Sunday, April 29, 2007

We have Roots!

Austin and Logan will always have their roots in Guatemala, but today we gave them some roots in Virginia, too!


¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Austin & Logan!!

One year ago today, we started making our way towards each other...

A story of God's hand at work:

Probably like most - we started our adoption journey not knowing where it would take us. A few wrong turns, and we finally landed in Guatemala.

During one of the homestudy interviews, I blurted out a question that had been burning in my head for about a week - do you ever get that? It's hard to explain, but my mind, on it's own, kept going back to this one same thought, it was kinda like having someone poking you in the back constantly. I kept dismissing it, but it just wouldn't go away. So, with no forewarning to my husband, in the middle of our interview, I asked "What about siblings?"

The whole time our social worker is explaining the answer to us - that you would have to request 2 children in the beginning, sibling groups are rare, blah, blah, blah my husband is looking at me like "two, when did two enter the picture" and I'm thinking, "two, heck, we can barely afford one adoption." But at least, I had asked the question that had been burning in my head. And I put it behind me.

Well, a month later, our Home Study came through for us to approve. My husband looked at it and then, I did. We reviewed it for mistakes, signed it and sent it in.

On the phone with our SW a week later she said, "Oh, I forgot to tell you that I went ahead and approved you for 2 children based on our conversation, just in case." In fact, I had seen that in our HS, but thought well, two is more than one and at least we're approved for one. I mentioned it to Gary, he said he had noticed it, too and thought the same thing as I. At that point, neither of us had wanted to slow anything down by making changes. So, we had both signed it individually, again without any discussion.

As far as our referral, Gary sort of wanted a little girl, our youngest son, Evan really wanted another boy. And I just wanted a baby. So, we said, agh, let God decide, He can give us the baby that was meant for our family.

Before we were paper ready, our SW went to Guatemala (at the beginning of June) to become familiar with the system (she was new). Within 2 hours of being at the facility, 6 week old twin baby boys were brought in (born 4/29/06) - they had spent the first 4 weeks of their little life in the hospital and they were just now coming in for their "referral picture". Our social worker said she was immediately "washed over" with a sense of our names.

So, she called us, said "You'll never believe it, twin baby boys just came in and you're the ONLY ONES approved for TWO! They're yours if you want them."

So, to everyone who asks, "Did you ask for twins?" No, but God sure had plans to get us our babies with or without our help!

By the way, when we looked back at what we doing 6 weeks ago when the boys were being born? We were sitting in our social workers office asking that burning question, "What about siblings?"

Later today, Gary, Mason, Evan and I will plant a Dogwood Tree in our backyard in honor of Austin and Logan. It will be known as Austin and Logan's tree and we look forward to watching it bloom every spring around their birthday!

We know that they are celebrating with their Foster Family, too and we cannot wait until we get to scoop them up ourselves in just two short weeks!!

We love you, baby boys!!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Results are IN....

We got the e-mail at about 8:00pm tonight....we have moved right along and are being told that this current step should take 2-3 more days and then we're on to Mr. Barrios desk! Yippee!!

And I think one week on Mr. Barrios desk should be enough to get the job done! And then we're are OUT of PGN!!

Today brought lots more activity with the US Embassy. So, hopefully, all those folks who have been stuck waiting there since mid Feb will all be gone (as they deserve to be) and outta my way so that once we're out of PGN, the US will grant us Visas within two weeks (like they used to)!!

We also contacted our Guatemalan lawyer today and asked for official permission to foster the boys. She wrote back, but I'm waiting for my translator to tell me what she my limited Spanish, it seems that she is agreeable!

After I finish dancing around the house, I'm going to bed with visions of my babies in my arms forever May 10th and in our home by May 30th!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Positive thoughts...

Okay…..something is in the air. I’m anxiously awaiting good news today. There is SO much activity in Guatemala this week. People are flying out of PGN and others are finally getting their Visa appointments left and right!

God is Good all the time….All the time, God is good!!

So, today (Thursday) we’re supposed to hear if the 2nd Reviewer has approved our file. If so, we go to the Big Guy’s (Mr. Barrios) desk and wait for him to sign-off for the final time!!!

Personally, I'm thinking we are ALREADY on Mr. Barrios desk!

Stay tuned….

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Yardsale Day!

