Thursday, March 22, 2007

Annie has Pre-Approval!!

Yeah, I am so excited! I just got my e-mail notification that Annie has Pre-approval!! This is so great, I really did not expect this until next week. Hopefully it means the embassy is catching up a bit!!


Guatemalan Adoption Changes.........

Guatemala IS changing. This is a given. I guess the question at hand is what these changes mean for everyone adopting or considering adopting from Guatemala. This is still unclear, but here is what I am hearing.

Now, I don't want to be the "rumor weed," so I have held off on posting some things, but there are some things happening that I think are worth mentioning.

First off, we are hearing about an April 1st cut off date for a person's Power of Attorney to be registered in Guatemala. POA is the first thing you do after you accept a referral. I "think" the general assumption is that those with POA after April 1st will be subject to new laws (or not accepted?) while those with it before will be grandfathered in under the new system. If this is true, this would be good for us. Obviously. Also, it would seem to imply that those with POA will proceed with their adoptions.

Here is the Dept. of State's most recent post regarding Guatemalan adoptions: This post has caused a little bit of uproar because it is somewhat inflammatory and really only creates more questions.

Bush visited Guatemala right before arrived and he did discuss adoptions. Here what was said about adoptions:

From the White House Release..."We also talked about adoption. I don't know if my fellow citizens understand this, but there are a lot of U.S. families who adopt babies from Guatemala, thousands of babies. This year it is very important for the United States and Guatemala to implement the Hague Convention on adoptions to help protect children and families during the adoption process. We found common ground on that issue. And I appreciate your strong stand, Mr. President, and I assured the President we would follow through, ourselves. "

There's speculation that they did indeed find some common ground, but time will tell what that means for us.

So, all in all I think things look a little more positive for us, but please continue your prayers. Now that I have spent time with my kids, the thought of not bringing them home is even more devastating. I really can't even bear to think about them not coming home. Also, could you pray for a friend of mine, also adopting from Guatemala. Her name is Maureen and she just is having trouble getting DNA done for her daughter. Maureen is a real sweetie and the baby girl she is adopting is 1 day older than Maddie. Maureen has visited this baby and she is just a doll. If DNA cannot be done, the case would have to turn into an abandonment case. Abandonment cases take an extreem amount of time and effort. So, please just pray for them also.

Thanks guys, it is such a blessing to know you are lifting us up in prayer!


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

So, how much longer now???

I have so many people asking me now "how much longer?" Boy, I wish I knew. There is no way to really tell at this point. I can tell you that pick up is usually 3 to 4 weeks after you get out of PGN. Both kids should be in PGN right now........ I guess I would feel safe saying that they should be home anytime from May to July. That is my best guess.


Monday, March 19, 2007

Gideon has Pre-Approval!!

WooHoo! I got my notification this morning. This is great news. It took 45 days which is way longer than it is suppose to, but hey at least we have it. We can now officially get out of PGN. Not that we will any time soon, but knowing all our paperwork is there is great!!!

Annie is 10 days behind Gideon when it comes to PA, so maybe she will get hers next week!!


Sunday, March 18, 2007


Well, I've been home since Friday evening, and it feels so good to be here. 2 weeks is a long time to be gone. I am so happy I went though. I miss my babies though......

So, I thought I would "dote" a little on each of the babies. Gideon first. Like I posted before, he was so happy go lucky. He has the biggest smile and he smiles easily. Developmental-wise, he was doing great, pretty age appropriate. He'd sit up and eventually fall down because he wanted to go. So he'd roll from front to back and than to front again. He'd scoot backwards a little and then eventually fuss because he was tired. I some ways he was high maintenance just because of his age. He wanted to be moving all the time. He loved to bounce and he'd do it in the carrier or on your lap. You had to really watch him close or he'd bounce right off whatever he was sitting on. His foster mother said he slept from 10:00 ish to 5:00 t0 6:00 and liked to take naps. Well, he slept fine the first night, but the second night he was up from about 2:00 to 4:00. Poor guy though, he was totally out of his element. I hesitate to clump either of the kids into any particular description because they may be totally different when they are settled into life.

Annie was sad from the first time I saw her. She wasn't always crying, just looked so lethargic. Up until Tuesday night, I had never seen her smile (and I have pictures and videos). She would cry if I sat her down. So, Annie spent a lot of her time either in the carrier or on my lap. Toward Wednesday evening and into Tuesday, she started to loosen up and was actually crawling around. We were told that she was cruising furniture and she was. She also took two steps on two different occasions, one of which we got on camera. Not bad at all for 10 months. I'd like to think those were her first steps. I have got to say, Annie's first smile was one of the sweetest things I have ever seen. She was lying on my chest Tuesday evening and all of the sudden she just looked up at me and gave me a half smile. I almost cried. She has just been so solemn up to that point. That smile was followed by many more that evening.

I need to metion Maddie here also. She was such a trooper and I was so proud of her. Maddie is very much our baby and just a little spoiled. The first day she was a little whiney and wanted mommy, but after that she was such a trooper. She was really quite cute. She would try and give them their bottles and toys. She actually turned into a little bit of a ham. They are going to be quite the three-some.

