Monday, January 01, 2007

ZOE'S ADOPTION JOURNEY- THE ARCHIVES- FAITH'S JOURNEY

January 06
New Year- New Blog
After some thought and prompting (thanks Julia) I have decided to continue this blog at a new blogger address. The format will be better for me there I think. You can post pictures right with your blog and post video more easily. Plus it is way easier for people to leave comments and start conversation. I think it will be more fun for all of us. Also I feel like we have just moved onto a new chapter as a family. Why not a new blog?? Of course this blog will be kept up for all time as it is a picture of a remarkable time in our family and our journey to bring home our Zoe. This blog is priceless to me because of the history it contains. The story of us. It's probably why it's been so hard to let it go. Cheesy, I know. I am emotionally attached to my blog. I am also afraid all of you won't come with me. I love all the people I have gotten to know through this journey. I hope you'll continue on with us. It wouldn't be the same without you. Anyway.... I am getting past my cheesiness. Moving forward in that big bloggy world out there!!! :0) Just click here to go to it. Make sure to save it to favorites. Same us, different address and a new journey. Love, Angel

http://thevoiceofadventure.blogspot.com/

PS See ya there! Will you leave me a comment to let me know you found it?

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January 04
I've been tagged!
I don't know who to tag. Who's been tagged????? Ummmm.... How about you Stacy? Have you done this yet?

1. FIRST NAME? Angel2. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? No3. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY? Gosh. I don't remember. That's a nice switch. :0)
5. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT? leftover turkey breast6. KIDS? Zoe 7 years old and Kaitlyn 3yrs old7. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? Ummm yep. I like me okay.
8. DO YOU HAVE A JOURNAL? My blog IS my journal9. DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT? Ummmm noooooo. If you couldn't tell that was sarcastic. YES! I use a lot of sarcasm.10. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? Yes11. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? No freakin way.12. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Captain crunch- frankenberry13. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? No. That would take way too much effort.14. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? Tottally buff
15. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR? Dreyer's Ultimate Caramel Cup16. SHOE SIZE? 6 1/2 or 717. RED OR PINK? BOTH! How do you choose???18. WHAT IS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? The fact that I still have 15 pounds from when I was prego.
19. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? My grandparents that passed away
20. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO SEND THIS BACK TO YOU? Yes21. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? Jeans with my old Dr Martins from college
22. LAST THING YOU ATE? Chipotle burrito bowl- YUMMY!23. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? Blue's Clues with my kiddos24. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? hot pink25. FAVORITE SMELL? christmas time smells
26. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? my momma
27. THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE YOU ARE ATTRACTED TO? I have no idea. I'm an old married lady.
28. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? Yes 29. FAVORITE DRINK? Hot Tea
30. FAVORITE SPORT? Gymnastics- only to watch mind you. I can't even do a cartwheel.
31. EYE COLOR? Blue/ Green32. HAT SIZE? I have no idea33. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? Yes
34. FAVORITE FOOD? All Mexican food is from the Lord35. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? Happy endings of course
36. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED AT THE MOVIES? The Nativity37. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING? Navy Blue University of Michigan Sweatshirt
38. SUMMER OR WINTER? Summer. I hate being cold.
39. HUGS OR KISSES? Hugs and lots of them40. FAVORITE DESSERT? really gooey brownies. mmmmmm.... I need some41. WHO IS LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND? I don't know42. MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND? No idea43. WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU READING? Grace In Thine Eyes44. WHAT'S ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? I don't have one
45. WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON TV LAST NIGHT? Oprah on DVR46. FAVORITE SOUNDS? The sound of the ocean. The REAL ocean. It is hands down the best sound in the world. 47. ROLLING STONES OR THE BEATLES? Beatles I guess- I don't really know48. THE FURTHEST YOU'VE BEEN FROM HOME? I've been everywhere in Europe. I guess somewhere there.
49.WHAT'S YOUR SPECIAL TALENT? photography
50. WHEN AND WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Feb 1 1977 in Houston, TX51. WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? Dominick's mommy of course

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What's on your frig?
I have heard people say that what is on your frig is often very important to you. In my case that is very true. On my frig you could my find practically my whole philosophy on life. This morning my good friend asked me to e-mail her one of my frig sayings. So I am hearby starting a blog series called "What's on your frig?" I will be posting on my blog everything that is on my frig. It may take a few days but it's actually a good way to get "into my head"! :0) Not that you wanted to. It might be kind of scary in there.

I am also tagging JB's momma Julia at this blog...http://www.babyjb.blogspot.com/ Julia... will you tell us What's on YOUR frig? Make sure you tag someone else too.

So here is the one my friend asked for. More tommorrow. I know you are just RIDDLED with suspense.

DON'T FORGET!!!!!

People are more important
than anything that needs to be done today.
The way you act today WILL have
a negative or positive impact on
someone's life.

Take time to give someone a hug, write a note
or have a conversation.

TAKE THE TIME TO TRULY CARE
ABOUT SOMEONE TODAY!

I am only one but I am one.
I cannot do everything but I can do something.
What I can do and should do
By the grace of God
I WILL DO.

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January 01
Are you in a desert?
No, I am not in a desert. Life has suddenly thrown me a cool ocean breeze. However, the memory is very fresh. I still have grit in my hair and a sunburn from my recent journey through my own spiritual and emotional wasteland. I know that many of you reading this are walking through the heat and wondering why. You are not forgotten in my heart. A friend of mine is struggling through a very painful time in her life. She shared this song. It meant so much to me that I wanted to share it with you. I hope she doesn't mind me borrowing it. :0)

Well, this song by Sarah Groves said it all. She based the song on Exodus 16:3 "And the people of Israel said to them, 'Would that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.'" They didn't want to go back, but they were scared to go forward.Here's the song...Painting Pictures of EgyptI don't want to leave, I don't want to stay.It feels like pinching to me either way.The places I long for the most are the places where I've been.They are calling after me like a long lost friend.It's not about losing faith, it's not about trust,It's all about comfortable when you move so much.The place I was wasn't perfect but I had found a way to live.It wasn't milk or honey but then neither is this.I've been painting pictures of Egypt leaving out what it lacked.The future feels so hard and I want to go back.But the places that used to fit me cannot hold the things I've learned,and those roads were closed off to me while my back was turned. (Red Sea)The past is so tangible, I know it by heart,familiar things are never easy to discard.I was longing for some freedom, but now I hesitate to go,I am caught between the promise and the things I know.I've been painting pictures of Egypt leaving out what it lacked.The future feels so hard and I want to go back.But the places that used to fit me cannot hold the things I've learned,and those roads were closed off to me while my back was turned.If it comes too quick, I may not recognize it.Is that the reason behind all this time and sand?If it comes too quick, I may not appreciate it.Is that the reason behind all this time and sand?So...it's just like with those Israelites. They were pushed out into the desert for their own good. It was HARD, I know. But God was freeing them from slavery and bringing them to the promised land. There is always a desert to walk through before you get to the promised land. And we can't hurry it up.

As you approach a new year of questions or answers my prayers are with you- all of you. There is a purpose and significant meaning in where you are walking. It may seem like sandy circles to you but eternally it means far more. Look at my last year and tell me that isn't true. Love, Angel

December 27
How was my Christmas?
Kaitlyn was heard repeatedly yelling, "Thank you so much. Thank you so much. Ohhh that's pretty!"

Zoe spontaneously ran to Russ and I several different times to hug us and say, "I'm so happy."
We celebrated 3 different times on three different days. Each time Zoe hugged me and said, " Thank you for Christmas."

We sang at Christmas Eve service. We baked cookies for Santa and made magic reindeer food. We did advent and read "The Night Before Christmas." My brother and I wrapped last minute gifts while the fire was going. I sipped hot chocolate and ate too many cookies. Russ tried to steal extra candy from the girls stocking but they caught him in the act.

Is there anything better in life? It was magical.

I hope you had a magical Christmas. Angel

PS I am uploading pictures of Christmas. I will put captions under each one so you will know what is going on. :0)

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Concerned about Zoe learning English???
Well don't you worry your little head! She is learning at a rapid fire pace. In fact, now we are getting more concerned about her forgetting Spanish. She called her foster mother on Christmas day. She kept accidently saying words in English. When her foster mother would ask what that was in Spanish she would pause confused. At one point Zoe asked ME how to say milk in Spanish. She couldn't remember!! OH NO. She also couldn't remember cow or tennis shoes in Spanish. She kept saying, "OH NOOOO! I can't remember." UGHHH.. I don't want her to lose her Spanish. We explained that it's important that she pratice Spanish as much as possible so she won't forget it. We are going to have to start making a lot more calls to her Spanish speaking buddies. Oh by the way... today I said something to her in Spanish and she said in English, "Momma, I understand English now. You can speak English." Made me laugh.

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Christmas Kaitlynisms
Cute stuff you might hear in our house around Christmas time from the ever adorable 3 yr old.

#1

This one was right after we went to see the new movie "The Nativity." Zoe was in the other car with her cousin so she didn't have an opinion.

Kaitlyn- Mommy, what was your favorite part of the movie.

Mommy- Hmmmm... I liked seeing the story through Mary's eyes. You know the way she might have felt about things and what life was like for her. What was your favorite part KK?

Kaitlyn- My favorite was that BIG, SHINY ANGEL. Giggle giggle. He was REALLY FUNNY!!

#2

Christmas Eve. Kaitlyn is exhausted. We have been going, going and going. She has a slight melt down before bed. As I was tucking her in...

Mommy- Kaitlyn, is Santa Clause going to come see you tonight?

Kaitlyn- NO cause I been really mean tonight! :0(

Mommy- Oh. Are you upset cause' you think Santa is upset with you and won't come.

Kaitlyn- Uh huh

Mommy- Oh baby. We all make mistakes. If you change your heart I know that Santa will still come.

Kaitlyn- I changed my heart Mommy.

Mommy- Good. Goodnight Baby.

#3
After recieving a pair of white dress shoes on Christmas day from Mommy.

Kaitlyn- WOW! Thank you so much. This is what I wanted in the whole WORLD!

That girl! :0) Angel



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December 25
MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Just wanted to say it! I hope you are happy and healthy and soaking in the time with your family and friends. I know I am. What a special Christmas this is for us. I have much more to share but will save it for another day. Soak it in.... :0) Angel

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December 20
America's perception of beauty.
Saw this on a friend's blog and HAD to share it. Definately worth seeing. Just click on the link...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZquECn6pmWA&eurl=

:0) Angel

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What Santa gives naughty kids for Christmas.
Good one Gina. :0)


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Do the RED thing!!!
Can a T-Shirt save the world? This one can.

Did you see the Oprah show about project RED?? It is amazing. I am really excited about this project and wanted to tell you about it. Bono from U2 has come up with what I consider a revolutionary idea. He has major retailers helping him create super products. When you buy these "red" products (which are not necesarily red in color) you are contributing toward helping the AIDS crisis in Africa. 50% of the net profit on each purchase goes toward medication to medicate and stop HIV in Africa. Not only does it go toward people who have HIV but it goes to mothers who are pregnant to PREVENT their babies from ever contracting HIV. Did you know that it only costs .40 cents a DAY to have someone on HIV medication??? With this medication people can live full and healthy lives. You can shop for things and save lives at the same time. If you are going to buy a cell phone why not consider the RED cell phone at Motorola?? If you need some jeans Gap has some RED jeans that would be super cute. How about a RED i-pod at Apple? C'mon you know you want one. I am excited to see a business model that can make a difference. Please pass the word. Check it out. So far the businesses who have gone "red" are Gap, Motorolla, Apple, Armani, Converse, and American Express. If we as consumers choose to buy RED products more and more businesses will sign up to sell them and it will make a HUGE difference. Ask people if they have red products. Consider products that are red. Remember .40 a DAY will save someone's life. See... maybe we CAN do something after all. Take a look then tell everyone about it. :0)

You can watch the show here http://www2.oprah.com/tows/slide/200610/20061013/slide_20061013_350_102.jhtml

Here is the website for product RED
http://www.joinred.com/

Here is the RED blog
http://joinred.blogspot.com/



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December 19
More pictures
I just uploaded a new batch of pictures. You can see the girls playing basketball at their first games. There are some of us doing school time at home. Then of course there is Santa going through our neighborhood on the fire truck!! Also random fun. Enjoy. :0) Angel

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More HIV adoption info
After my blog entry on AHOPE (the orphanage for HIV positive children) I had quite a few responses asking for more info on HIV adoption. I don't know a whole lot. I know I mostly pawned you off on other bloggers!! :0) However it's been interesting to see this subject popping up more in my little blog world. I think it's great that it's becoming a topic of conversation. I thought you might be interested to hear about it. Here are some blog links where it has been a hot topic.

http://brehane.blogspot.com/2006/12/oh-come-on.html

http://heldts.blogspot.com/


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December 16
Home For Christmas
One more little girl came home to a family for Christmas. Remember Esperanza???? Of course you do. If you don't then you can go here and look at April 6th to refresh your memory. Even if you remember you really should read the story again. It is a truly remarkable confirmation of God's perfect timing.

http://faithsjourney.spaces.live.com/?_c11_blogpart_blogpart=blogview&_c=blogpart&partqs=amonth%3d4%26ayear%3d2006

Esperanza's American name is Lauren and she is HOME HOME HOME!!!!! YAY!
We are so excited to see this little jewel come home to the family God chose for her long before she was knit in her birth mother's womb. This didn't catch God by surprise. He knew always what she would need.

So many of you prayed for her and were touched by her story. I just wanted to let you know that this Christmas she has a stocking with her name on it, she'll be asleep in her room, wake up way too early with her brothers and open presents from her mom and dad. Welcome home sweet girl.

I just loaded pictures of her in a new album. Enjoy.

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Kaitlyn's basketball tactics
This morning both the girls had basketball games. Zoe has some major talent. I think with some training she could turn into a little super star! Not that she isn't a super star already. :0) She scored a goal today and just beamed.

Kaitlyn, well Kaitlyn is CUTE. She chattered all the way over to her game about how excited she was to play. Then she marched in and trudged up and down the court at a snail's pace. You would have thought she was only out there because we were threatening tickle torture. Her face was contorted into this little scowl. She would frequently just lay down in the middle of the court to take a much needed time out. When it was her "turn" to try to score a goal she just held the ball and stand there. As she waited to take her shot some of the little boys from the other team got closer trying to guard her. She gave them the nastiest little snarl and said, " Heyyyyyy... SCOOCH OVER!!! I AM TRYING TO SHOOT RIGHT NOW!! I suppose when a pretty little girl who looks really annoyed tells a little boy what to do he falls into line cause' those poor little guys scooched! Finally one of the coaches tired of waiting and lifted her up toward the goal. She dunked it proudly. It was freakin hilarious. :0) Russ said he had never tried that tactic. I reminded him that you don't get what you don't ask for.

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December 13
Please watch this
I really encourage you to watch this video. Just click on the link.
http://video.msn.com/v/us/msnbc.htm??g=53098792-5fe4-4ab4-ab51-bdd2270b951c&

This is about children from an organization called AHOPE. It is an orphanage in Ethiopia that cares for HIV positive children. I learned about this orphanage from this very special lady. Her blog is http://transracial.adoptionblogs.com/


She has recently adopted Belane from this orphanage. She actually knows the children in the video. She speaks so highy of the children and workers at AHOPE.

I also followed a blog http://bringingdestahome.blogspot.com/ about another teenage girl named Desta who was adopted from this wonderful orphanage. Both of these girls are HIV positive. I have learned so much about these precious children and what is happening over there.

I fully intend to throw as much financial support as possible to this organization in the future. The majority of these children literally took care of their parents as they died of AIDS. These children's life expectancy before coming to AHOPE was very low. I think about 5-6 years. Now that they are medicated and taken care of they can live healthy lives. Did you KNOW that HIV is completely treatable now?? Did you know that they have medications that are so good that children with HIV on these medications can live very normal productive lives? The only precautions now are not sharing toothbrushes or razors and wearing gloves to clean up blood. While on the drugs even those things are low risk. Unfortunately, right now many of these children won't be adopted because people (including me- I know shame on me, but it's the truth) are still too scared to raise a child with HIV. If you feel led to care for orphans in need but are not in a place to adopt consider spporting these children. Here is the website http://www.ahopeforchildren.org/ You could not find children who need your help more.

I was talking to my friend Wendi last night about this issue. I guess what has really upset me is that I didn't even KNOW this. Whn HIV was considered a death sentence it was ALL OVER THE NEWS. It was the top headline weekly it seemed like. Now that it is NOT a death sentence I never hear a thing about it. Am I the only one who feels like the news is just one bad story after another??? I feel like it's just a bunch of scary stories rather than a way to become informed about the world. Madonna decides to adopt and we have to hear every little freakin detail about it. Ya KNOW WHAT??? I DON'T CARE if it was faster or slower or whatever. A child got a home. He was dying.Now he's okay. He was alone now he's not. They have to do 5 stories a day on Madonna but I haven't heard a thing about the fact that HIV positive orphans can be saved if we send them certain medications. I didn't know till six months ago that they were now considered completely adoptable. What is wrong with our media? Sorry to go on a tirade. I know we do have people who report on things that matter. It just hurts me to know that instead of doing something important we just have a bunch of journalists running around seeing who can come up with the grossest and scariest story to report at five.

Back to my original thoughts... I hope that in the future there will be more education about HIV and the epidemic in Africa. I am so grateful for these women who have helped me learn far more than any news station I have ever watched. They are courageous souls. People like these make an impact on the world that they can't fathom.

Again the link to AHOPE http://www.ahopeforchildren.org/

Not a very Christmasy joy to the world blog post I guess. It kind of is though. These children are why Jesus came.

James 1:27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.


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December 08
A special Christmas video for you
I will not leave you orphans, I am coming to you. John 14:18

This year I have become a new person. My heart was broken and restored by this process called adoption.
Along the way I have been honored to meet so many amazing families who are opening up their hearts and homes to the children God has brought them. I want to dedicate this video especially to you.

I know there are many of you who will see this who still wait for your miracle to happen.
Don't lose heart. God does have a plan for you just as He has a plan for these precious children.
Open your hands and your hearts to Him.

Last Christmas my Zoe was a dream and a picture. This year she will be in front of our tree. Adoption is the scariest and most wonderful decision I have ever made. Zoe is etched deeper into our lives and heart every day. She is wonderful beyond what we could have imagined for our family. I shudder when I think what I might have missed if I had let fear rule my heart rather than God's still small voice.

Whatever God has put in your heart...DO IT. It's going to be scary and hard and the best thing that could ever happen to you. Trust me. I know this for a fact. So do all the other moms and dad's in this video...

Merry Christmas

Just click on the link below.
If you want a full screen view there is a button on the bottom right of the picture screen.:0)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzIEybWYPqE

PS I did not put all of my adoption buddies in this video. I wanted to be respectful of people's privacy and use pictures only of those who had already had publicly available photos of their children or have given me permission previously to use photos. I know that people have different feelings about photos on the internet.

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December 06
WHAT did you say?????
I found this clip on an old friend's blog. IT IS SOOOOOOO FUNNY. Oh my goodness. Seriously, watch it. HEE HEE!
Just click on the link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBstB1AvEZo&eurl= Poor guy.

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December 05
New Pics for December
I just got more photos loaded on the blog. They are us with Santa, KK's basketball practice, Christmas pics of the girls and their cousin Lauren, basketball and wrestling with daddy and other random fun. ENJOY! :0)

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Breakfast with Santa and Zoe's 1st Church Service
Saturday our church had a "Breakfast With Santa" event. It was so great. That Santa Clause was very realistic. He looked like he was straight off of the set of Miracle on 34th Street. We took the girls. Zoe was OOBER excited to meet Santa. When he asked what she wanted for Christmas she just shrugged and said, "Presents." Too cute. It seems she has that part down at least. :0)

Later we went to our church's first Saturday evening service. It's supposed to be a temporary additional service for the holiday season because we get a lot more visitors. Last year was sometimes standing room only. I love the Saturday thing and secretely hope it sticks.

In December our church does this series called Christmas Spectacular and it really is spectacular. Our Church is not what you would call "traditional". The music is modern and you can wear jeans and a tee shirt and fit right in. Saturday the drum core came and did a rocked out version of "The Drummer Boy" with our lead singer. They do that number every year because everyone loves it so much. It literally brought tears to my eyes. Very cool.

So anyway... It was Zoe's first time to a church service. We asked her if she wanted to go with us or the kids. She said the kids of course. I figured she would be okay because she is such a social butterfly. However, this is not a cute little Sunday School room. We have a BIG kids "tent" with a stage and games everywhere and music and wild fun. I was hoping she wouldn't be intimidated by it. SHE LOVED IT. Russ took her there while I dropped Kaitlyn off at her class. He said she marched right in like she owned the joint and told him he didn't need to hang around. Awesome. That girl is something else.

Okay. Enough gushing about my church. I can't help it! I've never LOVED going to church so much in my life!

Hugs,
:0) Angel

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Kailtyn Cuteness
Me- Kaitlyn, do you want a grilled cheese sandwich?

Kaitlyn- Yes. I'm a girl so I need one of those.

Me- Huh? What do you mean?

Kaitlyn- Cause I'm a GIRL mommy!!! It's a girl cheese sandwich!


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December 03
What Russ Does At Work...
Many of you have asked what EXACTLY Russ' job is. I mean we all know he is mister nose to the grind stone supposedly. Hard working.. responsible.. but what does he DO? He's kind of like Chandler Bing on "Friends." Nobody REALLY knows what he does. However I think the following video clip will give you GREAT insight into his occupation. Just click on the link and make sure you enlarge the picture before you push play. Trust me when I say that especially if you know Russ this is worth watching. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jA4GM-8EoI&eurl=

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December 01
Our Christmas Traditions
Last year my friend Erin posted this information about Advent on her blog. I was so grateful that she did. I had heard of it but really didn't know much about it. We started participating in Advent last year and so many of you wrote to me saying that you were glad I posted the info. So I'll post it again this year. I need an easy place to find it all anyway. I am also adding our personal list of Christmas traditions to the bottom. I know. I'm a goober. I write down my traditions so I won't forget to make them traditions!!! :0)

Celebrate Advent!by Letitia Suk
Three weeks and two days before Christmas and the heated discussion among my four children is not about which video games they want for Christmas but who's turn it is to light the candle at family Advent. It's the first week of Advent season, the observance of the four weeks preceding Christmas, a tradition started in the Middle Ages. My kids want to make sure they each have a part in the celebration.
Advent Readings
The length of the Advent season depends on which day of the week Christmas falls on. This schedule includes all possible 28 days of Advent. For shorter seasons adjust this schedule by doubling up on some readings or eliminating the final two readings, which record events after Christ's birth.
First Week Sun. Is. 40:1-5Mon. Is. 52:7-10Tue. Is. 40:9-11Wed. Gen. 3:8-15Thu. Gen. 15:1-6Fri. Deut. 18:15-19Sat. Ps. 89:1-4
Second Week Sun. Is. 11:1-10Mon. Zech. 6:12-13Tue. Mic. 5:2-4Wed. Mal. 3:1-6Thu. John 1:1-8 Fri. John 1:9-18Sat. Mark 1:1-3
Third Week Sun. Luke 1:5-13Mon. Luke 1:14-17Tue. Luke 1:18-25Wed. Luke 1:39-45Thu. Luke 1:46-56Fri. Luke 1:57-66Sat. Luke 1:67-80
Fourth Week Sun. Is. 7:10-14Mon. Luke 1:26-35Tue. Is. 9:2-7Wed. Mt. 1:18-25Thu. Luke 2:1-20Fri. Mt. 2:1-2Sat. Luke 2:21-35
More than any other activity, Advent can restore Jesus to the center of the Christmas celebration, because on each Advent day the birth of Jesus is read, sung and talked about. The whole family can participate and find the observance meaningful. The props are simple and inexpensive. The memories and training will last a lifetime. Although the common tenets of observing Advent are shared by many churches, each family can add its own flavor. Following is a basic primer on how to start celebrating Advent this year.
When: Advent starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, Dec. 3 this year. Because Christmas falls on different days each year, Advent can last 22 to 28 days.
Prepare your family: Let your family or household know that this year you are going to start a new tradition to celebrate Jesus' birthday. Whenever you can with children, refer to Christmas as Jesus' birthday. Decide which time of the day will work best for your Advent time.
What you need: • An Advent wreath, which can be purchased at most Christian bookstores, or made of fire-safe materials or a log with holes for candles. Perhaps it could be a family event to choose or make the Advent wreath. • Four candles, three purple and one rose, and an additional white candle for Christmas Eve. A box of four Advent candles can be purchased at many card stores or Christian bookstores. • A Bible for readings and, for younger children, a selection of children's Christmas stories that focus on the birth of Jesus. • Advent readings.
Optional items: • An Advent calendar, available where cards are sold, with 24 windows to open each day in December or a paper chain of 24 red and green links to mark the number of days until Jesus' birthday. • Christmas carol books.
Beginning the celebration: On the first day begin with either a prayer or a Christmas carol. Light the first purple candle, known as the prophecy candle. The liturgical color purple is a sign of penance and longing as we wait for the birth of Jesus. With the lighting, talk about Jesus being the light of the world. Read the Advent Scripture of the day. Conclude by singing or praying. Have one child blow out the candle.
Light the same candle each day of the first week. Follow with the reading, Christmas carols or other meaningful activities. On the second Sunday light two purple candles, both of which are relit each night. The second candle is known as the Bethlehem candle.
The third week light the two purple candles and then a rose candle, or shepherd candle. Rose is a sign of joy and hope that He is coming.
Light the last candle, known as the angel candle, on the fourth Sunday. All four candles are lit each night that week to symbolize the growing brightness of Jesus' coming.
Advent activities for Christmas Eve: Conclude the Advent season by lighting all four candles and placing an additional white candle in the center in its own holder. Have a birthday party for Jesus complete with cake, the Happy Birthday song, candles and presents of nonmaterial gifts such as singing, readings, a play and prayers that each family member brings to share with others. Consider doing a nativity play with simple costumes. As you prepare to open gifts explain how we give gifts as a reminder of how much God gave us in Jesus.
Long after the new toys are banished to the back of the closet and the decorations stored away for another year, the memories of the four weeks of Advent will remain. Don't be surprised if it turns out to be your favorite tradition!

Hope you love this idea as much as I do. I have drawn up a list of my holiday traditions for us to go through as a family. Several people have requested a copy. I'm more than happy to share. So please steal a few then share some with me!

Christmas Traditions

The Weekend After Thanksgiving

1. Decorate the house with fun Christmas decorations
2. Pick out a Christmas tree
3. String popcorn and cranberries for the tree
4. Make homemade decorations for the tree
5. Talk about the meaning of the Christmas season- Jesus was born as a gift to us and gave his life for us, in the same way we should serve each other and be a gift to one another
6. Read a children’s version of the Christmas story
The Month Of December

1. Spend some time doing a special service for Christmas- food bank, adopt a family for Christmas, or other opportunity- when kids are old enough let them help to decide what the family service project should be
2. Have a baking day for friends and neighbors- spend a family day making lots of yummy goodies for those in your everyday life while you play lots of great Christmas music!!!
3. Follow an advent calendar- let kids take turns removing an object each night before bed (maybe make your own calendar)
4. Make a gingerbread house
The Week before Christmas

1. Watch a Christmas movie each night while working on homemade gifts for family and friends- each family member gets to choose a couple of the movies
2. Each night write something that you are thankful for on a piece of paper and put it on the Christmas tree
3. Each night read a fun children’s book about Christmas and a meaningful children’s book about Christmas
The Night Before Christmas

1. Make Jesus birthday cards to put on top of the mantle
2. Make a special plate of treats for Santa
3. Make magic reindeer food ( quaker oats, sprinkles, and other fun stuff) –thanks Henry’s for letting us steal this one :0)
4. Sprinkle reindeer food on sidewalk
5. Read “The Night Before Christmas” and children’s version of the Christmas story
6. Go on a hay ride to see the lights in our neighborhood

Christmas Day


1. Open presents
2. Make Happy Birthday pancakes for Jesus Birthday in fun Christmas shapes
3. Go to grandma and grandpa’s house!!
New Year’s Eve

1. Start a family journal. Each year each family member will write the best things that happened, the worst things that happened and the things they have learned. Parents can write for children too young to write on their own.
HUGS TO YOU!! Angel

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Doctors, Blood and Basketball
Hey People!!! Wow. Things have been wild. It's so strange. It seems like ever since I got home from Guatemala things are just CRAZY! I mean like 10 times busier than normal. Not crazy BAD just crazy BUSY and kinda WEIRD.

Of course Zoe did come home during our Disney World trip and right before Thanksgiving. Sooooo that COULD have something to do with it. I also had two doctors appointments scheduled after Disney for Kaitlyn that are very hard to get. They are follow up visits for a surgery she had when she was nine months old. She had Metopic Craniosynostosis when she was born. That means the front of her skull didn't have a soft spot. It sealed very early. So they had to correct it. It was a no fun surgery but she did great. We call it "Extreme Makeover-Baby Edition."

We are supposed to have regular follow up visits to make sure she is growing correctly and everything. We have been waiting months for her to get in for the appointments. They were in the medical center at Texas Children's Hospital. It's a WONDERFUL hospital about an hour from us. Then when Zoe came home I made an appointment with the International Adoption Specialist. You guessed it.... in the same hospital. So I've spent a lot of time there and on the road. I'm so blessed that my mom was able to come help me during some of the wildness to help.

Last week I had the pleasure of convincing Kaitlyn- my little 3 yr old scaredy cat - to willingly lay down on catscan machine while they strapped her down and moved her into a small hole. Uhhhh huuuhhhh. Yeah. That was interesting. First of all it was at the butt crack of dawn. She couldn't eat before it so it was very early. Out of sympathy I wouldn't eat in front of her. Hungry and early is not a great combo for me. If you know me you know that much is true. Now granted, they do a great job at Texas Children's. They have stickers of princesses and cool cars on the catscan macine. They have pretty fish "swimming" on the ceiling. They even have a bubble machine that turns colors, a magic wand to hold, and a sweet little lady who shows you pictures of the machine and tells you all about the fun picture it will take of your head. She tells you how you won't even feel it and they just put a little seatbelt on your head to help it be still. All that and they couldn't break my three year old. I tried telling her that this was just like a ride at Disney World but she wasn't buying. Part of the problem was I didn't know she would be awake. The last time we had to do this she was a baby and they just gave her a little medicine and she went to sleep. Well I guess she's too old now and they have to an IV if she won't lay still. If I had known I would have prepared her better for what was coming. She needs a lot of lead time. After a full hour of trying I had to explain to her that it was so important that we get this "picture" of her head that the doctor would have to give her a shot to make her go to sleep if she wouldn't lay down. I said, "Sweety, you have to make a choice. You can choose to lay down here and get a picture of your head or you can choose not to lay down and get a shot so we can take the picture while you sleep. This is not because I am mad at you but because I love you and we MUST get a picture of your head." Well it worked! Much to my astonishment she laid down and was still for it. Now her eyes looked like they were about to POP out of her little head but she was still. Poor sweet pumpkin! She did it though. I was so proud of her. We went home and both slept for three hours while my mom hung with Zoe. Then we went to the store to get a special treat for Kaitlyn's bravery at the doctor.

The next day we had to see a cranio facial surgeon who looked at the results of the catscan and examined her head. I told her all about it and that he would just touch her head. The doctor was very nice. He tried to be so sweet and just briefly felt her head. All that and she said, "I don't LIKE him!" Ughhhh! Poor guy. He met her on the WRONG day. He smiled and said, "Hey, I didn't do anything." He seemed to take the rejection well. The great news is that Kaitlyn is healing wonderfully. She is, as you all know, gorgeous. Biased but true! You can see that her eyes appear a bit more furrowed when she frowns. It makes her look more serious when she wrinkles her forehead and gives her an awesome pout. This is a result of her previous condition. If this increases as she gets older there is a minor procedure to correct it. We will probably see in the next year whether it gets really pronounced or not.

Yesterday was Zoe's appointment. She DOES NOT like doctors. Poor baby. She was not impressed about going at all. She pouted but obeyed slowly the whole way there. The one thing I had going for me was that last night was her first basketball practice. I kept telling her that we would just get this done and then go to basketball. I told her they would probably need to give her a shot. I asked her if she knew why. She said you have to get vaccines to come to the United States. Nice... Yep, we like to poke kids for fun here kid. Poor thing. That's probably what they told her cause that's probably what they think since vaccines aren't a regular occurance there. I explained that there are children all over the world who don't get to go to doctor and get vaccines. I explained that the vaccines help the children not to get very, VERY sick. I told her that in many countries children get very sick because they don't have vaccines. I made a valiant effort to convince her that doctors are our friends and they do these things because they want to help us. She seemed mildly convinced. The appointment went well. There was a doctor and a medical student. They were both very good with Zoe. She said her tonsels are a little enlarged which can be okay. We just need to watch them if she is sick to make sure they don't swell too much. Then she said that they needed to take a ton of blood for tests. They are going to test her for everything under the sun and see what she is immune to and what she needs vaccinations for. She also wanted to go ahead and give her a flu shot, a pnumonia (spelling?) shot and a vaccine. I said, " Ummmm NO THANK YOU." I told her she could do the blood tests today and I would think about the rest later. To her credit she was incredibly respectful of this and agreed. I explained to Zoe that we would go to a different place and they would need to take some blood to make sure she is healthy. She said, "No way." or something similar in Spanish and clutched her arm. She did hug the doctor and the medical student. I am starting to feel panicked because I realize things are dragging out as they always do at the doctors. We still have to take blood, run through the rain in the cold to the parking garage and drive through rush hour traffic (now that we are running late) to get to basketball practice. YIKES! Zoe was now moving at a drunk snail's pace because she knows where we are headed. I tell her we need to go very fast to get to basketball cause we don't have much time. We finally got down there and Zoe actually seemed to be trying hard to be very brave. She did great till it was time to sit in that chair to give blood. Then I had to sit her in my lap and hold her tight while another nurse held her arm and another nurse took the blood. She screamed bloody murder the entire time- which was a looong time since they took about 8 vials of blood. Good thing she has good veins or we would have had issues. Finally it was over. She settled down enough for me to convince her to run to the car with me. By the time we got to the car she was her giggly self telling me that it wasn't that bad. Uh huh. It was pretty bad for me!

As I pull onto the highway I hear my phone start to ring. It's Russ' ring tone and I know he's calling because he needs to know where to meet us for the practice. Ony one problem. My phone is in my stroller in the trunk of my car. It rings again. Zoe comments that Daddy is calling. Yep. He is. It rings again. I can't very well pull over in the middle of rush hour traffic and we are VERY late. It rings again.... and again... GROAN. I turned up the Christmas music and tried very hard to feel jolly. So then we were fighting traffic. We had one hour left. Ordinarily I would have given up the practice for the night. However, Zoe has been talking about this practice for 2 weeks- counting the days. Especially after the day she had I couldn't stand for her to miss it. If things went well I knew we could just make it on time. Things did NOT go well. Our average speed was 20 miles per hour. A car accident happened in front of our exit. I accidently got into the U turn around lane when I meant to get into the turn lane so I had to go all the way back around. I was fussing at the cars in front of me in English and Spanish as the mood struck. NO cussing just a little crankiness.... I know! Great example right? When we got there she had 15 minutes left. She had a great time. Her coaches seem nice and ready to work with her. It doesn't hurt that she is the tallest girl on the team!! She is in the 95% on the growth chart. Wow.

Finally we met Russ at Chik-Fil-A for dinner. After hearing about my day Russ handed me the car keys and told me to head home and rest. He took the girls to look at Christmas lights and put them to bed. MY HERO!

At the end of the day I am blessed. I have doctors and healthy children. I have a car and can afford basketball and Chik-Fil-A. I have two beautiful healthy girls and a husband who loves us. At the end of the day I am thankful no matter what kind of day it was.

More later.... OH SO MUCH MORE!

Hugs! Angel

November 28
Are you due for a cup of coffee?
Just thought this was a good illustration. My friend Wendi sent it to me months ago.

The Mayonnaise Jar and 2 Cups of Coffee
When things in your lives seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 cups of coffee. A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. ! The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls . He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was. The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar.. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full and the students responded with an unanimous "yes." The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed. "Now," said the professor as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things--your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions---and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car. The sand is everything else---the small stuff. "If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you. "Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first---the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand." One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented. The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend."

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It's 12:30 am. I should be sleeping
BUT I think I'll just blog instead. HAPPY LATE THANKSGIVING! I hope you had great food and loved ones to boot.

We had a exciting, yummy and fun Thanksgiving break. Zoe was able to meet a huge chunk of family. Hopefully she will meet the rest very soon. It was really nice for her to get to know everyone and feel like a part of things. Thanks to all of our wonderful family who have embraced her as their own. It means the world to us to see you love her. I have been amazed at the love that all of you have poured out on this little one. I think I have the most awesome blog readers/family/friends in the universe. Seriously.

Zoe fit right in like she's been here her whole life. She also tried A LOT of new foods and gave TONS of hugs. I could never have chosen a more perfect little blessing than Zoe. God sent us our little girl. He knew far better than we did what we needed. Today Zoe helped me BIG TIME! We worked so hard getting unpacked and trying to get things more organized. She is such an awesome little helper. Then we started decorating for Christmas. She was SUPER excited about all the decorations. She exclaims over every little thing....que bonita-how pretty or beautiful which she pronounces "bootiful."

At 5:30 Kaitlyn had her first basketball practice. It was adorable. At first she was very nervous and said she wouldn't play. Finally she warmed up and then she was all over the court playing and having fun. She has NO IDEA what she is doing but I don't guess that matters when you're three! :0)

Zoe starts basketball on Thursday night. She is actually VERY good I think. She and Russ played quite a bit this weekend and she can hold her own. OK. He does go a little bit easy on her but she has some skills!! I'm really excited to get to watch her play.

After practice we went and picked out our tree. Zoe was very definate about which tree she liked. Kaitlyn agreed whole heartedly. I think Russ was just glad she picked the $35 tree and not the $95 tree!

More later. It's almost 1am and now instead of going to sleep I'm going to watch Prison Break. It's on my DVR just calling my name...."watch me, watch me" I may regret it tommorrow but OH WELL! Nighty night.

Angel

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November 25
Oops Where did the week go??
We are all well now. That's a relief. We have spent the week having so much fun I haven't had time to update!! I will try to do that very soon. I did just load on a bunch a cute pictures of what we have been doing. The clothes are some of what we bought shopping for Zoe last weekend. The rest are fun times with the family. More later!

Angel

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November 15
Puke and Snot
That's what my day was all about.

What is the deal with everyone having the crud???? Like 4 blogs I read are all about the awful yuckiness. It's a snot epidemic.. Just so you know, I got barfed on today. Me and five carpeted stairs. Now we have all hardwood and tile downstairs and Kailtlyn had JUST gone upstairs for a minute... so of course that's when she blows chunks. Ahhhhh the joys of motherhood. Then again if I HAVE to be puked on it might as well be by my precious babies. I mean, let's look on the bright side. It could have been a friend of mine. Julia's been sick. She could have driven from her house.... gone to use my bathroom.... then puked on me and my stairs. Sorry Julia. I'll take Kaitlyn puke. I know you'll understand. Hee hee...

Funny thing. Before I had kids I almost puked just THINKING about puke. There is just something about how much you love those kids. The stuff on you is a after thought because all you care about is this little angel in front of you. Now after you know they are OK it's still pretty gross but you get what I am saying.

Poor sweety. I HATE it when she is sick. You should have seen the pathetic little thing. I put her in the shower with the hot shower water to loosen up the yuck. She just laid there on the floor of the bathtub with her head on her arms, the water pattering her little back. Sweet baby looked happier than I'd seen her all day.

She seems to be a teeny bit better now. I am so glad that her body seems to be kicking those germs little booties. The doc recomended this medicine called Delsym. I just gave her a dose. I'll let you know how it works since this seems to be at EVERYONE'S house.

Russ just came to take Zoe to see her counselor type lady. I told her she would be talking to a very nice lady who speaks Spanish and English. I explained that this lady helps lots of little boys and girls who have lots of big things in their lives. I said that we think it would be good for her to be able to talk to someone in Spanish about all the big things in her life. She seemed happy about it and not the least bit fazed. So far, so good.

Zoe was a real trooper today. She had to fend for herself most of the day since I was getting puked on. She is such an empathetic little sweetheart. She felt very bad for Kaitlyn. I tried not to let her get too close. She has already had the same little cough that Kaitlyn had. I just hope she has better immunity.

Here's to no more puke and snot!
Angel

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The Creeping Crud!
It got Kaitlyn!!! The yuckiness that has been creeping through our community has struck our house. Kaitlyn has been hacking and hacking. Poor baby! She woke up at 11:00pm coughing really hard. I decided to give her some Children's Dimetapp. After she took said medicine it was not so great for us.

A- her cough did not get better

B- The ingredients apparently cause her to have excessive energy in the middle of the night!!!

UGHHHHH! So we were up together till about 3:30 am. Then she finally fell asleep. Woke up hacking at 8:30am. Dr's office reccomended a different medicine if that one wires her. Here's hoping. They said to wait and see... if she runs fever bring her in. So far no fever.

Zoe so far has just a touch of the creeping crud. A little coughy but not hacking like Kailtyn. Let's hope it stays that way. Russ and I are unscathed so far. I'm exhausted but hanging in there. I'll keep you updated on our yuckiness. I know you must be racked with anticipation. :0)

Angel

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November 13
My friend Amy
Just wanted to share something precious with you after wrangling permission out of my buddy Amy!
Wrangling is Texas type word ya know.

Wrangling- to wrangle- to capture, to wrestle with something

OK! I DON'T REALLY KNOW THE DEFINITION...just go with it.

I wrangled permission to post this sweet video she created for her daughter. Little Mya came home from Guatemala 6 weeks ago to this amazing family. I am blessed to have met them. I am also blessed that they might be moving to down yonder to Texas to start learnin sum wurds like WRANGLE!

HOWDY YA'LL!
Welcome to Texas almost!

Click on the link to meet Mya
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4414988281239942044

Yep. It made me cry. I'm a crier. I can admit that! :0)

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November 11
Adjustments
How are things going around here? I know I've been a big slacker about providing details. OK here we go.

Sleeping- In the hotel in Guatemala and Orlando we were in the same room together. That was 6 nights. When we got home Zoe slept with me and Kailtlyn for two nights. Then she said she wanted to sleep in her room. Last night she said she wanted to sleep with me again. I think it was more about just being with me rather than being scared or anything. Of course I let her. Sooo it's mostly her room so far. We'll see. This is her first time EVER to have a room of her own. So far that is going great. I figured it would be harder for her.

Eating- NO BIG ISSUES! Weird thing is I expected this to be at least a small issue. Many of my older kid adoptive parent friends have had issues with their older kiddos not liking the food at first or eating everything in sight at first because they are afraid they won't have food. Zoe will try anything and likes almost everything. I have to encourage her to only eat when she is hungry but she limits herself well. So that's been a breeze!

English- She is learning at a fast clip in my opinion. I would say she understands about 20-25% of what we are saying using context and all. Of course it's hard to know. It's just a guess. Everyday she busts out with more and more English. I think she will be speaking English fluently sooner than we can believe.

Emotionally- I am impressed by how well she is handling all this. Our first 3 days were VERY emotional. Not in a bad way. It was just REALLY sad as it should be. She was leaving 98% of what was familiar in her life and had US left. She did a lot of crying those 3 days. The next 4 days were iffy. She was back and forth between excited and scared...happy and sad. Since then it has been mostly fine. She has moments where she will tell you she is a little sad. She has cried one time at bed time. I think that was mostly from sheer exhaustion!! Other than that she is our happy go lucky Zoe girl! One interesting thing is that she will talk to Russ and me about Guatemala but doesn't seem to want to talk to anyone else about it right now. If anyone brings it up in English or Spanish she avoids it. Hmmmmm... too much for her I guess.

Discipline- We had one semi-tantrum toward the beginning where she was testing her boundaries. She wanted to do something. We wouldn't let her. She started pulling the whole I'm going to throw a fit cause' I'm so sad about my life. I didn't buy it and told her it wouldn't work. After a nice little stay in time out and some threats of no more TV for the night she came around. She admitted that she was just mad cause' we wouldn't let her do what she wanted and apologized. I breathed a HUGE sigh of relief that I called it right and wasn't just punishing her for being sad. YIKES!!! Man that part is hard to call.

Other than that a raised eyebrow or gentle reminder has been enough for any minor stuff we encounter. Seriously my 3 year old is way more of a handful right now. Of course I think we are still in the "I want to please you" phase of our relationship. It's actually a relief when she sighs dramatically before she empties the dishwasher. At least she's a real kid! :0)

Sibling Relationship- AMAZING!!!! The girls ADORE each other. I couldn't ask for a better sister relationship. Zoe is so sweet with Kaitlyn. She is patient like I can't believe and seems genuinely amused by Kaitlyn's frequent three year old antics. I love the way they are together. Kaitlyn doesn't seemed threatened in the least. She is on cloud nine to have her big sister home forever.Praise the Lord for that!!

School- Zoe will start school on Jan 8th. She will go two days a week to a private school. It's a really cool program based on a college university model. You enroll your kids per class like you do in college classes. We have enrolled her in classes she can be succesful in without having to know fluent English. She will learn Math and Reading at home. We started this week and she seems to grasp the Math without a hitch. The Reading will take a little more time since it is English based.

More later! Angel



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I had to share this
I just stole this off this lady's blog. http://girltalk.blogs.com/ It made me giggle so much that I had to blog it. I mean who doesn't need a good giggle?? Sadly I reverted to third baby behavior with Kaitllyn on the pacifier issue with no excuse. Enjoy.
BIRTH ORDER OF CHILDREN
1st baby: You begin wearing maternity clothes as soon as your OB/GYN confirms your pregnancy.
2nd baby: You wear your regular clothes for as long as possible.
3rd baby: Your maternity clothes ARE your regular clothes._____________________________________________________Preparing for the Birth:
1st baby: You practice your breathing religiously.
2nd baby: You don't bother because you remember that last time, breathing didn't' t do a thing.
3rd baby: You ask for an epidural in your eighth month______________________________________________________The Layette:
1st baby: You pre-wash newborn's clothes, color-coordinate them, and fold them neatly in the baby's little bureau.
2nd baby: You check to make sure that the clothes are clean and discard only the ones with the darkest stains.
3rd baby: Boys can wear pink, can't they?______________________________________________________Worries:
1st baby: At the first sign of distress--a whimper, a frown--you pick up the baby.
2nd baby: You pick the baby up when her wails threaten to wake your firstborn.
3rd baby: You teach your three-year-old how to rewind the mechanical swing______________________________________________________Pacifier:
1st baby: If the pacifier falls on the floor, you put it away until you can go home and wash and boil it.
2nd baby: When the pacifier falls on the floor, you squirt it off with some juice from the baby's bottle.
3rd baby: You wipe it off on your shirt and pop it back in.______________________________________________________Diapering:
1st baby: You change your baby's diapers every hour, whether they need it or not.
2nd baby: You change their diaper every two to three hours, if needed.
3rd baby: You try to change their diaper before others start to complain about the smell or you see it sagging to their knees.
______________________________________________________Activities:
1st baby: You take your infant to Baby Gymnastics, Baby Swing, and Baby Story Hour.
2nd baby: You take your infant to Baby Gymnastics.
3rd baby: You take your infant to the supermarket and the dry cleaner.______________________________________________________Going Out:
1st baby: The first time you leave your baby with a sitter, you call home five times.
2nd baby: Just before you walk out the door, you remember to leave a number where you can be reached.
3rd baby: You leave instructions for the sitter to call only if she sees blood.______________________________________________________At Home:
1st baby: You spend a good bit of every day just gazing at the baby.
2nd baby: You spend a bit of everyday watching to be sure your older child isn't squeezing, poking, or hitting the baby.
3rd baby: You spend a little bit of every day hiding from the children.______________________________________________________Swallowing Coins (a favorite):
1st child: When first child swallows a coin, you rush the child to the hospital and demand x-rays.
2nd child: When second child swallows a coin, you carefully watch for the coin to pass.
3rd child: When third child swallows a coin you deduct it from his allowance!

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November 10
Get some tissue
and go to this website! Sniff sniff. Amazing. http://cjcphoto.com/can/ If you ever wanted to know what real love looks like here you go. It's beautiful. Don't miss the video at the end. Tell me what you think about it. Angel

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November 09
Doing Great
Just wanted to let you know we are doing extremely well. It has just been really busy this week trying to get everything done. We've all been a little worn out too. I think it's just taking a little while to recover from all this wonderful excitement! Here's the short story of what we've been up to.

Sunday- We got home about 1 am. The girls were zonked out in the back. We had to wake them up and tuck them back into our bed. I think Zoe barely processed where we were. When we woke up the girls spent the day playing and exploring the house. Zoe LOVES LOVES LOVES her room and our house. It's like we gave her a little slice of heaven. She is so content. Russ and I were in a semi-zombie state all day.... fairly useless. We did take a nice walk around the neighborhood. We took Zoe to a little Italian place down the road and then attempted to walk it off on the way home. :0) When we got home I don't even know what we did... stare at the wall???? It's a blur.


Monday- I spent the majority of the day making business calls. I had to get Zoe all set up for her school. She starts a private 2 day a week school on Jan. 8th. I also needed to get her set up with the international adoption specialist at Texas Children's Hospital. Then we had to call for a dentist appointment soon. Next was an appointment to meet with a bilingual child therapist that we have visited. We figure that prevention could be the best medicine for Zoe. I really want to have someone working through this process with her from the beginning to make sure we are helping her in every way we can.

After that I cleared out the van and cleaned up some. Later that night the girls went on a "Daddy date" to Chik-Fil-A with Russ while I had some girl time with my buddies.


Tuesday- My dear friend Sarah came and finished Zoe's room. Sarah is a very talented seamstress and did all the sewing as a gift to Zoe. It is ADORABLE! Zoe is such a little Super Star in her hot pink digs. I'll post pictures soon. THANKS GIRL! You did a beautiful job.

After that was KK's gymnastics lesson. Zoe says she wants to take them too but not yet. Guess she's a little nervous still. After that we had lunch, went to the bank and the grocery store. WHEW!!!


Wednesday- We had to run a couple of errands and then we were done with the craziness. My body officially quit on me for the day. I could barely get off the couch. The girls both declared that they were tired which I took as a sign from above that we should all take a nap. Come on.. how often do your seven year old and three year old both ask to take a nap???


Today- I think I am starting to recover. I started trying to call people back today. Sorry of I haven't called you yet. Don't give up on me!! :0) MOST of the clothes are unpacked and put up thanks to my hubby's help. We started working on the Zoe's math and reading curriculum today. She is a wiz with the math. The reading is a little trickier since it entails knowing a lot of English.. you know A is for Apple. Well, what if you don't know it's called an Apple? She is super smart though. I have no doubt she'll get it in no time. This evening we went to Daddy's soccer game. He had his own little cheering section.It's also very cool because a couple of the guys on his team are from Guatemala originally. They are so sweet to her. I love that we have so many people who can help her to keep her Spanish. I would hate to see her lose it. If it's my responsibility she will end up speaking horrid Spanish.

Overall Zoe is doing SO AWESOME!!! She is adjusting beautifully from what we can see. She has her moments of sadness of course but nothing difficult. Just like any sad little girl she just needs hugs and prayer. Then she is our perky little Super Star again. I'll try to do better about blogging!

Angel

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November 05
WE ARE HOME! HOME! HOME!
Zoe is doing awesome! We got home at about 12:30 am this morning. We just drove straight through. The girls did so well. Today we are just resting. Hopefully I'll have more time this week for extensive blogging. I did upload a bunch of pictures. Later... :0)

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November 03
Here's The Scoop!
WARNING! The story you are about to read may seem to frustrating to be true. However the following tale is based on ACTUAL events in the life of Angel and Zoe. Do not read if you've had a really annoying day....unless you think it will make you feel better about your life.

Yesterday was a WILD ride! Strangely it had very little to do with Zoe. She was just as calm as a cucumber the whole day. I think because we really worked through her fears the day before she was ready to go.

It started at the 5am. Zoe was so sleepy. Poor pumpkin. We took the hotel car to the airport in Guatemala City. They have been doing a lot of construction so it changes everytime we are there. It took a little while to figure out where we were going. Zoe was a trooper and just hung in there with me. After we finally got past security we did a little last minute shopping. We got some really cute little things for her room to remind her of Guatemala. She picked out a Guatemalan flag, a frame and some other things. Between those things and the stuff we got on our trip to Antigua she has a nice little collection.

After our shopping we were feeling parched so we picked up some sodas and headed for our gate. We had to go through another security check point where they informed us that we could not drink the sodas we just purchased. Ughhh. Oh well.. We just sat down to wait. Sitting next to us was a very sweet young lady. She started to tell us all about her visit to Guatemala. She was staying with family. They live in a mansion up in the hills of Guatemala with Hummers and all kinds of amazing, high tech toys bought with drug money. Ahhhh yes... you heard me right- DRUG MONEY. Her whole visit with them sounded like a bad episode of the "The Sopranos." I am not exagerating here. She seemed anxious to get home. Run Honey! RUN!

After our little glimpse into the life of Guatemalan drug dealers we got on the plane. Their was a very sweet older man who was sitting next to us. He kindly offered Zoe his seat so she could be by the window. She was extremely pleased and handled the take off beautifully. She was so excited to see all those tiny little cars and mountains! When I upload the pictures you will see her two little dolls. They were gifts to her from Polka Dot and my bud Amy. They have became her travel buddies. They seem to "help" her through tough situations. They looked out the airplane window with her, ate with her.. everything. It was sweet.

After a little while we hit the worst turbulance I have seen in years. It was kind of scary. Of course I didn't want Zoe to see me nervous so I was just smiling ear to ear like I do this every day! I was thinking how nervous this was making me and I noticed that the book that the sweet older man next to me was reading was a bible in Spanish. He saw me glance at his Bible and sais that he always reads the bible on planes because, "You never know." Then he tpld me that he was in a PLANE CRASH in the 70s and was one of 5 survivors out of 16 I think. OH MY WORD! I am thinking... 1st of all I can't believe you have the guts to be on this plane right now. 2nd this is not what I want to hear during this crazy turbulence. Poor guy. I can't imagine!! He was super sweet though even if he did freak me out a little.

When we got off the plane in Miami we had to go through Immigration and Customs and catch our next flight to Orlando. Doesn't sound so bad right? Wrong!!! VERY BAD! First we stood in line to get our passports checked. We waited and waited and waited. After about twenty minutes we were almost to the front of the line. Then a man came and changed the sign at the front of us from US citizens to Visitors and informed us that we all had to LEAVE this line and go to the back of another long line. Nope not kidding. Sooooo we went to the next line and talked to some very nice people who welcomed Zoe to the United States and gave her $5. Awww so nice. After a total of 30 minutes we got our passports checked and were told that Zoe needed to go to the immigration office. WHAT??? Did anyone know about this? Cause I sure didn't.

