Thursday, January 31, 2008

Blogger Tag

I have been tagged by Donna. Go visit her blog and see her ADORABLE twin boys: Donna somehow found me in bloggerworld and we have been "friends" ever since. Hee hee!!!

These little blogger games are takes the mind off the process by giving us something else to think about. What??? What else is there to think about other than PGN, previos, central authority..........okay, enough for now!!!

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 weird/strange facts about myself.

I. I have to sort out my m&m's by color and then eat the color grouping with the least number of m&m's first. In addition, I have to eat them in two's. If a color grouping has an odd number of m&m's, I have to eat one first to make it even. I know, very weird and very OCD.

2. I am a wash and go, low maintenance gal. I literally get up 20 minutes before I have to leave for work. Yes, this includes a shower, ironing my clothes, getting coffee, and bare minimum make-up. My hair is almost dry by the time I get to work!! I guess it helps to have curly hair! So...don't ever call me before 7:15am because I do not have a minute to spare. :)

3. The thought censor mechanism in my brain often malfunctions. Before I realize it is happening, these uncensored thoughts are suddenly coming out of my mouth!

4. I am the queen of unfinished projects. I LOVE ideas. I love brainstorming, scheming, planning, and starting new projects. Well...then the next idea comes into my brain and I am off on something else. So, let's see...I have 3 or 4 unfinished quilts, about 5 pairs of pants I talked Jason into buying because "of course I will hem them for you" (um...they have been on my dresser for WAY too long), lots of "I am going to organize these" piles, and the list just goes on and on and on. Everytime I say "I have a great idea," Jason literally says "uh oh."

5. On the other hand, if something is REALLY important to me, I have serious organizational OCD control issues. For example, I was in charge of our dossier and finished "chasing" all of the paperwork in about 6 weeks. Don't mess with me if I am on a mission....

6. I love singing in an opera voice, especially when I make up songs about everyday tasks. I have probably come close to blowing some eardrums....Oh, but it is oh soo fun!!

7. In the 14.5 years we have been together, Jason and I have lived in 4 states and 13 different homes. Now, to give you some perspective, we have lived in our current house for 6.5 years. We lived quite a nomadic life for awhile!

Okay, so now that you know more of my freakish side, it is my turn to tag....

Oh, stayed tuned......we received something sweet in our inbox today!!!!!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Update and random stuff

We received word from our coordinator that our attorney submitted our case yesterday to the "Central Authority" for registration. The CA stated it will take them 8 days to review files and issue the official registration certificate. Well, some families have been in 8 days today and, surprise surprise, the CA is behind! Hopefully, they will work some overtime and we will get our certificate by the end of next week. We must have this in order to be resubmitted to PGN.

Random stuff......

Last week we decided to have a previo pity party. I baked a Tres Leches Cake and we smothered our sorrows in rich deliciousness. Nothing like a few thousand grams of fat to ease a heartache. Hee hee!!
This cake was about 4-5" thick in the center!!! I think I need to either half the recipe next time or use a bigger cake pan.
I also indulged in some retail therapy and purchased another Guatemalan cookbook: False Tongues and Sunday Bread. You gotta love that name!! I can't wait to read all about it. It should be here anyday now.....

We received Eli's updated measurements last Friday. He is up to 21.8lbs and 27.6" long. He is definitely growing....rounder! Just look at that belly!! Awwww...our chunky little pea!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Here is what we know at this point

We received an update from our agency regarding our previos.

Previo #1: PGN reviewer said the birth mother's birth certificate was missing the witness signature. Our attorney took a witness to verify the birth mother's BC, and that person signed/verified with a digital thumbprint. It is very common in Guatemala to sign with thumbprint due to high illiteracy rate.

Previo #2: PGN reviewer did not accept the birth mother's BC with the digital print. The reviewer questioned how that person could verify something he/she couldn't read. Our attorney simply resubmitted our file stating the law that allows a digital print to be used in lieu of a signature.

Previo #3: PGN reviewer said the digital print is not clear. Our attorney obtained a new birth certificate, but we are not sure how it was corrected.

