Saturday, September 30, 2006
The cake was beautiful. Once I get the pictures downloaded I'll post them.
We got our stroller, and enough gift certificates for me to get our crib mattress, umbrella stroller, and the last things I need for the trip.
Almost everything we got has something to do with bathing the baby. He will be the cleanest kid ever!! We got two baby tubs, I think all the bath toys available, three duckies, washcloths, towels, a cute robe, and enough baby wash/lotion/shampoo to last 6 months.
We also got some homemade items (which I love). My boss crochets blankets for the babies at work, and Alex got one also. Another lady I work with does scrapbooking, and she actually made a scrapbook for me!!! It is amazing. She even downloaded pictures from the blog and put them in. It is wonderful. I was starting to feel guilty about not starting one for Alex, as it's not my strong point. But, now I have one.
We've been very blessed!
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
I can't begin to tell you how excited I am. And no....it's not because I want to get presents. For the past 3 years I've gone to baby showers and usually have left trying not to cry. I always tried so hard to be happy for other people, but inside I was so sad that I didn't have a baby.
For those of you who have dealt with infertility, you understand. It's hard.....but now....it's my turn!! I'm so excited.
Church is having one for us on the 8th, also. :)
Monday, September 25, 2006
You know those sticker things that people have (usually on the back of their pickup trucks) that show a Calvin type character peeing on something. Usually he's peeing on the word Ford, or Chevy, or GMC, or something along those lines. There are various versions to help people show their disdain for various things in their life.
Today, on the back of a pickup truck, I saw a Calvin who was peeing on a AAA logo. Triple A??? Ok, I can understand not wanting to pay for their services, but to hate them enough to put a Calvin peeing on it's logo???
I don't get it. Maybe they gave him bad travel advice? Maybe they didn't come and change his tire quickly enough? I still don't get it.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
It just hit me (ok maybe not just - but pretty close) - Alex should be home for Christmas this year. There will be ornaments for him, presents under the tree, Santa hats to put him in to be able to blackmail him later, Christmas suits, and other first Christmas stuff.
I can't believe that we made the final decision to adopt last year at Christmas, and that this year, we will actually have a son. It is still surreal.
Jay got the closet organizer put in today, and I've been washing his new clothes. I've also been starting to pack his stuff.
Hopefully we'll hear word about his new birth certificate soon.
Friday, September 22, 2006
My cousin stopped by her kid's daycare to pick them up and bring them to the lunch. She has a 2 1/2 year old girl and a nine month old boy. Her little girl showed up with an Ohio State sticker on her cheek.
Come to find out, they had an "Ohio State Tailgating Party" at her daycare today. They learned the O-H-I-O cheer, listened to "Hang On Sloopy," and had tailgating food (but no beer that I'm aware of).
How awesome is that? Only in Columbus do they start brainwashing the kids at such a young age. I guess Jay and I are going to have to brainwash Alex ourselves.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
So, last night, at around midnight, I was surfing the internet (have I said lately how much I LOVE having high speed wireless at home?????) and found this.
Is it not the cutest thing? It's a sherpa wool lined barn jacket - and it was on SALE. So, of course, I bought it. :) It should get here on Friday. He'll look just like his Daddy. (which, by the way, Jay wants to be called Dad, but I can't help calling him Daddy - I hope he doesn't mind)
We are now just waiting for his new Birth Certificate, for his documents to be translated back into English, and then submitted to the US Embassy for our Pink.
I've made a list - I just need to get started on it.
Monday, September 18, 2006
Friday, September 15, 2006
In the meantime - I have some more news. (for those of you that I work with who don't know this yet - I'm sorry!!)
I'm going to be taking a couple months off after we get back from Guatemala. It's going to work out for me to be off until the end of the year.
After the first of the year, I'm going back to work - but - I'm not going back to my same job or full time. I have the wonderful opportunity to stay with my same group, but move to a slightly different job and will be working 24 hours a week.
