How it all began . . .

The idea of adopting a child has long been a spiritual calling for us. We always knew in our hearts that when the time was right we would begin our adoption journey. Never could we imagine that it would be this miraculous.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Final Post....

How do I begin to articulate everything that needs to be said in this final post? Since we are no longer "waiting for Anthony", it is only appropriate that this be the last post.

Anthony was home forever on February 28th. As many of you already know, this date is truly a date of "coming home". For the past 5 years, this date has held its fair share of tears. It is the day that my biological father was called home to God. It is only fitting that his disapproval for our tears be graced by his compassion and love. I will forever know in my heart, that the fact that this is Anthony's "coming home" day is no coincidence. This "God wink" is one that will serve as a great bond for Anthony and his "Grampy".

The last few weeks have been filled with so much excitement and pride. I have been blessed with so many quiet moments with my son in which I look right into his eyes and just know that we have fufilled God's plan. I try to grasp the concept that this sweet person that God created has found his way all the way here to our house. We have broken through so many obstacles, barriers and hurdles to embrace him and bring him to where God has intended him to be.

Make no mistake, we certainly could have NEVER done this journey without so many of you. In fact, it is because of each and every one of you that we kept up the fight. We have learned one of life's greatest, humbling lessons through all of this - we are surrounded by people who love and believe in us. People who, no matter what, will be there to rally behind us and pick us up when we fall. We are so grateful for that.

The blessings that we have collected along the way are too numerous to articulate. Family, friends (new and old), support, guidance, financial help, prayers, kind acts, etc. - all have been so greatly appreciated. When I think back on the most difficult days of this journey (and Lord knows there were many of them!) I am quick to couple those thoughts with a blessing that quickly followed.

It is especially nice to have so many people that are checking in on us. People who have been with us since day one and have stayed the course. For many of you, it has been truly miraculous watching your love and acceptance blossom. To see your concern for our well being gradually shift from worry to rejoicing! It fills my heart with pride and love!

I am told so often that "Anthony is so fortunate to have such a wonderful family. You are such good people for doing what you have done for him.". Those are such kind words and meant with so much love. Funny though.......Now that we are all home and looking towards tomorrow, I realize that WE are the lucky ones. WE needed him just as much as HE needed us.

And they lived happily ever after.

Saturday, February 9, 2008


We have received our official "Pink" notification. Anthony is coming home! Our appointment is February 25th at 7:15 am. We can return the next day to pick-up his VISA and we are free to come home, with Anthony.

Short and sweet for now, I'll post further details later.


Monday, February 4, 2008

The final step....

We just got an email from the Lab where the 2nd DNA test results were coming from. They are in route back to Guatemala! woohooo! Due to arrive before 6:00pm tomorrow. So, now we just wait. Hopefully by Wednesday afternoon we will know when we need to be there!

Look at the right hand side of the blog and scroll down. There is only one final step to complete! Praise God!!!!

I've been tagged!

Bloggers play this game called "Tagged". It is when someone who has a blog "tags" another blogger (person with a blog or visits blogs). Here are the rules:

The rules are to link the person who sent this and leave a comment on their blog so their readers can visit yours~Post the rules on your blog~Share 7 strange/weird facts about yourself~Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and link their blog~Let each person know they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.So, here are 7 wierd/strange facts about myself.

So, I left my comment "People think that I am wierd already. Now I have to admit to 7 specific things".

Okay - here goes:

#1 - I worked in dentistry for over 10 years and the sight of spit makes me gag.
#2 - I have assisted/performed countless oral surgeries, gave novacaine, etc. yet I have this enormous fear of going to the dentist.
#3 - I love french fries dipped in vanilla icecream
#4 - I can make my ears move without touching them
#5 - I love to eat lemons (just like you would eat an orange)- only I put salt on it.
#6 - I have an uncontrollable nervous laugh (embarrasing at funerals, church, etc. - and when I say uncontrollable, I mean unbelievably uncontrollable!)
#7 - DRUM ROLL PLEASE.................. I have this weird connection to butterflies. If there is a butterfly flying anywhere around me and I put my hand out, it will land in the palm of my hand and actually let me pet it. This has happened a great number of times and my kids absolutely go hogwild when they see me do it! They will say "Mommy, pet the butterfly!"

