Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Various family pictures...

Other pictures from December that have never been posted, in no particular order!

The princess surrounded by her adoring brothers :)
This morning they were so sweet! I was busy and she was fussy, and they took over reading her her Christmas gift!

Jesus likes holding Sophia the most!

  Showing Daddy how they filled up their new shelves

Jesus did a great job making name labels for their drawers 

Every evening, Jake goes through their chore list checking off what was done. A smiley face is added if everything was up to par, a sad face if not. (Only one sad face this first week!)

A page of Sophia's new Bolivian passport!
(Blogger loaded two pictures in this post sideways, sigh.)

Daddy helping with bath time :) 

Doesn't she look like a little doll?!

Blueberry Pancakes for a hungry family! 

 Sophia with the Baby Home's youngest babies, December 7
(They've all grown so much in three weeks!)

 Some other "missing" pictures are of us having a lovely afternoon swimming at a hotel on December 27 with the boys! We didn't take our cameras but if so, you would have seen pictures of my four fish who love swimming (husband and sons)!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Our Christmas Day

A few pictures from our family's Christmas Day!
Sophia with her sweet baby doll, from Grandma & Grandpa Thompson (so weird to call them that!)

We all opened our gifts one by one 

Jake trying out his new eye mask...

What creativity! Jake made this origami box for the beautiful pearl drop earrings he gave me.

 The living room after the gift opening!! (I think Jake is trimming the baby's nails.)
Christmas Dinner on the stove! (I could've gotten a more flattering picture of the chicken, ha! Was busy with my pots I guess.) 

 Dinner Time

 Caught kissing! ;)

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Christmas Eve/Gotcha Day!!!

We arrived to the court at 10:25am on Christmas Eve, a little later than we wanted, so we barely had time to greet the boys (who had just arrived with Tia Rosa) and lawyer before being called in. Oh, and talk briefly with a Dutch family who had just gotten out of their adoption hearing with their twin girls. After we were called in, but were still waiting for everyone to gather and walk in together, Angel peeked in door of the judge’s office and said excitedly, “Tia, I know the judge! She’s very nice!” Marcus also got a look and recalled already being in hearings with the same judge. They trooped in quite happily! Extra chairs had to be brought in for our big crew. Again, the baby was mostly asleep, or awake and content. She just cried out once and I gave her the pacifier and we were safe, shew!! This time we had no back up help waiting outside, as volunteer Kaley was helping with the Baby Home Christmas. 

First in the hearing, the court secretary read aloud the report Casa de Amor’s staff wrote on us. I was a little worried about the boys hearing it, but so far it only seems positive that they heard when Jake and I first wanted to adopt each one, and why. This was probably the first time Angel learned that my family wanted to adopt him, and now instead of being their son he will be their grandson, and also that his grandmother insisted that I be his mother. All three listened intently and just beamed as they heard their names mentioned.

After the reading of the report, the judge asked the SEDEGES and Child Defense reps to chime in, both different from the last hearing two weeks prior. (The lady who grilled us so much was not present, as she had gotten married the weekend before.) The first lady started off by saying she was going to guess which boy was which, according to mine and Jake’s descriptions of them in the report. She was right!! Then she asked the boys “How do you feel about having Jacob and Jennifer as parents?” They immediately answered in chorus, “Felices!!” (happy) Every other question she asked: Do you want to go live with them? Are you going to study well? Do you like your little sister? Were answered positively, in complete unison. Everyone in the room was looking at each other like, had they rehearsed their answers?! Maybe their little meeting with Rosa and Carla at CDA’s office the week before had really helped. The second government representative asked the boys a couple of questions... And then it was done!

The judge had gotten out a tissue during the hearing and I assumed she had a cold, but by the end, I realized she was weeping. Her eyes were all red and she was wiping them clear! I was so surprised, because she was so quiet and almost bored looking during our hearings that I wondered if she remembered Angel’s story at all, but Rosa talked with the judge a minute and later told me that yes, she well remembered everything! (Eventually when I have time, I’ll write the stories of the three boys.)

