in my life this past year.  I thought of all the trips to the notary, the Secretary of State's office, the banks, the doctor's offices, the accountant's office.  So many steps to get here, so many memories.

Finally, she closed her giant binder and told the court that we met all of the requirements to be considered to adopt this child.  Then it was the orphanage director's turn to speak.  I could see the joy in her face as she talked about our boy, how bright he was, how he could imitate any word and how she had seen him saying English words with us.  She said in all of her years of work she had never met a child like him.  She told the judge that she had watched us interact and that we had a true and good bond with the child.  She told the court that there had only been one couple who had considered adopting him, but they said no.  They were doctors, and had recently lost an adopted child who also had Down syndrome, but who had died from a large heart defect.  They had decided it was too early to consider adopting again.  

Then it was the regional social worker's turn.  She is in charge of all of the orphans in the city.  And her statement came as a great surprise to me, for I had always considered her cordial but wary of us, making comments that suggested she thought we may be arrogant about this adoption.  But her statement was anything but cold; it was kind, and generous.  She, too, expressed surprise at how smart Gabe is, how he was excited to see us and interacted so well with us.  She told of how we played together, saying at one point it was hard to tell who was the child and who was the adult (is this a good thing?!)  She then told the judge that she believes we are the perfect family for this boy, and that with us, he will bloom and grow and have the best life possible.  Wow.  Brian and I were both weepy but held it together so we didn't look weak in front of the judge!

The judge then asked the prosecutor if she had any questions or objections, and she said, "nyet".  No.

She then rose and retired to her chambers.  We were swarmed with Alla and our court translator telling us what a beautiful job we did answering the questions!  They seemed so happy.  Alla's relief was obvious, and she began telling us stories of other couples who hadn't done so well (one woman had fainted at the stand, another man had forgotten his white shirt entirely and had to wear an extra blouse of his wife's!)  It felt good to be light-hearted.  I asked the translator to please tell the director and social worker how very much we appreciated their kind words, that we would be forever grateful to them.  

After about ten minutes the judge entered the room again.  We all stood, as the judge also stood to read the verdict.  "This court finds the Adoption Decree of the parents Brian Tyler Preece and Rebecca Ann Preece of the child Yegoshin Artur, who will thus be known as Gabriel Artur Preece, to be.......GRANTED."  

Tears.  Smiles. Gasps of joy from behind us.  And just that quickly, the judge entered her chambers again and it was over.  Hugs all around.  Huge smiles all around.  Well wishes and blessings granted.  I turned to Alla and smiled through my tears and said, "my son has been born!" as we hugged.  And that is how it feels now, like I have just given birth.  A new life will be joining our family in January, and we couldn't be happier.  

We made our way out of the courthouse and took a moment to snap a photo of the place we will never forget.


The drive home was surreal, made more so by the snow that continued to fall.  Everything was beautiful.



Can you spy the child on the sled?  We saw several moms pulling their children around the city this way. There were strollers with sled runners on the bottom instead of wheels!  Love it! 
We arrived back at the hotel, went upstairs to change and came down to a celebratory dinner.

The view from the restaurant window...magical.

Relief, tiredness, hunger!  But mostly, relief!  And a whole lot of happiness.
It is now 5:13 and my fingers are so tired, but I can't end this post without thanking you.  All of you.  Everyone who has read our story and wished us well.  All those who have prayed for us and for Gabriel.  Everyone who donated an item for the garage sale, bought a raffle ticket for the playhouse, mailed us a check or donated online to help ease the financial burden of traveling overseas.  Your gifts have been sacred to us and we have treated them as such.  To all those who felt the same as us, that all children deserve the love of a family, and that when one isn't available in their home country, that we should come to them, and bring them to ours, we thank you.  It is a difficult and complex thing, adoption, but it is wrought with blessings, too many to count.  So we thank you, with all that we are, thank you.