We never really left our hotel, but the hotel was amazing and we did not need to. Our days were spent either in our room or walking the mall. It was almost easier to walk with the kids than to sit in the hotel. Usually Chrissy (my sister) would wear Gideon in a carrier and I would wear Annie and then Maddie would ride in a stroller. You should have seen the looks we got from people in the mall. Everyone was really nice though and we had more than one person ask if they could have one of our beautiful babies, since we had three. Oh, and back to the hotel...the staff was excellant and they all spoke english. They were overly helpful and they made our stay so much easier.

Let me add a note of "thanks" here. I just wanted to thank my sister Chrissy for traveling with me. She took time away from her family and work to be there to help me and she was wonderful. She did everything I asked her too and she was so helpful with all three of the kids. Thanks Chris for being so great!

Leaving the kids was very, very hard. I feel like a little piece of my heart is there. We had to drop Annie off at the hogar first. I was really worried about that. She clutched to me like crazy and I was so afraid to leave her bawling. But, she went right to her caregiver and even flashed her a little smile. That made me feel so much better. Gideon had no trouble going back to his foster mom, as it should be. I had a much harder time leaving him than him leaving me.
Right after Gideon left, Chrissy, Maddie and I went down to one of the hotel resteraunts to eat dinner. I guess we went for my birthday, but it was good distraction for me. I really did not just want to sit and dwell on things. So we had a delicious dinner followed up by a yummy piece of three milk birthday cake.

A couple final things I would like to add is that our coordinator in Guatemala was amazing. She's been working in adoptions for 20 years and has a heart of gold. I intend to bring her something very nice back when we do our pick up!

Finally, I want to add that I am feeling a little better about the state of adoptions in Guatemala. I am still nervous, but I asked Lilly (our coordinator) what she thought of the state of adoptions right now. She told me that we have great attorney's and legal paperwork, we shoud be fine. She also went into the whole Mary Bonn fiasco and explained what really happened there. All that was well and good but I was particularly worried about the "protocol." So I asked her about that and she said that the protocol has many mistakes that will have to be fixed and then sent through legislation. I told her that here in the states, people were concerned that it would not go through legislation and would just be enacted. She gave me a funny look and said "it has to go through legislation, it's the law."

So, I found it interesting that when asked, her main concern about adoptions was the legality of paperwork and the Mary Bonn thing. She only commented on the protocol thing when prompted. She said that our case should not be affected by the protocol. It would be a while before it is enacted. Since the protocol has been my main concern, it was a bit of relief to hear her say it wouldn't affect us. Now, Lilly obviously does not have a crystal ball, but she has been doing this for 20 years, I think she knows a thing or two.

So, I left our two babies with high hopes to see them again soon. I am still worried, to some extent even more so because I've met them and seen how wonderful they are. I just pray they come home soon.

Here are some more pictures from our trip.

Our Hotel Lobby

Our Hotel Pool

Chrissy's favorite snack. I think it was called a churro?? Fried dough with sugar and filled with chocolate. Oh my it looked yummy!

Dinner Time!

Cuddle Time

Trying to feed both babies at once!

Annie was happy to be nakie!

Gideon Jazzing it up!

My three babies.

I love this picture of Gideon!

Annie would always blink at Chrissy's red out flash, so lots of pictures turned out like this. Look at those eyelashes though!

Annie's sharing her snack!

Lovely hair, eh?

One of Gideon's many big smiles!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Hola, from Guatemala!!

Well, we arrived in Guatemala around noon yesterday. Both flights were pretty good, although the flight from Houston to Guatemala sat on the runway for around an hour. So, we were a little late getting here. No worries though. We still have enough time to get to our hotel before Gideon (Jose) arrived.

Guatemala is really quite beautiful. I guess I've been so focused on seeing the babies that I hadn't put a lot of thought into seeing the countryside. We are surrounded by mountains and it is just lovely.

Now, for the good stuff.........the babies. They are amazing!! Gideon was brought to our room around 2:15 with Lilly (our facilitator) and his foster mom. He was a little unsure of things at first, but in no time at all he we smiling and happy go lucky. You could tell he really loves his foster mom and I can see why. Jose's foster mom is so incredibly sweet and kind. She is doing a wonderful job with Jose and I am so glad he is so well taken care of.

Shortly after Gideon arrived, Lilly, Jose and I headed over to the hogar to see Annie. When we got there, they showed me to her area and asked if I could figure out which one was her. I recognized her right away (of course :)) and Jose and I sat down beside her. She was pretty unsure of us and she remained that way for pretty much the rest of the day. She is pretty clutchy and until last night I had never seen her smile.

So we went all day yesterday with Gideon pretty much being Mr. happy-go-lucky and Annie clutching and looking on the verge of tears. And Maddie, well, she is doing well, considering. She has her moments were she really just wants mommy and she also has her moments where she is sweetly trying to give one of the babies a toy.

