Friday, February 29, 2008

Picture Parade

A little something sweet in our inbox tonight!! Check out our CHUNKY pea!! Oh my gosh...look at those cheeks and those chubby little fingers! Hee hee!!! And, that toy action figure just cracks me up!

It's okay baby boy, mommy & daddy will be there very soon!!
"Really?? You're coming?? YIPPEEEEEE!!!!"
"Did you hear?? My mommy and daddy are coming!!!!!"

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Ramblings of a Madman

I've had this overwhelming urge to post lately, but my thoughts are so random and jumbled lately that I feared I would just ramble-on incoherently. However, I'm going to give it a go anyway, so you've been warned.

First, I wanted to piggy back the comment Steph made about Eli feeling so far away. I too have been feeling the same lately. I didn't know Steph felt the same until I read the latest post. I find this feeling somewhat disconcerting. Throughout this process, this is the furthest Eli has felt from me. I hope this is just a natural progression of emotions, and it only last a short time because it is not a good feeling, to say the least. While on the topic of emotions, I've been looking for a way to explain all that we have experienced throughout this adoption. I don't like calling it a roller coaster ride. For one, it is cliche. Two, a roller coaster ride only lasts a short time - two minutes tops. This has certainly gone on longer than that. So, I am open to suggestions. How do you describe an experience where you have your heart ripped-out with bad news then handed back to you within days, sometimes hours or minutes with the best news you've heard in while? How do you describe the joy and bliss, the utter sadness and helplessness we've had to endure? However you describe it, we want off of this ride. We want our Eli for good!!

Despite all of the crap we've had to endure, in the same breath we feel very blessed. To put a positive spin on us having to wait as long as we have, it has given us the opportunity to experience Guatemala in ways we probably would not have otherwise. Had we flown through this adoption we probably would have never taken a visit trip, let alone three. It is because of having to wait we have met so many wonderful people, both here in the US and in Guatemala. We probably never would have got to see the hospital where Eli was born. We would not have experienced Christmas in Guatemala- one of the best experiences of my life. And now, we will get to see Semana Santa. The best part is we did this all with Eli. These will be important parts of Eli's life story. It because of all of these happenings that we have fallen madly in love with Guatemala. It is in our soul. We feel such a strong connection to Guatemala, even greater than this is being Eli''s birth country. I think I speak for both of us when I say, Guatemala is on our minds every hour of everyday. We are always plotting ways in which we can go there and stay for awhile (longer than a week). So, to say we are blessed is an understatement. Don't get me wrong, I'm not jumping up and down with joy the adoption has taken this long, but I do feel blessed.

Once again I think I speak for the both of us on this, we have been provided a deeper glimpse into inner beings, due to our excruciating wait. We have seen how strong we really are and can be in the face of hardship. I am amazed how gracefully we have gotten through all of this. That doesn't mean there haven't been some ugly days around here because there have been . . . some really ugly ones. But, we get back up to face the next challenge. People have said to me in the past when I tell them what is happening "I don't know how you guys do it." I once responded, and I truly believe this - this is the hardest thing I have ever done, yet it is the easiest. I think it is pretty obvious how it's been hard, but it has been so easy because I want this so badly. When something goes wrong with our adoption I don't have to wonder what we are going to do; I already know. We are going to do whatever is necessary to get through it and to rectify the issue. It's that easy, but not easy by any means. Anything worth doing is going to be difficult. I didn't fully realize what I was signing-on for when we decided on this adoption . . . I still don't.

Monday, February 25, 2008


The past 3 weeks or so have been incredibly stressful, full of so many uncertainties and so many emotions. I have really been struggling with anger over our delays and sadness over the time we are missing with little pea. Up until recently, I had not put much energy into lamenting the things we are "missing" because that is just something I prepared myself for when we embarked on this incredible adoption journey. But, Jason and I never imagined Eli would not be home for his first birthday and, as that day draws closer, it is becoming harder not to think about lost time. I have realized over the past couple of days that I am much sadder and struggling more than I really wanted to admit. And, Eli has been feeling farther and farther away.

At the same time, however, I still do not want to be consumed by this sadness and anger. I do not want it to cloud the joy and blessings of this process. Yes, despite the delays and frustrations, this has been an incredibly life-changing experience in more ways than we ever imagined. We acknowledge that our delays have brought many blessings in disguise. That certainly does not erase the heartache, the anger, sadness, and the anxiety, but it helps us remember that there is so much more than that.