I had never seen this done before, but I asked the judge if we could take a picture with her and she agreed.

First picture as a family, with the judge who first asked if I would adopt Angel

Second picture, with SEDEGES rep

Afterwards, we took Rosa back to the Baby Home. The babies were having their Christmas (first time that I've missed it in maybe 9 years!).

We picked up all the boys things waiting for them there and then went out to lunch at a new food court in town.

Waiting for lunch...

Good proof for Jake how much Sophia looks like him :)

The boys had a choice afterwards: play the video games or eat ice cream.
Good choice!

My car is pretty full now!! They will fit better in Jake's, but it's been in the shop for improvements for nearly two months now...

Whoever thought orphans would arrive with so many things?! (And this is the third time we're hauling in their stuff!!)

Hauling in their clothes and more toys

Jake showing the new shelves and deciding which is for which boy

Checking out the gifts under the tree!

Marcus asked if they could open one gift that day, and the rest on Christmas Day. We decided that yes, they could open one gift, but after dark!

We made some family pictures using Jake's little tripod. I laughed out loud to see them later! We look like some crazy family on the cover of a dumb movie (no offense to those in the picture!). Taking group pictures at Casa de Amor should have prepared me - we should have made at least a dozen pictures if we hoped for a good one!!

 This was the BEST picture?!

Jake helped me get great pictures of Sophia by the tree :)

Hmm... Another head snuck into the picture!

We spent some time organizing their things in their new room and hanging up clothes.

Angel said he'd like to take the same math placement test that Jesus had already finished. Meanwhile, the other boys looked at pictures of themselves throughout the years at CDA on my computer.

Jake made us a wonderful spaghetti meal. Simple, but tasty and filling. This just might become a Christmas tradition!
Opening gifts after our little walk around the neighborhood and playing at a park

Thanks for the great Lego gifts, Grandpa & Grandma Beaty! 

The boys spent a couple hours that night putting together their Lego trucks. Pretty neat! I've not studied boy toys very much, growing up with all sisters, so was impressed by all the fun details.

Jake took this picture of all of us working on our projects: the boys on their trucks, me composing the family's Christmas letter, and Sophia settling down to sleep. :)
What a memorable Christmas Eve for all of us!!!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Beaty Family Christmas Letter 2013

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

December 24, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

Season’s greetings from the Beaty family! And we are indeed a FAMILY now. Hard to believe that one year ago it was just Jake and me celebrating Christmas as newlyweds! It’s hard to imagine that any future year could bring quite as many “firsts” and changes and excitement for us as 2013!!

We welcomed in the New Year at a car rental place in Miami with Jake’s family, just minutes after I had first met them! Both of our families and a small group of relatives and friends joined us on a beach in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, on January 5, 2013, for our second wedding, this time on US soil. We had such a good time, being together and with our families. The whole trip felt like a true vacation and very special honeymoon!

Back in Bolivia, on January 28, Casa de Amor made a big step by dividing the boys and girls into different houses. Our oldest were ages 3 to 9 at that point and we made this move preparing for most of these children to be with us long term. While it was a little sad at first to separate the kids, they live just one kilometer apart and still see each other at least once a day at school and other special activities. Also, the staff immediately reported that they were giving much better attention to the smaller groups of children.

On February 14, my suspicions were confirmed after 3 positive pregnancy tests. I could hardly wait until after our Valentine’s Day dinner to tell Jake we were having a baby!! We both cried with joy at a dream come true, and so quickly, too.

By March, Jake was regularly attending Youth Group meetings at Cochabamba International Church. In April, he took over the large group of young people from the former leader who was moving back to the US.

In April, we also began the paperwork process with a lawyer to be able to adopt our three oldest boys of Casa de Amor! Even before our Bolivia wedding on November 30, 2012, Jake asked me what I thought of adopting not only Angel (a child who has always held a special place in my family) but Luis Jesus and Marcus, as well. After catching my breath, I said yes!  

