Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Birth Certificate... again

Hi everyone. I'm here. I've got a lot to catch you up on, so get comfy. It ends well, though we are not PINK yet. It all is working out though... okay, the story:

Last week we were expecting to here that Luciana's DNA sample had made it to Lab Corp, and then we would be hearing soon that we had an embassy appointment (PINK). I was in daily contact with Pat at Lab Corp, and we were both very concerned that the sample had not arrived.

By Friday, I was very concerned. (Read: total mess!) I left several messages and emails with our agency stating my concern. While preparing to head out to a H.S. basketball game where Sam's team would be performing the half time show, I noticed an email from our agency. It was not good news.

Apparently, there had been a miscommunication. Luciana had not been taken to have her 2nd DNA done. In fact, we did not even have DNA authorization or passport yet. I was beside myself. And, had to go to the basketball game... not good.

The following day Keith and I began to prepare for Sam and I to go to Guatemala to be with Luciana and had hopes that my presence would move things along. At least we would be there and know what was going on. That same day, we learned that we also did not have Birth Certificate. That was the hardest blow and I was devastated. I wanted to be angry, and was, but knew that it was a pointless emotion. It wasn't any one's fault. To be honest, I went the gamut of emotions, but I tried to keep my head and to look forward. I am not sure how well I did, but I have lived to tell about it. ;-)

Over the last couple of days, I have been gathering information and making contacts with some truly wonderful people to arrange for Sam and I to head down to Antigua. It is just time to be with Luciana.

We have taken several steps backward, but today we began to step forward again. We learned that we have Birth Certificate... really, we do. (Guatemala City for those who stalk timelines!)
Today, the tears were of joy. Again. Ha! It is so strange to celebrate something we have already celebrated! It's just all part of our story, right?

So, we are moving in the right direction. I feel so much more encouraged. I know many of you have been wondering what was going on, but I just couldn't bring it here until I knew that I could end on a positive note.

Sam and I are still going to go early. Our agency feels like this is a positive choice, and we are really very excited to have this amazing opportunity. I can see so clearly how bonding with my 2 children in Lucy's birth country is all positive. Antigua is a very safe town, and there is a wonderful adoption community there. I have made several contacts already and feel so blessed that we have the support of our family and friends. Our church even has a contact in Guatemala and he has already emailed me to say that his family and the church members are available to help us! We are blessed.

So, now I am looking for a place for my little family! Family! And, I am comparing flights which I am not great at. I feel like I can start packing... and the next time I leave, I am not coming home without Luciana!

There have been some low points over the last couple of days, but we just keep saying that we are stirring up a big ol' pot of lemonade out of all those lemons!

This whirlwind has certainly been one of those "the good, the bad, and the ugly" experiences, but we are okay. Really, we are great. Luciana is coming home!

Thank you for coming here time and time again to lift our family up. Your shoulders have carried us a long way and we are grateful.

Much love.

Monday, January 21, 2008

What A Difference A Day Makes!

My 24 hour whirlwind girl's overnight was so good for the soul! Tamar and I had a great time shopping (mostly looking), catching up, and reminiscing! We had dinner at one of our favorite spots in college... the original Pat's Pizza! It has not changed one bit and was every bit as delicious as I remembered! After dinner, we took a drive around our old campus and had a blast thinking of all the memories.

On my drive home today I felt lighter and full of hope. Also, I knew that my attorney would be back from being out of the country and, at the very least, I would be able to learn if we had made any further progress toward bringing Luciana home... well, WE HAVE!

No sooner did I unpack my overnight bag than I was shooting off an email to my attorney. She was great and got right back to me. So, here is the latest update:

At some point over last week, we had passport, were submitted to the US Embassy, and had DNA authorization (ORANGE!). I know a lot of that is confusing to some out there, for those with our checklist...get checking! Here is what is most important... Luciana had her 2nd DNA test today!!! That sound you are hearing? It is me breathing again!

So, to try to cast some clarification, Luciana's DNA was taken in order to assure that she is the same sweet girl we were first fell in love with 7 months ago. (We have no doubt that she is.) The test will be sent to Lab Corp here in the states. After a test is done to confirm the match, the results are sent back to Guatemala. That can take between 7-10 days. Soon after that, the embassy will email us to give us a date to go get our girl!! I know you want to know when, but the best I can guess is mid-February.

We are over the moon today! It was so hard to know that we were probably moving forward last week and not hearing anything. Not knowing allowed for some scary thoughts. I want to thank everyone who offered comfort, it truly meant so much.