Now I was starting to feel nervous. What if we missed our flight? We give them our paperwork and Zoe says she HAS to go potty and has a tortured look on her face. She's such a drama queen. Seriously. They let us leave to go to the bathroom but they weren't very happy about it. The bathroom is WAY far away and there are only two stalls for EVERYONE going through immigration who just got off of international plane flights. Hmmmmmm... you do the math. There was a line. So Zoe leaned back on a sink to wait and the water came on cause it had a motion sensor. She got this startled look on her face and shot around and looked at it. It stopped of course so she turned back around. She leaned back again and then there was the water again. I didn't interfere with this process cause it was the best thing happening in my day. Very amusing. So she darts around again and glares at it when it stops. She puts her hand in and it starts, then pulls it out and it stops. So then it was hand in, hand out, hand in, hand out. Adorable. Unfortunately I was very concerned that they were going to send the FBI for us if we were gone too long and that we were going to miss our flight. So I put a stop to all the cuteness and told her to go to the bathroom. She was in there awhile. I was starting to wonder what the deal was when she opened the door and announced that the toilet was broken and had no handle so she could not flush it. Yep, automatic flush that wasn't working so well. :0) Had to show her the button.

We got back into the immigration office and waited and waited and waited. 25 minutes passed and I realized that we were going to indeed miss our flight. I wanted to CRY! Everyone was going to be there in just an hour!!! I realized that I needed to call Russ but I had a problem. My phone was almost completely out of batteries. So I hatched a plan. I would turn it on as quickly as possible. I would scroll to his number while it was still coming on and my first sentence would be, "We missed our flight we will be on the next one." So I turned it on, scrolled and pushed talk.... then the immigration officer tells me to turn that off. I can't use a cell phone in there. ACCCKKKK!! I say, "Sir, can I step outside and call my husband? I am about to miss my flight and I need to let him know." He said no but I should be out of there in ten minutes. 25 minutes later they called out Zoe's name. Then they fingerprinted little Zoe. Uh huh. Yep, sure did. It would have been amusing if I didn't feel like kicking someone in the teeth.

Now I knew we had missed our flight but I didn't know when the next flight was and I SURE didn't want to miss that one. Was it in an hour??? So I hurried down to get our suitcase and got through customs. They pointed me to a desk where they would issue me a new ticket for another flight. They said I had to recheck my bags. OKAAAAYYYYY. SO we get to the line and notice it is QUITE long. Apparently our nations code orange status has caused a slow down in immigration and many poor passengers have missed their flights. We waited and waited and waited. I managed to reach Russ according to my brilliant low battery plan. We talked with the passengers around us and all bemoaned our stranded status. 45 minutes later we got up to the front. The next plane would not leave for 2 hours and we got the LAST 2 SEATS. Whew that was a close one. I felt so bad for the other people though. However, the seats were not together. Uh huuuuuhhhh. That should be interesting.So now we were hungry and exhausted. I told Zoe that we had missed our plane and we would have to get on another one. She asked, " Does that mean we won't go to the United States today?" Noooo sweety!! I explained to her that we were ALREADY in the US and just needed to go a little farther. My plan was to get close to the gate and get some food. We trucked WAY across the airport and there was ANOTHER security check point. At this point we had been checked in some way 7 times since Guatemala. So we took off our shoes and showed our passports and yada yada yada. Then DING DING DING! Zoe is the winner. They need to search her Ameican Princess pink carry on bag for dangerous whatever. I know, I know... They are doing what they do to try to keep us safe and I am grateful every time. I usually even thank them. Yesterday I wanted to do a little cussing at that point. Of course all they discovered was Cheetos and toys and we were soon on our way.

We stopped to pick up a couple of personal pizzas and sodas and plopped down at our gate. I heard an announcement say they had wireless internet. SWEET! At least I could blog about my misery right?? Wrong again. They charge ten bucks to use it. Since I only had a little while I wasn't going to fork that up. Especially since I just paid $7 a piece for nasty airport pizzas.
When there was somebody at the counter I told them our seating situation and pleaded our case. "She doesn't speak English. It's her first time in America. It's her first time flying. Pllleeeaaassse don't make her sit alone." She said there was nothing but she would see what she could do. She worked on it for about ten minutes and finally got it figured out. Good. Dodged that bullet.
FINALLY we were on the plane. YES! It was blissfully uneventful. We got off and went to baggage claim. Russ walked in with balloons. Zoe saw him and her eyes clouded over with tears. I asked her if she wanted to say hi. She said in just a minute. Her emotions overwhelmed her a little. After a few minutes she was her bubbly self showing Russ all her things for her room and introducing him to "Kimberly" and "Sender." That is what she named her travel buddies in honor of her foster brother and sister in Guatemala. Her grandma and grandpa (Pop and Nonny) graciously waited in the backgroung with Kaitlyn sound asleep in the stroller. After a little while we pointed them out and she waved. We told her we would go meet them when she was ready. She would wave then look away then smile and look away. Eventually she got her guts and went over and hugged them both. Just like that!

I had told her all about Disney and that she could choose whether she wanted to go for a little while tonight or go to the hotel. I told her to think about it. We got into the car and she said she wanted to go to Disney. I said okay but made her promise to tell me if she was scared or too tired. We took the tram from the parking lot and then the monorail to the Magic Kingdom. When we got to the gate Russ realized he had left the tickets in the car. MMMMM HMMMMMM.... So the girls just danced and screamed and laughed and chased each other while he made the treck back and forth again.

The rest of the night was magic! We went on the merry-go-round which Zoe loved. Went to a 3-D thing which she HATED. Went on "It's a Small World" which was a smashing success. Then we just went to a bakery for some yummy dessert and walked and played and took pictures. When we left the park Zoe and I were about to fall right over and sleep in the tram!

When we got back to the hotel Zoe got her 35th wind and wanted to see everything. Including the darling white dress we brought for her to wear! She and Kaitlyn stripped down and in two seconds flat we had a couple of princesses strutting around and posing for pictures. Zoe was saying, "I'm just like a queen..." WAY CUTE!

Eventually we got them both tucked into bed and it took Zoe about 3 seconds to fall asleep! There was lots more fun today but I'll write about that later. It's 1 am and I'm insane to be awake. I'll load the pictures on tommorrow.

Let's just say... It's good to be here. It was no small task.

HUGS!!!!! Angel





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November 01
We Are In Orlando
We are here safe and sound and VERY HAPPY! I want to say so much more and tell you all about it. I don't have the mental energy to do it justice. For now know that we are doing AWESOME. She is precious and happy. I will do my best to give you the full update tommorrow. :0) Angel

October 31
A quick update
Whew! I am tired. We got our visa today which was really easy.

Zoe also had a great break through.We had a good 3 hours of talking and crying and praying together about this process and how she is feeling. It took some digging but she did SO GREAT about being honest and working through her feelings. It was great but exhausting. I think I have also managed to crack the code on some of Zoe's coping mechanisms. She does this thing where she starts giggling like crazy for no reason. It's really out of the blue. Today it hit me as strange and I asked her if she is trying not to cry when she laughs like that. She said yes and promptly started to cry. I am so glad I am starting to be able to read her "signals" so I can help her better. I think our time alone here has been very valuable.

Well, we have to wake up EARLY and get to the airport at 6:30 am. YAY! We are almost on our way home. I will try to update tommorrow if I'm not asleep before I get to the condo. :0)

Sorry to cut it short. More later...

Angel

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October 30
Just For Julia
We did a funny faces photo session at Julia's request. It was fun! Enjoy Julia :0)

We also got some fun photos of Savanna's sweet family. You can check out their blog here http://lifesgreatestjoy.blogspot.com/ They just got their new birth certificate today! Hopefully pink is just around the corner for precious Savannah. She is so cute. Today she was kinda grumpy because she is teething and she was still super sweet.

All day long we just hung out while Zoe tried on numerous outfits. She would take everything out of the drawers and mix and match. Then she would fold it all nicely and put it back. Then she would take it all out again and try something else on. Then fold it all nicely and put it all back. You get the idea here right?

My little super star.


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Welcome to the world Will :0)
My dear friend Wendi (otherwise known as Super Woman) gave birth to sweet Will today at HER HOUSE! The good news is that it was by choice with a midwife and not like OOPS I just had a baby at my house! (I TOLD you she is Super Woman) He is just over 7 pounds and both of them are doing great. I'm sorry I couldn't be there Wendi. Welcome to the crew Will. I am so excited to meet you little guy.

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Pink Appointment Is Done!
We are back from our pink appointment. It went fine. We are now DONE with our adoption!!!! I feel like the weight continues to lift off of my shoulders with each step we complete. I was nervous about saying goodbye to Glenda (foster mom) and going to the pink appointment. Now that we are through that part I feel like I can just relax and enjoy my sweet little girl.

For those of you going to the embassy soon here is something to know. Don't bring cameras or cell phones. They don't allow them in the embassy. I brought a cell phone and they held it at security. Also don't worry. It's not too bad. We were there about 2 hours. It was a little intimidating but fairly painless.

Now we just have to pick up the visa at 3:30 tommorrow and we are ready to go. YAY!!!!

Zoe is doing awesome. This morning after our appointment she seemed a little quiet. I asked her if she was okay. She said yes. (she tries to be tough) I told her she seemed sad to me. Then she started crying a little. (she's not so good at the tough thing!!) :0) We talked about it and she had a good cry and we had some cuddle time on the couch. She is missing Glenda. (foster momma) She is handling this just the way I would hope she would. She is processing it and grieving and working through it. I would be very concerned if she wasn't sad. It wouldn't be healthy. Her behavior shows me she is able to attach to people in a healthy way and that she was loved.

After she recovered we went down and had a nice breakfast. My blogger friend Carrie and her sweet family were down there so we chatted for awhile. Her husband even offered to get me a couple of items at the store when he goes out. SO NICE!

Now Zoe is painting on her paint by number project and her Cinderella travel art project that you gave her Rebekah and Kevin. She loves painting. She is watching a little Barney too. She loves that show!

I will try to write some more tonight and load new pictures. Till then! Angel

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October 29
I am SOOO tired
This is gonna be another short entry! I am about to climb into bed. We have to be up super early for our embassy appointment. The appointment is at 7:15. It sure will be nice to have that done.

Today was great overall. I was nervous about the saying goodbye to foster mommy thing. She cried but handled it better than I really expected. She let it all out as she always does. Zoe is not one to hide her feelings! :0) She cried for about 30 minutes and then she was ready to try on her new clothes. She REALLY likes them and of course she looks super cute. Hey Wendi! The shoes you got her are a huge hit.

Then we met an internet bud of mine who is fostering her ADORABLE sweety girl here. It's nice to have someone we "know" here. After chatting it up with Carrie we had dinner. It was great stuff.

Okay, I gotta read and sleep now. Zoe is doing awesome. She seems really excited about coming to the US.

More manana. I loaded a few pictures on. :0)

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I'm here!
We are getting settled in so I'll keep it short for now. The goodbye was hard as expected but she actually handled it beautifully. We are going to dinner at the little resteraunt so I'll write more later. Angel

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Just hanging out at my gate
I am sitting in the Orlando airport with a little time on my hands! Apparently it was FALL BACK this morning??? Well I guess when you are at Disney World you JUST don't keep up with these things very well. MAN!!! I could have used the extra hour of sleep!!! Nice that they have wireless though. :0)OH WELL!!! I am on my way to get Zoe!!! I will see her in 6 hours and I will not be leaving without her this time.

YAY!!! I am getting excited. I think I have had so LITTLE time to process this that I have haven't registered totally what is happening. It's been a wild and wonderful week. Looks like we have another wild and wonderful week coming up!

I am going to try to load some Disney pics. Some of these are last night at Cinderella's castle for dinner. It was WONDERFUL! Kaitlyn was in little princess heaven! The coolest thing is that earlier in the day Kaitlyn went to Belle's story time. She asked Belle if she would be at dinner. Belle said, "No but that she should look for the fairy god mother." That night Cinderella said to Kaitlyn, "Ohhhhh, my friend Belle TOLD me you were going to be here to see me tonight!" Kaitlyn just beamed! Then we were at our table and the fairy god mother was asking all the children what they had done today. She pointed to Kaitlyn and said, "I know SOME of you heard Belle tell a story." Kaitlyn just nodded with confident satisfaction that she was finally where she belonged!!! It didn't seem strange to her that they all knew her. How did they do that? It was SOOOOO cute. What an amazing night for her. We were all incredibly impressed with the way they made her feel like she was a princess. After all she should feel that way. All little girls are princesses. We will never forget her face.

I will do my best to update tonight. We will see what the internet situation is there.

YAY!! Almost on my way. Angel

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October 26
And what is our favorite color readers?????????
PINK! PINK! PINK! PINK! PINK! PINK! PINK! PINK! PINK!

RIGHT ANSWER PEOPLE!

WE LOVE PINK!!!

Our pink appointment is Monday Oct 30th at 7:15 am!

I am flying out on Sunday Oct. 29th from Orlando and arrive about 2pm.

We go to pink on Monday, pick up Visa on Tuesday....

Wednesday November 1st 2006!!!!!!!

FLY TO THE USA!!!!!!!

We will arrive at the Orlando airport at 2:30pm.

WOW! WOW! WOW! WOW!

Now you want to hear something REALLY WEIRD??????

If you were to take a look at the timeline on the right of my blog you would notice that November 1st was a very special day last year too.

Last year on Nov 1st we accepted the referral of a very special little girl. This year on Nov 1st she will fly to America.

Now tell me that isn't weird.

Everything is working our really nicely.

We have had some great alone time with KK. Yep. It's been good for Kaitlyn to have her last Hurrah as the center of the universe! :0)

We will have 3 more days with me here to play with KK. Then she will have 4 days with Russ and his parents while I am gone. I don't even have to arrange anything for Kaitlyn. Russ is already off work. His parents are going to be here to help. He has all of Disney World to entertain her with!!! It's AWESOME!

Meanwhile Zoe and I will have 4 days in Guatemala to help her work through her feelings. She will say goodbye to her foster mom on the first day. We really feel that is best for Zoe. I know she will need time to grieve before she gets on that plane. Zoe usually lets everything out when it happens. So I think the first two days I am there will be emotionally draining for both of us. I have a feeling she is going to deal with it right when I get there then we will do okay. It's really probably a great thing that it is only me and Zoe.

When we get to Orlando Wednesday afternoon we will spend the whole evening just hanging out and letting Zoe get to know Russ' parents.

Then we have two days for Disney with Zoe!!! We are going to try to keep it as low key as possible. We'll just be sensitive to where she is and gauge how she is doing.

Thursday we will spend the morning sleeping in and relaxing. Then in the evening I think we will spend some time at Epcot with all the grandparents. We will probably stick to the World Showcase and slow rides and stuff. I know crowds don't bother Zoe and the crowds haven't been bad anyway. So I think she will handle Epcot nicely. It's a much calmer atmosphere. Lots of fun music and pretty buildings.

Friday I think Animal Kingdom might be good. It's pretty peaceful. Plus the animals won't be a weird thing to her. I think she'll like that. We will just stay away from any crazy rides or 3-D movies I think.

My plan now is to NOT do the Magic Kingdom with her this time. I think it is by far the most overwhelming of the parks. We'll see though. We'll just take it as it comes.

Saturday morning Russ, I, KK and Zoe will leave early and drive to Destin. We will play on the beach and spend the night. Mommy will take pictures like crazy! :0)

Sunday we will drive home.

YAY!!!!! HOME WITH ZOE!!!!

The next week will be lots of sleeping and getting acclimated to life. I am sure I will be doing some blogging! It should be fun!

It seems to me that God had all this worked out long ago. Not my timing but God's perfect time. Do you see it? I see it now. I get it now God.

Check back soon. I will try to put some Disney pics on the blog. We are also going to call Zoe today to tell her about going to Disney and me coming to pick her up. I'll let you know how it goes.

I AM ONE HAPPY MOMMA!

:0) Angel


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October 25
No Pink Yet....
Okay. We have the internet figured out in our room. I thought we didn't have it at first.

We don't have pink yet. I hope we will find out today. Now that I have the internet thing working I will be able to update better.

We are having a GREAT time at Disney. We went to the Magic Kingdom on Monday. Kaitlyn wore her Ariel costume all day. She was VERY concerned about some of the rides and stuff. In her own words "It might be a LITTLE bit scary for me..." She is SO FUNNY though. She will jump right on the teacups or Dumbo ride but is WAY too scared to go on "It's A Small World!" I think we have figured out that it's the dark stuff and loud music that freaks her out. If you have to go through a dark tunnel to get there she just doesn't think it's worth it. :0) Monday was about figuring out what she will love and what will scare her like crazy. Winnie the Pooh's Adventure was apparently very edgy in her opinion. No tears but our brave 3 year old was a little shaken by that crazy Tigger in the dark. Her words upon exiting were, "I was a little bit scary but not too much."

She ADORES all the princesses. You would not believe how excited she was to meet them. We have met Belle, Cinderella and Snow White so far. She tried to curtsy when she saw Cinderella but she was so thrilled that it turned into a full fledged on the floor bow. It was HILARIOUS! Cinderella said in her sweetest voice, "Well, that is SOOO polite!" Hee heeee!!!! Belle said that Kaitlyn reminded her so much of her friend Ariel. (remember she was wearing the costume) She said she was very fortunate though because she had a tail AND legs!! The princesses were charming and Kaitlyn was hooked. She was nothing but giggles and smiles...mooning over the princesses.

Yesterday was The Animal Kingdom. The safari was a HUGE hit for the whole family! It's great. Go first thing in the morning and there are LOTS of animals! We went to the Lion King Show twice. It is wonderful. Kailtlyn slept through the first one. She was SO TIRED! Of course she woke up right when it was over! So we felt compelled to go again. She loved parts of it and hid her face for the rest. Overall she said it was good. The we were off to explore. By the end of the day Kaitlyn was begging to go on a little roller coaster! They wouldn't let her on because she is so small. That made her kinda mad. :0) I told her she is so brave that I KNOW she would love "It's a Small World." Her thoughts on that?? Nope.. Way too scary. That girl!!

I love The Animal Kingdom. It is amazing. It was even better this time. Oh yeah. Joseph (my brother) and I got lost for an hour. I KNOW I KNOW! I'm 29 and he's 24. OK not so much lost cause' we KNEW where we were... just seperated. We just stopped to watch some people scream as they came down the roller coaster and the family was gone! They swear they were standing right there. I guess we somehow didn't see them. We were thinking about turning ourselves in to the lost kids area! Basically we had to borrow a cell phone and call them. Lesson... always keep your ceel phone with you at Disney World.

More later! Angel

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October 21
A Wonderful Beach Day
What a great day! I just added more pictures to the beach folder. I know.. It's a lot of Kaitlyn pictures. She has lots of fans out there though! :0) Plus it's the beach and my sweet little girl... It's an irresistable photo opp. Off to bed. We will see what the internet situation is at Disney. We leave in the morning. I will update as much as I can. Nighty night bloggers.

Angel

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WE'RE IN PARADISE!!!!!! :0)
We will get to Disney tommorrow. For now we are in Navarre, FL. Otherwise known as PARADISE!! I was a little nervous. I booked this place online and have never been here. Because it is off season we got this place as cheap as a hotel room. We got this whole condo! I just put up pics of the condo and beach view from our balcony. It's awesome. I can't wait to bring Zoe back here. I am pretty sure we WILL be back! Oh... there is wireless highspeed internet. SWEEEET! There are no pics of the bedroom cause' daddy is STILL sleeping. He did drive till super late so we will leave him alone. I would just like to give a HUGE shout out to Mrs. Meridith Copeland. She is SOOOO dedicated to following our journey that she found a library ON VACATION to check in on us. NOW THAT'S DEDICATION! She knows how big this is because she went through her own journey of faith to find her daughter not so long ago. I pretty much checked her blog ten times a day when she was in the Ukraine. Can't believe it's us now!!

Thanks to all of you for caring SO MUCH!

YAY!!! Life is good people. Life is good. :0) I will try to upload more pics of Navarre Beach tonight.
Angel

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October 19
Another Cliffhanger!
Yesterday we thought that our lawyers were going to get Zoe's passport and then yesterday or today submit for our final appointment. This is known in the Guatemala adoption world as getting PINK! That's cause' the form is pink. "You have pink." They are the words every adoptive parent longs to hear...

So back to yesterday. I heard nothing, nothing, nothing! It was driving me batty. So yesterday evening we talked to Zoe. We asked her if she got her passport. She said no. She said that she was going to get it Monday because it was a holiday Thursday AND Friday. WHAT??????? We knew Friday was a holiday but Thursday was strange. UGHHHHH!!!

Needless to say we were bummed in a major way. If we didn't get passport till Monday we were assuming that meant they wouldn't submit us till Monday or Tuesday for pink. Soooo probably no Disney. I was upset at first and then I realized that I have been praying for God's timing. I need to accept that no matter when that is. I have been concerned about making sure Zoe doesn't get freaked out about Disney. If it's too much I don't want her to be upset by it. Selfishly I want her there but more than that I want what is best for her. So I decided to trust.

Then today AS wrote us and said that we were submitted for pink YESTERDAY! I was thinking HUH??? Apparently a passport isn't needed to submit for pink. It is only needed for final appointment. I had no idea. SOOOOOOO..... we are still on track for her to arrive sometime during Disney. We will probably find out Monday or Tuesday exactly what day. If she gets there during Disney we will slow the pace WAYYYY down. If she seems overwhelmed we will just hang at the hotel. That will probably seem more like home to her than our house since we've spent two months in hotels together!!

I guess we will just take it as it comes. I am almost all packed. Just gotta get the last minute stuff together. I don't know what the internet situation will be like for the next few days. I will update as much as I can. We leave in the morning. We will drive half way and stay 2 nights at the beach in Navarre, Florida. That will be SO NICE. Have I mentioned how much I LOVE the beach!?? :0)

Im signing off my internet buddies. Have a wonderful night. I'll be back soon and hopefully with terriffic news Monday or Tuesday.

Angel

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October 17
Sharing my heart for adoption with you
I get lots of questions about why we are adopting. I am always glad to share our love for adoption.

Why an older child? Can't you have "your own" children? What made you want to adopt in the first place?

You can go to the archives of my blog to the very first entries and find the long answer for all those questions.

Really though, the song I am about to share with you says it all. My heart beats adoption. I think God's heart beats adoption too. I am forever grateful that I am adopted... not physically but spiritually.

1Romans 4 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

WOW! Adoption is such an important part of Christianity. God took us as orphans...as foreigners and loved us. Loves us no matter where we came from or what our past was. He loves us as His own flesh.

To be able to share that kind of love is such a priviledge. To learn something deeper is amazng. Adoption helped me see something bigger than myself. It has opened me up and taken me beyond myself.

I believe that deep inside of you God has placed something important. Maybe it's a desire to adopt or maybe it's something completely different. Whatever it is I assure you that it's scary for you. It's a passion to do something bigger than you believe you can do. Something that you don't really think you are cabable of accomplishing. I can only pray you will have the courage to follow that dream. It will take you places you can't imagine for yourself. It will change the very substance of who you are. Along the way it will begin to change the world.

When I first saw this video I wept. I knew as I watched it that this was the passion God had placed inside of me. I stumbled across it and was so grateful to be able to share it with you. Just click on the link here. Then push play on the little video screen.

http://notreallyablogaccount.blogspot.com/

Your friend,
Angel

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What's going on anyway??
I have gotten lots of requests for an update. Well guess what? We're waiting. Super big shock right? We were supposed to get Zoe's passport Friday and then Monday and then today. Now they are saying tommorrow. Apparently our birth certificate was held up in translation. (gotta translate it to English) So now we are supposed to get her passport AND be submitted for pink tommorrow. We shall see...

When will she get here??? Will she make it to Disney?
(dramatic music in the backgorund)

STAY TUNED TO FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENS ON THE NEXT EPISODE OF
FAITH'S JOURNEY! :0)

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Gilmore Girls and my life in general
Tonight Russ and I were watching Gilmore Girls. It a weekly Tivo pick. We love it. So we are watching this week's episode and it suddenly HITS me. Our life and this blog are like season after season of Gilmore Girls.

Now, I am keenly aware that at first glance my blog may not appear to be like Gilmore Girls. No, I am not secretly single with a grown child! It's not that KIND OF BLOG PEOPLE! I'm talking more subtle similarities.

Trust me when I say that our life is, in fact, remarkably similar. If you watch the Gilmore Girls you will quickly understand. If you don't watch just try your best to stay with me on this particular post.

If you are a long time Gilmore fan like we are then you watch week after week. A long time ago you started watching a sweet show about this funny mom and her smart kid. Hmmmm...great. You got invested. You know the characters. Although you wouldn't admit it publicly (say on your blog) you have a strange kind of investment in the goings on of the citizens of Stars Hollow. So you watch... Yet sometimes it gets annoying. The story line keeps dragging ONNNNNN and ONNNNNNNN...Will Lorelia choose Christopher or Luke? You go through a whole stressful season and just when you think ahhhhhh.... Lorelai picked Luke. (not who I would have picked for her but at least she picked) So he's sweet and then they are getting married and then WHAMMO! They hit you upside the head. Now they are broken up and she's dating someone else and you are thinking WHAT?? This is NUTS! Nothing would drag out this long and be this weird in REAL LIFE!!! They are making it so melodramatic it's not even believable.

That, my friends, is where it hit me... Our life is like the Gilmore Girls. Out there in bloggy blogger land... Over a year ago you poor folks got sucked into this sweet little blog called Faith's Journey. It's all about a family adopting a precious little girl. Wow! an older child??? Hmmmm kinda scary. Let's see how this goes... You followed us on our first visit. Awwww.... she's so sweet. AWESOME EVEN! You started to care about this little girl you had never met. You got invested. All was well and then WHAMMO!!!! Everything went terribly wrong. What would happen???? Would she EVER come home??? The next season was nothing but stress and tears. This melodrama drags on and on till the point that it's ridiculous. By the FOURTH visit to Guatemala you're thinking PUUUUULEAAAASSSEEEE! THIS IS NUTS! Just when you almost mentally give up on the drama everything changes. WHAT??? you ask yourself. This is crazy. Things would never be this weird in real life....


OR WOULD THEY????????

See I TOLD ya! JUST like the Gilmore Girls.

Thanks for sticking through it with us.
We are hoping and praying that our next season of Faith's Journey will be a little less dramatic.

Then again...I don't write the script! :0)

I just do what I'm told. Talk to God about the story line.

Hugs, Angel

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October 16
Zoe's new clothes
This Saturday my friend Wendi went with me to shop for Zoe. We had SO MUCH FUN! She is much more handy for picking out a cute, affordable wardrobe in one day than Russ is!! Sorry hon. We all know it's true.

To be fair while we were gone Russ was being handy at home getting a new light fixture put up in Zoe's room, bead curtains put up in her closet door and doing the budget. YUCK! I'm so glad he's good at that stuff so I can shop. :0)

We hit the JACKPOT shopping! We got most of what we needed on clearance. That was a REALLY great thing since we are on a budget. My goal was to get stuff for a week or so. I also wanted to get some good basics. You know.... Jean skirt, khaki shorts, capris, PJs... Her grandmas have already made it clear that there will be a little Zoe clothes shopping at Disney. So I know we will get more later. We all want to let her pick out some of her own clothes. She has never been able to do that before.

Anyway, it was like God had everything put aside for us. I went to three stores and found everything we needed. Plus it was super marked down!! I just put the pictures on so you could see. Wendi found her carry on bag. It says American Princess! How perfect is that? AND it was $3!!! Can you believe? The whole shopping trip was like that.

I think she should wear the blue skirt and white cami for her trip home and the jean skirt and pink shirt to the embassy. Wendi bought her the sparkly pink shoes to go with that outfit. I think those will be a big hit!

What outfit do you think she should wear? Any opinions? I'm sure Zoe will have one!


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Kaitlyn VS The Air Conditioner
Conversation between Russ (dad) and Kaitlyn (3yrs old).

KK- "Daddy! I need my cup."

Dad- "It's in your room. Why don't you go get it?"

KK- "I can't Daddy."

Dad- "If you want it then your going to have to go get it."

KK- "Okayyyyy..." she trudges halfway up the stairs. "Daddy!!! Do you hear that noise?"Dad- "Yep, that is the air conditioner. "

KK- "I can't go up there. There is an air conditioner up there and it is going to get me."

Dad- (supressing laughter) "Kaitlyn an air conditioner is just like a fan that blows air. It doesn't HURT you. It keeps you cool. You don't need to be scared."

KK- "Ohhhhh... " She starts to go up again then stops. "I scared."

Daddy- "Do you think Daddy is scared of the air conditioner?"

KK- "Noooooo!!! THAT'S SILLY!"

Daddy- "Is Zoe scared of an air conditioner?? A little fan?"

KK- "Nooooooo!!!! THAT'S SILLY!"

Daddy- "Are you scared of an air conditioner???"

KK- "No".... she starts to walk back up..... then hurries back down. "YES! I scared of a air conditioner. I SO SILLY!!!!!"

I'm pretty sure Daddy got the cup. Gotta love that girl! :0)

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October 12
We talked to Zoe
After much trying we finally tracked Zoe down. Her foster mother's family moved to their own house just last week. Before that they lived with the foster father's mother. Glenda (foster mom) didn't know their new # when we last spoke. She gave me her mom-in-law's phone #. It took awhile to get someone on the phone but she gave me the foster family's new number.

Zoe knew all about coming to the United States. She knew she was going to get her passport tommorow. However, I don't think she knew it was so close. When I told her I thought I would be there in about two weeks she was SO EXCITED!! I asked her how she was feeling she said she was VERY happy. She says she's just a little sad because she will miss Glenda (foster mom)and her family. She said Glenda is very sad. She was so excited that she will get to see her grandparents. One of her first questions was if she would get to see her friend Lidia soon. I told her that we would go in December, near Christmas, to visit her house. That seemed to please her greatly. Overall Russ and I were happy and a little surprised by how thrilled she sounded. She didn't sound apprehensive at all.

I told Zoe that when she is older we will go visit Guatemala and Glenda. I said that she should remember that she is not saying "goodbye" to Glenda and her family just "see you later.." My mom used to tell me that when I had to leave somewhere for a long time. It usually helped me. I told her that Glenda will always be important and we will talk to her and give her pictures often. It seemed to mean a lot to Zoe to hear that.

I still expect that the pick up trip will be very emotional. I guess we'll see. Zoe is usually full of surprises.

:0) Angel

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Even more great news!
Our birth certificate is done!!! Someone went to go pick it up in Esquintla today. HURRAY!!!! So as long as nothing weird happened we are done with that. We will be able to confirm tommorrow that everthing went smoothly and our lawyers have it in hand. The plan now is to get Zoe's passport TOMMORROW!!!! WOW! WOW! WOW! Things are just flying. Then on Monday they plan to submit us for pink- our embassy appointment. It seems that it is usually 7-10 days after date of submission that you get your appointment. SOOOOOOOOO!!!!! Lord willing and the creek don't rise, I think I will probably be picking Zoe up between the 23rd and the 25th! If it works out that way then Zoe will be there for a big portion of the Disney trip!!!! PRAISE THE LORD!

Here's how it will work...we will most likely already be in Orlando. Our dates for Disney are Oct 22nd- Nov 4th. Let's say the pink appointment is the Wednesday 25th. I will fly from Orlando to Atlanta on the Tuesday the 24th. I will just go by myself to get her because I am listed as the primary petitioner so I have to be there. From there some wonderful friends are valiantly trying to get Zoe and I free airline tickets with their airline points. BLESS YOU CAM AND AMIE! I will get to Guatemala Tuesday afternoon and Zoe will be delivered to the hotel. I have a feeling it will be a hard evening. She will be saying goodbye to her foster mother. That will be hard. The next day, Wednesday morning, we will go to the embassy for the pink appointment. The following day, Thursday the 26th we will get our visa. Finally on Friday the 27th we will fly to Atlanta and then Orlando.

I am so EXCITED! Please keep praying for us. We are so close. I PRAY that things continue to go so smoothly in these final stages. Let's also start praying for God to comfort Zoe and her foster family as they go through this painful transition.

Thanks for caring! My love to you.

Angel

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October 11
BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND!
Many of you have told me that you would like to see the video I made awhile back. The website I had it posted on isn't up at the moment. Soooooo I figured out how to do it. Just click on this link and you can watch it. If you save this link you will be able to watch all our music videos. Now that I figured this out there WILL be more to come!

"I Will Praise You In This Storm" video by Angel


http://notreallyablogaccount.blogspot.com/


Looks like the storm clouds in our life are finally clearing... If you are in your own storm, don't give up. You aren't forgotten. You are greatly loved.


September 27
Yesterday was better after all.

I had a much easier time with not breaking into tears that Little Foot's mommy died on "The Land Before Time" today! So that's good news. I seem to be more emotionally able to handle the fact that Zoe will not be going to Disney World. I just have to think of it as Kaitlyn's last hurrah as the focus of the whole world!! Soon she will be sharing that spotlight with her beloved sister. I started looking up prices for taking Zoe and KK again next year. Trust me... I won't book anything till we are OUT of PGN!!!

If Zoe's case gets rejected from PGN again (which is likely) it will be a tough blow. Then I will have to give up the hope of having her home by Christmas I think. So I am trying to brace myself for what I may hear.

I am at my mom's house this week. It's nice to have some down time. It's a little dangerous for me though. I don't like to have too much time to think ya know!! I know... it's avoidance. Cut me some slack. A girl's got to keep her sanity somehow doesn't she??? :0)

Today my mom had stuff going on. I spent the day e-mailing and checking out blogs. It has been a LONG time since I let myself do that. I really had to pull back from my scouring of the internet for any adoption info. Comparing time lines and writing to forums and trying desperately to figure out what was going on was driving me nuts. See, I was always on the bad end of the timeline. :0(

It sometimes gets hard to see that almost everyone I know who started this journey with me has their child home now. Some of you have asked if Zoe's case is normal. Well, all I can say is this isn't how it is supposed to be. There are hard cases out there. I drew the short straw I guess. Or God had a plan. I have tons of wonderful adoption buds out there who started way AFTER me and their kids are home. I have tons of friends who got pregnant after I started and have babies. ARGGGHHH! Not fair. WAAAAHHHH! Pitty party for Angel Por Favor.

Did you see how I just switched to Spanish there??? Pretty impressive huh? So I've gained something from this tortureous experience. Just kidding. KIND OF! :0)

Well, my point is.. there are tons of people who zip right through. I am SO GRATEFUL for that. I want their kids home and safe. I've learned the hard way that you have to jump into having any child with a huge bunch of faith. It will be your life preserver if you get thrown overboard.

I have gained so much from this process. Most importantly I am becoming more than I knew I could be. I am honestly becoming more than I wanted to be. I was content with less for myself than God wanted for me. He is blessing me with two spectacular little girls. Meanwhile He is making me into a more Godly mother. I am thankful. Scared, overwhelmed and deeply grateful.

Angel

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September 25
And it HIT me.
It's funny how you can be floating along doing okay and then for no special reason...WHAMMO! It hits you. The pain. I know that so many of you know this feeling in a much deeper way than I have ever experienced. The pain of loss or seperation. Today was one of those days for me. I have felt so sad. I have cried about 6 times today. The excuse was that the movie we were watching was sad or some crud about figuring out Russ' vacation days...but there it was. I was tearing up and I couldn't push it down. I think it was a combination of things. We were talking about Disney World. It's 4 weeks away now. We are getting to the point of no return. If she doesn't get out of PGN (final court) this week she probably won't be at Disney World. Russ and I have decided we will go again next year if she doesn't make it this time. That makes it the tiniest bit better...but not really. I want her there. I want her to be a part of our memories. We were also planning the holidays. Then I had to think about if Zoe isn't here. Which is a distinct posibility at this point. It hurts to even talk about going to visit Zoe another Christmas at the Marriott. I'm crying typing the words. You see.. the way I kept my spirits up last year was imagining this Christmas when I KNEW my Zoe would be home.

Here is the thing. I'm over the fighting it. I'm over the anger. I am in a state of peace. Seriously the last couple of months has been an almost bizarre kind of calm in my heart. I believe this is something God has given me. However, it seems that the sadness is still there sometimes. I know that God is in control. I'm just sad.

I miss my little girl tonight. I want her home with us. I don't want to miss her learning new things. I don't want to realize that I have missed another year of her life because of a typo on her paperwork. I'm tired of watching her grow up on my computer screen. Just typing it all out is theraputic. I feel a little better already.

I just keep hoping against what is logical. I keep praying for our miracle. I keep believing in purpose. I keep dreaming about the future. It works most days. I think tommorow will be better.

Angel



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September 24
We're Still Here
I've been a slacker. Don't worry! We are more than okay. We are all doing great. :0) Truth is I haven't really known what to say since we are just waiting. We are in PGN for the second time. We have been in 4 weeks now. We are just waiting to get news. Waiting, waiting, waiting.... it seems to be the theme of this year doesn't it???

Zoe is doing great. She misses her friend Lidia. She's happy though.

I've had very little time to blog these days. We have been busy having lots of fun. I am doing my best to keep myself busy and involved with where God has me now. It helps me not get anxious.

I just put some new pictures of our summer fun on the blog.

Kaitlyn just started gymnastics. She LOVES it! We were originally just going to put her in this little class at my gym. She loved it so much that we went and enrolled her at this great new place where they do the big time gymnastics stuff. Turned out to be a great deal. Less money and awesome coaching. It's so much fun watching her.

The other pictures are of us at the Children's Festival at Kemah Boardwalk and hanging out at the beach in Galveston.

Galveston isn't our favorite beach but it's only an hour away and still fun. Kailtlyn was in heaven. She loves the ocean just like her mamma! I don't know how to explain my love for the ocean and the beach. It's more than just liking it. It's as if I'm coming home whenever I'm near the ocean. The roar of waves is the closest thing I can imagine to hearing God's voice. Powerful yet so calming. Do you have a certain place that makes you feel a sense of "rightness"? For me that is the ocean. Watching Kaitlyn experience it was fun. She kept asking her Daddy if we could PLEEEEAASE live at the beach. I know just how she feels. Maybe one of these days we will live on the beach. For now we just visit and dream.

:0) Angel

August 25
A show you have GOT to see!
Yesterday I got sucked into the COOLEST show. I just had to tell you about it cause it comes on again Saturday-tommorrow from 4-6pm on our line up. It is called The Exodus Decoded. So if you have Tivo and History channel get it set up.

The show is all about scientific and archaeoligical proof that the plagues and the exodus of the Isrealites happened EXACTLY as the Bible says they did. It is AMAZING! If you have teens they will really get a lot out of it too. If you teach at a Christian school or a church this would be great to have on hand. I was literally in awe at the evidence they were able to show. It is also very well made and a must see. Here is the description from the History Channel website...

The story of the Exodus invokes an epic tale--Pharaohs and Israelites, plagues and miracles, splitting of the sea and drowning of an army, and Moses. It's at the heart of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. After much research--working with archaeologists, Egyptologists, geologists, and theologians--filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici concluded that the Exodus took place hundreds of years earlier than thought. With a new timetable, Jacobovici reexamined artifacts and discovered that the traditional consensus on the date was reached without reference to Judaic texts that record the oral traditions. When Jacobovici consulted these texts, they revealed names of people and places unknown to researchers until recently when extensive excavations in the Nile Delta took place. Teaming up with special effects designers, he created a unique digital experience of the Exodus. Blending archaeological findings with eye-catching effects, Jacobovici creates a virtual museum to showcase his discoveries. TVPG V cc
Enjoy and let me know what you think about it!

Angel

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August 20
I still believe in miracles...
but this wasn't our miracle. AS found out the new law doesn't apply to our case. I know... it stinks. At least AS found out before we were rejected AGAIN. That would have been worse. Yes, I cried. Yes, I'm okay. It is just hard to be on this roller coaster of emotions. It seems like just when I think things are getting better they get a little worse. I just have to keep trusting and trusting no matter what the circumstances look like. God cares far more about the condition of our hearts than our circumstances. Our hearts are being molded and changed into something far stronger through this pressure. I had to give myself the weekend to get through the emotions. Reality bites sometimes doesn't it? I guess the key is whether you believe it has purpose. I do.

Thanks for all your sweet e-mails of excitement. You people are so COOL! My computer only works when it wants to lately and we don't want to pop for a new one yet so it's been hard for me to get back to you.

Basically we are back where we were now. Waiting..... waiting.... waiting.... I know many of you who read this are waiting with me for your little angel to come home. We'll keep faith together that this has purpose.

Angel



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August 17
Do you believe in Miracles?
I DO!!! One happened just yesterday. Just when you start to think it's all going wrong God can pull a fast one on you! :0)

Yesterday I was walking through Khol's department store and my phone rang. I tried to get to it but couldn't answer it in time. I checked the message and it was my case worker from my agency. She asked me to call her when I got a chance. My heart started racing and I got this panicky feeling. In the past a call from my agency has meant bad news. I dialed the number and tried to brace myself to hear something heartbreaking. My case worker asked me if I wanted some good news. Of course I said YES PLEASE!! She said that we no longer have to go through the process of rectification. We are being submitted to final court (PGN) again on Friday! "THAT'S IMPOSSIBLE, I told her.... everything has been going wrong. You mean we are going to PGN to get permission to get a new birth certificate on Friday?" "No," she said. "You are going back in to get final approval." She said that the Guatemalan Congress just passed a law that for 90 days rectifications do not have to take place. This is to help the many children who lost their birth certificates in the hurricane and mudslides last year. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT????!!!!

Just when I was giving up on her being home for Disney World we are on track again for her to come home in October. We are not home free of course. We could still get kicked out of PGN again if there are any problems with the paperwork. I have to continue to just trust that God's timing is perfect. I know that God allows people free will. People can mess things up but that won't stop God's plan. He has a plan B and C and D and well... you get the idea. When she gets here it will be right.

I actually got VERY stressed out after I heard the news. Isn't that weird?? I started to feel excited and that freaked me out. I am just so scared to get my hopes up. I don't want to crash again. Anyway, I am cautiously optomisitic. AS says that we should expect to go get her in around 8 weeks if there are no more kick out. Wow. Wouldn't that be great?

Angel

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August 10
I'm not really her mother yet....
This is something that has been extremely hard for me to embrace. Russ was the first one to burst my bubble... It was about a month ago. Right before we visited. I was crying...as usual...so heartbroken that my baby wasn't going to be coming home soon. I don't remember exactly how it came about. I think I was moaning about feeling like a horrible mother. Then he said it. "Angel, you aren't her mother yet. Right now G (foster mother) is her mother. When God brings her home to us THEN you will be her mother. Don't make yourself crazy trying to be something God hasn't made you yet."

Well it made me FURIOUS!!! How could he say such a thing? I tried to tell myself he just didn't "get" it. You know cause' he's just a man! :0) Truth is he was right. As it started to sink in I saw the truth.

Trying to be a child's mother when they live in another country...with another "mother/ caretaker" is incredibly painful. I have told my friends that it's like giving birth and then having the doctor take your child away and say, "We will take very good care of her. You can visit and you'll get her back in a year or so." It is hard to process because you don't how to behave "normally" in such a bizarre situation. How am I supposed to be a "good" mother????? HOW?????? No one teaches you how to respond to such a situation. I have never had it modeled. It feels unatural and scary because you've never fathomed a response to this. So you have to muddle through. Figure it out. I have dealt with overwhelming feelings of needing Zoe home. I have very seriously considered moving down there several times. However, with Kaitlyn we don't consider this a great solution. There have been a few times I have felt depressed and immobilized by these emotions. Basically my control issues have been seriously challeged. Then I have pushed the thoughts away. Tried to distance myself emotionally from this adoption. Then I have these horrible feelings of guilt. What kind of mom doesn't MISS her kid????? Yikes!

You see my dilemma? I really can't be certain whether I have clarified my point or freaked you all out.

My point is that I think I'm starting to understand now. I have to accept where God has me and where God has her. I have to do this so that she can do this. I have to be able to LET her be okay where she is. I have to be okay where I am. This is how to be a "good" mom when your child is not home with you. Don't try to be mom yet. I feel very strongly that being a "mother" or "father" has very little to do with genetics. It is a gift. A gift that God gives us. Right now I don't have that gift yet. To try to claim it is emotional torture.

Right now I feel that I have more of a grandparent type of roll. I visit her, I ADORE her, I play with her, I buy her lots of stuff, I cuddle with her, I discipline her, I have so much fun with her....then I send her home. That is the truth right now. She is HOME. Her home. It is the best place she has ever known. She is well fed and loved. To Zoe that is heaven. It is heaven for most of the world just to be fed and loved. She is content. I have to accept the role God has given me now. Now that I see it I think I can embrace it more. If God chooses to bring her home to us forever I will jump right into that role with joy.

I hope that next time I go through this process of adoption I can handle it with a little more grace, a LOT MORE FAITH, a lot more contentment. Who knows... maybe I can help someone else know how to handle it better than I have.

So this is the process I am going through. I am content- happy even. I am grateful that I have a husband who is learning to tell me the truth even when he KNOWS it is going to tick me off. Let's face it... he might be a teeny bit afraid of me. Poor guy. I can be scary. Seriously, you haven't seen the worst of it!! I think there were times he was READY to ship me off to Guatemala till she came home. I am so blessed to have him to put up with me.

Angel

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Waiting Patiently
Yes, REALLY! I am waiting PATIENTLY. This is the first time I have felt the PATIENCE part of the waiting since our delays began in January. Since then I have been in various states of emotional turmoil. I'm not saying that it is easy. My circumstances have not changed. Yet, as has been so common in my life. Something in me has begun to change. Again I see that God is far more interested than changing my heart than changing my circumstances.

I had to back off on blogging for awhile so I could refocus on life HERE. Now I feel like I am getting that under control. I am going to blog more now. However, this blog will most likely become about more than the adoption. I have a feeling it will become a journal of my hearts journey through this process more than anything.

So now I am waiting patiently...or mostly patiently... I still have my moments.

:0) Angel



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August 01
I know , I know
It's been awhile. I am just needing to back off the whole computer world right now. I'm trying to NOT focus on the adoption as much. Not that I don't think about it. Trying not to live and breath it!! That means not stalking adoption blogs and forums until I can clear my head!

Plus nothing much is happening. We are just waiting for this paper and then for that paper. Hitting this little delay and then that goes fast. I am learning to let go.

I am doing better and better emotionally with this whole deal. I've been reading "Your Best Life Now" by Joel Osteen. We got for Christmas several years ago and I had never read it. I was a little sceptical as to whether I would like it honestly. I DO!! It is a GREAT book. I highly recommend it. It is really hitting home for me.

I'm diving into getting some things organized at the house. I've really been a slacker for the last six months. So there is plenty to keep me busy. Life is good. Zoe is happy. We are happy. It's a roller coaster but it's good.

:0) Angel

July 24
Leaving Manana
I know I've been an absentee blogger. Oops sorry! :0)

I have lots of excuses. The internet is "iffy". Also Russ has been hogging the internet a bit when it is working on Google Earth. Have you heard of this?? It's a satellite and you can use it to look anywhere in the world. It is amazing. We have been playing around with it. Showing Zoe our house. Well the roof of it anyway. Checking out her birth place. Of course my husband loves this. I think he is trying to discover the whole world. He was teaching Zoe all kinds of things and having a ball. My Columbus from the comfort of home!! Plus my other excuse is that things are just normal old whatever mostly. It's like we are just a normal family now except we have to stay in a hotel. Just doesn't seem like there is much to blog about. We went swimming, we ate, we played Candy Land.... riveting isn't it??? :0) It will be so much fun when I finally get to blog about our experiences in America.

Russ left this morning. Zoe cried just a little. She seems to be getting so much more comfortable and confident with us. She believes that we are always coming back. She knows I am leaving in the morning. She says she is a little sad but seems fine.

We just got back from the pool. We met some other adoptive parents there. That was fun. One of them is adopting a six year old. She was so CUTE and tiny. She looked even more tiny next to my long lanky Zoe. The others were adopting a baby boy but had a little girl too. They had so much fun. Hopefully they will crash early because we have a big day tommorrow.

Well, I will probably sign off till I'm back in Texas. I am ready to be home. I miss my friends and my life. I wish I could bring Zoe with me but I am holding on to my faith that God's timing is perfect.

I am SO BLESSED and grateful that we have been able to visit Zoe as much as we have. That is because of you people out there who have been so generous and supportive. We have no doubt that this has made a tremendous difference in her bonding. We are already a family because of this special time. Zoe has gone from timid and underweight to outgoing, fully confident and even the start of a cute little belly. That's what you have helped us accomplish. I thank the Lord for that kind of support. God has truly provided for every need.

I hope and pray that we are done with visits. I dearly want the next trip I blog about to be the pick up trip!!!

Later! Angel

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July 19
Foster Momma Friends!
I just uploaded pictures of the foster family's visit and yesterday.

Some blogger buddies of mine came to visit us yesterday. They are all mommas who are waiting to get out of PGN like us. They are staying with their kiddos till they can take them home. Let me introduce them.

Holly brought Gia. Here is her blog. http://www.dahollygshow.blogspot.com/

JuJu, Juliana and John-Bryan http://www.babyjb.blogspot.com/

Stephanie and Brennan don't have a blog YET!! :0)

Candy and Kya Blu were supposed to be there but couldn't come cause Kya is sick. She is feeling better though. That is great news! I was so sad you two couldn't hang out with us. http://thekyashow.blogspot.com/

It's so cool how having our blogs has helped us get to know each other a little. It's like a little community. It was so nice to have them.

So anyway, they brought their beautiful babies to The Grand Tikal and we all had so much fun. We went to the food court where everyone scattered for some American food! Afterwards we went to Payless Shoes cause some of the cutie babies needed new shoes. Then it was off to the baby stores. We had fun looking at cute baby stuff and they had fun buying it!

Outside the baby stores they have some kiddie rides. Holly was so sweet. She bought tickets for Kaitlyn and Zoe to ride a few of them. They thought that was pretty awesome!

When we had enough of the mall we went and had drinks by the pool. Zoe was playing with everyone. She and Holly really hit it off. She was doing her best to show off her English skills! Juju was CRACKING her up. Zoe told her she looked like a picture of a clown or some freakish picture that she had on her little puzzle toy. Juju played along and had her doubled over laughing. My cheeks were hurting by the time they left.

Zoe loved hanging out with the babies. She is so great with little ones. She doted over all of them.

It was fun to get to watch her interact with other people who speak English. She is doing EXTREMELY well. It amazes me everytime she understands something new. I am more and more blessed daily that God has led us to this treasure. She is beautiful inside and out.

FOSTER MOMMA LADIES!! I had SO MUCH FUN!! Thank you so much for visiting. If you want to come by again let me know. I would love it. We'll have some more watermelon juice. YUM!! Seriously... Open invitation at The Grand Tikal!!

:0) Angel

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Foster Family Visit
Monday the foster family came for a visit. They brought Lidia (foster sister) and Esperanza (Zoe's friend) along for the fun. We all went to lunch at the chicken place. They have a playground in there for the kids. They loved that.

After lunch we all went to the pool and had a nice long swim. The kids just screamed and played. It's amazing how language just does not matter for kids. Esperanza and Lidia looked very happy and healthy. I took some pictures for you Carol and Lisa. I'll try to get them on here today.


Even more later!
Angel

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Obnoxious Internet
Sorry I haven't blogged or gotten back to all of you on a lot of e-mail. The internet is very sketchy here. Right now I am sitting in the hall to get a LOW signal on wireless. Then sometimes I get great signal. It is kind of frustrating. I am sometimes right in the middle of writing an e-mail or blogging and it just quits working. Oh well. I love getting your e-mails and comments. I'll get back to everyone sooner or later! I still like it here even though the internet is obnoxious. Oh I just dared to try the fruit plate again and it was actually good this time! YAY! I mean bad fruit in Guatemala is just not acceptable!

More soon I HOPE! :0) Angel

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July 16
First Movie Day 4
Not too much excitment to report. We woke up late and got ready at a slow pace. Then it was off to the mall for our lunch ritual. After lunch we stumbled on a shop that actually had a few outfits in Zoe's size. It's so funny though. None of the shops seem to have any particular order. You go in and have to ask them what they have in a certain size. Then you stand there while they go all around the store gathering everything in that size. It's like a really small Ross or Marshall's but less organized. Well, I shouldn't say less oraganized. They always seem to know where things are. I just don't get the system APPARENTLY!

Then it was off to Zoe's FIRST MOVIE!!! That was super fun. It was "Over The Hedge" except I think they translated the title into "Varments Invade." I can't be sure cause one word I really didn't know. It's a shot in the dark. Most movies for adults are just subtitled in Spanish. Cartoons are usually dubbed though. So it was in Spanish. I've seen it twice in English with Kaitlyn. It is a FUNNY movie. Zoe LAUGHED SO HARD and ate almost an entire large popcorn. I'm not kidding. Almost the entire thing by herself. This was AFTER chicken and french fries. WHOA BABY! The kid can put it away.

Then it was back to the hotel. Zoe tried on the two outfits we got her and they were too small. Ugghh Oh well. Clothes run smaller here. So even though they were the size she wears in the states they were too small here. Live and learn. Russ took her back and they found two different outfits. They only have one or two sizes of each outfit. They did good though. She came back with cute things that fit.

Since then we have just been playing and hanging out together. It's been good. The girls are watching Barney in ENGLISH at the moment and Zoe is starting to sing along. :0) Russ and I are watching "The Terminal" on TV. Great flick. Talk to ya soon.

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July 15
Day 3 :0)
It's been a great lazy day. We started out VERY slowly. The girls slept till about 11 this morning. We are definately on the vacation schedule. It's 10pm and they are both watching Mulan. Zoe has requested that we watch movies in English now. That's encouraging. Anyways, we started out very slow. Then we switched rooms to help with the whole internet wireless issue. We are good to go now.

Zoe had her first cry since we got here. It was kind of out of the blue. At least it seemed that way to me. She just started crying. After a little while she said she was sad about Lidia leaving to got to America. I told her, "I understand what it feels like to have a very good friend move away. It's okay to feel sad. It's okay to cry. This is a good thing for Lidia. Right?" She bobs her little head in agreement with this. "Moving to America is a good thing for you too." again her head bobs. "Sometimes in life even good things are very very hard. No matter where you are you have Lidia in your heart and she has you in her heart. You will always be sisters and friends forever. It's just like when I have to go to America. You are still my little girl. I am still your mommy. It does not matter where you are. It's just hard though. It's okay to cry about it." Then we did some deep breathing and I launched into a little pep talk about how we will visit Lidia and they will talk on the phone a lot. She calmed down and we were good again.

We finally got going about three. We went to the mall and had some Taco Bell. They gave us this french fry concoction that looked really frightening. It was basically nachos but with french fries instead of chips. Russ ordered this by the way. I asked him why and he said it just came with the meal. I said, "You don't have to order the whole combo meal.... OH YOU WERE SCARED!!! You just wanted to say I'll have the number 3 so you wouldn't have to speak too much Spanish!!" He cracked up laughing and confessed that I had caught him. I finally got up the guts to try the fries and they were AWESOME!! :0) Seriously. Next time you are in Guatemala give the Taco Bell fries a whirl. You just might be surprised.

Dessert of course was soft serve at Campero chicken. Good stuff.

Then we went on a quest for some clothes for Zoe. She has grown out of a lot of her clothes. Length wise mostly. Her "Nonny" (Russ mom) wanted to buy her a special outfit. So the search began. It was much more challenging than expected. The mall has baby clothes and adult clothes but hardly ANY kids clothes! What's up with that???? We scoured the mall and finally found a cute outfit to go with her new boots. She was very excited about it. She immediately put it on after we got back to the hotel and we had a little photo shoot. It was fun. I'll load the pics.

The rest of the evening we've spent playing and watching movies. I brought the portable DVD player we keep in the car. The girls are taking in some Barney and Madagascar. Russ and I watched "Shall We Dance?." So a pretty laid back kinda day. It's wonderful. It just feels like a normal family. Except when I think about leaving. Which I try not to do.

