Thursday, July 27, 2006

Dream Home

Things are really heating up since we finally found some land to build on. The architect has finished the plans, I took all of our paperwork to the lending company yesterday to secure the construction loan, and we dropped off a frighteningly large check to the builder as our down payment. The good news is Chris didn't faint writing the check. Yeah! While we were treking around there the other night, one of the locals came by to check us out (picture on top) She had absolutely no fear of us. I think my garden plans may have to include a high fence, or this neighbor is going to think I set out a salad bar just for her. I have no idea when we might break ground. The financing has to go through first, and our plans have to be approved by the subdivision's building committee. It could be as soon as 1 month, or maybe longer. The construction could take 4-6 months, depending on weather, etc. I don't care how long, I am just thrilled we are finally going to have our dream (as $$ permits) house.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

New Photos of Ahren

Check out the new photo of our little man. This was the best of the set. They tend to be fuzzy, off-center and not well done, but I don't care. He would be 6 months old in these pictures. I just can't believe those eyes and eyelashes. I almost cried when I saw this. His fat baby cheeks are already slimming down. His hair is still just as curly and wild. I wish I could just reach through the picture and snatch him up.
We got some good news last night. The Civil Registry should be issuing the Declaration of Facts and sending our documents to PGN by the end of the week. For those of you who don't speak adoption slang, this means we are getting much closer to having the corrected birth certificate and being able to start the official adoption process. Maybe a few weeks is all. We have progress!!!!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Good Laugh at Myself

Recently my back has been bothering me a lot. Chris finally convinced me to see a chiropractor, so I went for the first time last Friday. I was surprised to see that he was young, muscular and pleasant looking. It was very awkward, having never done this sort of thing before, to relax while he was manipulating my back. I have to admit, though, that my back felt fantastic afterwards!
My second appointment was yesterday afternoon. He again cracked my back in all the right places. Then, while I was still lying on the table, he said, "I am going to show you something now that will make your back feel a lot better" and he began to undo his belt. I started to panic, trying to figure out how I was going to jump up off the bed and bolt out the door. I am sure my face showed my shock. He then took the belt and tied it around my knees and showed me an exercise to do to strengthen the muscles.
OK, I left there totally laughing at myself! I am obviously a total goofball. Next time, I will bring my own belt.............

Monday, July 24, 2006

Land and blood thirsty beasts

We have land! No more Crazy Divorce Lady to try and deal with (see earlier posts on the saga to buy one piece of property) We did it! Chris found the listing last Thursday, so we went and drove by. Looked good, so we had the builder look at it on Friday. He gave it two thumbs up, so we made an offer Saturday and signed the deal last night. It's 5.6 acres total, end of a cul de sac up a small hill, mostly cleared, high and dry and gorgeous! It is only 3.1 miles farther than our current home, all the same schools, shopping, friends, etc. We should close the construction loan in about 30 days, and be ready to break ground.
Now the down side to land. We went and hiked around on it yesterday evening. The grass is pretty tall, and I carried Levi off and on. On the way home, I went to scratch my chest, just under my chin, and I felt something. Something squiggly. I tried to brush it off, but it was stuck. I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I began screaming at Chris to tell me if it was a tick, but he didn't have his glasses on and couldn't tell. So, I looked in the mirror. Fat, black little blood sucking bugger with little legs sticking out all over. And he was really stuck in there! I began to breathe fast. I had to make it home (a whole 3.1 miles, remember) with this vermin sucking my blood. I felt faint, dizzy, queasy. Chris tried to get me involved in conversation, but all I could focus on was this thing with it's head buried in my skin.
Once we got home I was able to remove it pretty easily once I could see it in the mirror, and so far I haven't dropped dead, so I must be OK. Chris' idea of helping? Suggesting we name the land Tick Acres. Gee, thanks hon.