There. Now I am feeling like you know way tooo much about me.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Newest Pics

Yay! Just recieved some new pictures of Anthony at his doctors appointment on the 18th of January. As you can see, he is even more beautiful (as if that were even possible!). I love his little pudgy belly and untamable hair! I am guessing that they will give him a haircut before we go to pick him up. I am hoping that they don't shave it again. Oh well, in the grand scheme of things - who cares? My baby is my baby!

Know what is so great about these pictures of Anthony? They are the last ones that will come to us via email! The next set of pics of AJ will be the ones that WE take ourselves! Yeah!

We are still guessing that we will be in Guatemala around the 18th of February. We should know for sure in about a week or so.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Some pics of my trip and another step down!

Very belated but here are a few pictures from my trip last month. Lisa and Steve forwarded them to me via email and I wanted to share.

Gosh! Isn't he adorable?

The best part of looking at these pictures is that I was actually WITH him when they were taken!

Just got confirmation from our agency that 2nd DNA test was conducted today. Now, we wait about 7 days for the sample to go the lab, be tested, and then sent back to the USEmbassy. We are crossing our fingers that we should get our PINK slip (the appt. date and time for us to go get Anthony) by next Friday (February 8th). If I were to guess, I am thinking that our pick-up trip will be the 3rd week of February (18th or so). Just an educated guess right now though.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Anthony is legally a D'Amico

Woohoooo! It is official. We now have a new birth certicate registered in the Guatemala City Civil Registrar saying that "we" are his legal parents and his new last name is "D'Amico"! Notice to the right, only a few more steps to go!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Final Adoption Decree

We have received our Final Adoption Decree. This is the legal document that reflects the fourth and final signature from the birth mother. It is often referred to as "the final sign-off". For some reason, that phrase just makes me cringe. Not sure why exactly but I figure because it sounds so unemotional and methodical.

This step has allowed us to breathe a little bit easier but certainly not with total happiness. I can't stop thinking about her. "Her" name is Petronilla. She is in her mid-twenties. We are unsure right now as to if she has other children, what her reasons were for relinquishing Anthony, etc. We will be given more information about her once the adoption is complete and we receive the paper work. For now, all we have is a photograph of her holding Anthony and our imaginations.

Please join us in our prayers for her. May God help us to remember that without Petronilla, we wouldn't come to know Anthony.

Happy Birthday Memere!

Today my grandmother turns 82! Happy Birthday Memere!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Laughter is wonderful

I have just laughed so stinking hard I nearly fell off my chair!!!! I posted on (the adoption board that has been my Godsend of sanity) what the exact steps were now that we are OUT of PGN and dear Ana (one of the most spiritual, comical and sweetest people on earth) posted this:


1 Final Adoption Decree or Protocolo (BM signs off for the last time) -- during this time, you are still suffering from PGN stalking withdrawl and don't know what to do with yourself

2 Adoption Registered in Civil Registry - result is amended BC -- can't believe this has finally happened; you start shopping even more.

3 GUATEMALAN PASSPORT is then issued (same day) -- Time for celebration; How about some celebrating meals... Yes, not one but many MEALS.

4 DNA auth requested -- Reality starts to set in. Adrenaline starts to pump through your body.

5 DNA done -- Start to freak out and wonder, "Laura who?" (Laura is the receptionist at PGN) and Reality takes root. You have your suitcase packed and repacked, and packed again

6 PINK -- After you or someone you love has pulled up your limp body from the floor as you most certainly have lost consciousness, you hurredly begin really packing and making travel arrangements.

For those of you who know me, I needed to know what steps to obsess over now. Thank you Ana (Mom in waiting for Alberto who will be coming home in just a couple of weeks.)

WE ARE OUT!!!!!!!!

You heard me right, we are OUT of PGN!!!!!!!

After a few days of ups and downs (long story for another time) we received THE call from our agency stating "You can breathe easy now, Mayra (our lawyer) has the approved file in hand."

Just to clarify - OUT from PGN means that our entire paperwork (from the very beginning) has been accepted, reviewed and APPROVED by the Guatemalan government. This part of the process is the most excruciating wait. With no rhyme or reason as to how or when they review the paperwork, and knock cases out for minor and petty details (remember back in September we survived a knock-out), PGN can either make or break the stamina and endurance of adoptive families. Many have endured and still continue to endure literally months to years of waiting to get OUT of PGN. Please continue to remember these families in your prayers. Believe me, they need it more than I could ever express to you. Waiting to hear you are OUT of PGN is indescribable and can bring you to such low levels of despair. So, to all my PGN buddies out there - Sending you hugs and encouragement to keep your hearts and mind focused on what life will be like when you are holding you little ones. Please! Don't let PGN (or any other part of this crazy process) replace the joy and excitement that we OWE to our children.

