Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Hogar (Orphanage)

As I mentioned before, while in Guatemala we got to visit the Hogar that our facilitator owns and runs. There are two types of orphanages in Guatemala. Those that are run by adoption facilitators and those run by missionaries. There is one big government orphanage, but there is no way it could support all the children that need homes. The facilitators run it as a business. They accept only kids they know they can place. Healthy newborns and toddler girls. Some will actually recruit pregnant women to give up their babies. I am not condemning them or condoning them. It is just the way it is for such an impoverished country where birth control is not available.

This Hogar is one of the nicer ones. The children were all clean and well fed. The walls were painted with bright murals. They had a small outdoor area with a swingset to play on. The older children attend school every day. The children receive medical care and dental care. There were enough caretakers for the number of children. Still, it was an eye opener for us. The floors are all cement, the walls are cement, the play yard is cement. The baby rooms were wall to wall bassinets, cribs, baskets, all full of babies. The women would take turns holding 2 babies and walking around, feeding, changing, bathing, but there were not enough arms to hold them for very long. We saw babies left in swings just hanging there, left in walkers to entertain themselves, left in the beds. They don't cry. That is the saddest thing. When a tiny baby cries and no one comes to help, they soon learn that crying doesn't work. So they don't cry.

The little girls, ages 2-5, all were so thrilled to see our group. They were so excited. They bounced around us all asking if we were their Mommy's. I will post pix of them tomorrow. They were so sweet and they all have families they will be going to. I hugged and hugged them the whole time!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Why is nothing simple????

Well, it does seem that nothing is ever simple for us. We learned while in Guatemala that the rectification of Ahren's birth certificate was kicked out of the government office for an error in the paperworwork. Something very minor they said. They said it should be fixed and resubmitted in a day or two. Late Friday we learned it still had not been resubmitted. It has just been sitting on someone's desk for 2 weeks. We also learned, while I was in Guatemala, that the architectural control committee did NOT approve our plans because the builder wrote the wrong lot number on the plans. The builder thought it was an easy fix and told us it was approved, but the committee didn't see it that way. They wanted the entire file resubmitted for the next meeting, which was 1 month away. After much haggling, we have approval to clear and grade the lot, build the pad, and prepare the foundation to be poured. Chris thought we could pour the foundation, just not start framing. Either way, we can only do a little until the next committee meeting.
So why is everything so complicated for us? Is this a payback for all those practical jokes I played on my brother and sister growing up? (Cuz they deserved it!) Is this my punishment for making my mother turn gray at an early age? For not putting my dirty clothes in the hamper? For letting my kids eat ice cream for dinner after having a bad day? I really don't think I am being punished. I think that with the untold blessings in my life, these little challenges are just a way of strengthening my soul. It's not only getting through the hard times, but HOW you get through them. Keep your sense of humor, handle the unexpected with class and lead with your heart. The challenges we face are nothing compared to what others have to deal with. We are extremely blessed!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Katie Katie

Well, I don't think Katie is going to be an engineer! This is how the stoller looked after she unpacked it and put it together. Notice anything unusual? She got this far, took one look and we both burst into giggles. Luckily it was simple to unhook the wheel from the handlebars and place it where it was supposed to go. Believe me, with that little chunky monkey we needed the stroller!

OK, Bloggeris being a booger today and I can't get any more picture to load right now. I will try again later. I still want to show everyone the orphanage we visited.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

So tempting.....

This is Ahren sitting in one of our suitcases. Let's see, a couple of airholes and take it as a carry on, do a lot of coughing to cover noises and we could have him home. Just kidding! He's way to heavy to put in a carry on! We would need a dog crate.....
Does anyone else see the resemblance to a Sumo wrestler? At one point Katie put a hair tie in his hair and gave him a little top knot pony tail. He really looked like a Sumo then. I seem to remember someone else who looked like a Sumo a few years back......

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

PBJ the Princess

More pictures of our little princess. At 6 days old she was so alert! I can't even explain how tiny she is. Her feet are smaller than my thumb, her tiny fingers didn't even go all the way around my thumb. She is still kind of red and blotchy, and you can just see in the left picture the umbilical cord stump. The teensy little newborn diapers were big on her! Tiny but perfect. What a blessing to have gotten to see and hold her on our visit.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


We have been talking about a little girl for a long time. We kept trying to get a toddler girl, but each time we were either too late or something else happened. The week before we went to Guatemala, I got a call saying they might have a 5 yr old girl, and Oh by the way, they had just received the information on a baby girl born on my birthday. Somehow, both Chris and I felt drawn to this child, without ever having seen her. The agency arranged for us to see her while we visited. Meet Peri Brynn Jarman, photos taken at 6 days old. She weighed 6.6 pounds at birth and is an absolute angel. Tiny little bone structure, very alert, a good eater, just an absolute little miracle. Hopefully her case wil go smoothly and we will be bringing the two kids home together or at about the same time.