Friday, July 21, 2006

1 : to set right : REMEDY
2 : to purify (as alcohol) especially by repeated or fractional distillation
3 : to correct by removing errors : ADJUST
4 : to make (an alternating current) unidirectional
synonym see CORRECT

This is where we are stuck. Rectification. All for something so minor. The birthmom changed the baby's name between the day he was born and the time, 2 days later, she filled out the birth certificate. We now have finally gotten all of the original documents (long story why it took 6 months to get them) and they are in the Civil Registry now. The CR writes up the report on what happened and what needs to be changed, then it goes to the Gov't office in PGN to approve it, then the changes are made and a new corrected set of documents are issued. Then, and only then, do we start the official adoption process.
So, we wait. And wait. And wait. Ahren is growing, developing, learning new things, and we are missing it all. I am struggling with being patient. Chris seems much calmer with it all. Then of course, he is almost always calm and even-tempered. I am the one who tears around like my tail is on fire. What a pair we make! Chris prays and feels at peace. He just knows that we will bring Ahren home sooner than what I think. I wish I had that kind of peace. Instead, my heart feels like it has gone 10 rounds with a heavyweight boxer. Sore and bruised. My brain is full of thoughts that fly around banging off of each other in a fog. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger? I want to slap the person who said that!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

This is the blog 'Word Cloud' created by a website link I found. It scans your blog and then finds all the most commonly used words, generatinghtis word cloud. It's supposed to capture the essence of a blog. I don't know how much 'essence' I might have created (quit snickering, I did not say Fart!) but this is pretty cool. Of course, if I try it again in about 6 months and Ahren isn't home by then, it might be a 'blue' cloud full of bad words. I'll have to remember to try that! (Or maybe that will be the incentive I need to keep this G-rated ;-)