Our agency has told us to expect to travel within 3 to 5 weeks. We should know a more definitive date as the time gets closer. Here is what needs to happen now:

Final Adoption Decree signed
(Birth mothers 4th and final signature)
A new Birth Certificate is requested and entered into the Civil Registry
A 2nd DNA test is done (to ensure that Anthony has been the same baby all along)
Passport for Anthony is issued (needed to come home to the U.S.)
United States Embassy in Guatemala issues a pink slip with the date and time we are to appear

As you can imagine, each one of these steps could take days or weeks. Typically, the longest part of all of the above will be waiting for the 2nd DNA results. They are taken and then sent to Labcorp. in the states and then sent back to Guatemala. We are also mindful that January is a very transitional month for Guatemala - they have a new President taking office on the 14th and post-holiday vacations for all government workers seems to be planned. So, we wait more. Just a LITTLE more this time.

But for the first time since we began this journey, I can finally say with ABSOLUTE confidence - ANTHONY IS COMING HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

My visit in a nutshell. . .

It would take up this entire blogspace to articulate all the precious moments that I had with Anthony during my visit to Guatemala. To actually be able to hold him, touch him, embrace him, etc. was breathtaking. We spent four days of absolute bliss. Handing him back to the foster mother and watching them drive off was one of the hardest things life has ever dealt me.

I arrived at the hotel 10 minutes before our scheduled meeting. I was weak in the knees and extremely nervous. Muscling through the airport in a foreign country was certainly an experience to say the least. I quickly grabbed my gifts for the foster family and left my room to go to the lobby where it had been arranged for us to meet. As the elevator doors opened my heart was pounding so loud I was sure that everyone could hear it. With sweaty palms and a lump in my throat I stepped out and immediately scanned the large lobby looking for Marissa (the foster mother). I was sure I would recognize her and not sure that I would be able to recognize Anthony. Afterall, he had been changing so much between our picture updates. I kept reminding myself "soak in every detail. You have been waiting for this for almost 9 months now. You are going to hold your son for the first time ever in just a few short minutes." I could hear "The Rose" by Bette Midler playing over the lobby speakers and the smell of dinner was stemming from the restaurant.
As I took the bend of the hallway and turned toward the door, my eyes met Anthony's for the first time. He looked right at me as if he knew who I was and why I was there. He was sitting on the lap of his foster father (Juan) and beamed the biggest smile at me. Those last 10 steps to get to him felt like the final stretch of a tunnel marathon. With tears literally streaming down my face I rushed towards him eagerly waiting for someone to hand him to me. Without skipping a beat, Marissa jumped up and grabbed him. She held him out to me before I could even reach him. He just kept smiling and staring at me.
I continued to embrace him, soaking in his scent and feel for about 2 or 3 minutes as I cried uncontrollably. The whole time, Anthony just looked at me smiling and all excited.
After I compossed myself, we went up to the 2nd floor lounge area and had 1/2 hour visit. I was able to gather more information on the foster family and arrangements were made for them to come back 4 days later to pick him up. During the short visit with the foster family, Anthony had fallen asleep on me. The foster father even said "He is very comfortable with you. You are already connected. That is a good thing."
The following days entailed hours of pure joy. We played, laughed, swam, ate, etc. Other than a few VERY minor bouts of whining, Anthony was amazingly adjusted to me. He is a happy go lucky 9 month old who enjoys people, loves to be held, and proved to be a real snuggle bug.
I was incredible blessed to have met so many wonderful people during my stay. About a dozen "in-process" families were there and we quickly united. Lisa and Steve (using the same agency as us) were a Godsend. These new life friends of mine went over and above whatever I needed. Their son Evan (Andres) is the sweetest thing!
Tuesday came and I woke up with a broken heart. I had repeatedly attempted to prepare myself for this minute. Marissa would be there at 12:00 to pick-up Anthony. We spend the morning just soaking in every passing second together. At 10:40 the front desk called and informed me that the foster mother was there. What?! She is early! OMG!
We walked downstairs to find her there with her birth son (7 months old). She had come early to visit with me awhile and to introduce me to her son. I am sure in my heart that she wanted to help me feel better. As if to say " I am loving your son just as I love my own". I believe that. I really do.
When I handed Anthony off to her he quickly squeezed his face into hers. Extremely happy to see her and certainly loved. The immediate pangs of hurt quickly evaporated as God gently reminded me that "This is a good thing." Anthony NEEDS love, he NEEDS to have embrace and nurture. He is certainly gettting that from Marissa. After finding out that he calls her "Mami" my heart sank. She quickly asked in Spanish "Is that okay?" . I am glad that I composed my thoughts before blurting out my immediate answer. "It is okay" I said. And off they went into the front seat of a car (with both babies on her passenger side lap) off into the city. I stood there weaping for a moment. I really could have fallen to my knees screaming "Don't go! Come back!" I wiped my eyes and turned toward the door. Knowing full well I would be back as soon as God would allow. As my selfish pain started to lift, I kept thinking "It is so hard for us right now, but he is happy, healthy, and loved. He has a family that is caring for him until we can come back. He is not in an orphanage, he is not going hungry, he is not being neglected, and he has no idea of the pain that we are going through to get him home. This is a good thing. As hard as this is for me right now, I know that we will be here soon to bring him home forever."
I left for the airport quickly thereafter and as the plane soared out of the city, I looked down thinking "Only a mother's love and fight for her child could have gotten me here....and a mother's love and fight for her child will get me back".