Final Visit

Yesterday after our stressful visit to the orphanage we came back to the hotel and this is what I did:

I've learned I can't help it.  My body seems to know when we can relax for a moment and it takes over, demanding sleep like it did when I was newly pregnant.

Last night was full of awakenings, pondering on the thoughts about what today would bring.  One judge, in a foreign courtroom, would hold the power to give a new life to our family, or to dash the hopes and dreams of the past year.  The day before at the orphanage we were blessed to receive a few photos of Gabriel from earlier in his life.  This is the youngest photo we have of him now:

photo (29) On the one hand I can only think of how incredibly adorable he was.  His eyebrows so perfect, like they had been manicured that way, even then.  His little chubby hands, ready to hold on to a finger.  On the other hand, I think of how I wish I could go back in time to squeeze his little body and tell his lonely little face that everything would be okay, that his story would have a happy ending.  How grateful I am to know that he had Olga, to tell him this for the last four years.  He had someone who loved him so very much, whose very presence I know assured him that he would be okay.  I will happily be in debt to this gracious woman for the rest of my life.

This morning after a fitful rest we arose earlier than usual, got ourselves dressed for our last visit ever to his orphanage.  We came downstairs to check our email and were surprised to find a sweet photo of our kids from home.  They are staying with Suzanne again.  This woman is literally a saint.  She is so good with my kids, and they love her so much.  Another woman we will forever be in debt to, and gratefully at that.



Since I've eaten so many of the delicious chocolate muffins here, I decided to try a different pastry this morning.  Enter this delicious apple cinnamon morsel:

I decided today I would take Gabe something from our breakfast, a treat.  I was so happy to find a miniature  version of this cinnamon apple pastry, so I wrapped it in a napkin and stashed it in my bag for him.  I also threw in a banana for good measure because we know how much he loves those!

Soon Igor and Alla were here to pick us up.  It had been snowing all night, accumulating about 8 inches overnight.  The tiny flakes were still falling in a steady rhythm, blowing in swirls all around us as we got into the car.  It was absolutely beautiful, especially because I wasn't the one who had to drive in it!


We arrived at the orphanage and moved quickly back to the cloakroom to wait for him.  We were told he was doing some speech therapy and would be done in five minutes.  We spent the time talking with Alla, our beautiful translator and facilitator while here.  She has been working in adoption for fourteen years, and has been doing mostly special-needs adoption for the last few.  She has her heart invested in this process, and yet she knows how to conduct business and get results.  She is the one who has translated all of our documents throughout this process.  She has scheduled our appointments with government agencies, the orphanage, director, doctor and on and on.  We couldn't have asked for a better in-country facilitator.

I asked Brian to set up his phone camera to capture the moment he walked through the doors because I just love how excited he gets.  He is so animated with his gestures, just like Jake, yet another sign he is meant to be in our family.  We heard him coming up the stairs talking excitedly with Alla.  And then he came in: (listen to Alla tell us how he was telling everyone in his group where he was going)

Can I just say how much I love this kid??!!

We had just a short visit because of the weather.  We needed to allow plenty of time for Alla to get to the notary for a few final documents needed for court.  We also needed to have time at the hotel to get dressed up for court and have some lunch (ya, right, not with this nervous stomach).  But first, I surprised him with his treat.  Do you think he was impressed?

He actually was really excited about it, but I laughed at how he ate it like it was yesterday's news!  He quickly discovered that the inside was the softest, yummiest part, so he peeled away the edges.  Yep, he's definitely a four-year-old!

We tried some clothes on him I had brought from home.  The size 2T pants were too long, and a little too snug in the waist.  The size 2T shirt was a little big, but will do.  I can't wait to start packing his bag when I get home with clothes for our gotcha trip!

