Thursday, December 27, 2007
We are waiting for a new Birth Certificate for Luciana. I don't expect it until the end of the first week in January, though sooner would be just fine with us! I am surprisingly calm waiting for this next step and have accepted, for now, that there are certain timeframes for these last few steps, and I can stay busy getting ready for baby girl as I check each one off the "checklist"!
So, that's the one to be looking for... Birth Certificate. It will have OUR last name on it... isn't that cool!?!?
In the meantime, I will be back soon with a Christmas post. It was a really nice time with family, and we have more family to see over the weekend. Then, I will be back with a few pics of Sam tearing into his loot!
If you are antsy for a really good "feel good" post, pop over to see my friends Steph and Jason as they spend this wonderful holiday with Eli! Little Pea
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Luciana's birthmother signed the adoption decree, and we are legally Luciana's parents! Ohhhhhhhh, that feels so good! Of course, as you can imagine, knowing the heartache of her birthmother makes this a bittersweet moment. We just pray she is comforted knowing that Luciana is coming to a family who already loves her with everything they have.
This journey is long, and it is hard, but the rewards are so huge. It is amazing what moments like these do for our spirits. We are just grinning ear to ear and saying over and over, "She is ours!".
For now, let's just say WOOOOOOHOOOOOOOO!
Love, love, love!
(Okay, okay... what's next? Waiting on Birth Certificate to be issued with our last name. Refer to Checklist. We are getting there!)
Given that the rest of our life is an open book to the world, why not take a minute to gush about my husband? ** Cheesy ALERT! ** So, here they are... the 33 times Keith made me smile, made me laugh, made me proud, content, and grateful... on his birthday...
1) I love the way you made Sam beam when you opened your morning present. He was so proud of finding that Rubix cube for you!
2) I love how appreciative you were for the breakfast I made you despite the whole house smelling like bacon as a result.
3) I love that you patiently listened as Sam explained "how" to take him to the bus, what to do and say when the bus comes, and how to wave to him.
4) I loved having lazy coffee with you in our home.
5) I loved bumping into you all around the house during my morning routine when you are usually at work.
6) I admire that you were excited to shop for our daughter on your birthday, that you truly want nothing for yourself, and that you always put us first.
7) I loved your careful consideration of the best diaper pail for the nursery.
8) I adore that you cheered on my attempts to compare prices and use coupons! You were so proud of me!
9) I so enjoyed sipping a steaming hot cup of coffee with you at Starbuck's and taking time to just talk together.
10)I love that you thought it was a great opportunity to get your hair cut while I set off to buy the entire pink section of Old Navy.
11) I loved it when you gushed over little lady bug shoes.
12) I am amazed at our ease of nonstop conversation while spending every second together.
13) I am still smiling over our lunch together downtown. Didn't it feel like we were getting away with something to be eating lunch in "the city" on a Tuesday!?!
14) I loved playing the "new store" game with you in the OP.
15) I so appreciate your commitment to finding the "right" calendar for my nursery project.
16) Even more, I really appreciate your patient response when we later discovered it was not the "right" calendar.
17) I appreciate your humor with the driving incident. hee hee
18) I loved watching you sled with Sam when we returned home. You two are such pals.
19) I adored both of your bright pink cheeks when the cold finally forced you in.
20) I love your appreciation and excitement for your lack of big surprise gifts.
21) Thank you for thanking me over and over for a special day.
22) I loved putting our son to bed together.
23) I really enjoyed our sushi on the couch dinner.
24) I am in awe that we find days this simple to be the most special.
25) I am grateful of the way we laughed over the ridiculousness of "the process".
26) I am thankful for your accepting of my need to stalk guatadopt during commercials of Clash of the Choirs.
27) I loved dancing around to the tunes on your gift bag from your mom.
28) I love that you replayed your birthday messages from your family with a huge smile on your face.
29) I love that you tried to ignore your phone today.
30) I loved ending our day beside each other on our loveseat.
31) I am thankful for your birthday because it gave us this lovely day together.
32) I am thankful for any day that means we get to laugh together, talk together, be quiet together... just be together.
33) Thank you for a special day. Happy Birthday.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Happy Birthday, Keith!