This will be wonderful for our family, as I can't keep working 50-60 hours a week when Alex gets home. I'm very lucky that all of this is working out. I'm excited about it, but a little sad that I'm giving up my current position. I really like what I do, and I really like supervising. I won't be supervising anyone in my new job - which is going to be weird.
I will also have the ability to work some from home, which will be really nice.
We might actually get the nursery done this weekend. I promise to post pictures if I ever get it done!!
Thursday, September 14, 2006
I don't think I said anything for awhile. I didn't know what to say or do. Of course, I then started bawling. :)
I just can't believe it. He is ours....officially.....forever...(oh no!! - wait - that's a good thing)
We now have to wait a couple more weeks before we travel. It could be anywhere from 4-6 depending on how quickly we get his new birth certificate - get the paperwork translated back to English, etc. It would be really cool if we traveled on Jay's birthday (the 19th of October) since we did the visit trip on my birthday.
The grandparents are thrilled, and I think mom may have already started packing. The timing does work out perfectly with my work. I was planning on taking off about 9 weeks, so I'll be off until the end of the year.
I have a lot to do at work to get prepared for this trip. But, today, I left at 4:30 - got home - and immediately went to bed. I slept for about an hour until Tyler called to see if we wanted to go out to dinner with them. (Today is Tyler's 8th birthday) How do you say no to an 8 year old??
I'm getting ready to go back to bed. I haven't slept well in weeks, so my body is ready for some good sleep.
Thanks to everyone for their prayers. Alex is coming home!!!
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Once you have Pre-Approval and are out of Family Court you enter PGN. (ok - for those of you who like accuracy, you can actually enter PGN without Pre-Approval, but we won't go there)
PGN is like our Attorney General's office. There are a bunch a reviewers that review all kinds of files. (international adoption, things like our CPS files, etc.) It's the reviewer's job to look through all of our paperwork (the stuff we pulled together for our dossier, and any other documents that have been created through the process) and look for anything that looks suspicious. If they see anything that they don't like, they can kick you out (or also known as issuing a previo). Sometimes these previos are things that need to be fixed on the Guatemala side, sometimes they are things we need to fix - many times they are very small nit-picky things. Sometimes the reviewer will kick you out when the find one thing, you fix it, and then get resubmitted.
At that point you start all over again. The next reviewer (because you may not end up with the same one) starts reviewing and may come across something else to kick you out - and you start again. The best thing is to get through the review stage without any kick outs. This is why it's so important to pay attention to every little item in your dossier.
Once the file has been approved by the reviewer, it goes to the head of PGN for his final sign off. This used to be a formality, but the new PGN director takes his job very seriously and likes to look through every file. This has added weeks (like around 4-8) to this process.
Once head PGN man signs off on the file, it goes to the computer lady who logs the file and then it's ready for your attorney to pick it up. (but your attorney isn't told - they just have to go to the window and check and see if any of their cases have been released)
We have now been in PGN for almost 6 weeks. We haven't heard anything. I'm hoping we didn't get a kick out on the Guatemala side - since that makes us start all over again for the wait.
Also, word on the street (or I should say, internet) is that head PGN guy is now on vacation (or out on business) until Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. (Friday is a holiday in Guatemala) This means that PGN outs may be slow this week and probably next week. This isn't good for us!!
Keep praying for my patience. I haven't been having a good week.
Monday, September 11, 2006
I had arrived at work at my typical time (7:45 - now I'm lucky to get to work by 8:30). I had only been with Mercer for about 7 months, and had recently taken over management of the library. I had a meeting at 8:30 that morning with a company that was trying to get our business to take over the leases of our printers/copiers. We used the copier a lot in the library, so I was asked to sit in on the meeting. It got over around 9:00.
I got back down on my floor, and went through different doors than I normally go through. I went over to my friend, Gerri's cube to talk to her. As we were talking, her boyfriend called and said that a plane had run into the World Trade Center tower. She and I couldn't believe it (in fact, I remember us rolling our eyes thinking that he was mistaken). We tried to get on cnn.com - couldn't get on - tried msnbc.com - tried foxnews.com - tried everything we could think of. None of the web sites were working.