Monday, October 23, 2006

More pix

This picture is so funny. It gives you an idea of how big Ahren really is. I think we were pushing the weight limit on the carrier, but Ahren loved it. Katie and I took turns when we needed to use it, since we got tired pretty quickly. Not only is Ahren heavy, he is long too. He practically beats you up when he gets his arms and legs all waving like mad.
Here is the lobby of the Grand Tikal Futura Hotel. Very very nice hotel and everyone was so helpful to us. The swimming pool complex was awesome. They have a large pool, a smaller kiddy wading pool, and 5 different hot tubs all at different temperatures. They have a special lounge set up with free breakfast, beverages and internet connections for adoptive families. This hotel is not the main one most adoptive families stay at, but we found it to be wonderful and safe.


Ahren would fall asleep wherever he was. One moment he was smiling and the next he was out. He really seemed to enjoy the stroller, so we left it with his foster family.
Ahren, right after a bath. He loves the water! We took a little blow-up baby tub and I'm so glad we did. The bathtub in our hotel room was very deep and surrounded by marble. I don't think I could have hung over the edge and kept hold of a soapy squirmy baby in there. His curls are about 5 inches long when you get them wet and stretch them out, but they are soft and shiny. I put some of Katie's anti-frizz serum in his hair and it helped keep it from poofing out huge. He will definitely need a haircut first thing when we get him home.

More pix later!

Thursday, October 19, 2006


Well, yesterday I wrote a beautiful entry, then went to hit upload and the whole thing blinked and disappeared, then the computer timed out. Arghh! I still dont haver the ability to upload pix but maybe later today. We found a different computer cafe area with better computers. Keep your fingers crossed. We have been having a great time, but havent really left the hotel. There is some civil unrest down here right now and the feeling towards Americans is not great. The staff in the hotel is wondeful though and the hotel is connected to a mall we can go into. The mall is different than in America. The shops are tiny and crowded and they only have one thing in one size.
Ahren is a doll. He has not cried even once yet. He laughs and smiles constantly. He weighs 24 pounds so it is a good thing we brought a stroller. He does fit in the front pack carrier, but we get tired pretty quickly with that. He loves his baths, and kicks and splashes and laughs. He has a great belly laugh! He has some major leaugue thighs and we have just squeezed them so much. He can wave bye bye!
Chris, you have to come and try the PBJ down here. It is the yummiest ever. It just comes in the tiniest package!
Later today we get to visit the orphanage where our friends little girl has lived. We brought a ton of donations for them and its something we have really looked forward to. We will take lots of pictures and video. This is really a once-in-a-lifetime experience for us.
I will try for the pictures later, I promise.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

No pix

Sorry no pix. I brought everything but the computer does not have a
Chris, the PBJ down here is to die for. You are missing something really good! It comes in the tiniest package, though.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

We made it!

Well after some tense high water moments and serious weather delays, we landed in Guatemala late last night. The hotel is fabulous! A definite 4 star rersort! We are goingto eat breakfast in alittle bit and then they should bring Ahren around 10 am. We hardly slept at all. There are volcanoes outside our window! What a change that is. They have been smoking and Katie is a bit nervous they might erupt. That might just be a bit too much adventure for us! I will post later after we have the baby.

Friday, October 13, 2006


This very special woman is Nanny. Everyone calls her that. We have known her and her family for many years. In fact, they feel like family! When we were pregnant with Levi, we were looking for a nanny to come to our home every day and take care of him. Nanny was working in a grocery store at the time, but when she heard we wanted someone to care for Levi, she volunteered for the job. We have never could have found anyone who is as wonderful as she is. She has the biggest heart of anyone I have ever met. She spends hours playing and teaching Levi things. She holds him and loves him and nurtures him. He has never cried when I leave in the mornings because he has his Nanny. Nanny has the energy of 10 normal women. She absolutely wears me out! When we were thinking about adopting, we included her in the decisions, since she is going to be the primary caretaker of our kids. She was thrilled! We love this woman with all our hearts. Nanny is the best!!!!!

So this is my last post before we head to Guatemala. Monday is a travel day, so Tuesday is the first chance I will have to post. I am going to try and upload pictures, but no promises. I may just be too busy snuggling my baby!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Funny kids

Last weekend, I sent the kids upstairs to bring down all the dirty clothes. This is one of their chores every weekend. Whatever doesn't make it to the laundry room doesn't get cleaned! They trudged off and I headed into the kitchen. Pretty soon I began to hear muffled giggling and odd thumps. I could hear all 3 of them whispering and giggling and began to wonder what they were up to. So I headed out of the kitchen just in time to see a pair of pants go sailing by. Here is what I found.