Soon it was time to say good-bye.  Every other time we have taken him back to his groupa, he has had no problem leaving us.  It is his lunch time and he seems to enjoy eating!  But this time was different.  He didn't want to change back into his orphanage clothes.  He didn't want to go to his groupa.  When we hugged and kissed him and said, "Paka paka!" he ran back out to us, not sure what to do but knowing he didn't want us to leave.  I finally had to carry him in, and we gave him the sticker book we brought so he could share it with his friends.  We closed the door and walked to the stairwell for the last time as visitors.

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I will always remember these stairs.  

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I will always remember this long hallway.

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I will always remember the few paintings on the walls, trying to bring some sense of homeyness to such a sterile environment.


One last glance back at the gate, the security guard watching our every move.  Next time we come, it will be as his Mom and Dad.  Next time, there will be no looking back, only forward, to a beautiful life, together.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

This Boy

We woke up this morning with anticipation in our hearts.  I didn't eat nearly as much as yesterday, I think because I was too excited to get to see Gabriel so soon.  I did, however, take the time to enjoy this delicious chocolate muffin (and maybe I managed to take a couple more back to my room, but I'll never admit it :)  (Facebook adoption friends, shhhh....)

This was Brian's breakfast.  He didn't have as much of the local fare this time as yesterday, but you get the idea.
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We have been awake very early here because of the time difference (10 hours ahead of Idaho time), so we had plenty of time to go back to our room, pack our bag, and come down to the lobby to email friends and family and read the local paper.  I really enjoy reading the newspaper, wherever I am (I get this from my mom), and it is always especially interesting to read things about America from an outsider's perspective.  As I was reading a story I glanced down at the weather forecast.  At least we're not traveling to Novosibirsk like friends of ours!  The weather here has actually not been bad at all.  It is cold, but not much worse than what we've experienced growing up in Utah.  It is more humid, however, which makes it feel much colder than at home.


Soon enough beautiful Alla walked through the lobby doors and we were off!  We found out as we were driving that we were going to pick up the social worker who is in charge of all the children in Moscow.  She will be at our court hearing tomorrow and will testify to how she saw us interact with Gabe, and whether she thinks we will be a good family for him.  Talk about pressure!  But I decided before she even got in the car that when we were with Gabe, I would tune out any adults around us and just focus on him.  He is why we are here.  Our bond that has already started is real, and I would focus on that.  What the adults see when we play together would hopefully be a reflection of that truth.

She was a very pretty, well-dressed woman who seemed kind enough.  We started out for the orphanage.  Talk about excitement!  The closer we got, the more familiar the surroundings became, until I recognized the turn we would take to make the windy path to the orphanage gate...

We got out of the car, Alla, Brian, the social worker and I, and approached the gate.  The security guard inside questioned Alla and the social worker for a moment before buzzing the gate to let us in.  They really do keep the kids secure and safe here.  

We checked in with the security guard.  Alla had to show her passport and the social worker her government credentials.  Then we walked only a few steps to the end of a long hallway where we waited for what seemed like forever while they contacted the right people to find the boy!  We met several of the staff, none of whom we could understand, but their body language and smiles told us they were very happy to see us.  It made us more excited than ever!

Finally we headed down the hallway and up the familiar flight of stairs that led to the cloakroom just outside the kids' eating area.  He wasn't there, but that's where we were told to stay and put down our things.  The social worker and Alla spoke for a minute and then Alla asked us to tell the social worker a little about ourselves.  I started to tell her we were from Idaho, had been married for 13 years and had three children.  Apparently I had a huge smile on my face because she interrupted me to tell Alla she could tell we were Americans because the Americans always have big smiles on their faces!  When Alla told me this I said, "well, that's because we're about to see him again!  Of course I'm smiling!"  And just then, we heard his familiar little shout, and he suddenly appeared, looking smaller than ever but with a huge grin on his face!  He smiled at us and immediately put his palm to his chest, saying "me?", asking if we were there for him.  Yes, little man, we are here for you.

I grabbed him and hugged him and he didn't resist too much.  He recognized our bag right away and wasted no time digging through it looking for something to play with.  What was the first thing that caught his attention?  Of course....

