Thursday, August 30, 2007

We have another passport!

Well, Monday evening Ryan and I and the kids drove to Chicago. We had to go to the Guatemalan Consulate to get Annie another passport. We stayed at a really nice hotel that was downtown and right next door to the consulate. We got into the city around 11:00 pm their time. We noticed as soon as we got close to our hotel that they were filming a movie or something b/c they had the street right in front of our hotel blocked off and there was all the standard movie stuff there. By the time we got parked and checked in to our hotel the filming was over and the crew was partying. They weren't loud or anything, but there was lots of beer and popcorn! Our hotel dude said they were filming "Wanted" with Angelina Jolie. Pretty cool to be that close to all that!

So, our time at the consulate was a bit trying. They couldn't find Annie's passport in their database and they kept bringing up a little girl with Annies exact name, but different brithday and ID number. We got a little worried b/c there's so much concern about the adoptiong process anyways, I could just see us getting accused of stealing Annie. We had to leave the consulate and wait for the head honcho (which never showed). We finally got everything worked out around 1:00 (we got there at 8:00). I guess our Annie hadn't been added to the US database yet, but they had record of her in Guatemala. So her picture and prints were taken and we were on our way. Even though we had to wait, it really worked out better in my opionion. We wanted to be able to see downtown some and this gave us some time. Except for worrying about the situation, it turned out to be a nice trip.

We were told that it would take 1 1/2 to 2 weeks to get her passport. So, imagine my suprise when it arrived via UPS today! I am super excited and relieved to have it. Now all we need is Annie's visa, which should be here in the next week or so.

As for Gideon, well, his document just arrived in Guatemala yesterday, so we still have a good 3 to 4 weeks probably. **SIGH** I am so tired of waiting for my son to join his family.


Saturday, August 25, 2007

One step closer....

Well, the document that has been causing so much trouble is finally in Guatemala (last Thursday). I pray our attorney moves as fast as possible processing the rest. My best guess on a travel date would be mid to September.

As for me fostering, I think Ryan and I have found some middle ground. I think our plan is for Ryan to take off work 1 1/2 to 2 weeks and we will all go to Guatemala together. This plan doesn't get me to Guatemala as soon as I would like, but I am so grateful that Ryan is willing to do this. I love the idea of all of us going together! Guatemala has been a great experience for us so far and want my whole family to experience it! It is going to be a bit tricky as to know when to leave, but we will do the best we can to get it as close to that time frame as we can.

Oh, as for the passport issue with Annie, it looks like this will work out ok. I really think we will get her actual green card before we leave. And, the passport agency that all the Guatemalan consulates use is up and going again. I think we are going to go to our local consulate (Chicago) either Monday or Tuesday with the hope of having an actual passport before we leave.

Also, this is a little off the wall, but could you all pray for a baby girl in Guatemala that I became aware of yesterday. My agency called to see if we would be interested in her b/c she looks just like the newborn version of Annie (beautiful) and she is with Annie's same attorney/in the same hogar. I am sure they will have no problems finding her a good home, but she touched my heart and I would love to see her find a good Christian family!

Thanks all!


Sunday, August 19, 2007

The USCIS pulls through for us!

Well, I met with an immigration officer in Columbus Thursday morning and it went really well. the guy was super nice and it was refreshing to talk to someone that if nothing else, pretended he cared.

Up to this point I have known very little about immigration, visas and citizenship. I feel much more informed now. Here's what I learned.

1. Annie came home on an IR4 visa (because both parents did not visit) which means she was not a citizen when we hit ground in Houston. She was a permanent resident, but she has to be readopted here in the states to get her citizenship. Annie does get a green card and we expect that in the mail in 2 or 3 weeks.

2. A visa is not just a little stamp in her (lost) passport, the good ol' US of A actually has record of her visa in a little thing called a computer. This may seen like a no brainer, but two governments had been unable to answer this up unto this point.