We are so close! This is really happening!
I don't know what to do with myself!!!!!!!

AND, believe it or not, we have more BIG news! Sam had his first day of skiing! Thumbs up!

video

Love, love, love!

PS- Happy Birthday, Tamar!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Quiet Blog

I know my posts have been a bit weak lately. I know you come here looking for updates to celebrate with us. I wish I had something to tell you.

I haven't sat down to write about "where we are" in the process lately because I am afraid the whole thing will come out as some huge complaining vent... I just don't want to do that. (I save it for my close friends and family... wink, wink!) In short, we simply have not heard anything since we received our Birth Certificate. Our attorney is out of the country, and we do not have another person to have contact with. It is not an ideal set up, and it is incredibly frustrating, but it is what it is. I am not blaming anyone, I am just bummed. My HOPE is that while she has been away, the people behind the scenes have been moving forward with our final steps to bring Luciana home. Either way, it is clear that my fantasy timeline of having Luciana home by the last week in January will not become reality.

So, I am hoping to be able to give a great big, fat update here by the middle of this week. We should have passport (!!!!!) and we should be moving forward with DNA. If these things have not been done, my next post may be from Guatemala because I won't be able to sit still in Maine a minute longer! ;-)

This stage has proven to much more challenging for me than I anticipated. I imagined it full of many little celebrations and a whole lot of expectations about getting READY! The "not knowing" seems very unfair and it hurts tremendously, but I know it will be over very soon.

In the meantime, I have recognized that I need to be busy and to be with people. I was incredibly humbled to have 6 amazing, kind, fun and creative woman come spend their Friday night with me to make a scrapbook for Magda. More on that later! Yesterday we were so happy to spend time with Keith's family, and Sam was thrilled to see his cousins. We did sushi with wonderful neighbors and friends last night, and today I am getting in my car to meet my college roommate and dear friend for girl's night... hotel, dinner, and a movie without animation! Ha! Pinch me! Keith and Sam are headed for Sam's first ski lesson and a day of Daddy-Son bonding, and tomorrow we will all be back together to share our 36 hour adventures.

All of this is my best attempt to ward off the adoption blues and make this time about the people who bless our lives everyday. Luciana is in my thoughts and heart with every breath I take. I ache for her daily, and I can not tell you what an update will do for our spirits. It is time. So, for now, I am off to open road... can we call I95 the open road? Sure. The open road, coffee and car tunes, greeted by a big hug and an amazing friend... perfect remedy for the blues, don't you think?

Thanks for checking in and sending your words of encouragement. I hope, hope, hope this next week will bring big smiles to ALL OF US!!!
Much love.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Nursery Pics

Luciana's nursery is (almost) done! It looks nothing like my original brainstorms many months ago, and I couldn't love it more! The border was designed and hand painted by my friend, Kim! The framed artwork are pictures I cut out of one of Sam's 8 copies of Guess How Much I Love You. I am still looking for a quilt for the crib that will compliment the room, and we need a small lamp. Other than that... DONE! She can come home anytime now... even without the lamp!



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A Few More Nursery Pics



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Happy 7 Months

Luciana is 7 months old today. We pray we are all together to celebrate her 8 month birthday.

This is her 6 month update photo.

We love you.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Sunday, January 13, 2008

100th Post

Is threre some urban legend about what you are supposed to do when you reach your 100th post? I don't know what even made me look to see, but I was feeling pulled to post something this morning without really knowing what news I could share. I suppose 100 is significant, but I am not really sure what to do with it. Perhaps a new outfit? A nice meal out? hee hee

Anyway, I really was sitting down to write a little bit of nothing, so I will just pick up there.

I was thinking this morning about what January has meant for my little family. You see, November was a fairly dark month in our house. There were layers of life's challenges happening all at the same time, and our future was sort of all wrapped up in a bunch of fog. Through it all, we remained strong and hopeful, but it is hard to go about daily life in a fog, which is why this renewed feeling of seeing a bit more clearly is so lovely.

You know, it is just life that we have to accept that we will not always, or often, have the answers we long for. We know that we really don't ever have as much control over things as we would like, and we have certainly learned to accept that timelines and expectations are likely to be constantly challenged and changed.

These realities are not only specific to bringing Luciana home, and they are just a few of the lessons that this experience has taught us. Learning the deeper meanings of patience, grace and gratitude have have applied to every corner of our world. We are not always good at it, but we are so much better.

