Sunday, August 31, 2008

Our Big Day with Friends

The cast of characters: Natalie with Caleb (2) and Caitlyn (4months), Candy with Kya Blue (2) and Jagger Jett (11 months) and me with Levi (5) and Ahren (2). 

Setting: The Children's Museum and mall in The Woodlands

Another little girl climbed into the little playset with Jagger and started loving on him when big sis Kya came to his rescue. (It didn't look like Jagger wanted to be rescued, though.....)
Here is the long-awaited photo of Candy tending 8 children, 7 under the age of 3, in the food court. We picked up 2 extra kids when a new friend we met there needed to run her oldest to the potty and needed someone to watch her two littlest ones.  Nat was off collecting food and I was too busy snapping foto ops! (You can't tell, but Caitlyn is in the pink stroller and the two extra kids are in a stroller behind Candy. )
The temptation of the carousel. How could I resist! 
Caleb and Ahren at the dinosaur dig.
The three bigger boys digging for fossils. (Who am I kidding. Very little digging went on, but a lot of tossing of dig materials took place)
Guess who is ticklish? Jagger is!!! Tickle, tickle, tickle!
This shot cracks me up. The play station was some sort of wind-driven boat thingy, but our kids pretty much just whapped the daylights out of it and each other. Luckily Kya just barely grazed Levi and he thought it was hysterical!
More of the action. God Bless the boy who tries to break that little spitfire's heart. She is adorable and armed!!!
Precious, precious, precious. If I had room, I would have stuffed her in my diaper bag and taken her home!!! Look at those lips and that impossibly tiny nose. Aaaahahhhhh.....
The big boys actually playing with the boat thingy the way it was intended.
Kya and Ahren playing diner. 
Kya, watching the boys and wondering just what the heck they are doing. (Don't worry Kya, you aren't the only one who wonders that!)
Five out of the six kiddos in one shot. Score! You don't know how many blurry shots and pics of the back of heads I took just to get one useable shot. 
Brothers. I tear up when I look at this picture. Levi told me he had waited his whole life for a brother. 
She had me at hello and the first flash of a dimple. De De, need to borrow a shotgun?
Caleb. I have more blurry pics of this little guy! I just couldn't seem to catch him. he has an adorable grin, full of teeth and big and wide. Too cute. This old lady started trying to tell him and Ahren  what to do and it annoyed me, so I told her they didn't speak english. hah! Back off woman. Go get your own adorable kids! (They weren't doing anything wrong)
Jagger takes a break for refreshments. He tried so hard to keep up with the big kids. He must have been exhausted!
Caitlyn decides to join Jagger for a nosh. Even though they were filling their tummies, neither could stop watching the big kids.
Ahren and Kya passing each other as they explore. Look at Ahren giving her the sly once over out of the corner of his eye. The boy has good taste!
And then Caleb saunters past, too, and Ahren begins to wonder what is so much fun over there?
Jagger keeping a watchful eye on Caitlyn.
Kya with the blocks. 
Kya and Ahren hugging. Too sweet! 

It was a fabulous day with fabulous friends. Each of us had one new child since the last time we got together. We were missing Angel and her 3 girls, though. Next time!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Week of Firsts

We spent yesterday with a great group of friends, meeting at the Children's Museum in The Woodlands. Tomorrow I will post all about that, complete with pictures of the cutest kids ever! (Seriously, these kids are absolutely stinkin cute and they aren't even mine so you can't say i am biased!)

At first I thought Ahren might grow up to be a doctor, but then he transplanted a lung into the spot for the liver and I realized he might do better as an engineer (just kidding!) 
Here he is multi-tasking as a volunteer firefighter working the grocery store register. 

First swimming lesson (Mommy and me class, with a twist. We went with the person who looks GOOD in a swimsuit) He cried a little at first, but then had fun.

Watched his big brother in his swimming lesson. Go Levi!

Get a load of those eyelashes. 
I went to the consignment shop and picked up a high chair. he loves it! i was going to just have him on a booster chair at the table, but he is sooo wiggly and I just knew he would end up falling and smacking his head on the tile floor. 
He thinks Levi's Iron Man mask is the greatest. 
Coloring with markers.
The little kids computer station. He is interested in everything Levi does and it won't be long before he knows how to play some of the toddler games.
Other firsts: first Happy meal (I believe in the important things in life..Hah!), first time to pet a horse and feed it carrots, first x-rays, first carousel ride, and many many more. 

