Thursday, November 30, 2006

Random stuff

I must say the Secretary of State's office in Missouri ROCKS! I sent off Chris's birth certificate for authentication on Monday, and it was back here yesterday! Can you believe it? That's a government office and they are FAST! I thought the Texas office was fast getting things back in 1 week, but Missouri kicked their hiney. I think I still have to get the Guatemalan Consulate to sign it, and maybe the Pope and Charlie Brown, too, but I'm not sure. I think it would just be so much simpler if they just let me give them a kidney or something.
We are supposed to get new pictures of Peri Brynn today. She is 7 weeks and 1 day old today. As soon as I get them I will post them (after I oooh and awww and send them to Chris) We were supposed to get new pictures of Ahren weeks ago, but no such luck yet. I know our agency is trying to get some.
On the house front, has anyone ever used a convection oven or one of the new 4 in 1 microwave/convection units? I want one in my new kitchen, but only if they really do what they say they do. Otherwise, I don't want to spend the money and end up with a glorified rubber-chicken generator. I can make a wonderful rubber-chicken all by myself thank you very much. I don't need the super-fancy help.

Stay tuned for new PBJ photos.....

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

One of those nights

Have you ever had one of those nights where you go to sleep just fine, but wake up later and can't get back to sleep? That was me last night. I woke up and then my mind began to race. I made mental lists, planned out how to accomplish everything I have to do, went over it a million times to be sure I didn't miss anything. My list for Wed.: check that deposit cleared, run to the bank and transfer money to Adoption Agency #2 for Peri Brynn, notify AA#2 money is in their account, check on Fed Ex packages sent to get final documents from Missouri and Texas, check on documents at Guatemalan Consulate in Houston, remember Katie has bible study, pick up last items for bake sale goodies, put together bake sale goodies, pack lunch for Levi, pack backpack for Levi, get box ready to send to Adoption Agency #1 for Ahren, print pictures for Ahren, get dog food, schedule vet appointment, schedule dental appt's for all of us over the holiday break, look at appliance catalog from builder. Did I forget anything? I'm sure I did!

Yesterday we had a long meeting with our builder. This is the pre-pour meeting. We got to pick out windows and exterior doors, go over all the plumbing and electrical plans in detail, and look at lighting issues. We added a bunch of can-lights to the living room, and an additional large fixture over the island in the kitchen. We added outlets in the eaves for Christmas lights, and outlets on the sides of the house for landscape lights and Christmas decorations. For our next meeting we need to have all of our cabinet and appliance choices narrowed down. Things should start to go pretty fast now. I am amazed at the number of choices we need to make. Do you want glass blocks this size or that size? An outlet here or 6 inches to the left? The light switch on this wall or that wall? It goes on and on and on. So, if we screw anything up, you will all know who is to blame. Chris. Hah!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Goofy Levi

Levi keeps us all entertained most days. He is always coming up with funny things that he says and does that crack us up. Here are some of my favorite quotes:

While smelling Katie's feet: Ew, that smells like tartar sauce!

While playing with the neighbor girl: You are getting on my patience!

Talking to Nanny: That is not in the budget.

Talking to himself: These are my responsibilities.

After the dogs chased a possum out of the yard: Daddy, there was a hippopotamus in our yard!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Life is good again

Levi, after a bath, demonstrating his mad face. What a little goofy goober!
So life is returning to normal around here. We have shed many tears and shared a few laughs. We have eaten way too much. We started getting out Christmas decorations and putting them up.
Our house is coming along very slowly. They started placing the forms for the foundation last Wednesday but didn't finish. Today it has rained, so they may not work on it. Unfortunately, it is supposed to rain every day this week. We meet with the builder tomorrow to select all of the exterior doors and windows. Slowly but surely we will build this house.
Peri Brynn's case is flying along. I got all of the paperwork back from the Secretary of State and now will submit it to the Guatemalan Consulate here. Once that is done, then the whole thing goes to Guatemala for translation and then is filed with the Family Courts down there. The FC's are closed until mid-December anyway, so our timing will be just right to submit as soon as they re-open. Then, once we have their report completed, we should be ready to submit to the final courts, the infamous PGN. The shut down PGN over Christmas until about mid-January, so our timing could be perfect there too. Then we wait. The case could come out in 6 weeks or 6 months. There is no rhyme or reason to the way PGN works. Plus it is a big black hole of information. No one can find out much of anything from PGN. The good news though, is that once PGN signs off, she is our child legally. We will get to bring her home just a few short weeks after that. (Still have to have final physical, US Embassy approval, new birth certificate and visa/passport)
No news on Ahren's case. I am so happy for PBJ and so sad for Ahren. My beautiful boy deserves to be in his mama's arms, to live with his family, to be loved and doted on every day. Not that he isn't doing well in foster care. He is. But it's not home. I was so sure he would be here with us for Christmas. Everyone say a prayer for this precious child.

