Saturday, September 29, 2007

A Step In The Right Direction

We received word that we have PA (Pre-Approval) today!
This is a huge step in the right direction, and it came much sooner than we anticipated... I wish I knew who to thank for that!
Next: We wait on word that we are in PGN.
When that happens, and after we hoot and holler with joy, I will post more details about what that means for us.... for now, we are overwhelmed with the outpouring of support we have received in response to the most recent scares regarding the closing of adoptions with Guatemala. There have been some ratifications to that original statement, and I am convinced that the actions we take are going to ensure that the "in process" families are going to bring their babies home. Today has been a "good news" day!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Safe Passage Benefit Pics

This was a great day! If any of our guests have more pics, I'd love to see them and add them.
Thank you to Travis and Chris for donating your time and talents. (James, Nate, Jacob and Sam partied like rock stars, too!)
Enjoy the slideshow:

To read more about this day click here.

Happiness is...

*Sam waving from the bus.
(He waves and smiles until I can't see him anymore. It just is the sweetest thing.)

*Washing and folding little clothes to pack for Baby Girl.

*A hug from K when he comes home.

*My phone ringing at 9:15 every morning and knowing it is my mom just calling to say "hi".

*Sam's smile when we told him he would get to stay with Mimi and Papa while we are away.

*Little, pink socks.

*Friends like ours. (amazing)

*Notes from Ella in the mailbox.

*Sam in his shin guards and cleats on Saturday mornings.

*Picture updates of Little Miss Lucy.

*Prayers offered, and prayers answered.

*The Buddy System.


I could easily continue on this path of listing my blessings.... and for that, I am grateful.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

You Can Help

I, like everyone else in the adoption world, am emotionally drained on the topic of the latest drama that is Guatemalan Adoption. I wish I could take the time or conjure the energy to write a clear explanation of what is going on between the US and Guatemala, but I would only confuse the facts and get sidetracked by the emotion. I am confused and sad, but taking action... and I hope you will too.
Please, read about this news and take action, follow the links listed below to learn how you can help... because you can.
Also, PLEASE take the 1 minute it takes to sign this online petition.



My plan of the moment: breath, pack to see baby girl, pray like crazy, write letters to the powers that be, breath

Much love.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A Date, A Concert, A Secret... Sounds Scandalous

But it isn't. These are just a few of the things that render me sleepless for 2-4 hours a night, but scandalous they are not. Exciting, yes. Scary, sure. Blessings, absolutely.

Let's break it down.
A date: October 9.
We will meet, hold, hug and kiss sweet girl for the first time on October 9th. Don't bother, I will tell you, that is exactly 1 week and 5 days from today. Love, love, love.

I have received some truly amazing advice on how to pack and what questions to bring for FM. I have even printed one Blog Pal's packing list made it a personal security blanket while shopping for the trip... this list is a dream come true to an outed packing disabled gal like myself. Thanks Steph!!

Be sure that a future post will delve into the unending emotions that surround the plannings and reality of this trip. For tonight, it is just totally surreal.... as in, I am completely baffled by the mountains of shopping bags heaped on top of the guest room bed... the guest bed that needs to be broken down and put into storage as we move a crib in because... why... oh ya!... we need to get ready for Baby Girl!!! Ahhhhh, but, cribs can wait as this is "just" a visit trip... but, those bags... yes, they will need some attention. Phew. Hard to imagine how I can get side tracked when packing.

Moving on.

A concert:
Keith and his very talented friends had a front yard concert at our house as a way to raise money for Safe Passage in Guatemala. Please take some time to learn more about this wonderful organization.
Our guests included our many awesome neighbors, our generous parents, and some truly special friends from outside of the "hood"! The band was great, and we are so grateful to them! The guests were wonderful and seemed to really enjoy picnicking and relaxing to great tunes. The kids had a blast... dancing, running around, and even joining the band!
By the end of 3 music-filled hours, we were shocked to discover that we had raised over $700! Way to go!

A secret:
For 6 weeks, I have been receiving supportive notes and adorable gifts from an anonymous friend out there in Blog World. It has been such a thrill to discover packages every so often with little clothes, books, and other wonderful treasures on my doorstep. My SBP was especially attentive to Sam, remembering his birthday and his first day of school with little treats for him, too! This SBP idea was organized by another adoptamomma, and she did a great job... especially when picking my SBP. After 6 weeks, I really got to feeling like we were friends... come to find out, WE ARE!! The "reveal" was this past Monday, but my pal got to me before then as she was at our concert... why?? Because my SBP was none other than my good friend, fellow adoptamomma, and huge supporter
Bobbi!!! Thank you for your support, Bobbi, and for spoiling my children! Our friendship has been a wonderful surprise.