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Caught between Heaven and Hell

Heaven: Ahren continues to be delightful. We spent most of yesterday seeing doctors and having some simple tests done. I don't want to have him poked and prodded too much but we need to rule out or treat anything contagious before we let him socialize much. So, poo-poo samples off to the lab (believe me, this is a never-ending renewable source) stop in at the imaging center for a couple of chest x-rays to rule out TB, and then several hours at the orthopedist following up on what the foster mother told me. (She felt he had trouble walking and fell too much so she took him to an ortho in Guatemala. That doctor prescribed orthotic shoes which look like Frankenstein boots. They rubbed his little ankles badly and he hated wearing them) The doctor here feels he has low muscle tone, hyper-flexibility and some concerns with his left leg (he scrunches his toes up, tippy-toe walks and drags it behind him). He may have a bit of cerebral palsy on his left side or he may just need to get some exercise. In Guatemala he was carried or in a stroller so much he never was able to build a lot of muscle. We will see the doctor again in 2 months to look at his progress. During all of these visits he and Levi played and entertained everyone.  He doesn't like it if I get too far away form  him, but that is a good sign.

Hell: It will be quite a while before we find out where PBJ is and what we can do to fight the situation. At this point, PGN has terminated our adoption, claiming the birth mother requested the baby back. They also determined the birth mother is possibly incompetent and therefore must undergo a homestudy to determine if she can parent PBJ.  The US government cannot do anything since the case is now terminated. We have a couple of options so far. 1) The birth mother and her family convince PGN they do not want PBJ and want her adoption to go through, and if the BM is incompetent then her parents can give consent, or 2) find PBJ and keep tabs on her until the new adoption system is up and running and then we can petition to adopt her under the new rules. We have a couple of other ideas, too. One is to make an offer to the government to provide PBJ with all of her care and needs, placing her back with the foster family and making sure her medical needs are met. The doctors are writing up reports to help us with that fight. The other is to request she be moved to the hogar under the supervision of the facilitator that we had with Ahren. His facility is nice and we could be sure we got all of her medical needs met. We would pay him directly for everything. The gov't might like that idea better, but who knows. it's not about the children. It is all about power right now. Power and money. Whoever wins the power will control all of the money in the future. One tiny little precious girl is nothing but a pawn in the power play. 

We are doing OK with all this. God is holding her right now. He has a plan that we just don't see yet. We will continue to fight to have her cared for, no matter if we get to parent her or not. It's not about us. It never has been. It is about her.

OK, I promise more pictures later today. Lots and lots of pics!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Gone, How, Why, I don't understand

Last week I was watching her, in the flesh, laugh, tease, walk holding onto a finger. She was so happy. So healthy. We were fighting to get the birth mother interview done before the Aug 31st deadline. We were lucky. The investigators agreed to release her case to allow the interview to take place and then the file would come back to them. The interview was scheduled for yesterday. We paid more money to bring in the birth mother, pay the attorneys, pay a translator so PGN could understand her. They all arrived. She was separated from the people who swore to protect her. She didn't understand. It all went terribly wrong. PBJ was seized by the state. Taken to an unknown orphanage. A homestudy for her was ordered. They think she wants PBJ back but they doubt she can care for her, which leaves that precious baby in limbo. 

She was so afraid of me, so scared to go to us and be held. What can she be thinking now? She must be terrified. Crying and no one listens. No one cares. She is all alone and we can't do anything to help her. Oh my God, please help her. Please comfort her. Please save her.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Oh Boy Oh Boy

Ahren is a walking disaster! So far he has fallen backwards off the couch, fallen off a chair onto the tile floor, fallen off the bouncy horse, banged his head into every wall, and tipped the rocking chair over backwards with him in it. Oh, and he found Levi's electric 4-wheeler and took off while I had my back turned. I had to chase the little booger down! I forsee an ER trip in our near future, if not for him then for anxiety for me! He is trying to compete with Kaiya Rain (The Voice of Adventure) in that department. I am thinking of getting him a helmet and a bubble-wrap suit. His foster mother had taken him to an orthopedist in GC because he falls a lot and the doctor prescribed orthotic shoes (think Frankenstein boots). Now I understand what she meant. We have a pediatric appt tomorrow and the ortho Wed. Hopefully he won't be too covered in bruises and make them think we have been beating him. 