Monday, November 20, 2006

A post of a different kind

Today's post is not about adoption. It's about endings. To me, adoption is a beginning. The beginning of a lifetime of caring and sharing. Endings are those things that interrupt the lifetime. Friday became an ending for many things. Let me fill in the background story......
Over 6 years ago I was a single mom of 2 little girls. My daughter Katie met and became best friends with a little girl named Haleigh. Two little blonde cuties who could pass as twins. Thru their friendship I met Tammy, Haleigh's mom, who was also a single parent of 2 kids. Tammy was dating Bobby. Bobby's best friend of 20 years was Chris. Tammy and Bobby set Chris and me up on a blind date and the rest is history. Bobby and Chris were also good friends with Jeff, who is Tammy's ex-husband, and Greg his brother. Over the years all of us had hung out together, watched football games, band competitions, cheerleading events etc. There were many cookouts and family events we all celebrated. Nanny is Jeff and Greg's mother, Haleigh's grandmother and Tammy's ex-mother-in-law. She has known Chris for 20 years. When we had Levi, it was Tammy who suggested Nanny to care for him. She has been the only person to take care of him since he was born. We love her like family. No, not 'like' family, they ARE family. When we were thinking about adoption, we asked her opinion since she would be just as involved with raising these kids as we were. She was all for it. God I love that woman!
On Friday, two policemen came to my house. They came to tell Nanny that Jeff was dead. He had been murdered. Shot in the chest. The last contact she had was a text message from him at 10:17 am that said 'I love you Mom'. Then he was gone.
We all look forward to the firsts in life. A baby's first steps, first words, first day of school. We don't think of the lasts. The last Father's Day, the last dinner together, the last 'I love you Mom'.

Friday, November 17, 2006


Yesterday, November 16th, is going into the books as a great day. First, Chris and I met for the first time on November 16th five years ago. Then, yesterday we found out that they broke ground on our house (finally) We also found out they found the missing file for Ahren's birth certificate case. But, the best news of all came late in the day. We got the results of the DNA testing on Peri Brynn. It is a 99.99% match! Now we can move onto the next step, which is filing all of the documents with their Family Court system. Once the Family Court issues their report, we are submitted to the final government office, PGN. They review everything and sign off on the case. At that point she will legally be our daughter. Now, don't get excited, this sounds simple but this is still Guatemala. All of the courts shut down for 6 weeks over the holidays, plus they still move as slow as molasses in the winter time on a good day. But, if we continue along this way, I expect she will be home in March or April, about the time she will be 6 months old. I am on cloud 9!!!!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Craziness all around me

The girls love to dress Levi up. He doesn't seem to mind as long as he is the center of attention. Here he is showing us his ballerina poses. (Costume borrowed from girl next door) So when he ends up in a bell tower later in life, don't blame me. It was his sisters!

Today, I saw with my own eyes, a bulldozer digging up dirt on our lot. We even have a port-o-potty now. Yahoo! So November 16th is our official ground breaking day. Who wants to bet on when we move in? With my luck, you might need to guess which YEAR it will be in.

Lastly, the file for Ahren's BC has finally been found. This is the file that wasa supposedly resubmitted on October 16, then they couldn't find it. The facilitator found it buried in a pile of files on the attorney's desk in Guatemala. Thye are promising it will be resubmitted by tomorrow. That is 5 weeks of lost time. Five weeks in addition to the 9 months before that. All I can say is it's a good thing I am not anywhere near this attorney......

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Reality Fairy

First, here is a random picture for you of Super Levi, the Wonder Boy. Cool goggles in bright orange give you super powers. Didn't you know that?