Last night though, we had a break through with Annie, the other two kiddos were sleeping and Annie and I were snuggling in bed together. She just all of a sudden looked up at me and smiled. It was the sweetest thing. It was the first smile I had seen from her, ever. It was followed by many more and I could tell she had crossed over. She got more playful then and even a little giggly. It was so much fun!!

All three of the kids slept well and we are all feeling refreshed. Annie is still a little timid this morning and doesn't want to be put down, but she is definitely better.

Our hotel is super nice and it has a mall attached and everything. The mall has a whole 3rd floor that is pretty much nothing but a food court. There's a lot of local fast foods, but there's also a McDonalds, Taco Bell, Subway and Pizza Hut.

Well, without further ado, here are a few pictures:

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Pics from Grand Cayman!

Having a GREAT time at the beach!!

This is all of us at Rum Point, right before dinner. We ate very yummy food outside, close to the beach.

Here's our little beach baby.....

This is a picture of the sunset from our condo (yes it is through the screen).

Monday, March 5, 2007

UNICEF.....just so you know!

UNICEF is part of the problem in Guatemala. UNICEF has offered the Guatemala g0vernment something like 20 million dollars to switch the adoption process in Guatemala. This is NOT what is best for the children of Guatemala. Here is a post I found that is helpful:

"I actually work with international organizations, and heard an interesting speech last year that best sums up what the problem is with UNICEF and many other UN organzations. The international community actually refers to something called 'shrinkage" ( for any Seinfeld fans, I had a hard time keep a straight face for this one) Shrinkage is also called the 90/10 or 10/90 rule. Basically it means that you have to accept upfront that corruption is a way of life for many third world governments, so you try and modify your own policies so that 90 percent of aid dollars reach intended recipients, while only 10 percent is skimmed by government officials. If you are not careful, 90 percent is likely skimmed and 10 percent might make its way to whoever is in need. It is my opinion that the UN discourages personal involvement; instead encouraging contributions from governments and inviduals to its own organizations, so they can control and appropriate dollars where they see fit. International adoption is threatening primarily because it serves the short term financial interests of UN organizations to have legions of children waiting for adoption, then UNICEF or associated organizations can control funds, and keep the children in their native countries to preserve 'cultural heritage'. It does NOT serve the financial interests of the UN to have third world children successfully placed in loving homes in developed nations. You will notice that some of the celebrities, cultural or religious leaders who have Africa as favorite cause set up their own charities and fundraise primarily for them. They do this as a means of controlling how dollars are spent, rather than fundraising for the UN or governments of troubled nations. Many leaders and activist celebrities are reluctant to acknowledge the corruption of certain governments, fearing that fundraising efforts will be hurt. I was so furious when I began to understand the scope of this problem. I remember being at a dinner in Europe, seated next to someone who once worked with one of the international organizations fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS. I asked why there wasn't more outrage over this corruption, and why it was so widespread. She explained that if corrupt practices were all government officials had ever known, and that people grew up thinking and accepting that that is how government is supposed to operate, it was very hard to implement change. Also, it helps the people in power remain in power if they have control over money, information and the ability to direct access to aid resources. One more point to help drive home what we are up against: Many people will find this hard to believe, but there are leaders of some nations of Africa who refuse to even acknowledge at this very moment that there is a disease called HIV/AIDS. They do not allow information regarding prevention and treatment to be distributed, nor do they allow treatment including lifesaving antiretrovirals to be administered."

I just wanted you to know......


Friday, March 2, 2007

Things are better!

Hello from Grand Cayman! We are here in the beautiful, sunny carribean and it is great!! I will try and post pictures a little later in the week.

As for adoptions in Guatemala, well things are better. The "protocol of good practices" was indeed announced in Guatemala yesterday. A concise version of how that turned out is that adoptions will NOT be haulted at this point. YEAH!! The governement does intend to implement it, but not for "some weeks." They do not have money budgeted for it now. I guess the "protocol" is what Guatemala plans to do until they are Hague compliant. So, so far, so good. Here is the link to the ADA and their response to the protocol and other things.

I can't tell you how relieved I am to hear things are ok for now. Our cases are moving right along and that is great. Gideon has already been kicked out of PGN. Now a kick out is not good, but considering I didn't even know we were in yet, I am ok with it. And, to tell the truth, we haven't even gotten pre-approval yet from the US embassy. You have to have that to get approved and out of PGN anyways.

As for Annie, I have no clue where she is at. I know DNA is done and I would assume she is either in PGN or close.

It is a bit frustrating to me that I don't get more regular updates on my case. I would love to know dates and exactly when I am in and out of things. But, I really trust my agency and my attornies. I know they are working hard for us and for now that is all I need.

I am soooooo excited about our visit trip now. I am a little concerned about how we will deal with all the babies, but it will be great! I have no clue if I will have interenet access or not, but I know Chrissy (my sister) will have her computer, so I will post if I can.

That is all for now. Thank you so much for your prayers!!!!