About this same time, we noticed something. Our office building is right in the flight path for the Louisville airport. We noticed that there were a lot of planes landing - more than what was normal for that amount of time.
I walked back around the floor to head back to my cube. At that point I saw a huge group of people huddled around a co-worker's desk. They had a little tv on and were watching the news coverage.
It was about that time, that we all realized that our company, Mercer HR Consulting had their corporate offices in WTC #2. We also realized that our parent company MMC had their offices in WTC #1.
What a surreal day. We had many colleagues that were traveling on business. We soon got word that they were all safe. We then got word (over the next few days) that all of our Mercer colleagues were able to get out of building #2 before it fell. Unfortunately, our MMC colleagues weren't as lucky. MMC lost the second largest group of employees.
We will never be the same - and we will never forget.
(I have grown to love quilts over the past couple of years. Here's a quilt that I found that won some national awards. It's one of my favorites)
Sunday, September 10, 2006
We won - and we won big. 24-7 (and Texas shouldn't have had those 7 points - there was a horrible call!!!)
Have I mentioned recently that I love college football? We have a chance to play for the National Championship again this year. There is still a lot of football to play, but if we keep getting better, we can do it.
It's probably a good thing we are adopting during this time of year. It gives me a distraction on the weekend.
Saturday, September 09, 2006
I think it all came about because I was in the marching band in high school and college. I went to a lot of football games over those years. I like everything about the game. I understand the rules, can usually see when a penalty has occurred, and like to try to figure out what play is going to be called next (although I'm not very good at it). If I had my life to live over again, I would have majored in Radio/TV and been a football sportscaster of some sort. I think it would be so cool to work for ESPN.
I know I've put this picture up already, but it has to go up again. We had to get Alex started early rooting for our team.
Thursday, September 07, 2006
So, yesterday I wrote that I hoped we would get a medical update this week, and Jeannie was able to take care of that for me. I'm thinking that tonight I'm going to write that I hope that we get out of PGN tomorrow. (so Jeannie - do you think you can take care of that one for me also?? :)
Today marks 5 weeks in PGN. We are still under the average right now. Luckily I've been pretty busy at work this week, so that has helped make the time go by quickly.
Jay and I are going to the Kentucky Homes for Children Versailles campus on Saturday. They are having their family day, and we need to go for Jay's work. It's supposed to be a beautiful day, so we should have a good time. Here are the pictures!
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
I've been better the last couple of days. I haven't even cried once! I can actually look at his picture now and not feel horrible.
Here's a picture of Alex when he wasn't very happy with us!
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Well - they must have. Jay came home with about 5 new outfits for Alex. And - you know what - I will actually put him in them. He did really good. There is some really cute stuff here.
Now - we just need to get Alex home so we can put him in them.
(There were a few outs on my message board tonight. They were all from the 27th-31st of July. We went in on the 3rd of August - think good thoughts!!!!!)
Monday, September 04, 2006
I'm not patient any more. We've now been in PGN for 4 weeks and 4 days. This is nothing!! Average time right now is 8-12 weeks! Yikes. What am I going to do?? I don't know if I can wait much longer.
I have no right to complain. There are many people who have been waiting longer than I have, who have had problems with their process, who have had real heartbreak.....I just need to keep remembering that.
Please pray for me. I keep praying and asking God to help me through this.
Sunday, September 03, 2006
Imagine for a moment....You have met the person you've dreamed about all your life. He has every quality that you desire in a spouse. You plan for the wedding, enjoying every free moment with your fiancee. You love his touch, his smell, the way he looks into your eyes. For the first time in your life, you understand what is meant by "soul mate," for this person understand you in a way that no one else does. Your heart beats in rhythm with his. Your emotions are intimately tied to his every joy, his every sorrow.