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


We tend to seek comfort in the people that are sharing the same experience as us. The ability to relate to another person who "gets it" or "truly understands" has proven to be one of the best forms of medicine in this adoption journey. I had joined a Guatemalan discussion board back in April of this year. Through this board, I have met the most amazing people. Together, we have supported each other through tears, anger, frustration, joy, etc. Most of my knowledge about Guatemala (adoptions) has come from others sharing their experiences, and helping me understand ours. Over the last few weeks, I have shared in the joy of many of these families getting word that they were able to book their flight and go get their child.
Although my happiness and joy for them is genuine and heartfelt, the selfish "woe is me" voice keeps surfacing. I find myself thinking "According to the process or general timelines, WE should have already been called. WE should have had Anthony at home already. How is it that THEY started after us and are united already?" Perhaps my severe disappointment that Anthony will not be sharing Christmas with us is the root of these selfish thoughts. Or maybe, I am just weakening and giving in to impatience. I know that people are now taking in a deep breath before asking "How are things going? When do you think he will be home?" because they are worried and care about how this is for us. Some people don't even ask at all anymore. I assure you - this is only dancing around the white elephant in the room. Our missing and longing for Anthony is very real and a very big part of our lives. To pretend that it isn't happening and we are not feeling any sadness about his absence only hurts more.
So, I will shorten my ranting by simply stating this - please pray that our family has continued strength to endure the rest of the wait. Pray that we continue to keep an open and joyous heart for all of the families that are being united this holiday season. Pray that we find the strength to rebuke the "Why can't I have that" attitude, and remember to feel the truth that God's timing is purposeful. And last but not least, pray that the people that are processing our adoption are not screwing up God's timing by taking to long to do their job.

Friday, November 30, 2007


To purchase a "Cookbook of Love" please email me directly with your name and address (I will send you an email confirmation). We will be more than happy to mail them out to you. Please allow 2 weeks for delivery.
The cookbooks are full page, color print, spiral cone bound books. They consist of a compilation of recipes submitted from family and friends (and friends of friends, etc.).
The cost of the books are $20.00 and includes shipping. We thank you for your support in our fundraising efforts!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

Update: I called PGN this week and we are still with the 2nd reviewer. A typical 5 -6 week stay with this reviewer. We are on week 2 and counting. Keeping our fingers crossed for no more knock outs.
Our cookbooks are selling like hotcakes! We have sold just under 200 so far and many have expressed that they want a few more. Thank you again for all of your support and kind feedback on how wonderful they came out.
Thanks to Miss A. at our church, we have been given the opportunity to place a table in the children's ministry area to share our story with our fellow church members. It is truly an honor and blessing to touch base with people and tell them about Guatemala and Anthony. It is so comforting to see that complete strangers are taking the time to hear about our journey and offering prayer support and words of encouragement. A much needed medicine for us as a family. For those of you who know me, I believe that "everyone has a story" and I love getting to know people through their story. This has given me an opportunity to share a little bit of mine. What a great feeling.

