Friday, November 30, 2007

Fav Fotos Friday

Better late than never. These pics are from the day we picked Sam up at school after being in Guatemala with Luciana. We had not seen him in 9 days before this moment! He was walking down the hall with the other students and didn't really notice us. When the teacher stopped the line, she told everyone to wait. Then, she looked at Sam and said, "You. You can run!" And he did... too big backpack bouncing along behind him. The moment literally took my breath away and I was on my knees in tears ready to grab him! We hugged for so long until Keith said, "MY TURN!" Ha! It was a great reunion. Sam, being the ever practical child that he is, informed us that while we were away, everyone was getting their houses ready for Halloween and we were not ready. We pulled into to a local nursery, loaded up the mums, pumpkins and ghosties, and we headed home to get ready! It was a great day after a long hard night.
Enjoy the pics.

Much love.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Once We Are "Out"

PGN is often referred to as the final step in Guatemalan adoption, but that is not exactly true. In anticipating getting "OUT " of PGN soon (please, please!), Steph and I spent a little time today mapping out the remaining steps in what we hope is a clear and simple checklist of sorts.

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

What Does It Mean?

Okay, okay, okay! After some gentle persuasion from Steph, I called PGN today. Do you know what the nice lady on the other end of the phone told me??? She told me that we are WAITING TO BE SIGNED!!! Do you know what that means? It means that we are with the final reviewer in PGN!!! He, Senior Barrios, can choose to look at our file any day now and sign us OUT of PGN! Please, please! Pick up that pen Senior!

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?
Much love.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The People We Meet

Do you ever just stop to think about the people we meet? Really, it is pretty amazing. Just look around your life at the people who make up your day-to-day, browse down through the contact list in your cell, peek at your address book, pull out a photo album... or, just look around you.

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

Sadly... For Sale

In order to off set the costs of our next trip to Guatemala, I have decided it is time to part ways with my most beloved camera and sell it. We have not done any personal fundraising to help with the mounting costs of adoption, and it is starting to hit... so, this offer is my attempt to lighten a little of the finances. Their can not be a price put on our love of Luciana and we will happily plug away at the costs of bringing our daughter home, but while this camera is sitting here longing to be loved, I figured it was time. I love this camera, but I don't really need it, so I am putting it out there into to our little blog world in hopes for finding it a loving home, preferably where it will be treated with the TLC it deserves.

For Sale:
Hasselblad 500C/M
A12 filmback
A24 filmback
80mm lens w/lens hood
150mm lens
Polaroid back
prism viewfinder
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!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Monday, November 19, 2007

Welcome To The World

Welcome to the world Jaiden Elizabeth!

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!
Much love.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

5 Months Old.... Already?

(Just under 4 months old in the picture.)
Missing her terribly.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Happy Early Holidays

I was just visiting Terry's post and saw the fun she was having in getting ready for the holiday season and I just could not resist joining in!

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.

Fav Foto Friday

New Pics and Medical Update! Good timing for FFF!

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!

Much love.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Nursery Montage

10 Hours, 4 Friends, and a Pizza

That is what it took to paint this beautiful nursery for Luciana. The only thing in the room at the moment is the crib, so you will have to use your imagination. The border that Kim designed and stenciled in three seperate layers is beautiful. It looks so simple, but I can promise you, it was anything but! Laura, Kim, and Barb made recreating this room so enjoyable and special, and I think it is lovely. It is hard to tell in these images, but the walls are a really pretty cream... almost a pale yellow. I am excited to think about prints and window treatments next! Thank you, ladies!

Much love.

PS- Montage to follow, but Mimi and Papa were very anxious to see the room as soon as possible!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Count Down to Jaiden

My BABY brother is going to be a DADDY! It is just babies, babies everywhere in our family right now!

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

Fav Foto Friday

A day late... I know.
My aunt just sent me this pic. My family at Christmas visiting Nannie and Grampie.
Can you guess what decade??? I have great pics like this of K's family, but no scanner. Sad. I'd love to show young Keith, too. Deb? Any pics you could send? (hee hee) The great thing about seeing ANY picture of my brother is that Sam is convinced it's of himself!
Much love.
***edited to add: I just looked at Kerri's blog! She has an old school foto this week, too!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Politics, Nursery, and Registering... OH MY!

So much to tell, so little time... before my house is full of 4 children who need me to get them on the bus! If you will please allow me to be brief, I will reward you at the end of this post! (wink, wink)

Politics: Good news from Guatemala! Please note that the following announcements have not been made "official", but all signs point to that happening.

Several reputable sites have reported that the Hague deadline will be moved from January 1, 2008 to April 2008. This is great news for our family because we feel confident that Luciana will be home before April. January was making us a little nervous. This is also great news for so many in-process families. In addition to this date change, it also appears that our (YOUR) voices have been heard and that an amendment to allow in-process adoptions to continue to completion will be made to law. Thank you.

Check out the following links to get the real deal:

I will admit that some of it is still a little confusing to me. As this was just released yesterday, I am curious to see how it will pan out. For now, we are taking a long awaited deep breath. Thank you all for your support, well wishes and prayers that have brought us this far. We feel so much more encouraged for the future of many Guatemalan babies. Let's get Lucy HOME!

Nursery:. It is time! We have started picking colors and pattern designs for a "custom border" by my very talented friend, Kim. My dear gal pals, Laura, Barbara, and Kim are hunkering down with me on Saturday and we are not coming out of that little room until it is done! Well, we probably will come out for obvious reasons, I'm not unreasonable... but you get the idea! We are going to be busy ladies! I promise pics of the whole process!

Registering: We did it! I think we may have a few things to add/remove, but it is done! I recently told Stephanie that registering added to the surety in my heart that Lucy is coming home and that we need to get ready. With each little item (and a few big... ha ha!), I could picture her using it, in it, on it.... the point was, I could see her here, in our home, in our arms.

Good things are happening.
Much love!

PS- Happy Re-Adoption Reese! We are so happy for the Party Of Five Family!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Things Sam Says

This was just too funny not to share:

When being told that he would need to wear a sweater one cold morning before school, my exasperated son replied, "MOM! I can't wear that! I will be as hot as a hippo in a steam bath!" If you could only know how serious he was, you would understand why I had to use all of my strength not to crack up! What??? Where did that come from? Oh, this child makes my days joyful!

It is amazing what you can Google. This is for you, Sammy.

Much love.

Friday, November 2, 2007

"It Must Have Been So Hard"

Today marks three weeks since we left Guatemala. When asked about our trip, we beam and reply with comments like: It was great, amazing, wonderful, exciting. She is wonderful, such a good baby, we just love her. We feel so blessed to have had that time with our baby girl, to get to know her, to bond with her, to discover what makes her smile that big gorgeous smile and what makes those stunning brown eyes twinkle... it was just an unbelievable experience. When we get into the details, people picture it (almost), and most can imagine the feelings of meeting your child for the first time. It really was a blessed week, and, we have the pictures (just a few!) and video to prove it! I think back on that week and it just fills me with joy. Going to Guatemala to meet Luciana changed everything; it changed us and it changed our family forever. Lucy was this real, living, breathing, smiling, right there in our arms loving us back baby girl... and we were in love! We celebrated every moment with our sweet girl. In that little room at the Westin, we became Luciana's parents, and she was every bit our daughter.
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.
Here goes:
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.
Much love.

Fav Foto Friday

Won't it be a wonderful day to snap one of them together?!?!

Much love.