January has arrived with a wonderful new clarity. The fog has lifted, and we can see a future with our daughter more clearly than ever. Though our timelines seem to slide ever so slightly further from our original hopes, we breath easier knowing that we are so close. And those "other" challenges... well, they seem to be working themselves out, too. Whether it is family, work, home, or friends, letting go of control and having faith has helped me to put down the paper bag and take a deep breath on many occasions in these past months.

We are so close.

So, on this 100th post, while my boys (b/c at this moment, Keith is just as much a boy as Sam) play together, giggling... and as we prepare to head out for a family day with Lucy in our hearts... as we go about our typical routines... we are at peace, full of hope, and feeling totally blessed for the fog that has lifted.

Much love.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Fav Foto Friday

Our Beautiful Niece, Jaiden!We love you!!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Check!


We have Birth Certificate!
We are one step closer to bringing Luciana home!!

What does that mean and what is next??

Okay... Luciana was born in Guatemala City. The Civil Registry of Guatemala City has reissued her birth certificate so that it now names Keith and I as her legal parents... cool! And, the birth certificate legally renames her to have our last name! Also, very cool. This process took just a few days longer than I expected, but I will admit that I was a little on edge for those few extra days. Now I am just smiling ear to ear, and just got in from treating the neighborhood Mommies to one of those famous bus stop happy dances!

Next: The next step (remember to check your checklist!) is to acquire a Guatemalan passport for Luciana. That should happen tomorrow of Friday! After that, our file will be submitted to the embassy, and a request will be made for a second DNA test to confirm that Luciana is the same baby we have loved all along. I will stop there as I know it becomes confusing after that... even I have to refer to Gretchen's handy dandy map to remember where we are in this whole thing!
We are feeling so good to check this step off and hope the others move along quickly. We are so ready.

Thanks for routing us on!
Much love.

Laughing All The Way!!

In an effort to move away from stressing about timelines and fretting about waiting, Steph has put out a call to share a laugh! Sam will probably not appreciate this pic, but Keith and I crack up everytime we come across it. Sam was 4 and really into wearing my sunglasses everywhere!
A face only a mother could love?!?!?

Much love.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

It Just Made Me Laugh

I saw this on a site Bobbi sent for all kinds of fun products, but this one mug just struck me in the right way... truly only shared for the laugh factor and not at all meant as anything else... just made me laugh!

Monday, January 7, 2008

One Look At The Calendar...

And my jaw dropped.

This is the one year anniversary of our Adoption Education class. Wow.
We began Adopt Ed. immediately after deciding adoption was how we wanted to grow our family... it seems like a lifetime and two very different people ago.

I can so clearly see the two nervous and anticipating people we were a year ago as we climbed the steps (snow covered, of course!) to our Home Study agency. We had no idea what was coming down the pike! (Oh, and what a beauty she would turn out to be!)

A year.
I have spent all day thinking of the events that led to this step one year ago, to all the hopes and hurt, the joys and dreams, the tears and many, many leaps of faith. You know, there was a lot of laughter, too.

In the beginning, we laughed a lot... like while sitting at the dining room table for 6 straight hours answering ridiculous questions about each other for our Home Study. Ha! I remember thinking the Home Study was going to be one of the hardest parts of this process! Hee hee!

Many of my friends had a good laugh when the 171-H arrived in the mail (that was a rainy day) and I drove down the street waving it out the window until it blew away I was forced to jump from my car to chase it down! Since then, they have laughed at my various happy dances at the bus stop whenever new news reaches us!

We laughed the greatest tears of joy when receiving our referral of Luciana and seeing her sweet sleeping face for the first time. We laughed harder when we finally received a picture with her eyes open as Sam commented, "OH phew! Her eyes are brown, now Daddy will have someone with eyes his color." We have laughed with pure happiness for the mini-victories of this process, for the updated pictures, and for the realization that sending a package or making a phone call can fill your heart with a kind of love that has no words.

We laughed at every little thing our sweet girl did for one amazing week together, and then again at returning home to our first baby after our longest time apart.

In one year, we have certainly cried, but none of that much matters. I want to remember the laughter and happiness. This journey, this adventure, this becoming the family we are meant to be... it is joy.

It is always eye-opening to reflect on time.

One year ago, I was nervous about speaking in front of others in our class, now I share my life with countless. I wondered how our choice would change Sam's life, now I see how his life has already been enriched by becoming a big brother, by learning about the gift of adoption, and by gaining some amazing life lessons at a very young age. I wondered what this process would mean for my marriage, my family, my friends... I think they would all agree, we have grown together.