Looks like news on Guatemalan adoptions are spreading like wildfire. Sadly, most of it negative. Accusation of "baby stealing", "buying children", "corruption", etc. Up until now, I have refused to address these accusations because I just don't see the need to feed into the continuation of such hurtful and slanderous judgements and falsehoods. So here is my rebuttal to the most popular comments and misunderstandings:
In every country where adoptions numbers are high, there is a certain number of illegal happenings (certainly the US included). Because it is in our nature to focus on the bad - these cases seem to stir up more interest. I will not argue that there IS NOT corruption in Guatemalan adoptions but rather that the ratio of "corrupt to legal" is extremely misrepresented in the media. My guess would be, for every 1 illegal adoption, there are 500 legal ones.
The high costs involved in adopting from Guatemala are NOT the cost of the baby. They cover expenses such as private fostering (as opposed to orphanages), health/medical care, living expenses (diapers, formula, etc), legal fees, paperwork fees (a huge amount of paperwork both here in the US and Guatemala simultaneously), etc. These fees are incurred because once you accept a child through adoption in Guatemala, the lawyers step in and facilitate that these things go into motion. These steps and elements are expensive in and of themselves. Together - they equal the total.
The notion that Guatemalan adoptions is a relatively simple process is bogus. I assure you, there is nothing simple about this painstaking process. We watch our children grow through pictures and written updates while we wait sleeplessly for nearly a year ( and for many - well over a year). The flip flop and zig zagging of paperwork and setbacks is stifling. We are at the mercy of governmental policies and practices and are often tossed backwards with every turn. This is an extremely emotional journey - one that effects our days and nights, our daily life, and our future. I often compare it to having a child in special care on life support. Do you just go about your daily life "keeping busy" while you wait for the doctors to say "okay, they are better now. You can take him/her home"? I think not.
Compound all of the above with the misconception that just because "you sought this out" or "you WANTED to do this" or better yet "if this doesn't work out do you get your money back?" is like pouring salt into a cut. I refuse to respond to such hurtful, insensitive comments.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Cookbooks Are Done!!!

The Cookbooks are done! They came out beautiful (if I do say so myself)! We are getting wonderful feedback on them and we are so thankful for every ones support. We are still striving to sell as many as we can. To date, we have sold 150 so we are already half way to our goal!

Of course, I would be terribly remiss if I didn't mention my sister Sandy, who spent days on end - typing, editing, printing, sorting, etc. Once again, my sister silently stood by my side with her eye on the goal, picking me up and encouraging me with every fumble. She has blessed my life with her ability to feed me strength in my moments of weakness.

I called PGN last week and was told that we were with the 2nd reviewer. What does this mean? It means that we have cleared through the 1st reviewer and are waiting and hoping to make it through to the 3rd and final reviewer without any knock outs. Please!!!! Pray that we do not get another knock out. I know my limits of pain and disappointment - and another knock out would just plunge me over the edge of that limit.

I am starting to realize just how much this wait is effecting the girls. Over the last few days, Courtney has been telling me that she has dreams about holding Anthony and playing with him and that she "sleeps so good and doesn't want to wake up" when she is having these dreams. She has broken down crying when she sees baby Christmas outfits in the store and sobbed the other day at the Dixie Chics song "Godspeed". She said that the line "My love will fly, to you each night, on angels wings - Godspeed little man"makes her really sad. So, the CD has been put away. Delicia and I were talking about the fact that Anthony might not be home for Christmas. She believes that maybe this is because God is answering the prayers of his Foster Mother. That she is probably praying to have him for one Christmas and then he will be with us for all the other Christmases in his life. Meghan has asked me twice - "how many more cakes do you think that we will have before Anthony comes home?" (we have a cake on his monthly birthday)

Well, my birthday is Wednesday November 14th. Anyone want to guess what my one birthday wish is?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

New Pictures!!!

These pictures were taken on Anthony's October doctor's visit.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Back in to PGN . . .

Woohoo! We have been resubmitted back into PGN on October 23rd. We are so excited and relieved. Now, everyone pray really hard because we cannot emotionally take another knock out/previo. If all goes well we should be out of PGN around the 2nd week of December. Then it will be about 4 -6 weeks after that before we can go get Anthony.

But, if you believe in miracles (and I do) we will get out of PGN sooner and be able to go get him before Christmas. Am I setting myself up for disappointment? Maybe, but I am always an optimist - and an optimist with a strong faith in God.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Just more waiting . . .