Love,
Angel

PS Going to load the pictures now.



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July 14
PM Update Day 2
Hey People! It’s 8pm and I am sitting by the side of the pool while my girls splash and scream with Daddy. I bought a couple of cheap blow up pool toys and they are doing the trick. I also got Zoe some goggles. Last trip her eyes were red every time we got back to the room because she has gotten brave enough to open he eyes in the water. She looks hilarious with them on though!

It’s nice here because this is an indoor/outdoor pool. Basically it’s a pool in a greenhouse. It’s all windows above you. The pools are heated. That makes it easier to swim any time we want because it can get PRETTY chilly swimming outside at night here. The breeze is what kids you. Plus it’s the rainy season so the weather outlook is pretty much “it’s going to be raining for a long time.” I’m exaggerating but still. Good times!!

The girls are so amazingly sweet to each other. I hope they always love being together. OK I know. It’s probably a pipe dream. A girl can dream can’t she??? They just play and giggle and color and love each other. It’s wonderful!!!

We spent the late afternoon in the room. We ordered dinner up. I am sad to say I hated it! YUCK! The fruit was gross which is BIZARRE for Guatemala. I really hope that was a fluke. The tortilla soup was strange. I think it had tofu or some unidentifiable cheese in it. I guess we will be sticking to the 25 choices in the mall. :0) Strike one for The Grand Tikal!!! OH WELL! This should help me in my quest to cut back after all that STRESS EATING I did for two weeks.

I know I promised you pictures. They are coming. I forgot to bring the picture loader thingy to the pool. I’ll try to do it later tonight. I don’t have any of the mall though. Not feeling like it’s smart to lug around my huge digital camera there. I think we might get a disposable camera to use at the mall tomorrow. I want to have pictures of all the fun!


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AM Update :0) Day 2
Latin American Idol BABY!!!!! - OH YES!!!! Ladies and Gentlemen. There IS IN FACT a LATIN AMERICAN IDOL!!!! We watched it last night. Right now they are in the auditions phase of the show. I AM INTO IT!!! :0) Yes, it's in Spanish but I can get enough to have fun with it. Plus great singing is the same anywhere. Awful singing is just as funny in any language! Next week is try outs in Mexico. When they win it's "You're going to Argentina!" instead of "You're going to Hollywood!" I'll keep you updated on the show. I know you are all on pins and needles like I am! :0)

Adoption Supervisors- We met with the infamous Edwin and Manfred this morning. Kinda nice to put a face with these names we have heard so much about. They seemed very professional and kind. They REALLY know their stuff and seemed to know our case backwards and forwards. What a wonderful feeling.

They sat down with Zoe and explained exactly what was happening. They tried to help her understand why her case was taking longer than Lidia's and promised her they were going to try to help get her home as soon as possible. They spoke with her for about 5-10 minutes. It was so sweet to watch her face. She was listening so carefully and I could tell it went deep. She was incredibly intent on what they were saying. I don't know exactly what they said because I only caught parts of it but it meant the world to her. I think it made her feel like someone was fighting for her. She seemed just taken with them. Gave them two hugs each and asked to take a picture with them. I will load that on tonight. Just to see her reaction made me so happy they are here helping.

They seem to think our case is progressing very well. They assured us again that they feel she should be home with us by mid October barring any crazy PGN (final court) stuff. I hope and pray that they are right! We are grateful that our lawyers are being extremely open and cooperative with Edwin and Manfred. This really helps the situation. I think our lawyers understand that they are overloaded and could use the help.

I completely enjoyed getting to meet them. It solidified my feelings that we have made the right decision. Edwin is going to come back again on Tuesday to let me sign some paperwork while I am here so it is less hastle for me. SO NICE! Somebody trying to make things easier??? That's new! Hee hee..

Lunch- Campero Chicken in the mall. YUMMY!! They have a playground for the kiddos and the food is yummy and cheap. Russ fell in love with their ice cream. It was very "Dairy Queen" like. Deliciosa!! His quote... "It's like strawberry whip cream on a cone!" Apparently that is a good thing.

Payless Shoes- They have one in the mall connected to this hotel!! YAY! Zoe's feet have grown 1 1/2 sizes since November!! YOWZERS!! So she needed some new ones. Plus Glenda told us yesterday that Zoe was too timid to tell us but she really wanted boots! How funny!! My little Texan. Well, most of the shoes there are MUCH MORE expensive than in the US. Same shoes...higher price. We hit it just perfect though. They were having a clearance sale on certain shoes. Regular $30-40 a piece for $10 on clearance. YIPPEE! We love a good sale. Plus they had a pair of cute boots on sale! AWESOME! Happy Zoe. Happy Mommy and Daddy. We got her the boots and 2 pair of sandals for $30. She was so excited to get to pick out her own shoes. All of this is very new for her. As we walking out she threw her arms around me and said, "Thank you so much. I like my shoes!" Have I mentioned that I am CRAZY for this kid??

Movie Theater- They have one in the mall. They're showing "Over The Hedge" in espanol. I am so excited. Zoe has NEVER been to a movie. So we get to take her for the first time. I think we will go tommorrow. HOW FUN IS THAT??

Now the girls are taking a little nap. They were both worn out from staying up WAY TOO LATE having WAY TOO MUCH FUN TOGETHER!!! It's awesome. Life is good at The Grand Tikal. I will load photos and blog more tonight.

Hugs,
Angel

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July 13
I'm going to make this quick..
because I am sitting in the hallway while the family is watching Dora La Exploradora. OK, I know I'm probably spelling that wrong Stacy! :0)

I LOVE this hotel so far. They have wireless internet for ten bucks a day which is awesome. Our room, however, is kinda back in a hallway and isn't getting reception. They said they would move us. So I think tommorrow we will switch rooms. Oh well. Like I said I love this place. Just ask for a room with good wireless reception if you need that! If you know me you know I DO need that! :0)

Tommorrow I'll take pictures of the hotel and load them on. I REALLY like it here. Oh, did I say that already?? :0)

So now the important stuff. Zoe is here and doing awesome. Glenda (foster mommy) got here around 3:30pm. We had a bellboy do some translating. We gave her a portable washing machine as a gift for all she has done. She takes care of four kids and has washed the clothes by HAND! Can you say super-woman??? She was SUPER excited about the washer.

Zoe did so great. Just a teeny bit shy and then fine. NOT ONE TEAR!!! YAY!!! We are finally just old news to her!!!! :0) She's just like, "Hey guys. Let's go!" What a great feeling that is. What a relief.

After we visited in the room a bit we took the whole foster family to the McDonalds in the hotel. It has a nice playground. It is always womderful and comforting to get to watch them interact with the children. They are precious. Marvin (foster father) reminds me so much of Russ in the way he treat the childen. So gentle and fun. It gives me so much joy.

With my limited Spanish I visited with Glenda. We talked about Lidia (foster sister) going home soon. Glenda's eyes just filled with tears. She told me, "I'm sad but calm. I love the girls so much that it is like they are my own. I know in my heart that it is good because the girls have such perfect families that God has picked for them. That gives me peace."

I told her, "I think I know how you feel because I feel the same about your family. When I am sad because Zoe isn't with me I think about you. I have more peace because I know she has such a loving and sweet family. You have been so good to our little girl. I am so much better because of you. You give such a big gift to families. I don't understand how you can do it. You love these children for so much time. Then part of your heart is in America."

She nodded her head and agreed, "Yes, part of my heart will be in America."

God bless Glenda. Nothing I can give her is what she deserves.

More en la manana...

Love,
Angel

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July 12
I should be packing!
I'm almost ready for the trip to Guatemala. I need to finish some stuff. I'm basically procrastinating right now! :0) I am getting super excited. We leave very early in the morning. I plan on blogging regularly while we are there. So check back!! It should be lots of fun. YAY! YAY! YAY!!!

Also Adoption Supervisors says we are making good progress on the rectification process. We are exactly where they said we would be right now. They will be meeting with us on Friday at the hotel. It has been very nice having them on board.

More tommorrow!!!! :0)

Angel

PS Emotional Status- Pretty Durn Awesome!!!

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July 10
New Pictures
I just uploaded pictures from some disposable cameras I gave Zoe's foster our first visit. She gave me three back last time we went down. I didn't develop them for a long time. I told myself that I would wait till I was having a really bad day and maybe they would give me a boost! So since I had a REALLY BAD WEEK last week I developed all three.

Boy did it do the trick. Just to be able see where she is. Just to see what life is like at her house there. I know it's not fancy but it seems joyful. The playground isn't much to look at but they are there playing. What you might not know or notice is that the things we have given Zoe are everywhere. What she is wearing. Pictures and things in the background.

She seems so happy. The man in the pictures is her foster father. He went to Antigua with us. He is such a kind and gentle man. I watched him feed a baby, change diapers and play ball with the kids. He is a keeper. Our foster mother I wouldn't trade for the world. I know she loves these girls so much.

So basically it just settled my heart. The house isn't fancy but that isn't what makes a home. Love is what's important and I think my little girl has lots of love.

Angel

PS Thank you so much for all the wonderful comments. You people are so awesome. I am feeling calmer. More on that later... Gotta go. :0)

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July 07
Lidia is going home!
I wanted to spread the good news that Lidia is going home to her family very soon. Lidia is Zoe's foster sister. Her family got word a couple of days ago that she was out of PGN but I didn't want to spill the beans before she got the chance. They've been out of town. I was just leaving her a comment and it turned into a blog so I'll post it here.

I am so very happy for you and especially for Lidia. I know she is overjoyed. I can't believe your journey to bring her home is almost over!!! Seems like we've been on this ride forever doesn't it?? I hope that in December Zoe is visiting Lidia at her house. I am so grateful that God provided them for each other during this time. I know he provided us for each other too!! I'll never get over how you just "stumbled" onto my blog during our first visit to see Zoe. That's why I have to trust that God is in control. He has always given me what I needed even when it wasn't what I thought should happen. I think our bond and knowing that our girls had each other has been part of what's kept me going through this. I wish with all my heart we were ending this journey together. I know we hoped we would be at the airport together. :0) Still look at the timing. I will be there right before Lidia leaves. Just like we were BOTH there when DNA was taken. I'll help my little girl say goodbye to her sister. (because that is what she is- her sister). I know they will love one another forever. I'll tell her about how we will visit you in your beautiful home and talk on the phone all the time. I KNOW Lidia knows how to work that PHONE! :0) Meanwhile she will be there with Esperanza. They will be there for each other. Her mom and I will walk each other through the rest of this and I am sure you'll be right beside us just like you always have been. I am so very thankful to know you. You have a wonderful family. Enjoy them to the fullest. I know how special it is that she gets to come home during the summer. Love Always, Angel

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A Glimmer Of Hope?
Do I dare to believe things could get better??

AS has been writing us. They believe we should be back in PGN within 6 weeks and approximately 4 weeks in PGN. Then three weeks to pickup. That's the beginning of OCTOBER PEOPLE!!!! That means she would be home for Disney World, home for Thanksgiving, home for Christmas, HOME!!! That would mean no tax craziness or new homestudy.

Do I dare to hope? I seriously asked myself this. I mean everyone has told me these people know their stuff. They tell me they are usually fairly accurate in their predicitions. AS has told me the new director is a bit of a wild card. He COULD throw out another previo and kick us out at the last minute. He is known for this. It shouldn't happen as we will have corrected everything. Our PGN (final court) lawyer will only be looking for those 3 things instead of the whole file.

I think I HAVE to hope. I have to believe that she will be home soon. If it doesn't happen I will deal with it again. At this point the whole thing is too much. I'll take it one deadline at a time I guess.

Emotional Status- Horrible. Just trying to be honest. I am a wreck. I truly believed my daughter would come home this month. Instead I will visit again and leave her again this month. I know I need to get the hang of this, accept where we are, let it go. Ummm.. I'm just not doing a very good job so far.



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July 05
For my friend Carol and the rest of us who need it today!
I got this e-mail from a sweet friend, Amanda, today. Thanks girl! I needed that. I think I better read it everyday till Zoe comes home! I knew I had to post it. I hope it means as much to you as it did to me. Now if I can just DO THIS..... :0) Hugs, Angel

Please forward the below to Angel and tell her that Iam praying for her. It is so ironic how I receivedthis email from a very close friend right afterreading the news about Zoe:

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials ofvarious kinds, for you know that the testing of yourfaith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastnesshave its full effect, that you may be perfect andcomplete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lackswisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to allwithout reproach, and it will be given him. But lethim ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one whodoubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven andtossed by the wind. For that person must not supposethat he will receive anything from the Lord; he is adouble-minded man, unstable in all his ways. Let thelowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich inhis humiliation, because like a flower of the grass hewill pass away. For the sun rises with its scorchingheat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and itsbeauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade awayin the midst of his pursuits. Blessed is the man whoremains steadfast under trial, for when he has stoodthe test he will receive the crown of life, which Godhas promised to those who love him. (James 1:2-12,ESV)The Testing of FaithIn his study Bible, Dr. John MacArthur provides anumber of rich insights into this passage. He saysthat the Greek word that is translated "consider" inthe NASB or "count" in the ESV may also be translatedas "evaluate." I take this to mean that we are not tobe passive or fatalistic in the way we view ourcircumstances, but rather to take on an analyticalview, akin to a financial accounting, as we examinethe things that cause us heartaches. Considering,counting, evaluating - these are verbs that require usto look at an object or a circumstance from manyperspectives. Because the natural human response totrials is not to rejoice, the believer therefore mustmake a conscious commitment to face them with joy. Andthe fact that joy that comes from getting a newperspective on life is so patently true that it hasbecome a film and novel cliche.But are your present circumstances sufficient to bedeemed a trial? Trials come in various forms but forthe same purpose. As Dr. MacArthur writes: "The Greekword [for trials] connotes trouble, or somethingbreaks the pattern of peace, comfort, joy andhappiness in someone's life. The verb form of thisword means 'to put someone or something to the test,'with the purpose of discovering that person's natureor that thing's quality. God brings such tests toprove - and increase - the strength and quality ofone's faith and to demonstrate its validity (vv.2-12). Every trial becomes a test of faith designed tostrengthen: if the believer fails the test by wronglyresponding, that test then becomes a temptation, or asolicitation to evil."What a wonderful summary! So if every trial becomes atest of faith designed to strengthen us, we come backto the original question I recently received. What aresome practical steps can we take to count presenttrials as joy?I think the goal of what God is doing is found inverse three and the tool we need is found in versefive. If we simply view trials as something to gritour teeth about and endure, we lack the vision forwhat God says He is accomplishing. Verse three saystrials are producing something of enduring value inus. I like the NAS translation of verse three -"knowing that the testing of your faith producesendurance." God has an end result in mind with thistesting. It is to display the glories of His grace inour lives and the transforming effect in ourcharacters. We need to be changed, and trials are aprimary means God uses to achieve this. Again, Dr.MacArthur has a succinct comment: "The testing offaith drives believers to deeper communion and greatertrust in Christ - qualities that in turn produce astable, godly, and righteous character."The Promise of WisdomTherefore, we need to ponder the goal and not thetrial itself. Thinking too much about the trial makesit more significant than it is. We need to train ourthoughts away from those anxieties and doubts, andinstead meditate upon the steadfast virtues God iscultivating in us at the present time. The key is toask God for His wisdom in the midst of trials. When weencounter loss or difficulty, we always view itthrough our own self-centered perspective. That's ourdefault setting. But God says to ask Him for Hisunderstanding, which He promises to give generously,so that we can instead see our circumstances through adivine perspective.So the practical application is to curb thecomplaining and instead offer up thanks to God. Thanksfor the grace He promises to sustain us, thanks forthe change in our characters that brings glory to Him,thanks for the blessings He's bestowed on others thatis evidence He is still at work among us, thanks forthe ways we can be used to encourage those facing lossof some kind, thanks for His commitment to never leavenor forsake us. It is the practical retraining of ourthoughts and words that allows us to pick up somethingwe consider a deficit and re-evaluate it in light ofGod's Word and therefore pronounce gratitude for it.

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We hired Adoption Supervisors
I hate that we have to do this. It is expensive and we held off doing it just hoping that people would get it together. As many of you know Adoption Supervisors is a group of lawyers that helps with cases that are in trouble for whatever reason. They are VERY expensive but people RAVE about them. So we have been just mulling over this for months.

We want to be smart. The last thing we want to do is be frivolous with money. Especially when so many of you have been so generous with your money. We have decided to cancel a family vacation we had planned and trim back the budget quite a bit to help with the cost of this. God has blessed us greatly with a couple of extended family trips that are very low cost later in the year. We will just do those instead. God has provided for every single thing we have needed financially. We believe He will continue to provide.

I wish I could share all the things that brought us to this. There are a lot of things that happen that I can't write here. I just have to deal with it the best I can. So we are trying to do the best we can for our little girl. Here is part of what Russ had to say about it in a letter to someone. I thought it was our heart on the matter. I will leave out parts to keep things private.

All in all, we view Adoption Supervisors as a financial hedge at thispoint. It is precisely because the money is tight that we have decided tohire Adoption Supervisors. Any delays causing an additional visitationwould lead to additional costs that meet or exceed the cost of hiringadoption supervisors. Additionally, if further delays carry this adoptionthrough into next year, we will not be eligible for the Adoption Tax Creditthis year and will have to come up with $10k to cover our taxes for thisyear. We applied this money toward the adoption. As we have a currentestimated pick-up date of December, we can afford no more delays ormistakes in our case going forward. Process delays resulting from allowingpaperwork to expire, losing our paperwork, neglecting to submit paperworkin accordance with embassy guidelines and neglecting to submit allpaperwork to PGN have challenged our confidence the likelihood of our casemoving forward in a timely fashion.We worked through this decision a few months ago, and we gambled that......... would progress our case in a timeframe that would allow us to avoidthe cost of additional trips. However, this is not the case. Earlier, wecould afford to take the risk of delay and chose to proceed withoutAdoption Supervisors. We are now in a position where we can not affordadditional delays.............
.......................... as the leader of my family, I must act in its bestinterests. We view it as the responsible decision - one with littlefinancial risk. If my daughters were facing legal difficulty through nofault of their own, I would hire the best legal representation that I couldrather than settle for whatever attorney the court appoints. I view ourcurrent situation in the same light.
That's it in a nut shell. Sigh....

Emotional Status- Pretty good. That's all I have to say about that! :0)

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July 03
I'm just plain sad
First of all... THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! All of your notes and comments and prayers mean so much to me. I am so grateful for all the support you have thrown our way. I needed every little word. Sometimes you people are my courage when I don't have any left. I love hearing from you. I tried to get back to people. Sorry if I didn't.

I am doing okay. Like the title says, I am just plain sad. I am going on with life because I have no choice. I am frustrated and upset. I feel like I am Zoe's mommy but I'm really not yet. I feel like I should do something but nothing I do can change this. I have very few rights. I've redone papers, written firm letters, contacted adoption supervisors (lawyers who help with problem cases), planned a visit and scoured our budget. There isn't much else I can do.

I feel like I am pretty much staying out of the rocking chair but strangely it sometimes makes me feel guilty. How can I be okay about this?? It somehow makes me feel like a bad mom. I'm thinking that may verify for all of you that I AM indeed a complete NUT CASE. :0)

I have my ups and downs. I've heard people say that you can mourn something you thought you should have as much as you can mourn something you lost. Maybe that's what I'm doing. I thought this would be so different.

I talked to my friend Amy today. She's waiting on her little sweety Mya to come home. She listened to me whine a little. (which was GREATLY appreciated) I was telling her that it feels like being nine months pregnant... you think, "I'm going to have this baby any day now!!! I can't wait!! I feel like I'm going to POP!" (believe me I have BEEN that pregnant) So then you go in for your doctors visit expecting to hear that it will be one week and the doctor says, "I'm sorry. There has been a mistake. You will be pregnant for six more months." "SIX MORE MONTHS!!!" you yell in despair! "This can't be right. I can't DO THIS for six more months. I'm TIRED and MOODY! Please just get this baby OUT OF ME!!! I WANT MY BABY!! This is not FAIR!"

That's how I feel!!! My heart is ready to BURST! I've been emotionally pregnant too long. I want this to be over. I am so very tired. In my ever-so-humble opinion adoption is harder than being pregnant. I've done both so I get a vote on this issue. :0) When I was pregnant with Kaitlyn I was working my body to make a life. Now I am working my heart to help change a life. Both very hard and rewarding in different ways. I think the easier part of pregnancy is there is a definate time it will be finished!

I guess the good news is that people do it again... they get pregnant again and they adopt again. So it MUST be worth it. I remember wondering what I had gotten myself into when I was prego with Kailtyn. Now that I know her I would go through that pregnancy 10 times to have her. She is my love and joy. So I have to have a long adoption journey. Zoe is worth it just like Kailtyn.

Well, that's pretty much it. I'm hanging in there okay. I'm working out and going to church and prayer group. I'm grocery shopping and even making dinner once in awhile. Okay, not often but once in awhile. I just feel sad. Like something's missing. Something IS NOT RIGHT. So I will continue to pray and try to come to terms with the fact that everything IS OKAY. God does not prevent storms in our life. He brings us through them. He draws us under His wing like a momma bird protects her little one. I don't want to live my life hiding from storms. Well part of me does... but part of me wants to walk on water!! Part of me wants to be unshakeable. The other part wants to hide under the sheets till I'm 80!

When it comes down to it... this is a battle. We are fighting for this little girl's life. Fighting for her to be loved and fed. I didn't get it when we were signing up for this but I am in WAY over my head here. We are up against a lot of things. Up against a lot of people who have no interest in helping my little girl come home. That is why I HAVE to put my faith in God. If I put my faith in anything or anyone else I'll crumble.

Some trust in chariots, and some in horses;But we will remember the name of the Lord our God." Psalm 20:7

"I will not trust in my bow, nor shall my sword save me.But You have saved us from our enemies....In God we boast all day long, and praise Your name forever." Psalm 44:6-8

So today I will not trust my lawyers or my abilities to bring my daughter home. I will trust God to bring her home. I will trust God to provide her with love and protection. It doesn't make it easy but it gives me peace.

Oh by the way...if I keep stress eating I'm going to LOOK like I'm nine months pregnant by the time she comes home!!! YIKES! I have GOT to stop that. It's not good.
:0) Angel

June 28
Very Sad News...
I don't know how to start this. Do I cut to the news or explain first. News first... Here goes. We just found out a few hours ago that Zoe isn't coming home for a long time. She WILL come home but probably not until around Christmas time.

OK Now I'll explain... A few weeks ago we heard that we were going to get kicked out of PGN (this is final court in Guatemala). It is usual to get kicked out once and then go back in before being approved. At that point (if you will recall) I was excited that things were at least moving. Silly naive little Angel. For 3 weeks afterward the director would not release our file. He finally released it Monday. It turns out that one of the things we were kicked out for was a date on Zoe's civil registry certifications. It's not a birth certificate but similar. It says she was born in 2999 instead of 1999. One of the lawyers sent us to something called rectification. This is some kind of section of PGN. I don't understand why they would send us for this small error. Obviously she was not born in 2999. It pretty much hasn't happened yet. I don't understand exactly what they do in the rectification section but I know for a FACT that it is NOT somewhere you want to be. It will most likely take a LONG time to get this resolved.

Sooo therefore we should not expect our little girl to be home until she is almost 8 years old. She won't be going with us on the trip with all the grandparents to Disney World in October. We finally booked the timeshare week my parents gave us for Russ' graduation from MBA school. We have a week in Gatlinburg, Tennessee Dec 10th. We wanted Zoe to see snow for the first time. I don't think she will be there.

How am I you ask? Amazingly calm... sad but somehow peaceful. I'm not sure if it's just shock or what. More likely prayers from so many friends. Peace that passes understanding... Seriously, I don't understand how I am okay right now. I feel like I am STILL out of the rocking chair.( If you haven't kept up then shame on you.. JUST KIDDING... read the entry a couple of days ago. It's titled-I'm DONE Worrying)

I know that God does not create pain. When He created this world there was no pain in it. It was peaceful and perfect. Our own sin and falleness creates this chaos and pain. I really struggled for awhile with the pain God allows to happen. Now I realize that it is our pain that leads us to where we should be. Our pain leads us to the realization that we need something bigger than ourselves. That something is God. I know it may sound crazy to some of my bloggy friends out there.. but that is why I'm okay. I trust that there is something bigger than me. Trusting that God is caring for my little girl. That is what I am hanging on to.

I am going to visit my little girl again. Kaitlyn and I will leave to go see her on July 13th. I am so excited! So is Zoe. She just squeeled in delight when I told her. We will all visit her again as a family in late September.

I WANT TO SEND OUT A HUGE THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU WHO GAVE US MONEY AND DONATIONS TOWARDS THIS ADOPTION. YOU HAVE HELPED US SO MUCH. YOU HAVE BEEN AN ANSWER TO OUR PRAYERS. I REALLY DON'T KNOW HOW WE COULD HAVE DONE ALL THIS WITHOUT YOU.

If you are reading this and you have been through this process would you PLEASE sign my guestbook? As a matter of fact everyone can sign it!! I love to hear from you. It makes me happy OKAY!!!?? :0)

Love and Stuff,

Angel

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June 27
Family

My friend Robin sent this to me. It was so good I just had to post it.


F A M I L Y I ran into a stranger as he passed by, "Oh excuse me please" was my reply. He said, "Please excuse me too; I wasn't watching for you." We were very polite, this stranger and I. We went on our way and we said goodbye. But at home a different story is told, How we treat our loved ones, young and old. Later that day, cooking the evening meal, My son stood beside me very still. When I turned, I nearly knocked him down. "Move out of the way," I said with a frown. He walked away, his little heart broken. I didn't realize how harshly I'd spoken. While I lay awake in bed, God's still small voice came to me and said, "While dealing with a stranger, common courtesy you use, but the family you love, you seem to abuse. Go and look on the kitchen floor, You'll find some flowers there by the door. Those are the flowers he brought for you. He picked them himself: pink, yellow and blue. He stood very quietly not to spoil the surprise, you never saw the tears that filled his little eyes." By this time, I felt very small, And now my tears began to fall. I quietly went and knelt by his bed; "Wake up, little one, wake up," I said. "Are these the flowers you picked for me?" He smiled, "I found 'em, out by the tree. I picked 'em because they're pretty like you. I knew you'd like 'em, especially the blue." I said, "Son, I'm very sorry for the way I acted today; I shouldn't have yelled at you that way ." He said, "Oh, Mom, that's okay. I love you anyway." I said, "Son, I love you too, and I do like the flowers, especially the blue." FAMILY Are you aware that if we died tomorrow, the company that we are working for could easily replace us in a matter of days. But the family we left behind w ill feel the loss for the rest of their lives. And come to think of it, we pour ourselves more into work than into our own family, an unwise investment indeed, don't you think? So what is behind the story?

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June 26
DONE Worrying.
I have an announcement ladies and gentlemen. I am DONE worrying!! DONE! I am going to STOP worrying and stressing. Cool and calm is my middle name. I know. I know. You probably don't believe me. I mean after all... look at my track record. Seriously though. I think I have had an epiphany. So here goes. I'll tell you all about it.

I have been having this nagging feeling that I just HAVE to get OVER this worry wart mentality concerning this adoption. It been really wearing on me emotionally. It's been stressing Russ and I out to no end. We usually get along SO well and during this adoption we have been snappy and stressed and arguing. It stinks!!! I just haven't known how to change it. So the past week I have really been trying hard to change my attitude. I have been thanking God that my little girl is in a great home. Try to enjoy this time with Kaitlyn while we wait. Anyway, yesterday we went to church at Riverpointe and the sermon was about worry. OF COURSE IT WAS!!! :0) I was there wasn't I? Do you ever sit there in you chair while they are speaking and think, "OK GOD!!! I hear you!!"?

It was really good stuff. The new high school pastor was speaking and I really enjoyed it. He was talking about why we worry. He said most of us live life in two chairs. He went and sat on a rocking chair on stage. He started rocking away at a nice pace as he talked about worrying being very much like rocking in a rocking chair. It gives us something to do but it doesn't GET US ANYWHERE!!! It just gets us all worked up and upset with nowhere to go.

The other chair many of us live in is the lazy boy. He off course went and plopped down in a lazy boy recliner as he kicked off his shoes. He said that this chair represented evasion. We just don't think about it. Sit back and let life flyyyyyy by. Don't plan. DON'T THINK. Distract yourself with STUFF and ACTIVITY so you don't have to deal with it.

He said the option most of us don't take is going to God consistently. Giving our problems to Him every moment we feel them. Letting go, letting go, letting go... trusting, trusting, trusting.

On the way home Russ and I realized that I have been mentally rocking my rocking chair and he's had his feet up in the lazy boy!!! NO WONDER WE ARE STRESSED!!! We've been fighting because we are in two seperate chairs and niether is healthy. Not only that.. when I asked him what HE is in the rocking chair about he said it was worrying about money. Hmmm... wonder if the adoption could cause him any stress in THAT area???? (dripping sarcasm here) So we both made a decision to get OUT of our chairs and give things to God.

When we finally got home after lunch at Jason's Deli and a couple of errands we both fell on the couch. It was HOT and we were tired. So we flipped on the TIVO to watch a show before tackling the house. TIVO had recorded a sermon from Joel Osteen. He is the only TV preacher I really like to watch. Our TIVO has never recorded one before so I was surprised to see it on there. Anyway we flipped it on. It was about creating a Habit of Happiness. Joel was talking about happiness being a CHOICE we make. That we have to train our minds to store information in a positive way and not a negative way. He told a story about his sister. She lived in an apartment right by the railroad tracks. Every night the train would go by 3 times and was so loud it would rattle the whole place. For a long time she would wake up every single time the train went by. She would get so upset and frustrated because she couldn't sleep. The she started telling herself everytime the train went by, "This is not information I need. This is not important right now." Before she knew it she was sleeping right through the night. Joel said he was spending the night at her house once after that. When the train came by he said it sounded like the earth was ending and he jumped three feet off the bed! His checked in on his sister. She was sleeping like a rock... drool and all!

He spelled out how important it is to discipline our minds. Did you know that 70% MORE heart attacks happen on MONDAY mornings??? WHY?? The only thing doctors can come to is that people get very worked up about Monday morning! How sad!

This really struck me and I wondered... Do you think that is why Jesus could sleep in the bottom of a boat during a HORRIBLE storm? Maybe his mind didn't process the wind and waves as something to be afraid of. THAT'S WHEN IT HIT ME!

Happiness is a CHOICE! We have to choose to be joyful. I have known since I was little that love was a decision. It's not easy and you don't always feel it. You CHOOSE to love. Sometimes the feelings follow the decision. For some reason I didn't see joy/happiness the same way. In my mind I didn't want to be fake or act joyful when I wasn't. I did not realize what I've been doing to myself. I have been training my mind in a negative way. Now when I think of the adoption I get stressed. Russ is the same way. HOW HORRIBLE! This adoption is a blessing. It is the route by which God is bringing a beautiful, precious little girl into our home.

In Philippians 4:11-12, St. Paul writes: "I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need." LOOK GUYS!! He LEARNED to be content. content- to be satisfied... Paul learned it. Ha learned to be satisfied wherever he was. He disciplined his mind. Learned to think the way Jesus thought. Even a storm that threatened to drown him didn't sway him.

So I AM DONE WORRYING about this adoption. I will learn to be content with what God is doing. I am THANKFUL that God is bringing this jewel into our family. I choose joy.

Who's with me?

Love,

Angel

PS If you would like to listen to those sermons they are both available online. Here are the links.

http://www.riverpointe.org/default.aspx sermon at my church. click on the icon on the left. says get podcast. You have to download itunes to get them. It's easy.

http://www.joelosteen.com/site/PageServer?pagename=media joel osteen- developing a habit of happiness

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June 23
Happy Mother's Day Everyone!!
Yes I KNOW it was FATHER'S Day but try telling Kaitlyn that. I worked with her all day on saying it and when she saw Daddy she ran into his arms and enthusiastically yelled, "Happy Muver's Day, Daddy!" Daddy accepted it quite graciously and recieved the gift Kaitlyn and I worked on together.

For Daddy's present we first borrowed a little University of Michigan cheerleader outfit for Kaitlyn. (He got his MBA there and is an avid Wolverine) So then we got her all dressed up and had a little photo shoot in our backyard. You can see a bunch of them in the photo album. The one we picked is attached to this entry. We went and had it printed. Then Kaitlyn picked out a frame. Daddy LOVED it. It now has a special place in his office.

Today Daddy recieved another special present from his other little girl in Guatemala. Check it out. SO SWEET!

Russ is such an incredible Daddy. I always knew he would be a good Dad. I didn't know he would be spectacular. I didn't know he would be so gaga over his little girls. I didn't know he would have tea parties and "Daddy Dates" and generally be a sucker whenever they are around. I love it and I love him.

So Happy Muver's Day to all you daddies out there.

Angel











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Raining Cats and Coke?
As we were winding our way to church Kaitlyn was peering through the rain soaked windows of our minivan. "Look Mommy."

"What is the weather Kaitlyn?"

"It's rainy Mommy"

"Yes. Do you know where rain comes from?"

"Noooooo" shaking her tiny head with wonder in her eyes.

"Well I'll tell you. When it gets hot outside the water gets very small and floats into the air. It becomes a cloud. Then the clouds get big and heavy. When the clouds get very, very heavy rain falls out of them into the ground and the water. Then when it's hot it goes into the air again."

"Oooohhhh" nodded Kaitlyn with understanding in her eyes. Just as I began to become overly impressed with her amazing comprehesion she exclaimed with such authority, "It's JUST like Diet Coke."

"Like Diet COKE???" So much for her great comprehension I began to think.

"Yes Mommy! Like Diet Coke. Diet Coke is VERY heavy for me when I carry it and I drop it sometimes!"

Hey SHE WAS RIGHT!! I guess rain is like Diet Coke. Maybe she's a genius after all.

:0) Angel


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Adoption Non Update
I say it is a non update because NOTHING is really happening. We are still not officially kicked out. We don't know exactly why we were kicked out. The head of PGN left Wednesday to go on vacation AGAIN! Can you believe this guy??? Rumor has it that he released 30 cases this past week and is planning to release 70 next week. We shall see. I am not holding my breath. I've tried that before and I just end up winded!!

My emotional Status- Pretty Great..considering. I am functioning normally. Kaitlyn and I are trying our best to have lots of summer fun! I am trying to remember that this is Kaitlyn's last time to get all my attention. I better enjoy this moment. We have been going to the Kid's summer movie club, the zoo, the children's museum, the indoor playground, Chick-Fil-A (Kaitlyn would go there every meal if she could) and lots of other fun. So I have been doing all the normal stuff and really enjoying my youngest little pumpkin. I just have to keep busy cause if I stop and think for too long I feel sad. It's just this naggy achy thing in the back of my heart. I'll be sitting there and I think to myself, "What is wrong with me? Why do I feel sad?" Then of course I know why. It's just this little feeling that something is missing.

Of course I try and shake myself out of it. I seem to be getting better at this. I know when I look at this logically that I am so incredibly blessed. I have a wonderful family. Amazing support around me. My sweet Zoe is in a great foster family who loves her. For now I simply have to trust that God's timing is perfect. While it may frustrate me I know there are so many things that I do not see and cannot understand.

Soon she will be home. She is worth all of it.

Angel

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June 17
Kailtyn's 3 birthdays
I just uploaded a huge new photo album for all of you. Pictures of Kaitlyn's birthday parties. Oh yes. That is plural. Kailtyn had 3... COUNT THEM 1, 2, 3 birthday celebrations! I don't know how it happened. It just did. Let's hope she doesn't expect this every year now. We had a LOT of fun though!!

1st celebration- Pool party in Houston. Pizza and cake at the pool with her buddies. Lots of fun and VERY hot.

2nd celebration- Her actual birth DAY. Wed the 7th... I asked what she wanted to do. I mentioned the zoo and the children's museum. She said, "I want to get pretty nails like mommy and a pretty dress." So CUTE!!! So I took her for her very first mani/pedi! Of course I got it all on camera!! We had a great girls day out. We went to a movie. Then we got her nails done and bought her a new outfit. We even went to Clair's for accesories and got her matching shoes. She wore her new outfit at her 3rd celebration!

3rd Celebration- This party was in Central Texas for the whole family crew. Polka Dot (my mom) asked her what kind of cake she wanted. She said I want a wedding cake and a princess cake. You will see in the pictures that is exactly what she got!!! We had a blast. She had a pinata from Tia Bek and LOTS of food.

Thanks to everyone who helped us celebrate 3 years of Kailtyn. She is definately worth celebrating. I love that little chick. I am so blessed. She brings me endless joy.

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EEWWWW Gross!
So today I notice that there is water on the floor. It is dripping from the baby doll Kaitlyn is holding.

I immediately grab the doll and put it in the sink. Then I hand a towel to Kaitlyn and ask her to clean up the water. As she mops up the water I grab my brownie and start munching.

I ask her, "How did your baby get wet?"

She answers in her sweetest little voice, "I gave her a bath in the potty."

UGGGGHHHHH. No more brownies.

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Um yeah. So I haven't written.
The truth is I don't know what to say. I can't give details but we still don't know why we were kicked out. Things are messed up and slow in final court right now. Long story short- the director of PGN (final court) is about to have criminal charges filed against him because he is holding up so many adoptions. He just took over in April. Yes, of course this is what's happening. We're there aren't we?? :0)

So what looked like good news (because things seemed to be moving quickly) has now turned into another huge delay. The last week and a half I have been trying to adjust my heart to this. My thoughts that Zoe will be home in July are gone. Late August maybe. More likely September or even early October if things keep going this slowly in PGN. It was heartbreaking. I had to call and drop Zoe out of school for the semester. She will start in January. I know it isn't good for her to start right as she gets home. She will just have a couple of months of home school. I started bawling my eyes out on the phone with the lady from her school. Poor lady! I was so embarrased but I literally could not stop crying. The people from her school were so kind and helpful. I am so grateful for the way they are working with us.

I also wept for about an hour on the phone with my case worker. She has had to deal with a couple of breakdowns this week. Bummer. I was a real wreck for a bit there. I now seem to be getting some grip on my emotions. I am re-reading this book called "Keep A Quiet Heart" by Elizabeth Elliott. It is good stuff. My heart has been far from QUIET lately. I have got to work on that.

A quiet heart- peace. PEACE.... When one's heart is calm and quiet even when one's life and circumstances are not calm and quiet. I need peace. I think Zoe already has that peace. Children seem to have it more don't they? She is already so much more okay with all this. She just rolls with things. Faith, trust, peace. I am learning so much from that kid.

So now I am doing pretty good. I am trying to quit putting life on hold. Trying to quit planning when she will come home. I mean I still think of her as being home by mid October and I know I will be hurt if she isn't. For now I am at peace with where we are. This is in the plan. God is bigger than PGN and the Guatemalan government. My sweet baby will come home when it is time. I am not okay with this but I am at peace. Does that make sense?

Hugs,
Angel

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June 06
Kicked out of PGN
OK. We just found out we were kicked out of PGN. We will find out tommorrow why we were kicked out. I hope it is something small and easy to fix so we can get back in really quickly.

I know this sounds weird but I am really excited! Almost everyone gets kicked out once. I was expecting it. This means our file has been examined and once we fix whatever they want us to fix they will hopefully approve us. I am just happy to know our file is being processed and we are one step closer. Plus it happened RIGHT when I expected it to happen. I think we are still on track for a mid July pick up trip.

Strangely Happy,

:0) Angel

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June 05
June Pictures
Just put the June pictures in the photo album. Zoe gained another pound this month. She is looking so much healthier. I love her hair so long. She even has a pony tail now!! I miss her so much. I talked to her on the phone tonight. She said her teeth are feeling much better now. She knows she is going to the dentist again on Friday but sounds very brave about it for now. I'll call her on Thursday to see if she is still feeling brave. More likely she will need a pep talk. Poor baby! I am glad she is feeling better.

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June 01
Zoe's teeth :0(
Poor girl. She went to the dentist today. They initially thought they needed to take out out two baby teeth that were badly decayed. When the dentist removed the first one he saw that the infection was really bad. He wanted to put her on antibiotics for seven days before working on her any more. They now feel they will have to remove a total of three baby teeth and fill in 2 adult teeth and do a good cleaning just to get her mouth okay.

POOR GIRL! Years of little calcium or ability to brush her teeth have taken their toll. She sounded exhausted and sick. I just hope they take good care of my little girl. I know her foster mother is taking good care of her.

It's hard for me not to be there while she is having all this done. It hurts my heart not to hold her hand. I hope this helps her. We knew she had teeth issues but were hoping to wait till she came home because she wasn't in any pain. Of course now we need to take care of it. It's a good thing we have the money from the fundraiser. Looks like a good chunk will go to a dentist bill now. I am so grateful we have the money to pay for it.

Everything in me wants to book a flight and jump on a plane tommorrow! I just want to be with her till she comes home. Of course I can't do that right now. It's hurting my heart tonight not to be in Guatemala.

I pray we get out of PGN soon.

Angel

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Bridal Portraits
I am putting Jennifer's bridal portraits in the photo album. I took them at my mom's house. Yes I KNOW there are a lot of pictures but I narrowed down. REALLY! That's about a fifth of them. What can I say? I had a great subject. What a beautiful bride!

:0) Angel

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I ALMOST DID THAT...
That's what Kaitlyn says intstead of I ALREADY did that.

For instance...

ME- Kaitlyn, you need to go potty.

KAITLYN- Mommy! I almost did go potty.

It's cute. That's all I'm saying here.

May 31
Tooth Hurty
Remember that joke? What time is it when you go to the dentist? TOOTH HURTY! HA HA! My dad used to love to tell my brother and me corny jokes like that when we were little. We loved it.

I called Zoe this morning. She was on my mind and we hadn't gotten to talk to her this week. When I called her foster mom answered and said Zoe was having pain in a tooth today and was a little sad. Zoe did sound so strange. I asked her if she was sad. She said she was sad because her tooth hurt. POOR BABY! I told her I would get her help right away and call her later. She said okay and she loved me.
I called Tami and she got right on it. They made a dentist appointment for her immediately for today.

I called Zoe tonight to check on her. She said they had to go tommorrow to the dentist. I guess they couldn't go today. She said it hurt a little. Then she started crying and said she was scared to go the dentist. Who isn't?? Sweet girl. I told her I understand. That sometimes I feel a little scared too. I told her that the dentist would help her feel no more pain in her tooth and that she only had to be there a little while and it would be all over. She seemed so sweet and calm when we hung up.

I miss her SO MUCH! Please Lord. Bring her home soon.

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2 Weeks In PGN
Well it's been two weeks now in final court. I just hope and pray we are progressing. Hopefully we will find out something soon. I am just getting so ready to bring that sweet girl home.

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May 29
Kaitlyn's Room - Extreme Makeover
The photo album today is of Kaitlyn's brand new room! When we moved in to our house the paint in her room was dark blue and we just hadn't gotten around to changing it. Kaitlyn's birthday is June 7th. We asked her if she would like a "new room" for her birthday. She was very excited. We let her help pick out paint colors and pictures. We were able to do a total makeover REALLY cheap! I totally felt like we were on one of those makeover shows where you only have like $100. It was fun! She LOVES her new room. I put before and after pictures of the room. I also put pictures of Kailtyn when she saw the room finished.

Now we just have to get Zoe's room finished! :0) Angel











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Kaitlyn's Car Wash Crisis
Apparently car washes are now TERRIFYING! Yes. Very scary. Check out Kailtyn's reaction in the car. Very cute. Poor baby. I remember when my brother was little he was horrified when we went into a car washes too. Oh well. At least she made sure Cinderella Barbie was buckled up safely. :0)

















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May 28
A school for Zoe
We found a school for Zoe! I love it!! It is a Christian private school. It is a University Model program. In other words it is run very much like a University. You can choose to enroll in only one class or a full load. It is about a third of the cost of most private schools in our area because they only need to pay for facilities and teachers for part of the week. Zoe will go to school Tuesdays and Thursdays. She will do her busy work on Mon, Wed, and Fri at home. We will enroll her in classes we feel she can be very succesful in without being fluent in English. She will be in Art, Music, PE etc... We will do Reading and Math at home while she catches up. I am so grateful to find this awesome school!!! Check it out if you are in Sugar Land area. http://www.logosprep.com/

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8 Years
As of Tuesday May 23rd Russ and I have been married 8 YEARS! I love him even more today than I did the day we said, "I do." That day I didn't think I could love him any more deeply but I learn to love him more every day. We have been through so many wonderful things and tough things together. We have grown up together. Just two kids. I was twenty one and he was twenty two. I guess we are still kids. There were some people who thought we were WAY two young to get married but I knew he was the man I wanted to stick with for life. I have never regretted it for one second. I wouldn't trade one minute of it.

I would follow you around the world Russ Weir. You are my best friend. I choose you every day. We are a great team! It seems like we have been together forever yet eight years have been a blink of an eye.

Angel

I love this man...

















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May 22
Wedding Pictures
I just uploaded about ten million pictures of the wedding. It was beautiful. Yes! About 6 million of the pictures involve Kaitlyn but I can't HELP IT! She was one ADORABLE flower girl!!! Everyone and everything was gorgeous. It was wonderful to see so many people. I felt like I didn't get enough time to visit though. Between taking pictures and making sure Kaitlyn didn't get Big Red on her "Princess" dress I hardly had time to stop. It was wonderful all the same. I am overjoyed to have Jennifer as my new sister-in-law and Lauren as my new niece! How exciting!! Now the girls officially outnumber the girls in the Weir family! YAY! Girls rule.. Boys DROOL! OK I'm back from my junior high moment.

Clay and Jenn are off on a spectacular cruise. Congrats you two! Have a great time. Enjoy the pictures. Soon I'll put Jenn's bridal portraits on the blog. I have been dying to get them on here but couldn't spoil the surprise!


:0) Angel

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May 19
Wedding Rehearsal and Dinner
Just got home from the wedding rehearsal for my brother-in-law's wedding. Kaitlyn is the flower girl. We had a full day of preperations and then a fun evening with old friends. It was great. I'll upload an album to give you a sneak peek at all the action.

Kaitlyn had a blast! So did her cousin Lauren. I think we have a couple of little party animals on our hands. They danced all night. At one point Kaitlyn decided to take her shirt off on the dance floor. Don't worry... we kept the pictures rated G!!! :0) It got some great laughs. It'll take her years to live that one down. Wouldn't be surprised to see those pictures show up at HER wedding rehearsal dinner!!

Nighty night!
Angel

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WE ARE IN PGN!
Looks like we have made it to final court folks! We were officially in yesterday. I tried to update the blog but it was messed up. Wouln't let me sign in. Sorry! We are SO HAPPY to finally be at this stage!!!

Can you believe it? We are in the final stage before she the adoption is approved. This can take anywhere from 10 days to several months. The average seems to be about 4-6 weeks. It seems most people get one "kick-out" of PGN. Most people seem to get approved second round. It is very common to hear people get accepted first round though. We'll see.

After we get out of PGN Zoe's birth mother signs for one final time and she is legally ours. Our daughter forever.

I am still thinking mid July pick-up date. Please be praying for all of us as we wait out these final steps. I am so jittery about PGN. It can be easy or such a nightmare. We are so close yet so far away.

Well I have to run. Tommorrow is my brother-in-law's wedding. I need to get ready and help out today!

More soon I hope!

:0)Angel

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May 14
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!
My friend sent this to me and it brought tears to my eyes. I am so grateful for a Godly mother who modeled so many amazing things for me. I am grateful for all the wonderful mothers around me who teach me how to be a better person.

I am so grateful to be "mommy" to two beautiful, dynamic little girls. I thank God for bringing them to me. I am thrilled to know that next Mother's Day they will BOTH be here with mommy. I wish you all a happy Mother's Day.

It amazes me that God has known all along who my children would be. Nothing that happens to me surprises Him. I believe He will bring me my children- created to be exactly who they should be- when it is HIS perfect time. I pray that God uses me in their lives and helps me not to mess them up too much. Yet I know that God has a plan for them and I am just blessed to be a part in that.

Hold on you waiting mommies. Your babies will be home soon. In the meantime we have an opportunity to learn patience, love and trust in God. We have an opportunity to teach our chilldren those lessons through our behavior. Who we are is such a model for them of who they should be. It is a frightening and remarkable responsiblity. The person God is molding us to be during this wait will help us be the mommy we should be. IF we let it change us. If we let go. If we will trust and give up control. Focus a little more on the eternal rather than the moment we so want to control.

Happy Mother's Day~This is for the mothers who have sat up all night with sick toddlers in their arms, wiping up barf laced with Oscar Mayer wieners and cherry Kool-Aid saying, "It's okay honey, Mommy's here."Who have sat in rocking chairs for hours on end soothing crying babies who can't be comforted.This is for all the mothers who show up at work with spit-up in their hair and milk stains on their blouses and diapers in their purse.For all the mothers who run carpools and make cookies and sew Halloween costumes. And all the mothers who DON'T.This is for the mothers who gave birth to babies they'll never see.

The mothers who took babies and gave them homes.This is for the mothers whose priceless art collections are hanging on their refrigerator doors.And for all the mothers who froze their buns on metal bleachers at football or soccer games instead of watching from the warmth of their cars. And that when their kids asked, "Did you see me, Mom?" they could say, "Of course, I wouldn't have missed it for the world," and mean it.This is for all the mothers who yell at their kids in the grocery store and swat them in despair when they stomp their feet and scream for ice cream before dinner. And for all the mothers who count to ten instead, but realize how child abuse happens.This is for all the mothers who sat down with their children and explained all about making babies. And for all the (grand)mothers who wanted to, but just couldn't find thewords.This is for all the mothers who go hungry, so their children can eat.For all the mothers who read "Goodnight, Moon" twice a night for a year. And then read it again. "Just one more time."This is for all the mothers who taught their children to tie their shoelaces before they started school. And for all the mothers who opted for Velcro instead.This is for all the mothers who teach their sons to cook and their daughters to sink a jump shot.This is for every mother whose head turns automatically when a little voice calls "Mom?" in a crowd, even though they know their own offspring are at home -- or even away at college - or have their own families.This is for all the mothers who sent their kids to school with stomach aches, assuring them they'd be just FINE once they got there, only to get calls from the school nurse an hour later asking them to please pick them up. Right away.This is for mothers whose children have gone astray, who can't find the words to reach them.For all the mothers who bite their lips until they bleed when their 14 year olds dye their hair green.For all the mothers of the victims of recent school shootings, and the mothers of those who did the shooting.For the mothers of the survivors, and the mothers who sat in front of their TVs in horror, hugging their child who just came home from school safely.This is for all the mothers who taught their children to be peaceful, and now pray they come home safely from a war.What makes a good Mother anyway? Is it patience? Compassion? Broad hips?The ability to nurse a baby, cook dinner, and sew a button on a shirt, all at the same time?Or is it in her heart? Is it the ache you feel when you watch your son or daughter disappear down the street, walking to school alone for the very first time? The jolt that takes you from sleep to dread, from bed to crib at 2 A.M to put your hand on the back of a sleeping baby?The panic, years later, that comes again at 2 A.M. when you just want to hear their key in the door and know they are safe again in your home?Or the need to flee from wherever you are and hug your child when you hear news of a fire, a car accident, a child dying?The emotions of motherhood are universal and so our thoughts are for young mothers stumbling through diaper changes and sleep deprivation... And mature mothers learning to let go.For working mothers and stay-at-home mothers.Single mothers and married mothers.Mothers with money, mothers without.This is for you all. For all of us...Hang in there. In the end we can only do the best we can.Tell them every day that we love them.And pray and never stop being a mom.

Love,
Angel

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May 11
Pre-Approval WE GOT IT!!
YAY! YAY! YAY! We waited 3 weeks. YIPPEEE!! Okay we should be entered into PGN by Wed of next week. We are getting closer!!!

What does this mean for bringing her home you ask?? I have no idea. PGN can vary a lot. Average seems to be 4-6 weeks. I am still thinking mid July for pick up. We'll see.

Talked to Zoe last night. I changed my phone call night to Monday but they have been gone. So anyway. We had a great visit. She was busting out with all kinds of English. Door, table, pencil, pants, shirt, hat..She was very proud and so was I. That girl is adorable. She wants to come home. Says she is sad. She wants to live here but she says she can wait two months. Sweet girl. She and Kaitlyn chatted it up for a long time. They sing songs together and just basically giggle. When I called she had just gotten back from swimming. She said she went to the beach last weekend again. Glenda is so good to our girls. There is now way I could repay what she has given them. She deserves more than I could ever give her.

Angel

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May 10
It's 4:43pm folks...
I think that means no pre-approval today. Waaaahhhhh!!! Please be tommorrow!

Here's the latest on my life.

Last night I went to my good friend Jennifer's house. It was a going away get together because Jennifer and her family are moving. I am VERY sad of course. They are so great. We will miss them in our amazing little community. I know they will be a blessing in their new home.

A bunch of the girls went to her house and had pizza. It was SUPPOSED to be a packing party but turned into a yapping party! Oops! I swear we meant to be more helpful Jennifer. We had a wonderful time visiting though. I had a wonderful time until I got a call from my dear hubby Russ...

Here is how the call began, "Kaitlyn and I are fine but..." Kaitlyn and I are fine BUT!" First part good -second part not so good. They had been in a collision. Long story short he had been rear ended quite hard in the back of our van. The other car was totaled although there thankfully no injuries. Kaitlyn said her head hurt and we wanted to have her checked to be on the safe side. We didn't get home till 1am this morning. On the bright side.... We are all fine...the van had very minimal damage...Russ worked from home today which is a rare treat. We even ordered pizza for lunch and watched "Little House On The Prarie" together. Yes, that's right. I watch it! Kaitlyn and I love to cuddle up on the couch and watch Laura and all her craziness. After every episode Kaitlyn claps and says, "Good movie Mommy!"

Speaking of cheesy shows I adore... Seventh Heaven is over forever. It's so sad! I know it was cheesy sometimes. I mean how many times can you blatantly advertise for Cambell's Soup or Oreos in one freakin episode?? It was a sweet show though. I've been watching it for YEARS. Since Ruthie was a little girl. I'll miss it. It was a season pass Tivo pick. Well, at least I have Lost and Invasion! Wednesdays are good TV nights for me now. They are both heating up too!! Anyone else addicted out there?

:0) Angel

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May 09
Let the nail biting begin.
Okay so I really think I should be getting pre-approval today or tommorrow. I have been pretty chilled about it till now. Now I am starting to get that I need to refresh my e-mail kind of feeling. I made myself go do the usual workout routine and errands this morning. I was just a little tempted to stalk my e-mail all day long but fortunately I'm not there yet! Ok.. I am stalking it right NOW but I held out till noon. Give me a break!

PRE-APPROVAL WHERE ARE YOU??? :0) Angel

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May 08
I just emptied my inbox.
Okay. I know that doesn't seem like a huge accomplishment or anything but trust me it is. I had 450 e-mails in my inbox. I got behind and then it snowballed while I was in Guatemala. I just hadn't caught up. Well, now I am! About 30 of you just got e-mails from me that you should have recieved about a month ago!! Ooops!

Life is good around here. On the adoption front we are waiting for pre-approval from the US Embassy. That should come any day now! Lisa and Mike just got theirs for Lidia. http://spaces.msn.com/sweetlidia/ Their DNA was done only a few days before ours. So hopefully it will happen very soon.