Still, questions remain. Based on the reason for previo #3, do we assume that the PGN reviewer accepted the thumbprint signature and just wanted a clearer one? Why did the reviewer not point this out on previo #2? Now, my understanding is that the PGN reviewers are attorneys and it is their responsibility to make sure our file is in accordance with Guatemalan law. So...WHY DIDN'T THE REVIEWER KNOW A THUMBPRINT IS LEGAL???????

Now, we are stuck in limbo because of these ridiculous previos. Our file is ready, but we can't be resubmitted to PGN until we are registered with the new Central Authority. Seems like it should be pretty simple, huh? Our attorney is supposed to fill out a 7 or so page report that has all of the same information as another form in our file (but this form can't be used) and submit it to the Central Authority. Our attorney will get a "received" stamp and then he has to come back 8 days later to get the "official" registration certificate. Well, there are already many issues with this process. I won't bore you with the details, but you can read a little about it on Guatadopt if you are interested. What it comes down to is more delays. And, in my opinion, it is the direct result of Guatemala being pressured to approve a law it was not ready to implement. The politics of the situation are very complicated and there are many parties to carry the blame. the midst of all this politic-ing are children waiting to come home.

So, how do we get through, yet, another delay?? Well, the best we know how. Friday was just an ugly day for me. It took every ounce of my being just to get through the workday without having a complete breakdown. Now, complete breakdowns are okay and sometimes necessary in this process! But, not at work! I felt so incredibly angry, but I didn't know who to be angry at. I was feeling so angry that we are going to miss our baby boy's first birthday, most likely his first steps, and that we have to wait even longer to start our life together as a family. In between all of that is the feeling of complete helplessness. There is nothing we can do to change this situation or to help bring our boy home any faster. Nothing. We really have no reason to doubt that our attorney is doing everything he can to remedy this problem and our agency has been very proactive in communicating with our attorney and getting information to us. Our attorney has absolutely no control over what happens in PGN and very limited, if any, contact with the PGN reviewers. The reviewers are often very vague in what they request so it is like a guessing game for our attorney to figure out what is needed. I know it sounds crazy and backwards. IT IS. It's hard for me to understand why our attorney can't just meet with the reviewer over a nice cup of coffee and get this figured out so our case can be approved. That makes sense to me. That is the social worker in me saying "can't we just all talk about it as a team to resolve this issue?" Ha!

So, where does that leave us? Waiting.........we hope to get confirmation this week that our paperwork has been submitted for registration. It will probably be a couple of weeks, at best, before we will be resubmitted to PGN. And....I know everyone is wondering...when will Eli be coming home? We have absolutely no idea. I am not even going to venture a guess anymore.

I knew this process was going to be difficult. I knew there would be bumps in the road...but, wow, I had no idea. One of the many e-mails of support we received after our previo news was from a woman who brought her son home last year. She wrote:

I do believe we are the most blessed and lucky people to have an opportunity to experience every emotion given to humanity during our long journey to parenthood. Once you go through this you will come out to be a very strong woman and your marriage will only get stronger. Eli will have two parents who stuck with him to the end. There will be a happy end to this journey. You will not go completely insane. Just a little nutty;)

This made me cry, smile, laugh, and remember that there is a purpose for all of this. I know that sounds so cliche, but I have to believe that or I will drive myself crazy. Despite all of the pain and heartache we experienced this week, I still cannot allow myself to be consumed with the anger and the resentment. Yes, I was definitely angry, bitter, and resentful and I needed to be. I had every right to be. But, I can't harbor that all the time when there is nothing I can do about the situation. If I knew there was something I could do, I would certainly use that anger to move me to action, but that is not the case right now. It's too painful to hold onto it and it will not help bring our little pea home any faster. It will just eat me up inside. So now I have to focus on getting back to that place of hope, faith, and anticipation of the day when we can finally be a family, together because that day will come and because I need to make it to that day in one piece!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Fav Fotos Friday

Look at that sweet face!! Ohhhh...does that make me feel better!! I have so many thoughts brewing in my head right now, but I don't know where to start. So, for now I just want to say
THANK YOU. I am overwhelmed by all of the incredible support we have received in the last 24 hours...tons of e-mails, posts, phone calls...I am literally in tears. The wagons circled today and, wow, what an amazing feeling.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I just had this bad feeling...

all day and I couldn't figure out why. I was feeling very anxious, edgy, and my chest was very tight. Something was just not right in my world and I KNEW it. I initially thought maybe something was wrong with Eli. I e-mailed Jason explaining my feeling and said we had to call and make sure everything was okay. I don't typically take these gut feelings lightly. Well...the call from our coordinator came at 4:45p, right when I got home from work (thank goodness I wasn't at work). We received ANOTHER previo. And...for the EXACT same problem as the other 2 previos. UGH.