Monday, July 17, 2006

This photo of Ahren has become the cover photo for a Guatemalan adoption Yahoo group. It's not just us that thinks he is the cutest little bugaboo! He is now a famous baby model for Guatemalan adoptions. He will have agents lining up to sign him when he comes home!!!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Messy Monster! I can understand the chocolate frosting off of the cupcake, but who let him have the tube of lipstick??? And that was my favorite one! Does anyone else ever find cheese stuck to the floor under the couch? Dirty cups behind the TV? Chicken nuggets in the laundry basket? Not to mention the cheetohs colored handprint on the living room wall, a handprint that was exactly 28 inches off the ground and the size of, say, a 3yr old boy??? Gee I wonder who put it there? His big thing lately is to do everything himself. When you aren't looking he helps himself to whatever he wants to eat or drink, often spilling it or hiding it. I keep finding the freezer door open. I had a latch on the refrigerator/freezer doors, but the little nut peeled it off! So much for kid proof! I had one on the oven too, but he broke it 2 days after I put it on. I think I am going to have to make a Home Depot run and get some industrial latches and chains. The only question is, do I use them on the appliances or on Levi? (Just kidding, put down the phone!) You would think with this sudden interest in food, he might be gaining some weight. Well, he doesn't so much eat the food as he does decorate things with it. The couch, the floor, the stairs, himself. I think a little gets into his stomach....maybe.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Although we had been told that our documents were picked up, it turns out that they tried but couldn't get them after all. They are trying again today. Just as they have tried each week for the past 2 months or more. All of this just for his birth certificate. Mind you, that is the birth certificate that will need to be re-issued not once, but at least twice later on. So we thought we had made a tiny little bit of progress, but that was wrong.
So, in non-adoption related news, I meet with the architect and home builder later today to work on our house plans. The latest set of drawings are fabulous. Of course, we still need to find out how much this is going to cost. We have an idea based on rough numbers for square feet, but silly things like bathrooms and kitchens can add big bucks. We have several options if we need to cut $$ somewhere, without reducing the size of the house or losing the functions we find important. (I just hope the kids don't mind sleeping in the barn ;-) Just kidding! We may have to skip the pool. It can be added later, anyway. All of this is still contingent on getting the land to build this dream house. That is going about as well as our adoption. We have been trying to buy this one 7 acre piece of property for about 8 months now. it was all tied up in a bitter divorce case, then the title had to be cleared, then the woman who owns it went 'away' for a while (rumors abound as to where she really was...) Now, we just can't get her to commit to it. We get close and then she drops off the face of the earth for a few weeks only to re-appear and we start all over. As a backup plan, we found a wonderful house on 3.5 acres in the same neighborhood. It has a large pool and a big workshop. The house is enormous and it's in our price range. We will be looking at it on Saturday. If we like it, we may just go that direction and tell the whacky land lady Adios!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Official adoption update. Today I learned that the documents were picked up from the Statistics office by our lawyers. But what are these 'documents'? What has all this wait been for? It turns out that this is the official birth records. We should have had these many months ago, but the Civil Registry forgot to ever file them. So once the problem with the records was discovered, instead of moving to fix them, they first had to file the incorrect records with statistics and have them entered into the records. Now the process to fix them begins. The paperwork goes back to the Civil registry, where they outline what needs to be fixed. The files then go to PGN where they approve the changes, then back to Civil Registry where they make the changes and then back to Statistics to have it recorded. Then, Statistics can issue a new birth certificate and the adoption can begin.
Warning: Major Rant in the next section!
So, this is all just a great big game of Hot Potato with no end in sight. It could take many more months to finally get a birth certificate and move forward with adopting Ahren. I swing between being angry and sad. I feel like my heart is just being ripped out of my chest. Who can I be angry with? The agency that had no control over this? The lawyers who are trying but also have no control? The birth mom for changing her mind about his name? Every other parent who has breezed through the process and is bringing their baby home? God? Myself? Anger is just a waste of energy. Understandable, but a waste all the same.
We are going to need to re-do a lot of the paperwork in our dossier since it needs to be current (less than a year old for most documents) at the completion of the adoption. That means 2 new sets of fingerprints for both of us, new medical exams, new financial statements, new police clearance and child abuse clearance, updated home study, new references, everything. All of those documents have to be notarized, signed by the Secretary of State, authenticated by the Guatemalan consulate and translated into Spanish. Today I just don't know if I have the energy to do it all again. It's not like I have a lot of extra time to devote to the paperchase. It took me months to get it all together the first time. It all has to be perfect, too. Exact wording, signed just-so, stamped just-so, blah blah blah. Can't I just give them a kidney instead? Pleeeeeze????

Pictures of the nursery. I spent a lot of time painting those stripes on the walls and I just love the way it turned out. I saw the idea on one of those room-makeover shows. They made it look like it was a breeze. Measure, slap up tape, paint away, peel off tape and presto! the perfect decor. They didn't say how to keep the lines all nice and neat when the walls have texture on them, or how much tape would be needed as you change colors. Still, I really do love the way it looks. I love the colors, too. Levi's toddler bed matches the wood of the crib, so it all goes together nicely. Of course, Levi will have outgrown the toddler bed by the time Ahren comes home. He has almost outgrown it now. In our new house, the boys will share a room. I am trying to decide how to decorate it. I don't want to go with a theme that they will outgrow too quickly. Oh, the joys of dreaming and shopping......

Monday, July 10, 2006

Why, when you try and get a picture of your kids, do they suddenly turn into the biggest goofballs on the planet? I did finally get a good one, but the majority of the pictures look like these. Oh well, this is really what they look like most of the time anyway. Who am I trying to kid? I might as well just admit that we live with a bunch of clowns who keep us laughing day in and day out. A joyous home is one filled with the sounds of laughter!