A success!! We started early, very early - abut 4:30am. ;-) Gary and I started moving stuff out into the yard. Then, we woke Mason, Evan and Chris up around 6:15am and they finished helping us set up.

Gary, Mason and Evan all had to work today. So, Chris (Evan's best friend and our 3rd honorary son), Mom and Anne stuck out the day with me. THANK YOU, you guys are all awesome!!
So, here are a few pics from the day....
(below) The TEAM: Chris, Mom and Anne...What hard wrokers they all were!!

Forgot to mention,baby Eli put in a full day's work, too!

Net Profit: $730.67!! Whooppee!! First month fostering almost paid for! How exciting!

We have lots of stuff left and are still accepting donations - we will either have a yardsale again this coming weekend or later in the season when our neighborhood has a "block" yardsale.
Thanks again to our team of volunteers! And to ALL our friends and family who helped out!
God Bless!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Some Good News...

The US Embassy finally admitted that there was/had been an official hold-up on anyone's case who had the misfortune of being associated with the arrested facilitator. We believe this is the reason our Pre-Approval took so long and we were worried that this would affect us again when it came time for our visa appointment.

However, the word on the street is that the US Embassy is finishing up their investiagtions and we should start to see movement again! Yippee!!

Everything is going according to plan....File flies through PGN and when we get out, the backlog at the US Embassy is cleared up and we get a speedy Visa appointment!!

So, timeline? We should hear something again by next Thursday (or my gut is telling me sooner) in regards to our specific case. And we're hoping to be out of PGN the first week of May.

Then, the attorney needs to get a new birth certificate for the boys from their hometown - could take a few days or a week. After that, our case will be submitted to the US Embassy for our Visa appointment. Once we get their Visas, we get to bring our babies home!!

Gary and I still have plans to travel May 9th and again I am planning on just staying down there until we can all come home together. And I'ld really like to be back in time for Mason's graduation (June 12th)!

Thanks for the continued prayers and good thoughts. Hope to see everyone tomorrow at our GIGANTIC yardsale! ;-)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

What we were doing...

While Mom and Dad and the rest of our family were waiting for us back home,here is what we were doing...

Yardsale Reminder!

Thank you all SO much for the wonderful donations. As Mason and Evan have told everyone that stops by, "Welcome to our Thrift Store!"

Don't forget to stop on by on Saturday to pick-up some replacement items now that you've cleared away some space! And E-mail me if you need directions or if you would like a flyer to e-mail amongst your friends. Thanks again!

Hi Everyone! You know we'd be there if we could, but hope you all do well so Mommy can come live with us and stay until it's time for all of us to come home together!

Have Fun!!

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Waiting

The Adoptive Mother’s Conception, Pregnancy and Labor

No doubt, you were conceived in love.

Like a little bud, my love for you started growing so many months ago,

Research, attending “mandatory” classes, background checks, fingerprints

Your conception was not a moment of heated passion, not a weekend get-away,

Already in conception, I was labor-intensive.

Pregnancy for me:

That moment we first find out about our child, sometimes, it’s an unknown face, unknown sex, but we know you are out there and each day, we take more steps toward our children.

We don’t carry them in our bodies, many of us still gain weight or loose weight depending on how we handle the stress

Some of us may become physically sick

It takes more strength to carry our child in our hearts than it does in the womb

We’re strong,

Each day our hearts bear up under the burden of not having our child in our arms.

We have pregnancy brain, too – we walk in a cloud wandering around through the daily tasks, functions, waiting, waiting, waiting.


Another long day of labor pains! I tell my DH that I have worn out my “send/receive” button in my e-mail. Sometimes, I make up stupid rules, “I have surf 5 other websites before I check e-mail again.” I’ve never been pregnant, but I’ve assisted in the delivery of both my niece and my nephew. According to their mother, during the most uncomfortable pain, she just wanted to “push.” I think I can safely say, that I’ve just wanted to “push” now for over 8 months!

A day in the life of my “pregnancy:”

Wake up, Pray – Thank God for all that He has blessed me with. I know that even as I am not with my children, He is watching over them and He has a plan for all of to be together one day soon. I pray that this day will be the day I hear news (I am currently waiting for pre-approval).

Grab a cup of coffee and hit the internet – Rejoice over a few e-mails my other Guatemala Angel Mammas I have met along the way. They’re not bringing me news, but there’s comfort in knowing we are not walking this path alone! I then, surf all my boards, I am a “lurker” on several websites that have been listed in e-mails. I track their cases and see what those families are up to.