On the personal front things are great. I've been feeling like myself again. I am back to working out and hanging out with friends. It feels good to feel happy and like Angel again instead of crazed adoptive mommy.

Kaitlyn is doing great. She is POTTY TRAINED! We still use diapers while she is asleep but no other time. It has been only a week and she is doing great. We have an accident here and there but nothing too bad considering it's only been a week.

I had to FORCE this potty training thing. She did NOT want to do it!! I told her, "No more diapers Kaitlyn." You can go in the potty now. She yelled, "NOOOOO I don't want to go in the potty!!!" The first day she had an accident and she looked at me SO sadly. She said very mournfully, "This is hard mommy. I just need a diaper please." SO FUNNY! Now she has accepted her potty trained fate and seems to be excited and proud of herself. She is such a drama queen.

Also we are going through this WHIIIINNNNNIIIIINNNNGGGG faze that I could SERIOUSLY live without. YIKES! It seems like half of what comes out of her mouth is a WHHHHHIIIIINNNEEEE!!! Every time she does that she might as well be dragging her sweet little finger nails down a big black chalk board. It makes me want to pull my hairs out individually. Okay it's not THAT bad but almost!

She is getting more and more grown up every minute. She sleeps in her big girl bed now. We switched her over a few weeks ago. We held out as long as we could but it was time. When they can vault out at any moment it's kind of pointless!

She talks up a storm and has this AMAZING imagination. She regularly has full conversations with all the Disney princesses on the phone. "Hi Belle. You want come to my house? Okay. We have tea. You want sugar? Okay. Bye bye. I talk to Cinderella now."

This last weekend Kaitlyn went to Pop and Nonny's house. She had a blast and Russ and I had a weekend alone. We enjoyed doing nothing and working on some house projects. We finished painting our table and chairs. It was a whole lot quicker without Princess Kaitlyn under foot.

When she's there she likes to paint her arms. Last time she did this painting the arm thing I fussed at her and said, "Kaitlyn, you may only paint PAPER! Why are you doing that?" She looked at me SO sweetly and said, "but mommy I am just like Mulan! See??" Okay for those of you who are lost now Mulan is a Disney movie. Mulan paints Japanese characters on her arm in the movie. So I couldn't be mad. It was just way too cute. I was just like, "Great baby! You are a beautiful Mulan. Let's go take a bath now because princesses have to get clean."

What can I say? Life is good.

Angel

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May 04
New Pictures of Zoe
Just got new pictures of our sweet eldest pumpkin. She looks wonderful. She has gained 4 pounds since going into foster care. Of course she is still just as skinny as she can be but she is looking healthier every day. Love that beautiful girl. :0) Angel

















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May 03
Drum Roll Please!!!!!!
OK! I'm sorry for leaving you hanging for so long. I'm a loser!

The yard sale was a huge hit! I can hardly believe how amazing everything turned out. God showed up for us through our church family in a HUGE way this weekend. SO many people donated their stuff, their money and their time. It was amazing to see and be a part of. The church staff was BEYOND helpful and kind. They were wonderful. My friends helped so much with set up, tear down and organizing. People I didn't even know from my church were out there helping us and CARING about Zoe!!! How cool is that? Plus it was really fun to hang out with everyone and get to know more about some of these cool people. As we went through the process of doing this garage sale I kept thinking that if we had Zoe home now like we expected none of this would have happened. Look what God was doing. It's about SO MUCH MORE than just money!

God did something amazing in our church this weekend. Something our pastor said once always sticks in my mind..."God cares infinitely more about the condition of our hearts than our circumstances." Wow! So true and so evident in this process. God is using this walk of faith to mold my heart into something new. He is CHANGING the condition of my heart. I feel it happening. LITERALLY!! I feel the change day by day. It is SO hard and yet I am so grateful. I will never forget this weekend.

We have raised enough money to travel to pick up Zoe and we could probably squeeze an extra visit out of the money if we really needed to. Praise the Lord! Hopefully another visit won't be needed. We are hoping for homecoming in June or early July. We really just want to do a nice pick up trip as a family and be done with it. We so look forward to bringing Zoe to meet this church family. She has so many people who love her just waiting for God's perfect timing. The Sunday she is introduced at our church will be a day to remember! I don't think Zoe has any idea that she is FAMOUS around here!!!

:0) Love,
Angel


April 25
HUGE Yard Sale Fundraiser!!!
This is amazing! My incredibly sweet friend Wendi along with some wonderful volunteers decided to host a yard sale to raise money for the additional trip or trips we will need to make to Guatemala. This was at first a little sale that would take place in Wendi's driveway and have some stuff from our friends to sell. That in itself blew me away and made me feel so special.

Then our church decided to take us under their wing and WHAMMO!!!! This is getting HUGE! I have no idea what this is going to look like but it's going to be amazing!

Our church (Riverpointe Community Church) is allowing people to drop off all items at the church on Wed and Thur until 7pm. They will oversee this. Then on Friday and Saturday 8am to 3pm the church is allowing us to use their facilities to host the sale. Then they will arrange for a thrift store ministry to pick up the leftover stuff. On top of all that this last Sunday the church gave us a promotional table in the lobby. The response was incredible. People want to help so much!!

I just have to say that I am in absolute awe of how amazing our church is. It has everything to do with the people. This is when you find out what the "body if Christ" really is. It never entered my mind to ask my church to help in any way. We are very involved and work so much in the church. Yet I was scared to ask for help. I was terrified really. I have so many friends whose churches would not even consider helping in any way. How sad!!!! My heart breaks when I think of the places where parts of the "body" are hurting and breaking and the rest of the body ignores the pain.

I feel so embraced. I feel so blessed. I have never had this before.

Through this whole roller coaster of this adoption and learning deeper faith I have never felt so LOVED! I have never felt so UN-ALONE! My heart is that every one of you have this kind of love and support.

If you are in the Houston area come visit us. Here is their website. http://www.riverpointe.org/ I always knew we had a great church. We actually chose our house to be close to it! I just see more and more how authentic it is. They just love people right where they are. Then they gently help you learn how to grow. I wish I could give this gift to every one of you. A place where you are authentically loved and authentically love. What a concept!!! :0)

Oh and if you have stuff to get rid of you know where to go. PLEASE come shop and drag all your friends there!

Love To Every SINGLE One Of You!!!

Angel

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The phone call
Sunday we talked to Zoe as usual. The phone call was NOT business as usual. She wanted to know things. Things about the United States. "What color is our house? What color are the rooms? How long till I can come there? What will school be like? Can I come there very soon?"

We had a great conversation. I have been telling Zoe that we can't decide when she comes. It's all the papers. I tell her I think it will be 2-3 months before I can come get her. Her response is always. 2 MONTHS! PLEEEEEAAAASSSEEE!

This was the part that was hard. I asked how she was. She said, "very sad" in this matter of fact voice. I asked her why. She said, " I don't want to live here any more. I want you to come and get me. I want to live with you." UGHHHHHHH! Punch mommy in the gut. Somehow it was much harder that it was still pulling at her heart even now. I thought for sure she would say, "I'm happy. I'm playing with my friends" like she has EVERY other time I have asked on the phone. Nope. Times have changed. She wants to come home. That is SO good. Yet my heart breaks for the pain she feels right now.

I kept my composure as best I could and said, "If it was my decision I would go get on an airplane now and come get you." She said, "ME TOO!" I said, " It's not my decision. I believe that God loves you more than anyone else in the WHOLE world. I know there is a very important reason you are in Guatemala. I think that God knows Esperanza needs a friend." She said, "What??" very confused. I said, "Esperanza's family loves her very much but it is slow for Esperanza to come to the United States. I think God knows that Esperanza needs a friend. I think you are very important in Esperanza's life." I could audibly hear the light bulb turn on for her. "Ahhhhhhhh....." she said. "Yes." Again I told her that I know that God has a PERFECT time for her to come home.

I tried to help her see the big picture...or just a little piece of it. I tried to help her feel the purpose. People can stand anything but lack of purpose. Then she wanted to talk to "Poppy" (Russ) and I handed the phone off to him and cried.

As my mom put it... I am teaching her all the things God is teaching me. How much wisdom my little girl is learning already. How blessed she is to learn these things so young. I would shelter her from this if I could. Yet I am so grateful for the blessing she will have in knowing God in this way. Maybe she will learn to see through the eyes of faith at only seven.

Angel

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DNA stuff- coming home
We had a great flight. No big stuff. ALways tiring with a TON of luggage and a two year old but no biggie.

On the way back to the house my mom let me check my e-mail on her phone. I had an e-mail from my agency saying that they called the lab and the DNA was a match. The results were on their way to me and the US embassy!!! YAY!!

Friday we recieved the results in the mail. We recieved the only picture of Zoe's birth mommy we may ever have. Needless to say today I am going to get lots of copies and a disk made of this picture.

As of about Friday we are officially waiting for pre-approval. This usually takes 2-3 wks right now. After that we go straight into final court. This is the tricky part. It can take anywhere from 10 days to 6 months. It depends a LOT on what PGN(final court) lawyer you get. Please pray that we will get a fair and kind lawyer who will pass us through quickly. This is a huge deal.

After PGN it's 3-5 weeks till she comes home. Right now we are thinking June or July barring any major PGN delays.

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Leaving Guatemala
Leaving this time was fascinating. I was very peaceful. I felt so much calmer. I really felt that the next time I came would most likely be to bring my little girl home. I feel like I have begun to make peace with this process. I don't want to say that to loud or anything. It is a day by day process to give away my percieved control and let go of my fear. I pray that I will continue to make the right choices. I know that every delay we hit adds to the pressure and demand. Anyway, since we left for Guatemala I have been very calm.

Zoe, on the other hand, had a VERY hard time leaving us. She tried so hard to be brave but she bawled her sweet little eyes out. She kept asking me over and over the last few days when she could come home with us. This is such a good sign. She is BONDED. She wants to come home with us. She isn't scared of us. The visits have accomplished exactly what we prayed they would. It was so hard on my mommy's heart to have to leave her so upset. I really don't want to have to do that again.

It was so interesting though. Suddenly I was okay and strong. Right when I needed to be. I could look her in the eye and be a good mommy. I could tell her, "I will always come back for you. God has a perfect time for you to be home with me. I want you to come very soon. I talk to God about it every single day. It will be very soon. You need a little more time here. I love you and will call you every single week. You are doing a great job little girl." I could do this with tears just clinging to my eyes rather than sobbing through the words. It hurt me to see her hurt. Yet I had peace. I could feel when I looked at her a little bit of what God feels for me. A deep compassion-yet deep peace.

I don't know that I could have done that last trip. I doubt it. That day I needed to be strong for her. God gave me what I needed for that day.

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Sorry I've been MIA
Things are really good. I've just been very busy and happy. Not much time to blog. On top of that my computer's charger is on the fritz. We've ordered a new one but it's not here yet. Anyway we have another laptop but it's not easy to use. I have to stand at the kitchen counter and use it. It's half broken so it's hard to move. I usually just use it to check e-mail and do quick responses. Yet because of my great love and dedication for my dedicated blogger buddies I will prevail! :0) I'll put in a few entries and try to update you on the latest. So sorry it took me so long. I was starting to get numerous ARE YOU DEAD?.. e-mails! Hee hee. I think it's so sweet that so many of you care that much. Thank you. I am very much alive and feeling more normal than I have in a very long time. Maybe that's part of why I haven't blogged. I just wanted to enjoy the feeling. Take a blogging hiatus of sorts. I feel ready to be back I think.

OK. Now I'll start the entries... Hugs to all of my friends who thought I was dead or in a deep depressive state! For once I am just great!!! :0)

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April 16
Easter In Guatemala
Happy Easter Everyone!

We are doing great. There hasn't really hasn't been a whole lot to write lately. We are just taking it easy. Being a family. Mostly it has been a whole lot of nothing much. Reading, swimming, TV...

The girls had a wonderful time with Daddy. He had to leave this morning. :0(

Very sad. Zoe was upset but handled it well. She is becoming more secure in the fact that we will always come back for her.

She and Russ had their first show down yesterday. Zoe wouldn't get out of the pool. She would live in the pool if we would allow it! He had to ask her like 5 times. UH OH! Not good. I have picked up a pattern of Zoe getting passive aggressive when one of us is about to leave. She is sad so she gets stubborn and disobedient. Still doesn't fly.

It is truly a good thing though. Zoe throwing fits is normal kid behavior. It means she feels safe that she can be real with us and we will still love her. I'm also thrilled to get through some of these adjustments before we get her home.

Anyway, she wouldn't get out of the pool. Then she did and didn't want to apologize. Looked at us all sweet like she just had NO idea what was going on. My Spanish isn't that bad!!! SHE KNEW! Then when we pushed the issue of needing to apologize we got some stubborn ATTITUDE! It was marvelous. She held out for over an hour. Russ did the whole awesome Daddy thing. "I love you when you don't listen but you need to listen. I am not mad at you but you need to say you are sorry. Daddy will always love you. and so on..."

We told her she could just sit in her chair until she was ready to tell Daddy that she was sorry. She started wailing and yelling like a champ. I told her very sweetly that she was very loud so I was going to move her chair to the bathroom. I told her she could come talk to us whenever she was ready. OH I KNOW!! I AM JUST SOOOOOOO TOUGH! Big meany Angel!! I scooched that chair right into the hotel room bathroom and she immediately picked up the volume and started saying she wanted her foster mom Glenda. Oh SHE IS GOOD!! That's the first time she'd even MENTIONED Glenda since she dropped her off and now... Talented. That's all I have to say. I didn't bite. Russ and I went to check on her every ten or fifteen minutes. At one point I went in and asked her if she was ready to talk to her Daddy. She said she couldn't because she was sad. I told her she can be sad but she WILL listen to her Daddy and SHE WILL tell him sorry. I told her that we must listen and talk to each other even when we are sad. I told her it was her decision to sit there and cry all night or have fun with Daddy. About 10 minutes later she came out dry eyed and apologized to both of us. There were hugs all around. Then Daddy took the girls to eat. She's been fine ever since! When I told her it was time to get out of the pool today you should have seen her HOP right out!

Last night we did the whole Easter thing early so Daddy could enjoy it. We told the story of Jesus raising from the dead in awful Spanish and English. I was happy to see that Zoe knew the story from Glenda's church. We gave them their Easter baskets. They were both thrilled. Russ also gave Zoe a scooter we brought her. She thinks it so awesome! She rode it up and down the hotel hallway for the longest time. It was a fun evening. We didn't have time for the Easter egg hunt. I think we will do that with Polka Dot and Grandpa later.

I have been decompressing slowly from all the delays and stress of waiting for DNA. It is taking me longer than I consider normal for me to feel like myself again. My mom is getting her Masters in Biblical counseling. She has studied crisis counseling. She tells me that it takes 4-6 weeks after a crisis is over to recover emotionally. A crisis is defined by something that prevents you from functioning normally. Something emotionally overwhelming. Well, these delays in the adoption process definately became a crisis for me. I wish they hadn't been. It makes me feel weak and faithless. I know this is just a step God is taking me through. This process will make me stronger for the next thing.

I am discovering that I have very little grace for myself. It is HARD for me to relax and let myself NOT be okay. I kick myself mentally and try to pull myself up. I am seeing that I have so much LESS grace for myself than God does. Last night Russ was telling me that I am doing so great. I kept thinking, "YOU'RE NUTS MAN!" He says I'm too hard on myself. That if I'm not being super-mom then I think I'm failing. Okay. Guilty as charged. I'm not perfect AGAIN! I'm tired, over-emotional, weak, scared and all kinds of other lovely things. I think to myself, "IT'S OVER! You got DNA! Get over it and be normal." I guess I'm going to have to learn to give myself some slack. Just be where I am and not rush things.

I think a LOT of us mommies are like that. Am I right? Are you out there?? Do you feel like a loser if you can't get it together?

What does it mean to have it all "together" ANYWAY??? It's like the definition changes every two seconds anyway based on my own skewed view of life. I gotta learn to CALM DOWN AND RELAAAAAXXX a little. DECOMPRESS. That is my goal. See! What is my problem? I just made decompressing a GOAL! Wow. This is gonna take some time.

I am going to go relax now. No really. I am. I'm going to relax. :0) Angel

PS Uploading Easter photos now.

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April 13
Good Times In Guatemala
I am gonna make it short and hit the sack because I am tired! :0)

It's been a great day. Zoe is so much calmer with us this trip. It's like we are finding our family pattern. Learning how we work as a group. She is more comfortable and steady. I feel the same way. More at ease with this new family of ours.

First visit was amazing but very emotional. Zoe was grieving and got sick. We got a lot of bonding done. Check out December archives for that visit.

Second visit was a blast. We brought Kaitlyn. I didn't know what to do with two girls and they adored one another but weren't sure how to share me. We had a LOT going on. A birthday party, trip to Antigua and lots of friends around. We all had fun and felt a little insecure still about how to function. February archives for that one.

This visit #3.. It is much slower. The hotel is almost empty compared to last time because everything is shut down for Holy Week. No adoptions being completed this week means no busy Marriott. Although I absolutely LOVED hanging out with everyone last time this pace is really nice too. I was hoping it would be like this. We seem to be really getting to just learn how we work. It feels easier and easier. Today was so nice. The girls don't seem insecure and had SO MUCH FUN together all day long. It was beautiful. I love it.

I can't say just how important these visits have been for Zoe. I believe they have been invaluable. So much bonding has taken place. I have no doubt that the transition will be MUCH smoother as a result of these visits.

Today was very slow and simple. Swimming, napping, snacking... We all needed to rest up from a big day yesterday. Daddy just arrived a couple of hours ago. The girls are so happy to see him.

I love getting all the sweet e-mails and comments. I want to get back to you on all your questions and comments. It may take me some time. They are so great though. Thank you. Keep em coming! :0)

I uploaded the photos for the day. Enjoy. More tommorrow.

Angel

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April 11
We are here and DNA is DONE!!!!
YES! You DID hear me correctly. DNA is done!!!
I know. It's hard to believe! :0) I am SO RELIEVED that at least THAT step is done. Praise the Lord we can move on!! YIPEEEEEE!!! I don't even think it has sunk in yet.

Well, my mom, dad, Kaitlyn and I arrived at about 11:30 am. Guatemala does not observe daylight savings so they are now one hour earlier than Texas. It was a smooth and uneventful trip. That is the kind I love!

Kailtyn has been beyond excited. ECSTATIC would be an acurate description. She has been bouncing off the walls with happy two year old energy since yesterday. It has been a constant stream of adorable chatter that goes something like this.... "I going to Guatala to see my sista. I going on a plaaaane and a buuuussss to see my sista. Zoe is saaad cuz she miss her Daddy. I wanna go see her. I see one, two, three.... seven...ten airplanes out there. THERE IS MY PLANE!! IT IS COMING MOMMY!! It is coming to get me. Come on Mommy. Where is my Grandpa? Grandpa can you come with me to Guatala? Olka Dot (supposed to be Polka Dot- my mom's grandma name) come oooooonnnnn. We are going on a plane but not a train. That's silly! I gonna sit on an airplane but I don't want to see a show. LOOK!!! It's MOVING Mommy! YAY!!! (clapping and bouncing included)"

She could not have been more thrilled if she was visiting Cinderella herself. What can I say? She ADORES her sister.

Glenda arrived with Zoe at about 2pm. She said everything went very smoothly at the DNA appointment. She said Zoe and her mother were very calm. Zoe was sweet and happy to see us but I could tell she was "off" and pretty much expected a major melt down. I wasn't disappointed.

Poor sweet girl. Birth mother, foster mother, adoptive mother.... It's so much for her little heart. She had a hard time with Glenda leaving. (foster mom) She cried and I held her. She settled down and played with Kaitlyn. I could tell it was there though... brewing. So I figured I better just open pandora's box and help her talk about it. Not good to keep that kind of pain inside.

So I asked her about her day. I asked her if she saw her Guatemala Mommy. She said yes. I told her I was happy that she saw her Guatemala Mommy.

I asked her if she was happy to see her. Again.. yes. I asked her if she talked to her....yes.

Did you talk a little or a lot? I pried... A lot. she replied...

"Good", I said. "Your Guatemala mommy is very important to me. I am so glad you talked to her. Did she have questions to ask you?

Then, just like that, she dropped the bomb that had been in her heart all day. She said, "I will never see her again." She said it very matter of factly and looked me in the eye quitly awaiting my reaction.

Immediately I dropped to my knees and went to her. I looked her square in the face and said, "I am so sorry. You must feel so much sadness. You have had a very hard day."

The dam opened and she began to bawl her precious little eyes out. I gave her the comfort I could. "I love you so much. I will love you every day your whole life. Your Guatemala mommy loves you too. She wants many good things for you. She wants you to be safe and happy. It's good to talk to me about it. I am so sorry you have this pain in your heart. I want to take the pain for you but it's not possible. I'm sorry... We will always love your Guatemala Mommy. We will always think of her and pray for her. I love you. You are such a special little girl. You have SO many people who love you."

You get the general idea. There was much more. Of course I was struggling with every word- wanting desperately to say things I couldn't because I have the Spanish vocabulary of a two year old and can only speak in present tense.

This grieving process went on for a good 45 minutes. Kaitlyn hugged on her and got her many tissues. My parents came in and mom had some words of comfort I was able to translate very loosely. Dad took Kaitlyn for a break. Zoe began to calm down and I could see that this process was what she needed. A good cry helped.

Within 10 minutes after the crying had stopped I could see our Zoe coming back to life. I stuck her and Kaitlyn in a hot bubble bath. There was a little protesting on both their parts but I wasn't hearing a bit of it! I had two filthy, tired girls who needed a hot bubble bath! Sure enough it seemed to do the trick. They played and played in the bubbles.

Meanwhile I hand washed some of the clothes Zoe had brought. They weren't looking too good to me. Let's just say the definition of clean here is a little different. Of course poor Glenda has 4 kids in the house (2 bio 2 foster) and no washing machine. So I know it must be killer to keep up with laundry. I can't even keep up with ours with a washer AND a dryer!!! Anyway I scrubbed away in the sink and was quite proud of my laundry efforts!

After having to practically force them into the tub I now had to practically force them out. I got them dressed and we were off to dinner downstairs. They were both ravenous little critters and ate like champs. Several people commented on how beautiful and well behaved my daughters are right before Kailtyn got up and started investigating the entire resteraunt... Well she IS two!

Since we have come back to the room Zoe has given her Barbie, her baby doll and several stuffed animals much NEEDED baths in the sink. They are all looking and smelling better! Now she and Kaitlyn are playing Hide and Tickle. At least that seems to be the game. Whatever it is they are overjoyed with each other!

Well I better get them to bed.

OK, I'm back... Jammies are on, teeth are brushed, book read, prayers have been said... There is still a little giggling but I think they are on their way to dream land.

I feel so much more comfortable with the two kid thing this trip. I'm sure I'll still be wiped by the end but HEY! I'm just going for improvement here! :0)

Emotional status- AWESOME!!! I am one happy mama... Although I have some sadness and tinges of guilt for my friends. My friend Stacy is still waiting for DNA and Doreen is stuck waiting for pre-approval. It breaks my heart for both of you. My happiness will be so much fuller when you are past this heart ache. My heart and prayers are with you.

I am going to upload two photo albums now. One is Kaitlyn in the bluebonnets this weekend. The next is just a few pictures I took of the girls before bedtime. They were just playing and trying on their sunglasses. I love my girls so much. Aren't they amazing???

:0) Angel

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April 06
I have a story to tell you.
WARNING. It's long but I think it's worth every word.

It's a true story.... I think you will like it.

Once there was a precious little Guatemalan princess named Esperanza. (yes the one I have told you about before) Her birth mommy could not feed her enough and her life was so hard. Her birth mommy had already made a heart breaking decision more than a year before to find an adoptive family for her two little brothers. Now she decided she must find a family for Esperanza too. Esperanza went to live with a foster family who was very kind to her. She had two best friends who were also waiting for families. She saw one of her friends find a family... Then the other friend found a family. She wondered sometimes why she didn't have a family when the other girls did. All she could do was pray and wait.

WAIT... Before I can finish this story there is another story I have to tell. This one is true too.

Once there was a sweet couple. This couple bought a house that was too big for two because they dreamed of filling the rooms with children. Their children did not come to them as quickly as they thought they would and they went through so much waiting and pain. One day they found out a baby was on the way. There was life growing inside her and she would finally have the baby they had dreamed about. Soon though, her body lost this life. Their hearts mourned the loss yet in faith they knew that God had children to fill their rooms. They just didn't see the whole plan yet. They waited and prayed.

Soon they called an adoption agency they had been working with and asked to be placed on the list for Guatemala. Much sooner than the couple thought possible they recieved a call. A baby boy needed a family. Of course they said yes and their hearts leapt with joy. Soon though the doctors in Guatemala began to realize that this little boy was sick. Not just sick sometimes but every single day. They told the couple that this was a child who would have great needs. They did not know how to help him or whether he would live. The couple made the decision to go forward with the adoption. They felt confident that THIS was the child that God had given them. They would not leave him in Guatemala.

Meanwhile the birth mommy of this sick little boy decided she must also relinquish another little boy- the birth sibling of this sick little baby. He was a sweet little toddler she just could not feed. This couple decided that they would adopt him as well and keep these brothers together.

The baby brother got sicker and sicker while they waited for paperwork to be processed. They flew to Guatemala to get him the best care possible. The doctors and nurses were so kind and gentle. Yet they had no clue how to really help him. They literally watched him dying as they waited to bring him home. They waited and prayed.

Finally they brought him to America and admitted him to the hospital immediately. After many months he was diagnosed with a rare disease that only 500 people have been treated for. In Guatemala he would have had no chance to live. Here he had a chance but it would be a fight. For a year his mommy lived with him in hospitals while he recieved treatments to overcome his illness. He would need a bone marrow transplant but the timing had to be right. They waited and prayed.

While they waited their adoption agency called and told them some surprising news. Their boys had an older sister who had just been placed for adoption. She needed a family but they weren't even able to do it. They had a son who could die. They lived in a hospital. The agency would never approve this situation. They decided they would have to pray that the right family would come to this precious sister of their two little babies. So they waited and prayed.

Finally the doctors said the time was right and their baby boy recieved a bone marrow tranplant. He was so sick and they waited to see if he would make it through. Meanwhile the boys sister in Guatemala waited for a family. They couldn't understand. Why wasn't she finding her family?

Their baby boy got better and better. The doctors said he was doing remarkably well. In fact they were amazed how well he was doing. They said he was going to live. Not only would he live but within a year he would be able to live a competely normal life. This would never come back again!

Immediately the couple's thoughts turned to the little girl. Was she theirs? Could this be the plan? They called the adoption agency and told them that wanted to adopt her. The agency said that with the news that their baby would be okay they felt that the family could handle it. They said that they had NEVER had a little girl wait this long for a family. It was as if God was holding her for them.

So with great joy they moved home from the hospital. They recieved pictures of their little girl in Guatemala with her friends- happy and loved. They made a photo album of their family and sent it to Guatemala.

OK... NOW I can finish the first story.....

Sometimes Esperanza was sad that she didn't have a family yet but she waited and she prayed. Then one day she was told that she had a family in America. A kind lady sat her down and pulled out a photo album of this new family. Her little heart pounded as she wondered about who they would be. When they opened the album the faces of the two little boys she saw looked so much like her. They were faces she knew. They were the sweet little faces of her baby brothers. Could she have imagined it? Could she have pictured that this was why she waited all this time? Did she fathom that God would give her a family and give her back her siblings? In a few short months she would have a new life with her brothers.

Joy. Pure joy.

Yesterday I had the priviledge of visiting this amazing family. AMAZING! Today I wrote the director of Guatemalan adoption at my agency. Here is part of what I shared with her.

Tami,

............

The coolest thing about this visit was getting to see a glimpse of God's purpose. Just to see dimly how when things DO NOT ADD UP to us God is STILL WORKING!! The fact that if Mason (the baby) had not been given up for adoption he would NOT be alive. God snatched him from the fire!! A jewel!! God's healing of Mason just in time to be able to get Esperanza. Esperanza being with her brothers is amazing.

All three of our older girls being in Guatemala together at the same time when they don't usually have older kids (at our agency).... They are best friends and we want to keep it that way. I am grateful that Carol (the mother adopting Esperanza) and Lisa (mother of Lidia) both want to keep our girls close. Carol had a picture we had taken of the three girls together in her kitchen framed. It touched my heart.

If this is part of what God is doing through these delays I can accept it. Does God care SO much about little Esperanza's heart that he will not let her be left without her friends until her heart is ready? I believe He does care that much.

It's amazing to watch the way God has given Esperanza all the tools to make it through this time. He gave her a sweet foster family, clothes and food. He gave her friends and parties and trips to fun places and even English lessons. She had to watch her friends get families and she didn't have one. They had so many toys and visits and she had to accept that her family hadn't come yet. It's like God hid her under His wing. Dark, safe and a little frustrating. Out of sight where no one could touch her and then wow.... She saw a glimpse of God. Could I see it two months ago? Not so much. Now I do. God had a plan all along. It didn't surprise Him.

I know that God gives me the tools to get through the tough stuff just like He has for Esperanza. I fight the pain. Our girls in Guatemala all have so much faith and grace. Just like Jesus said- if we could just be more like children then we could really GET IT.

God is ALWAYS on time even when He seems VERY VERY late.

Sorry for the book but I couldn't help it. Since you see all the ugliness that comes out of me while I am pressed by this process... you should get to see what God is doing in me too.


Angel


WOW!!!! WOW!!!! Did this get you the way it got me??? DO YOU SEE IT? DO YOU SEE IT?!?!? God didn't forget her! God didn't forget.. He wasn't late. WE JUST COULDN'T SEE IT!!!! What a priviledge to see but a glimpse of God's plan. What an honor. Take heart friends. Here is what God has to say.

Jeremiah 29 (New International Version)

10 This is what the LORD says: "When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity. [b] I will gather you from all the nations .......

YES!!!! God has good plans for us. Soemtimes we don't see things as good though. We see it as pain. We see it as TOO SLOW. God sees it as perfect timing. God sees it molding us into who we need to become. It does NOT mean we are forgotten.


1 Corinthians 13 (The Message)

9We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. 10But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.
11When I was an infant at my mother's breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.
12We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
13But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

Let's face it. We are so small. If we believe in God why do we assume we can understand everything? Why do we presume to "get it" at all? We can't even understand our own bodies. We are so limited. Someday in eternity we WILL see it. We will get it. Faith means believing that God is in control when we can't see the whole picture.

Habakukk 2:3 (New Living Translation) "But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. IT WILL NOT BE DELAYED."

God's idea of right on time is very different that ours. Guess what? He is ALWAYS right. Always. He promises that it WILL NOT BE DELAYED!! That means in His book all this is EXACTLY according to schedule. EXACTLY when He meant it to happen. According to God there will be no "delays."

Do we believe it? Do we REALLY believe it? I do a little more every day.

Love,
Angel

PS. Here are pictures of the people in my story. Carol is the mommy. Mason is the baby. He is still sick but making a very strong recovery. Parker is a cutie toddler with the sweetest personality. Esperanza is a Guatemalan princess who will soon be home with her forever family. Mom and I are with Carol and Mason. I also included a picture of all three of the best friends in Guatemala. Lidia, Zoe Mirna and Esperanza.... A story of faith and pain- full of God's grace.



























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DNA appointment is made... YAY!!
Mirna's birth mommy could not get to the city this week. She will come in Monday night and then Tuesday afternoon DNA will be taken. Know what's weird? Tuesday is the day we get to Guatemala for our visit. Zoe will come directly to us from seeing her Guatemala mommy for the last official visit. We do not know whether Zoe's birth mommy will choose to keep in contact with us so this may be the last time Zoe will ever see her. It is so wild that after all these months it falls on the day we arrive. I actually feel VERY good about this timing. Although I wanted it to happen sooner I think Zoe may need me to be there during this time. Please pray for Zoe and her mommy on Tuesday. I expect we may have some heavy emotions to deal with during the first part of our visit. Sweet brave girl. I am glad I can be there for her on Tuesday. Finally I get to comfort her through part of the hard part. At least I can give her that. I am so grateful that this part should be over soon.


:0) Angel

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I've been tagged!! :0)
OK Betsy!! I'm blogging. I give... Sorry I have been so out of touch. It's been a VERY busy week. Here are my four things...

Four jobs I've had in my life: I was a nanny. I worked for a portrait photographer. I was a teacher and worked as a waitress. There are lots more too. Just call me a jack of all trades.
Four Movies I can watch over and over: Ann of Green Gables series, anything Disney, Sound of Music, Fiddler on The Roof
Four places I have lived Heidelburg, Germany Queretero, Mexico Seattle, Washington Ann Arbor, Michigan
Four TV shows I love to watch: Gilmore Girls, Invasion, Lost, 7th Heaven
Four websites I visit daily: All my adoption buddy blogs of course!!
Four of my favorite foods: Anything Mexican!!
Four places I'd rather be right now: In Guatemala with my Zoe, in Playa Del Secreto in Mexico, a vacation in Europe (Greece and Italy) , Disney World with both my girls
Four bloggers I'm tagging: I don't know... I think you tagged everyone! :0)

WE GOT DNA AUTHORIZATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
YAY!!!!! WOW!!!! YIPPPEEEEEE!!!
March 29
YE-HAW! (Texas Style) HALLELUJAH! ( Christian Style) and absolutely WHEW!!! (relieved adoptive mama style)

We FINALLY got the authorization to take DNA. We have been waiting for 3 months for this. I am SOOOOOOOOOO relieved. We have a long way to go still but this was a big hurdle for us. I feel like a ten ton boulder just got lifted off of me just KNOWING that this is moving forward again. Earliest she could come home is June. I am setting my heart to expect a July homecoming. It could be sooner or later and I have to put that in God's hands. I am just SO THANKFUL to be over that mountain.

It's so goofy I know but I keep thinking about the Dora the Explorer song when they accomplish something at the end of the show. Both of my girls are HUGE fans so I know it all too well. I guess today's episode would end like this.....

(this is music) DADA DADA DADA DADA
They took the papers to the embassy and then they got that DNA....
PERMISSION!!! they got it. yeah...
Well we prayed and we cried and in the end it all turned out okay...
We did it!!! We did it! yeah...
WE DID IT!

Ok... so if you are a mom or dad of a Dora fan you thought that was kind of cute. If not you think I've lost it! Which I have- by the way.

Thanks for caring and keeping up. It means the world to me. Zoe is loved more than she can fathom. Her family extends throughout the nation at this point.

I am also extremely happy for Lisa. They got DNA authorization for Zoe's foster sister Lidia yesterday. http://spaces.msn.com/SweetLidia/PersonalSpace.aspx
SO far the girls are still on track to come home close to the same time. We would love for that to happen.

Please pray for my friend Stacy. She was told that she had DNA authorization and then found out it was a lie. This is cruel and heartbreaking as she has been waiting a very long time. http://waitingidjb.blogspot.com/

I'm so sorry Stacy. I had a hard time even posting this because I hurt for you. You are not alone friend. I am praying for you.

Hugs,
Angel

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March 28
When God Doesn't Make Sense
I've been reading a book by that title. It's written by Dobson. If you are struggling with God not making sense to you I say GO GET IT NOW. Another mommy recommended it to me and it is so so GOOD.
We have now had 3 months of delays. 3 months more that our precious little Zoe girl will not be home. It has been a time of wrestling with God for me. My heart has ached for this to end. See this isn't the way I planned it. I thought this blog would be full of rejoicing as we prayed together and saw God "come through" in the way we had asked.
So I've been struggling with that. Not that I expect for God to always do things MY way..... but I don't know. This one I REALLY WANTED. I was thinking God just don't TOUCH this PLEASE. Just give me what I want here. I fully believe that there is one God and He loves each of us passionately- far beyond the love I have for Zoe and Kaitlyn. Yet I feel this battlefield in my mind... I have felt as if I am doing everything God has asked me and things aren't working out the "right" way. THE "RIGHT" WAY!!!!! WHAT IS THAT? MY WAY! What if I don't KNOW the right way? What if I'm just a selfish small minded sinful big hearted little girl who can't see anything beyond what I want now??
But I don't want to hear that. I just feel betrayed. Let down. Dissapointed. Hurt. Alone..... Why why why why why why why why why why why why why me....
When I can get past my pain and see a glimpse even dimly of what God is doing I think WOW. But I've been a two year old inside. I DON'T WANT TO SEE IT. I DON'T WANT TO BE A "VESSEL." Don't WORK THROUGH ME. Just give me what I want!!! Bring my baby home.
I know it's ugly friends. That's why I haven't been writing a whole lot lately. I am no pillar of strength right now. Just a wishy washy weak little mommy who is aching for her baby and grasping for God's wisdom. Trying to wrap my faithless heart around what God is doing here. I've decided to just be real with you guys. Maybe you will look at me and judge me as weak. You would be right. Anything good you see in me is God. Everything else is me. So if you think I am horrible you have hit the nail on the head.
Here is the key though folks... maybe some of you who aren't judging my yuckiness have felt or feel the same way. Maybe you won't feel so alone. Maybe you'll even figure if God can love a half looney temper tantruming faithless girl like me He can love you too.
Somehow through all this I am starting to grasp my deep inability to see the big picture of what God is doing. I am becoming more open to seeing the truth of what He is doing. I believe now more firmly than ever that even our deepest pain has purpose. I believe that God will not leave us but rather walks with us through each moment. He provides us the tools to keep going. Although I fight this circumstance because it is uncomfortable even my weak little human eyes can see dimly what God is doing around me. He is doing good things through this. He has provided. God cares more about the condition of our hearts than our circumstances.
Below is a chapter that I am seeing in a much deeper way. Of course I've read it a million times but it becomes something new to me now. I will put the parts in bold that have stuck out lately...
1 Corinthians 13 (The Message)
The Message (MSG)
1 Corinthians 13
The Way of Love
1If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
2If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing.
3If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.

4Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
5Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle, (ask my hubby about this one)
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
6Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
7Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

8Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. 9We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. 10But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.
11When I was an infant at my mother's breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.
12We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
13But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

I don't think there is anything I can add to that. Wow. Wow. Wow. Today I choose love... I'll probably mess it up though!

Until next time....

With Love,
Angel

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March 27
Refresh. Refresh. Refresh. Send and Recieve....
Just in case you were wondering what I'm doing today... Yes, that's right folks... refreshing my e-mail. I know. You are shocked right? I'm hanging in there. Just violently refreshing my e-mail every 10 minutes..... OK YOU GOT ME!!! IT'S EVERY FIVE MINUTES!! I'm hoping against hope that something GOOD will happen today. BY GOOD I MEAN DNA APPROVAL. I know. It's a crazy notion. I'm a loon. I keep telling myself to quit hoping but apparently I'm an incurable optimist.

Great news on Stacy's blog!!! YAY! She got DNA approval on Friday. I AM SOOOOOO HAPPY FOR YOU STACY. http://waitingidjb.blogspot.com/ HERE IS TO YOU FLYYYYIIINNNNGGGG THROUGH THE REST!

Now I just have this sick to my stomach BARFY feeling when I realize that my lawyer's are now officially the only ones I know of who can't seem to get the paperwork through.... Yet it somehow gives me this bizarre hope that if her lawyers can get through now and they were having trouble too.... Maybe mine will get through now.

Anyways... we will see. This weekend was good. Russ helped me get caught up some with the laundry situation. It was a definate "situation!" :0) We also worked out in the yard and did a lot of talking. It was good. Kaitlyn is as sweet and amazing as always. We talked to Zoe on the phone yesterday. She said "My name is Zoe" in English! How sweet is that? She squealed when I told her I was coming to see her soon.

:0) Angel

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March 24
Update
Here is the update I just recieved. Tami is so precious to send it to me this late. She knows how nervous I am and is being so compassionate.

Here is the update-

The social worker report is done and has been given to Bolanos, so you are complete with Family Court.

The new certification will be ready tomorrow and your casewill go back to Embassy next week.


So we are officially out of family court! That is some good news at least. It does not too mean much because until we have DNA we still can't move forward to final court.(PGN) It's just a relief to know that we won't have additional suprises or delays in that area.

Our new certifications are ready tommorrow. We will be resubmitted soon. I am very nervous and not at all confident that we will actually get through. I have a friend (represented by my lawyer) who was just rejected today for needing new birth mother photos. If you recall I have been rejected twice for this reason and my attorney has done nothing to get the new photos done. Their position is that is too difficult to organize and too hard for the birth mothers. They are just hoping that we will get through with the old photos because some people do. I see where they are coming from but it is also VERY hard for my little girl to sit there month after month and not come home because they won't get new pictures. It's hard for her mommy and daddy and sister and everyone who loves her in America. Lord give me grace and protect my poor lawyer from my wrath if I get rejected AGAIN!! I don't know how much longer I can keep handling this gracefully. OK well I haven't REALLY been handling it THAT gracefully anyway. I just want this so bad. When did I become such a pessimist?? Ummmm... probably the last few months. Yep. That'll do it.

Tami said the meeting with our lawyers went very well today. I will be very glad to hear what happened. I truly hope that things begin to smooth out. I truly do.

I thank you truly for your undying support. I'm sorry that I'm such a nut case these days. I feel like this blog has turned into nothing but doom and gloom. I hate that. I so appreciate the way you have stood by me during this yucky time. I am blessed to have so many people who care.

I pray that soon I will have more happy news to share. I try to focus on the days when I will be sharing how much English Zoe is learning, pictures of her first trip to Sea World, her welcome home party. The trick is looking at that and yet soaking in where I am NOW! I feel like God keeps telling me to enjoy the journey. ENJOY THIS! How do I do that?
Yet I know that there are so many blessing hidden in this experience. The friends I have made, the things I am learning, the way the borders of my world have expanded. I know I have gained so much already. It's hard for me to even write this because I am so mad right now. I am angry. Angry because I don't feel like my lawyers have treated my little girl with the respect and honor she deserves. Angry because I can't fire them. Angry because there isn't one thing I can do. Here we go with my NEED to "control" things. My ILLUSION of control. UGGGHHHHHHH! All I can do is pray and trust God. Do I REALLY believe He is in control or am I in control or are the lawyers in control or is the government in control?? Come on Angel. Decide! What is it??? What is it?? Who is in charge here??

I am just having a big fat old fashioned spiritual temper tantrum and you poor people get to witness it. YUCK! I'm so sorry. I just can't seem to get a good hold of this one. It's like pregnancy and the worst case of PMS known to man all wrapped up in one. One minute I am perfectly happy and then WHAMMO! It hits me. My poor poor husband. Sheesh. He has to live with this...

Hugs,
Angel


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March 21
I'm still alive.
Just thought I'd drop you a note to let everyone know I am still alive and well. I am in Central TX visiting my momma and family. We had a good weekend. Busy but good.

Friday I spent a nice day with my mom-in-law and Kaitlyn. Kaitlyn will be a flower girl soon in Russ' brother's wedding. We needed to go get her dress altered. She looked SO CUTE! Then we did some shopping and I got a new dress and shoes for the wedding. I discovered my new favorite store. Ann Taylor Loft. It is great.

We also got together with some close friends and found out one of my best friends is prego with her third baby! Congrats! Hope I'm not spilling the beans so I won't say the name yet!! :0)

Emotional Status- Fair to Good. :0)

Todays News Is..

My agency got word today that my new certifications are supposed to be ready this week. Good news on that front. Now ask me if I am holding my breath waiting for THAT to happen!

PS This weekend I took engagement pics of my hubby's brother Clay and his finace Jenn. I am loading the pictures onto the blog. They were great subjects and I figured their mommas would enjoy sending everyone the photo album!!

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March 17
The bomb dropped yesterday and I couldn't blog about it yet.
Hi Angel,

Below is your update. I know you’re going to be disappointed; if you want to call and talk please do. I’ll be at my desk all afternoon.
*******************************************************************************************************************************************************

Mirna– rejected from the Embassy yesterday as Mirna’s child certification expired on Monday.

The certification we got last week it was the BM the child certification expired this Monday and we were supposed to go in on Monday but since the Embassy did not call al the 40 people we got put off to Tuesday and they did not accept it... Also let her know that I was told that a lot of facilitators were rejected yesterday.

Angel, below is an explanation from Brenda as to why the expiration occurred:

You see the certifications do not have an expiration day by GT.. The embassy set this rule and they take a parameter of 60 days but in some cases they do it 45 days and once they tell you is expired there is no arguing with them or makes things worse so on them it kick 45 days on Monday not sixty so we were not anticipating to get it rejected.

OK I know you non adopting from Guatemala readers just went HUH?? and your eyes glazed over. Trust me when I say this is NOT GOOD NEWS. I got rejected for something that could have easily been prevented if it had been caught. Very upsetting for this already slightly crazed momma!
So yesterday was a bad day. I was in a very UGLY mood yesterday and this morning. After alot of crying and a good long conversation about the situation with my case worker and the Guatemala adoption director I am feeling more stable about the situation. I can't go into all the details. I'm not happy that this happened but I feel like my agency is addressing it. They were extremely kind and validating of my feelings and concerns. That helped me not feel so out of my mind.
I really thought yesterday was my day to get through folks. I really did. They have already applied for new certifications for Mirna/Zoe. Now I am hoping to get resubmitted AGAIN late next week or early the week after. I know. I'm still HOPING! Crazy right?

For now I am trying to CHOOSE to be peaceful about it. Be anxious for nothing.... I am okay. Not great just "dealing" with it nicely.

Angel

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March 15
Melodramatic and Slightly Crazed Momma
Ummm so far today it is quite the challenge to perform any "normal" activities. I feel pathetic but I can't CONCENTRATE! I'm just nervous. I keep surfing aroung looking to see what news people have. Really just an excuse to stay at my computer. Here is the pathetic comment I just left on my friend Stacy's blog..... http://waitingidjb.blogspot.com/

I second the motion that the song is perfect! :0) I am so proud of your eye makeup status. I AM A WRECK TODAY. I'm not crying anymore. It's been a week since I've cried I think. Maybe my tear ducts have finally quit on me. Who knows! I have definately overused them. I just have the jittery I can't be productive for the LIFE OF ME thing going on. That is why I'm sitting here just typing the longest comment known to man. I should be folding laundry. Packing to go to grandma's tommorow. Ummm taking a shower would be GREAT! but no I'll just sit here and continue writing this comment while simultaniously refreshing my e-mail every two seconds to see if there is news. Even though I KNOW they are at the embassy and I most likely will NOT get news till this evening at best. Most likely tommorrow. UGGHHHHHHHHHHH... My heart! I mean really. Just lower the gavel one way or the other. Am I approved or not. EEEEEEKKKK!!! OK I KNOW I'M being melodramatic. Don't I DESERVE a LITTLE drama after the torture of this last two months??? AAAAAaKKKKKKKCCKKCKCKC!! OK there is my drama. I need to jog or something. Get all this nervous energy out. One problem. I don't really jog... Not much of a jogger. I walk. I do the whole cross country machine thing. HEY! That's it. I'll work out on my cross country machine. That actually sounds good. Except then I will have to jump OFF the machine every two minutes to refresh my e-mail. It could get VERY complicated. I could get INJURED! No now that I think it through.. the safest thing to do is continue writing this comment. Ummmm. Now I'm pathetic. I'm going to take a shower. Don't worry. I'll take my laptop up there so I can check my e-mail! Hee hee. Seriously it's deranged I know.
:0) Angel

Ummm... YEAH! That's my current emotional status. PATHETIC AND CRAZED! :0)

I'm seriously going to go get showered WITHOUT my computer in the room. I know. It's a step towards my recovery and I'm proud.



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March 14
I'm feeling jittery, nervous....
Good news. My BM certifications are finished being translated! Finally a few things happening faster than expected!! :0)

I am told that my paperwork will hopefully be resubmitted tommorrow! That is if they can get into the embassy. Just writing it down is making my heart pound. I'm just scared to be hopeful. Will they get in? Will they FINALLY FINALLY accept my paperwork??? I think some of my friends are getting submitted tommorrow too. Deep breath. After all the rejections it's hard to not be anxious. I need to give it back to God AGAIN. Please say a prayer for all of us tommorrow. I'll keep you updated.




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March 13
Steps in the right direction
I found out today that Bolanos (my lawyers) picked up my new birth mother certifications on Friday. This is very fast since it can take up to a month. It took a little over a week I think. Could it be that things are going to start moving forward??

So today they delivered my documents to be translated. That takes a day or two. Hopefully they will resubmit my paperwork late this week or early next week for DNA authorization. Then we shall see.

Trying not to hold my breath! Just going along for the ride at the moment.

I had a good day today. Just really tired but good. Tommorrow Kaitlyn and I are going with a bunch of friends to pick strawberries. That should be fun. She is really excited. She said she is going to pick red strawberries and pink strawberries and yellow strawberries. Hmmmm... Let's hope she's not totally bummed out when she discovers they are all one color.

:0) Angel

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Spontaneous Fun!
Spontaneous is NOT something we do lately. Too much work to do. Too tired. Too frustrated. Gotta save money. Well I just couldn't take it anymore!

This weekend we just had to get away and have some fun. I just needed us to get away as a family and talk. You know how those long car rides can be good for communication. :0) So Saturday we hopped in the car and drove to Sea World. My mom got us season passes. Thanks Mom! Kailtyn ADORES Sea World! We have been bringing her since she was barely one year old and it's fun to see her "grow into" more and more of the activities. You can't put a price on the joy that girl has when she talks about Shamu. As we drove out of the Sea World parking lot a sweet little voice said, "I had fun mommy daddy! Did you have fun? I see Shamu JUMP SPLASH!! I see a mommy Shamus and a baby Shamu. I jump just like Shamu." This went on and on as you can well imagine.

After Sea World we went to Cracker Barrell for a very late supper. We were planning to go to a REALLY cheap hotel and do Sea World again today. As we ate Kaitlyn asked if we could go see her grandpa. She has managed to see all of her other grandparents lately and it's been awhile since we have gotten to see Grandpa. She always seems to know when it's been too long since she's seen someone.

Russ asked her if she would rather go see grandpa or stay and see Shamu again. We were a bit surprised to hear an adament, "I want to see my GRANPA!" Wow! Grandpa trumped Shamu. Now THAT is impressive! Well my parents house is about two hours from Sea World and was sounding a lot better than that really cheap hotel so OFF WE WENT. Of course we called Grandpa and he was thrilled to have a surprise visit from Kaitlyn. Along with being terribly flattered that he won over a visit with the ever popular Shamu.

So we got in really late and crashed. Granpa and KK spent the whole morning playing and having fun. Grandpa made his famous cheese eggs for breakfast and everything! Then Grandpa went to his church while we went to see Nonny (Russ' mom) and Papa (Russ' Grandfather) and Aunt Carol and cousin Lauren. The girls played and had a great time. I think Nonny liked the surprise visit too!! :0)

We called Zoe this afternoon for our weekly phone call. I think she is finally getting how to do this "phone call" thing. She was so sweet and cute. She said she is very happy. When I called she said she and Lidia were riding bikes. I didn't know they had a bike. I was glad to hear that! I asked her what she learned in English class this week. She immediately counted to ten in English! Very impressive! :0)

I tried to tell her about Sea World. That was a little difficult with my limited vocabulary. I basically ended up saying that it was a special place called World of The Ocean and it has a lot of big fish. I told her it was a lot of fun and it was Kaitlyn's favorite place. I know... Not a great explanation but she seemed very impressed anyway and said she wants to go. I asked her where her favorite place is. She said the beach. Hey... She really is going to fit in with this family. She was raised in a coastal village near a very pretty beach. So there is one luxury in life God gifted her! The beauty of the ocean. I asked her what she wants to be when she grows up. She said.... she wants to be a movie star, work in the zoo and be a life guard. Or something like that. She used a word I didn't know and I told her I didn't understand. So she said she wants to work at the pool. So cute!!

I asked her favorite television show and she said Dora The Explorer. She and Kailtyn will get along great on that point. I told her that Kaitlyn watches Dora every single day. She said she does too. I asked her if there were things she needed me to bring her when I visit. She said she lost her pink sunglasses and asked if she could she have some more. She also said she doesn't have white sandals to match her dresses. Funny I had noticed that last trip but forgotten about it. I was glad she reminded me. Then she said it was Glenda's baby's 1 year birthday. She wanted to get her a present and wondered if I would bring her a present for the baby. SO SWEET!!! Oh. She also asked if I could bring her lots and lots of pictures. I love this kid. Then there were I love yous, reminders of how long it is till our visit- followed by excited squeals and giggles, and a promise that we would call next Sunday.

The car ride was good for Russ and me. We talked about how easy it is to get caught up in the "stress" of life and quit enjoying the amazing blessings all around us. We don't want to miss out on the life God has given us grasping for what isn't ours to hold onto. For my hubby it is work stuff. He is an ambitious and hard working man. I love this about it him. Yet it can cause him to stumble into often focusing on the future rather than what he has now. For me it's been the adoption. Wanting my Zoe to be here now. I don't want to miss out on these wonderful months of our life because I want more. My Zoe is so happy. She is enjoying where she is. The wisdom of a child. She just lives every day and deals with life as it comes to her- trusting God with her heart.

Angel

PS I loaded some pictures of our trip to Antigua. My mom is responsible for most of these beautiful photos. Guess we can all see where I got my photography flare!! :0) Mom did an amazing job. I know we will always treasure these photos.



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March 09
Do we dare to hope?
This is the letter I had waiting when I got home.

Dear families,

We finally have some good news to give. The new system at the embassy seems to be working and Bolanos was able to get a couple of files in today for DNA authorization. It was afternoon before they got it, so all of the files they brought to submit were not reviewed; but they have an appointment with the Embassy for Monday for other files.

The Great news is – nothing new was required! They used the studio digital photos and a couple of files were finally accepted, which means that although not all of your files got in today – they should be accepted when they do get in!

I hope you enjoy that news!

Tami
Where do I put this in my brain? Do I dare to hope that something good might happen? I am actually kind of scared to be too happy about this. I just have to stay even keel about this. Not grasp onto it. Not start calculating and analyzing. Just pray... Okay well. I like this good news thing I think. I had totally forgotten what that was like. I saw Tami's name in my inbox and thought... OH NO More bad news. Poor Tami. It's not that I don't love to hear from YOU it's just your news that bites lately! :0)
Whoever got their paperwork through I AM SOOOOO HAPPY FOR YOU!!!

:0) Angel
PS Emotional Status- Really Good! I had a great day today. I had a faith walking- happy kind of day. My husband is so sweet and supportive. He babysat four kiddos so that I could go out to dinner with my friend Jennifer. No kidding! It was HIS idea. So cool. I am so blessed to have such precious friends and such an great hubby!

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Dear Stacy,
I really couldn't bring myself to blog. Bloggers block. I don't know. I'm just mad- terrified- horribly frustrated- sad. Then I saw your blog and I knew I could write for you. After all I'm your blogger buddy. Right?

If you haven't read Stacy's new blog you might wanna go ahead and do that now or your gonna be all lost. Then your gonna probably write me and ask what this blog was all about. So here's the link http://waitingidjb.blogspot.com/

First off... I think I know exactly who you are talking about. I love to follow their blog. http://our2tots.blogspot.com/ A BIG HUGE HAPPY DANCE for the My Two Tots folks. They are adopting two babies from Guatemala and have just RACED through this process. I am so happy for them and I know you are too Stacy. They are out of PGN and will soon be bringing their sweet babies home. I love every moment of seeing and hearing about those sweet cuties.