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As soon as I took it from him, he saw the next most exciting thing in the bag....his new shoes!  He was so, so excited about them.  Brian caught it all on camera, it was great!

I love how proud he was of them!  He stomped around in them and seemed so happy about it.  He lifted his pant legs to show them off.  He looked so cute in them.  I can't wait to dress him up as the handsome little guy he is.  

After getting over the shoe excitement, we played with the doodle-pro, ate some bananas & crackers, used wet wipes to clean all the walls, seats and mirrors (he loves to help), and just laughed and played a whole lot!  

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Playing with the stickers on our hands.  We would give each other five with the stickers squished between our hands. He thought that was funny :)

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Just chillin' with our banana.

Dressing up in mommy's hat and scarf.  Again, asking if these are his.  Cute kid.

Showing dad his new getup.  
Cleaning the walls.  Notice how he had taken Brian's shoe covers to wear himself.  :)

My favorite of the day.
So tomorrow morning we head back to the orphanage for our last visit.  Not just of this trip, but ever.  After tomorrow, the next time we go to the orphanage will be to pick him up, forever.  

Our court hearing is at 4 p.m. local time, which would be 6 a.m. Idaho time.  Please pray for us!  My heart is fluttering a little just thinking about it, even though I  am sure everything will work out fine.  The social worker told us at the end of our visit that she is very happy Gabriel will be adopted.  She wished us well and told us she would see us at court tomorrow.  

Paka for now!  

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Medical Exams & Such

Day two and we were off to get our medical exams done.  As part of the new adoption treaty with the U.S., Gabe's country is requiring all adoptive parents to complete and 8-point medical exam here to ensure we're healthy both physically and mentally to adopt.  We went to the medical clinic at 10:00 this morning and didn't finish until 3:00 this afternoon.  Whew!

The medical exams take place in this combined hospital/clinic.  We started out here, in the lobby, while our facilitator registered us.  From there, we hopped from floor to floor, office to office to see: lab tech (for bloodwork), x-ray (for chest x-ray), cardiologist, neurologist, psychiatrist, pulmonologist, dermatologist, general surgeon, and two others I can't remember because I am only half awake right now.

The clinic was a busy place, with many parts under construction, and patients waiting outside the doctor's offices.  It is set up differently than here  in the states.  There are no receptionists or nurses, per say.  You wait right outside the doctor's exam rooms, which are also their offices, and when their green light above the door turns on, you enter.

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Here I am half awake waiting to see the psychiatrist.  He didn't think I was crazy, which is always good. :)  
Brian waiting to see the psychiatrist.  He wondered why Brian never takes vacations. He didn't think it was normal! Tell me about it!

This is what most of the hallways looked like.  Pretty similar to hospital offices in the U.S.

 The good news is we seemed to pass the exams with flying colors!  Finally, we were free to go.  

Dear Olga met us in the lobby and we had plans to visit the Kremlin, specifically the armory.  It was amazing.  If you ever make it to this part of the world, you MUST visit the Kremlin.  There are so many artifacts it is mind-boggling.  I particularly loved the dresses from the likes of Catherine the Great.  The waists on some of these dresses were impossibly small.  Some of the coronation dresses had beautiful long trains.    

The outside of the armory inside the Kremlin walls.
There was also a room full of carriages (think Cinderella on steroids).  Oh my, would Kennedy and Leah LOVE it here.  Olga and I picked out perfect carriages for Gabe, Jake & the girls.  The details on everything were incredible.  It was such a surreal feeling to be standing in the same room as the Faberge Eggs-how many James Bond type movies have been made about stealing the Faberge eggs?!  

Pictures are not allowed in the armory, unfortunately.  I bought a bunch of post cards though so I could share them with my kids.  I will leave you with some photos because, frankly, I am about to pass out from tiredness right here in the lobby of our hotel, so I am going to go sleep!  Good night!  In the morning we get to see Gabe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!





