Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Where's Noah?!?!
Today was another good day of progress being made!  We woke up, got breakfast at the hotel, then watched a little Paw Chatrol (Patrol) before getting ready to go to the U.S. Embassy for our first appointment towards getting our visa for Noah.  Thankfully, we only had to bring a few pieces of paperwork with us because our superhero attorney Marta already had everything prepared and ready to go.  Because Marta could not go in with us, she gave us the paperwork, and sent us in by ourselves.  We were told not to bring any electronics with us, but as soon as we started to go through security they spotted Amanda’s FitBit.  So she had go outside and give it to Marta.  Then, they spotted the few snacks we had for Noah; but they wouldn't throw them away or let us in with them, so Clint had to shuffle outside with his shoes halfway on and no belt to dump the snacks into Marta’s purse.  We did make it inside ok though and after being sent at several wrong windows, we arrived at correct one, where the lady who was going to accept our paperwork and interview us was waiting.  It didn’t take long because everything was in order; so we went back to the hotel to wait and receive our case number so we could go to the doctor and get a TB skin test done for Noah.

Once we received our case number, we made our way to the Honduras Medical Center.  On the way in we had to walk down a flight of stairs and Amanda/“Grace”, who was holding Noah, tripped and nearly wiped out!  Thankfully she was able to avoid disaster.  HaHa.  Once we got inside we met with personnel who needed to get Noah’s information and weight.  Well, he screamed and cried and didn’t want to get on the scale.  So, they had to weigh Mama first and then Noah and Mama together.  Then we made our way to the doctor who would give Noah the TB skin test.  That was definitely a tough time for Noah.  As soon as they started to clean his arm, he began to scream and cry and didn’t stop until they pulled that massive needle outside of his little arm.  As soon as it was over though he got a sucker and smiled and told the doctor “Adios!”  Overall he did a good job!

On Saturday, we will go back to the HMC to have the TB skin test read.  Then, on Tuesday, when the doctor gets back in the office, we will complete the rest of the medical exam.  Of course after we finished this horrifying experience, we had to stop and get some coffee for Daddy and cookies for Mama and Noah.  Noah left with a cookie in one hand and a sucker in the other!  He earned a good snack for being a big boy!

We’re currently back at the hotel waiting for Wheel of Fortune to come on, and then we will live- stream Pinelake’s Wednesday night church service.  Mama is going to cook some burritos if the oven gets fixed, and later is the rooftop dance party!  That’s where we play music on our phones and have a family dance off.  Noah always wins.  Ha!  We had a good day and are grateful for the progress this week.  Thank you so much for the prayers!  We know our Father was with us today.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Yesterday marked 5 weeks that we have been in Honduras.  Today was the day that we have been waiting for over the last 15 business days: Noah’s new birth certificate day!  Ricardo and Marta arrived early to the registration office to receive the new birth certificate, but had to wait and wait and wait.  Also, we were waiting all day to get word of their receiving it, so that we would be picked up and taken to the Honduras immigration office to get Noah’s passport.  Finally, at 2:38 pm, we got a message from Ricardo saying that they had the birth certificate and would pick us up shortly.  We arrived at immigration around 3:45 (they would close around 5:00) and sat down in one area while our lawyer Marta sat down in a line of chairs to wait for our turn to present the birth certificate and other documents to the lady who would allow us to proceed to the next step for obtaining his passport.  Because we were about 10th in line and there was only one lady working, we knew there was no way we would be seen before closing time; and we have to have the passport for our 10:00 am appointment tomorrow at the US Embassy.  We could sense the anxiousness from Marta as well, as she scurried around chatting persistently and convincingly to several official people.  Then, (from heaven) appeared another worker in the office at a cubicle labeled “emergency cases” who agreed to hear our case.  Soon, we were moving into another room to present documents; and before we knew it, we were having Noah’s picture made.  We were told we would wait 40 minutes for his passport (it was now 4:47).  At 5:02, after workers had begun to leave, doors were being locked, and air conditioning had been turned off, we were presented with his passport by a fellow who was on his way home from work!  God surely showed up big time this afternoon; and we also surely do appreciate Marta’s hard work to get this done today.  Now, tomorrow, we will have our first meeting at the US embassy and hopefully a mandatory doctor’s appointment, working towards getting Noah’s visa.  This is the beginning of the last step for us in being able to come home!  Please pray for us tomorrow. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Today was a tough day because we had to say see you later to Aunt Ash and Momee.  We are so glad that they were able to come down, meet Noah, and spend some time with us over this long Easter weekend.  The weekend was filled with activity as we wanted to show our family the Honduran ropes.  They arrived on Friday and received a friendly welcome from Noah, who took to them both very quickly.  We hung around the hotel Friday, ate dinner, and introduced Aunt Ash and Momee to Noah’s dance moves!  Our hotel has an open air roof with flashing colored lights, so at night we go up top, play some music, and let loose!  Noah has got some moves for sure!  Mama and Daddy…not so much.  HaHa! But we have fun!  On Saturday, we headed out of the city to do some sightseeing and shopping.  We fed the ducks and turtles in Santa Lucia and then fed ourselves some freshly made plantain chips.  Aunt Ash and Momee enjoyed shopping at a store with some local flowers, plants, and outdoor decor.  After that, we were able to shop in Valle De Angeles before enjoying a Honduran meal at El Roble.  On Sunday, we were able to tune in online to our Pinelake’s Easter service and worship our risen Lord from Honduras!  We are so grateful that we can connect with our church family in that way.  Sunday afternoon we made a trip to a nearby mall and let Noah play in the kid’s area.  We all got some chocolate/swirl ice cream while Daddy got some coffee.  Mama went to give Noah a bite of his chocolate/swirl ice cream cone and all the ice cream slid off the cone and onto the ground!  Noah looked at it on the ground like, “I know that wasn’t my ice cream,”  Haha!  Thankfully the staff at Dunkin Donuts was gracious and gave us a new ice cream cone for Noah.  He loves chocolate ice cream!  Monday we had planned to go to the zoo, but it was closed; so we went to a neighboring park to let Noah play on the slides, swings, and see saws.  