Jake’s last day at Calvert of his first full school year was on June 11. On June 12, we were at Casa de Amor II (the boy’s house) for our future son’s 9th birthday and also finished up our adoption evaluation in government offices. On July 13, we began our big trip!

In a whirlwind six weeks we visited Machu Picchu and missionary friends in Peru, spent 12 days in Italy visiting 8 former Casa de Amor kids (now adopted), and visited with family, friends, and my home church in Texas. The last two weeks were spent in Washington visiting Jake’s family and friends I had met in Bolivia. It was great to finally see Jake’s famous cabin and see how beloved he is in Chelan! One of the highlights for me was watching him participate in a triathlon.

We got home to Bolivia in late July, just in time to receive a mission team from Texas for Casa de Amor and for Jake to start a new year teaching high school science at Calvert. I am so proud of him, how he has persevered through many tough days at Calvert! Without going into details, he’s an awesome teacher who is well-respected by his co-workers and a favorite with the students, but crowd control is a minute-by-minute battle. He is sticking it out till the end of his two year contract and then has some exciting new plans!

In late September, my mom visited to help us prepare for the arrival of our 4 children. By this point, we had decided to stay in our two bedroom condo and it was fun getting our home, already full of great memories, ready for our expanding family. The last three days of the month included three baby showers!

On Thursday, October 10, Jake and I presented our official adoption request to court with 21 accompanying documents! Friday, October 11, I met with my office staff as my last official day of work before beginning maternity leave. But that very Sunday, October 13, our beautiful baby Sophia Katherine was born 9 days early! Repeat CDA volunteer Katrina, also a midwife, barely got to Bolivia from New Zealand in time to deliver our baby in my dream home birth. It’s been pretty amazing to get to know my baby who will always be with me, unlike the dozens who have been at Casa de Amor only temporarily!  

Jake’s mom arrived for a visit two days after Sophia’s birth and was a very big help and encouragement for three weeks. It was neat that she enjoyed Cochabamba, too! During that time Jake was able to switch to part time work at school, getting home by 1pm every day. That was great timing, because….    

On December 10, we were finally called in to court for our first hearing regarding the adoption of our three boys! After the hearing, the boys got a big surprise in learning we were their new parents. For the next two weeks we enjoyed frequent visits and fun times talking with the boys and sharing things such as their new names. We have been so pleased with their very positive response to such a big change in their lives. Today, on Christmas Eve, we got a pretty big Christmas gift with our second hearing and official permission for the boys to move in with us! Our family size doubled and it’s like Jake always says: “Just add water!!”

With our adoption of the three boys, Casa de Amor has had 17 adoptions and guardianships of children for a record-breaking year! God is so good to set our children in loving families (Psalm 68:6).

We pray that you have a blessed CHRISTmas season this year enjoying special times with family!  

Much Love from the Beaty Family,
Jacob, Jennifer, Joel (10), Michael (10), Samuel (9), Sophia (10 weeks)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Park Day with the Family

We had a fun afternoon on Sunday!! We picked up the boys after church (and a church meeting) and went to one of our favorite places a bit outside of town, Parque Nacional Pairumani. It was a nice cool day, great for hiking.

The boys raced ahead of us during the climb so we had a quiet time with the baby, ha! The last time we went up, with a team from Texas, I was 7 ½ months pregnant. Jake said he would be carrying the baby the next time, and he was!

The boys ran down to greet us as we approached the top
My family!!

Climbing up...

...and climbing down!

Napping under her daddy's rain jacket...

...while he plays with the boys further upstream!

Love these pictures of Sophia!

She enjoyed her first hike :)

After dropping the boys off at their house, back at home Jake had the great idea to add Christmas lights to the new shelves in the boy's room!

Love the shelves and mini Christmas tree!

Next post.... Gotcha Day!!! :)