3. Annie's green card is her visa. Once we have that we are good to go on the US side.

So, Annie does still have a visa, just no proof of that to travel. We are anticipating getting her green card before we go back to Guatemala, but if not, the immigration officer made me a temporary green card that should be fine.

So, here's the plan. When we know we are really close to traveling we will go to Chicago to get travel papers that will get Annie into Guatemala. I hope to be able to get her an actual passport, but I don't know if that is possible at this point. The travel documents will be turned in to an actual passport once in Guatemala. So, she will have a passport to come home on. That along with Annie's temporary or permanent green card will appease both governments. Now, we just have to figure out what the airlines will be ok with. I will have obviously have everything figured out before we go.

As for actual travel I am unsure about when we will go. We are at least making progress right now. I bet it will be 2 1/2 to 3 weeks until we are submitted to the Embassy to get our pink slip. My tenative (very tenative right now) plan is to start looking to travel as soon as I know we've been submittted. It will take me a few days to organize tickets and get us down to Guatemala. I would plan to stay in Guatemala for 2 to 3 weeks. My plan would be to find someone to go with me for 7 to 10 days and then have Ryan come down and finish off the time. We will se though how things go.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Good News.....and some bad news.

Good news first (and trust me this far outweighs the bad).

Well, Gideon is legally our son now! His birthmom signed off for the 4th and final time. Our agency actually has the document in their possession. Now we are having to organize couriers in California to get it state certified and consulate authenticated. Our agency should have it back to them and ready for Guatemala by next Tuesday. So, I HATE that we have lost all this time, but we can now move forward. When it has all been said and done I am confident that these 5 weeks will seem pretty insignificant. I just thank God that we will have the rest of Gideon's life as a part of our family!

The bad news is that we have lost Annie's passport and visa. This is not a good thing. She obviously cannot travel without it and I obviously will not leave her. I am doing all I can to get it replace (and have been for a week now). Tomorrow at 9:00 we have an appointment with an immigration officer in Columbus to see what our options are. If we could just get her an American passport then we wouldn't have to worry about the visa (she came home with a Guatamalan passport), but she has no proof yet that she is a citizen and won't for a little while. Even though she is a US citizen! I don't mind getting her another Guat passport, but the passport agency that the Guatemalan Consulate uses is down and issuing no passports right now. Even then, we'd still have to figure out the visa thing. We can get travel documents from the Guat Consulate to get her into Guatemala, but we need a visa to get her home!

It is just a mess and I am praying we can make some progress tomorrow because no one, thus far, in the Guatemalan or US government cares to help us. Trust me, I've talked to a lot of people.

So, mostly I am just praising God we are one step closer to Gideon. I still am very anxious to be with him again, but on step at a time right now!


Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Mixed Emotions.

Well, first of all, Annie is amazing! She seems to be adjusting so well. She is starting to act like a normal toddler. She isn't quite as clingy (although she still is some, which I don't mind a bit) and will frolic around the house just as you would expect. She is sleeping a little better, she was getting up every hour at night, but she just got up twice last night. She eats well and likes most foods I give her. But, if she doesn't like them you know because she spits it right back out. She like to throw things which is pretty typical toddler behavior at this age.

I am also loving having a bigger family. It is fun to see Leah and Logan helping out Maddie and Annie. All 4 of my kids are just so interesting and fun!

Now for the mixed emotions part. I miss Gideon and we have hit a bit delay. For reasons I can't really go in to, the birthmom has not signed off on her 4th and final sign off. This is suppose to happen right after PGN. I can say it is not an issue of her desire to place Gideon up for adoption, she still wants to do that, but it is other issues. That is why this is just a delay at this point. I am just having such a hard time not being with him and then to have these concerns about his bm and this is just adding so much time to our process...... I am praying very hard that this birthmom situation is handled this week. Could you do that same? It is a very delicate situation that is taking quite some time to resolve. I do believe it is reasonable though to hope (and pray) it will be resolved this week.