Next, we walked a nature trail up to the huge Jesus statue.  It’s a really beautiful place, and the statue is amazing to see.  There was also a replica of a tomb containing Jesus.  So thankful that the real tomb is empty!  What a special experience to have been able to visit this park, especially during this Easter weekend.  We are so grateful to have spent Easter with Noah this year and that Aunt Ash and Momee could join us!  Seeing Noah run down the trail towards the huge statue of Jesus with His arms open wide made us think of the verse in Matthew, “Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:14).  That’s how we all should be, like children running into the arms of our Savior!

During the last two weeks and since we last blogged, we have been just waiting for the new birth certificate to be done, but expect it to be done a week from today on the 25th.  Then, we can continue the legal process and work towards coming home.  We have continued our daily/weekly schedules that we established the first two weeks we were here.  We are so impressed with how Noah is picking up on English.  He is so smart!   There are so many Spanish words and phrases he used to say that now he says in English…like Buenos Dias/Good Morning, Adios/Goodbye, Gracias/Thank You, Zapatos/Shoes, Agua/Water, Pelota/Ball, and so many more.  He is getting good at saying animal names and making and their sounds.  He likes to sing Old McDonald Had a Farm.  He has learned how to put 3-dimensional shape blocks in their correct spots.  And now, he has even learned what “time out” is LOL.  We took Noah to the arcade for the first time, which he really enjoyed.  He enjoys Facetiming with family and friends.  We were also able to spend a few days at the beach, introducing Noah to the sand and water for the first time.  He loved the sand (but not so much the taste of it 😝), the ocean water, and the swimming pool.  He became famous around the hotel where we stayed because of his dancing performance in front of everyone there.  Anytime we were not in our room, someone was saying “Hi Noah! Can you dance for us?” So funny!  it was great to get away for a few days and it helped pass the time as well.    