The entire entryway was full of dirty clothes, all thrown off of the balcony above. Sheets, towels, pants, socks, all of it. Katie and Ashley swear up and down it was Levi's idea. I wouldn't doubt that! How can you get mad at kids when they are getting along so well and are so happy while doing chores? I couldn't. They did have to come down and get all the clothes into the laundry room, which resulted in more giggling and several instances of throwing dirty underwear at each other's heads. Funny, funny kids!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

New Pictures!

New pictures! He looks so happy and what a little pudge he is! That crazy hair. I dreamed I gave him a haircut while we were visiting next week. I may just have to do that. I definitely want to cut a lock of it for his baby book. I have been thinking a lot about how it will be when I get to first meet him. I have the strangest urge to give him a bath right away. I want to scrub him with my favorite lavender baby soap, and then wrap him up in a snuggly warm towel and hold him. There is just something so precious about a baby fresh out of the tub. I want to count his little piggies, and tickle his fat belly and just love all over him. I want to run my fingers through those curls. We will take it slowly at first and try not to overwhelm him, but my instincts tell me he is going to be just fine (as long as we have food ;-)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Ahren's new wardrobe

My wonderful bounty from last week's shopping spree. If I had paid normal price, the whole lot would have cost $337 before taxes. Instead, I paid $142. I am so proud of myself right now I am practically bursting! I bought all sizes bigger than what I estimate he is in now so he will have a full wardrobe thru the winter. Lots of onesies to layer under his clothes, a couple of sweaters and jackets, too. The culture down there is such that they bundle the kids up incredibly, thinking that protects them from getting sick. Poor little sweaty things during the summer!

The agency tld me that we get in too late on Monday to get him. At frst I was upset, mad, sad, feeling awful. But the more I thought about it, it is OK. We will be tired and needing to get settled. I want to be able to give 110% attention to him when we get him, not struggling to get unpacked, find what we need for him, get a bite to eat, etc. This will be OK. I am just so fortunate to get to go see him finally. Six more mornings and we will be leaving. Wahoo!!!!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Our Exciting News

I have no idea what Chris was looking at.....

OK, I know you have all been dying to know what our exciting news is. Let me lay a little background first. We have been planning our dream home for over a year now. We wanted to stay in the same school zones and still get a bigger piece of land to build on. We had found a wonderful 7 acre piece and thought we had a deal to buy it, but the owners were involved in a bitter divorce battle. After many months of waiting and trying to negotiate, we gave up. Chris then found another piece of property, but to buy it we had to buy a second lot from the sellers at the same time. We decided to go for it and bought both, but separated the titles and loans. We closed on them just a few weeks ago and expect to break ground n our house next week. We were going to list the extra property with a realtor when some people called us about it. They were looking for land and saw the sign by our builder and were curious. We told them about the other lot so they took a look and fell in love with it. In addition to them having cash to buy it outright, their son is a lawyer who will do all the paperwork for free. But the best part? He is an adoption lawyer! He can complete our re-adoption of Ahren when we bring him home. Maybe he can find us that little girl who is dancing around my heart but hasn't been found yet.....

I am hoping that this wave of good luck will extend to our adoption. I could sure use some progress there. Katie and I spent the afternoon Saturday going through everything we need for Ahren (and all the stuff we don't NEED but are taking ;-) and getting it packed. With my super-duper space bags we got everything into one large suitcase and it just barely goes over the 50 lb mark on my scales. I checked with the airlines and the limit is 50 per bag, but if you end up between 50 and 70 lbs it is $25. I will still shoot for 50 max, but I'm not worried that I will have to leave anything behind.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Retail Therapy

I woke up this morning feeling so down. The excitement of booking our trip to Guatemala had kind of worn off, then we got an update on our case that made me so sad. Nothing has happened. Nothing. We have been waiting on one signature for weeks. Work has been very stressful, too. All I wanted to do today was to stay in bed and pull the covers over my head. Can't anyone help us? Will we ever bring our son home? The tears were threatening to come. I had to do something.