The wedding comes. It is a happy celebration, but the best part is that you are finally the wife of this wonderful man. You fall asleep that night, exhausted from the day's events, but relaxed and joyful in the knowledge that you are next to the person who loves you more than anyone in the world...the person who will be with you for the rest of your life.
The next morning you wake up, nestled in your partner's arms. You open your eyes and immediately look for his face. But it's not him! You are in the arms of another man. You recoil in horror. Who is this man? Where is your beloved?
You ask questions of the new man, but it quickly becomes apparent that he doesn't understand you. You search every room in the house, calling and calling for your husband. The new guy follows you around, trying to hug you, pat you on the back...even trying to stroke your arm, acting like everything is okay. But you know that nothing is okay. Your beloved is gone. Where is he? Will he return? When? What has happened to him?
Weeks pass. You cry and cry over the loss of your beloved. Sometimes you ache silently, in shock over what has happened. The new guy tries to comfort you. You appreciate his attempts, but he doesn't speak your language-either verbally or emotionally. He doesn't seem to realize the terrible thing that has happened....that your sweetheart is gone.
You find it difficult to sleep. The new guy tries to comfort you at bedtime with soft words and gentle touches, but you avoid him, preferring to sleep alone, away from him and any intimate words or contact. Months later, you still ache for your beloved, but gradually you are learning to trust this new guy. He's finally learned that you like your coffee black, not doctored up with cream and sugar. Although you still don't understand his bedtime songs, you like the lilt of his voice and take some comfort in it.
More time passes. One morning, you wake up to find a full suitcase sitting next to the front door. You try to ask him about it, but he just takes you by the hand and leads you to the car. You drive and drive and drive. Nothing is familiar. Where are you? Where is he taking you? You pull up to a large building. He leads you to an elevator and up to a room filled with people. Many are crying. Some are estatic with joy. You are confused. And worried.
The man leads you over to the corner. Another man opens his arms and sweeps you up in an embrace. He rubs your back and kisses your cheeks, obviously thrilled to see you. You are anything but thrilled to see him. Who in the world is he? Where is your beloved? You reach for the man who brought you, but he just smiles (although he seems to be tearing up which concerns you), pats you on the back, and puts your hand in the hands of the new guy. The new guy picks up your suitcase and leads you to the door. The familiar face starts openly crying, waving and waving as the elevator doors close on you and the new guy.
The new guy drives you to an airport and you follow him, not knowing what else to do. Sometimes you cry, but then the new guy tries to make you smile, so you grin back, wanting to "get along." You board a plane. The flight is long. You sleep a lot, wanting to mentally escape from the situation.
Hours later, the plane touches down. The new guy is very excited and leads you into the airport where dozens of people are there to greet you. Light bulbs flash as your photo is taken again and again. The new guy takes you to another guy who hug you. Who is this one? You smile at him. Then you are taken to another man who pats your back and kisses your check. Then yet another fellow gives you a big hug and messes your hair. Finally someone (which guy is this?) pulls you into his arms with the biggest hug you've ever had. He kisses you all over your cheeks and croons to you in some language you've never heard before.
He leads you to a car and drives you to another location. Everything here looks different. The climate is not what you're used to. The smells are strange. Nothing tastes familiar, except the black coffee. You wonder if someone told him that you like your coffee black. You find it nearly impossible to sleep. Sometimes you lie in bed for hours, staring into the blackness, furious with your husband for leaving you, yet aching from the loss. The new guy checks on you. He seems concerned and tries to comfort you with soft words and a mug of warm milk. You turn away, pretending to go to sleep.
People come to the house. You can feel the anxiety start to bubble over as you look into the faces of all the new people. You tightly grasp the new guy's hand. he pulls you closer. People smile and nudge one another, marveling at how quickly you've fallen in love. Strangers reach for you, wanting to be a part of the happiness. Each time a man hugs you, you wonder if he will be the one to take you away. Just in case, you keep your suitcase packed and ready. Although the man at this house is nice and you're hanging on for dear life, you've learned from experience that men come and go, so you just wait in expectation for the next one to come along.