Monday, November 26, 2012

We're Here!

You would think that after doing this once, I wouldn't be staying up until 1:00 a.m. getting ready to leave again, but that's just what we did.  Why do I think I can clean the house, pack up the kids, buy groceries, and pack ourselves all in a matter of hours?  I was actually doing really good Saturday morning and got a lot done.  I remember thinking, "ha, there's no way I'll be up until 1:00 this time!  This will be great!  I'll get to bed by 9:00, feel super rested and ready to travel in the morning."  Well, as I crawled into bed at 1:00 a.m. I laughed at myself and my naivete and then crashed for a whopping three and a half hours until the alarm started screaming.  Ugh.  

So, first flight was from Boise to Salt Lake City.  I fell asleep almost immediately, but woke to the most beautiful sunrise over the Wasatch Mountains.  The sky behind the mountains was pink, the mountains themselves dusted on top with snow, the lake glowing pink from the sunrise-lit sky.  Utah is my first home, and the longer I live the more I realize how lucky I was to grow up in such a beautiful place.  

From Salt Lake we flew to Houston, where we were greeted with 70 humid degrees and sunshine.  Coming in for landing I thought I was going to suffocate from the heat on the small commuter plane we were on.  Note to self, next time check the size of the plane before booking.  The plane in the photo below was huge (not ours).  The Houston airport is busy and great for people watching.


Speaking of people watching, get a load of the cutest little girl ever, who was waiting for our flight on Singpore Air.  If I could have brought her home with me, I would have in a second.  Her parents may have had a problem with this, however :)   She was so cute watching the planes and laughing at Brian's goofy faces.  But I digress...


This is what we were greeted with when we arrive in Gabe's city:

Beautiful, snowy winter.  Big snowflakes falling down, people in their traditional fur hats, and scenery we have seen before completely transformed with a dusting of white.  


Why, thank you for welcoming me back with your chocolate  hazlenut goodness! 

I think Red Square may be more beautiful in winter than it was in fall.  Or just a different kind of beautiful.  We are really hoping to get to go inside this trip.  I was reading our tourist book on the way over, and am so excited to get to see places and things that are as old as the 1200's.  I read about Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great, the Romanov's, and St. Basil's cathedral.  This city has so much history, we could spend the entire week sightseeing and not even scratch the surface.  That building on the left is the home of the President.  


This is the view from our hotel room.  The spires in the distance are Red Square.  It is a beautiful view!

I need to find out more about this church out our window.  Isn't is pretty?  The snow just seems to add charm to everything.

We decided to try a hotel this trip to see which would be best for our final trip, an apartment or a hotel, when Gabriel is with us for several days before we come home.  Let's just say that when I saw this big, clean, comfy bed, I crashed hard.  Our room is just lovely, very, very nice.  We feel very spoiled. 

This is the view we woke up to after our nap.  Red Square is lit up in the distance.  I think it will be worth an evening stroll to see it at night.  

This is the view from where I am sitting now, in the lobby of our hotel.  It is gorgeous!  

And there's Brian, in the lobby.  It's very modern and comfortable.  I can't wait to try the breakfast buffet in the morning! 

So here is our schedule for the week:
Tuesday: our medical exams.  We get to be examined by no less than eight doctors to check everything from our neurological health, to x-rays of our lungs, to the condition of our heart.  Should be interesting!

Wednesday: We get to see our boy!!!

Thursday: In the morning we get to visit Gabe again (yay!  We were originally told we would only have one visit this trip, so this was a great surprise for us to hear!) In the afternoon is our court hearing.  We are excited, nervous, anxious, an everything in between.  If you think of it, will you pray for us?  We believe that even good thoughts are prayers of the heart, and would appreciate any that you could send our way Thursday.  

Friday: go home.  

Quick trip this time around, with lots to do and see.

Time to go find something to eat!  Paka!