Apparently, our attorney went to the civil registry today to get a new birth certificate and is planning on resubmitting us tomorrow. BUT...PGN is not accepting any cases back in until they are registered with this new "Central Authority." This registration process is required for all in-process cases to continue under the old adoption laws. The catch? The registration form just came out and the attorneys don't know where to submit the registration forms. So, either our attorney is just saying what we want to hear or he knows something we don't.

Regardless, this SUCKS. Oh, we are soooooooooooooo disappointed, mad, sad, heartbroken....I feel like someone punched me in the gut and knocked the wind out of me. I just hate that we have been set back at least another 2-3 months. It is so unfair. But, what can we do??? I have no idea at this point. I feel completely helpless. So, we cried, moped around all night, and huddled on the couch numbing our brains watching TV.

So, we just wait. Our coordinator is requesting clarification from our attorney as to why PGN keeps rejecting the birth certificate. Hopefully we can at least get more info soon and know what we are dealing with.

Monday, January 21, 2008


Vikki and I have been collaborating on some fundraising activities so I spent yesterday afternoon with her and her wonderful family. I came home and found Jason hard at work!! Woohoo!!! We are definitely ready...little pea has a place to sleep now!!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Fav Foto Saturday

I love this photo for the memories it brings back. This was our last night and Eli was getting very good at pulling himself up to standing and was able to stand without our assistance for small periods of time. In this photo he was holding onto the chair with one hand and banging the seat with the other; he was quite proud of himself! Jason was sitting on the bed behind him and Eli kept turning around to see if Jason was watching him. If he wasn't, Eli would stare at him as if he were saying "LOOK AT ME!!!" Once Jason would look at him, Eli would smile really big and go back to banging the chair. This game went on for a few minutes. It was such a small moment in time, but filled with so much meaning for us.

"Look at me!! I'm standing all by myself!!!"

Everything in our world was perfect that week. No worrying about timelines, no anxiety over PGN...all that mattered was we were together as a family. A sense of calm washed over me that I had not felt for a long time. We embarked on this journey with great hope and faith, but our hope and faith has been challenged significantly with all of the changes happening in the world of Guatemalan adoptions. There were days we had doubts and fears whether or not this wait would ever end, whether or not our little pea would come home. Consequently, there have been many tears, much anxiety, and many sleepless nights. But, those doubts and fears have been quieted for now by those small moments we had with Eli. Watching him seek his dad's attention with a smile on his face, holding his arms out to us, and reaching out in his sleep to make sure we were still there is all the confirmation we need to know in our hearts that we are a family. Eli is our son and he will be coming home.

Needless to say, there is still much anxiety, but that is because we miss our little guy terribly and we want him home NOW! It is very hard to watch families come and go as we continue to wait and there are days we feel angry at a process that seems so arbitrary and unfair. There are days in which the wait feels unbearable. But, I refuse to allow myself to be consumed with bitterness and anger over the things we cannot control. Yes, we have these moments...we allow ourselves to have these moments, but then we have to let them go. That is when we have to reach back to our memories with Eli to remind us that our time is coming. We will remember this journey as one that made us stronger as individuals, as a couple, as parents, and as a family. That's what really matters.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Who's in??

My friend, Beth, sent this to me today. Who wants to go march outside of PGN with us?? Heck, we can march right up to the big man's office and hand him a pen. Who's in? Hee hee!!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Passing the time....