A good friend of mine introduced me to the Reality Fairy. Just when you are painting a rosy picture in your head, the Reality Fairy comes along and smacks you upside the head so hard your teeth rattle. The Reality Fairy is the one who notifies you that your child will NOT be home for Christmas, who lets you know that they did NOT break ground on your house, that they can NOT find your file in PGN. I hate the Reality Fairy. I know, hat eis such a strong word. How about loathe? Despise? Detest?

Yesterday the Reality Fairy hit me in a totally different way. When I got home there was a lot of commotion on our street. Being the nosy nelly that I am, I went out to talk to the neighbors to see what was up. Apparently the Sheriff's office was evicting some of our neighbors from their house. These are people I know, people whose kids play with my kids, who go to the same teacher conferences and cheerleading competitions. Good neighbors. So the Sheriff had gone to the door and knocked and the Dad comes to the door. 'Can I help you' he says nicely. The Sheriff knew right then this guy didn't have a clue what was happening. Sure enough, the wife had kept it all secret from him. How did this happen? Drugs. It started with her wanting to lose some weight. Needing a little something extra for energy. That sort of thing. Now they have no home, most of their posessions are in a police storage unit, the kids are traumatized, no telling what will happen to their marriage. These are good people. Kind people. Well mannered kids. These things don't happen in my neighborhood, do they? To people I know and like? My head hurts from the force the Reality Fairy put behind this punch.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Brynn Updates

Peri Brynn is 1 month old. Her medical report says she is 8 lbs, 1 oz and 21.5 inches long. The only thing the doctor noted in her medicals was that she has some diaper rash. Otherwise, she is a mucho healthy, beautiful little baby girl. In other exciting news, they got the DNA test done this week. The samples should be on their way to LabCorp right now. WAHOOOO!!!!!!


This past weekend was full of down-time for all of us. Katie had her last football game on Thursday night and no drill team proctice over the weekend. Levi is getting over his sinus infection with the help of strong antibiotics and ended up taking a 5 hour nap on Saturday. (He still slept all night too) We did a little Christmas shopping but not much else. It was wonderful. See that shiny green material over Levi? That is his Monni's. It is actually a satin nightgown of mine that he became attached to as a little baby. As soon as he could crawl, he used to go in and pull it out of my drawer. He named it Monni, which I think was his way of saying Mommy's. He doesn't carry it around much anymore, but when he was feeling sick this weekend he wanted it. Luckily, he has never wanted to take it places with him. I can just imagine what people would think seeing a little boy carrying around a satin nightgown. I made him a little satin blanket but it didn't feel the same and he didn't like it.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Blogger is a Booger

I wrote a post earlier that was full of witty comments and deep wisdom, but when I tried to upload it, it went POOF! So instead of that fantastic post, you get this. No news on Ahren or Brynn. They did NOT break ground on our house on Friday. I got over being ugly but I still get to wear my Crankypants. Today begins a new week and I am full of hope and anticipation. Here are a couple of pictures to complete my ramblings.

Levi as Spiderman

The un-broken ground.

Friday, November 10, 2006

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The good: today they are supposed to break ground on our house! Bulldozers and backhoes should be tearing up the ground right this minute. They offered to dig us a pond for free (actually, they are going to have to dig a hole and fill it in, so they would just leave it empty and call it a pond) but we opted not to have one. There is a lake at the bottom of the hill already. A pond just seemed like a big attractive nuisance and a mosquito breeding ground.

The bad: We heard today that the file that was supposedly resubmitted weeks ago for Ahren's birth certificate, was not. No idea where it is. It's been a month and it's not in the PGN office where it should be. The special attorney's we hired are frustrated and can't get a straight answer out of anyone. This is bad. Really bad.