I really do have pics to go with each of these tidbits of news, but I am far too drained to make the effort today... so, for now, here are the updates. Pics to follow.

Much love.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Plee to All Guatamoms!

What do we pack? What questions do we ask Foster Mom? What info. can you share for travel, accommodations, hotel experiences? What did you wish you had/knew? What could you have lived without? Any weird food things? Do we need shots? We'd love to hear anything you feel would make our visit the best it can be.
Much, much love.
We are in this together.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Happy 3 Months, Baby Girl

(2 mo. old in photo)
Love, love, love.

Friday, September 14, 2007


Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh.... I don't believe I am writing this!! Keith is upstairs reading Sam a bedtime story, we just got home from a crazy night of pizza with a 3, 5, & 7 year old, we are coming off a hugely emotional week for reasons too personal too share... and NOW THIS!
My wonderfully loving, and oh-so-hard-working lawyer/agency director just emailed to say that we were OUT of Family Court... I didn't even know we were "in" for sure! And just like that... just like THAT, we have her blessings to plan a trip to meet Luciana... to meet our daughter... am I repeating myself?

(to clarify: this trip is a visit only, we will not be bringing her home)

I am fighting every urge to run upstairs and tell Keith what has happened, but it will be way to confusing for Sam... and if you could only hear the giggles coming from this less than calming bedtime routine, you would know that there is no way I could interrupt... but, MAN, could he wrap it up and get to the "happily ever after" of it all because I am losing my mind with JOY... and the every other emotion you yourself are wondering about with this whole "go meet your baby and then come home without her" concept!
For now, let's just be thrilled and celebrate that this much anticipated green light has come! Oh so much love, love, love. Luciana, we are on our way!

(2 notes: Eli's Mom.... thank you for your wonderful emails... I promise to sit and take some time to reply... it meant so much to hear your story and I want to take some time to get back to you. You are so wonderful.
SBP- You are a dream and I am too lucky to have you think of BOTH of my children in such a caring way... how did you find the "peaches" hat!?!??! You rock!)

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Oh What a Night

As I was settling into recover from the emotional day otherwise known as "Sam's First Day of Kindergarten", I was reminded that I am, in fact, the mother of two! Already proving that she is not to be outshined by her Big Brother, Miss Luciana appeared in our inbox sending us realing into another whole emotional whirlwind!

Because I have used up all of my emotion, energy, and whit... I am without words and will let the pics speak for the day. Here, together for the first time ever, are Sam and Lucy.

(Medical update: Examination date: 16 August 2007
Wt: 8 lbs, 10 oz
Ht: 50 cms
Head Circum: 35.0
Physcial, neurological and abdomen, normal)

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Thinking About the Nursery/Seeking Advice

At what point is it okay to begin "getting ready" for baby? When I was pregnant with Sam, the shopping and planning began immediately. And, you know what was great?? I had a book, several books really, that told me what to do and when to do it. It was brilliant! I could justify my monthly, and eventually weekly, excursions to Babys 'R' Us with written documentation that it was time to shop for a highchair/stroller/dozen plush toys.

A conversation would take place that would go something like this:
"Yes, Keith, I am sure. The experts have advised that it is so. Just look here.... according to Martha, The Girlfriends, and What to Expect, it is critical that we find a jogging stroller in month 6. I know I don't jog, but I do follow the rules, and they seem to be clearly outlined here in each of these tried and true documents."

Really, it was a the way to go. Print "to do" list, drive to baby store, check brain at the door, and shop. (Not to mention the well timed baby showers that were also clearly outline by the handy-dandy baby books.) But, now?!?! Does anyone have a "What to Expect When You're Adopting" handbook that I don't know about?

I really just do not know what to do, or when to do it, or if I should register, OR if we should paint the nursery after Family Court or half way through PGN?!!? Yes, these are just some of the rambling thoughts of the adopting mother.

What is the protocol? Anyone?

Well, by accident, I did start thinking about the nursery. Sam's room is painted with stripes that K and I delusionally thought would be fun to paint ourselves.... they are red, blue, and gray with the walls in a khaki color. I first thought we would do something similar for the baby... stripes of brown and purplish with some dots here and there... sounds awful, but if you ever get PB kids, there is something similar that we would plan to swipe. But, I may be going in a different direction. After recently getting my hair colored and purchasing a mountain of product, I was delighted (doesn't take much) to learn that my purchase had earned me a free travel tote. Fun! It is super cute... and I think I love it enough to use the design for the nursery!!

Oh, and I also found a few crib sets that I liked, so I am going to try include links for those. I would love feedback.