I love this man! I truly consider myself to be a very blessed lady to have been lucky enough to spend the last 13 years with Keith. We have grown up together and changed together and loved each other in the craziest of times. Watching Keith become a father has been one of the most exciting experiences of my life and I beam knowing how lucky my children are to have him as their Dad. I wouldn't want to be on this crazy ride with anyone else, and I am so happy that I get to celebrate my amazing husband today!
Love, love, love.
Monday, December 17, 2007
Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo!
In Guatemala, the folklore relating to the Christmas celebration is very rich and full of details. One will find many families building manger scenes, representing the town of Bethlehem. These manger scenes sometimes are so large they occupy a whole room of the home. Mountains, rivers, desserts, lakes, and valleys, along with figures of the holy family, wise men, shepherds, and animals are created out of natural materials like moss, colored wooddust, sand, pebbles and tropical leaves called "pacaya."
The Christmas celebration in Guatemala continues well into the early morning hours of Christmas day. At midday on the 25th, people will again set off firecrackers and attend church. Children are very much an important part of this special celebration.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Huge fiestas are held all over Mexico and Central America to honor the day of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Throughout the day, people come to the church to pray. Many of them pin milagros (which means miracles) near the statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe. These small silver or tin objects are shaped like hearts, arms, or legs, and symbolize the giver’s thanks for a cure."
Saturday, December 15, 2007
It was so special for me to have my Mimi at this shower. She wasn't able to be at my wedding shower or baby shower for Sam because she and Papa were living in Florida. This was her first baby shower! Ever! She just loved seeing all the little things, and it was so fun for me to watch her enjoy it all. She is just so ready to get her hands on this baby... aren't we all!??!
Thank you all for a lovely day together. Hoping our next big gathering is a "Welcome Home" party!
PS- Thank you, Laura, for snapping the candids. I notice you managed to find a way to stay out of them!
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
We are OUT of PGN!!!!!
After a whole day of self control, I broke down and called PGN at the end of the day. The woman I spoke with told me that we had been approved!!!!!!! APPROVED!!!! I know I cried, and I think I screamed. I can't believe this feeling! We have the official word from the Guatemalan government that we are approved to be Luciana's family! This has been such an amazing day! I have not received word from our agency yet, but that will come soon!
This dreamy day was nothing like I pictured it. Keith is out of town for work, so I had to call him 4 times before he finally picked up to hear the great news. I was rewarded with the cheers of a room full of people who had been working on audits all day... how great is that? My parents were in the air somewhere between Florida and Maine, so they got the news in a New York airport. Sammy was with me and was truly happy and emotional, but was off to a friend's for dinner to leave me in my pacing, grinning state for the next 2 hours!
Luckily, my book club full of close friends was scheduled to be at my house tonight, so there were many cheers at our news! AND, many more of those much needed HUGS!!!! Even a few tears! This baby is so loved! I was even reassured that my first attempt at sewing a teddy bear wasn't too bad... I love my friends!
I have so much to share... but, I am wiped out! After several phone calls and a lot of disbelief and shock, I must go to bed!
Tomorrow promises a better post to share this amazing moment... and maybe some pics to show our cheer! Tonight, going to bed with a big old "my baby girl is coming home" smile on my face!
Much, much love.
Oh yay! They are all jumping for joy this week, and can you blame them?!? WOO HOO!
Now, if Senior Barrios could just pick up that pen, I would love to make our next post all about Luciana and Eli... that would be a Christmas wish come true!
PS- I was planning to call PGN tomorrow. Should I call today? Hmmmmm.
Friday, December 7, 2007
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
To love a child in another country being raised and cared for by another family, or in an orphanage... it is, simply, just hard. And do you want to know what we know? We know that it could be harder. We know that other people adopting have it harder, wait longer, have more heartbreak... and it is still hard. We even know that some people aren't as fortunate to even be able to adopt. Do you want to know what else we know? We know we are blessed, we know we are lucky, we know that in time this will all be over, our babies will be home, and this will all just be part of the story of how we became a family. We know. Trust me.
Every day we wish we were stronger.
Still, every day, every single day... we smile and laugh, we say a little prayer, make a little wish, and "let it go" in whatever way we can that day. We smile while telling people about this experience. We remain hopeful, and excited, and grateful. We do all the grownup self-talk we can fabricate to get through each day of missing our daughter or son... but we are not 5.