Waiting in anticipation for that amazing OUT call is hard!! It has come to the point where it is virtually all I think about...running scenarios through my head, fantasizing about what I will say, how to share the news with the world, and most importantly, celebrating with my best friend & dear husband. Can you tell I am ready for this news?!?! Let's get this party started! But, this can also be quite torturous not knowing when that call will come. On the flip side is the dreadful possibility of another previo. It's quite exhausting sometimes! So, what to do to pass the time and not go crazy??

I have been working very hard the last week or so on staying positive and focusing on all of the seemingly little things that make me smile, laugh, and feel grateful. Through this process, I have learned so much about myself, my amazing husband, our friends, our family, and people in general. Sometimes it is through life's greatest challenges that we find the greatest joy, see the best in ourselves and in others, and renew our faith in all that is good in the world. There are days that this process certainly gets the best of me, but I have learned to dig deep and find a source of strength I have never known before. Some days I handle this process with grace and other days, is a struggle. But, through it all, this experience has been so much bigger, so much more amazing, and so much more life transforming than I ever could have imagined. This has not only been a journey to bring Eli home, but also a journey of learning patience, faith, hope, perseverance, and opening our hearts across the boundaries of language and culture to be forever connected to a woman we may never meet and to a family who has touched us deeply with their love and care for Eli.

So, this past weekend Jason and I decided that we needed some time to renew our spirits and reconnect. We spent Saturday evening reflecting on both of our visit trips, laughing at all of Eli's little funnies, laughing at our own little blunders in parenthood, assessing Eli's "well defined" 9 month old personality (he's definitely like his dad! hee hee), planning our next trip, fantasizing about future trips to Guatemala, discussing the house we are going to buy in Antigua (ha!), and expressing our shared deep love for Guatemala. These are the things that get us through.

Yes, we have grown weary of waiting. But, we know Eli will be home and the timing will be perfect. And, trust me, the whole world will hear our shouts and cries for joy when that day comes!


In my attempts to stay focused on positive activities right now, I have been trying my hand at some traditional Guatemalan dishes! I absolutely fell in love with Guatemalan food when I lived with a host family in Antigua during college. The fresh fruits, juices, black beans, the BEST tortillas in the world, lots of veggies, soups, etc. Jason and I went to a couple of Guatemalan restaurants on our last visit and, oh so delicious!! I think I need to tackle making tortillas, pepian, and tamales soon.

These pictures did not turn out that great, but the food did! This first dish pictured is from a Guatemalan cookbook we bought in Antigua. Some of you may have it! We purchased it at Nim Po't and you can also purchase it from Mayan Traditions. It is Green Chicken Stew (Pollo en Jocon). It is not the most appetizing color of green, though it looks like guacamole. It is made from tomatillos, cilantro, green peppers, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds. We ate it served over rice. Yummy!!

This next dish is Chicken Chilaquiles. I don't know if this is a traditional Guatemalan dish, because everything I read online said it was a Mexican dish. But, we ate chilaquiles every morning at the Marriott in Guatemala City. They served these on the breakfast buffet and we loved them!!

There is no such thing as traditional Guatemalan food without fried black beans!! Well, that's not really true, but they are definitely a staple food. I know, you don't need to tell me what this looks like! But, they are delicious! I could probably eat black beans at every meal. This was another staple on the Marriott breakfast buffet and at the home I lived at in Antigua.

Jason enjoying his chilaquiles and black beans while watching football. *Note my newest purchase in the background behind Jason's head. I bought this purse at the gift shop in the Marriott right after Eli and his foster mom left. It was definitely retail therapy!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

As promised....

More pics from our baby shower in December. Thanks again to all my friends/coworkers for a fun time and the wonderful gifts!

The parents-to-be!

My friend/coworker Vicki painted this picture for us. We LOVE it and can't wait to hang it in Little Pea's room. Thanks Vick!!

Hmmmm....does Jason realize this is for Little Pea??

My sister and I work together so she was also at the shower. Have I mentioned she is goofy? She is going to kill me for this, but I just couldn't resist!!! Hee hee!!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

More funnies **EDITED**

Some of my blog pals have joined in the "laughter movement." Check them out!!!


Who else wants to join in???