I hit the day, i.e enter the real world, wondering when I can get back to my computer. My day consists of responding several times “No, we don’t know anything new yet, we’re still not quite sure when they’ll be coming home.” “No, I have no idea why, foreign adoptions just take so long.” “No, it doesn’t seem right, does it?” “Yes, I know God has a Master Plan and yes, yes I know, I do try and just be patient.’” “Thank you so much for asking.”

At work, I do a task and then hit send/receive, call home check messages, surf the web again…..

At 5 o’clock, I usually give the “send/receive” a break knowing that I probably won’t hear anything after 5pm. I “lurk” again to see if any other families have any updates.

Hubby gets home and asks if we’ve heard anything yet? ;-) My mother calls, best friend calls, etc – all checking in to see if we’ve heard anything today! ;-)

Sunday, April 15, 2007

It's Care Package time again!

It’s time to send care packages to the boys again. Every three months we get to send whatever we can fit into a one gallon Ziploc bag (one for each) to Austin and Logan. So, we had thought we would be able to celebrate Easter with them on our next trip, April 27th. But right now, we have re-scheduled that trip for May 8th. So, we’re sending Easter to them! Here’s what’s going to get crammed into the baggies:

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Yea! The Orange file is FLYIN’

It’s workin’!! My guy was going to try and talk to the reviewer on Monday to see if my file was going to get approved or not. On Tuesday, he found out that the reviewer had already finished with my file, but he didn’t know if it had been approved or denied! What!?! Egads!

Another 24 hours glued to the computer….And then yippee! I got the phone call today. Stage I completed – my file was reviewed and is on to the next desk before my little guy could even catch up with it! Go Orange GO!!

So, now we wait and see how fast my file comes out of Stage II. Next update, hopefully, by Friday.

And we’re still praying that the US Embassy starts handing out Visas so that when we get to that step, they are waiting to fly us out the door, too.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Another bump....And a Hopeful Prayer Request

All weekend long, I’ve been fighting feeling down in the dumps. I have felt a weight and a sorrow that I kept trying to brush off. Then, last night I got the phone call that brought the dread to reality.

Most of you remember that when we returned home from our amazing visit trip in February, we found out shocking news that our facilitator had been arrested for harboring a child illegally in the US and in her home. Things were rough before, but her actions and arrest have created quite a storm that has left most of us just hanging on for dear life. Even those that did not have her as a facilitator are feeling the effects.

At this point, the US Embassy has two jobs, to issue Pre-Approvals (remember we waited forever for Austins!!) and to grant pink slips or visa appointments (this is when you pick-up your child’s new passport, etc and they officially become yours!! You get to board a plane home as soon as you have this appointment).

Okay, so we know that the US Embassy is “heavily scrutinizing” cases to make sure they are legit now. Any case associated with our lovely facilitator is getting “especially heavily scrutinized.” Believe it or not, that is actually a relief to most of us. I’m sure you all can relate, nobody would want a child under any circumstances that are not totally legit and honorable. While we never had reason to believe there were any wrongdoings in our case, we were very glad our file was being gone over with a fine tooth comb. In addition, we can only hope that our efficient government system has put several additional employees in place to handle all of this extra “heavily scrutinizing” of cases. ;-)

Alright, so, we’ve finally made it through Pre-Approval (back in early March). Right now we are in PGN (Guatemala side) and once we get out of PGN, we have to go back to the US Embassy for our Pink appointment.

So, we were anticipating another delay getting Pink. Yes, logic would say, we were “heavily scrutinized” during our Pre-Approval phase, but even if we do not get “heavily scrutinized” again, there is still a major back-up at the Embassy right now.

But here’s what my phone call last night informed me – since this whole “scandal” we have not seen a case associated with our facilitator get a Pink/visa appointment. Meaning since Feb 9, the US Embassy has not issued a Pink/Visa appointment for any parents to come get their child and bring them home – if their case had our facilitator. We are all anxiously awaiting to see that first case get a pink appointment, until then we are left to wonder…..

In the meantime, I wait hourly to get my update from Guatemala to see if we have made it through the first stages of PGN. I did not hear today, as I had hoped. So, we’ll see what tomorrow brings!