I also know why you are crying and I'm so sorry. I know your story is similar to mine. I started following their story about a month after I accepted Zoe's referral. Must have been Dec. They got the referral for their two sweeties and I thought "How cool. We'll probably bring our kids home around the same time." Of course I was a month ahead so I figured I'd be a little ahead. Then Jan 3rd my DNA was delayed for the 1st time. Then again and again and again and then I read on their blog that they got DNA at the end of January and I was THRILLED! I thought, " YEAH! Things are moving again. Ours will be done soon." Then another week and another week and another week and then they had pre-approval and I had nothing . Then another week and another week and now they are out of PGN and I have no DNA. I bawled my eyes out and wanted to throw my computer against the wall. Not because I don't want this for them. I DO!! I just want it for all of us. They will be picking up their sweeties to bring them home at the same time I hoped and prayed I would be bringing my sweet Zoe home. I want us all to be their picking up our babies.

All this to say I am so sorry you are hurting like this Stacy. It hurts me to see you feeling as ooky as I do. I don't wish this feeling on anyone. I also know that losing the ability to talk to Ingrid on the phone must be terribly painful. Especially on top of everything else it is just overwhelming. I feel that truly.

I am desperately trying to get my mind and heart around this situation. To trust that God is in control. I'm afraid of some of the same things that you are afraid of. I'm not afraid the foster family will adopt her... but I do get concerned sometimes about how she'll adjust. I think we all have those terrible fears in the back of our mind. The things that whisper that we are crazy. That we are making a terrible mistake. The fear that tells us NOT to follow our dreams.

Stacy it's almost like there are two of me lately. There is the rational, strong side of me. The part that has faith. The part that can see things through a different point of view. The part that can look at this objectively. The part that can say that I can see good points to Zoe being there a bit longer. That perhaps it's better since she's older not to bounce from place to place so quickly. A transition period. I think that perhaps God has grace for her sweet little heart and knows she isn't quite ready yet. It's like her time in utero. Preparing for a new world she will enter. I think about how happy she is in her foster home. I think about how blessed I am that God has provided such an amazing environment for her. I see how despite my doubts God has provided money and support for me to follow this dream that He put in my heart so many years ago.

Then there is the other me. Unfortunately this is the me that seems to show up a lot more lately. I see how smoothly things are going for other people and my heart cries out, "It's NOT FAIR! Why is God doing this? Why is He letting this happen?" I sit and fume and plot my timeline over and over... When will she be home, when will she be home??? I search for any new information on blogs and forums. Refresh, refresh, refresh... any new e-mails? I pray and read and cry and pout and sleep.

Sounds great huh? Stacy I don't have any answers for ya Sweet Lady. I am hurting as much as you are. Here's what I can tell you. I know you're not "religious" but I see God working in you. I hope it doesn't offend you that I talk about God. It's like trying to talk about what I see without talking about colors. It's such a part of who I am. :0) I pray for you and Ingrid. I pray that God will bless you and show you His heart for you. I truly hope that I don't upset you. I think you are amazing. I know that you are hurting and I believe that not only does God adore you but that you are His favorite. His CHOSEN people. So cool.

Stacy I can't get away from this deep feeling that God is jealous for us. For our devotion. That we not look to ourselves to be in control. That we not trust our agencies or lawyers to get us through this. That we TRULY know that God IS in control of this. That He does know what is best for our little girls even though our mommies' hearts SCREAM and cry that we know what is best. That WE ARE what is best for them... He loves us and our little girls more than our weak little human hearts can begin to fathom. Here is something I read about God's deep love and jealousy for His people. It's like He is whispering to my heart that this is how He feels when I run to other things in my life- trusting them- trusting me instead of Him.

Hosea 2
6"But I will fence her in with thornbushes. I will block the road to make her lose her way. 7When she runs after her lovers, she won't be able to catch up with them. She will search for them but not find them. Then she will think, `I might as well return to my husband because I was better off with him than I am now.' 8She doesn't realize that it was I who gave her everything she has--the grain, the wine, the olive oil. Even the gold and silver she used in worshiping the god Baal were gifts from me!
9"But now I will take back the wine and ripened grain I generously provided each harvest season. I will take away the linen and wool clothing I gave her to cover her nakedness. 10I will strip her naked in public, while all her lovers look on. No one will be able to rescue her from my hands. 11I will put an end to her annual festivals, her new moon celebrations, and her Sabbath days--all her appointed festivals. 12I will destroy her vineyards and orchards, things she claims her lovers gave her. I will let them grow into tangled thickets, where only wild animals will eat the fruit. 13I will punish her for all the times she deserted me, when she burned incense to her images of Baal, put on her earrings and jewels, and went out looking for her lovers," says the LORD.
The LORDs Love for Unfaithful Israel
14"But then I will win her back once again. I will lead her out into the desert and speak tenderly to her there. 15I will return her vineyards to her and transform the Valley of Trouble[b] into a gateway of hope. She will give herself to me there, as she did long ago when she was young, when I freed her from her captivity in Egypt.
16"In that coming day," says the LORD, "you will call me `my husband' instead of `my master.'[c] 17O Israel, I will cause you to forget your images of Baal; even their names will no longer be spoken. 18At that time I will make a covenant with all the wild animals and the birds and the animals that scurry along the ground so that they will not harm you. I will remove all weapons of war from the land, all swords and bows, so you can live unafraid in peace and safety. 19I will make you my wife forever, showing you righteousness and justice, unfailing love and compassion. 20I will be faithful to you and make you mine, and you will finally know me as LORD.
21"In that day," says the LORD, "I will answer the pleading of the sky for clouds, which will pour down water on the earth in answer to its cries for rain. 22Then the earth will answer the thirsty cries of the grain, the grapes, and the olive trees for moisture. And the whole grand chorus will sing together, `Jezreel'--`God plants!'
23"At that time I will plant a crop of Israelites and raise them for myself! I will show love to those I called `Not loved.'[d] And to those I called `Not my people,'[e] I will say, `Now you are my people.' Then they will reply, `You are our God!' "

Wow... What a fiece and loyal love. I am so guilty of turning from my faith in God. The one who I believe gave me everything I have and everything good I am. Could it be that God is wooing us? Growing us. Showing us who He is in a deeper way?

Deuteronomy 8
15Do not forget that he led you through the great and terrifying wilderness with poisonous snakes and scorpions, where it was so hot and dry. He gave you water from the rock! 16He fed you with manna in the wilderness, a food unknown to your ancestors. He did this to humble you and test you for your own good. 17He did it so you would never think that it was your own strength and energy that made you wealthy. 18Always remember that it is the LORD your God who gives you power to become rich, and he does it to fulfill the covenant he made with your ancestors.

I truly believe that God is leading us throught the desert for a reason. He won't leave us here. Yet sometimes I feel like the bad guys are winning. Like they are keeping my baby from coming home.

Psalm 37
A psalm of David.
1 Don't worry about the wicked. Don't envy those who do wrong.
For like grass, they soon fade away. Like springtime flowers, they soon wither.
Trust in the LORD and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.
Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart's desires.
Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust him, and he will help you.
He will make your innocence as clear as the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.
Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act. Don't worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.
Stop your anger! Turn from your rage! Do not envy others-- it only leads to harm.
For the wicked will be destroyed, but those who trust in the LORD will possess the land.
In a little while, the wicked will disappear. Though you look for them, they will be gone.
Those who are gentle and lowly will possess the land; they will live in prosperous security.

Well, I know that nothing a human can say will comfort your heart when it is weary. Just know that you have a friend at Faith's Journey. I think you are a very special lady. I am honored to walk this difficult path with you.

Sincerely,
Angel






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March 06
Emotional Status- NOT SO GOOD
Update for today

Dear Families,
The meeting this morning at the Embassy did take place. The Embassy basically reiterated that they would no longer be using a number system. Instead they will take 40 facilitators a day in a first come/first serve basis. Each facilitator is allowed to submit up to 4 files each time he/she gets into the Embassy. However, the difference is – each facilitator will only be allowed to submit his/her cases once a week. So if they get in on Monday and submit cases, they can not get back into the Embassy again to submit more cases until the following Monday.
Also a change that should make a big difference once things are running smoothly again - the “pink slip” files no longer count as part of the “4 files” - they are submitted to a different window and can be submitted any day.
We have a few cases that are they are trying to submit this week (as soon as they can get “in”) with the digital studio pictures – once those files are submitted we will know 100% if they are accepting the digital studio pictures again.
We’ll keep you updated!

I found out today that they should have my new certifications by next week and resubmit for DNA authorization next week. I am fighting a virus and everything just feels sad. My head has been pounding most of the day.
Kaitlyn did go in the potty all day long. Well one accident. That was good news. However she also decided to put wipees in the toilet. Plugged it up till it overflowed. Russ had quite a time getting it back up and running. He's working away in the bathroom and Kaitlyn is all in his way saying... "Don't worry Daddy. I just help you. I sorry I break the potty. I put wipees in the potty. It's not good. I sooorry Daddy" How can you get mad at that???
Russ went and got me St John's Wart at the recommendation of Stacy. It supposed to help keep your moods stable or something. Boy could I use some help with that! I am NOT STABLE!!!! She says it's really helped her witb these emotional ups and downs.

This weekend-

Saturday was my mom's birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOMMA! I love you.
Pop and Nonny (Russ' parents) also came to visit. They gave Russ and I the day- child free. I dragged Russ around to some clothes shopping. He handled it courageously!! Then we walked around, thought about seeing a movie but weren't impressed with the selection. Finally we went grocery shopping. I know!!! Not a date kind of thing but kid free grocery shopping is a rare priviledge. Then we rented a movie- The Constant Gardener.... interesting but not highly entertaining.
Sunday we went to church. I love our church and seeing all my buds. We also got to talk to Zoe on the phone. It's wonderful that we get to visit with her every week now. This is the second time we have gotten to call her. We get to call once a week on Sunday afternoons. Mike (Lidia's dad) conferenced in with us. He speaks better Spanish than us and was able to help us translate. It was really nice. THANKS MIKE!!! YOU ARE AWESOME!
The first thing she said when she answered the phone was in English. She said "Mommy! I love you!!" She said she is happy. That she is with her foster mom and her friends. That she is having fun in English class. She sang me a couple of songs and recited all her colors in English. She talked to Nonny and Daddy. She told Daddy that when he comes back to Guatemala they will wrestle and she will win. Just love that spunky little heart!! :0)

:0) Angel

PS I added a new photo album. It cracks me up! This was our family photo session in Guatemala. Kaitlyn was NOT in the mood to take pictures but Russ was about to leave! So we got some funny stuff. My mom took them and did a great job. That's what great pictures are all about. Capturing the moments. It's wonderful.


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March 03
Good news I think...maybe...I don't know...

Lots of news today and I think it's good. Here goes...

EMBASSY UPDATE #1 FROM OUR AGENCY

Dear Families,
We received some additional clarification on the Embassy requirement for studio pictures. Please read over the following email from Bolanos.
Let me clarify something so perhaps we are all on the same page, and I apologize if I was not cleared on this subject before as I assume sometimes to much. All of our BM pictures are always taken at a Studio not anywhere else, the difference is in the past technology was not as advance and pictures were developed different as we can remember our 35mm camera. Now in days most studio places have gotten a little more sophisticated and use digital cameras and are in many cases are develop the same day. The studio at building Geminis is the same studio we use. We also use as an alternative studio the one by the Embassy and he has used this one as well as in the past we have provided these pictures to him. What we are making sure is that these studios do not use the digital system as which I am sure it is more cost effective for them and print pictures faster for our BM because we know the Embassy will not accept them. We want to make sure the studio uses the system like our old 35mm cameras. Brenda
We apologize deeply for the confusion with the pictures - the Embassy is rejecting digital pictures but they are “studio” pictures. They want “studio” pictures that are developed on 35mm film and not done with digital cameras. This is why there has been confusion in the emails with the congressmen’s offices about the term “studio pictures”. We hope this helps clarify that confusion.
We have asked Bolanos for plan of which studio they will use, what birthmothers have been contacted, and when each birthmother will be coming. WE will pass that on to you as soon as we have it.

EMBASSY UPDATE #2 FROM OUR AGENCY

Dear Families in the DNA process,
Hopefully you rec’d my previous email about the pictures requested by the Embassy – and the more detailed explanation.
The Embassy seems to now be accepting the digital studio prints again – while we see this as good news, there is no way we can guarantee they will accept our files until they HAVE been accepted. Therefore, Bolanos is going to try to present all of our cases that are needing presented again with the digital studio prints.
The Embassy has also done away with their number system and has decided to assign each proxy and/or their runner a “once a week” time slot, that they can turn in files. On Monday morning, the Embassy is having a meeting at 5:00am for all the facilitators/ proxys etc.. where they will explain the new system and each facilitator/proxy will find out when during the week they can submit their files.
Also the Embassy is now accepting pink slip files at a separate window – so the pink slip files no longer count as part of the “4 files” each facilitator/proxy is allowed to submit.
We will find out, on Monday, when during the week the two different proxys that we have are allowed to turn in files and then will email you and let you know if they are trying to submit your file.
This seems like a positive step by the embassy to make it a little easier to get files in – we’ll keep you updated!

HERE IS MY MONTHLY UPDATE FROM BOLANOS AND MY AGENCY

Hi Russ and Angel,

Here is the monthly update on your case:

As you know the interview with the social worker and birth mother took place on 1/31; the next step was for the social worker to write the report so your case could be submitted to family court. We are currently still waiting on the report from the SW. Your case was submitted to the Embassy on 2/23 and received a rejection at the window due to the “studio” photo requirement. They also asked that a new G-28 and I-600 be submitted. Bolanos received your new docs on 2/25. However since the new I-600 was dated you were asked to resubmit another one. Bolanos is in the process of bringing in the birth mother for the studio photo, once this has been completed Bolanos will then work on getting your case back into the Embassy.

So I think this is all good news. Okay well except my monthly update which just basically uses a lot of words to let me know very thoroughly that NOTHING HAPPPENED for a month on my case. Not fun. However the rest of it seems very positive. It's just really hard for me to believe that anything good can actually happen in our case right now. I've become quite the nay-sayer these days. I guess I'm just scared to get my hopes up and get let down again. This all seems like great steps to getting the problems fixed. It's definately much more organized. Who knows.... maybe next week things will finally turn around for us.

On the home front- Kaitlyn has a virus. Poor baby just wanted to be held all day long. She cracks me up. Today she pointed to my shirt and asked me so sweetly, "Mommy do you LIKE this shirt?? I replied, "Yes I guess I do." She very matter of factly stated, "Oh. I don't." Who else can insult me and make me think it's adorable???

Later while I was feeding her noodle soup for lunch I snatched a noodle from the bowl. Kaitlyn gave me her "I caught you" look and asked "Mommy are you eating my noodles?? It's okay. giggle giggle I MIGHT share with you." :0)

My emotional status- Fair to good... I am going into the weekend with some hope that next week might be good news. I sure hope so.

:0) Angel

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March 02
Well my day stunk... How bout yours?? :0)
Here's what happened today. The good, the bad and the just stuff...

1. I found out the new 1-600's we sent to Guatemala are not supposed to be dated and GUESS WHAT??? Oh yes! We dated them. So now Russ is typing new ones so I can go to the post office and send them to Guatemala AGAIN tommorrow. It's not that big a deal. At least they don't have to be notarized like the G-28. It just doesn't take much to send me over the edge these days.

2. They spent the day organizing birth mother portraits today. I don't know when ours is yet. I am hoping to find out tommorrow.

3 I suspect I have been resubmitted for new birth mother certifications since my paperwork expires. I think that usually takes a month. This part hurts. Another month of nothing! Will we even have DNA by the NEXT TRIP?? Oh PLEASE let it be soon!!

4. We got a letter from our agency. Here's what it said.

Dear Families,
We wanted to address with you, on a whole, the chaos that has been the problems with the US Embassy in Guatemala City the last couple of months. We are aware that there are emails from the Embassy stating things contradictory to what has been relayed to each of you about the rejections and process occurring there.
We respect the work the Embassy does in protecting children from unethical adoptions and we know that they are a necessary part of the Process. However, the people that send the email from the embassy expressing the guidelines for cases and stating that some things have never occurred are not the people at the window where documents are accepted/rejected.
We are disturbed that the Embassy is stating a new consent was never asked for and that there was never data lost from their computers forcing some proxys to reregister; or stating that studio pictures have always been required. We are checking with Bolanos to see if there is any way they can email us some of the rejections so that we can share those with you as a group and let you see that what we have been reporting to you IS happening. We will let you know on that as soon as we hear back.
We appreciate that many of you have been contacting your senators and congresspersons offices and we hope you will continue to do so. We do our best to keep you updated and we understand the frustration that comes with more “bad news” or contradictory news. International adoption, especially from Guatemala, is such a stressful and emotional process. We just have to know that in the end any stress, delays, frustrations, etc.. are so so very worth it because it means a forever home for a child.
We hope you can hang in there with us!

Well I guess we'll see. My emotional status- POOR!! That's right ladies and gentlemen..... A VERY BAD DAY. It's not that I'm not trusting God.... What is it???
We are having to make all kinds of stressful decisions about visits and money. We are visiting Zoe as a family in April. We originally thought pick up might be in late April or early May. Right now it appears that the earliest Zoe could realistically be home is the end of June. It is more likely that it will be July or even August. If things begin to move more quickly and it looks like she will come home in June then I will just go pick her up by myself. Then we may be able to still scrape up the money for the family vacation. If not then it gets tricky. Russ thought I should just visit by myself in June so that we could save money in case this stretches out REALLY badly and we need to visit even more times. I just know that would break Zoe's little heart. She LOVES Russ. I think she likes him even more than me. :0)
So I told Russ I think if Zoe can't come home in June we should all just go visit and then we can save enough for the pick up trip. I would go alone in the pick up trip which we would just hope and pray was no later than August. If it was later we would have issues. I say we just have to cross that bridge when we come to it. I don't want Russ to not see his daughter for 4 months. He acts all tough now but I know it would make him so sad when I got on that plane. Not to mention the racket I would hear from Kaitlyn- "I want go on plane go see Zoe. I go on plane and bus and I see my sista. I share my toys wit her mommy. PEEEASSE" (she calls the hotel shuttle a "bus") Adorable I know. I can't resist it. Russ agreed with this plan even though he's concerned. It was just stressing me out too much. I know we are thinking about this early but we have to know what to prepare Zoe for mentally. She hinges so much on these trips. She marks off every single day on her little calendar just waiting for us to be there.
We are also going to have to cancel the English tutoring. I am so glad she has had it and I think it has been so good for her confidence. Her teacher is so sweet and really wonderful with the girls. I just think it's more important to save the money for visits. We just weren't expecting this wait. I do think she has gotten a lot out of it. I'm grateful for that.
So let's just pray she comes home in June. A couple of months ago I just KNEW she would be home in April. I felt sure of it. Now I am hoping and PLEADING for June and not at all confident that it will happen.
So it's just hard to adjust all my thinking. To accept that she's really not going to be here this summer. That I probably shouldn't go ahead and buy her season pass to Sea World. No hurry on getting her room done. That she won't be doing all the wonderful summer things that I just knew we would all be doing together. More limbo and what ifs..... I HATE LIMBOOOOOOOO!
So here's to acceptance. I feel a little better now that I know we will make a family trip in June if she doesn't come home. PHEW!
I think I'm just grieving the loss of what I thought I would have this summer. I'll be fine. It's just taking time to process. I seem to have passed the stages of shock, denial, anger... now I'm working through depression towards acceptance. Oh yes. I DID google the stages of grief today. I know I'm a freak. I've accepted that. Just go with it. Angel's lost it.
It just seems that I hit this spiral every time I get another major delay. Since that is happening- well constantly it makes for a pretty wildly emotional Angel. I feel like I'm getting better at handling it but I'm no saint. Just ask my poor hubby. He is handling it beautifully by the way. He is so good to me with my stress. I frequently gripe at him for no particular reason and he just says he's sorry. The house doesn't get cleaned up- there's no groceries... he never says a word. Just tells me to relax and cleans up himself and orders a pizza. He's ordered pizza twice just this week. I love that man. I really don't know what I'd do without him.

Good news on the Kaitlyn front. I think we are getting much closer on the potty training thing. I've never pushed it too much and she is really getting the hang of things. Hmmmm... no one in diapers. That sounds pretty nice. She has a new obsession with calling people. I want to call this person and that person. If I'm on the phone and she doesn't get equal talk time it is not pretty!! These days she also seems to think that whenever daddy is on his way home- well "My daddy bring me a pizza!!" Yep, that's how bad it is folks. She is OBSESSED with Disney princesses. She thinks- no wait she KNOWS that she is a princess. She often refers to herself as Princess KK. MmmmHmmm. She is quite the princess. Today she went potty in the "big" potty and then clapped her hands and yelled "YEAHHH!!! I poop in the potty just like a princess!!" I'm so proud.

Oh I just got new picture of Zoe. What do you know? She's just as cute as she was last week. Love that little chick! I also got her "developmental report." This thing CRACKS ME UP every single month. This one is actually MUCH better since we started commenting that they weren't at all age appropriate. The first one was like- drinks milk, can sit unassisted, sleeps this many hours. It was way off. Lisa and I always read our girls reports to each other and just laugh. This poor doctor is obviously used to seeing only babies. I don't even think he remembers what a seven year old is supposed to be doing. Just read...

Mirna Araceli, has a very tranquil character, 7 year, takes milk, consumes 5 daily glasses of milk, awakes to the 8:30 AM, has breakfast to the 10:00 AM, walks well, runs, rises and bends down jumps, stacks 2 objects, utilizes the spoon, gets a book and puts it on the table already pronounces from 5 to 6 parts Of her body, takes part of a simple conversation, answers when you ask simple questions- for example: do you want lunch, indicates objects and names them, aid with simple tasks as: collects toys, uses prayers from 2 to 3 words regularly, jumps, runs, uses a good balance, the girl is very healthy and active.

She walks well.. AND can stack two objects!!! WOW!!! Hee hee. When I got the first report I hadn't met her yet. It kind of freaked me out. I was thinking ummm she can only stack two objects?? Of course I know now she is quite on target even though we would have loved her just as much if she COULD only stack two objects!! Anyway, I look forward to these reports now. It's cute! Stay tuned next month to find out- does Mirna use a fork too???

Till Next Time, Angel












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March 01
A gift for you.
Ok... There is a little present for all of you who love Zoe at the end of this blog.

NO WAIT!!!!!!!! NO CHEATING!!!!
It won't mean as much if you don't what it is about.
Well if you don't have much time at least read the song lyrics before you go to the present.. :0)


Today I found out a lot of BAD NEWS... My heart is very calm but sad. So let's just begin the list.

1. They rejected my paperwork at the embassy again today

2. I am fairly certain that my paperwork is now expired. It will take approximately a month to redo this.

3. I recieved some news from my friends' Senators and congressmen. I will post both of them below. Both of them contacted the embassy and recieved communication back that makes me strongly wonder if this is our lawyer's lack of attention to detail at fault.

4. My new friend, Valerie is coming home today without her little Henry. Issuing her birth certificate was supposedly denied. I didn't even know that could happen. She has had such a hard process and now this. She has been with sweet Henry for weeks at the Marriott just waiting to bring him home. Now she has to leave him until this finally ends.

I can't go into the details of my feelings or suspicions in such a public forum but it stinks. It hurts... Let's just say I'm beginning to believe that these rules have been in place for a long time and weren't enforced. Some lawyers followed them anyway and some cut corners. Now they are being enforced and the cut corners lawyers are out in the dust. It's just my theory for the day.

This news pretty much seals that Zoe won't be home anywhere near when we thought she would be. It means a lot more money paying to go to see her. It means she most likely won't be the second flower girl in her uncle's wedding. It means we probably won't have her for most of the summer. It means we will be canceling our vacation that we've been saving for because we will be visiting Guatemala again and returning without our baby girl. It is painful.

Here are the two letters from the Senators offices. OKAY!! You can skip this part if you aren't interested but I know my adoption buddies want to read them.

I just received a response this afternoon from the embassy in Guatemala in regards to our request for them to allow the use of the digital photos that are already in your file. The embassy’s response simply states,

“Dear Mr. Stover,

Unfortunately, we cannot accept digital or scanned photos. We must have recent Studio fotos of Biological Mothers and Children

Regards,

The Adoptions Unit (pao)
U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service”

Here is the second letter

I have forwarded your letter to both the State Department and the adoptions unit. Everyone concerned certainly understands your frustration and urgency in trying to bring your daughter to the United States. However, the appropriate official in the adoptions unit has responded to your concerns and will not be able to waive any existing or new requirements you outlined for the reasons stated below (in red). The adoptions unit primarily is charged with protecting minor children, the adoptive parents, and the birth parents where applicable. At times the adoption requirements are revised to meet these overriding concerns, and very unfortunately, you and your child have gotten caught in the middle.

Dear Ms. Armstrong,

First we would like to thank you for contacting us with this case, because it gives us the opportunity to explain the Guatemalan Adoption process.

As you know for the adoption to be completed it must comply with U.S. law. This sometimes causes delays on some cases. This is due to "shortcuts" taken by some attorneys or proxy representatives. While it is true that some changes are being carried out in the procedure it is also true that some of the mentioned changes are not new, but they are now being enforced. The reason this is happening is to protect all parties involved in this process, mainly the adoptive parents and the adopted child.

I will endeavor to answer the Letter from Mr. and Mrs. Jordan in the same order they present their problems.

1.-It is true that I-600s and G-28s are now requested to be typed and the reason for this is very simple, we must be able to read and understand the information they contain.

2.- It is also true that certified copies of the birth certificates have always been requested, this is due to bad quality copies and certain fraudulent copies that were presented.

3.-There are no "new consents" for the birth mothers, the adoption unit has required the adoption consents for a very long time, with standardized wording. Why is it so important? because it can prevent problems for the adoptive parents at a later date when they have had the child for a couple of years and then the birth parent decides they want their child back. We have to make sure that the birth parent understands that by relinquishing their child they will no longer have any rights at a later date.

4.- There are no "numbers" to come into the Embassy. We have recently heard that some runners decided they were going to organize a list but as of March 6 this will no longer happen. Starting March 6, 2006 there will be only one line and it will be a first come first serve basis. Furthermore there was no crash in the system, if the attorney was requested to register it is because they had not registered before.

5.- Photos for birth mothers and adoptive children have always been studio, we do not know who said they had to be digital or scanned. The problem with digital or scanned photographs is that they tend to look "touched up" or are bad quality. Again this is a security based decision, we must be able to identify both the biological mother and the child.

We sincerely regret that enforcing these requirements has delayed some cases. As for Mrs.. Jordan's request that these requirements be waived in her case, we regret to inform you that we are unable to comply. The I-600A is valid for 18 months and if it needs to be renewed, the Jordans will need to contact their local office.

We are also including information that will help you to better understand the Guatemalan adoption process.

Please feel free to contact me again once the revised application has been submitted, and I will be more than happy to follow up with the adoptions unit on your behalf.

Sincerely,

Carol A. Armstrong
Immigration Counsel
Office of Senator Elizabeth Dole


So all of this today and I am okay. I found out and I cried and then I gave it to God. I had to choose to trust that He is still in control. Although the answer to my begging and pleading to bring my little girl home has been not yet- I will praise Him. If it weren't for this faith I am confident I would lose my mind. I do have faith that God loves all of our little ones more than we do. That He cares for each of and will be faithful in His perfect time.

Last night my dear friend Wendi e-mailed me the lyrics to a song. She said she thought of me. YES! YOU DO HAVE TO READ THEM!! :0) They are what God is asking of us through these moments in our lives. As soon as I read them I knew I needed to make this gift today.
I want to dedicate this blog and this gift to all of us who are in a storm. Some of us are in an adoption storm but many of us are in a different kind of storm. Whatever your storm is I hear God saying to you.. I'm still with you. Praise Him In This Storm...

Read these lyrics then click on the link and you'll get your gift.

I was sure by nowThat You would have reached downAnd wiped our tears awayStepped in and saved the dayBut once again, I say "Amen", and it's still rainingAs the thunder rollsI barely hear Your whisper through the rain"I'm with you"And as You mercy fallsI raise my hands and praise the God who givesAnd takes awayI'll praise You in this stormAnd I will lift my handsFor You are who You areNo matter where I amEvery tear I've criedYou hold in Your handYou never left my sideAnd though my heart is tornI will praise You in this stormI remember whenI stumbled in the windYou heard my cryYou raised me up againMy strength is almost goneHow can I carry onIf I can't find YouAs the thunder rollsI barely hear You whisper through the rain"I'm with you"And as Your mercy fallsI raise my hands and praise the God who givesAnd takes awayI lift my eyes unto the hillsWhere does my help come from?My help comes from the LordThe Maker of Heaven and Earthby Casting Crowns

Here is the link. Click on it for your gift.

http://russandangel.com/memories/Faiths%20Journey%20-%20Gods%20Heart_0002.wmv


Love,
Angel

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February 27
No Huge News....
My lawyer recieved my new paperwork today. They apparently went to the embassy to get a new number. They are going to try to resubmit my paperwork with the digital photo again. It seems that some clerks at the embassy are letting people through just fine. Others are being very picky. This just shows how unorganized and ridiculous the whole thing is.

I tried to follow up with Tom Delay's office today. I haven't heard back yet. I am truly hoping that they call tommorrow. I feel certain that it will go so much better for us if they call before we get resubmitted. I have a feeling maybe we will get resubmitted tommorrow.

I guess we'll see. My emotional status- fair... I went to my bible study today which took every ounce of my strength. You adoption mommies know why. THERE'S NO COMPUTER at bible study. How am I supposed to refresh obsessively??? Anyway I went and I did pretty good. Well.... just don't ask me how I am doing with things or I'll cry and snot all over you.
Okay well you can ask just be prepared!! :0) Poor Rebekah found that out the hard way today. I thought I was fine and then NIAGRA FALLS BABY! It's good though. I guess you gotta let it out. I am so blessed to have friends who care enough to listen and just love on me during the tough stuff.

I pray I have something exciting to share with you tommorrow friends.

Hugs,
Angel

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February 25
God's Own Time
I have recieved so many encouraging e-mails full of God's truth lately. I so appreciate these e-mails. Thank you. Debbie sent me this one. Thanks girl.

Time Zones and Faithby John Fischer
Our thought for today comes from a woman who has had more difficulties to deal with than a lot of us put together. That is why she has a right to say what she says, and why we should take notice when she says it.
“I know discouragement comes easy, but I also know things happen when God is ready for them to happen and not a second sooner. God knows why he wants things to happen in the order they have to. We just need to be ready when they come.”
This is a woman in a complex situation seeking to hold onto a childlike faith while displaying an adult-like wisdom. What she's saying is that she has recognized there are two different time zones going on when it comes to correlating God's will and our experience. One I'll call My Desperate Time (MDT) and the other, God's Own Time (GOT).
Most of us run on MDT. MDT defines our reality. It's what we see and feel always. We are conscious of it the minute we rise up in the morning until we put our weary heads on the pillow at night. We measure pleasure and pain by it; we judge our overall state-of-being by it.
God, on the other hand, exists in another time zone entirely. In GOT, His will is always done, and nothing is ever late. GOT also takes into account the MDT of everyone, which can often get tangled up. You see there are as many MDT zones as there are people, and that means they can often be in conflict. But with God there is never any conflict. There is only one GOT and as far as He is concerned, everything is right on schedule.
This is why it is utterly silly to wonder if God has heard our prayers based on whether or not He has acted in MDT. God always hears our prayers -- He has most likely already answered them -- he just answered them in GOT.
Most of our issues with God are all about time zones. Think about the hapless Bible character, Job. Job was smack in the middle of MDT all the while he was suffering, and his best friends were trying to figure out why God wasn't doing anything in MDT. Well, we know now that God rarely does; He is always in GOT and we can see that now, in Job's case, because his life ultimately caught up with GOT. Eventually, all MDT will be GOT. In fact, that will be what heaven is all about. We will all be kicking back in God's Own Time.
So faith is mostly all about time zones. When you pray, know that you were heard, and move ahead, believing in GOT and just maybe, MDT won't be so desperate.

:0) Angel

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February 24
I count as many scars as successes on the journey to my Dream.
The way of the Dreamer is difficult- but anything less is hardly living at all! In fact, I've discovered that it's the only way you and I can find true fulfillment and become all that God created us to be. "The Dream Giver"

I arrived home last night happy and completely exhausted. I immediately pulled up my e-mail praying for good news. I saw an e-mail about my paperwork and my heart jumped into my throat. Maybe, just maybe it was good news...

Hello Families,

I’m sure the past two days of Embassy updates have felt like a rollercoaster rides. We have another update to share- this one being the most aggravating- if that’s possible. Although this new request is not set in “stone” we want all our families to be aware and prepared. We had four cases that were submitted to the Embassy today with all four receiving rejections. Listed below is the Embassy’s reason for the rejections and the new request:
*******************************************************************************************************************************************************

All four of your cases were able to get to the Embassy window today and the Embassy rejected them and asked for a newer picture of the birthmother with each file and said it can not be taken with a digital camera it has to be taken in a studio.

If this happens to any other families we will of course contact you immediately. We continue to ask our families to please let your Congressperson know about the delays…and if the above happens to your case to please ask your congressperson to contact the Embassy and demand that the digital photos already with the files be accepted.

Tami and both would love to share better news with you all. We understand how upsetting this is and we definitely share your feelings of disappointment. We will continue to keep you updated.

I also got this e-mail... Oh the joy!!

This email is going to 4 families. All four of your cases were able to get to the Embassy window today and the Embassy rejected them and asked for a newer picture of the birthmother with each file and said it can not be taken with a digital camera it has to taken in a studio.

This is really outrageous. Please let your Congressperson know about this latest request and ask them to contact the Embassy and demand that the digital photos already with the files be accepted.

I am sorry to keep having to give you more bad news; the Embassy delays are extremely frustrating for everyone.

I also found out that the embassy scribbled all over two major pieces of documentation so that we could not resubmit without redoing them. The 1600 and the G28. I also found out that our certifications are about to expire because of all these ridiculous delays. They are only good for 45 working days. See below for a description of what this is..

The attorney works on gathering any additional paperwork that is needed for the family court and DNA process to be initiated. Depending on what paperwork is needed this can be another 3 to 6 week process. A certification of the birth mother’s and child’s birth must be obtained for DNA and has to be recent. The certifications are only good for a small amount of time before they expire and the attorneys have to request a new one. This is a common delay in gathering DNA paperwork.

So if this paperwork expires it will mean an additional delay on top of the delay of 3-6 weeks. Organizing all the birth moms to come into the city and take professional non-digital photos would also mean 1-2 months of work. THIS IS UNBELIEVABLE!!!!

I'll be honest with you. I was so exhausted last night. I just felt like hiding under a rock. I started thinking, "What have I gotten myself into?" This is much harder than I bargained for. Sometimes I wonder if I'm up for it. Sometimes it sounds appealing to have a nice normal bordering on boring life. Then I pictured my little Zoe with no one to love her and I knew that God had given her to me. Yep, it's harder than I thought it would be. It was just as surprising when my little Kaitlyn was born. SURPRISE! She was in the NICU not able to breath for the 1st ten days she was alive. SURPRISE! She had to have major skull surgery when she was 9 months old. That is supposed to be the "safe" route. Get pregnant, have a baby. Then you KNOW what to expect right??? WRONG!! Is being a mommy to Kaitlyn more than I bargained for??? Yep, and worth every crazy minute. Is being a mommy to Zoe more than I bargained for? UH HUH and worth every second....
So I sprang into action. Okay well I didn't really SPRING into action. I kind of HOBBLED into action with some crying- okay a LOT of crying in between. We contacted our congessman, Tom Delay's office. They were very friendly and seemed willing to help. I am hoping and praying that they will call the embassy Monday morning. This was our letter of request that Russ faxed...
My wife (Angel Weir) and I are constituents in the Sugarland area and weare in the process of adopting a 7-year old girl from Guatemala - MirnaAracely Gutierrez. We are attempting to obtain authorization to processthe birth mother's DNA. Unfortunately we have faced numerous delays (2months) at the US Embassy due to new policies issued over time withoutnotice. The latest change is that the Embassy, which has always accepteddigital photos of the birth mother in the past, now requires studio photosin order to get DNA authorization. As you can imagine, this will beexpensive and difficult for a mother that is giving her child up due topoverty and who doesn't have the same labor law benefits afforded in theUnited States.As our paperwork approaches expiration during the next week, we aredesperate for your assistance in moving our case forward. Please contactthe US Embassy and request that the recent ruling regarding photos of thebirth mother be dropped or take effect with sufficient notice.Additionally, we would like a letter stating that we have permission toresubmit immediately and that we be provided an extension for paperworkexpiration due to the several recent delays caused by the US Embassy andrecent rulings issued without notice. It is our understanding that thereis precedent supporting such requests.The delays that we have faced due to US Embassy error are listed below.1. US Embassy issued new requirement that all documentation be typeddespite the fact that forms themselves state that they can be handwritten.2. US Embassy computer error wrongly denied that our Attorney's proxy wasregistered even though he has been registered for years.2. US Embassy unnecessarily marked through our Forms G-28 and I-600requiring us to re-notarize and re-submit this paperwork.Our daughter greatly wants to return with us during our next trip to visither. Your assistance in this matter is greatly appreciated.

We also sent them a lot of back up documentation on what's been happening and had to sign a privacy act release form. That allows them to act on our behalf.
The next step was to retype our 1600 and G28 and get the G28 notarized. We decided to go ahead and send extra copies typed, signed and notarized in case they decide to scribble on more of our paperwork!!! I HIGHLY reccomend this to any of you stuck in this same yuckiness. We then went to Fed Ex and paid and arm and half a leg to get the new paperwork to Guatemala by Monday morning.

PLEASE PRAY FOR OUR LITTLE GIRL!!! This is getting so hard on her sweet little heart. She is so brave but I am so tired of her having to be brave. I just want her to be a little girl. I have to trust God to know what her heart can handle. We are praying that God will make a way for her and for all the little ones stuck in this process. I believe if God can soften Pharaoh's heart then he can certainly soften the hearts at the embassy. You know that old gospel hymn- Let my people go!!! I keep singing to myself - LET MY BABY GOOOOO...... Hee hee. So cheesy I know. Whatever keeps me smiling these days.

I will write more about the trip soon and post the rest of the pictures. There is so much more to tell. It was so wonderful. Getting to know Zoe more and more is such a blessing. She is something so special. The best risk we ever took. This is hard. No one ever said it would be easy. I guess changing the world can be tricky. Yet I know in my heart that is what God is calling all of us to do. Each of us in our own unique way.
I want to thank all of my Proverbs 31 Bible Study Ladies (and their hubbies :0) for praying for us today. You are true friends! Also to all of you- some I don't even know- who care so much. You care enough to read, to write a note, or to pray. I have never seen a more blessed little girl than Zoe. That is because of all of you.
Sincerely with Love,
Angel




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February 21
Okay So This Made Me Cry.
Well, I've been doing good about everything. I'm still okay but just holding on to it by the tips of my bitten to nubs fingernails. I recieved this letter today. Wualfredo is in charge of our stuff. Soooooo...... It's been seven weeks now. Seven weeks. Okay. I'm going to keep on trusting. Keep calm.


Dear Families,

We know you have been anxiously awaiting updates concerning the U.S. Embassy. Today we received word from Bolanos that the Embassy required that the cases be split into groups based on the proxy (something we weren’t aware of). Bolanos was able to get a group to the window for the families that have WUALFREDO LEONEL CEBALLOS PEREZ however they were rejected because the Embassy said he needed to reregister. Bolanos was informed that the Embassy has been experiencing computer problems and they lost a lot of their data- many proxys have been told that they aren’t registered and are now having to reregister with the Embassy. Once the proxy (Wualfredo Perez) has reregistered he will still have to get a new number and stand in line again etc..

We share your frustrations with this news and we encourage all of our families in the DNA process to contact your senators/congressman and file a complaint. As you know a meeting with JCICS and the US Embassy in Mexico City is suppose to take place sometime soon. We are hoping this will help resolves the problems and delays with the US Embassy in Guatemala.

The other proxy for some of our families is JOSE JORGE GRANADOS MAYES. We are currently waiting for “his” paperwork to get submitted to the Embassy- we believe it will be this week and will send you confirmation as soon as we can


I think the combo between knowing that our visit is drawing to a close and getting this news has really hurt. OUCH! Ughhhhh...

On the bright side. I have two beautiful sweet daughters. Tonight Zoe told me she loved me in ENGLISH!! No prompting. She also got on the phone and told her Daddy she loves him in ENGLISH! What a moment. I have never pushed the issue. Okay. I do tell her I love her like 400 times a day but never asked her if she loved me. She has told me before but it was with her foster mother saying, "Tell your mommy you love her." Or her foster sister playing let's say I love you right next to her. It just didn't count in my book. Tonight counted.

Every moment feels more calm and natural in the way we interact as a family. I am so grateful that we have this special time to bond. I didn't even know how important it was. I mean I knew but I can see it now. I see the way Zoe is trusting and growing and becoming calmer and happier with each day we spend together. God knows what her heart needs. I need to trust that. Her hugs are becoming more natural like Kaitlyn's rather than full of need and insecurity.

She and Kaitlyn are so precious. They are growing so close to each other. Zoe is so amazing and gentle with her. Today in the pool Kaitlyn was splashing Zoe and Zoe would splash her back but make sure it didn't get in her face. She would do the littlest splashes. It was so kind.

Goodnight All,

:0) Angel

PS Just added a photo album

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February 20
Playing Catch Up!
Well both of the girls are napping so I'm going to blog a little. It's been so much harder for me to get the time and energy to blog this trip. I think it's because I have both of them. Plus we've been doing a lot more fun stuff this time. Last time we were in the room a lot more.

Daddy Left- Daddy just had to leave about an hour ago. Sweet Zoe was acting strange. I asked her if she was sad. She shrugged me off and said no. I asked her to come sit in my lap and she shook her head. I said, Come over here please." She sat in my lap and I told her that I was sad that Daddy was leaving and that it's okay to feel sad. She immediately burst into tears and they rolled down her precious little cheeks for a good half an hour. Poor sweet girl. She definately went into the grieving cry this time. That was the first time this trip which is a huge difference. Last trip we had grieving almost every day. I just held her and snuggled her up to me. Sharon (our old translator) showed up in the lobby to meet someone. She rushed over and translated for me. I asked her to explain that her Daddy loves her and will always come back. We told her how many weeks it would be until he would return. Sharon explained to her that it is okay to cry and feel sad. That we are glad she was letting it out. After a little while she calmed down. We came to the room and she played a little. Then I put them both down for a nap. I know she is exhausted. Our little Zoe has to learn that we won't abandon her. She has already been left and hurt in her young life. We will ALWAYS come back. She just doesn't know that deep in her soul yet. She now believes we love her but will we always be there? Yes...yes..yes...

The Birthday Fiesta- The party was so sweet. Somehow we pulled off this celebration with the help of all invoved. We were celebrating for Zoe, Lidia (being adopted by Lisa who was also visiting) and Es....... (a waiting child at Dillon who does not have a family yet) None of these girls has ever had a birthday party before. Their faces and their joy was worth all the effort we threw into it. Everytime we would even mention the "fiesta" Zoe would run up and hug us. There were lots of children from there church and other foster families they know. What a precious crowd. As the party progressed a little pumpkin toddler girl got quite attached to Russ. She had the face of a little cherub!! I found out she does not have a family. Russ immediately said, " I WANT TO TAKE HER HOME TOO!" I know... I feel the same way. All of them are so precious. Little jewels. What will we do?? I can only plead with God to lead them to their homes. Through the evening they played pin the tail on the donkey, beat up a pinata as big as me, ate lots of dulces (sweets) and opened their many gifts. Afterwards they took off those party clothes and dove into the pool! What a memory for all of them. For all of you who sent gifts and cards THANK YOU from the bottom of my momma's heart. You helped me make this a birthday to remember. The little girl Es.... with no family was so thrilled with everything. All the girls were lit up with bubbly joy. 3 little princesses. Reflecting the way God sees them. The way they should be treated. I am honored to give them that moment in time.

Antigua- Saturday we went to Antigua. It was a large and wonderful group. We had Russ,me, Kaitlyn, Zoe, my momma, the foster mother, the foster father, their two bio kids, the foster sister Lidia, her adoptive mommy Lisa, her adoptive sister Brianna, Es.... the waiting child and Hugo our tour guide!! Antigua is a BEAUTIFUL place. If you come to Guatemala take the time to go there. It is an old quaint little village surrounded by valcanoes. It used to be the capital of Guatemala but was destroyed in the 1700s by an eruption. It has been restored and is truly a work of art. Our tour guide is a precious man. He speaks English and is so kind. If you need someone trustworthy to take you on a tour or escort you please write to me and I will give you his info.

After touring all the sites we hit a couple of the markets. I took Zoe shopping for special items to go in her room. We picked out things that would blend with her diva princess decor. It is important that she have things in her room and our home that remind her of her roots. Tangible evidence that we honor her culture. That little chick has good taste! I say that because she liked all of the same things I did. All right!! A shopping buddy! We found a couple of beautiful paintings to hang on her wall. They show the city of Antigua and the valcanoe. She also picked out a little hand made stuffed doll and horse to go on her bed, a beautiful handmade deep purple quilt and a little jewelry box. Oh yeah.. A cute little beaded purse that had NOTHING to do with her room but she just LOVED! :0)

The Girls- Zoe and Kaitlyn are so wonderful together. They are beyond sweet. Zoe has an amazing tolerance for Kaitlyn's temper tantrums and fussiness. She just takes it all in stride. She helps her so much. Shares her food, gets KK dressed and plays chase, bubbles, ring-around-the-rosy and peek-a-boo. Watching them is such a gift. I look at the leap of faith we made and know that this is what the dream was. This is what it was supposed to be. We're on our way.

This trip has been more like an amazing family vacation. Swimming, great food, playing together. It's such a blessing to have these moments. They help sustain us through the pain of the seperation.

Love,

Angel



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February 18
Great Times In Guatemala!!!
So sorry I didn't blog yesterday!! The past couple of days have been PACKED full of wild and crazy fun. The rest of the trip should be lower key. Let's see where to begin.....

The flight was great. Now that I kind of know the ropes it was much easier. It's less intimidating. We arrived at the hotel and got settled in. Sharon arrived a bit early so we got some time to chat with her. We also met Juan who will be our new contact at Bolanos. We will miss Sharon a lot but Juan seems very sweet! We also got to meet Valerie and her little Henry. He is 9 months old such a sweet cuddle bug. They are out of PGN now and almost ready to take him home. YEAH!!! My mom and Henry are crazy for each other. We also met Robin and her precious little girl. Robin and hubby are still working on her name so she has been dubbed "Sweet Baby" for now. She IS such a sweet baby!! She is 4 months and has cheeks that just keep going. SO CUTE! You just wanna squeeze her.

I wasn't sure how Zoe would feel this time around. She is so sensitive. So we decided that I would greet her 1st and my mom and Kaitlyn would follow. Soon my little Zoe Mirna came in. My mom hung back a bit with Kaitlyn snapping pictures. She saw me and her huge excited smile came across her face. She ran an gave me a huge hug. Her eyes were happy but nervous and kind of teary. It was as if her excitement had overwhelmed her. We began walking through the lobby and she and Kaitlyn spotted each other. I whispered to her, "Do you know who that is." She nodded and whispered back, "Me hermanita." (my sister) Kaitlyn yelled, "That's Zoe!" and started running through the lobby towards her. This, I suppose should have ended with her running into Zoe's arms and them hugging but no such luck. Kaitlyn ran up to her and then right past her!!! She then circled back and did her loop again. Overwhelmed looks very different on Kaitlyn than on Zoe! :0)

After that she spotted my mom. My mom gave her a little bitty wave and she waved back. As the minutes went by mom got more and more smiles. Now they are the best of buddies!! Zoe adores her "abualita."

We sat down and visited for a little while with Glenda (foster mom) and found out some really interesting information. The biggest news is that Mirna saw her Guatemala mommy and spoke with her at family court! I had no idea that Mirna would be there. Apparently because she is older she was required to be there and be interviewed by the social worker. So here's the scoop. Mirna was able to give her Guatemala mommy the photo album we made for her and the cross necklace. Mirna's Guatemala mommy told the social worker that she was happy and very at peace with her decision. She said she was glad to see that Mirna is happy and would never change her mind because she knows that she has a mother now. Wow! Glenda said that Mirna Zoe was nervous that her mother might change her mind. She was happy to see her though and even gave her some type of special book. When the social worker asked her to talk about her family she named us as her parents and Kaitlyn as her sister. Wow! This was such huge news for me. Here I was dreading a meeting that had already taken place! Not only that it sounds like it went amazingly well for everyone involved. Glenda said she thinks that Zoe's Guatemala mommy is truly happy for Zoe and does not believe she will take her back. Whoa....

The next thing was Glenda said that the mother stated Zoe's actual birthdate as Dec 10th 1999. WHAT??? She said that the birth mother didn't have the money to get the birth certificate done and when they printed it they put Feb 14th 1998. SAY WHAT?? OK I understand the whole wrong date but wrong year?? So now I have no idea. My suspicion is maybe Glenda is confused and she said Dec 10th 1998. That would make sense because then maybe she bought the birth certificate the following Feb 14th... I don't know though. Glenda seemed convinced. So now I don't know if she just turned 6 or 7!! I'm going to ask my agency to figure that one out on Monday.

We also found out that it will probably be a couple of weeks before we get DNA done. Ughhh.. There are so many cases piled up now and they can only submit 4 at a time. So we have to wait. So many people (like Robin and Sweet Baby) have been waiting longer that us and there are also children with medical issues that are considered. Sooooo.... hopefully those cases will be submitted on Tuesday and ours will be in a couple of weeks they are guessing. It still stinks but knowing that the mother seems so at peace helps me a lot with the waiting.

Durning this whole conversation my mom is taking pictures of the girls. Zoe is sitting there unsure of what to do. She looks at her photos over and over and over... Kaitlyn is up in her chair saying, " This is my sister. I want her to come to my house. I will share with her." She gave her hugs and sat by her and then would run away. Zoe was receptive and curious about this cute little critter assaulting her with love.

We soon headed up to the room and got settled in. Mirna Zoe was quiet for awhile but not upset. Maybe just a little timid. Soon enough she began to giggle and be my Zoe again. She and Kaitlyn at first weren't sure what to do with each other but as I sit here blogging I hear wild giggling behind me. They play and cuddle and love one another already. Zoe is so helpful and Kaitlyn loves her. I love to see them play. It is so sweet. Zoe is so kind and gentle with her. She speaks to her in Spanish as if Kaitlyn understands and sometimes I think she does. Other times she will just say to herself over and over in her little sing-song voice, "What Zoe say? She speak Spanish like Dora and Diego and who else?"

So far this appears to be a very different experience emotionally for all of us. It's a calmer more settled feeling. It's like loving your new tennis shoes but getting a blister because they don't fit yet. I guess we are broken in with each other. We aren't comfortable old slippers quite yet but that will come with time. Zoe hasn't had any major grieving spells. She has gotten upset about certain things. Tonight we wouldn't go to the pool because we have had a big day and it is cold and dark. She was not HAPPY WITH US! Mean mommy and daddy!! :0( She cried and pouted like a CHAMP but didn't go into the grieving cry. It's different. Trust me on this one! She recovered well and we went on like it was no big deal.

There is so much more that I want to share but I need to wait till tommorrow. I am about to post pictures of the birthday party. It was a fiesta to remember!!! There is also an album of random Guatemala fun. I want to write more but I'm tired and my brain isn't cooperating.

More tommorrow friends,

:0) Angel





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February 16
Soon I will be blogging about Guatemala... but first...
I just have to share with you my experience last weekend. WOW! It was nothing short of amazing. I went to this women's retreat with my church. I really wasn't sure what to expect. I knew I would have some girl time and that was the main draw for me. It turned out to be that and so much more!

I started out the retreat feeling confused and drained. My emotional life has been such a roller coaster these days. I don't have to tell you that. You read my blog. Sometimes I read it and think I SOUND LIKE A NUT CASE! I practically dragged Sarah to the retreat! :0) Thanks for coming with me girl! We arrive and I'm ready for some Kum-Ba-Yah campfire experience or something. I just didn't know. I had packed flip flops in prep for some community yucky shower and was bracing myself for huge rows of bunk beds in one big room. If you can't tell I haven't been to an adult retreat. I guess I have some trauma from youth camp which was fun but not the greatest accomodations!

When we arrived we were in this gorgeous log cabin style house right on the lake. It had 5 bedrooms, a kitchen and a sprawling back porch. It was nothing short of wonderful! The food was great and everything was so comfortable.

The speaker was Tara Barthel. She wrote this book called Peace Making Women. http://www.tarabarthel.com/ She has an amazing gift for speaking and is so authentic in her presentation and who she is. Whoa Baby! It was like every word she spoke dove so deep into my heart. She spoke about what God's word says about conflict resolution. What God's word says about our hearts and idols. Of course there was so much more but these are the two points that nailed me! I'll probably get it all wrong but I'll try my best to tell you the high points.

#1 As Tara spoke she talked about the two extremes that people often use to approach a conflict. The first approach is flight! They just run and hide or a similar approach. The other extreme is aggressive. To attack! God's approach is in the middle. She said when you use either of the extreme approaches you should think KYRG- Kiss Your Relationship Goodbye. WOW! This was a huge lightbulb moment for me. I realized that I am a flight kind of girl. I grew up an army brat. I moved all my life. When things got tough it was easy to just cut people out and wait for the next move. If I can't get rid of someone then ATTACK and dive into my foxhole.

Oh I know your thinking, "Not Angel!" She's so sweet. YEAH sure. Just ask poor Wendi. She's had to deal with me for years. Every time we get in a fight or just don't agree about something I figure our relationship is over. It's like mentally I just want to fly and hide. My defense mechanism. She's over there going, "Ummm Angel.. I think we can work this out." Here's me... "Uhhhh duhhhh we can???" Thank the Lord he gave me several friends I just CAN'T get rid of or I'd be in big trouble! Happy Birthday Wendi. Glad I haven't been able to shake you!

So lately I have lots of amazing new friends but I have felt myself holding them just short of letting them into my heart. It's like somewhere deep down I didn't want them to be too close. I was afraid we would have conflict and I would lose them. So I guess my BRILLIANT solution was to keep it shallow so we would never fight. Just be perfect and sweet Angel so you will never lose these amazing women in your life. I knew as Tara was speaking that I had to start doing it God's way. I am going to have to learn this. Think the best. LOVE people deeply. Overlook. Don't judge them. Don't compare yourself. Gently confront. SO COOL! God is a smart guy. I guess I should stop trying so hard to BE God and just do things His way! Which brings me to my next point.

#2 Loving Idols- OOOOHHHH... Sounds creepy right? I mean I don't serve idols right. I mean that's directly against what I believe. I believe in a God you can't see with your eyes. I believe He is the only God. I don't have any little statues I pray to but.. I have been struggling with idol worship. This one hit me hard.

Tara talked about how all of our hearts are created to worship. We WILL WORSHIP. It's just a matter of what we will worship. Will we worship God, ourselves, food, money or something else? An idol is anything we think about, pine over and can't give up. It is a demand our heart makes. I MUST HAVE IT.... EEEEWWWWWWW.. So maybe idols aren't so rare.

Let me be honest. I have already known I struggle with my food idol. Ohhh I want to love it, treasure it and don't want to give it up. Yuck! How sad. I've been working on that one. Giving it to God. I knew certain things could be idols but what about GOOD things- "GODLY" things. The answer is YES. A good thing can STILL BE AN IDOL!