Sam is 5. He has been planning and dreaming and hoping and loving right along with us. He is a child. My first baby. He has amazed us at every step of the way in this process. He is the superhero he has always told us he wanted to be when he grows up. He does not doubt. He does not question. He does not pour over timelines, or pace when anxiously waiting for updates, or get stomach aches when a government is not really sure what they plan to do with their adoption program. He trusts. He believes with all of his heart that God has this in the bag, and that his Mama and Daddy will bring his baby sister home. He tells us what WE need to do to get ready for HIS baby sister. He giggles at the site of her picture, he swoons over video of a trip he desperately wanted to be a part of, he studies the best high chair and doesn't ask for anything for himself when we go to pick it out. In the same breath, he has zero patience for SANTA! But this, waiting for his sister, he is calm.
So, when tonight, at dinner, he asked if his baby sister would be home before Christmas so that we could all finally be together...
This is hard.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
This is the view from our back window. Brrrrrrr! It doesn't look like much, but it was a decent "first snow". Enough for a SNOW DAY! Sam was outside for 4 hours sledding and snowboarding! Miss Lucy is in for a big surprise when she comes home!
Wishing you all Happy Holidays!
Monday, December 3, 2007
I've been tagged by Bobbi!
4 jobs I have held:
-Teacher (K, 1, 2, 3)
-Waitress... I am a horrible waitress
-Cashier at Filene's Basement during the Holiday Season!
4 movies watched more than once:
-Pretty Woman (ditto, Bobbi)
-Fried Green Tomatos
-Anything John Cussak was in in the 80's/90's
-4 Weddings and a Funeral
4 TV Shows I watch faithfully:
-The Office/Grey's Anatomy (depends on whether I am with K or friends on Thursdays!)
-Kitchen Nightmares/Hell's Kitchen
-LOST (it's not just my state of mind!)
4 places I have vacationed:
-Italy, Ireland, Scotland (same trip)
-Arizona (after driving there from Maine!)
-Dominican Republic (honeymoon)
-Bar Harbor last summer, camping with friends
4 Favorite Foods:
-chicken, broccoli, & feta pizza
-fries (love 'em, but avoid them... unless "researching" w/Sarah)
-My Dad's french toast w/ secret ingredient
-a perfectly grilled steak
Places I'd rather be:
-Florida... loving up my new baby niece
-Greece (why not?)
Hobbies I have:
-Reading (alone or w/ Sammy)
-shopping... hee hee
So there. Those of you who know me will probably not find any of that surprising. For the rest of you, now you know me just a little better. Hope you still come around! ;-)
Steph, you knew it was coming.... TAG! And, Tracy, I think you should get in on this, too. It's a good distraction while we all... you know... wait! Have fun!
Friday, November 30, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
I hesitated to post this, because we are not "OUT" yet, but if "what is next?" is what you are wondering, then here you go...hope it helps!
* Adoption Decree Signed -the child is legally now the child of the adoptive family. Yay!
* Birth Certificate Issued -the child's first and middle names unchanged, but with the names of the adoptive parents.
* Passport -Guatemalan passport (although the child is adopted by US parents, he or she is still a Guatemalan citizen).
* Submit to US Embassy -requests approval for an orphan visa to enter the US.
* DNA authorization (orange slip) -The DNA sample is compared with the first sample drawn several months ago, and it assures the authorities that the baby has not been switched with another.
* 2nd DNA test
* Final Medical Exam -Child gets an exit physical by an Embassy-approved doctor.
* Pink Slip Issued -It basically means we get to start packing our bags!
* Travel :)
* Embassy Appt -bring child and all the papers back to the Embassy, pay the visa fees, present the I-600 and I-864 forms, show your tax returns, plus current letters of employment, and come back later that afternoon for your visa and sealed packet of documents.
*Do the happy dance!
* HOME FOREVER!!!!!!!!
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
I am beside myself. I don't know what to do. I just pacing and puttering and my head and heart are spinning! We are a big step closer to bringing Luciana home. (*Anything could still happen to set this back, but I am just not going there unless there is a reason!) I am on pins and needles with excitement tonight. It will be difficult to not call PGN every day... I am not even sure if I can do it.
So, what does it mean? What happens next? Well, for that I am going to need to go back to my paperwork and look up the final steps. Then I will do my best to give a clear step-by-step of what needs to happen to bring us home as a family of four!!! Family. Oh. I love that.
Any adoptamoms out there know how to explain the final steps in easy, user friendly bullets?