Also, something else that could use some prayer is our pick up trip for Gideon. We have pretty much decided to go as a family, which is great, but I really want to go earlier than that. Once we are submitted to the Embassy, there's a reasonable amount of certainity that we will have pink within a week or so (our Embassy date). I would like to take the kids and foster in Antigua until Gideon is ready to come home (Antigua is like 45 min. away from Guatemala City). I would anticipate us being there 2 to 3 weeks. A ton of people foster in Antigua and I hear there's a nice little community. One lady I met said they even had weekly bible studies. I am confident I could find a cheap apartment and I here the price of food is super reasonable. Well, Ryan is not totally keen on this idea right now. I, on the other hand, have never been so sure. I mean I have seriously not felt this passionately about something in a long time. I just KNOW our family needs to be together asap. I have a son 4 hours away from me, how can I not do what I can to be with him? Plus, the kids would love Antigua. The weather is amazing, we would have the beach, and how often do kids get to travel to another country to bring their brother home?

Anyways, going to Guatemala asap is just something I feel I need to do. And while I can appreciate Ryan's desire to "ground" me, I am not deterred. Could you pray that God would give us some clear direction here?


Friday, August 3, 2007

Finally Some Pictures

Ok, these are really out of order, but oh well...

These are other adoptive moms we ate lunch with the last day we were there. We got to be very close to Mastora, the woman in front on the left hand side. She was visiting her sweet little girl Iman. We are praying she moves through fast!

Annie and Gideon, one of the few times they were both in the stroller.

This is Annie and Maddie in the Houston airport. We were waiting for our name to be called at the immigration department. I wasn't suppose to be taking pictures in there and the gaurd told me so shortly after this picture.

This is Leah and Logan seeing Annie for the first time at the Cincy airport.

This is daddy meeting Annie for the first time.

This is how we ate in Guatemala. The Marriott was great about having enough high chairs. This was a very typical scene. Those poor workers that had to clean up after our crew.

A very happy Annie and Maddie.

I love this picture of Annie. She just has the best smile!!

This is my happy boy! Man do I miss him!

Annie was not happy here, but she should be, it was Embassy Day for us!

We are at the Hogar in this picture. It was my first time seeing Annie since March.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007


It is good to be home. I missed everyone and all the comforts we have here.

Annie seems to be doing really well. She slept in the pack and play in our room last and didn't wake up until about 8:00 this morning. Right now she is playing on the floor with Maddie. They do pretty well together although they do have their moments. At the airport yesterday we were letting the girls move around a bit while we were layed over in Houston. I kept trying to keep them close to us. Well, Maddie aparently thought Annie had gone too far and started trying to pull her back by her clothes. Annie was not impressed and screamed at her!

The flights were a mixed bag. Both girls slept for a part of both flights, so that was great. The flight from Guatemala to Houston was the worse. Lots of screaming and crying and the girls weren't happy either!

It was harder than I was expecting to leave Gideon. Especially since Annie is home and he is not. He didn't want to go to his foster family and that made it harder to let him go. They are so good to him and love him so much. I know he is in such good hands, but in my mind he is a part of this family now and it hurts to have him here.

Today is Gideon's first birthday. I feel like I got to celebrate with him a little bit. We sent a present and a balloon with his foster mom. I also got him a chocolate bar that said "Happy Birthday" on it from Marie's candies. It was cool because when the foster mom dropped him off she kind of sheepishly said he really like chocolate. I think he will have fun with that.

Happy Birthday Sweet Boy! Your family misses you and are ready for you to come home!!

Our journey to bring Gideon home is being delayed unfortunately. His birthmom has had to be tracked down to do the final sign off. I suspect it will be done this week, but even at that, it will probably be a good 3 to 4 weeks until he's ready to pick up.

I can't wait to add pictures, but I left my camera in Ryan's car, so I will have to try and do it tomorrow.

Goodbye for now!