So, to help ease my sadness and help bring Eli a little closer, we watched some of our video from our last visit trip. It was just what I needed. Dan and Erica videotaped this clip for us as we were reunited with Eli after four months. THANK YOU!! We were so lucky to meet Dan & Erica and their sweet son, AJ. We received our referrals on the same day and our timelines have been virtually identical! If you look closely, you can catch a glimpse of Dan & AJ in the background.

Eli's foster mother had to wake him up when we met them in the lobby of the hotel so he was still a little groggy and probably a little overwhelmed! But, this video is priceless and it is one incredible moment in our lives. As my dear friend, Beth, reminded me in her perfect way, we are creating our own unique story on becoming a family. We are experiencing our own unique "firsts." This video is part of that story. Oh, and I love watching how much Eli's foster mother dotes on him and how much her son adores Eli! He is so loved. The video is a little long and the resolution is low, but enjoy!!

Friday, February 22, 2008


our attorney found the time to submit our file to PGN yesterday. Me bitter??? Nah.......

Okay, letting it go and moving's time to beg.

PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE, PGN, let our sweet boy come home!!!!

"Bring it on PGN. I can handle that big stamp of approval. Let me prove it to ya."

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Fav Foto Friday

I love this foto!! Eli woke up very early one morning and decided it was time to play. He was crawling all over Jason and then just laid down his head and fell asleep. Oh, it was so cute!! Not too much longer before we will be soaking in more of this sweetness!

As far as any updates on our case...nothing. Nada. Zilch. As of yesterday, our attorney still had not resubmitted our case to PGN even though our file has been ready since 2/10. There are families who were resubmitted 2/11 and have already received PGN approval while our file just sits on a desk. To say we are frustrated right now is an understatement. We are really fighting that anger and bitterness. It's hard. VERY hard. I will just leave it at that for now.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

More Guatemalan cooking!

My newest Guatemalan cookbook finally arrived! I LOVE it! It has recipes from all over Guatemala and Central America. My first dish from this cookbook comes from Livingston, Guatemala which is located on the Caribbean coast at the mouth of the Rio Dulce. There are no roads that lead into Livingston so it is only reachable by boat. Livingston is home to a small Garifuna population, which is very distinct from the rest of Guatemala with its culture and language (though most also speak Spanish). The Garinagu are the descendants of Caribs Indians and Black African slaves. Overall, Livingston is noted for its unusual mix of Garífuna, Maya, Indian, and Latino people and culture. It's quite fascinating to discover the rich diversity of Guatemala.

This dish is called Pollo Con Leche de Coco, Chicken with Coconut Milk. It was DELICIOUS!!! This recipe is definitely a keeper. Very easy and YUMMY!!!

We ate the chicken dish over rice and served it with Chayote, or Guisquil, as it is called in Guatemala. Chayote is a small, slightly sweet pear-shaped squash that is very common in Guate. It is eaten in a variety of ways: stews, mashed, fried, baked, and even in desserts. I just sauteed it with a little bit of butter and cilantro.

Chek out some Punta music and dancing straight from Livingston, Guatemala. Who wants to give it a try?!?!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Stunning Semana Santa

Check out these incredible pics of Semana Santa in Antigua. Click on the Semana Santa Set. Breathtaking.

Semana Santa

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Guess where we're going.....


Oh, I am soooo excited I can hardly stand it!!!!! We will be with little pea 3/19 - 3/25. We initially wanted to go for his birthday, but it is very difficult for Jason to get time off as a teacher. So we are going during his spring break, which also happens to fall around my birthday and Semana Santa (Holy Week). So, we will celebrate my birthday (the BEST birthday present EVER!!), Eli's birthday, and experience Semana Santa.

Semana Santa is probably the one of the most important holidays in Guatemala, especially in Antigua. AND, we are going to Antigua on Good Friday to experience this incredible celebration. It's an amazing trip already! The best and most important part, of course, is being with our little pea. EEEEEEEEEECK!!!!! I CAN'T WAIT!!!!!!! Check out some pics: Semana Santa.

Ya know, when we started this adoption process, we were not planning on taking even one visit trip. I cannot believe we are going back for the THIRD time!! We just can't stay away. One positive aspect of our adoption taking longer is it is giving us the opportunity to have these amazing experiences. I have dreamed of going to Antigua during Semana Santa and NOW I AM!!!!! Have I mentioned how EXCITED I am?????