We received and email from our agency last night - it appears that the knock out from PGN is taking longer than expected to resolve. The reason for this is that someone needs to physically go to the home town that the birth mother was born to obtain a new copy of her ID document. Apparently, this location is in the "boondocks". The email said that the attorney is hoping to be able to get it next week.
What should have only taken a week is now landed us on week #3 of waiting. The reality of having Anthony home for Christmas is fading and we are trying hard to come to grips with that. I know this is all up to God, and that He is leading and in control. I really DO believe and trust in that, but it is just so hard!!!
The nice thing is that Eric (our agency director) was able to visit with Anthony and take pictures. As you can see, AJ is getting so big and is being well cared for by his Foster Mother. We are extremely relieved to see him sitting up and physically mobile. Prior to getting these pictures, Anthony was always laying on his back. Although I have only posted a few of the bunch we were sent, some of the pictures appear as though he is actually trying to get down- off of Marissa's (the Foster Mom) lap!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Finding Strength. . .

This week has been an incredibly hard week for us. Although our focus has never waivered, our endurance has definately been weakened.
In addition to our fading patience, financial worries, heavy hearts regarding what lies ahead for the children of Guatemala and many other things, our dear friends (adopting a beautiful baby girl) were given some very disappointing news. They are facing a potential long wait in getting a signature on one of the documents. This is a major blow and one that we feel so heavy hearted about. We ask that you join us in our prayers to ease their sadness and help them keep sight on the fact that their "little girl" will come home as soon as God deems it the right time.

As of today, we have not yet re-entered PGN. We are trying hard not to focus on "where we are not" but rather focus on "where we have been". We have come so far in this process. We have already conquered major milestones and are nearing the end of this very difficult road.

I want to give attention to some of the most amazing things I am experiencing through all of this:

For every ten people that listen to our story and say "Hey great - good luck", one person says nothing and ponders our efforts in their own quiet moment and gently whispers "Your making a difference, and that matters" in ways that are simply breathtaking. ---It is this very thing that gives us strength.

Just when we think that we have not one ounce of energy to go on, there is some blessing that sweeps us off our feet and gives us a rest while you prepare for the next hurdle. ---For all of you that have delivered these blessings, Thank You.

When the morning comes and I can barely drag myself out and face another day of this fight to bring Anthony home, I hear the pitter patter of my daughters footsteps coming up the stairs.--- and I am reminded of why I am doing this.

Today I have been showered with very unexpected love and support from some of my newest friends. My day began with a "thinking of you" card, a beautiful book of encouragement, a bouquet of pink roses, a guardian angel pin of hope, and a magnet/plaque that states my new mantra (I have written it below). ---Thank you for getting to know me well enough to see that I needed your love and support, going out of your way to send it to me, and for encouraging me without asking any questions. It is my honor to call you my friends. xo

Remember What Is Most Important . . .
It's not having everything go right;
it's facing whatever goes wrong.
It's not being without fear;
It's having the determination
to go on in spite of it.
Remember that every day ends
and brings a new tomorrow
full of exciting new things.
Love what you do,
do the best you can,
and always remember
how much you are loved.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Fixing the knock out

We heard from our agency last night. Appears as though the reason that our case was issued a "previo" (knock out) was because PGN did not like the way the birthmother's ID certificate looked. They requested a new one be submitted. Although our attorney (Mayra) thinks that this is a ridiculous request (the one that was submitted is fine, legible, and presents no problems), she will go to the birthmothers home town and get a new copy. Luckily, this should not be a big deal to complete other than the time involved in getting it done. We hope to be resubmitted to PGN by late next week. Once resubmitted, our wait begins again. We can only pray that this will be our one and only previo (knock out). If we should be issued another one down the road, the same process is required - pick up the file from PGN, get the requested information, and then resubmit back to PGN. Each and every resubmit starts the 8 - 10 week over again.
The hopeful part of all of this waiting is that PGN seems to be working a tad bit faster than it has in the past. A great deal of heat is behind them since all in-process cases will be suspended as of December 31 2007. But . . .
On October 9th (this Tuesday), there is suppossed to be a "grandfather clause" up for consideration. If allowed, this clause will be attached to the Ortega Law and all of us (about 3000 families) will be allowed to finalize our adoptions. Although no new adoptions will be allowed to begin until the United States becomes a Hague accredited country (which will hopefully be in May 2008), all of us that have began this process with the reassurance that our cases will be completed, will get just that - our children home. We will wait with bated breath for the outcome of Tuesday . . . . until then - pray, hope, read up on the issues, pray again, pray some more, and when you are done with that, repeat.