The ugly: That's me. Today I just want to crawl in bed and pull the covers over my head. Don't talk to me. Don't tell me it's going to be OK. Don't tell me it will all be worth it when we bring him home. Don't ask me why, or what if, or who. Today I am just ugly.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Best Little Mommy

When we were in Guatemala, our friend's little girl Hayle, fell in love with Ahren (and he fell in love with her). She helped us with him every moment she could. She fed him and entertained him, and even held him (although he weighs about as much as she does) She is a wonderful little mommy! I have the feeling that they are going to be hearing 'I want a baby brother' a lot in the future. Hey, crazier things have happened!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Best Buddies

Levi's best buddy is Angus. When I found out I was pregnant, my wonderful friend Gabby found out she was also expecting. Angus was born 6 days after Levi. When we both went back to work, Gabby would bring Angus to our house every day and Nanny watched both of them. They were 2 peas from different pods, as close to twins as you could get. Angus doesn't come to our house anymore, but we still get together and the boys pick up right where they left off. When we were discussing adopting a boy, I had wished we would find one who looked like Angus. He was the cutest baby with big round cheeks and curly hair. (We did pretty good on that one!) Angus is still the cutest, sweetest little guy. We all miss seeing him every day.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

10 months old today

Our little chunky monkey man is 10 months old today! We learned yesterday that our rectification file did make it back into the office where it needs to get signed. (It got kicked out several weeks ago for an error) Today they are going to try and get the status on it. If it has been signed, the lawyers can pick it up and apply for the new birth certificate. I can't even tell you how excited that would make us!!! If it hasn't been signed, it should be soon. Then we can move onto the next steps and get this adoption started. Hang on Ahren, Mommy is coming for you!!!!!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Our new home

Well, folks, we have progress, right here in River City! They knocked down the extra power pole in front of our new lot last week, and deliverd the culverts, dirt and wood for the foundation forms. We still haven't broken ground, but we are this-close to it. Finally! It was important to us to get that extra power pole taken out. As you come up the street, there is a slight bend, and then the end of the cul-de-sac will be our house. The pole was right in the middle of that view as you round the corner. Now without it, our house will be perched on top of the hill, straight ahead once you make the turn, with nothing disturbing the view. We will be able to sit on the front porch and look down the hill at the lake.
We are alss supposed to get an update on Ahren's adoption case today. I think we will just hear the 'nothing new' story again. After months of that it's hard to get excited about any progress. Of course, I could be wrong.... Everyone knock on wood that I'm wrong!!!! Knock knock knock!!!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Missing them now

I am really missing Ahren and Brynn. My euphoria over getting to see them has melted away and left me in a state of funk. I just keep looking at the pictures and video over and over again. I can't quite remember what it felt like to hold them, what they smelled like, what they sounded like.

I don't think Ahren had ever eaten from a spoon before. He didn't know to open his mouth and his tongue still tended to thrust the food back out. It took a little work, but he started getting the hang of it by the end. The first few bites I would pry his mouth open and wedge the spoon in, but then he realized what yummy stuff came with the spoon and he would gobble down an entire bowl of cereal and fruit in no time at all. The differences are mainly cultural. They tend to put everything into a bottle with an enormous hole in the nipple and let the babies suck it all down. They keep kids on the bottle until they are 2-3 years old. This is for survival. The older kids get powdered milk in their bottles (if the family can afford it) to give them the extra nourishment they need. The normal diet of rice and beans just isn't enough for a small child to thrive on. Babies who are in foster care or orphanages are extremely lucky because they get high-quality formula. In some of the poorest areas, the babies will be given watered-down coffee to fill their tummys if a mother's milk drys up. The mortality rate is very high. For babies like Ahren, it is a status symbol to be fat. Fat healthy babies are marvelled over. I can't tell you how many local people ooohed and awwwed over him and told me 'ma gusta' or 'I like'. Chris always said we have to get him home before he eats all of Guatemala, and I think that might really be the case!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

When we checked into our hotel it was already very dark outside so we couldn't see anything of what the city looked like. Imagine our surprise when we opened the curtains the next morning to see active volcanoes! The pictures do not do them justice. We couldn't visit them on this trip, but you bet I will on our pick-up trip! What could be cooler than active volcanoes?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Little C.

This is Little C., one of the toddlers at the orphanage. We had made an attempt to adopt her, but she ended up matched to a family on the east coast. The day we were there she wasn't feeling well, running a slight fever and just generally cranky. The caretakers tried to swing her to cheer her up, but she ended up just putting her head down and crying. They then held her and rocked her. She was absolutely the most adorable little punkin I had ever seen and I longed to hold her and comfort her, but she only wanted her nanny. The women who work there truly love these kids, you can see it in their actions and the kid's reaction to them. I hope Little C. is feeling better by now, and that her adoption is whizzing along so she can get home to her forever family.