So, how are we affording this? Well, I bring this up because it is a funny story!! When we arrived home from our visit trip in December, we discovered that someone had smashed into our car and did not leave any note. Hit & Run. Of course, we were upset and couldn't believe that someone would do such a thing and not leave a note! The damage really wasn't too bad. The front bumper was damaged and one of the headlights. We decided not to get the car repaired because it is old and not worth putting money into. Plus, Jason is a pretty handy guy! He worked his magic with some duct tape and fixed the light. Hee hee! We still filed an insurance claim and got $600 after our deductible. End of story, right? Well...about a month later Jason calls me at work and proceeds to inform me that our car was hit AGAIN!! This time it was in his school parking lot. One of the subsitute teachers thought it was a good idea to allow a student to drive her car (nevermind he didn't have a driver's license). What happened? Ran right into our car in just about the same spot! A few more dents added, but hey, I guess they add character, eh?!?! Can you believe it? I told Jason this car was bad karma...he said "either that or a cash cow!" Well, we got some estimates and the teacher simply wrote us a check for almost $1400. So, our car is a little more beat up, but...I don't care!!! WE ARE GOIN' TO GUATEMALA!!!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

It's OFFICIAL!!!!!!

WOOHOO!!!! We received a copy of our stamped registration receipt today. Oh wow!! We really needed to see that. Last week we were so upset with our attorney, this week we LOVE him!!!! Our attorney and our agency has really been on top of providing information to us. I guess being a squeaky wheel really does work! Ahhhhh...we are breathing deep tonight and restoring our energy for the next hurdle...PGN. I hope we get resubmitted SOON!!! I think they have seen our file enough already. It's time for that big stamp of APPROVAL. PLEEEEEEEEEEEASE!! Yes, I have resorted to begging. Eli has some wise words for PGN:

"Seriously, dude, I am ready to come home. Just sign your name where it says APPROVED. Come on, it's that easy. You can do it...I know you can. Now...don't make me throw a temper tantrum!"

Monday, February 11, 2008


Oh, what a ride this is....we received verbal confirmation from our agency that our attorney re-registered our case over the weekend. THANK GOD!!!!! In fact, they confirmed that ALL of the families with our agency are registered. Our agency promised to provide us with a copy of the receipt, so we are anxiously waiting to see with it with our own eyes!!! We stalked the various adoption boards all weekend for updates on the registration process. In fact, Jason was initiated into the world of adoption boards and I think he is hooked. We may have a fellow board stalker in the house! Ha!!

The central authority stayed open until midnight on Saturday and very late Sunday. It sounds like the attorneys literally stood in line for HOURS waiting to submit paperwork. Can you imagine??? We are so grateful for all their hard work and dedication to get families registered. Unfortunately, there are still many families still waiting to get registered and tomorrow is the deadline. If you received our e-mail and have not sent any letters, yet. Please still do!! No child should be left behind because time ran out. One thing we have learned in this process is the power of community, the power of speaking out and taking a stand. It matters!!

So, we can finally take a deep breath at least for tonight. Some people are reporting that PGN is accepting files back with the registration number so it is possible we could be resubmitted this week. So, what does Eli think of the latest development?
"Now that's what I'm talkin' about!! Let's see some of this fast action in PGN."


Friday, February 8, 2008

More craziness!!

Well, the procedures for the Central Authority have changed, yet, again!! This is just nuts!! But, it is not necessarily a bad thing because it sounds like they are starting to get organized, they have staff, hopefully office supplies, and the funding was apparently finally released by the president. Of course, there are still many rumors and speculations. But, what we know for sure is that ALL of the attorneys must return to the Central Authority and re-register cases by 2/12. Okay, we are talking about approximately 2500 cases. Can you believe this???

The attorneys have been advised to bring back the original stamped registration form (what they received when they first registered cases) and they will be restamped with a registration number. There is speculation that PGN may accept cases with this number as proof of registration rather than waiting for the central authority to issue a certificate of registration, which could take weeks and weeks. But, it is purely speculation and interpretation at this point and, as you know, everything changes by the hour. So, we just have to wait and see.

Apparently, the attorneys started lining up today and there was still a very long line late into the evening. The central authority will be open all weekend so hopefully they can get all of these cases re-registered by 4:00pm on 2/12. Good grief!

We also received confirmation from our agency tonight that they WILL be providing ALL families copies of the stamped registration forms, though we may not get them until later next week. Even so, our coordinator assured me that we would receive a verbal or e-mail confirmation of our re-registration no later than 4pm on 2/12.