So let's play a little game... Who can think of a good thing in Angel's life that she is obsessed with. It controls her. SHE MUST HAVE IT. Imagine Golum on Lord of the Rings. MY PREEECIOUS.... I loves it. I must have it.... It's MINE!! This is what my heart has been slithering towards about something very good. My little Mirna Zoe. This adoption. My heart has been tempted to turn from trusting and worshiping God to this adoption. It has been deteriorating me. Withering my heart. My MASTER...... Yuck. Nasty little heart.

Picture me as an Isrealite in the desert. God has delivered me from bondage. He has taken me from Egypt. He has parted the Red Sea for me in this adoption. He has provided the money. He has provided support. He has given me a beautiful daughter. Now we arrive at Mt Sinai. God says- "Let's rest. Take a break" Then He DARES to be SILENT for awhile. HOW DARE YOU!!! my heart screams! Have you forgotten me! Have you left me out in the desert to die??? If you love me why aren't you doing things my way? I guess I will just have to make my self a golden calf to worship cause' I can't understand You right now. I'm just going to gather all my gold and melt it down and bow. All my worry and fear and obsession about this adoption will be my golden calf. HOW COULD I BE SO TEMPTED??? How many times have I read the story of the Isrealites in the desert and thought "How can they keep turning from God after all they have seen Him do in their lives?" Yet here I am. I have seen God in my life in VERY REAL ways. Yet I am tempted to serve idols. I am turning from it guys. I won't serve and worship this adoption. It has turned me into someone I don't want to be.

As God nudged my heart and I turned towards Him I was amazed by what began to happen. I opened up to my friends. I told them what a wreck I was. I told them that I was afraid to be friends with them and that I was messed up but I wanted to be close to people. I told them about my yucky idols I'd been making on the side. Then they told me about their yuckiness and that they wanted true friendship too.

The rest of the weekend I experienced love and encouragement in a deep way. To encourage-to pour courage into someone's heart. WOW! They did just that. They shared with me what they see God doing in my life. They poured into me and loved me. I pray I did the same for all of them.

I walked away a changed woman. Wow.... Thank you Lord.

Love, Angel

PS Check out the new photo album of the retreat. Tommorrow I will blog about our visit to Guatemala!!!


















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February 13
You People Are Amazing!!
WOW!! What an amazing outpouring of love for Zoe! 2 pages of notes and birthday wishes just for my baby girl. I just know she will feel so loved and special. On top of all the notes on my blog I have recieved SO MANY cards and birthday gifts. Thank you! I am constantly overwhelmed with the supoort and love we recieve from you. My little Zoe Mirna is so blessed. I am so blessed. I do not take you for granted for one moment. It means so much.

I have so many things I want to blog about but no time right now. Soon I hope. This past weekend was amazing for me. It was a wonderful time with friends to refuel my tank. I'll share more soon but I have got to hit the hay!

No news on the adoption front. At the moment I am at peace with that.

Hugs, Angel

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February 10
Just a quick update.. AND HELP ME GIVE ZOE A GREAT GIFT!
I want to give Zoe a little photo album full of great wishes FROM ALL OF YOU!! I have translation software so if you write her a letter in English on my blog I can translate it into Spanish for you and give it to her. Then her foster mommy can read it to her whenever she wants. I hope it will make her feel that she is moving to a place where people love her and welcome her. All you have to do is leave her a note in the guestbook under the photo album on the right hand side of my blog. Just click on leave me a comment or message and go for it. I will do the rest. SHE WILL LOVE IT! Thank you so much for your help. It doesn't have to be long or flashy. She loves letters from people. A few of you wrote in Spanish to her while we were there in Dec. and it just tickled her pink!! Thanks!

Here is the update I just got-
Dear Families,
Another quick update on the US Embassy in Guatemala. Attorneys are still having a difficult time getting their cases in to the Embassy right now. Bolanos has not been able to submit any paperwork as of yet but we’re hopeful that it will be soon. Please rest assure that as soon as we have information we will let you know.

Well I'm going to be out of town for a ladies retreat this weekend. Wanted to give everyone an update before I leave. Yesterday and today I am feeling pretty good. I found out yesterday from my doctor that my thyroid levels are low again. My pregnancy with Kaitlyn got my thyroid all wacky so now I take medicine. Anyway it's dipped lower which explains part of why I have felt so tired and depressed. I just attributed it all to the adoption stuff. I know of course that I AM stressed, I HAVE to start paying attention. The doctor told me to call when I feel that way. Anyway, hopefully this will help a little.
Kaitlyn is awesome!! She is so happy and precious. Last weekend she went to a dance at our church with her daddy. I have GOT to load those pictures on the blog huh?? She was so excited and happy to go with her daddy to a "princess" dance!! Her latest surprise is that she is busting out with Spanish. Her favorite show is "Go Diego Go" right now. That is a spin off of Dora and they speak a lot of Spanish. The other day she was outside with her friend and they were playing. She climbed up the slide and started yelling "Ayudeme!! Ayudeme!!" (is that spelled right?) Anyway it means "Help Me!!" I didn't even know she knew how to say that! She says that she speaks Spanish like Zoe and Dora. SO CUTE! She just begs almost every day to get on a plane and go see Zoe. She'll get her wish very soon!!
My hubby is wonderful and supportive. He puts up with my emotional rollercoaster beautifully. I am so blessed to have him. He wrote me an amazing letter that made me cry and truly grateful. He is so great!

OK! I gotta run. Have a good weekend friends. Adoption buddies-try to stay busy!! This too shall pass. We'll make it through the yuck together. In the end we will have our children and this will be a distant memory. In the meantime we will become different people- hopefully better people. Here is my quote for the day.

The highest reward for a person's toil is not what she gets for it, but rather what she becomes by it.

Hugs!
:0) Angel



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February 08
Stacy's blog...
Stacy just got a horrible update from her agency about the situation at the embassy. Here is the short version of what they said.

We are now told that one of the messengers (NOT one of ours!!!!) told the clerk at the Embassy that some messengers are paying the guard to give them better numbers or to hold a good number for them for the next day. So, the Embassy said that they will no longer organize the whole "sign the log and get a number and wait and we will call the cases by number order". They said that they are out of that loop and that it is every messenger for himself! So now there are all kinds of lines being formed and I am sure there is no shortage of pushing and shoving and trying to get to the front of the line. In addition, they have changed one of the forms again and the offices are scrambling around to get the new forms filled in. No one can believe how unorganized the Embassy has become.

To get the whole scoop on it go to her blog.
http://waitingidjb.blogspot.com/
I expect that I will hear something from my agency soon. I'll post when I do. I'm sane but not much else.

Angel

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Proverbs 13- Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
OK, What HAPPENED to me?? I was doing so good! Yesterday I was fine. Then I started feeling VERY tired and I thought I just needed sleep... That didn't work. I feel spent, wiped, exhausted, so sad! Nothing is happening with our DNA. I don't have a clue when anything will. It's just so crazy hard. I keep praying and giving it to God. Ughhhhhh... I guess I keep taking it back!!! Proverbs 13 has been racing through my brain all day. Hope deferred... Well I can tell you I feel sick! I really feel like if we get through this DNA thing I'll feel more stable. I didn't feel this way until the delays got bad. It's the whole limbo knowing nothing thing. Thinking things will happen that don't happen. It's emotionally draining. How are all my adoption buddies? Hopefully you are having a better Phil 4 day than I am.



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February 07
It's a Phil 4 kind of day.

Dear Families,

Here is the latest news on the Embassy delays from Bolanos

As the day initiated yesterday we were able to get a new number and we currently have # 31. Now the problem is that the Embassy did not call any of the new numbers yesterday as they were still trying to finish up the list from Tuesday January 31 st. No numbers were issue on Wednesday Feb 1st nor Thursday Feb 2nd. As of this morning the Embassy it is still finishing up the list from January 31st; They did not issue any new additional numbers today and on the list they have approximate 130 people. This is for you to know exactly where we are with trying to get in and as of last week we have not been able to submit anyone.

The Joint Council on International Children Services (JCICS) has written a letter to the USCIS office in Mexico City that overseas the Guatemala City US Embassy documenting the complaints and delays that attorneys and agencies are facing. As soon as we have any more info on any cases being submitted we will let you know


WELL MORE LOVELY NEWS HUH???

My emotional status is pretty good today. There is really something to this Phillipians 4 stuff people. Read it, love it, live it. My circumstances have not changed yet I feel my heart changing. It's a good thing. Don't get me wrong. When I read this update it's like a hard core punch to the gut. Everyday is like getting punched in the gut lately. It's just the decision I make when it happens. Will I fold over and crumble? Climb between my sheets and cry? Tempting right now. I'm going to make another choice. I'm going with Phillipians 4 folks. (see last week's blog Feb 2nd if you are lost now) Deep breathing, a lot of praying, occasional crying then focus on the good stuff. What am I grateful for? What are the good things, the true things, the noble things that are happening in my life? Mirna is a part of all of those. Though the seperation from her is painful it is changing me inside. Helping me realize that I don't have to control things. That I don't have to manage everything. That I can never be perfect and please everyone. That's not what God wants from me. He just wants to be the first one I turn to. He is jealous for me. The adoption process is emotional open heart surgery people. We can either run from it and fight God or just let it happen. God wants to give me a new heart. One that's stronger because mine is so fragile. One that is trusting because mine has doubts. One that is joyful because mine has been wounded. There have been many things in my life that have changed me. Nothing has ever been this deep. I think I'm ready to just roll with it. Somehow when I turn to God with it I am able to rejoice in the middle of my pain. To glimpse the plan through God's eyes. Wow. Look what I've gained already. Every single one of you reading this blog. I had no idea how many people cared. I've made new friends that are so dear to me. I've gained a daughter. I am becoming MORE than I used to be. Whatever God is trying to do in you today roll with it. He is sending all of us to surgery because He loves us and we need new hearts or we will become selfish and bitter and hateful and die inside. It is painful but when we come through this we will be changed.

Psalm 51
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

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February 03
and the nightmare on Guatemala Street continues...
This is the update I recieved today....

A quick update on the US Embassy in Guatemala. It continues to be a major struggle to get any cases in to the embassy right now for DNA authorization, pre approval, or pink slips. The Embassy is being very difficult and they are still days behind on calling numbers for cases to be submitted. Yesterday, the Embassy required that the cover sheet (called an informative sheet) that gets submitted with any case or document must be typed. This has always been accepted as hand written as it just involves filling in the family name, child name, case number, and document being submitted. So they are redoing the informative sheets on each case we have waiting to go in. Also the Embassy has only been taking about 25 to 30 cases a day at most; when they are supposed to take up to 40 cases a day.

Dillon is collaborating with other agencies through JCICS (joint council on international children services) and finding that every agency is hearing the same complaints about the Embassy from their attorney.

I will keep you updated; that is the most we can do at this point until the process smoothes out at the Embassy.

Well.... It ain't looking pretty folks. It ain't lookin pretty. All across America adoptive mommies collectively sigh and say OH NO NOT FRIDAY!! Don't worry mommies. Monday will be here soon. TGIM!!!

Now not only is this effecting us poor DNAers and pre-approval junkies but the pink slip hopefuls too!!! This is going to get ugly soon if those people don't get their butties in gear. They are getting a whole lot of hormonal women REALLY UPSET!

My emotional status is fair to good. I had a nice fairly even keel day. OK well so I STILL checked my e-mail every ten minutes but I was calmer while I did it.

:0) Angel



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February 02
Some good news and thoughts on my willd and crazy life.
So first the good news. I found out today that the interview with Mirna's birth mommy did take place. This is a milestone and great news. Now it's only a matter of time till we are out of family court. Probably 3 weeks or so.

The bad news is that I still have no word on DNA. I have heard nothing since the letter I posted on Tuesday. My paperwork to get permission for DNA was supposed to be submitted Wed..... who knows....

So what does this mean you ask??? Well... Hard to say. Until we get our DNA results and pre-approval we can't move on to final court. Sooo we shall see.

More good news- Russ REALLY wanted to go to Guatemala to be at Mirna Zoe's party but didn't want to spend too much $ because it looks like we will need to make another visit. We decided that if we could find a GREAT rate on an airline ticket we would eat all spagetti this week and spend all our budget money on an extra ticket. We didn't figure this was likely since it is so last minute but I checked this morning and found that prices had suddenly fallen a LOT! Like $150 cheaper than the day before. So he's going to get to come for the weekend we are in Guatemala and her birthday party. This week we are eating spagetti and SO HAPPY about it. It brings me so much joy to have my family together for the first time. Guatemala here we come!


So how am I? Wellllll.... That depends on what minute you ask me. Some minutes I feel okay. Other minutes not so much. It's just that I feel that a chunk of my heart is in another country. I walk around with this deep ache. I don't know if I should feel this way. I'm not saying it's not "normal" or anything. I mean it seems like most adoptive mommies feel this way during the waiting part. I just don't think it's good for me or productive. I can't help thinking that I should be able to handle it better. So I've been thinking about that and praying and this is a scripture that keeps swimming around in my head.

Philippians 4

4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Some definitions

Rejoice-
to feel joyful, be delighted

Gentleness-
1.Considerate or kindly in disposition; amiable and tender.
2. Not harsh or severe; mild and soft
3. Easily managed or handled; docile
4. Not steep or sudden; gradual

Anxious-
Uneasy and apprehensive about an uncertain event or matter; worried.

Peace-
1.Freedom from quarrels and disagreement; harmonious relations
2.Inner contentment; serenity

So it's like it's saying

Be joyful in the Lord always. I will say it again: Be joyful! 5Let your Considerate or kindly disposition be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be uneasy and apprehensive about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the inner contentment of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Don't be uneasy. Don't be apprehensive about ANYTHING!!! Wow. This is a tough one for me. Well, my daughter is in Guatemala and I have no idea when she's coming home. All I've seen for the last month is delay after delay. WHY WOULD I BE UNEASY??? It's like I don't even know where to begin with this one ya know? How do you do that? Never be anxious about anything??? How am I supposed to do that?
The second part seems to be the key. Talk to God about it. Open your little monkey paws. :0) Give it to God. Ask Him. Then think about the good stuff. Don't concentrate on the stuff that's going wrong. Think about the good stuff. The wonderful things. Things that are noble and true. People that love you and what is great about life. Just try to do what God tells you to do and see through His eyes.

My vision- I am away from my little girl. It hurts.
God's vision- I am giving you a daughter. I've chosen her from the whole world to be a part of your family. It's just going to take a little time to get her home.

Would I change anything. NO WAY!! Am I sorry I started this. NOT A CHANCE!! Just sometimes scared and anxious.... It's a work in progress to be sure. Just wanted to share my half crazy heart.

:0) Angel

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February 01
In the Beginning...
"OH MOMMA"...Angel is here in the background say, "What are you going to say????? "What are you going to write?" All is well is what I say to her"


In The Beginning
Author: Angel's momma


Today I reflect back upon February 1, 1977, 29 years ago. Can I believe it has been that long? NO!!!!! Well...and Yes

So here we go:..In the beginnins: Mark (Angel's dad, my husband of 31 years) and I lived in Navasota, Texas. He was about to graduate from A&M. One day we looked at each other and just started talking about having children. We asked ourselves, "Is God wanting us to have a baby now?" We have a guideline in our marriage that we pray and wait to make decisions until God brings us in one accord like He did the believers in the book of Acts. Well, that day we prayed in our youth and innocense that God would give to us a little blue eyed, blonde hair girl. We never thought that we could't pray specifically that way...neither of us knew anything else but that we both had a desire for this little blue eyed, blonde hair girl. We believe to this day that God gave that desire to us. Very soon after that day, we found ourselves on the road to parenthood. In the process, we prayed for God to give us her name. One day I was in the process of testing children for their possible need for Speech Therapy. A little girl came up to me stating that her name was Angel. My heart felt stirred about that name..and everything in me was excited! I shared this with Mark we were both in agreement that was to be her name. We then agreed that we wanted her middle name to represent Jesus in some way...so her name became..."Angel Christine Foster" We didn't have sonograms available to us like they are now...so we didn't have proof that the baby was a girl...but we just knew in our hearts. Never did either of us really have a boy's name. Well, Mark found a little girl's dress with an apron on it...and on that apron was the writing "Angel Face". That is where we found the name the we still use with endearing feelings. Of course to her daddy..she is "Kermit" and Kaitlyn is now "Tadpole"...hummm...wonder what Mirna/Zoe will be?????

When Angel was born she was so beautiful. She was a short and fat little baby...with fair skin. She never met a stranger...and is still that way. God has given her such a big heart.

An example of that "HEART" is when we lived in Germany. Angel and I were in bed about to take a nap. At that time she was 12 years old. Well, I had just taught her how to seek God and how He would have her pray for that moment in time. And so she prayed, "God, I lay down my desires and imaginations and I ask you to show me how you want me to pray." Well, all of a sudden she began to cry in deep sobs. I asked her why and she said, "God wants me to pray for all of the abused children in the world." Soon after that experience, Angel began to be burdened that God wanted her to adopt children.

Now this brings me to our little Miran, Zoe. God in His providence gave us Angel's name from a little Hispanic girl, and now Russ and Angel are adopting a little Hispanic girl from Guatemala. How marvelous His ways are!

I wanted to take this moment to say Thank You to our Heavenly Father for giving to us such a gift in our Angel Face, Kermit...I love you dearly and deeply...

Happy Birthday precious gift of God

Love,
Momma

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Nightmare on Guatemala Street- Or whatever that street is where they have the US Embassy.... :0)
Sorry for the delay in updates... I thought something was wrong with my blog and then I realized something was wrong with me. BIG shocker I know! I was entering the wrong user name. Since my memory is SHOT I had to spend the better part of an hour trying to remember the info. BUT I"M BACK!!! Oh I know... Shouts of joy go up around the nation right??? Well maybe a few of you missed me anyway. :0)

Me not being able to blog was probably in your best interest anyway. My frame of mind has been "fragile" to say the least. I probably would have just depressed everyone and had nothing beneficial to say. Oh by the way... Sorry I haven't been quick responding to e-mails and comments. I've been having some e-mail issues too. I'm telling you. Arggg... I think it's worked out too.

So here is the latest. Our birth mother family court interview was supposed to happen yesterday. Right now we are told no news is good news since we would probably have heard if it DIDN'T happen and we should find out today whether it did for sure.

DNA- awwwww the continuing saga... Here is the latest. I was told my paperwork to recieve permission to collect DNA would be submitted today but you can see the struggle in the letter below. I feel so deeply for everyone caught up in this. Well except for those people at the Embassy. Maybe I should have some compassion or understanding or something. Hmmmmm... Nope I just want to punch someone and say very bad things to them . I'm going to work on that attitude... I am...

Well here is part of some info we just recieved this manana..

Good Morning! Many of you that are in process with a referral are waiting for your case or a document for your case to be submitted to the US Embassy for either DNA authorization, DNA pre approval, or pink slip.

Attorneys are having a very difficult time getting cases in to the Embassy right now. Because of all the new Embassy requirements that were given in Dec/ Jan (i.e. Typed I-600, new birth certificates, new birthmother consents..) many cases were rejected from the Embassy window, for every attorney, and this has caused a big backlog in the Embassy accepting cases. B..... has had someone line up at the Embassy from midnight to 8:00am and someone else that starts in line at 8:00am in an attempt to get an early number to get their cases in and for the last two days have not yet reached the window with the number they were given. Yesterday they had number 56..so that should give them much better placement today and they are hopeful to get some of our pending cases in. (remember the Embassy only accepts 40 cases per day total)

All of that to say that we do completely understand how frustrating it is to be waiting just to hear that your case or a document has been “submitted” – and to reassure you that 1) they are doing all they can to get cases in and 2) as soon as we hear that your case made it in L...... or I will let you know right away.

So there you go folks. That's the story.

Oh I got new pictures!! Today is my birthday so this was the perfect present... When I see that cute smile I know without a doubt why I will endure this mess. She is worth every second. She is a treasure- she deserves everything we can give her. We are so blessed to know her.

:0) Angel
































January 28
These words touched me deeply. They are my heart's anthem...
Our Greatest Fear
By Nelson Mandela quoted byMarianne Williamson from her book A Return to Love Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate,but that we are powerful beyond measure.It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us.We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant,gorgeous, handsome, talented and fabulous?Actually, who are you not to be?You are a child of God.Your playing small does not serve the world.There is nothing enlightened about shrinkingso that other people won't feel insecure around you.We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.It is not just in some; it is in everyone.And, as we let our own light shine, we consciously giveother people permission to do the same.As we are liberated from our fear,our presence automatically liberates others.



Dear Friends,
I believe with every fiber of my being that you were created to be magnificent. I believe you are a child of God. Today step into your majesty and do not shrink from what you KNOW in your heart. EMBRACE IT with courage. Courage doesn't mean not feeling afraid. It means doing something even when you are afraid. As you walk in courage your fear will fall away. You have a purpose. You are not an accident. I just knew I needed to say that today.....

Sincerely,
Angel


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January 26
This Is A Wonderful Breakdown Of The Whole Process If You Are Curious... It was VERY helpful for me. :0)
Process in Guatemala – Relinquishment Cases

Once the dossier is complete:
§ Papers go to Guatemala to be translated from English to Spanish which takes about two weeks.

§ After a child is born – his/her birth is registered at Civil Registry and a birth certificate is issued. The birth mother then signs over custody to the attorney or children’s home and the child enters foster care or the children’s home. The child is taken to a pediatrician for basic physical and (for newborns) for immunizations. The birthmother also sees a doctor to make sure she is fine and to have blood tests done.

§ When the above steps are completed the child will be referred for a family. Your family will receive the child’s name, birth mother’s name, basic physical information including a brief medical summary, the birth mother’s test results for syphilis, hepatitis, and HIV and a picture.

Once your family decides to accept the referral of that child the below process begins:

Ø Family is provided with Power of Attorney (POA) to authorize lawyer in Guatemala to act on your behalf during the adoption process. The POA must be signed, notarized, authenticated by the Secretary of State, and then stamped by the Guatemalan Consulate (same process as your dossier).

Ø When POA is done being processed it is sent to Guatemala

Ø POA and any other documents sent are submitted to an Embassy approved translator to be translated.


1. After translation is complete, The family’s POA’s & Dossier along with the child’s and birthmother’s papers are registered in the Guatemalan Government Foreign Affairs Office. It takes approximately three to four weeks for the Foreign Affairs office to complete the registration of the adoption and return the file to the attorney.

2. The attorney works on gathering any additional paperwork that is needed for the family court and DNA process to be initiated. Depending on what paperwork is needed this can be another 3 to 6 week process. A certification of the birth mother’s and child’s birth must be obtained for DNA and has to be recent. The certifications are only good for a small amount of time before they expire and the attorneys have to request a new one. This is a common delay in gathering DNA paperwork.

STEPS 3 -5 AND STEPS 6-7 HAPPEN IN ANY ORDER AND AT THE SAME TIME – BOTH THE DNA AND FAMILY COURT PROCESS MUST BE DONE BEFORE CASE CAN MOVE ON TO STEP 6 (PGN). THIS PART OF THE PROCESS (steps 1-5) CAN TAKE ANYWHERE FROM 3 TO 4 MONTHS.

3. Guatemalan documents needed for DNA (*Mothers HIV test, Birth certificate for the mother and child, Child ID and about 10 other documents) are gathered and when they are ready they are put with the family’s G-28, I-600, and I-171H and are submitted to the Embassy window, along with a consent from the birth mother, to request authorization for DNA testing to be done on the birth mother and child. If all is correct, the authorization document is given for the DNA test to be done. DNA Authorization is given by the U.S. Embassy and after the authorization is received by Dillon it is faxed to LabCorp to be marked as “Paid”. Then the “paid” Authorization is sent back to Guatemala so that an appointment can be scheduled for the DNA test is done by an Embassy approved doctor.

4. The samples are taken in Guatemala by an Embassy approved Doctor, and sent to LabCorp in the U.S. The actual DNA testing is done by the laboratory in the U.S. that is approved by the U.S. Immigration. The birthmother and child do DNA together and a picture is taken of them together. This usually occurs about two to three months after the POA’s have gone to Guatemala. A certified copy of the DNA match will be sent to Dillon International. A copy of the DNA match and a picture of the birthmother and child will be sent to the adoptive family from the lab.

5. Upon receipt of a DNA result confirming the parental relationship, the Embassy will either grant a “preapproval” to the case or refer it for further investigation. The Embassy may require an interview with the birthmother to confirm her consent that the child can be adopted by U.S. citizens. Once the Embassy has given “pre –approval” the case can move forward. (The Embassy usually takes about 3 to 4 weeks to issue pre-approval) If the family has not heard from the embassy 45 days after DNA match, then Dillon will have the family email the Embassy to inquire about pre-approval.

6. The lawyer submits all of the documents to Family Court and waits for the the case to be assigned to a specific court and to be assigned to a social worker with that court that will interview the birth mother.

7. A family court Social worker reviews the family’s dossier and sets a date to interview the birth mother as well as a date to see the child in foster care. The social worker then writes a report summarizing the facts of the case and attesting to the reasons that the birth mother can not care for her child. The Family Court social worker approves the adoption and the birth mother signs consent for adoption a second time. Then the case must be approved by the Judge in the Family court the case is assigned to and then the case is released back to the attorney.
____________________________________________________________

A CASE CAN MOVE ON TO STEP 8 WHEN IT HAS FAMILY COURT APPROVAL, DNA MATCH, AND EMBASSY PRE APPROVAL OF DNA.

8. The lawyer submits a petition for approval of the adoption case to a
notarial officer of the Attorney General’s office (Procuraduria General de la Nacion) of PGN. (Note: a notary in Guatemala is an attorney with additional powers, not simply someone who certifies a signature as in the US)

9. A PGN attorney is assigned to the case and PGN reviews everything, all of the documents, to make sure there are no mistakes or that there is anything false and checks out the family background history. PGN has anywhere from 20 to 30 business days to approve the case or ask for new documents. PGN often requests documents to be redone. Each time this happens the case is rejected (called a previo) it will go back in after the new documents are obtained. Each time a case goes back into PGN they have another 20 to 30 days to review it. PGN also can require the birthmother to appear before the court to give a verbal relinquishment. At least ONE rejection SHOULD be expected. PGN will issue a final approval for the adoption to proceed and be approved. The lawyer then meets with the birth mother for the final sign off giving her approval to the adoption by signing the final decree of adoption.


The following final steps take approximately 4 to 6 weeks to complete:

10. The adoption decree is written and issued by the lawyer, the birth mother signs the final decree and the child is legally now the child of the adoptive family.

11. The final decree must be approved by the Civil Registry in the municipality where the child was born. Once it is approved, A new birth certificate is then issued by that Civil Registry with the child’s first and middle name staying the same and last name changing to that of the adoptive parents. The municipality can issue rejections just as PGN can and ask for additional documents before they issue the birth certificate. This is not uncommon.

12. The Lawyer takes the new birth certificate to be translated to English by a US Embassy approved translator along with the final decree.

13. Once the translation is complete, The lawyer applies for a passport for the child and then usually the following day takes the necessary documents to the U.S. Embassy to submit for pink slip. The passport is generally issued within 1 to 2 business days

14. The Embassy authorizes the visa and issues an approval on pink papers called a “pink slip”. The pink slip is generally issued two business days (mon – thurs) after the lawyer submits the paperwork for it. The Embassy gives a specific date for the family to be there for the “visa appointment” (meaning the day you can file your I-600)

15. After the pink slip has been issued then the family can make their travel plans around the date given by the Embassy for the visa appointment.

16. Family must arrive at least the day before their appointment with the Embassy so there is time to take custody of their child and review the Embassy paperwork. They must then stay in Guatemala for the day of their appointment with the Embassy, and the following business day to pick up the visa. Families will be taken to the hotel via a shuttle; and their child will be brought to them there.

17. Child has usually already had their Embassy exit physical before the arrival of the family. If not then the child will go to the doctor the same day the family comes in if on a weekday.

18. Then your family will go to the Embassy to file their I-600 along with the other needed documents on your appointment date, and pay the visa fees to obtain a Visa for the child. This is where you will submit ALL papers. The Embassy will usually have you come back the next day to pick up the visa.

19. Once the Visa is given to your family, you are done and they can either fly home the next day or stay longer to sight see.

**If your 1st time to see your child is when you pick him or her up, then your child will be issued an IR4 visa in Guatemala which means that when your child enters the U.S. they will have Legal Permanent Resident status. Then after post placement is complete with your social worker each family needs to complete the re-adoption process in order that their child be granted automatic citizenship.

**If both parents (or the single parent) visited your child prior to PGN approval then your child will be issued an IR3 visa in Guatemala which means that when your child enters the U.S. they will have Citizenship status.

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January 25
Soooo Guess What..... No DNA today....
The US Embassy didn't give us authorization or we didn't have the birth certificate in time or something really awesome like that...

Oh I know you are all sitting there thinking, "This is crazy, unbelievable really!" But wait it gets much much better.....

Rumor has it that the US Embassy is now thinking maybe they don't want those silly new birth certificates after all! So in the next day or two they may be able to resubmit all of our paperwork without the birth certificates anyway!! Yeah NOW it's unbelievable!!!

The US Embassy folks are NOT my favorite people right now. I mean I could go on but I better keep my mouth shut for the good of all involved.

So the point is no DNA today. I know you're all thinking poor Angel. She's probably a basket case. Surprisingly I feel okay about it. I'm really pretty peaceful about the whole thing. I have a hunch I've had a few prayers coming my way! :0)

So now we are told to expect that it will happen Jan 31st - the same day as the birth mommy interview. So what is happening to me? Am I learning to accept this crazy ride? Today the roller coaster took a dive and I feel fine. I sure hope this lasts. I'm trying to keep my little monkey paws out of the jar.

(If you are feeling really confused right now back up to Jan 14th's blog -a monkey and a jar. Come on people. Don't slack on your blog reading material! :0) Hee hee... Just kidding...

This sure feels a lot better than the craziness of last week. Today I am okay with God's timing. Let's pray I'm still okay with it tommorrow.

OK well I have like 2000 loads of laundry to fold. YIKES!

More to come... Oh so much more to come.

:0) Angel

PS I love all your comments and e-mails. Thank you for caring so much! They make me cry and laugh and smile.

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January 24
Praying For No Whammies!!!
Remember that game show??? They spin the wheel with lots of prizes and the funny looking creatures. As it spins around the contestants stand around and chant...

"NO WHAMMIES! NO WHAMMIES! NO WHAMMIES!"

My friend Chrissy wrote me and said that is what she is praying for us!
NO WHAMMIES! It made me giggle and was very appropriate.

Tommorrow is a big day- maybe...

If the DNA testing does take place tommorrow it may be the last time my little Mirna Zoe will see her Guatemala mommy. I pray we will keep a relationship with her but that is not my decision. It's very hard for me as I imagine the emotions her Guatemala mommy must be feeling.... and then there is the what if... What if she takes Mirna home with her? What if it's just too much to see her and hold her again and then let her go? Until she signs after PGN (final court) she can change her mind. I could never, NEVER be upset with her if that is the decision she makes but my heart will break into little bitty pieces.

On top of that I wonder about my little girl. What will she feel? What will she think? Will she understand? I wish I could be there. I wrote a letter to Zoe last night and I couldn't help but think way back in the tiniest corners of my mind that this could be the last letter I would write to her.

Adoption is a funny thing. It seems to take so many things we struggle with and make them obvious lessons. For instance.... none of us knows what our last conversation will be or how long we will have to love the children God has given us. We don't like to think about that because it's too scary. Adoption forces the issue. Makes us stare our lack of control in the eyes. We can fight it and lose our minds or embrace it and love our babies just as much as we can for as long as they are ours. That is the road I am choosing. She is mine for today and I love her fiercely. If she is not mine tommorrow I will pray for grace beyond myself. I will have absolutely no regrets no matter what. If she was born from my womb and died a week later I could not regret loving her and knowing her for any amount of time....

It's a good lesson really. Love those God has given you TODAY. Love them just as hard as you can. We pray that they are ours forever but only God knows the time we are given.

Right now I am really doing well emotionally which surprises even me. I am so grateful for your listening ears, hugs, e-mails, comments and prayers. They are what helps me keep afloat.

Click click click click click click....

Uh yeah that would be the sound of my emotional roller coaster climbing to the top of the monsta hill.... Will I plumet to my death tommorrow?

Stay tuned to find out...

I am blessed indeed.

Hugs, Angel

PS I am praying for NO WHAMMIES for all of my adoption buddies.

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January 23
Oh my heart!!!!! Uggghhhhhhhhhhhhhh......
And today's news is..... drumroll please!!!

DNA is still on for this Wednesday MAYBE. As long as they can get the birth certificate by then we are OK. Otherwise it will be delayed.

The social worker rescheduled the birth mother interview appointment.

Apparently Mirna's birth mommy was supposed to be interviewed this week for family court. I thought that had already happened on Jan 3rd. On Jan 3rd we had just entered family court. I just got confused in the process.

Tami, my awesome director, got me all up to speed on the process so let's hope I've got it straight now!

So anyway now the birth mother interview is rescheduled for Jan 31st. After that it should take 3 weeks to get out of family court. Let's hope this date sticks!

This process is seriously hard on a mommy's heart. It is truly an emotional roller coaster of good news NO WAIT bad news UP and DOWN!! Feeling every emotional extreme you can feel sometimes all within a 24 hour period. I may feel slightly sick after this ride but it's worth every twist turn and scream. When I step off this ride there will be a little girl who needs a mommy getting off this roller coaster with me. Hold on little girl! This ride will be over soon. We'll just close our eyes, throw our hands up in the air and try not to throw up along the way!!

:0) Angel



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January 22
Remember when you looked forward to Friday and hated Monday? It's TGIM now people!
You adoptive mommies know just what I'm talking about. There was a day when you loved Fridays. When you watched the clock waiting for 5pm on Friday to finally roll around so you would be free for an entire weekend!

True, we still watch the clock on Fridays but for a very different reason. We dread it some weeks. Dread the clock turning to 5 on Friday because it signals two days of no one trying to bring our babies home. Two days we will definately hear from no one. Two days no one will work on our case. Two days we will get no news.

Now as we watch Sunday end rather than feeling dread we breath a sigh of relief and think, "Oh I'm so glad tommorrow is Monday..." Funny how life can change our view on things.

So the new slogan for adoptive mommies and daddies is TGIM.
Thank God It's Monday!!!

I hope this Monday I hear good news from my adoption buddies.

:0) Angel

PS This blog is dedicated to Lisa and Doreen who especially need this Monday to come. A big hug for both of you.

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January 20
BIG NEWS, GREAT NEWS- FINALLY!!
I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage…" (Psalms 27:13-14, NASB)


Today I got this info from our agency....
Our Family court date for Mirna's case is set for Wednesday the 25th of Jan!! YEAH!
They are hoping to be able to do DNA that day too - as long as the Embassy does not make any more changes and they can get that authorization finally!

YEAH YEAH!!!



I wanted to know more so I asked....


1. Does that mean we will be out of family court soon?2. Do we have our new birth certificate yet? I thought they would get it the 26th of Jan.



I was told....

Yes, that should mean that your case will be released from family courtusually about 3 weeks after the "date".No, they do not have birth certificate yet..but they are hoping to have it by the 25th if they can ..if not then obviously they won't be able to getauthorization and DNA will be for after that..but they are sure trying!



WOW! YEAH!!! FINALLY A BREAKTHROUGH!

If you are a praying person and even if your not... please pray for us to get this birth certificate on time. We will trust God's timing. I sure hope this is it. We need that birth certificate and that new paper signed and authorization by next Wed!!


So what does this mean for us???

If things keep going well this means that this whole US Embassy fiasco won't hold us up much at all! Next we just have to PRAY HARD for a lightning speed pre-approval from the US Embassy after DNA is taken.

Hey after all this they put us through I think they owe me one.

Don't you??



YEAH! YIPEE! YEE-HAW! HALLELUJAH!

Feeling much better now.

:0) Angel


PS For all my adoption buddies.... I pray I hear good news from all of you very soon. Don't despair.. I believe you will see the goodness of the Lord.













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January 19
WHAT ARE THEY DOING?????

The US Embassy has issued ANOTHER new requirement for DNA authorizations AND for pre approvals to be given on cases. They have changed the consent form that was used before, and issued a new "consent" form for the birthmother to sign. Attorney's were just given these consent forms today. What does that mean for us? That means that Bolanos (our Guatemala side agency) is getting in touch with each birthmother to arrange for her to sign the new consent form. They will let us know as each one is completed.For us - we are already waiting on a new birth certificate tobe issued - so the new consent will be taken care of during this timewe are waiting already.

Hopefully there will not be further delay as a result of this form. Just a little bump in the road.

Just thought you'd want to know...

:0) Angel

PS So many of my adoption buddies have gotten wonderful news this week. People are flying out of PGN and getting pink slips left and right. Then of course all the beautiful new referrals! Congrats to all of you. I am overjoyed for all of you. Praying we all see pink VERY VERY soon!!!

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January 18
DNA update- FINALLY
Just got news this morning. We should have the birth certificates by next Thursday the 26th. The DNA should be taken shortly after that. Usually in a week or two. It just depends on when they can get an appointment with an embassy approved doctor.

If all goes smoothly from this point on it shouldn't delay us too much. We just need to get US Embassy pre-approval really quickly after DNA is taken so that we will be ready for PGN after we get out of family court. OK I know my non-adoptive parent readers just heard BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH. SORRY!!!!

Just know that this is not GREAT news but still okay for us as long as it goes smoothly from now. It didn't push us too far back cause' we're still in family court right now. Please Lord let it go smoothly now.... Overall I'm okay with things right now. Just holding on... keeping my hands open- or at least trying! :0) My emotional status at the moment is fair to good!!


On the home front-

Kaitlyn is sick. Poor sweet baby. Yesterday she came up to me and said in a very scratchy little voice, "Mommy, my thwoat is bwoken."

Awww how CUTE IS THAT??? She's a little better today but says her throat is still broken.

Meanwhile she is still as wild and funny as ever. The other day she stripped down buck naked and started running around the house. I said, "Kaitlyn, come here you need to put on a diaper!" As I'm running around the house chasing her with a diaper she yells, "but Mooommmy! I'm shakin my buttie white now!" Then she proceeds to run around doing just that. Shaking her bootie. Oh I almost fell over laughing.

Kaitlyn and I are both so excited about going to visit her sister. I think Kaitlyn is really starting to get what is going on. She finally seems to believe that Zoe Mirna is a real live human and not just a picture. 2 days ago she came up to me with the poutiest little face you have ever seen. I asked her if she was sad. This is the monologue from my 2 year old that followed....

"I just sad. I miss my sista. I want Zoe to come home and eat at her table. Zoe want to eat yogurt. I want to eat yogurt too. Zoe come home and play with me. I miss her. That Zoe picture right there. She in Guatala. She won't come here right now. I want go see her. This is Zoe's toy. I will share with her."

Awwwww sweet girl. I told her all about Zoe and that we would go visit her very soon of course. I am so blessed.

:0) Angel



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January 14
For my friend Maria and all of us holding on...
Just like a monkey and a jar....

I am so sorry you too are dealing with this crazy feeling. This part of the waiting must be killer. So close or maybe so far. I truly understand the difficulty of handing your heart over to God. It is SO hard to trust day after day. What I really want to do is hold on as tight as I can and try to control everything. Meanwhile I'm driving everyone around me CRAZY!

My mom called it the monkey and the jar syndrome. If you give a monkey a jar with a treat inside he will put his hand inside, grab the object but can't get his hand out with the treat because his hand is in a fist. Rather than open his fist very often that monkey will sit there and suffer just holding on to that treat. Refusing to let go no matter how much he suffers with this jar on his hand. My mom would always say, "Angel you have to open your hands to God. Give this to Him. You're like a monkey and a jar."

That rings in my head a lot now. Everyday is a decision. Some days I make the right one. Some days I make the wrong one. The days I make the right one are pretty good. Still tense but I can live and have fun. The days I make the wrong one I'm like a monkey and a jar. Buttie stuck to this couch and heart stuck in despair. I think one of the best things my mom taught me is that trust and depression are very often a decision. Will I trust? Maybe, but if I don't then I'm flailing around trying to tell which end is up. I am not a good God. Big surprise there!!!

Come on everyone. We have got to try not to be monkeys with a jar today! I know so many of you are so much better than me at this. I AM HORRIBLE!!! This is a lesson I've been trying to learn my whole life. Anybody want to jump on board and learn it with me?

Hugs for all my monkey with a jar buddies today. Let go....

Angel


PS My friend has a blog with a letter from her agency that is excellent. It addresses the DNA situation http://waitingidjb.blogspot.com/ I can only pray that this is all resolved that quickly. Thought you might like it.

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January 13
Good Days And Bad Days....
I've been on a blogging strike. Sorry I've been AWOL. My week has been awful and wonderful and I couldn't bring myself to write it down yet.

Here is my week in a nut shell

Monday- A good day. Not much happened adoption wise. I was on mental pins and needles hoping for DNA testing to be approved. Kaitlyn and I went to the zoo with a bunch of friends and had a blast.

Tuesday- BAD DAY!! My case was submitted this Tuesday to the US Embassy for permission to take DNA. It and others were rejected because they said they are now requiring a typed copy of the 1-600 (not a big deal- we got it there) and an original birth certificate for all children being adopted.(BIG DEAL- harder to get) We were told certified copies are no longer acceptable. These birth certificates can only be obtained from the municipality (is that the right word) where the child was born. I don't know what kind of delay this means for us. I'm not even sure my agency knows how long this will take since nothing like this has ever been required before.

None of this is my agency's fault. They have been wonderful every step of the way. It is the US Embassy that is doing this. I am sure they have good reason for implementing this new rule. A little notice so we could all have prepared would have been really nice. To all of you in this stinky boat with me I am sorry. I am praying that this change will go smoothly.

Wednesday- REALLY BAD DAY AND REALLY GOOD DAY!!! As the reality of this situation began to sink in I started to sink emotionally. I pouted most of the day. There is really no pretty way to paint this picture. I felt frustrated and overwhelmed.

I don't even know what this whole delay means! What kind of delay is this? A week, a month, 6 months.... The lack of control started to make me feel on the crazy side. I cried and sat on the couch stalking my e-mail and praying for some good news. I felt God speaking to my heart telling me to trust Him.

As the day went on I slowly but surely made the decision to have faith that God is still in control. To trust that He is taking care of my little girl. This is the really tough part. In order to believe God is in control I have to let go of the assumption that Zoe should be with me as soon as possible. Does that make since??? I have to say that God is doing what is best and so right now she is where she needs to be. Right now where she needs to be is in Guatemala. OUCH NO YUCK! I don't want to hear that. I'm her mommy and I want her here now. This hurts my mother's heart and my pride. Yet when I think about the reality of her situation I can see why this time may be good for her. She is in a wonderful home with a family and foster sister she loves dearly. She goes to a wonderful church and is in a place she feels safe. They speak her language and she is in her own country. This is a good transition place for her to be. The reality is that she is in the best place she's ever been and she may not be able to handle more yet. God sees the big picture. I have got to learn to trust that no matter what my selfish heart tells me.

BIG NEWS! BIG NEWS! BIG NEWS! BIG NEWS! BIG NEWS!

Wednesday afternoon I started planning a trip to Guatemala. I am going with Kaitlyn and my mom to celebrate Mirna's birthday. (her official birthday is the 14th of Feb) She will be 7 years old. It is going to be wonderful. I will be blogging in Guatemala in Feb. YEAH!!!! Lisa (Mirna's foster sister's adoptive mom) and her 13 year old daughter will be at the Marriott at the same time we are. We are going to have a combined birthday for Zoe Mirna, Lidia (her foster sister) who has a b-day in May and E...... (a little girl who still doesn't have a family) who has a b-day in May. None of these girls have ever celebrated their birthdays at all. We are excited to give them the full princess treatment!!!


Thursday- A good day. I felt a lot calmer and more at peace with things.

Today- A Really Good Day. I went with Susarah to start picking out stuff for Zoe's room. Susarah is amazing. She is going to make this room look amazing for not much money at all!! That's the kind of decorating I like! I can't wait to show you the finished product.

Other stuff-

Lisa- (Mirna's foster sister's mommy - OK I know that's a mouth full!) I have enjoyed getting to know Lisa SO MUCH! We talk on the phone or e-mail almost everyday. It is truly amazing the way God has connected our families. What are the odds that this amazing family in North Carolina would just "stumble" across my blog?!? Right now they are in EXACTLY the same place in the adoption process that we are. I pray that the girls leave at the same time.She has been such an encouragement for me. We are able to fill in gaps of information for each other. She especially knows a lot more than me because her hubby speaks very good Spanish and spent extensive time with Glenda while they were in Guatemala. (Mirna's foster mom) Plus, Lidia, their daughter is a little older and communicates more. Lisa just started a new blog. You can check it out http://spaces.msn.com/members/SweetLidia/PersonalSpace/ Enjoy!

Kaitlyn- Kaitlyn is SO EXCITED about visiting her sister Zoe.

Almost every time we leave the house she asks, "Mommy, we go visit my sista Zoe in Guatala?" I tell her we will go soon but not today.

She loves to go to Zoe's room. "This is Zoe Mina's room" she'll say. " This Zoe Mina's toys. This Zoe's clothes. This Zoe's shoes." Sometimes she'll spontaniously come to me holding a favorite toy and say, "I will share this wit my sista Zoe."

Well enough for today.... This weekend we will work on getting Zoe's room ready for her. Hugs to you!

Angel





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January 09
For All Of My Friends Who Have Huts On Fire...
The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for GOD to rescue him, and everyday he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming. Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect him from the elements, and to store his few possessions. One day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, with smoke rolling up to the sky. The worst had happened, and everything was lost. He was stunned with disbelief, grief, and anger. "GOD, how could you do this to me?" he cried. Early the next day he was awakened by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island. It had come to rescue him. "How did you know I was here?" asked the weary man of his rescuers. "We saw your smoke signal," they replied.

It's easy to get discouraged when things are going bad, but we shouldn't lose heart, because GOD is at work in our lives, even in the midst of pain, and suffering. Remember that, the next time your little hut seems to be burning to the ground. It just may be a smoke signal that summons the Grace of GOD.

Hugs,
Angel

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January 06
My 2nd Letter To Zoe Mirna
My Dear Little Mirna,

I am in America now. I am sitting on the couch in your house writing this letter. Your sister, Kaitlyn is sitting next to me playing. Oh no! Guess what. Kaitlyn accidently poured her water all over the floor and her dress. That girl. She is so funny. I know you will love her so much. I told her to go get a towel to clean it up. So now she is yelling, “OK. I go get a towel!!!” I told her that we will visit you. She is so excited. She loves watching the videos of you too. I will send you some pictures and a video of our visit.

Your daddy loves you so much. He tells everyone how you are so sweet and a really good wrestler too! We told everyone how you beat us at the Memory game because you are so smart. Our friends watch the video and see the pictures. Everyone is so happy that you are in our family.

I think of you every single day. I look at your pictures every day too. I am praying that God will take good care of you in Guatemala. I am happy because I know that Glenda cares for you so much. She is a gift from God for you and for us. Please give her a special hug from your mommy in America. Tell L.... that I said, “Hello.” I talked to L...’s mommy on the phone this week. She is a very sweet lady. I think that she has very wonderful parents. When you and L..... move to America you can talk to each other on the phone and send pictures on the computer too! Won’t that be fun? Have you had a lesson in English yet? Did you like it? I hope that you and L.... will do your best to learn so that you can have more fun and talk to people in America.

I love you deep in my heart Mirna. I will love you everyday forever! We are your family. Remember that when you are happy or sad you can talk to Glenda. She loves you. Take good care of your baby doll. What is her name? Did you name her Kaitlyn? You are so good at fixing her hair and taking good care of her.

I had so much fun with you on our visit. I remember your hugs and kisses and big smile every moment. When we visit again we will give each other the biggest hug in the world.

Love Forever,

Mommy



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January 05
The good, The bad and the ugly!!!
Habakukk 2:3 (New Living Translation) "But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. IT WILL NOT BE DELAYED."

OK so there is news I love and news that I don't love.

The good stuff- Tuesday morning a social worker interviewed the birth mother and entered our case into family court. Mirna's birth mommy signed away her rights once again after being informed that Mirna is moving to America and she may never see her again. (we hope she will see her again though) This is sad for me when I think of Mirna's Guatemala Mommy.... Yet I am so relieved to be moving forward quickly. So now we just have to wait for our court date and a judge to sign off on the paperwork for family court to be done. This should take from 1-2 months.


MEANWHILE the stuff I don't like- They were originally supposed to do DNA testing that same day. I was REALLY looking forward to having this part over with. Statistically that is the time most moms change their minds if they are going to do it because they see their child and take a picture with them. Plus it's just another step we can move forward with. However there are three families at Dillon who have been waiting to get their DNA testing done throughout the holiday and were held up badly because of lots of people on vacation. These families had paperwork about to expire and if that happens it's bad news. It can mean long delays. So they bumped us to week after next for our DNA test to make room for these families. OUCH!!!! I am glad they did this. I want these families to move along in their process too. I would have done the same thing if the choice had been mine to make. Oh but it hurt....

It is still possible that this won't delay us too much. If we get embassy pre-approval very quickly after DNA then we'll do okay but BUMMER!!!!! Our first little bump in the road. It's not that major but I'm a little fussy about it! :0(

Okay, well I'm really fine. I know in my heart we will bring Mirna home in God's perfect timing. I am peaceful that she is happy where she is and well taken care of there. God is looking at the big picture while I see only my little piece. Who am I to question this? For God this is not a delay. Just a part of His plan.

Hugs, Angel

P.S. If you are one of these precious families who were needing a spot for DNA I am so happy for you. I hope you fly through after this!!



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January 03
No I haven't croaked!!! :0) Hee Hee!
I know it's been awhile but I am on the sick side. I woke up in the midddle of the night feeling down right YUCK! This morning I have just been sluggish and not feeling great. The crash after the event. My body said, "OK I quit now." Can't blame it.

This week is VERY intense for me. I know that sometime this week there will be DNA testing where Mirna will see and talk to her mother. Then her mother will make the decision to sign away her rights again. Later that same day the birth mother will go to family court. She will be interviewed and the process of relinquishment be made very clear to her. Then she will sign away her rights for a third time. After that she just signs one more time at finalization. This is the last time she will see Mirna until she is legally ours. The birth mommy can change her mind right now. If it's going to happen this is most likely when it will.

I know these things will be happening this week but I don't know what day. I have asked but not gotten an answer yet. So here I sit on the edge of my seat. All day every day. Praying, waiting, checking e-mail over and over, carrying the phone around in case they call....trying to process how I will feel if Mirna's mommy takes her home instead of signing those papers. I have a glimpse of what her mother is giving up. This week I am hurting for Mirna's mommy. Hurting for Mirna.

and praying... I will let you know when I hear something.

Angel

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January 01
NOTE ON VIEWING PICTURES
Some of you are having trouble viewing all the photos. Just go to the top of the blog. Click on photos. Scroll down through the albums to the one you want to see. If you pull your mouse arrow over the bottom of the picture you will see a play button and arrows. Hope that helps. Write me if you need more help. :0) Angel

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We are home and safe
We are finally back at home and sleeping in our own beds. I am at peace knowing that my older sweety is safe and happy and glad to see my younger daughter Kaitlyn. I will write more about our last day soon. I am emotionally WIPED and can't process the words to say. I did just upload 4 albums of pictures!!! Enjoy!

Happy New Year to you all. This year do something your heart has told you to do for years. Finally do the thing you are scared of. Life is an adventure. Whether it is writing a letter to a long lost friend, going back to school, taking cookies to a widow, moving somewhere new or adopting a 6 year old from Guatemala!! :0) Go for it! Take that leap. You'll be terrified but you won't be sorry.

Thank you for traveling on this adventure with me. I truly feel I have hundreds of friends with me every step of the way. Wow. How am I this blessed?

:0) Angel

December 31
Do not tell God how big the storm is. Tell the storm how big your God is! -Crystal A P31 woman
Phillipians 4
4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.



I am peaceful beyond my understanding as I write. Yesterday after I blogged I got ready and cried and cried. Then I came back in here and cried more. I kinda got myself together a little and told God, "You've got to help me! I will never get through these two days alone." Mirna woke up and I desperately tried not to act upset but she is quick and perceptive. She knew something was up and I didn't want her to worry.

I told Russ that I thought we needed to go ahead and tell her that we were leaving in the morning. He thought we might not say it right. I told him I figured I could muddle through it and that I felt she would talk to us more if it was only us. He thought that made sense. So we sat down with her and daddy told her that she needed to listen to mommy because she has something very important to say. I immediately started crying and told her I felt very sad because we needed to go back to the United States in the morning. She started crying. I told her it was all right to feel sad. That my heart hurts because I want her to come with me very much. Then I told her that we would return soon for another visit soon. She perked right up, smiled and said, "WHEN???" I went and got her the calendar that I bought her. I told her I would come back the week after her birthday. That's Feb 14th. I wrote down on the calendar her birthday and told her that she could know when we are coming when she looks at this with Glenda. (her foster mom) I told her it makes my heart much better because I know that Glenda is so good to her. She nodded her cute little head in affirmation. I told her that next visit I would try to bring her little sister. She got so excited and started chattering in Spanish, "Mi herminita yada yada yada yada...." When she gets going like that it's so fast I can't understand a word!!!

Then came the part where God said, "See I told you so." Okay maybe not but He was THINKING it! :0) I started asking her questions. How do you feel? "Good" she said and grinned. Are you sad? "No because you will come back to visit and bring my little sister and yada yada yada yada yada...!!" Whoa going too fast again...

"Okay Mirna. I said. Mirama por favor- look at me please. I want to ask you a question. Do you wish you could go with me now to The United States."

She replied immediately and seriously, " No, I'm not ready. I want to go with you but not this time. A different time."

I asked, "Are you happy go home with Glenda?" "Si-yes" and a big smile.

Oh the relief of that moment. You would think that this would hurt my feelings but it absolutely does NOT. It was God saying to me, "I know what's best. TRUST ME!! Let her go." That moment was like a ball and chain came off my heart. I have been sad but okay since then.

So the rest of the day was pure joy. My cup overflows... She told me that her heart was full of love for me. (the 1st time she said I love you) Russ and I recieved countless hugs and kisses on the cheek. It is beyond what I can understand but somehow our truthfulness about leaving, the promise to return and the time we've spent together finally won her heart. She was letting herself go yesterday. Our little girl. So here are the highpoints.

The grieving- yesterday we had no crying. The day before she got upset about turning off a V-Smile game (which she is VERY good at I might add) and got really quiet. Then she started to cry softly. I went to comfort her. I told her that it was okay to be sad but she must listen to mommy and daddy because we love her very much. She curled up in my arms and began to let out this small wail. I was very much encouraged to see her turn to me for comfort and knew immediately that she needed to grieve. She alternated holding Russ and I for about 30 minutes while she wept. Tears streamed down her cheeks freely and she cried the cry of someone at a grave side. It was heartbreaking and I started crying with her. Since this episode she has been more than okay. I fully expect and hope for more of these times. I know it is healthy for her to release her grief.