Here are some other possible starting points:
2) Funky Polkadots
Funky Shapes
4) Flowers

5) Lots of Dots

Much love.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Helpful Timeline

The following is a general timeline sent to us from our agency.
For some, this will be a helpful checklist as we move along. For others, it will be confusing and overwhelming... in which case, forget you ever saw it and just keep checking in with us.
The blue highlighted text indicates steps we have completed. Yay!
Red text is my own commentary.


Your dossier is sent to the attorney in Guatemala via FedEx.
· The entire dossier is translated into Spanish for the courts.
· The case is presented to the Ministry of External Relations.
The Ministry of External Relations registers the case and certifies all the documents.
· This takes about 2-3 weeks.

· The attorney submits the Request for the Authorization for the DNA test to be administered. You must have your INS I-171H to get the authorization.
· The Embassy issues the Authorization for the DNA test.
· The attorney will fax the Authorization to our office.
· We send your Payment Authorization to Labcorp who will process the DNA test
· The lab will send a receipt showing payment to our office
· We send the paid receipt to the attorney.
· The attorney can now make an appointment with one of only three approved doctors to administer the DNA test.
· This takes about 4-6 weeks.
· The birth mother and the child will be tested.
· The specimens will be sent to Labcorp via express mail
· The test will be administered.
· This takes about 7 – 10 days.
· The results will be faxed to our office. We will email you.
**We recieved documentation that DNA was a match on Friday! :)
· The certified and notarized results will be sent to the US Embassy in Guatemala.

· The Embassy will open a case review of the adoption file. They are ensuring that all of the documents are in order.
· The Embassy will release the case once they are satisfied that all is in order. This is called the CONSENT
· This takes about 4 weeks but sometimes longer if the Embassy is experiencing delays. The Embassy can call the Birth Mother into the Embassy for a personal interview at any time. This will not stop your case but it will slow it down as the Embassy will not issue a Consent until they have had the interview which can take several weeks to schedule and complete.

· The case will be filed in Family Court.
**This should be happening very soon. Maybe next week? DONE!
· A Social Worker will be assigned to the case.
· The Social Worker will arrange for an interview with the birth mother.
· The Social Worker will arrange for an interview with the foster mother to see the child.
· The Social Worker will prepare a report for the courts.
· The Family Court judge will approve the case to continue.
· This takes about 5-6 weeks. Some of the attorneys will tell us when the interview is and others do not. We are tracking it and following up so as soon as we know, we will let you know.

· The case will be presented to the Procuraduria Court (PGN).
· A PGN attorney will be assigned to very carefully review your case file. The PGN attorney can ask for any additional documentation from the attorney or from the adopting family. NO information is given out about the case when it is in PGN until it is either released or sent back for additional information.
· This USUALLY takes about 10-12 weeks but it can take as long as the PGN attorney needs. If the PGN attorney requests additional or corrected information from you, it will delay your case. We are following up on each case will let you know the moment we hear anything from the PGN about your case- good or bad.

Note: In 2007, we have experienced significant slowdowns in processing time so you should not be alarmed if your case is in PGN for several months. It should also be noted that unless PGN issues a “previo” which is when the reviewing official finds an error or missing information, our attorney does not receive updates on the status of the file so there is often very little information being given during this time. If we do receive a “previo”, we will advise you.

· The birth mother will come in to sign off on the final paperwork.
· This takes about 1 week.

BIRTH CERTIFICATE · Once the case is released from PGN, the Civil Registry where the child was born will issue a new birth certificate. The name will remain the same with your last name added to the end. This is the name you will use for the flight reservation for the child.
· This takes about 1-4 weeks depending on where the original birth certificate is from. Right now it is taking at least three weeks to get a new birth certificate for babies born in Guatemala City.

· A Guatemalan passport will be issued with the new last name of the child.
· This takes about 2-3-4 days. FINAL EMBASSY REVIEW · The entire case is presented to the US Embassy once again for another review of the case. · The Embassy will confirm that all of the documents are in order.
· The Embassy will issue a "PINK SLIP" that will authorize the Final Medical exam.
Note: We have been advised by the US Embassy in July 2007 that review will no longer take 48-72 hours but approximately 6 working days

· The child will go to the US Embassy-approved doctor to get a final review of the medical records and to be sure that all of the vaccinations are current. This is needed for the child to get the Visa to travel to the U.S. 2-3 days

TIME TO TRAVEL!!! · Pack your bags and go to Guatemala!!!!! this takes about 15 minutes!!!!
**Okay, Mom. Okay, Laura. Clearly the agency director has never heard of my infamous packing disorder. Go ahead and chuckle.

Hope this helped!
Much love.