Monday, October 1, 2007

We got a knock out . . .

I called PGN today (a very tedious task) and was told that we have a knock out (previo) dated September 25th. UGH!!! Our file has not yet been picked up by our lawyer. This means we wait, wait, and wait some more. Then after waiting, we are resubmitted and it is like starting all over in PGN. See my posts below.
This has gone from bad to worse. Please pray for us!

Urgent Message

I am going to try my best to communicate just what exactly is happening right now regarding adoption in Guatemala. This is a very detailed, complicated, political subject and one that has serious consequences for us (and thousands of other adoptive families).
Firstly, let me state that effective January 1st 2007 Guatemala will NO LONGER be approving adoptions from the United States. If and only if the US ratifies the Hague treaty will the doors be reopened. This will take time and thousands of children will suffer in the interim.

That being said, there are a number of cases (approximately 3000) that are still in the system. WE ARE ONE OF THEM! There is great uncertainty as to what will happen to all of us still "stuck" in the system. Up until a few days ago, the US Department of State indicated that as long as certain documents were filed and approved, we would be "grandfathered in" and the new laws would not pertain to us. Sadly, there Urgent notification that came out on September 26th indicates otherwise. The summary of this notification states that all US agencies should stop their Guatemalan adoption programs and that they can no longer gaurantee that "in process" cases will be completed. All cases not completed by December 31st will be in severe jeopardy (and unless new news comes into play) will not be allowed to continue.
What does this mean for us? - I can't even type the words. I will only say this: Anthony must be home December 31st.
So, we are riddled with fear, helplessness and urgency. Never a good combination. We are desperately trying to continue our feelings of joy and excitement because we know that to do otherwise only deprives Anthony of his right to have a joyous journey home. Our parental insticts have kicked in full force and we will fight to bring Anthony home. Our fight to go forward is coupled by the emotional words of our agency "There is no back peddling here - we will march forward confident that we will bring your son home to you".
How can you help? Call your senators, call the DOS, read up on the topic and pray. Pray that not only do the in process cases complete before December 31st but pray for all the helpless Guatemalan children that will be abandoned by their system. I am sickened and heartbroken over what is to come of them and how a political stance is deemed more important than a human life.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Recipe for Love . . .

I want to begin this post with something really exciting. Put your ear a little closer to the monitor. . . a little closer . . . I want to whisper it . . .
WE ARE OFFICIALLY IN PGN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
WooHooo! As of September 7th - Yay!

Now onto the fundraiser - we have decided to compile a "Cookbook of Love". We are asking family and friends (and friends of friends) to please forward us your favorite recipe. The recipe can be for anything with only one specification - please attach some sort of little note explaining why it is special. (For example, my grandmother is submitting her famous pistachio cake recipe because it has become a tradition at every special event in our family. Another great one is from my wonderful neighbor who wrote that her recipe has become a tradition on Christmas morning) We are hoping to have the cookbook together and printed by the end of the month.
We will be selling these "Cookbooks of Love" for $15.00/each and hope and pray we can sell 300 + . Please consider helping us by first - submitting a recipe, then asking everyone you know if they want to buy one (Many people have already placed orders to give as Christmas gifts to family and coworkers).

It has been so great to see such a big response to this idea. I love getting all the recipes and love hearing about all the sentiment behind them. I know that I will someday make every single one of them and think of the sender with love and gratitude!

Please remember us in your prayers that with each new day we are one step closer to finally holding our son/brother.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Reaching Out . . .

Well, Pre-approval was issued on August 16th and finally picked up by the lawyer on August 30th. The US Embassy was closed for a week and we felt the delay of that. So now, we will be entering PGN at some point this week. PGN is the office that essentially "legalizes" the adoption according to Guatemala's laws and regulations. (Sort of like the Attorney General's Office here in the states) The PGN is also known as "the black hole" for obvious reasons. Once a case is entered, it is nearly impossible to track. The only news given is either a "kick out or knock out" or that the case has been signed off. Typical timeframe is 8 -12 weeks but this is a very loose timeframe. Many have waited 12 weeks only to find that they have been knocked out for one reason or another and need to get a document corrected and re-enter. If this happens, it can be like starting PGN all over again. So please! Keep us in your prayers that we speed right through. Once our case is signed off, we are resubmitted to the US Embassy in Guatemala and final plans are made to bring Anthony home. So folks, keep your eyes on the bolded green list to the bottom right of the blog - you'll see the progress as we go!
We are contemplating hosting some sort of fundraiser to help us cover the final costs of the adoption. For those of you who know us, this is a very uncomfortable position for us to be in. We tend to be the "givers" and cringe at the fact that we need to be the "receivers". We are coping with accepting the fact that although our cause is heartfelt and personally spiritually driven - it is impossible to do on our own. The fact that we need help has been humbling, but the fact that so many are willing and want to help is far more uplifting. So, we are considering just how we can gather for a fundraiser and make it a fun event for all that attend and help out. We are open for any suggestions and would love some feedback on ideas - Thanks!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Finally! Pre-Approval in Hand!