Monday, November 26, 2007
Today alone I was touched by more people than I should be allowed to have bless my life. What's the quota on amazing people in one person's regular day?
As my regular day was ending in it's regular way (which I love!), I was trying really hard to be grumpy and feel bad for myself about missing Luciana and other stuff... and I just couldn't. I mean, I just could not. What right did I have to be grumpy when I had been lifted up all day long by lovely people just being who they are and making my life the amazing life it is.
So, now, I am sitting here feeling all warm and fuzzy about the potpourri of characters that make up my days, and I am just grateful for the people I have met... childhood, college, work, neighbor, family, blogger, stranger become pal... thank you.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
80mm lens w/lens hood
waist level view finder
I have a couple flashes w/ battery packs, expired film that is fun to "practice" with, a few camera bags, and a Canon Rebel G (film) that I can throw in for the right family.
Everything is in good condition with a few worn spots on the exterior that do not take away from the gorgeous quality of the images created by this amazing medium format camera. The 150 mm lens may need to have it's glass replaced eventually. Though I will desperately miss the "thunk" of capturing an image with this beauty, it is time to make room for our newest addition!
If you are interested, you can mention it in comments and I will navigate you to an email address to discuss an offer.
While I am at it, any photogs out there looking for studio equipment? I have some items that might be of interest that I could be willing to part with. Lights, canvas backdrops, sofbox? Let me know. I know I could take this to Ebay, but I just felt compelled to share these gems with my blog friends first!
Monday, November 19, 2007
My brother and sister-in-law welcomed 6 lb. 2 oz. sweet baby Jaiden into the world this morning at 10:10 AM! Love, love, love! We are thrilled for the new family. I am so anxious for some pics of my itty bitty niece, but I can find it in my heart not to push the issue as she is less than 12 hours old. (Still, these moments do make John and Katie feel very far away.)
Well, we are floating high today with all this baby news to celebrate!
Congratulations John and Katie!
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
Click Elf and have a good laugh at our expense!
And, after you have nearly wet your pants, why not go "Elf Yourself" ?
HAHAHAHA! Much laughter and much love.
My agency just sent Luciana's 4 month medical update and pics from her check-up. The pics were taken two days after we left Guatemala. She is wearing one my favorite outfits. I have been anticipating these pics for weeks, but they were delayed for some "technical difficulty" reason. It is just so nice to see her sweet face. Luciana will be 5 months old in 2 days and I am hopeful those pics will come a little sooner. Maybe we can take her 6 month photos ourselves! A girl can hope, right?
4 month weight: 12 lbs, 8 oz
4 month length: 56.5 cms/22.2 in.
Here's my girl with everyone's favorite green wall!
Monday, November 12, 2007
PS- Montage to follow, but Mimi and Papa were very anxious to see the room as soon as possible!
Sunday, November 11, 2007
My wonderful brother, John, and his amazing and sweet wife, Katie, are expecting the arrival of Jaiden Elizabeth any day! I have been beside myself waiting for this baby! It has been so wonderful to share in planning for our daughters together through phone calls and emails. John and Katie are making a wonderful life for themselves in Florida. We miss them terribly, but are so proud of them.
Keith and I have been blessed with a smart and super fun nephew and a sweet little diva niece, both children of K's sister, Debbie. We adore Jack and Maggie, and miss them terribly as well. They are brilliant children, if I do say so myself, and Sam adores his cousins. Now to be looking forward to a new cousin for Sam is just so exciting! He is very excited to be the big cousin this time.
I talk with John or Katie several times a week. Their anticipation of this baby is so sweet. They are just feeling so ready to have her home and in their arms! I love to hear them share all the things they have done to get ready for Jaiden. She is already such a loved baby. I feel so thrilled to watch two such loving people begin their journey to be a family.
I was very fortunate to be able to see a few minutes of their LIVE 3D/4D ultrasound last week! There were some "technical difficulties", but we saw her sweet face and little fingers! It was so cool, and just made me all mushy with love and pride for those crazy kids. Our family is feeling very blessed.
John and Katie take such good care of each other, and I just know bringing Jaiden into the world will bring them closer than they could have ever imagined. Love!
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Friday, November 2, 2007
And then, it happened... we gave her back to her Foster Mother... and got on a plane... and came home. Just for now, I know. Still, it happened. And for that reason, I have finally decided to take a stab at sharing what that was like. First though, I will tell you this, I will not really ever be able to tell you what that was like... I do not possess the words to make you feel what we felt, or to create the picture in your mind of what it looked like, or to make your heart feel the depth of the hurt... and for that, I am grateful. I don't want you to feel it.