So, I went shopping on my lunch hour. Good ol' retail therapy! Is there anything more fun than shopping for baby stuff? I hit a huge sale where all the Carter's and Osh Kosh clothes were half price, then added a 30% off coupon to it. I bought everything in bigger sizes, since I know we won't have him home for a very long time. I bought jammies and outfits and slippers and onesies (oh my!). Pretty much an entire wardrobe. I poured every bit of my love into those purchases! It is all stuff I would be buying for him if he was home where he belonged. Plus, I saved a ton of money (justification, right?) I feel so much better. Not great, but better. Let's hope my mood holds until we leave on our trip or I am going to have to get a second luggage slave!!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Momentary Panic

Yesterday turned into the biggest roller coaster ride of them all. I was e-mailing back and forth with our agency setting up the details of our trip, and I asked when they were going to bring the baby to us at the hotel. At least that is what I thought I was asking. What I wrote was 'When we will get the baby?' My agency wrote back and said No, this case is so delayed that it's not possible. This is where I freaked. I thought she was saying I couldn't have him at the hotel with us becasue we weren't far enough along in the process. So why did I get 'special permission' to visit? Then, it was already late in the day and I couldn't get a hold of anyone. This morning I got her response (and an apology) She thought I was asking when we would be getting him for good. The immense relief I felt left me in a puddle on the floor. We definitely get to have him with us the whole time.
Now, on to the fun things. Planning for the trip! Since we now have 2 of us going, we just got to double the amount of luggage we get to take. My luggage slave is going to come in quite handy! (I need to quit calling her that, but I think it is cute! She laughed when I told her) We are trying to keep to a minimum what we are taking for ourselves. The rest of the space will be things we are taking for other kids. Our agency doesn't let us send packages to our kids like other one's do, so if one of us visits, we take gifts from the other parents to their kids. Of course I also have a huge amount of stuff for Ahren and his Foster Mom. Now that is difficult. What do you give to a woman you have never met, don't know anything about, but who is loving and caring for your child? So far I have a small bag of lotions and bath stuff and a beautiful gold locket that has baby hand prints and hearts on the front. I need to think of some other things. I am also writing her a note in Spanish to tell her how much we appreciate the care she is giving our son.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


I just love it when other people post pictures so here are a few for today. Here is Levi, all dressed up for church. The girls taught him to make a funny face every time he gets his picture taken, so now I don't have any with a normal smile. Thanks girls!

And this is Levi and Max (again the goofy face for the camera) You can't tell, but max is making a goofy face too.

And for my final photo of the day, Katie, demonstrating the goofiest face of all. So, an update on things here. First, no news on the thing we are so anxiously waiting to hear. You all don't get to know until we know. Hah! Secondly, I have decided to take Katie to Guatemala with me as my luggage slave. She makes a might fine pack mule, that girl does! Ashley, as expected, is furious because she doesn't get to go. I promised her she can go next time, but I don't think it helped. You know, sometimes life is not fair. I had to make a tough decision and this is it. Oh well.

In other great news, I have become involved in something called The Gabriel Project at our church. I started an Adoption Outreach group as part of that, helping people to choose adoption as a way to add to their families. The church has decided to fund some grants to assist parishoners and it looks like we will be the first to receive one! Deacon George said that we are the perfect model of a Christian family and that they couldn't think of anyone more deserving. The first thing I thought was, Wow, we can adopt more kids! I mean, we have 6 bedrooms we could fill......

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

So Grown Up

My girls have gotten so grown up. At 14 and 11 they just seem more like adults than kids anymore. I remember when they were little and I could dress them up, do special things with their hair, pretty little shoes. I miss those times. I guess I am being more nostalgic than usual. I just really miss having a little girl in the house. Barbie shoes that get stepped on in bare feet, a million little hair thingy's all over the bathroom, seven different kinds of tights that all have holes in the knees, party dresses, french braiding, ruffly socks.......
Now, it's iPODs and cell phones, Abercrombie clothes, homework, running them here and there. They are smart, talented and very kind girls, but they won't let me dress them or play with their hair anymore. Wah!

Monday, October 02, 2006


I am so incredibly excited about visitng Guatemala I can't even put it into words. Two weeks from today and I will be there. I don't know for sure yet if I will get Ahren that evening or the next morning. I want him immediately, of course, but this is not in my control. If I don't get him until Tuesday, then that really cuts into the time I can spend with him. I may just have to stay another day. We'll see. We spent most of the afternoon on Saturday running around trying to get everything I will need for the trip. I will need to supply everything that Ahren will need. They will drop him off with nothing. I don't care, though! There really isn't much a baby needs and I can buy anything I forget while I'm there. (Gosh, I may just HAVE to go shopping? Twist my arm!)
So, we have some other exciting news brewing. I can't tell y'all anything about it yet. Tomorrow is an important day, though, although the way communication works we might not get the good news for a few days after that. This is something that will affect our whole family and is very exciting. Everyone keep your fingers crossed!!!!