Her 1st restaraunt- We've been doing all room service to keep things low key and calm. Yesterday we asked Mirna if she would like to go to a restauraunt. She nodded in her I'm an excited pixie kind of way and we told her we would take her to the nicest restaraunt in the hotel. As we were about to leave the room Russ said, "Hey, do you think this is her first time in a restaraunt." So I asked her, "Have you ever been in a restaraunt?" she said no this was her first time. Well I knew then Russ would spend way too much money on dinner. He was going to show this little girl a good time. We got to the restaraunt which was very fancy Italian and looked through the menu outside. We asked her if she would like pasta. She said, "No, I want fried chicken and french fries please." She has gotten this probably four times this week. So Russ marched right in and asked if they could get us chicken strips. She said it was no problem so in we went. Russ ordered her a special fruit punch in a pretty glass. Her eyes got SO BIG! She ate the calamari and loved it. Then she ate some of the onions that were garnishing underneath the calamari!!! Next she had chicken strips. She was so cute trying to be VERY proper. She kept copying everything her daddy did and said. She put her napkin in her lap and even used a fork and knife for her chicken strips and french fries. She said "Thank you" to every single person who happened to walk by our table. Then she wanted to clink her glass with her daddy's for a toast. Don't ask me how she knows about that! We told her we were so happy because she is very sweet and just like a princess. After dinner we asked if she wanted dessert and she said, "No because it's too expensive." We told her it was not too expensive tonight because it was a special night with our daughter. She just beamed. She ate about 3 bites of dessert and said she was so full. We told her that was just fine. What a memory.

Memory Prodigy- I played Memory with her four times. She beat me 3 times and I was trying REALLY HARD! Once she beat me 11 to 1! Russ played her 4 times. She beat him 3 times! WOW!


About her name- when the translator came we talked to her briefly about her name in America because we are having faith that we will be ordering a new birth certificate soon. We asked her if she would like an American name. She looked confused. The translator explained it to her. We told her she would keep her name as a middle name and could choose what to be called. We had the translator tell her the name Krysta Zoe and that it means Divinely Chosen life. We told her that we chose this name because we believe God chose her for our family. This seemed to please her. I asked her whether she wanted to be called Mirna or Krysta or Zoe in the United States and SHE SAID ZOE!!!! No hesitation.

Later we put her name on little cloth backpacks. She had two. She said she wanted one with her Guatemala name Mirna and one with her America name Zoe! They turned out really cute. Russ says he wants her legal name to be Krysta Zoe Mirna Aracely W. I think that is quite a mouthful but I think it's the best route to go. If she wants to legally drop a name when she is older we will do it. For now we don't want to take anything away from her. We will continue to be sensitive and tell her she can use whichever name makes her more comfortable.

About DNA testing- We had the translator explain DNA testing. She had been told before but we felt it was important that she see we knew what was going on and we were supportive. We told her she would get a little test that did not hurt at all. We told her she would also see her birth mommy. We asked her how she felt about seeing her birth mommy. She said happy. I got on her level and asked her to look at me. I told her that I was very happy that she would see her birth mommy. That I think her birth mommy loves her very much and it makes me happy that they will see each other. This got a big smile! I feel in my heart that it is very important that we are very open and supportive about her birth mommy. Or as I call her- her Guatemala mommy. This is her family. Another person who loves her. That doesn't threaten me. I just pray that she will want to keep in touch with us. We will find out if she wants to meet us at finalization of the adoption. Meeting her Guatemala mommy now could complicate our case in court. We are praying that God's best for Zoe Mirna will occur.

Taking Baths- This girl LOVES to take a bath. Day before yesterday she took 3 BATHS!!! Count them 1 2 3. It was so sweet. She just loves sitting in the hot water and soaking. Mommy won't stop her from this little indulgence.

Talking to Grandma and Tia Bek- Mirna had a blast talking with my mom and Tia Bek. Bek speaks Spanish and Mirna LOVES that. My mom can speak hardly a word but she just wanted her to keep talking in English and singing even though she couldn't understand. It was SO cute. Whenever my mom would get quiet even for a second she would say in Spanish, " Why won't you talk to me??" She was cracking me up. Of course we got a good chunk of it on video. We want to call her more when we are in the states. Belanos has a general rule about no direct calling to the foster mother. They said we can ask for permission because she is old enough to have conversations with us. (or at least giggle a lot while we talk) So when we get home I will formally ask permission to call her. We shall see!!

Learning English- She is starting to say little things and mimic things more. She is gaining confidence in herself as we give her mounds of praise and encouragement. When she wanted to take yet another bath she kept trying to tell Russ in Spanish and he just wasn't getting it. So she finally burst out in English and said, "Turn on the shower please! I take bath." IN ENGLISH!! Well of course she got all kinds of high fives and attention for that AND we let her take ANOTHER bath! Next week an English tutor will begin going to her house for an hour each day to teach her and maybe her foster sister English. (if you want her to Lisa and Mike it's paid for. Sharon will be writing you about it and I'll write you later too)
I think that they would encourage eachother and have more fun together.

Airplanes- She's scared of them. She thinks they are cool but DOES NOT want to get on one. This probably contributes to her not being ready to go to America! :0) Today she will go with us to the airport to watch how it works. Her foster mother will begin telling her about planes and we will send a video of us on the plane. Next time I come I will try to bring the Barbie Airplane from Susarah and we will play with it. Hopefully this will prepare her.

Her clothes and toys- She LOVES her clothes. She tries them on, folds them, admires them. The toys and books and projects are wonderful. She has played and played. Thank you to all of you who gave clothes and toys to our dear little girl.

Well I better run for now. She will wake up soon and I don't want to miss a moment. I will probably update tommorrow and I will load on pictures now.

Hugs and thank you for your prayers and notes,

Angel





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December 30
If you want to walk on water you have to get out of the boat...
Matthew 8
23Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Lord, save us! We're going to drown!"
26He replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
27The men were amazed and asked, "What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!"

Mathew 14
25During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear.
27But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."
28"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."
29"Come," he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!"
31Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"
32And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."
34When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret. 35And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought all their sick to him 36and begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched him were healed.


This trip has been perfect with all it's ups and downs. I truly feel God's presence in our journey. At the same time my heart is aching. I feel as if it wants to jump out of my chest and stay here with her. I am torn in two and as I write this entry my tears keep flowing.

I have faced deep pain with my Kaitlyn. I have faced her as a newborn in the NICU and a 9 month old in major skull surgery. This is infinately more painful for me. I could hold Kailtyn as she went through these things. I could sing to her, tell her I would always be there. That's what mommies do right? Make it better. Next week my precious Mirna will say goodbye to her birth mommy, maybe for the last time. Everyday she is faced with the intense grief and loss. I can't be here to hold her through it. I can't whisper to her every single day 100 times, "I love you, you're safe now, no more danger, I'm here now." How do I leave her???

The only way I can do it and not lose my mind is faith. Faith much bigger than I've ever had before. Most of us who are of the Christian faith say we believe that God is in control. We say we believe that He is who watches over our children. Yet we don't usually have to heavily test that theory until they are teenagers and pulling away themselves. Even then it's a slow process. There is still the illusion of control in some respects. So here I am in Guatemala giving up my illusions. I'm about to get on a plane and leave a little girl I have fallen in love with. A little girl who is starting to trust me. I have to tell her," I don't know when we get to bring you home sweet Mirna. I pray every single day it is soon. I will come visit you again as soon as I can. " I can only do that by looking at God's faithfulness.

I feel God whispering to me, "Trust me Angel. Get out of the boat. I know it's stormy but don't look at the waves. Look at me. You can walk on this water."

I feel like yelling back, "God YOU CAN STOP THIS STORM! Make it stop please!! Please just let her come home with me. I want to walk on water I just don't want it to be so scary."

God says to me, "The storm is what makes people get out of the boat. It's why you look to me and cry out for help. It's why you'll take my hand and look into my eyes and TRUST ME!! Do you trust me Angel? Either I'm in control of this storm or I'm not. It's time to decide whether you will look to the waves or look at Me."


As I am pondering what God is asking me to do I remember a lesson He taught me during Kailtlyn's surgery. It was the most heartwrenching moment I had faced up until that moment. I thought to myself, "How can I hand her over to this doctor and let him hurt her. She won't understand... She'll wonder why I'm letting it happen. Even as the thought entered my mind I knew the answer. I would do ANYTHING to make her better, even if it hurt her. My deep love for Kaitlyn forced me to allow her pain so that she could be better.


This is what God does for you and me. He allows us pain and we wonder WHY would He do this if He loves us the way He says He does. He allows us surgery in a spiritual sense. I know He cries as we cry. He holds us and whispers in our ear a hundred times, "I love you, I'm here, don't worry I'm holding you. There's no more danger. I just want you to get better and stronger. Just TRUST ME..."

I will get out of this boat. I will look to God today and not the waves. I will have to do it every single day. I will trust that God is there holding my hand and more importantly holding my little girl. I will know in my heart that this storm around me is there to help me grow. To save a little girl in Guatemala. GOD WILL DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO SAVE HER. Even if that means pain.

Looking back on many of my difficult moments in life I know that they were the biggest leaps of faith I had made at that time. I feel as if I'm in training. When I was younger the water was pretty calm and God said, "TRUST ME." Over the years the waves keep getting bigger and bigger. Yet I'm still supposed to get out and walk. To sleep through the storm. As we pass through these storms and word spreads God recieves the glory and many are healed.

34When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret. 35And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought all their sick to him 36and begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched him were healed.


Psalm 68

4 Sing to God, sing praise to his name, extol him who rides on the clouds — his name is the LORD— and rejoice before him.
5 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.
6 God sets the lonely in families,
he leads forth the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.

Thank you for letting me share my heart. I'll do more of an update tonight. She is doing just great!

Angel


PS This is a song by Natalie Grant that has meant a lot to me lately. Just thought I'd share the lyrics... It's called HELD


Held - Natalie Grant
Genre/Lang. : Christian
Two months is too little. They let him go. They had no sudden healing. To think that providence would Take a child from his mother while she prays Is appalling. Who told us we’d be rescued? What has changed and why should we be saved from nightmares? We’re asking why this happens To us who have died to live? It’s unfair. Chorus: This is what it means to be held. How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life And you survive. This is what it is to be loved. And to know that the promise was When everything fell we’d be held. This hand is bitterness. We want to taste it, let the hatred NUMB our sorrow. The wise hands opens slowly to lilies of the valley and tomorrow. (Chorus) This is what it means to be held. How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life And you survive. This is what it is to be loved. And to know that the promise was When everything fell we’d be held. Bridge: If hope is born of suffering. If this is only the beginning. Can we not wait for one hour watching for our Savior? (Chorus) This is what it means to be held. How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life And you survive. This is what it is to be loved. And to know that the promise was When everything fell we’d be held.

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December 29
Summary of Day 3- yesterday
Well you already know the day started out very slowly and sickly. We started out the day with the meds the doctor gave us. I kinda think the medicine loosening up the yuck in her chest made her feel worse then better.

I have several reasons for linking this sickness to the grieving process. #1 when I'm stressed I get sick. I think this happens to a lot of us. The mind is so powerful. #2 after Mirna threw up a little she started crying which is normal. However then she laid on her pillow and continued this mournful quiet crying for about thirty minutes. She was in a zone just staring and body curled up and a little rigid. I sat behind her as tears rolled down her cheeks one after the other. I told her I was so sorry, that I love her, that daddy loves her, that it will be better soon over and over. After a while I just sat and rubbed her back and played with her hair while we sat and she cried. About 30 minutes into this it was time to take her Tylenol. I really felt we needed her to take it to keep her fever down. She was beginning to feel hot and clammy. I told her that we needed her to take this medicine. She would not look at either of us but just kept crying. I felt we needed to kindly win obedience and trust so I prayed in the back of my mind. Then I got on eye level with her and told her that it was very important that she take this medicine. That it would help her feel better. I told her that she must remember last night when she had pain in her mouth. That mommy and daddy gave her medicine and it helped her not have pain. I told her that daddy and mommy love her very much and she must listen to us. At that point she reached out to take the water and took her Tylenol. Praise the Lord! Our first small battle won. With each one we win we gain more of her heart.

At this point it was like a light switch turned on and our Mirna came back. She smiled a little smile and asked if she could take a bath. I said yes YES!! She played and played and played in the water. The tub plug leaks a bit so I had to refill it 3 times but WHO CARES. If this little girl wants to take a 45 minute hot bath far be it from me to stop her. She washed and conditioned her hair twice and had a ball!! The way she enjoys things brings me joy and pain. It's wonderful to see her eyes light up at a hot bath but it makes me aware that this isn't something normal for her. That hot baths and puzzles and pink pajamas and pretty shoes are all very foriegn.

OH BY THE WAY ON THIS TOPIC!!! Anyone who thinks girls are girly because of society's influence I DARE you to meet Mirna!!!! Raised with no running water, no electricity, no TV, no magazines AND AS GIRLY AS YOU CAN GET!!! She loves loves loves to dress in pink and wear nail polish and jewelry. It is so cute.

Anyway the rest of the day was pure joy. Daddy and Mirna did the puzzle AGAIN! He had the concierge see if they had more at the pharmacy but no such luck. That's okay because I know he secretely loves doing it. Yesterday she got destracted and quit doing the puzzle and Russ finished it and TIMED himself. I love that goofball. So I think this is 8 times that the puzzle has been done. Then later they both timed themselves. 16 minutes is the record folks!! Russ is beyond good with Mirna. He is SPECTACULAR. He is so sweet and kind and loves to play. She is completely enamored of him. OH AND.... genious that he is Russ discovered why she won't talk to Alex the translator. SHE HAS A CRUSH ON HIM!!! Oh no. Not already. He darted up from bed the other night while I was blogging and said, "Angel, maybe she likes him." I thought huh maybe. So yesterday I asked if she thinks Alex is handsome. She smiled and said yes. I asked her if that is why she won't talk to him and she nodded. OH MY GOODNESS. Well we'll keep watching this not trusting men thing but maybe we were thinking to deeply! Crushes already. Uggggg..

She has started giving both of us little spontanious shows of affection and asking for photos of us hugging and being together. She has also started asking us to sit by her and yesterday she crawled into Russ' lap to look at pictures. The joy of these moments is wonderful.

She is SO curious very smart. I think she has a fear of learning. Our translator Alex said that it is very common in a village like the one she comes from for no one to have any education. If a child wants to learn something they are scolded for trying to be better than everyone. Especially girls are often told to stick to learning their work. So her foster mother has had trouble getting her to remember her letters and things. Perhaps part of this may be a small delay or disability which is fine. My gut tells me that most of it is grief. Her mind is so filled with survival and pain and being raised where learning wasn't as valued. They were concentrating on what was important to them. Surviving. Her foster mother, Alex and Russ and I after observing her all feel that with time she will do great.

Already in the last few days we have seen such a change in her. At first if you asked her to say something in English she wouldn't look at you or say it. So Russ and I decided not to ask her to say anything but just say it in English and Spanish sometimes. She started sometimes repeating our words and then asked us how to say a couple of things in English!! She is curious about everything. What is this, what is that, who is it for. Yesterday she pulled out a new tampon that was in my purse and asked what it was. OH NO! I told her it's mommy's and was glad I didn't know enough Spanish to explain that one!!

Yesterday I brought out a bunch of pictures and asked her if she wanted to scrapbook them. OK well I don't know how to SAY scrapbook but I mimed and got the point across. She was VERY excited. She is a natural and did a very good job with her book. I figured she would do a few pages and she would get bored but we finished the whole book yesterday! She kept looking at it over and over.

I also asked her if she would like to give some pictures to her Guatemala Mommy Aracely. ( her birth mommy) She smiled and said yes. So she put pictures in an album by herself. Picked them out very logically without much guidance. She has so many skills. First she put all the pictures of herself (that's what her mommy would want.) Then she put pictures of our house. (again great choice) Then she put pictures of our immediate family. After that the album was full. We decorated it with stickers and I asked her if she would like to write her Guatemala Mommy a letter inside the album. She said yes. She said a couple of things and then got stuck. We would ask her do you want to tell her about this or that. She would say yes or no. Then she would help us with how and what to write. I wrote it for her in Spanish so it's probably bad but her mother will like it I think. Besides I knew she would never open up to the translator about this the way she was with me. I had to jump on it.

She wrote...

I love you very much. I am doing good. I like the chicken and french fries. This is a book of photos of my family in The United States of America. They are visiting me in the hotel. It is very happy. I have a lot of new clothes. I like all of them. Glenda is good also. (that's her foster mom)

I love you,

Mirna


I helped her write her own name and we put her handprint in paint on the back inside cover. I think this was a very theraputic excercise for her. As we did it I told her that I think her Guatemala mommy loves her very much.

Oh, and we showed her pictures of about 7 different rooms decorated different ways. We told her she could pick what she wanted her room to look like. She literally looked through them 1 time and said, "This is the one I like best." Just like that. I'll try to copy the picture onto the blog. Get ready Susarah. We're going to be sewing a lot of PINK!

Oh and today I will try to take pictures of the scrapbook so you can see her fine work! :0) My love to you all.

Angel


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December 28
A short entry for tonight
Our sweet Mirna is doing MUCH MUCH better. Sharon called the doctor and asked him what we should give Mirna. He told us a couple of medicines to give her. We just told the concierge what we needed and PRESTO! Within thirty minutes we had everything we needed. She woke up happy and feeling well but then had a set back. She threw up just a little and cried for about 30 minutes. I believe this was partly from being sick and partly grief. I might be wrong but I feel like her being sick made her more vulnerable to letting out her emotions. After the thirty minutes of crying and some more Tylenol Mirna was back full force!! This turned out to be a wonderful day for bonding. We still didn't get any miraculous picture time as we never left the room.

I will do my major blog about today in the morning because I feel to wiped out to do it any justice. Sorry to cut it short. Even in these few days I am seeing such a change in her. It is wonderful. How will I not bring her home with me? She is mine in my heart but not on paper. God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change and the wisdom to trust your timing.... Good night blogger buddies

:0) Angel

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Morning Day 3- she's sick
Mirna is still asleep so I have just a moment. Mirna has had a runny nose and cough since she came. We were thinking it was probably just a cold. Then last night at midnight I heard a little voice say in Spanish, " Mommy I need you." I bolted over and asked if she was okay. She was crying quietly. Tears dripping. I woke Russ up. "Russ what is the word for pain???" "Dolor I think" said my groggy hubby. I asked Mirna "Tienes Dolor?" She said yes she had pain and pointed to her mouth. I asked her if it was her boca-mouth or her dientes-teeth. She said her teeth. Russ immediately went to the lobby for Tylenol. While we waited I did full mommy interview. Does this hurt? "No" she would say. Does that hurt? "No" Are you sad too? "No" Are you scared? "No" You only have pain here? "Yes." Does it hurt a lot of days? "No, this is the first time" she told me.

Then it was mommy comfort and guilt time. "Lo Siento Mirna. I'm so sorry Mirna. Pobrecita. Poor baby. Daddy is getting medicine and it will be better soon." Meanwhile thinking, "Bad mommy! Why didn't I bring Children's Tylenol AT LEAST??" Oh well. I'm not supermom. I might as well accept that now. They only had adult Tylenol. (which seems kinda silly when you see how many adoptive families stay here!!) Note to all soon to travel mommies and daddies. BRING LOTS OF MEDICINE.

As soon as we got the Tylenol I had Russ get my little scrapbook picture cutter and cut the pill in three little pieces. She swallowed them with no problem. I took two pills for myself while we were at it cause by that time I had a monster headache. While we waited for the Tylenol to take effect I continued my comforting. She was just dazed looking with quiet tears. Heartbreaking. In 20 min she was starting to come around. By 30 we had our Mirna back. Wanting to do the Barbie puzzle with daddy again. So now daddy and Mirna have done the puzzle 6 times!! I set the alarm for a second dose at 4:30 am so she wouldn't wake up hurting and be afraid to tell us but she could not be woken up. That girl sleeps like a rock! She is still asleep. I know many children deal with change and grief and sickness by sleeping. She has all three going on.

This morning we called Sharon- our main contact and she is calling doctors. Please pray for us. Mirna does NOT like doctors. She is scared. We really didn't want to have to take her our first trip but it's what she needs. I'm glad we were here to get her help quickly.

More later

:0) Angel

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December 27
A great day #2
Thank you so much for all your wonderful comments and e-mails. We feel so blessed to have so much support. I apologize if I don't get back to everyone right away. I love reading them though!

We had a wonderful day today with our little Mirna. She is a joy! She went to bed with no problems. She said she wanted to sleep in the bed by herself. She crashed till 10 am. She only woke up then because we started getting louder so she would get up and get ready for the zoo. She woke up very happy. She got in the bath and said that it was hot. She looked surprised. I asked her if she wanted it colder. She said no no it's good! She loved that bath!! Kept pouring the water over her head over and over. She scrubbed her hair with shampoo but seemed confused about the conditioner. I told her it was to make her hair pretty because I couldn't think of the word for soft. Then she ran to put on her outfit. She had carefully chosen it the night before! She also wanted her hair fixed with clips, two rings, a necklace and her hot pink sunglasses!! She LOVES those sunglasses. She also got her purse and put all her little things in it.


Then we met the foster mother in the lobby and took some pictures. Mirna is a complete ham and LOVES to have her picture taken. YOU KNOW I LOVE THAT!! Today was so busy that I didn't get to take many good pictures but tommorrow we are having a relaxed day at the hotel. I'll load on the pictures I have tonight.

After picture time it was off to the zoo!! Mirna seemed to love it. It was a very pretty little zoo. Mirna was so sweet and wanted to hold Daddy or Mommy's hand all day long!! She is such a daddy's girl already. She seemed a little scared of a few animals but had a wonderful time. She wanted to wear her jean jacket even though it was warm because she said she was very pretty in it. I also overheard Mirna tell her foster mother that her daddy is muy guapo- very handsome! Awww so sweet! Daddy is just as sold on Mirna. Today I saw proof that she is his daughter as they ate off the same plate. If you know Russ you know that he doesn't eat after anyone but me, Kaitlyn and now Mirna!

After that we went to the "mall." Which was small but nice. We ate at McDonald's and had to go buy some shoes. I felt so bad because I forgot the tennis shoes that her Nonny bought her. So sorry Nonny. I will bring the other shoes to her in February. I think it turned out to be good because she loved picking out her own shoes. She picked out the kind that light up in the back. We also picked out some white dress shoes because she looked very concerned that we had a white and red Christmas dress but no white shoes!! We also got some shoes for her foster mother's 5 year old boy. Mirna was so excited about her shoes. She kept staring at them and saying I like my white shoes. Thank you for my white shoes.

When we returned to the hotel our translator was there. I had Russ take the kids on a little tour of the hotel and I asked the translator and foster mother a LOT of questions about Mirna. What we found out was mostly what I expected but a little worse. Her conditions were so difficult. She was living in what was most likely a corregated tin house- no electricity, no running water and very little to live on. Her mother worked every single day washing clothes in the river to make a living. She was not able to spend much time with Mirna. I also asked them about a sizeable scar on Mirna's ankle. They said she recieved an injury during the hurricane that hit her village. She then had to wade through dirty water containing dead animals and it got infected. At this point her birth mother brought her into foster care. They treated it but it left a scar. The foster mother met the birth mother only one time. She said that she heard the birth mother tell Mirna not to worry. She would be here for awhile then parents from the United States would come and get her. Sweet brave girl. I thank the Lord for bringing her to us. The foster mother said Mirna is so precious and almost always obedient. She is very happy and helpful. She says that when she is upset she will go lay on her bed and cry for awhile. The foster mother said she is very open about what her life was like before and how she feels about it. This is good news.

After the foster mother went home the translator, Alex came to our room for awhile. We tried to have him talk to her but she wouldn't talk to him. She is very reserved with strangers, especially men. Our translator explained that in his culture men are not often kind or bonded to their little girls. He also explained that children are taught to be very cautious and aware of what is around them when they grow up in the villages (which are poor and often dangerous.) It is hard to explain how this little 6 year old can be so completely innocent and sweet yet sassy and street smart at the same time. Yet that is what she is. Precious and a bit too wise for her age. When she walks down a street she looks around her as if checking things out. She uses sarcasm and humor as a defense with strangers but means every word. Our translator (who is a strange man to her) asked her a question and she giggled so sweetly and said, "Why would I talk to you. You are a man." He just laughed and said this is what he would expect until she knows him better. He is wonderful and so patient with her. When he is gone she says she likes him. Arggg. The weird thing is she'll answer me or her Daddy. She seems to already trust Russ. I wonder if it's because he looks different from the men she has known. We will have work to do in helping her realize she is in a safe environment. Yet already it seems she feels safe with us and with her foster mother.

She also has a GREAT sense of humor. While the translator was here she told Russ she wanted to wrestle again. She kept telling him, " Ay vas aver" which apparently is like saying to your kids "I'm coming to get you!" It means "Oh you will see!" She was laughing and laughing. He said to her, "Okay but I'll win." Then she looked at him as sassy and cute as can be and said in spanish, "Bring it on!" We laughed so hard. I'm not sure who won but they had fun. Our translator felt she was doing really great in her bonding.

Other news- we found out that Mirna has been told about the DNA testing next week. She knows she will see her birth mother. They also said we may give a gift and pictures to the agency to give to the birth mother. YEAH! We will get at least one picture of her birth mother but are waiting to find out if we can give them a disposable camera to take more pictures of her.

We have also requested that she go to a special doctor's visit because of her exposure to debris in the hurricane. They are making an appointment. The doctor will do a thorough check up to make sure there are no problems.

On the home front- Kaitlyn is doing well. She decided she wanted to use the potty. (Of course when I'm not there!) Then she wanted to wear panties. Polka Dot let her wear panties as a reward. Later Kaitlyn pee peed on the kitchen floor and called my mom to help. My mom slipped and fell hard!! A couple of hours later my mom's friend came in and Kaitlyn said, "Polka Dot hurt her back cause slipped on my pee pee!!" Oh my goodness! That girl. She is a hoot. The two of these girls together should be hilarious.

Well right now Daddy and Mirna are doing the Barbie puzzle together for the 5th time I think. If I had known she would love puzzles so much I would have bought more. Russ may go to the store to get more tommorrow. They are also watching Veggie Tales en Espanol. She loved the dancing cucumber song. You Veggie Tales people know what I'm talking about right? Escuchen el papino, como un Leon.....

Tommorrow we will rest and hang out here. Take pictures I hope.

:0) Angel




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December 26
Meeting Our Girl
Dear Friends,

As I speak there is a full scale wrestling match going on in my hotel room. She laughs till the tears run down her cheeks and smiles in a way that makes you feel her face may crack if she smiles any wider. She is already a Daddy's girl I think. I see in his face he is overjoyed! He keeps saying, "I like her..." So far she seems to be all that we imagined her to be.

Our trip was easy. 2 1/2 hours on the plane then 5 minutes to a beautiful hotel. The Marriott is VERY nice. I will try to take a lot of pictures of the hotel for my friends who are adopting from Guatemala. It is a wonderful and BEAUTIFUL country. Everyone has been so polite and kind. The area is very nice and clean. There is a zoo, a McDonald's, Burger King, Chuckie Cheese, an Imax Theatre etc. That's just what we saw on the car ride here.

We met our little Mirna soon after we arrived at the hotel. She came up, hugged us then burst into tears and ran to her foster mother. She expressed every overwhelmed feeling openly that we felt inside our hearts. We had the translator tell her that it was fine to cry and be scared or sad or happy. We let her know that she should only stay if she wanted to. She immediately said that she wanted to stay with us and then buried her head in her foster mother. So precious. This was not upsetting to me but rather a relief. It tells me she can freely express emotion and grief. As well as witnessing how bonded she is with her foster mother. So important.

After she calmed down we went to the hotel room and ordered pizza and cokes. We sat and talked and got to know all about her. The translator and foster mom stayed with us for 2 hours. We watched a DVD we had burned of a tour of our house and lots of family members. You should have seen her face as she saw the playroom at our house. At that point I felt she was too skittish for pictures but it's burned in my mind forever. Pure awe... She LOVED the DVD and especially seeing her sister Kaitlyn.

It turns out we can leave the hotel IF we are with the foster mother. YEAH!! The foster mother wants to hang out as much as we want to. Mirna asked if we could go to the zoo tommorrow. Her foster sister told her about how fun it was when her parents came to visit and she has never been to a zoo. So tommorrow we are off to the Zoo and McDonald's. The foster mother seems so sweet! Meeting her has been wonderful. She is so patient and affectionate with Mirna. The whole time Mirna was upset she handled it so sweetly and with great compassion. AND she invited us to her church on Friday. She goes to an evangelical church and seemed very excited to hear about ours and the children's programs. Yet another answered prayer!!!

2 hours later we had a different little Mirna in our room. She was all smiles and hugs. We asked her if she wanted to stay. She told the translator and her foster mother that she was ready for them to leave her now. Since then has been pure joy!!! We've eaten fudge that grandma made, tried on 4 or 5 outfits, painted her toenails and dug through every single item in all our suitcases. We have giggled and played and as I sat with her the Spanish came from way back in my brain and started flowing. I lived in Mexico to learn Spanish so I used to be decent. I know I sound silly but I seem to be able to get my point across and we are having full out silly conversations!! What a blessing. Russ was like WHOA ANGEL where did all this come from??? He said my mommy instinct must have kicked in and I just spoke it cause I needed to! :0)

AND if all this weren't enough Mirna has a foster sister who is being adopted by a different family. Her foster sister's adoptive parents just STUMBLED across my blog and new our little Mirna. They e-mailed me all about there visit. WOW WOW WOW! What are the odds?? They just visited their little girl recently and had a wonderful time. While they were here they met Mirna and got to spend some great time with the foster mother. I am so excited. I just wrote them back and can't wait to chat more about our girls. How amazing if we could let the girls visit each other once they are both back. I can't get over it.

Well the wrestling match has ended and Daddy and Mirna are chatting and working on a puzzle. This is the first puzzle she has ever done. The things we take for granted. She is so precious. She just screamed with joy and clapped for herself because she got a piece. Earlier I showed her the drawers for her things and she ever so carefully folded up each item and place them in neat organized piles. If she was unsure she would ask me where it should go. When she saw the gifts for her foster sister and another friend of hers she was so excited. She also asked to give away a couple of her presents to her foster sister. What a heart!!! She has almost nothing and is immediately ready to give things away. We have struck gold my dear friends. Pure gold.

Well I better get busy uploading pictures. There will be a new album shortly.

:0) Angel

PS We asked about the sad Santa pictures. She said he kept taking pictures while she was blinking and she wasn't sad. She was happy. They just took them to fast!! Go figure. Silly worried mommy....

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December 25
We are almost on our way!
Well it's nine pm Christmas night and we are burning a DVD for Mirna. We did a tour of the house and taped messages from mommy and daddy which Tia Bek kindly translated for us. We are also putting footage of our Christmas celebration. Christmas has been amazing this year. SO MUCH FUN!!! We had a wonderful time with all the family. I'll post pictures soon.

Also last week our good friends Sam and Wendi threw us a surprise shower!! It was wonderful and so many friends came. I was COMPLETELY shocked and had so much fun. We have so many wonderful things for our Mirna/ Zoe. I couldn't believe how many people showed up the week of Christmas to celebebrate with us. THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART!!!

CAN YOU BELIEVE WE LEAVE TOMMORROW?? I am so excited. We are almost there. In 18 hours we will meet our sweet girl. YEAH!!! I will post lots of updates and pictures...

Now the yucky part...

I got Christmas pictures of Mirna and she looked UPSET. Okay I know kids get upset but you've seen her pictures and she is always smiling ear to ear. In these she looks like a POW with a santa hat on. It makes my heart ache because I can't know what the problem is. It's just hard not to go crazy thinking about what is wrong. Did she hear the doctor discuss DNA testing in a couple of weeks with her foster mom? Does she know her mommy will be there? Is she sick? Did she just get in trouble or it's past lunch time? Is she missing her birth mommy at Christmas? ARGGGGG!!! So that's why I've been working on a fabulous machine that will actually clone my body so that I can move to Guatemala and still be here. PURE GENIOUS right?? I am SOOOO glad that we are going to see her tommorrow. Then I can ask her what was wrong.

I know it might sound silly but these pictures really pushed me to the brink. It's a real test of my belief in God's faithfulness. I mean I look at how faithful God has been in every step of this process. Why would he not be there to protect her now? I truly believe that He is. I used to read the Old Testament and wonder how the Isrealites could continue to doubt God after all the miracles they saw. How could they not see that God is faithful??? Now I understand. I truly feel that my test is about God's faithfulness. Do I believe that He is who I say He is? Can He truly care for my little girl? So much of my life is my illusion of control. God has been parting the Red Sea for our family and now I'm wondering if we'll get wet!! Yesterday I felt like Peter walking on water and then I looked down at the waves. Then I started to sink. I gotta get back up and walk on water!
Next time I blog I will be in Guatemala!!!!!!!!!!!!!
:0) Angel


















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December 21
We have a DNA and Family Court Interview Date and Other Stuff Too
THINGS ARE GOING SO FAST!!!!!!!

We have been notified that the DNA testing will be done the first week in January. They have granted the birth mother a family court interview date for the same week because of her difficult circumstances. She lives far away in a village deeply effected by the mudslides. This is VERY quick!!!!! God has answered our prayers. We have seen ZERO delay because of the holidays. WOW WOW WOW WOW!

It looks like if things keep going this smoothly (and I am convinced they will) we should be submitted to final court in a month or so. This is AMAZING and truly a gift from God.

Final court can be crazy. It sometimes takes only 10 days. It sometimes takes months. We continue to trust God that He is in control of the timing.

As far as meeting the birth mother... Belanos does not recommend that we meet her at this time. Apparently at the family court interview they will ask whether she knows us. If she says yes it may make them suspicious of our relationship with her. They are very careful about fraud and payoffs. So they said they will talk to her about coming to meet us after final decree. We pray that she will meet with us.

At DNA testing Mirna will see her mother. If her mother will not keep contact with us then this will be the last time she will see her. I pray this is not the case. I can't imagine what this meeting will be like for them. I am so grateful that Mirna will have just spent a week with us. She will be able to tell her mother about us and that we are good to her. She will look healthy, well taken care of and I pray very happy. I pray this will give her mother some measure of peace in her decision. I cry whenever I think about it.

At this meeting they will test Mirna and the birth mother's DNA. They will take a picture of them together. They will let them visit a little bit. She will sign her rights away for the 2nd out of 4 times.

That same week she will have a family court interview. At this interview she will be advised of her rights and they will determine that she is making this decision of her own free will. She will be educated on what it means to sign away her rights. She will then sign away her rights for the 3rd out of 4 times.

From what I hear out of approx 50 birth mothers that our agency deals with in a year usually 3 will change their mind. 2 will change their minds very quickly before they sign away their rights for the second time. 1 out of 50 will do it later in the process. However it seems to be more rare for a birth mother to change her mind in the case of an older child because she has usually thought it through and knows she cannot provide for the child.

I keep hearing on the forums that things are going very quickly right now in Guatemala. Things that were taking 7 weeks last month are taking 2 weeks this month!!! Keep up the praying.
IT'S WORKING!!


So here is what I know about our trip and other stuff....

What will you do when you get there?
We depart at 9:30am on the 26th it's a three hour flight- I don't think there is a time change
We will get to Guatemala at about 12:30 in the afternoon on Mon the 26th
The Marriott provides transportation to the hotel about 5 minutes away
We call the interpreter/coordinator to let her know we are in and settled
She will bring Mirna and the foster mother at 3:00 pm and let us ask any questions etc..

How will you commnicate with Mirna?
We know a little bit of Spanish. Many of the staff members at the Marriott are bilingual and very willing to help. We will also hire an interpreter for an hour each day so we can discuss things that are more in depth or complicated.


Other stuff...
You don't to have electrical adapters for Guatemala. That's nice!!!

There is a big grocery/convenience store very near the hotel that is very safe and has most anything we might need.

There is a McDonald's right next to the Marriott. Ahhhh the taste of America if we get homesick.


Cute stuff Kaitlyn says...

I am Cinderella and Daddy is Prince Charming

I don't have a big sister I have a picture

Daddy says, "You have soft and pretty hair."
Kaitlyn nods her head, "I DO like my hair."

I can't go to bed right now. My grandpa's comin to see me. I just need to play a little bit.










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December 19
FAMILY COURT!!!!
We are in Family Court! Praise The Lord!!!! I have asked for clarification on our court date. I am a little fuzzy on how all this works. I just got an e-mail saying we are in the family court process. To me that sounds like we must have gotten the court that just returned from vacation... Don't ya think!! WOW! We seem to be just cruising along so far. God is faithful. Again they expect delays because of Christmas but my God is in charge here and we will trust His timing.

The e-mail also said that our I -171 H approval is on it's way or in Guatemala and they expect it to go very quickly because all of the paperwork is ready to go. WOW!!

I am wondering if they will do DNA testing while we are in Guatemala City. How cool would that be?? Please pray for the birth mother. This DNA testing will be especially trying for her. It is major. She will sign away her rights again (she has to do it 4 times) and see Mirna. Also pray for Mirna's heart. I cannot fathom the pain that this has been and will be for both of them. Usually if a birth mother changes her mind DNA testing is when it occurs. We pray for wisdom for her and protection for Mirna's heart and our hearts. We deeply desire contact with the birth mother and for her to always have access to information about Mirna. We are working with our agency on whether this is a possibility. We beg your prayers again on this issue.

Thank you!!

Angel

PS I love your comments and encouragement. Thank you and keep it coming!!

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December 13
I 171-H Approval!!!
I went to pick up our approval today and overnighted it to my case worker. The last piece of the puzzle to set all the parts into motion. Things are going very well so far. In the next few days I should have a court date. Praying that it is sooner rather than later.... If things keep going this smoothly I will be thrilled. Just trying to trust God's timing.

My energy level is a little better today. I still feel like I'm dragging but I can feel myself beginning to recover. Yesterday the very thought of trying to clean overwhelmed me. Today I can think about it. I just don't want to do it!!! Maybe by tommorrow my house will get clean..

Ahhh such is life.

:0) Angel

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December 12
2 weeks till take off....
2 weeks till Christmas and Guatemala. I just can't seem to find time to blog these days!!! I don't know why. It's not like I have anything going on! Hee hee. Anyway, things are going great. It's just REALLY busy between getting ready for Christmas and the trip to Guatemala. I've been feeling kind of overwhelmed with it all and my thyroid did a dive on me today. For those of you who don't know my thyroid went kooky on me during my pregnancy with Kaitlyn so now I have to take medicine. My thyroid runs too slowly and it makes me extremely tired and grouchy and on the chubby side if I'm not medicated. I sometimes have a bad spell if I push myself too hard but that hasn't happened for months. Well it happened yesterday. OOOPS... I slept for 11 hours last night then 2 1/2 this afternoon and still couldn't function because I felt so exhausted. It's a horrible feeling. So I'm trying to take it easy so I don't have an all out crash! Hopefully I'll be back up and running in a couple of days. It's just so hard to pace yourself when you have a million things to do and two weeks to do it!

This Christmas has felt more magical for than it has in a long time. We decided to simplify a lot. So we are making presents for people or giving very small sentimental gifts. We are starting so many wonderful traditions. Spending lots of time reading Christmas books and watching Christmas movies. I feel like the last few days I slipped into the rush rush thing and quit enjoying it. I don't want to do that.

I'm deciding to get back on track and enjoy it. I've just got to decide that if it doesn't all get done that it's okay. What's important is that I have little eyes watching me and learning what the Christmas season is all about. What am I telling her with my actions? Yikes... I want so much for her to remember love and family and giving and not chaos at Christmas. THAT'S IT! I'm reforming back to calm Christmas girl. I'll let you know how that goes. :0)

My best to you all. Here's wishing you love and a calm Christmas season...

Angel

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December 07
Celebrating Advent
SHARE YOUR TRADITIONS!!!
IF YOU HAVE A GREAT HOLIDAY TRADITION JUST CLICK ON MY GUEST BOOK TO THE RIGHT OF THIS PAGE AND SHARE IT WITH ALL OF US! YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE AN MSN MEMBER TO SIGN IT. I CAN'T WAIT TO HEAR YOUR IDEAS!!

My friend Erin talked about this idea on her blog http://gerlthouse.blogspot.com/ I just had to share!!! She and her family have started following advent during Christmas. It's really a great way to get your kids involved with the true meaning of Christmas rather than just the hype. As you read the scriptures night by night it takes you through the Bible and the need for a savior. This builds up the understanding of why Jesus came and gets our children excited about his arrival!! I know I'm a little behind but I'm going to double up and start tommorrow. Just wanted to share it with you because I think it is so great. Here it is....

http://www.family.org/fofmag/pf/a0026154.cfm

Additional Advent Activities
• As Christmas cards arrive, save them with the Advent wreath and use your Advent prayer time to pray for the senders. • Do an Advent service project for the needy. Collect money or goods and use a portion of the Advent time to decide whom to help and how to do it. Some possibilities are to join a church's gift-giving project, call the Salvation Army for names of families who are needy, send a special food or gift package to a missionary or give anonymously to those you know in need. • Use your nativity set with as many animals as possible to enact the story. (Great for younger kids!) Some families set up the manger scene and each day move the people and animals in a little closer. • Add occasional craft times to the end of an Advent ceremony. Make ornaments using salt dough or glue pictures of family members on flat foam shapes and decorate. • Make cookies or candies to share at the conclusion of your Advent time, or make special Advent cookies different from Christmas ones. • Have children bring homemade instruments to enhance the singing. • If you have competitive children, alternate who will light the candle, pick the carol, lead the prayers and read the Bible. • Invite your friends to share an Advent evening with you.
Celebrate Advent!by Letitia Suk
Three weeks and two days before Christmas and the heated discussion among my four children is not about which video games they want for Christmas but who's turn it is to light the candle at family Advent. It's the first week of Advent season, the observance of the four weeks preceding Christmas, a tradition started in the Middle Ages. My kids want to make sure they each have a part in the celebration.
Advent Readings
The length of the Advent season depends on which day of the week Christmas falls on. This schedule includes all possible 28 days of Advent. For shorter seasons adjust this schedule by doubling up on some readings or eliminating the final two readings, which record events after Christ's birth.
First Week Sun. Is. 40:1-5Mon. Is. 52:7-10Tue. Is. 40:9-11Wed. Gen. 3:8-15Thu. Gen. 15:1-6Fri. Deut. 18:15-19Sat. Ps. 89:1-4
Second Week Sun. Is. 11:1-10Mon. Zech. 6:12-13Tue. Mic. 5:2-4Wed. Mal. 3:1-6Thu. John 1:1-8 Fri. John 1:9-18Sat. Mark 1:1-3
Third Week Sun. Luke 1:5-13Mon. Luke 1:14-17Tue. Luke 1:18-25Wed. Luke 1:39-45Thu. Luke 1:46-56Fri. Luke 1:57-66Sat. Luke 1:67-80
Fourth Week Sun. Is. 7:10-14Mon. Luke 1:26-35Tue. Is. 9:2-7Wed. Mt. 1:18-25Thu. Luke 2:1-20Fri. Mt. 2:1-2Sat. Luke 2:21-35
More than any other activity, Advent can restore Jesus to the center of the Christmas celebration, because on each Advent day the birth of Jesus is read, sung and talked about. The whole family can participate and find the observance meaningful. The props are simple and inexpensive. The memories and training will last a lifetime. Although the common tenets of observing Advent are shared by many churches, each family can add its own flavor. Following is a basic primer on how to start celebrating Advent this year.
When: Advent starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, Dec. 3 this year. Because Christmas falls on different days each year, Advent can last 22 to 28 days.
Prepare your family: Let your family or household know that this year you are going to start a new tradition to celebrate Jesus' birthday. Whenever you can with children, refer to Christmas as Jesus' birthday. Decide which time of the day will work best for your Advent time.
What you need: • An Advent wreath, which can be purchased at most Christian bookstores, or made of fire-safe materials or a log with holes for candles. Perhaps it could be a family event to choose or make the Advent wreath. • Four candles, three purple and one rose, and an additional white candle for Christmas Eve. A box of four Advent candles can be purchased at many card stores or Christian bookstores. • A Bible for readings and, for younger children, a selection of children's Christmas stories that focus on the birth of Jesus. • Advent readings.
Optional items: • An Advent calendar, available where cards are sold, with 24 windows to open each day in December or a paper chain of 24 red and green links to mark the number of days until Jesus' birthday. • Christmas carol books.
Beginning the celebration: On the first day begin with either a prayer or a Christmas carol. Light the first purple candle, known as the prophecy candle. The liturgical color purple is a sign of penance and longing as we wait for the birth of Jesus. With the lighting, talk about Jesus being the light of the world. Read the Advent Scripture of the day. Conclude by singing or praying. Have one child blow out the candle.
Light the same candle each day of the first week. Follow with the reading, Christmas carols or other meaningful activities. On the second Sunday light two purple candles, both of which are relit each night. The second candle is known as the Bethlehem candle.
The third week light the two purple candles and then a rose candle, or shepherd candle. Rose is a sign of joy and hope that He is coming.
Light the last candle, known as the angel candle, on the fourth Sunday. All four candles are lit each night that week to symbolize the growing brightness of Jesus' coming.
Advent activities for Christmas Eve: Conclude the Advent season by lighting all four candles and placing an additional white candle in the center in its own holder. Have a birthday party for Jesus complete with cake, the Happy Birthday song, candles and presents of nonmaterial gifts such as singing, readings, a play and prayers that each family member brings to share with others. Consider doing a nativity play with simple costumes. As you prepare to open gifts explain how we give gifts as a reminder of how much God gave us in Jesus.
Long after the new toys are banished to the back of the closet and the decorations stored away for another year, the memories of the four weeks of Advent will remain. Don't be surprised if it turns out to be your favorite tradition!

Hope you love this idea as much as I do. I have drawn up a list of my holiday traditions for us to go through as a family. Several people have requested a copy. I'm more than happy to share. So please steal a few then share some with me!

Christmas Traditions

The Weekend After Thanksgiving

1. Decorate the house with fun Christmas decorations
2. Pick out a Christmas tree
3. String popcorn and cranberries for the tree
4. Make homemade decorations for the tree
5. Talk about the meaning of the Christmas season- Jesus was born as a gift to us and gave his life for us, in the same way we should serve each other and be a gift to one another
6. Read a children’s version of the Christmas story
The Month Of December

1. Spend some time doing a special service for Christmas- food bank, adopt a family for Christmas, or other opportunity- when kids are old enough let them help to decide what the family service project should be
2. Have a baking day for friends and neighbors- spend a family day making lots of yummy goodies for those in your everyday life while you play lots of great Christmas music!!!
3. Follow an advent calendar- let kids take turns removing an object each night before bed (maybe make your own calendar)
4. Make a gingerbread house
The Week before Christmas

1. Watch a Christmas movie each night while working on homemade gifts for family and friends- each family member gets to choose a couple of the movies
2. Each night write something that you are thankful for on a piece of paper and put it on the Christmas tree
3. Each night read a fun children’s book about Christmas and a meaningful children’s book about Christmas
The Night Before Christmas

1. Make Jesus birthday cards to put on top of the mantle
2. Make a special plate of treats for Santa
3. Make magic reindeer food ( quaker oats, sprinkles, and other fun stuff) –thanks Henry’s for letting us steal this one :0)
4. Sprinkle reindeer food on sidewalk
5. Read “The Night Before Christmas” and children’s version of the Christmas story
6. Go on a hay ride to see the lights in our neighborhood

Christmas Day


1. Open presents
2. Make Happy Birthday pancakes for Jesus Birthday in fun Christmas shapes
3. Go to grandma and grandpa’s house!!
New Year’s Eve

1. Start a family journal. Each year each family member will write the best things that happened, the worst things that happened and the things they have learned. Parents can write for children too young to write on their own.
HUGS TO YOU!! Angel

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It's been 1 month since our paperwork went to Guatemala
One month down... How many to go???
It's gone VERY quickly so far. I pray the rest go by as easily. I think this next month will fly by. Between Christmas and our trip to Guatemala then New Year's... Jan 7th will be here before we know it. That's the part where I'm afraid it might get harder. I'll have held my little girl and left her behind in Guatemala. How will my mommy's heart handle that? I've only been away from Kaitlyn a hand full of times since she was born. I am praying for grace and strength for Zoe and for us.

All our preparations are going very well! A new wardrobe, educational DVDs, toys, workbooks, bilingual books, craft projects to do in the hotel.... The list is endless! I don't know what we would do without our EXTREMELY supportive parents. They have gone right out and started shopping for our sweet girl. Many of our friends have done the same. What a blessing. Thank you all! I can't believe we get to see her in two and a half weeks! I wonder if she's excited or nervous. Probably both. I know I'm both.

KAITLYN CUTE STUFF

Yesterday I told Kaitlyn that she makes me smile everyday. Then I asked if I ever make her smile. She nodded her head and answered very sincerely, "Yes, mommy.. Every day."

Kaitlyn LOVES going to church and I love that she LOVES going to church. Our Early Childhood Minister does such a beautiful job of organizing a ministry that reaches the kids on their level. Kaitlyn and all the kids just gobble it up!! You're the best Anne. I so appreciate what you do for our little ones!

So anyway, this past Sunday morning I asked Kaitlyn what she learned at church. She enthusiatically responded, "Jesus sleeps in a manger!! and God said "Don't you be afraid of me!!" So CUTE!

She then proceeded to lead us in a rousing round of songs and carols. Jingle bells, joy heart (She likes to give them her own names) and other favorites. It was a precious moment for this mommy



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December 05
21 Days Till Take Off
Just thought I should begin the countdown to Guatemala departure for our 1st visit!!!
Can't write much tonight... Not enough hours in the day ya know?? Thank you everyone who checks my blog and prays so faithfully for our little one in Guatemala. I know without a shadow of a doubt that God hears our prayers and is faithful to answer us. Not always exactly the answer we want but always the answer we need. In the same way we do what is best for our children even when it is painful... That is how God loves us!! Sleep peacefully blogger buddies.

:0) Angel

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December 02
A Praise, Prayer Request and New info on Zoe
PRAISE!!!!

We have our fingerprints done and in 10-14 days we will have 171 H the final approval from our government to get DNA testing. This is a major step and went very quickly. also....

I have a prayer request. During the next week or two we will be getting a court assignment for family court in Guatemala. That is the good news. PRAISE!!! Here is the tricky part.....

Dear Families,
We wanted to update you on the holidays and how that effects the courts and the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala.
The Family Courts take rotating vacations. The even number Courts will be on vacation November 15th – December 15th. The odd number courts will not be working December 15th – January 15th. All the Family courts will close Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve and New Years day. We are working on finding out which cases are in which courts so we can prepare you.

As you can see if we get assigned to the even court SWEET. If we get assigned to the odd court it will most likely mean waiting an extra month.... YUCK. I am trying to pray for God's timing in this adoption. I know that there are many reasons for things that happen. Yet I pray that God will bring my baby home as soon as possible and be glorified in this process. I believe in miracles! Right now everyone is telling us to expect delays and delays because of the holidays. I know that is true. Yet I know my God is bigger than that. If she is supposed to come home quickly she will. If not then God will provide us with the grace to wait, comfort for her and the funds to visit AGAIN!! Oh Lord please let it be option A!!
and finally ....
I wrote the agency in Guatemala to ask them some questions about our girl. Some of you have wanted to know some of these things so here goes.... I blanked out their names for their privacy.

1. We would like to purchase a small TV/DVD combo unit for the foster mother. We would bring it on our trip in December. We feel that this would be important for Mirna while she lives there because we would make dvds of our family and home as well as English cartoons etc. We would also like to buy a couple of DVDs for the family as well. Do you think this is a possibility? yes it is ok for you to buy them. We don't want to make the foster mother uncomfortable or give her something that won't work for her home. I already talked to the foster mother about it and it is ok.
2. Can we find out more info on the foster family Mirna's staying with? They are 5 at the foster mother's home, ----- the foster mother, ------, foster dad, Foster father's brother, and --------is the daugther of ----- the foster mother, she is 7 months old.
How old is the sister and how long have you worked with them? there is another girl at home, her name is -----, she is not a biological sister for mirna, she is eight years old, and has been at the house for two m onths they get along well and play well, the foster mother bought barbies for the girls because they wanted barbies.
How is she doing with them? She behaves good, she is learning things that the foster mother is teaching her, is an excelent girl and is a healthy girl
3. What size clothes should we buy for Mirna to bring when we visit?She is using size 12 or 14, shoe size is 32. (this translates into American size 7 girl clothes or medium girls and size 2 shoe)
4. Has Mirna had schooling at all?no she has never gone to school till now, Foster Mother is teaching her for now.
5. Can we hire a tutor to go to Mirna's foster home and work with her on learning English? yes she can, we can hire a tutor for her during the week in the morning,
If so, how much would that cost?I will find a tutor and let you know about the cost!

My Final Thoughts...
Such wonderful information. I love to dissect every little thing.... She likes Barbie's so she probably a girly girl like Kaitlyn! :0) She's wearing pink in both pictures... Is that her favorite color? She is well behaved. Thank you Lord! She likes to learn and sounds smart. She never got to go to school... That's okay! Her Foster mother buys them Barbies and teaches her things!! Thank you Lord!
Thank you for your prayers!
:0) Angel


November 29
New Pictures Of Our Girl!!!! YEAH!!!
Praise The Lord! She looks so happy and healthy! You think she's smiling 'cause she got our letter that day?? OK maybe not but I can think that right? YEAH!!! I can't wait to squeeze her!! We're on our way sweet girl!!


























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November 28
Thankful Out Of My Mind!!!
It has been an amazing holiday week. We spent some great time with family and friends. Some of our dear friends came to visit us. They have just moved back from Seattle to Dallas so it was so special to get to visit with them knowing that they were "home" for good!! Welcome home Wallys!! :0)

Oh big news!! My friends the Copeland's have found the little girl they will adopt. http://spaces.msn.com/members/CopelandAdoption/ Praise the Lord!! We are so happy for them and their sweet new daughter...

So we are starting a whole bunch of new traditions this year and continuing some great old ones. I am VERY into traditions and memories. Now that we have a more permanant home and a two year old little girl it seems like a perfect time to start some wonderful things. We spent the weekend decorating for Christmas. Russ did a great job on the outside. Our neighborhood is a milder version of "Christmas With The Kranks." If you haven't seen it go rent it. Or better yet read the book it's based on. "Skipping Christmas" by John Grisham. It's hilarious. So anyway our neighborhood is beautiful this time of year!! EVERYONE does lights. I love it!! We will get to add more every year but we have a nice start going. I'll try to take pictures soon.

These days we are listening to Christmas music, making gifts for people, decorating, driving around looking at lights and cuddling while we watch movies. I'm generally just trying to soak in every minute of life in this magnificent moment. I am frankly overwhelmed with grateful love for my life. I am so blessed. A loving and devoted hubby, a precious two year old sweety and a brave little girl in Guatemala... Everything we do now we talk about Zoe... Wouldn't Zoe like these lights. Do you think Zoe will like Turkey? What would Zoe think about the outlet mall in San Marcos? Does Zoe know about Santa Claus? Does she know about Jesus??? I am SOOO excited to get to see her and share so many things with her...

Okay I know I'm mushy but isn't it the season for mushiness? Okay I'm mushy all the time.

So some cute things about Kaitlyn....

You can get her to wear anything or do whatever you need her to do if you tell her that is what a Princess does/wears. She is a Princess FREAK. When this tactic quits working we are in BIG trouble! :0)

She calls coke "good juice." As in "No I don't want milk (pronounced ILK) Daddy, I want some of you good juice peas."