Magda was in the lobby with one her daughters and another lady. I never did figure out who the other lady was, but she had a nice smile. Keith and I had stayed up the night before using Google Translator to write down some things we wanted to say to Magda about our week, and to thank her for being a wonderful Foster Mom. When we approached her, she reached for Luciana, and over the lump in my throat I managed to say, "Not yet." She didn't know what I said, but she knew. We sat down and Keith tried (oh my) to read the few things we had translated. I know you won't believe me, but it was so absurd, that we were all laughing hysterically! Andrea, Magda's daughter, just reached over and took the notebook from Keith and read it all out loud!! It was honestly the best comic relief we could have wished for in that moment! We gave Magda all of Luciana's clothes and a bunch of other stuff. All this time, baby girl slept in my arms. When the time was becoming obvious that we would have to hand her over, she woke up and started crying. So did I. We took the opportunity to give her one last bottle. Keith and I took turns feeding her; memorizing her. She fell back asleep, we kissed her and told her we loved her, and we handed her to her loving and kind Magda.
I have spent a lot of time in my head thinking thoughts that I don't like to think out loud. I replay the moment that she went with Magda over and over. I hate it. I don't know what I would have done differently, but I wish I could redo it. I was so upset that I didn't watch her leave... I didn't blow kisses and smile to reassure her and tell her, "I love you so much, we will be back as soon as we can. You are our daughter and we are doing everything we can to bring you home... " as she walked down the hall... I just turned away. I keep wondering what she must have been thinking, or how often she looked for us before she realized we were not coming back... it breaks my heart. I haven't shared this very much, I just can't think these thoughts out loud... it hurts so much. Instead, I have these really weird days... I wake up everyday and promise to make positive steps in all sorts of directions... today I will... spend special time with Sam, take a walk, go to the gym, pick up fabric and start sewing again, read a book, read my Bible, have coffee with a friend, start a diet, stay on a diet, drink more water, drink less coffee, do something nice for someone else, get ready for baby girl... etc... but, no two days are the same, and I never end the day feeling like I have done one thing well. I am just totally distracted on the inside and trying to put on a good face on the outside. I think I do an okay job getting through each day, but the truth is, I struggle.... I just miss her so much.
I have to end this by saying, we really are okay. We wake up everyday and get to spend wonderful moments with our charming and silly big boy. We are surrounded by the most loving family and friends... even the ones we don't see regularly, we know they are loving us from afar and routing for Lucy's homecoming. We know how lucky we are that our case is moving. And best of all, through the heartache of our parting, I was given an amazing gift... you guys, I am NOT scared anymore! I am not worried. I am not wringing fingers and losing sleep wondering "IF" Luciana is coming home. I am telling you, I know she is coming home. I know it in every fiber of my being, and it has given me the greatest peace. She will be home, and we will be together forever, and that whole goodbye story will be just that; a story. So, in knowing that she is coming home, we have taken what we refer to as mini-leaps-of-faith! We are socializing with friends, laughing all the time, registering, letting our amazing friends and family plan showers, and PAINTING the nursery this weekend! Let's face it, that angel is coming home, and we need to get ready! So, yes, it was "so hard" and it still hurts, but... well, we are okay, and that is a gift.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Friday, October 26, 2007
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Saturday, October 20, 2007
We really are okay, and we are using this time to enjoy Sam, and to jump into getting ready to bring our girl home. We are getting ready to take on the nursery and thinking about registering for a few things... these are little signs of our faith that she will be coming home... soon and forever. We have to get ready!
Friday, October 19, 2007
This is a story I have been meaning to post for awhile, but somehow I got sidetracked. Hmmmm.
Hope this helps. FYI- We are with the "first reviewer".
PGN EXPLANATION BY EMILY
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Here are a few more moments from our last couple of days in GC.
When we are settled back at home, I will try to share how much we have grown to love this country... the little we have seen, the people we have met, and the surprising adventures we stumbled upon.
And, finally, thanks for all your notes and loves... we raced to the computer each day for your encouragement. I really can not believe this visit is over... she has completed us. We are counting the moments back to you, Luciana.
Adios Guatemala. Thank you for our girl.