He's just a big boy! Levi is showing off his big boy pants with Bob the Builder's Rollie on the back. Besides the setbacks of being sick and back in diapers, he picked back up on potty training and is now officially a big boy. He wears a diaper or pullup to bed at night, just in case, but the rest of the time it is strictly underwear. Yahoo!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Happy 6 month birthday Ahren! I sent a box of things to our agency and they said they were going to take it down in June and give it to you. I don't know if it ever happened, though. Hopefully you have all the toys and blankies we sent. The clothes are way too small for you, since the box was originally supposed to be down there in April plus we had no idea you were going to grow so fast. Oh well, some other baby can use the clothes.
It has finally sunk in that we will not be getting you any time soon. Probably not even by your first birthday. We will need to re-do a lot of paperwork since it has to be current and will expire before this process is completed. All of the baby stuff I bought is going to be useless. The clothes, the bottles, the baby bouncer. All of it. I have quit buying things at all. One of my joys had been to baby-shop for you. Cute outfits that I envisioned you wearing. Little hats, socks, bibs. Toys to play with. A special front pack carrier so I could literally wear you for the first few weeks you were home to help the bonding process. Instead, I have a new book on Toddler Adoptions.
My biggest fear, and a very real one, is that you will never become available to adopt. If they can't clear up the records, if so much time has passed that they can't find the birth mother, if the DNA can't be done.....we will lose you. I can hardly bear to think of it, but it happens. Today I am very sad. Six months old and I can't even plan on visiting you, holding you, cuddling you. Recently I heard someone refer to the adoption process as brutal. That's the perfect word. Brutal. Brutal on your heart, your faith, your emotions. But, the prize is so worth it. So, we will not give up. We will not waiver from our course. We are in it for the long haul. We are coming for you, Ahren!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Those eyes........can you believe those eyes? They get me every time. It is almost criminal that a little boy could have lashes like that.

We got an update from the lawyers yesterday, but it wasn't good news. Each week for the past few weeks we have been told that the documents were ready and would be picked up from the Bureau of Statistics. They can then be submitted for final approval of the changes and we can get the adoption going. Once again, they were not available. The story is that the statistics office is changing over their system, and it has caused all paperwork to stop dead in their tracks. They 'promised next week'. Ahren turns 6 months old tomorrow and we have never even met him. We love him and consider him our son, but he is more like a virtual baby at this point. Real in our minds but with no physical reality. It is very strange. I have stopped buying anything for him. Most of the toys and clothes I have bought will be too young and too small for him by the time we get him. I can't even begin to predict at what age/size he will come home. All I am sure of is he will come home eventually and then I can shop!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Sometimes life-lessons just happen. This is a picture of Katie and her best friend Brittany at a prom dress fashion show this spring. Yesterday, we were invited to a Fourth of July cookout at the home of one of Chris's employees. Brittany came along with us and we all had a fantastic time. The life-lesson was provided by a neighbor of the hostess. This woman, who came with her two very small girls, had a very, very good time. So good in fact, that I doubt she will remember most of it today. I don't know how much wine she actually drak, but it definitely was in the 'way too much' category. Our kids had never seen anyone so inebriated. At first it was pretty funny to them, but as it got worse, they were very shocked. When she spilled wine all over Brittany, it just wasn't funny anymore. The final straw was when she got a hold of Katie and hung on her telling her how beautiful she was (although it was pretty hard to understand what she was saying by that time) and I had to rescue Katie. The discussion in the car on the way home was interesting. All three girls were appalled by the woman and swore they would never do that. They were terribly embarrassed for her. I feel bad for the woman but I also would like to thank her. The kids got a wonderful lesson out of it and hopefully one that will stick with them during the years to come. We had made arrangements for the woman to be taken home and put to bed, and her two little girls to spend the night with a friend. Another lesson in taking care of friends when they mess up. All in all, it was a really good day.

Last year, for Chris's birthday and father's Day, I surprised him with a trip to Colorado. He loves the mountains. We took Levi, but Katie and Ashley were at their Dad's that week. This is a picture I took on a trail in a national park near Steamboat Springs. The trail winds around to a beautiful view of a small canyon and a waterfall. We would have liked to have made another trip this year, but between everyone's schedules and waiting for Ahren we just couldn't fit it in. next year we plan on taking a trip with all 4 of our kiddos!