We were waiting to get pre-approval from the US Embassy in Guatemala and today it came! It took 64 days but we finally got it! This means that we can now be submitted to PGN (PGN is the Guatemalan office that legalizes the entire adoption. They are very picky about a number of things and can "knock us out" at any time. If this happens, we must correct or furnish them with their request and resubmit our file ). In a perfect world, PGN should take about 8 weeks. We would be so naive if we thought that we could get in and out of PGN in 2 months. But, here's to hoping! There really is no rhyme or reason to the way they process cases. Some get through PGN in 2 months while others have been stuck in that office for 6 months. Please say a prayer that we breeze right through. We should be entered into PGN at some point within the next week or so.
Just a reminder - after PGN it goes back to the Embassy to be processed for a pink slip (which is the date to go get Anthony!)

This is such a great milestone in this journey - we are thrilled!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

New Pictures!

FINALLY! New pictures! (medical update is in the mail) Oh my goodness - he is getting so big. I had been praying that at least one of these pictures had him smiling so that I could see a glimpse into his emotions. Well, just take a peek at the pictures (scroll all the way down to the end of the blog) and you will see that I can see emotion all right - just not smiles or laughter. That is okay - I am so happy to see my baby. Do you think he is crying because he wants to come home?

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Anthony's Garden . . .

Many have said that when the day comes and you finally bring your little one home - the details and pain of waiting melt away like a bad dream. I hope that they are right. Maybe God spares us this because in some way it belittles the joy encompassing this difficult journey. Or maybe God rewards us adoptive parents for our valiant efforts and determination to carry out His will. I will believe in the later.

I will never be able to accurately measure the number of tears shed, every gut wrenching heart beat, or every moment that I have cried so hard that I couldn't catch my breath throughout this adoption. The feeling of helplessness is so stifling that it is indescribable. Without my faith in God I would crumble.
I would be terribly remiss if I failed to parallel that with the inability to accurately measure the number of tears shed of joy, the heart beats that are so full with love and pride, and the moments in which someones graciousness has literally taken my breath away.

I get so much solace in knowing that when the day comes and Anthony is home, this will all melt away. All that will be left is the many, many blessings that helped this "coming home" garden grow. In this garden will be the most beautiful bouquet of family, friends (new and old), trust, love, patience, generosity, compassion, pride, strength, etc. etc. etc.

Until then I will continue to water the garden and revel in it's growth.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Just checking in . . .

I figured that it was time that I got off the "pity potty" for myself and swing back into action. A great deal of this renewed energy is coming from the fact that we attended a new church this morning. What a wonderful and rejuvenating experience for ALL of us. The girls loved it, we loved it and I cannot begin to tell you how welcomed we were. As many of you already know, this has been a long and difficult road for us to finally find a church that we can call "home".
So what does this have to do with the adoption? --- More than I could ever articulate.

On another note, the nursery is coming together! Starting to look very put-together. I think for now we will stop. We will wait to get out of PGN before we put the final touches. For now, the new drum set will stay planted in the middle of the room as John and the girls take turns hogging the drum time. (Thanks to Uncle Jimmy who graciously gifted and surprised us with his first drum set)

I am hoping to go to Guatemala on a visit trip in late September/early October. We will see where we are at in the process in early September and then decide. I would be on a plane next week if it weren't for the money. Well, I won't get into that. You all know how I feel about the money part of this wonderful journey. Besides, I said I am now off the pity potty and staying positive.

In closing, we celebrated AJ's 4 month birthday on the 27th with a yummy cake. We made a promise that every month we would have a cake for him until he comes home. We are praying that we will only be eating 3 more cakes.