In my best case scenario, we’ll continue to progress quickly through PGN over the next few weeks and by the time we are out of PGN, voile! The US Embassy will have begun to process our facilitator’s cases again and we will be spared the extra wait because we already went through the “extra scrutinizing” when we waited more than 10 weeks to get our Pre-Approval

So tonight, I offer up the following prayer:

Dear God, I never knew this journey would be so hard. You are so generous and giving and you have carried us for so long now.

Tonight, I pray for all of the souls who are hurting right now, for those trying so desperately to bring their children home, even when they are being told to give up hope. God, I ask that you also be with our facilitator. We are not here to judge, please be with her and comfort her for our sake. Please replace our anger and hurt and desperation with more love, with greater faith, and with an endless supply of hope.

Again, we ask that you please place your hand across the hearts of the many individuals involved with our files. Tonight, God, let Your Name be spoken more and be spoken louder, all in the name of Goodness and for the sake of our children.

We glorify You, God, for doing that which we are unable to do without You – for delivering our children home safely into our waiting arms.


Sunday, April 8, 2007

Springtime in Richmond, Va!

Just thought I would post some pictures of our beautiful spring weather! These were taken yesterday morning.

Our Japanese Maple - in full bloom!

Our beautiful, colorful tulips!

We waited all winter for a real snowstorm.
This one was Bee-YOU-Tee-Full, lasted almost 2 1/2 minutes and then, poof! was gone! All well, there's always next spring!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

DMV and a DayDream

I was sitting at DMV today for the third time in five days.

On Friday, I had made it as far as the door leading into DMV. That’s where my spot in line would have been, had I stayed. No thank you! Yesterday, around 9:00am, I made it in the door, even got a number, sat in a chair, and left about 65 minutes later guesstimating that they would have eventually called out my number sometime between 11:45 am and noonish today. So, this was my third and final attempt. I came armed with a full stomach, a cheesy romance novel, a brand new bottle of water and a “prior-commitment” free afternoon.

I got settled and with no need for the novel quite yet, started day dreaming.

Gary and I are both doing this right now – we “see” our boys with us everywhere. I imagine them in the car with me, running errands, going to birthday parties on the weekends, etc. Gary and I can sit in the living room in the evenings and share a look that says, “Can’t you just see them running around this place?” When Evan comes home from school with his friends, I can see them playing with Austin and Logan until it’s time for them to go out for their afternoon pick-up basketball game. I can see Austin and Logan hanging out in Mason’s room while he’s on the computer because he’s such a cool big brother to hang out with.

I open the refrigerator and I can imagine all the new and different items it will have once they’re home. I do a load of laundry and imagine their little socks mixed up in there with all of our big people clothing. With this beautiful weather, the sound of children playing outside floats through our open windows. And I can hear Austin and Logan out there playing with them.

And so today, sitting at DMV, I closed my eyes and I imagined Austin and Logan with me. My first thought was that I wouldn’t be just bored and killing time anymore. In fact, I realized, I would probably be quite exhausted, par for the course once they’re home. I wondered if I would have brought them in their stroller – if they’re up and running, they’d be pretty hard to contain. So, I imagined that it would have taken me an additional 10 minutes to get unloaded and in the door on this trip, (and costing me 20 precious spots in line!). I’d have to have some “noise-free” toys to be polite, or maybe I’d be desperate enough not to care what toy entertained them, so long as it entertained them! Being a good, boy-scout prepared mommy, I’d probably have some cereal or snacks for them, too. Or maybe because it’s late in the day and a bit on the warm side, they’d be worn out and taking a little nap. As time ticked away, maybe I’d even sing a song to them and annoy the heck out of all the other folks around us who didn’t want to be at DMV either and who sure as heck didn’t want to hear a mom sing off-key with her sons. But then again, I also imagined that we would constantly be surrounded by a steady stream of co-customers as they showered me with compliments on what adorable, incredible little boys I have!

And then, in the middle of my day dream, I hear a baby across the room cry out. Not the tiny little wail of a hungry infant. And not the loud, obnoxious screaming of an older child in the middle of a temp tantrum, but just the short, quick angry little shout of an almost 1 year old who seemed to be saying "Hey, I'm bored, what the heck are we doing sitting here in this crowded room anyway?"

And I smiled! ;-)

Soon. Soon. I thought – it won’t just be a daydream!