One year ago, I couldn't have know the gratitude, respect, and compassion I would have for a woman I may never meet; now I think of her every day and pray she knows how much her daughter is loved.

I could never have know the love I would have for another woman I would meet, and how I would hope that we would remain in touch over the years because, to me, she will always be family.

One year ago, I did not have a picture in my head (though there was one in my heart) of the unborn little girl who was about to change our lives forever. Now, I am ready to bring her home and love her every day for the joy, laughter, and love she has already brought us.

Love, love, and laughter.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Nagging...

I'm not a fan of nagging... don't like to be nagged, hate to use it to get something... BUT, every now and then, when you are at the end of your rope and feeling burnt out and frustrated, nagging can come in handy...

SO, the results of 6 combined emails and a little nagging from both Keith and I?

This SWEET face!



We don't have much more information on where we are with our BC or passport, but we have pics! It is so amazing what seeing Luciana's sweet face has done for our spirits!


The pics were, as always, taken at her doctor appointment. She is 6 months old in the picture and clearly in need of a brush for ALL that hair! WHOA! Aren't her eyes gorgeous?


I love this one, too, though it is a little blurry. It seems like she is not quite sitting up on her own, but she's getting there. I just love new pics!



I am soooooooo hopeful to have birth certificate and passport updates to share next week! Cross your fingers, toes, and eyes!


Much love.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Writer's Block

I know, I know... enough with the big snow globe! You guys, I just don't know what to say right now. Christmas came and went and it was really lovely. We spent time with both sides of our family and felt very lucky for some truly quality visits. Santa was good to Sam, and though we missed Lucy, we loved sharing in the magic of Christmas with our sweet boy. New Year's came and went and it was a blast. We had opportunities to reflect over the last year (whoa!) and to raise a glass with good friends to the next year (woohoo!), and now here we are in 2008.

I have so enjoyed reading other blogs where my blog friends have reflected and shared their 2007, and I have loved seeing their resolutions, wishes, and goals. I don't know what it is, I am just stuck. I sit down to share all this stuff rattling around in my head, the reflections, the wishes and hopes, even the stuff keeping me up at night, but I just can't get there. I have writer's block.

I think the reason is obvious. I should have had more updates by now. I should have one post after the other to countdown the steps that will bring us closer to bringing Luciana home forever, but we just have not heard one single word since the adoption decree was signed. It is not for lack of effort. I email my agency regularly, but I just don't hear back. It is a bit maddening. We could be stuck with a BC problem, or we could have progressed and just not know about it. I just don't know. Today was the first day that I became really irritated about not hearing anything. It is time to stop waiting and start planning our life with our daughter. It is time.

After talking with Keith about it, he took a crack at sending an email himself. Yup. He sent a poem in hopes that a little humor would lighten some spirits and inspire a response. Nothing yet. It at least made me laugh.

So, in the meantime, we did have a very special moment on the first day of 2008. With the help of my wonderful cousin, Alanna, we called Luciana's foster mother for the first time! It was so amazing! We had held off calling in the past because I felt like it might be too hard. Well, there was nothing hard about the call! It was wonderful! When we called, Magda was outside with all of her family, including Lucy, celebrating the first day of the New Year. We could hear the fire works over the phone and it just made us all giggle every time on went off! Magda was so generous with her time and told us so much about how Luciana is doing. She was so talkative and happy that we called. Alanna did an amazing job gathering all the little details we have craved, and we are so grateful for her help!

Well, you won't be surprised, Luciana is a happy, healthy, beautiful baby. She smiles and laughs, loves music and any toys she can chew, and is growing all the time, she sleeps well, and Magda kept saying the is so pretty. Then, in a moment of adorable truth, Magda giggled and affectionately referred to her as fat! I love it! I can not wait to get me arms around my chubby babe! She shared details from their holidays, and caught us up on a few other things, but all we really heard was "healthy and happy", just like we remember her from 2 1/2 months ago. I couldn't stop smiling. I still smiling thinking about it. So good for the soul.

So, in all of this ramble, I have come away with not telling you much of anything and sounding more glum than I would have wanted to. We are just craving news, craving pics and medical updates from the last 2 months, craving progress; we are really just craving our daughter. The nursery is ready, the outfits are folded, the big brother is tired of waiting, and this family is ready to go get our girl! It's time.

Here's hoping our next post will be to announce that we are another step closer.
I will try to get around to posting pics of the nursery in the meantime, maybe some Christmas pics, too.
Thanks for checking in on us... I am sure there will be news soon!

Much love.