A few days ago she spontaniously walked up to me and said, "Mommy, you're amazing!" Instant heart melt!! "Would you like a car sweet Kaitlyn?? Yes of course the license plate will say princess!!!" Hee Hee...

Last week out of the blue she walks up to Russ and says, "I go on a date with my Daddy.." Awww sooo sweet. They go on weekly "dates" to eat but he was sick the day they usually go. Russ didn't think she would know or care but SURPRISE! Of course the answer was yes. She said mommy could come this time too. He asked her where she wanted to go and she said, "Eat burritos!" So we did... :0)

Tonight Kaitlyn gave her first request for ordering pizza. We were walking through the neighborhood and talking about our favorite foods. She said she liked pizza and furthermore she wanted pizza tonight. I figured she would forget about it but later she asked, "Mommy we have pizza peas??" Again the melting heart. I said, "Well you'll have to ask Daddy." We called him on the phone and she said, "Daddy I have pizza in my house peas? I get in my car and go get it wif my Daddy." Well he was snookered, bedazzled, roped in and suckered all with those two sentences. Needless to say we got pizza tonight. Good thing there was a special at Pizza Hut. Carryout large for $6.99 'cause we spent all our bucks on the lights for the house!!!

Later,
:0) Angel



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November 23
All I Really Want
This is a song by Steven Curtis Chapman that I am declaring my Christmas song for this year. I would like to dedicate it to my Zoe Mirna and to my friend Merideth Copeland. Merideth and her family are in the Ukraine right now searching for a little girl to adopt. Please keep them in your prayers. While we are fast asleep tonight they will be meeting with people who will help them find a little girl to go visit. They are praying she will be home with them soon. Maybe by Christmas. Merideth I'm so proud of you!!! To visit her blog go to http://spaces.msn.com/members/CopelandAdoption/

A little boy's letter to Santa......

Well I don't know if you remember me or not
I'm one of the kids they brought in from the home
I was the red-haired boy in an old, green flannel shirt
You may not have seen me, I was standing off alone

I didn't come and talk to you cause that's never worked before
And you'll probably never see this letter anyhow
But just in case there's something you can do to help me out
I'll ask you one more time

All I really want for Christmas is someone to tuck me in
A shoulder to cry on if I lose, shoulders to ride on if I win
There's so much I could ask for but there's just one thing I need
All I really want for Christmas is a family

Well I guess I should go ahead and tell you now
If it's really true about that list you have
Somehow I always seem to end up in a fight
But I'm really trying hard not to be bad

But maybe if I had a brother or a dad to wrestle with
Maybe they could teach me how to get along
And from everything I've heard it sounds like the greatest gift on earth
Would be a mom

All I really want for Christmas is someone who'll be here
To sing me happy birthday for the next 100 years
And it's okay if their not perfect or even if they're a little broken
That's all right 'cause so am I

Well I guess I should go, it's almost time for bed
And maybe next time I write you I'll be at home

Cause all I really want for Christmas is someone to tuck me in
Tell me I'll never be alone, someone who's love will never end
Of all that I could ask for, well, there's just one thing I need
All I really want for Christmas is a family


Steven Curtis Chapman has 3 biological children and has 3 adoptive children from China. He has become such a wondeful voice to the Christian community about adoption. If you want to learn more about how to adopt you can visit Steven's site
http://www.howtoadopt.org/

If you need a grant for adoption or want to give a gift to help others who are adopting
http://members.shaohannahshope.org/site/PageServer

If you just like the song and want the CD!!! :0)
http://www.stevencurtischapman.com/

I promise I'm not working for Steven Curtis Chapman!! I just appreciate what God is doing through his family.

As we sit around our Thanksgiving table tommorrow I will be dreaming of the extra chair that will be added to our table next year for our little one. I am so thankful that our little Zoe Mirna knows we are coming to get her soon. So grateful for all of you who will help support us in making her feel at home in Houston. So thankful for those of you who are on your own adoption journey walking out your faith.

Those of you who hear God whispering to you that your little boy or girl is out there waiting for you... Have courage to take a leap. You will be forever thankful and a child will be too.

Thank you to all of you... I am constantly moved by your love and support.

YOU ARE WHAT I AM THANKFUL FOR!!!
Have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving. Treasure the people around you. God has given them to you no matter where they came from.

When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you.
Deuteronomy 8:10

Love, :0) Angel



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November 21
What Kind Of Princess Are You???
Sorry I've been slacking on my blogging duties!! Not a whole lot of action on the adoption front. We're just getting prepared for our first visit. Buying her an entire wardrobe, games to play, books, stuff to make a scrapbook with her, educational stuff etc.... We are also just soaking in some great family time for the holidays. Here is a cute quiz I took. I thought all of my girly blogger buddies might get a kick out of it. I tell Kaitlyn that all girls are princesses. So what kind of princess are you?? Take a cute quiz and you can find out. I took it and these were my results. Try it.... http://quizilla.com/users/FaerieFriend/quizzes/

The Noble PrincessYou are just and fair, a perfectionist with a strong sense of proper decorum. You are very attracted to chivalry, ceremony and dignity. For the most part you are rather sensible, but you are also very idealistic.Role Models: Guinevere, Princess Fiona (of Shrek)


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November 14
My letter to Mirna
I sent this letter to Mirna today. They will translate it and read it to her. It was so challenging to write. I truly didn't expect it to be that difficult for me. It was. How do you write a letter to your little girl who has been through more than you can imagine, lives in a third world country and has never met you??? How do you tell her everything in your heart in a way she can understand in 1-2 pages. I just kept thinking how important this letter would be to her. Her link with her mommy and daddy. I so deperately want it to be a comfort to her. I hope that it is.

My Dearest Mirna,

This is your mommy from the United States of America. I have so many things that I want to say that it is hard to know where to start.

First I would like to say that I think you are a very special and brave girl. When I see your picture it always makes me happy. You have such a wonderful smile. I show your picture to all of our family and friends. They all think that you are so beautiful and that your smile is so sweet! I can see from the twinkle in your eye that you are lots of fun too.

Your daddy and I are coming to visit you soon. We will come Dec. 26th. I bet your foster mommy will help you to know when we are coming. I am so excited to meet you. I know that we will have lots of fun together. We will play games and watch shows and go swimming in the pool.

I only speak a little bit of Spanish. Your daddy knows a little bit too. We will try very hard to learn more Spanish and we will help you learn English. We may sound really silly to you though. If you giggle at how silly we sound we won’t be mad. I think it will be fun!

After we visit we will have to come back to America for awhile. I know it will be very hard for us to leave each other but we will visit you again very soon. I will bring you lots of pictures and things so that you will remember us. One day we will bring you to your new home in America forever!

I will tell you about us. You have a little sister. Her name is Kaitlyn and she is 2 years old. She is so excited to have a big sister. She knows your picture! When she sees it she says “big sister!!” I think you will like her a lot and that you will be able to play together.

Your daddy is a wonderful man. He is kind and gentle. He will not scare you and a lot of times he will make you giggle! Daddy loves to play games and have fun. He is so excited that you are his little girl.

I am your mommy. I will stay home with you every day. We will have school together and learn so many things! I love to sing and laugh and dance. I also like to cuddle on the couch and watch a good show. Do you? Oh and I love to give hugs and kisses! I think we will have so much fun together. We will have four people in our family who love each other so much.

You also have two grandmas and two grandpas and 2 uncles and lots of other family who are so excited to meet you. We have a church with many children to play with you.

Your home in America is a wonderful place. You have a room of your very own. It has a big soft bed and the walls are purple. I hope you like that color. If you don’t maybe we can change it. When we visit you can help me choose what the pillows and blanket should look like so that I can make it very special just for you. We live in a pretty neighborhood with big trees and parks to play in.

I wish we could bring you home to America right now but there are many people who have to look at our papers and give us permission. I am working very hard to make it go as fast as I can.

I think of you every day and every night Mirna. I pray that God will hold you until I can. I pray for blessings for the people that love you and care for you while I am far away. I can’t wait till we get to visit you and give you hug. I hope that you are not scared to visit us but it is okay if you are. I know that you will feel many different things right now. You might feel scared or angry or sad. It’s okay to feel all of those things. When you feel that way you can tell us or your foster mommy or pray to God. He will always listen to you.

I talk to God every day about you sweet girl. I tell Him how much I love you and that I miss you already. I pray that you will feel safe and happy. Sometimes I feel so happy because I know that you are my little girl. Sometimes I feel so sad because you are too far away. Whatever I feel I tell God and He helps me feel calmer in my heart. I know He will help you too

I want you to know that I love you with my whole heart Mirna. Your daddy loves you and your sister loves you too. When you feel lonely or afraid you remember that your family loves you and we will come to get you as soon as we can. Then we will always be together. I will pray for you every night and you pray for me every night and it will be like we are praying together.

Please do your best to obey your foster mother and love her! She is such a very special lady and she is caring for you till we can bring you home. I am so grateful that God has given you a safe home and someone to love you.

With lots of hugs,
Mommy

Here is the letter for her foster mother...

For Mirna’s Foster Mother,

Thank you is all I know to say. You are a gift from God for my little Mirna. I am so grateful for a woman like you who would care for her in such an amazing way. I am a Christian and I pray for you daily. I am praying that God will bless you and your family because I believe what you are doing is so important. These two scriptures are what I believe you are living right now….

Mathew 18:5
And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.


James 1:26-27

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

I am forever grateful for you. The kindness and love you show to Mirna in these months will change her forever. You will be an earthly example of God’s love and grace for her.

I believe you have such an important and heartbreaking job. To care for and bond with Mirna knowing you will let her go. It is such an unselfish love and it makes me cry just to think about it. Please know that it is our deepest desire that Mirna keep in contact with all of the people she holds dear. We want you to know how she is doing always.

As I thought about you and your good heart I have been thinking that one day perhaps I will be a foster mother for a child who needs a home in America. Maybe I will care for another child until his/her parents can come in honor of you and what you are doing now for my little girl. I hope that one day I have the courage to do that.

My husband and I will love Mirna and give her a happy and safe home. We want to fill her life with good memories and help ease some of the painful ones that she already has. What a brave little girl you and I have been given to care for.

We will visit Dec 26th-31st and it will be my honor to meet the lady who cares for my little one. I look forward to knowing more about you and your family.

May the Lord Bless You Indeed!

Sincerely,
Angel Weir


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November 11
First the newest...
Well first of all things are going really well. I found out some really great news. Well a few great things actually!

1. Zoe Mirna gets to stay with us the entire week. We thought she just got to have visits during the day. This will be so much better for bonding.

2. Plane tickets and hotel were a lot cheaper than I thought they would be. That will make it so much easier to visit her.


3. Our authentication charges came out much lower that budgeted. Texas is apparently one of the cheapest states for getting this done. Plus the agency didn't charge us for authentication processing because I did the leg work.(with a lot of verbal coaching from Lindsey-case worker) So the grand total of savings issssss $1400!!! Wow! What a blessing. That pretty much covers the cost of a trip to go visit. So cool!

4. We can e-mail letters and pictures to Zoe/Mirna whenever we want. (as long as we don't overdue it.. Hee hee) and they will translate them, print them and read them to her.

5. Our dossier is in Guatemala now!! We are really trucking along!

6. The immigration department-overseas adoption/orphans division has all our paperwork now. I tried to call today to get things expedited but they were closed for Veteran's Day. I'll call again first things Monday. Please pray...

7. We have the most supportive group of people around us!! We have already had so many people around us ask how they can help or offer to get clothes and gifts for Zoe. Just as important are the people constantly offering encouragement and prayers for our Zoe... I even have an amazing offer from a sweet friend to help me sow everything for her room for free!!

By the way (SHAMELESS PLUG COMING!!!) Susarah is a talented seamstress who is just starting her own business. If you need some sowing done I have your gal!!! I'll take pictures of the room when we're done so you can see her many talents.

Cute Stuff Kaitlyn Said This Week...

Daddy says something really funny. Kaitlyn starts laughing hysterically and says, "Daddy, you're killing me!!"

I ask Kaitlyn if we should get in the car and go. She says,"Let's hit the road Jack!"

(Do I say that???)

I often call Kaitlyn "Pumpkin" as a pet name. So now when Kaitlyn wants to compliment me she looks at me so sweetly and says, "Mommy you're a pumpkin."

Hmmm.. fat and orange...

We are working on learning people's whole names. Here are some names so far according to Kaitlyn....

1. KK Weir (herself)
2. Daddy Wuss Weir (very descriptive- Russ Weir)
3. Mommy Anja Weir (translation Angel Weir)
4. Oka Dot Doroty Fosta (translation Polka Dot Dorothy Foster)
NOW THIS IS WHERE IT GETS GOOD
5. papaw doroty fosta (translation Grandpa Mark Foster!!)

Hee hee!!! We are still having to work on Juanita (Russ' mom's name) that's a mouthful right now. It's pretty much Auta Weir. Russ dad is just POP and that's all. Hey we're working on it.

That's all for now folks!! Angel :0)



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November 09
Going To Visit Zoe/Mirna...
I just bought our plane tickets. It's official! We are going to visit Zoe Dec 26th-31st. YEAH!! Kaitlyn will stay with my mom and Russ' mom. Zoe will visit us at the hotel all day each day and go to her foster home at night. WE ARE SO EXCITED. We will get to celebrate Christmas with her.

I wish Kaitlyn could come too but I think it's more important that we save the money so that we can visit more often. We plan to go again in February for her birthday. She was born on Feb 14th. A Valentine's baby!

I pray that after that visit it will only be a month or so till we bring her home for good. If things go slower we'll just grow some more cash on our money tree and visit again in early May. :0) God has always provided. He will again.

Please Lord bring her home quickly and be with our little girl. Please hold her while we can't and let the people around her care for her. I pray that she will feel safe and that she will know even now that we love her and that You love her.

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November 08
The Last Week
Well it was quite a week! Lindsey, my case worker, said she's never seen a Dossier ready to be sent to Guatemala so quickly!! She said we easily cut a month off of our wait to go get Zoe/Mirna. God is faithful! Here is what I've been up to the last week...

We accepted the referral on Tuesday. We spent the evening filling out forms and doing stuff from home. I did my best to get REALLY organized and wrote out all my mile long to do lists.

The rest of the week was spent running around chasing down documents! The amazing part was how smoothly it went. I walked into government agencies multiple times this week and never waited ONCE!! Who ever heard of not waiting in a government office. I'm talking like 4 times with no line and helpful service! If that's not a miracle I don't know what is!

I only had a couple of people who weren't immediately on board and ready to do whatever we needed. Everyone was TRULY amazing and so helpful. For those who needed convincing I had NO PROBLEM begging, pleading and pulling out the sympathy card whenever neccesary!!! The fact that Zoe has a terrific smile and I pulled out her picture at every stop didn't hurt at all! Thank you Lord for little miracles...

Yesterday Kaitlyn and I drove to Austin to have everything authenticated, then to the Guatemalan consulate in Houston to have them stamped. Then I overnighted everything to Lindsey at Dillon. She sent it TODAY to Guatemala. WOW!!! Only a million more steps to go!! OK for everyone who has been wanting to know the WHOLE PROCESS here you go. YOU ASKED FOR IT!!! If you find yourself nodding off just skip to the end for my timeline. :0)


SO NOW WHAT HAPPENS???

Here is the process. I'll try to insert approx time periods. The next really important thing we need is the I-171H. We are waiting for them to recieve our homestudy. Once they have it we will call and ask them to expedite our case because we have an older child. PLEASE PRAY FOR FAVOR WITH THE IMMIGRATION OFFICE-ORPHAN'S DEPARTMENT!!! If they will process our case immediately it will save us 1-2 months of waiting.


(PHASE A 2-3 months from now)
1. Guatemalan documents needed for DNA (*Mothers HIV test, Birth certificate for the mother and child, Child ID and about 10 other documents) are gathered and when they are ready they are put with the family’s G-28, I-600, and I-171H and are submitted to the Embassy to request authorization for DNA testing to be done on the birth mother and child. If all is correct, the consent is given for the birthmother to sign to have the DNA test done. DNA Authorization is given by the U.S. Embassy and after the authorization is cleared by Dillon and the Lab that reads the samples, an an appointment is scheduled for the DNA test is done.

2. The samples are taken in Guatemala by an Embassy approved Doctor, and sent to a lab in the U.S. The actual DNA testing is done by a laboratory in the U.S. approved by the U.S. Immigration. The birthmother and child do DNA together and a picture is taken of them together. This usually occurs about two months after the POA’s have gone to Guatemala. A certified copy of the DNA match will be sent to Dillon International.


(PHASE B 3-7 weeks after PHASE A) this part has been taking around 7wks lately because the embassy is overwhelmed with all the issues facing them due to the mudslides. They have just added 3 staff so maybe it will help.

3. Upon receipt of a DNA result confirming the parental relationship, the Embassy will either approve the case or refer it for further investigation. The Embassy may require an interview with the birthmother to confirm her consent that the child can be adopted by U.S. citizens. Once the Embassy has given “pre –approval” the case can move forward. (The Embassy usually takes about 3 weeks to issue pre-approval) Dillon will have the family email the Embassy to inquire about pre-approval.


This actually occurs right away during the first 2 months

4. The lawyer submits all of the documents to Family Court, and petitions
the family court to assign a social worker to investigate the case.

5. A family court Social worker reviews the family’s dossier, interviews the
birth mother, and sees the child in foster care. The social worker then writes a report summarizing the facts of the case and attesting to the reasons that the birth mother can not care for her child. The Family Court social worker approves the adoption and the birth mother signs consent for adoption a second time. Then the case must be approved by the Judge in the Family court the case is assigned to.
____________________________________________________________

A CASE CAN MOVE ON TO STEP 6 WHEN IT HAS FAMILY COURT APPROVAL, DNA MATCH, AND EMBASSY PRE APPROVAL OF DNA.


(Phase C a couple of days after phase B) this phase takes up to 30 days for each time you go through PGN. It is very rare to get approved the first time through. Although that is what I'm praying for!! If your case get "kicked out" of PGN it takes just a couple of days to get resubmitted and up to another 30 days for review.

6. The lawyer submits a petition for approval of the adoption case to a
notarial officer of the Attorney General’s office (Procuraduria General de la Nacion) of PGN. (Note: a notary in Guatemala is an attorney with additional powers, not simply someone who certifies a signature as in the US)

7. A PGN attorney is assigned to the case and PGN reviews everything, all of the documents, to make sure there are no mistakes or that there is anything false and checks out the family background history. PGN has anywhere from 20 to 30 business days to approve the case or ask for new documents. PGN often requests documents to be redone. Each time this happens the case is rejected (called a previo) it will go back in after the new documents are obtained. Each time a case goes back into PGN they have another 20 to 30 days to review it. PGN also can require the birthmother to appear before the court to give a verbal relinquishment. At least ONE rejection SHOULD be expected. PGN will issue an approval for the adoption to proceed and be approved. The lawyer then meets with the birth mother for the final sign off giving her approval to the adoption.


The (PHASE D immediately following PHASE C following final steps take approximately 3 to 6 weeks to complete)

8. The adoption decree is written and issued by the lawyer, the birth mother signs the final decree and the child is legally now the child of the adoptive family.

9. The final decree must be approved by the Civil Registry in the municipality where the child was born. Once it is approved, A new birth certificate is then issued by that Civil Registry with the child’s first and middle name staying the same and last name changing to that of the adoptive parents.

10. The Lawyer takes the new birth certificate and applies for a Guatemalan passport. The passport is generally issued within 1 to 2 business days.

11. The final decree and other documents are translated into English by a translator certified and approved by the US Embassy regulations.

12. The lawyer then takes all of the paperwork to the U.S. Embassy and requests approval for the family to come file an I-600 for an orphan visa.

13. The Embassy authorizes the visa and issues an approval on pink papers called a “pink slip”. The pink slip is generally issued 48 hours after the lawyer requests it.

14. After the pink slip has been issued then the family can travel and file their
I-600 at the Embassy.

15. Family must be in Guatemala two business days (Mon – Thurs). Family will be taken to the Marriott hotel via a shuttle; and their child will be brought to them there.

16. Child has usually already had their Embassy exit physical before the arrival of the family. If not then the child will go to the doctor the same day the family comes in if on a weekday. If family comes in on a weekend, they will go with child for Embassy doctor appointment on Monday morning (if the physical has not been done yet).

17. Then your family will go to the Embassy to file their I-600 along with the other needed documents and pay the visa fees to obtain a Visa for the child. You will arrive at the Embassy at 7:30 or 8:30am and wait for an appointment which is usually done by 10am. This is where you will submit ALL papers. Then they will tell them to return either later that day or the next morning to pick up the Visa.

18. Once the Visa is given to your family, you are done and they can either fly home the next day or stay longer to sight see.

**children are issued an IR4 visa in Guatemala (unless BOTH adoptive parents traveled to see their child prior to adoption completion!) which means that after post placement is complete with your social worker each family needs to complete the re-adoption process in order that their child be granted automatic citizenship.


THEN SHE'S HOME FOR GOOD!


Here is how I figure the time scale.....

On the absolute amazing everything goes perfect end we could go get her in about 20-22 weeks- early to mid April


On the average timing of what we should expect we would go get her in about 27-29 weeks- mid to late May


On the ARRGGG everything is going slow timing we would bring her home in about June or July... Eeek I hope not!!

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November 07
Do we have the record???
The record for the fastest Dossier paperwork ever collected that is. I don't know if we broke any records or not but this week has been amazing! It has gone VERY quickly. I am so grateful for your prayers and support. Some more big stuff will be happening in the next couple of days. I will give you a full update on the whole process tommorrow. Right now I am WIPED OUT. I can't even blog anymore. Over and out blogging buddies. I am sooo happy and sooo tired......zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz



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November 04
Little Miracles- Thank you!!!
I just wanted to say a sincere and deep thank you to all of you. I'm feeling choked up while I write this. We have recieved such unbelievable support from so many of you. I am forever grateful. So many of you have written encouraging notes, reference letters, witness letters, given out hugs and listened to me ecstatic and freaked out!!! We are so blessed! We had over 320 people visit our blog the day we sent out news of Zoe's refferal. What a blessed little girl we have. She already has a multitude of people who care for her and are praying for her. You are such a part of this process. We thank you so much for praying.

Dossier prep is going very well. It's looks like (Lord willing and the creek don't rise) I will drive to Austin on Monday morning to get my 10 million notarized documents authenticated and then straight to Houston to turn them into the consulate.

It hasn't been without hiccups or stress. Yesterday I had my first official adoption process meltdown. Basically the lady at the printer shop told me she couldn't give me color copies of my passport cause it's illegal but my paperwork says I have to have color copies. I proceeded to rush to my car and melt into tears. I'm recovered and back on track now. We got it all worked.

I just NEED to say that my adoption agency has been AMAZING. Not good not even wonderful. FREAKING AMAZING!!! My case worker Lindsey is fairly close to an angel. I'm voting sainthood!! I have called that poor women on the phone approx 30-40 times this week. Do I need this? Should I sign that? Could you find this out? How quick can I get that? Can I get that right this minute please??? She has been a jewel. She has NEVER been anything but patient and kind and caring. Tami (the Guatemalan Director) is just as wonderful. Oh and don't forget Pat who has worked tirelessly on our homestudy despite being incredibly busy. Then there are all the people in the background that we'll never even know about. THANK YOU!! I vote that we put adoption workers in the class with firefighters and teachers and senators. You people may never know (till heaven) how many lives you have touched or how many chidren you have saved. So here's to the heroes!!!

This week has been full of big and little miracles. Thank you to everyone who said, Yes I'll help you." You helped us bring Zoe home

All of our lives are full of little miracles. Take a look around you. Don't miss it. Don't think you have to wait to hear God speaking to you. He whispers to us constantly in everything around us. Don't dismiss it. Embrace it.

Thank you. You are part of our miracle.

Mathew 18:5
And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.

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November 01
IT'S A GIRL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(Feel free to sign my new guest book to let me know when you visit. It's on the right underneath the pictures. You don't have to be an MSN member and I love to hear from you.)

BIG NEWS!!! HUGE NEWS!!! We have a refferal!!!!

That's the part you expected. Get ready for the part you didn't expect!!! She's six years old!!! She is beautiful and precious and I just know that you will all fall in love with her just like we have!!! I know. I know it's not exactly what we were expecting but we are so excited and feel so good about this little one as a match for our family. I'll tell you all about it. Here are some of the questions I bet you're asking.

Had you been thinking about an older child?

Russ and I have been very open to an older child adoption. We have done EXTENSIVE research into bonding etc... Our main concern in adopting a child older than Kaitlyn was that we needed to have significant knowledge that this child had bonded with people in the past. Research shows that a child who has bonded in the past will most likely bond again. We also felt we would need evidence that this child had not endured significant physical abuse as we did not feel prepared to take on those challenges with Kaitlyn in the home.

How did you decide that this was your little girl?

A month or so ago I was reading the news on the internet about the horrible devastation in Guatemala due to the mudslides. I told Russ that I thought that maybe our little girl would come to us through this tragedy. He told me to call the agency and check it out. So I did. I asked them if any children had come available for adoption due to the mudslides. Our case worker told me that it was very unlikely that it would happen anytime soon. So I dismissed it and went on.

So Friday I got an e-mail from the agency saying that there were several new waiting children available. "Waiting" means they are ready to be adopted but have not found their forever family for some reason. In this little girl's case it was most likely because she is a bit older than most children adopted from Guatemala. I immediately looked at the pictures and shared it with Russ. All weekend Russ and I prayed and talked and wrestled with whether this was our little girl. By the end of the weekend we were feeling that maybe this was right but we didn't know much about her yet.

Monday I called and e-mailed asking for information on the little girl. The director of Guatemalan adoption said that they had not recieved all the information on the little girl yet as she was a very new referral. She would e-mail the Guatemalan agency but said it may take till the end of the week. Russ and I just prayed. Three hours later I recieved her information!!! Just another little miracle. What's more amazing is what was in the information.

This little girl is from a very poor family who loves her sincerely. When the hurricane hit their village it was wiped out. They lost what little they had. Their home and their harvest and any hope of having a harvest next year. Although they had no expectation of giving up their little one they felt they had no option. They placed her in foster care and told the agency if she wasn't placed immediately for adoption they would come get her. They wanted her to have a good family. The mother came back to get her after two weeks but the little girl told her how well she being treated and that an American family would come get her soon. Her mother felt that this was the best thing for her daughter. The little girl says that she wants to be adopted.

I know that this is probably an extremely difficult situation for most of us as Americans to understand. We can't fathom what these people face on a daily basis. Guatemala is a beautiful country and full of wonderful culture and people. It is an extremely impoverished country. Many people live in corregated tin houses with no running water or heat and mud floors. Education is a luxury and food is not always readily available. Many babies die from malnutrition. This is life in a third world country. I think of it as the show survivor but it's real life. No games, no million dollars and no medical team standing by.

This mother and child are faced with a decision to have her stay in a situation where she may not have enough to eat or even a roof or come to America. They know she will be well clothed, well fed, educated and loved. I can only pray that I would be as unselfish as this mother if faced with making that decision for my child. She is beyond amazing and noble in my estimation.

She came to us through the mudslides just like I thought. She was well loved, bonded and was never abused in any way. As soon as we read her story we knew she was ours!

We called the agency immediately and told them that we would like to accept the referral of this little one. Adopting out of birth order requires special permission from our social worker and a panel of Dillon social workers. We were approved today by both!!

What do you do next??

A LOT OF PAPERWORK!!! Don't expect to see me around much for the next couple of weeks. I will be busy working on getting my baby girl home from Guatemala.

In the next week or so we will hopefully turn in our dossier. (a collection of documents that represent you in court in Guatemala) Then we wait and wait and wait for our slow government and their slow government to process a million things. We will get to bring her home sometime between March-June. We are praying for March but will trust God for His timing. In our waiting time we can go visit her in Guatemala. So we are planning to go a couple of times while we wait. It looks like we may have some proud grandparents coming too!!!

We will send her scrapbooks, letters and whatever we can to help her feel more comfortable with the transition. We will also send letters and pictures to the birth mother so she will know who we are. We can only pray that it will give her some measure of comfort and peace. If the birth mother wants to meet us we would love to do that. We are told that many Guatemalan mothers feel too ashamed to do that right away. We will pray for her.

Can the parents change their mind?

The parents have the right to change their minds and parent their birth child until the time we bring her home. However, it is extremely rare that this happens. If the parents make this decision we will be fully supportive of them in every way. We would love to help them in whatever way we can. It would be very difficult for us but we would rejoice for them. Then our home would be open for another child who needs a home. We would be given a new referral almost immediately and incur no extra cost. (except the cost of extra visits) To us this wouldn't be a failure but another part of God's plan.

What will your little girl do now?

She will stay with the same foster family until we come and get her. She is already bonding very well with them. We are so grateful for wonderful foster mothers who give their hearts to care for these children.

Will you change her name?

Her name is Mirna Aracely. We will most likely change it to Krysta Zoe but we want to speak with her first. Many adoptive children want to change to an American name so they will not feel different. We may consider making it a second middle name. Krysta Zoe Mirna Weir. Then she can choose what to go by as she gets older. We'll see. For now I'm calling her Zoe cause' I just think she looks like a Zoe!!! What do you think???



















October 30
I have escaped the blahs!!!
As far as "the blahs" go I think I figured out ( with the help of dear hubby and a good friend Wendi) that I just forget to have fun sometimes!! It's so easy to get wrapped up in the routine of life and being a mommy and forget to take a deep breath and play once in awhile. I am guilty of perfectionism which is just ugly pride when you get right down to it. Wanting to appear okay and have the arrogance to think I can "handle" everything. I am determined to relax and smell the roses and soak in every day. I let you know how that goes!! :0)

For now "the blahs" are gone and we had a wonderful weekend. Friday my friend Wendi and I took our sweet little ones to the zoo. It was so much fun! Our little girls wore all of their princess gear to get a jump on the Halloween celebration. I put some pictures of it in the photo album.

Yesterday we went to the Renaissance Festival and had an amazing family day. I got some beautiful shots of my baby girl and had so much fun. The weather was perfect and Kaitlyn loved it.

If you want to check out the pictures click on photos at the top of the page. Scroll down to the album you would like to view. Then put the arrow towards the bottom of the page and and you can scroll through the pictures.

To see more pictures or order some of them go to our family website http://www.russandangel.com/ and click on memories.

Enjoy the pics and enjoy your day!! We only have one day llike today.

Soak it in!!!


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October 26
I have a major case of the BLAHHHHSSS
I know you know what I'm talking about. THE BLAHS!!!! Don't know where they come from. Don't know where they go. No reason. Everything is going great but you just feel BLAH!!! Hormones? Who knows. Stress? Maybe. Exhaustion? Possible, I guess. BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH!!!! What do you want to do? Nothin. What do you want for dinner? I don't know. Are you feeling okay? Yeah I guess so. Man, I hope this passes soon. It's weird. Maybe I need some caffeine. Nah. Maybe I should go for a walk. No way. Maybe I should take a nap. I don't wanna. Well you get my drift... Maybe I'm just diificult. BLAH BLAH BLAH :0)

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October 23
Our Homestudy Interviews Are Finished....
I did my interview for the homestudy yesterday. It was great. I met with our social worker at Cracker Barrell and had some good food and great conversation. We did the interview and then ended up just talking for a long time . The lady who is handling our case is so nice and is an adoptive mother too. We had a 2 1/2 hour long breakfast. It was wonderful and I felt like I learned so many things about adoption in general. Social workers can be quite a handy information source!!!

She's got us thinking that our next adoption may be a domestic bi-racial adoption. I KNOW! I KNOW! Let's get through this adoption first. I'm just saying that a little blonde princess, a precious guatemalan sweetheart, and an adorable African-American baby boy sound like the perfect American family to me. Don't you think??? I can just see it now!! Go ahead. Tell me I'm crazy! I am WELL AWARE of that fact. I bet a lot of people thought Jesus was a complete nut case. So if I'm trying to be like Him I guess people are just going to have to think I'm a loon sometimes!! I know I have quite a few fellow "loonies" that follow this blog :0)

So now she is putting our homestudy together. She writes out a report that is like 8 pages long about our family and sends it to Dillon.

From this point on we are able to accept a refferral! WOW!!!! It could be any day now. I know this sounds kinda weird but I hope it doesn't happen for a month or two because I would like to have time to get our dossier turned in first. That way we can get her home younger. You can only start your dossier when your about to get a refferral but you have to have it done before you can start the court process to bring your child home. OK. Now I'm just confusing all of you right?? It's all very time sensitve. Just keep praying for God's perfect timing in all of this! WE ARE GETTING SO EXCITED!!!

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October 20
We have the homestudy rescheduled.
Our social worker called and rescheduled my private interview for Saturday at 8:30 am. Hey it's early but at least we're meeting at Cracker Barrell. Yummy. Yeah! After that it will take her a couple of weeks to put the study together and send it to Dillon. Then we are just waiting for our little girl to be matched with our family. Isn't that wild???? It seems to be getting so close. Wow... I feel very peaceful about the timing. I'll let you know how it goes.

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You'll never guess what Kaitlyn said....
Kaitlyn (my 2 year old) was acting really upset and irritable.

I asked her, "Kaitlyn, what's wrong. Tell me what's going on Baby."

She looked at me very seriously and replied, "Mommy, I just have issues."

ISSUES I'm not kidding. I cracked up laughing and then recovered enough to tell her I was so sorry she is having "issues." Exactly how many "issues" can a two year old princess have??? Well I guess she's facing her own life challenges like the rest of us. Potty training, counting and sharing are all hard to do when you a little cutie pie named Kaitlyn. All I can say is if two is this dramatic I am VERY frightened of 13!!!!

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October 17
And Her Name Is.......
Drum roll please!! I realized I haven't made an official announcement of our little girl's name!

We have decided that we will name her
Krysta Zoe.

Krysta = anointed, divinely chosen

Zoe= life

So her name means Divinely Chosen Life

It is very important to us that her name reminds her everyday that God chose her for us. She is ours even now.

My Dearest Krysta,
I am praying for you every day little one. One day you will know how much I love you. You will know that although I didn't carry you in my body I have been carrying you in my heart for many years. I knew a long time ago that you would be my baby girl and so did God. You are chosen for your daddy, me and your sister Kaitlyn. I am praying for you to be safe and warm and loved. It is hard on my heart not to know where you are but I know that God will hold you until we can.

With All Of My Heart,
Mommy

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October 13
I thought this was so fascinating that I stole it from another blog!
Can you read it?- I know it looks wrong but try anyway!!!

I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer inwaht oredr the ltteers in awrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? yaeh and I awlyas thought slpeling was ipmorantt

Tihs is the bolg I sotle it form...
http://spaces.msn.com/members/roomofonesown/


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October 11
THE ADOPTION IS PAID FOR!!!!!
We prayed for money to rain from heaven and it has!!!!!!

We took the leap of faith and God caught us!!!!!!

This afternoon someone (who wishes to remain anonymous for the present) let us know that God has put in their heart to pay for all the adoption expenses that are not yet covered. WOW! WOW! WOW! WOW!!! I'm stunned! Overwhelmed! Thrilled! RELIEVED!!

Let me back up a bit......

This weekend I had a bit of a "stress out." More like a "mini stress out." See, we looked at the budget in depth to figure out exactly how we could afford the extra expense of the Guatemalan adoption. After looking at the numbers I had to fight these doubts. Did we make a mistake? Are we doing the right thing? We talked about it and both felt we are on the right path. We realized that we were going to have to tighten our belts quite a bit.

We had already seen God work through some very dear friends of ours to provide a good chunk of the funds by committing the proceeds of a car sale to our adoption! Our faith was built and we prayed. We felt that God was going to provide more money somehow but we knew we needed to be prepared.

So we went through our budget and SLASHED! SLASHED! SLASHED! It was a little hard for me to let go of some of the stuff but I realized that those things shouldn't be an idol to me. They shouldn't be so important that I won't let them go at any given moment. So in my heart I did let them go..... We decided we would cut gym membership, vacation savings for next year, 1 of the cell phones, and much much more!!

I was totally at peace with our decision and was planning to start all the cuts this month.

This morning was my women's bible study. I love going! We are studying the Proverbs 31 woman. I have gotten so much out of it! So anyway for some reason I kept thinking I shouldn't go this morning. I just felt weird like I wanted to stay home. Which is strange because I haven't missed all semester! I called my leader and she said I had to be there!!! Then the co-leader called and said she thought maybe I should come too. Then Wendi (co bible studier) said maybe I should drive that way and see how I felt. I was thinking, "Okay FINE I'll go!"

Well long story short, we were talking about generosity and having faith that God will provide for our needs. I ended up pouring out a story I remembered about my mother's faith in giving generously when she had almost NOTHING to give and how God provided abundantly for her. I bawled my eyes out and shared with them our struggle to walk in that same faith that God would provide for us. Right there that whole group of amazing women stopped and prayed for us! Prayed for God's provision!!! Prayed for our faith to be strong. Prayed for our baby girl in Guatemala.

2 hours later I recieved a call saying the adoption is PAID IN FULL!!!! Hmmmmm...... I wonder if God answers prayer????


Philippians 4
4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


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October 10
Rescheduling Homestudy Interview... :0(
My social worker is sick.... That means we don't get to finish the homestudy tommorrow. Poor lady has been sick since Thursday. Bummer! We'll have to reschedule. I was REALLY looking forward to having that part done but I feel OK about it. I know God is in control of the timing. More later! I'm wiped.....

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October 07
TIME TO MYSELF????? HOW DO I HANDLE THIS??
MY BABY IS AT NONNY'S HOUSE
Kaitlyn went to her Pop and Nonny's house. They drove off yesterday. I will go pick her up Sunday night. Kaitlyn was waving happily and saying, "Bye mommy!!" As they drove off I felt like one of my arms had just gone on vacation. My baby has only been away from me for more than one night two times. Once when my friend Wendi's baby was in the hospital with RSV and I needed to go be with her she was at grandmas 2 nights. This summer I went to Seattle to help my other friend Holly with a new baby while Kaitlyn was at Kamp Polka Dot for 3 nights. Both times were REALLY tough for me but I was busy. This time it was just ME!!! I"M SUPPOSED TO RELAX NOW!!! I KNOW I'M PATHETIC! I used to think it was SO BIZZARE when I would hear women say that they don't know what to do when their kids are gone. Now I can sympathize a bit.

It is starting to grow on me more though. I stayed up until 2:30 am just because I could. Not because Kaitlyn was teething or having bad dreams or stomach flu.... JUST BECAUSE! Then I slept until 10:30!!!! I know. I know. I am wild and unpredictable. WHO KNOWS WHAT I MAY DO TOMMORROW!

POTTY TRAINING
So the purpose of this wonderful trip to Pop and Nonny's is potty training. Russ' Aunt Carol has been a preschool teacher for 20 years. She is amazing with Kaitlyn and asked me if I would mind if she potty trained her while she visited. WOULD I MIND????? UH LET ME THINK ABOUT IT. You want to potty train my child and I DON'T have to pay you a million bucks??? Ummmm YES! I would like you to do that. PLEEEEEEASE.... THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!! So yesterday we went and picked out her favorite panties from the store. She picked Dora, Disney Princess, and Nemo which she declared Shamu Panties! She is OBSESSED with Shamu. She was very excited about all of it.

I DID IT MOMMY!!!!
I recieved a call just a few moments ago that every mother dreams of. At exactly 11:51 am my mother-in-law called me to let me know that Kaitlyn had "gone" in the potty. YEAH!! I could hear Kaitlyn screaming with excitement in the background. Nonny put Kaitlyn on the phone. She said, I DID IT MOMMY!!!!" Then she hung up on me. Aaaahhhhh. The overwhelming joy of having your child potty trained SOMEWHERE ELSE!! Carol and Nonny, if you pull this one off I SO OWE YOU!



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October 04
So many reasons to love Kaitlyn Elise.....
She Is So Much Fun!!

Yesterday when Russ walked in from work Kaitlyn said in her very proper way, "It so good you home Daddy. I need body slam please."

For those of you who haven't witnessed the daddy-body-slam it's very entertaining. Russ lifts Kaitlyn high in the air and then "slams" her (ever so gently) on the couch. The first time he did this I was concerned that she might get scared but she quickly hopped and said, "I need more body slam please Daddy."

She Is So Sassy!!

The other day Russ asked Kaitlyn if he could give her a kiss. She said no so he said, "Okay, I'll give Mommy a kiss." As he kissed me Kaitlyn yelled, "NO MOMMY! WIPE IT OFF FACE PLEASE! DADDY GIVE ME PRINCESS KISS!" After she said sorry for the yelling she got her princess kiss.

She Is So Wild!!

Twice this week Kaitlyn has stripped naked in public in attempt to try out their potty. Hmmmm.... Think we are ready to potty train???

She Is So Sweet!!

Lately several times a day she will run up to me and proclaim her love spontaniously. She will wrap her arms around my neck and say, "I love you mommy!" Oh! It melts me EVERY SINGLE time. Or she'll say "Mommy, I give you Shamu kiss?" This is a very special kiss involving making a fish face that we created. I ALWAYS oblige.

She Believes In Magic!!

Kaitlyn literally believes that PLEASE is the magic word. She believes it has the ability to make things appear out of thin air!! Here is a typical conversation with my two year old.

"Mommy, milk please."

"I'm sorry baby there's no more milk."

"Mommy, PLEASE more milk PLEASE!"

"Kaitlyn you drank all the milk. It's all gone. I'm sorry."

"Mommy PLEEEEEEEEEEEEASE more milk."

You see where I'm going with this right?


She Is So Imaginative!!

Kaitlyn loves to pretend. Our close friends Sam and Wendi have a little girl Kaitlyn's age named Madeline and a baby girl named Lilly. Kaitlyn loves to pretend that we are them. Try and follow me here!! I am "momma Wendi" Russ is "daddy Sam" and she is "Madeline". Especially when we catch her doing something wrong. We'll say, "Kaitlyn, don't do that." To which she will swiftly reply, "No mama Wendi. I Madeline." Hmmmm... Tricky girl....

She also frequently demands an addition to our family during these episodes. "Momma, I need a baby sister."
I tell her, "I know baby. We are working on getting you a baby sisteer but it takes time. We have to be patient."
The response this usually gets is, "Patient?" "I need baby sister mommy PLEEEEEEASE."








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I'm feeling stressed....
Overwhelmed.... tired.... leaps of faith can get exhausting. It's a funny thing though. It seems that the part right before you leap is the hardest.

So have you seen the Indiana Jones where he has to take the "Leap Of Faith"? Okay I know some of you have heard me talk about this one before but come on I've been at this place quite a bit! Several years back (as we were making the decision about whether we should go to MBA school) our pastor talked about faith. Believing in what you cannot see. He showed that clip of Indiana Jones. He has to cross an invisible bridge over a huge cavern. He "knows" the bridge is there but he can't see it. He has to take that "leap of faith."

It was a light bulb moment for me. I knew at that moment that we were supposed to take a leap of faith and go to MBA school. Here I am again, years later in the same spot again for a different reason.

Okay so here is the deal. Yesterday I talked to our wonderful case worker. She told me to expect a referral in the next month or two. WOW!!! YEAH!!! Amazing! Exciting! Thrilling!! RIGHT?????

Yes, that was my first response too!! I'm SO PUMPED! Our little girl is going to be born soon. Things are flying. It's like a miracle in motion.

Then comes my second response....... (not so impressive and full of faith)

When we get a referral we've got to come up with A LOT of money. A LOT!!! How are we going to do that?? Don't get me wrong. It's not like we haven't been saving, planning, strategizing. If you know my husband you know we have been. It's just scary you know? Passing out big train loads of money. Trusting God to have your back while you drain your savings to bring home your little girl from Guatemala.

I think most things worth doing in life are overwhelming. Don't you think? Kids?? No question! Moving to a new state or country? Yep! Taking a new job? Uh huh! It's all scary. We take a plunge and learn as we go.

I remember how badly Russ and I wanted to have a baby when I got pregnant with Kaitlyn. We were so excited. It happened the first month we tried and we were THRILLED. Then I had this moment of STARK TERROR!! Are we ready for this?? Can we afford a baby? What are we doing? Of course Kaitlyn is the joy of our lives and I thank God daily that we took that scary plunge into parenthood. What would we have missed if we hadn't? I can't even fathom life without my little precious jewel.

I know in my heart that my little Guatemalan Princess is worth that plunge too! I'm just getting so close to the leap!!! I get scared. She will be the next perfect decision, the next scary plunge into something worthwhile.

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October 02
We're making progress
Well, we went Friday morning to immigration. I thought we were going to get fingerprinted Friday but it turns out that you just give them your paperwork and a bunch of money. Then they send you a appointment to come back again. Well at least we've got that part going.

Saturday morning we ended up getting 2 parts of our homestudy process finished. Our social worker was really great. She has adopted and her children are now grown. So she is very helpful.

First she did the home visit. That's where she looks around our house to make sure we don't have unsheathed daggers sticking out of the walls or open wells in the backyard. I think we passed! :0) Then she talks to us about our country choice, our expectations, what medical needs we are open to, etc..

Next she did Russ' private interview. She asked lots of questions. How he grew up, his views on discipline, how we handle finances, how we handle big decisions in our marriage. She is very kind and easy to talk to. Plus anyone who knows Russ knows that he was thrilled to have a captive audience to listen to his theories on budgeting!!! So I don't think it was too bad.

She didn't have time to do my private interview so we scheduled it for October 11th around 4:00 pm. After that we just have to wait for her to submit her write up about our family. After that I believe we can accept a refferal of a baby. That just means we're matched with her. Then we travel to get her as soon as we have clearance.

Meanwhile we start preparing our Dossier. That's a collection of documents that will represent us in court in Guatemala. It's stuff like official copies of birth certificates and marriage license yada yada yada!!

So we're just hopping right along. It's amazing to me. I'm so excited....

September 29
We have our homestudy and immigration appointment Scheduled!
I am so excited! Yesterday we got an appointment with immigration for Friday morning at 8:30. We get to go give them lots of money, get fingerprinted for homeland security or something and get permission to bring our little one to the US. :0)

Then our social worker called and scheduled our first homestudy visit for Saturday at 9:00 am. YEAH!!! So we're totally excited that things are starting to move right along! We're also a little frazzled trying to get everything done on time. I'll let you know how it goes.

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September 26
Hurricane Update
We are officially safe at home! We wanted to let you all know. Here is what has happened the last week.

Last Tuesday- We're thinking Hmmm... there's a hurricane coming our way. We should keep an eye on that. Tuesday night we start gathering important documents and sentimental stuff just in case.

Last Wed- WHOA! Now it is a momma cat 5 hurricane and it's coming straight after our HOUSE. We decide to get out quick and head to grandma and grandpa's house in central TX. Our electricity goes out with a slight breeze! Kaitlyn is so excited about a surprise trip to Pop and Nonny's house but she's on edge all day. I think she's picking up on our stress. Thanks for taking in the evacuees grandma and grandpa.

Last Thursday-We watch the weather and news ALL DAY AND PRAY!!! Then we walk around grandma's and remind ourselves that our house is just stuff and it's not what's important. Then we check our insurance policy. :0) I explain to Russ that it will be VERY DIFFICULT to do our adoption home study if WE DON'T HAVE A HOME!!! We watch more weather and news and feel SO SORRY for our friends stuck in horrible traffic. Some for 24 hours!! There is no gas on evacuation routes and no food in the stores and restaurants.

Last Friday- We hang out with our friends who have evacuated to my parent's house. Thanks mom and dad!! It was their little girl's 3rd birthday and we weren't going to let some little cat 5 ruin that!!! Sam and Wendi and the girls also join the crew. They are staying at Sam's parent's house.So we head to Cameron Park Zoo in Waco. (Which is so great by the way) and have pizza and cake at the house. The girls are in little girl heaven. Cake, animals and ring-around-the-rosies!

Hurricane Rita is downgraded to cat 4 and then 3. Then she heads away from us. By the end of the evening we are feeling like we may have a house when we get back to town but the gas to get there may cost $20.00 a gallon. We're still praying.

Saturday- We dodged the bullet. Amazing!!! Our electricity at our house didn't even go out. That is nothing short of a miracle! We feel so bad for those who have no electricity and damage to their homes and businesses. Mostly we're just so relieved that everyone is OK. We start to pack up to go but then we hear the mayor ask people to stay put and come home in stages. No work or school on Monday. So instead we visit with the family and go hang out with Sam and Wendi. Good times!

Sunday- Sounds like things are SLOWLY getting back to liveable in Houston. Convoys of food and gas are being delivered. Kaitlyn hangs out with Polka Dot and Grandpa. Russ and I go to see Flight Plan. I like it. I think it just stresses Russ out! When go to pick Kaitlyn up she tells us, "Bye Bye Mommy. Night Night. I stay Olka Dot House. I play here mommy!" So we let her spend the night. What happened to my baby??? She's all grown up and independent!

Today- We pick up Kaitlyn (who still doesn't want to leave) and head back to Richmond. There is a lot more traffic than usual on our route but it's not horrible. We get back really easily.


Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. Our hearts and hands will continue to do what we can for those who have lost so much during Hurricane Katrina and Rita.


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We Are Changing Countries!!!!
Russ and I are going Guatemalan! We have decided to switch from the Korea program to the Guatemala program. We are staying with our agency. (we love them) Just switching countries.

The Korea program and the Guatemala program are similar in many ways and are wonderful programs. Originally we were very interested in the Guatemala program but were scared away by the price tag. It is a LOT more expensive than the Korea program. We were very concerned that we would not be able to handle the additional expense so we went with Korea.

As we have gone through the process we have discovered that there is a great need for families to adopt from Guatemala. We feel like God is asking us to take a leap of faith and trust that He will provide the funds. We are so excited to see what the next year holds for us. Here are some things you might like to know aboout the Guatemala program.

-we have requested a girl
-most babies are referred (matched with parents) at about 1 month old
-most babies come home at 5 1/2 to 7 1/2 months of age
-the majority of babies in Guatemala are given up due to poverty
-we can visit our baby girl once in between referral and bringing her home
-we may be able to meet the birth mother
-our little girl will be in foster care until we go get her
-we will get pictures and medical reports once a month until we go get her

We will complete a home study and submit our paperwork/dossier to Dillon International for approval by the Guatemalan government.

We will wait 2-5 months for a referral/match of a baby girl.

We will receive travel clearance to travel to receive our child 5-7 months after accepting an assignment.

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September 13
What Is Our Timeline??
Many of you have been wondering where we are in the process of our adoption. I thought I would share that with you. At this point we have are about to start our homestudy. I'll give a timeline of what has happened so far. Keep in mind that Russ and I have not been rushing the process. We are not in a hurry. So the process is perhaps a little slower than for somebody who is really pushing to get it done.

MAY 16, 2005- Sent in the initial application. This is just a short form with basic info. They also ask you basic questions about why you want to adopt and your family support unit.

JULY 16, 2005- Attended the Dillon International Adoption Conference in Dallas. It was very helpful and informative. We really enjoyed it.

SEPTEMBER 6, 2005- Our formal application is officially approved!!! The formal application includes medical exams saying you are healthy, fingerprinting, marriage license, birth certificates, references etc.... It seems overwhelming but if you just take it one task at a time it's really not that bad.

Right now we are just waiting to get our homestudy scheduled. It could take a few weeks or a few months depending on the schedule of the social worker. She will come to our home and interview us and make sure our home is a safe environment for children.

After that we will be placed on a waiting list for Korea. How long we will wait is dependant on so many factors. Korea's wait is longer right now than many other countries but we felt God leading us that way. I'll discuss why we picked Korea in another entry. Anyway we are open to special needs children that have correctable or minor issues. That may shorten the wait significantly. I just really have no idea!!! It could be soon or two years from now. This is the part where I get to embrace my COMPLETE LACK OF CONTROL!!!!! SWEET!!!

How Can You Pray?

Please pray for God's perfect timing in this process. We believe that even though this baby will not come from my body God knows who he/she is even now. Just as he brought us Kaitlyn- our pure gift- He will give us this child. We want to be ready and willing and PATIENT!!! I don't want to be tempted to rush this or drag my feet.

Psalm 139

13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.












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September 06
Why do we want to adopt???
For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!" — Romans 8:15

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:26-27

Of Course not everyone is called to adopt. We all have our gifts. The way we share with the world. 1 Cor 12 is clear on how important all our gifts are when we use them as a unified body.
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=53&chapter=12&version=31

However, I have known for a very long time that adoption was a large part of me. I have what I call the "adoption gene."

It all started a long time ago in a little town called Heidelburg, Germany. I (Angel) was an army brat overseas and attended a youth group in a nearby town. The youth ministers were Todd and Karla and they were amazing. While they were in Germany they adopted a baby boy from Romania. They named him Caleb. He was like the youth group baby or something. He was always around and such a joy. From that point in time I knew that God was calling me to adopt. Where would Caleb have been if Todd and Karla hadn't taken that leap of faith? What joy and growth would they have missed if they hadn't had such amazing courage. They changed their lives. They changed a little boy's life. They changed my life. They changed the life of the baby we will adopt..... The ripple effect of their faith goes on and on. I've been out of touch with them for years but I pray that someday they know what a profound impact they have had on me. Todd and Karla if you see this let me know!!! I love you both.

So needless to say the question of adoption actually became part of my dating criteria. Along with the question, "So what is your major?" I would ever so casually slip in the question, "So what do you think of adoption??" Russ was very open to adoption AND he hates seafood so I knew we were a match made in heaven!!! :0)

We don't see adoption as a "plan B" only to be made by those experiencing infertility. I am so grateful for this opportunity. According to my faith God treasures adoption and chose to adopt us as His own children. He also chose for his son Jesus to be "adopted" by Joseph. Joseph raised Jesus as his son although he was not biologically linked to him. I feel honored to have an opportunity to experience God's heart for adoption.

John 1:12 – “But as many as received him, to them he gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.”

Ephesians 1:5, “…having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,”

http://awaa.org/stories/adoptiongene.aspx
This is a website of a wonderful agency. They have so much wonderful info that truly expresses my heart on adoption. We chose another agency based on country and post adoption support but we have great respect for America World. In fact Steven Curtis Chapman adopted through them from China several times!


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My first Entry Ever
WELCOME TO OUR NEW BLOG

So I guess I'm joining this new generation of "bloggers". I know some of you techie type people know exactly why it is called blogging. Please fill me in! BLOGGING?? I have many reasons for wanting to start this blog.

One main reason is that Russ and I are adopting from Korea. I have been so blessed to see other blogs where people are sharing their experiences and pictures. It brings hope and clarity for me to read their rich experiences.

When we discovered Kaitlyn (our first baby) would have to have surgery for metopic craniosynostosis we scoured the internet. The most helpful things we found were websites made by parents telling us about what we were about to face. We recorded Kaitlyn's surgery day by day on our family website. http://www.russandangel.com/ We have had many families e-mail tell us it helped them.

My prayer is that this blog will serve as

1. An encouragement to other families who are going through the adoption process
2. A tool for those considering adoption
3. An update for our friends who want to keep up with the process
4. A journal of this journey of faith we are embarking upon
5. Just a record of life in general to look back on

The reason I am naming this blog Faith's Journey is that I believe that is what adoption is.Generally this is what my life is. Believing in what we cannot see.

FAITH=Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence

Hmmmm sounds scary huh? Even irrational.... Or maybe it's the most reasonable thing we do as human beings. To believe in more than ourselves. To embrace the fact that we don't know or see everything. Why is faith so hard for me? I think it's because I have give up my illusion of control.

From what I can tell adoption is going to be such a lesson in Faith's Journey.

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