Monday, January 7, 2008

Time for laughter

With so much stress and anxiety surrounding Guatemalan adoptions right now, we REALLY need to spread some joy and laughter! Eli has already blessed us with so much happiness and our recent visit trip was a reminder of why we will wait as long as it takes to bring him home. I don't think the smiles ever left our faces while we were with our little pea! Despite the anxiety we feel right now, our recent time with Eli renewed our strength to keep holding on and to focus on what an amazing journey this has been.

So, while we wait for an update from the powers that be on the status of current cases, let's have some fun! I tag ALL of my blogger friends to share some funny moments with your little one or other family members or your pets or whatever. Just give us a reason to smile and laugh! I look forward to much laughter to lighten the mood right now!!

I will go first....This video was taken after a long day "in the city." Eli was just kickin' back, scratchin' his belly, and enjoyin' a bottle. It doesn't get any better than this!! We just laughed and laughed!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Our furry baby

So, do you think Porter missed us while we were in Guatemala???? From the looks of these pics...NO WAY!!

M niece and nephew with Porter

Porter getting a snuggle from K

Porter thinks he is a lap dog

What a cute snuggle bunny! I am sure he will try to snuggle on Little Pea's lap, too!!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Scrappin' Weekend

Today, I got together with my sister, my mom, and my friend Kristy for a day of scrapbooking. Scrapbooking is one of those hobbies that requires a huge chunk of time (at least for me!) so we all get together periodically to spend the day together sharing supplies and ideas (not to mention lots of food!). I used to think scrapbooking was silly until my friend Tamara introduced me to this vast, endless world of possibilities. Now, I am hooked! Right now I am working on a scrapbook for Eli's foster mother as her final gift when we go to back to Guatemala to bring Eli home. Here are some pics from our gathering today.

Do you think we have enough alphabet sets???? For you non-scrapbookers, each case is a separate alphabet font for cutting out letters. Yes, it is a sickness. Ha!

My mom working diligently! She is a standing scrapbooker!

My goofy sister

My friend, Kristy. We also share an office. Yes, we spend a lot of time together!

Looking for inspiration.

My nephew, budding scrapper???

A few pages from the scrapbook for Little Pea's foster mom.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Fav Fotos Friday

It's been a stressful week in the world of Guatemalan adoptions. The new adoption law went into affect and the Guatemalan government has yet to establish clear procedures for handling current cases. So many of us feel like we are in limbo right now. Even so, we will be bringing our children home, it is just a matter of when. The biggest tragedy is the uncertaintly surrounding the future of Guatemalan adoptions.

But, for now...TGIF!!! The weekend brings a much needed break so let's lighten it up a little with some fun pics!

Please.....can he come home with us????? Hee hee!!!


Come on mom & dad...I am ready to go home!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy New Year!!

What a year it has been! Christmas Eve of 2006, Jason and I discussed that it would be our last Christmas as a family of two. Well, we were right! At the time, however, we assumed our little pea would be home by Christmas 2007. Instead, we spent our first Christmas together as a family of three in Guatemala. This year has certainly taught us a lot about assumptions and expectations: never assume and let go of any and all expectations. Much easier said than done! This past year has probably been one of the most exciting and one of the most difficult times of our lives. As hard as this process has been, it has also been full of pure love and joy. We have been so blessed by this precious little boy and we have been wrapped in the love and support of family, old friends, new friends we have met along the way, and complete strangers. I am completely amazed at how much our lives have changed as a result of this journey.

In the meantime, we continue to wait. Waiting is so hard. Waiting is so hard when there seems to be so much movement around us while we are stuck in this blackhole called PGN and with so much uncertainty still surrounding Guatemalan adoptions. This process is terribly unfair sometimes. Yes, I am feeling some pity tonight while also desperately trying to hold onto faith that there is a greater plan at work that I have yet to see or understand. Tonight I miss my little boy terribly; it is so excrutiatingly hard handing him back to his foster mom not knowing when we will be back to bring him home. There are no words to describe that experience. Even so, I would go back to Guatemala tomorrow and do it all over again to have those precious moments with Eli. So, as I wait and as I bask in a little pity tonight, I do find comfort and joy in the amazing week we had with Eli. Simply incredible and worth every tear saying goodbye.