Each morning, the new guy hands you a cup of coffee and looks at you expectantly. A couple of times the pain and anger for your husband is so great that you lash out, sending hot coffee across the room, causing the new guy to yelp in pain. He just looks at you, bewildered. But most of the time you calmly take the cup. You give him a smile. And wait. And wait. And wait.
The last I wrote about was DNA Authorization, testing and Pre-Approval. All of those steps are on the United State side. At the same time that this is going on, there are steps on the Guatemala side.
The attorney in Guatemala submits the case to Family Court. I don't know everything that happens here, but here is what I know, and what I'm guessing. I know that a judge assigns a social worker to the case. I would also guess that they judge looks over the paper work (as it all needs to be in Spanish). Once the social worker is assigned, the attorney and social worker work with the birth mother to schedule an interview.
The social worker basically does a "homestudy" with the birth mother. The social worker is making sure that the birth mother really wants to do this, that she isn't being forced into it, and understands that her child will be going out of the country.
After the interview, the social worker then goes back, writes up the report, and submits it to the judge. At this point, you exit Family Court.
This process can really vary. Like the DNA testing, the timing of this sometimes depends on the birth mother being able to make it for the interview. Many times, the attorney schedules the DNA testing and the social worker interview at the same time. There's more than one Family Court, and some of them run faster than others. Also, the timing also depends on quickly the social worker writes up the report. Because of all of these factors, family court can usually run any where from 4 weeks to 3 months.
(I don't have our exact dates, but we think we were in family court for about a month)
Saturday, September 02, 2006
Last weekend (Saturday - Sunday) I was holding Alex (probably feeding him) and realized that I really didn't feel what I would consider love. I really felt like I was just babysitting. Don't get me wrong, I was very excited to be with him, but I don't think it was love.
In fact, I told Jay on Sunday that I was pretty sure I wasn't going to have a problem giving him back to the foster mom. I really thought everything would be just fine.
But, Monday, for some reason, was a different story. All of the sudden I started feeling what I can only guess is that parent feeling. I then realized that I was falling in love with this little guy. I also realized that I wasn't going to be able to give him back to the foster mom!
This picture is pretty funny.
Friday, September 01, 2006
So, I was totally expecting to have an Adoption Stories moment. You know, Jay and I sitting there in the lobby of the hotel, waiting. Me - nervous and starting to cry, Jay - trying to be strong for me. And then, we see our Foster Mom bringing Alex to us from across the lobby. I jump up and cry, and grab him while Jay hugs and thanks our Foster Mom. That's how it works on the show.
This is how it went for us.
We were told that they would be bringing him to us at 9:00 on Saturday. We've also been told to be prepared for Guatemala time. (which is sort of like Senate time - if something is supposed to start at 9:00 it might start at 9:15 - 9:30 - 9:54 - maybe later) Our facilitator called us at 8:00 to check on us and told us it would probably be more like 9:30. At about 9:15 I couldn't stand it much longer so we decided to take everything we needed down to the lobby and try to get the wireless internet access to work. So, we packed the camcorder, digital camera, laptop, and foster mom gifts and headed down to the lobby.
The Marriott actually has two lobbies. One near our elevators, and one around the corner from the front desk. As we came around the corner I saw a group of people sitting on a couch. At the same time, I realized that the women sitting there with the baby was our foster mom, and she recognized me. She jumped up and came to me very quickly with Alex in hand, and gave him to me. I didn't have enough time to even realize what was happening.
I don't know what Jay was doing. I guess I should ask him. I do know that he must have been able to put everything down and get the camcorder out pretty quickly, because we do have video of those first moments.
It was absolutely magical. I just couldn't believe that I was actually holding him and he was real. We then waited about 45 minutes for our lawyer and facilitator to show up and translate for us. Our foster mom is the best. She brought everything we would need to take care of him for the weekend. I wouldn't have needed to pack two suitcases just for Alex. :)