He is a hoot. He only cries when I make him take a nap. Then he lays thewre and cries for a few minutes yelling 'Mommy, hold me' in spanish. Too stinkin cute. Today he fell asleep in the car in the morning while we ran a couple of errands and Levi was in school. This nap. OMG...I need that nap time. I forgot how much a toddler needs watching. The house is a disaster, laundry is sitting in the dryer hopelessly wrinkled, dishes in the sink, there are fruit chews stuck under the table and the puppy dragged dirty socks all over the house. I honestly have no idea how SAHM's do it, especially if they add home-schooling to the mix. When Katie walked in the door from school I fell in her arms yelling Hooray!!!!! But, I am loving it! I have gotten a thousand hugs and kisses today. Every time I look at him he breaks into a huge grin and holds his arms out. Screw the house. Forget the laundry. My son wants me!!!!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

First day home

Candy and Angel - I am so ready to get together and see you both again. E-mail me and let me know the details. Gotta run. Ahren just smacked Levi upside the head with a toy gun. 

Playing with Daddy
Being silly
Shopping at Target
Scoring lots of loot
Mommy spoiling the boys (with help from Katie)
Getting ready for a haircut
Looking better
All done
Showing off their new haircuts
Riding in the car, learning to love the carseat
Levi got his hair cut too
Sideburns since he is a little man

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Home Sweet Home

Pictures as promised, but in reverse order. I am too tired to re-arrange them tonight. You will figure it out. ;-)
Ahren meets Levi ( he just woke up)
They play on the bed while the rest of us just want to go to sleep
Katie entertains Ahren on the plane.
Ahren during take-off. Look at his cute little legs!
The savior, the DVD player and Barney.
On the way home form the airport.
Who said he doesn't know american food. He flips for chips!
The view from our 15th floor hotel room.
Mommy and Ahren. On the plane. For real. We are outta there!!!!
Katie trying to tame the locks. Good luck there!
Playing with cars in the hotel room.
Look at those curls. Everyone thinks he is a girl. I mean everyone!
The night after our embassy appointment we went to a steak house that was fantastic. They came and picked us up from our hotel and took us there. We were the only ones in the restaurant because it was in between their normal services. All of the staff, including the owner, doted on us. it was a meal to remember. The food was superb. the best steak I have had in YEARS!

As is usual for Guatemala, our flight was late. Is anything ever on time there? I bet even babies arrive late. Then our flight was re-directed around a storm. We had to wait in immigration a little over an hour and then it is about a 45 minute drive to our house. Poor Ahren had not napped and although at first he was NOT a happy camper in his carseat, he fell asleep in about 5 minutes. I carried him into the house asleep, but he started waking up almost immediately. As his eyes opened, he saw Levi and immediately held out his arms to him. I set him on the floor and he just fell into Levi's arms and stayed there. Levi just held him. After a minute, they let go and off they went exploring, giggling the whole time. Room to room they went, falling all over each other and laughing like lunatics. It took a couple of hours before we got them calmed down and into bed. 

Ahren did wonderfully on the flight. he didn't seem to even notice when we took off. Then we set up the DVD player and he watched that for the first 2 hours, then colored and played with us the last hour. He finally got cranky the last 10 minutes as we came down. I think his ears hurt. Other than that, he was a champ. An old pro. A ringer. 

We were going to have him sleep in the Pack-N-Play next to our bed at first, but it became apparent while in Guatemala that he is WAY too big for that. Instead he will be in the crib in the room attached to our bedroom. He will only be 10 feet away from us and he will have a lot more room to stretch out. We have one of those net canopies over the top to keep him from falling out. He is really too big for a crib, too, but I need him to be safe and secure, and it is better for him. He rolls all over the place in his sleep and the last thing we need is for him to be falling out of bed 5 times a night.