We just need to get through this registration mess. Hopefully, they will get these cases registered quickly and we can get back into PGN soon. Not that we really want to go back to that blackhole, but we gotta get back in to get OUT. I'll tell ya what, I am tired of "apparently," "hopefully," "maybe," "wait and see," etc. etc. Let's get this worked out and get these children home already!! So, what does Eli think of all of this?

"You gotta be kiddin' me. Get your act together people. I want to come home!"

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Quick update

FINALLY...we received confirmation from our agency that our attorney registered us with the central authority on Tuesday. We requested proof of this registration and hopefully we will receive that soon. When our attorney submitted our case, he should have received a stamped copy of our submission paperwork basically confirming it was received. This is what we want to see. has been an extremely stressful few days not knowing the fate of our case given all of the current political craziness. The stress of all three previos combined does not even compare to the stress of the last 3 days. I am emotionally and mentally exhausted!! But, this mama and papa stood strong! I suspect we may be blacklisted at our agency right now! Hee hee!! I don't care. This was WAY to important and critical for me to care.

One question we have been asked several times is if we can change attorneys at this point and the answer is a big fat NO for several reasons. The most important reason is we signed power of attorney when we accepted little pea's referral to allow our attorney and his assistant to act on our behalf. The grandfather clause specifies that a case must have a registered POA in Guatemala by 12/30/07 in order to proceed under the previous adoption law. So, if we switched attorneys now, we would have to sign a new POA and we would no longer be grandfathered. If we are not grandfathered, our case would be subjected to the new laws and that would have an unthinkable outcome for our family.

Okay, it's time for SURVIVOR!!!! A much needed respite from a very stressful week.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Check this out

There has been sooooo much bad press about Guatemalan adoptions lately and it has all been one-sided. This article is a breath of fresh air from everything else that has been out there. I usually choose not to read many of the articles because it is just too stressful right now. I don't always like Jon Stossel, but I think he did a great job trying to balance out the story in his one. Granted, the situation in Guatemala and adoption in general is much more complicated, but it certainly offers a different perspective than what we generally hear outside of the adoption community.

We do not have an update, yet. Apparently, our attorney submitted his cases to the Central Authority yesterday, but I am not holding my breath until we get confirmation. I know some of our "non-adopting" friends have a lot of questions about all of this. I will try to answer some of them in another post.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Standing on the ledge

Oh, just when we didn't think we could handle anymore bad news....we found out today that our attorney DID NOT submit our case to the Central Authority for registration. In fact, he did not submit any of his cases. We were initially informed that we had been submitted last Wednesday. WRONG. We still have not been submitted, and as you know from the previous post, the Central Authority is not accepting cases right now. How did this happen??? Does our attorney not realize this deadline is not optional?? Getting registered means our adoption either continues or it doesn't. Simple as that. Yes, I am very angry tonight.

At the same time, I CAN'T imagine that our attorney would allow all of our cases to simply be annulled. I can't imagine he would let that happen. This is a completely preventable thing. Oh, I can't believe this.

There is a rumor that the Central Authority started accepting cases again today. Hopefully, this is true and our attorney can get us submitted, like, TOMORROW. The initial deadline to register cases was 2/12, but obviously there have been many complications. It is possible that the deadline could be extended, but that would require a vote from congress. This is such a mess...

Ohhh, I think I am on the verge of a panic attack...someone hand me a paperbag.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Not the news we wanted to hear....

but also not completely unexpected. We were informed by our agency on Friday that the Central Authority is temporarily shutdown. They are not accepting any new registrations and they are not issuing any registration certificates at this time. There are several things going on. My friend Jennifer did an excellent job explaining everything on her blog so click on this link for more information:

Basically, we are caught in a political mess and who knows when this will all be straightened out. It's so discouraging and it is so difficult not to be overwhelmed with all of these uncertainties, especially since things seem to change by the hour! The future of our family is in the hands of both Guatemalan and US politicians, many of whom are more concerned with power and control than what is in the best interest of children. Of course, there are many people fighting for our children, but the fight is plagued with so many political games. All of us stuck in this mess are hoping for some answers soon. I think I can comfortably speak for all of us in process that we are ready to get off this roller coaster ride!!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Something sweet....

just in time for fav foto Friday!! What a sweet little surprise in our inbox last night. These fotos were probably taken in the last week or so. Boy, do these make me want to catch the next flight out to Guatemala.....