The process has been so long but we’re getting closer to coming back home - shooting for May 10th, so prayers for that would be appreciated.  Ready to see everyone and for Noah to meet you all!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

 From now on we will get to celebrate "Family Day" every year on April 4!  We started out the day like every other day for the last two weeks - waking up around 7:30 and heading downstairs for breakfast. We then spent an hour or so back up in the apartment playing before heading up to the roof to play outside with bubbles.  As we were coming down from the roof, we met our hardworking lawyer Marta and her son, who is also our driver, translator, tour guide, and so much more (thanks Ricardo!) who had frantically come to look for us because our signing, which was originally scheduled for 3:00 and then rescheduled for 2:00, had apparently now been moved to 11:00.  Now, that was fine except for the fact that it was 11:12 and none of us were dressed for the day.  In fact, one of us was still in pajamas!  We raced back to the apartment and in 12.35 minutes, all three of us were dressed to impress.  When we arrived to DINAF, we dropped Noah off at the play area, and Ricardo stayed with him. Then, we went into a room with six other participants/observers, where the notary read the entire 10 legal-sized page document of the official adoption decree aloud. We didn't understand much, but we heard our names and Noah's name several times and felt very grateful that this was the moment that we would be officially recognized as a family of three.  We proceeded to sign off and place our fingerprints on the document and in just under an hour, we were returning to the play area to be reunited with Noah. Ricardo said he cried a lot and Called for Mama and Daddy - that was the first time we had been apart in two weeks.  Noah was so glad to see us, which totally warmed our hearts 😍.  Next, we were on our way as three Hatches!

Now...although we had the official signing today, we still have a long way to go before we can come home. The official papers from today will be turned in to the courts tomorrow. Then, there is a mandatory law that requires a 10-business day waiting period (but in Honduras, the country pretty much shuts down from work for Semana Santa, which is their celebration of Easter during the week leading up to Easter; so we will now have a 15-business day waiting period because of this) before we are able to obtain Noah's new birth certificate which has his new name and our names as his parents.  Because of this, we are expecting the get his new birth certificate on April 25, so lots more waiting. Once we have his new birth certificate, we will be dealing with the  immigration department here and the US embassy for passports and visas. We anticipate that those aspects will take around two weeks. It appears that we won't be coming home for around five more weeks. It's really hard to let this part sink in, but as some special people reminded us recently: God's has had His hand on this adoption since the beginning and He's got this too. "For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may received what was promised."  - Hebrews 10:36

The waiting has always been and will continue to be hard, but what an incredible thing God is doing in our hearts and lives!  We greatly appreciate each and every prayer to our good Father in heaven on our behalf. They're being answered!

Thanks to everyone for sharing in our exciting day through all of your encouraging and kind comments on our post and pictures today!!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Hola from Tegucigalpa, Honduras!

This past week, we received great news - that our signing date to make the adoption official will be this Tuesday! When we found out, we were high fivin' and fist bumpin'!  We're so glad that the date has been set, and that we will be able to move forward with the rest of our paperwork here. The next step after signing is to take the paperwork to the registrar, who will make a new birth certificate for Noah. That will take about ten working days, so we'll be playing the waiting game again until we get the new birth certificate...but we've gotten pretty good at that over the years.

Since our last update, we've been to the zoo, a national park, and the mall where there is an awesome play area that Noah loves. The zoo was really nice and his favorite animal was the peacock! We also got to see a big lion, some monkeys, and some scary snakes. Well, everyone got to see the snakes except for Mama. She didn't want any part of that! Haha. The national park was nice and we got to take a walk through it, play on the swings and slides, watch some kids play a game with balloons, and dance to some of the local music! Noah can really break it down. He must be quick learner from his Dad! ;) The mall play area was fun because he got to play in a ball pit with some other kids. He stayed in there for an hour and didn't want to leave.  So, right then and there he pitched a nice little fit; but by the time we had turned the corner, he was back to his normal, happy self!

Overall, we're doing well here and slowly learning about being parents for the first time, which is kinda hard (LOL), especially when we're in a foreign country for an undetermined number of weeks and we've been given our two year old son who doesn't speak our language and we are living in a 900 square foot apartment. It's...awesomely interesting!  The good news is that Noah is a normal two year old little boy. The bad news is that Noah is a normal two year old little boy. Haha! We're so grateful that the good far outweighs the bad!  He is continuing to pick up on English quickly as he understands most of what we say and is ever increasing his vocabulary.  With God's help we're learning how to be a family of 3, and by His grace alone we are doing really well!

Thanks so much to everyone who has participated in the Noah's Home t-shirt fundraiser -what a blessing!  We can't wait for you all to meet Noah!!  (Pictures coming Tuesday)

Also, please keep us in your prayers as we move closer to finishing this part of our journey!