Monday, February 21, 2011

Peri Brynn (aka PBJ)


I know people are waiting to hear if we have any news on PBJ. The latest I have is that our government is working hard with the President of Guatemala to process all of the grandfathered adoption cases. Unfortunately, as those of us who have been in the Guat adoption system know, they move very, very slowly down there. Add in the fact that PGN, the old government agency for processing adoptions, and the CNA, the new government agency for adoptions, do NOT work together. The only good thing going right now is that PGN is actually starting to process cases and trying to stay ahead of the CNA. Maybe a little competition between them will work out to be a good thing.

I wonder if many of you out there know about PBJ and all that she (and us) has been through in the 4 1/2 years since we accepted her referral. She was less than 24 hours old at the time and we got to name her on her birth certificate, which is why her legal name is Peri Brynn. Peri means a gift from the mountains and she born in the mountain region of Guatemala and is most definitely a gift. I already had a visit trip planned for the following week so I got to hold her and keep her when she was just 6 days old. Our case moved forward rapidly and within 6 weeks we had DNA results and were in PGN. Our agency told us that she would be out in a matter of days and to start planning our pick-up trip. With all the problems Ahren's case had, we felt so blessed to be thinking we would bring home this tiny baby so soon.

Then we hit a bump in the road. She got kicked out of PGN for a minor issue. The agency worked to fix it and soon enough we were back in. Then another kick-out. This is nothing surprising. We knew this was how many cases went. We kept being patient.

The week before PBJ's first birthday, we got a call from the agency. Peri Brynn was very ill and in the hospital. I wanted to see her I needed to get to Guatemala right away. I flew out the next morning by myself, terrified and determined. I didn't know what was wrong with her or if she would even be alive by the time I got there. I dropped my bags at the hotel and headed straight to the hospital. The agency had had her taken to a small private hospital where her level of care would be much better. They led me to her room and what I saw made me gasp. Peri Brynn was in a regular hospital bed, and to keep her safe they had safety pinned her gown down to the bed. That didn't bother me. What bothered me was she was grey in color, unresponsive and very, very thin. This was not the healthy, pink baby I had seen just a few months before on my most recent visit trip.

The doctor turned out to have studied in the US and spoke english. When she began to explain to me what was wrong with Peri Brynn, at first my mind could not grasp it. I remember feeling like my head was spinning and nothing made sense. I asked her to back up and start over. She clipped an x-ray to a light box and pointed to it. ' There is a large fracture in the baby's skull, starting at the bottom left back of her skull and continuing across the back and up over the right ear. The break has separated 1 cm from the swelling in the brain. She has suffered numerous seizures because of the swelling. The amount of swelling indicates that the injury occurred 24-36 hours before she was brought to the hospital. The CT scans also indicate a previous injury to the right frontal lobe. She is severely malnourished, has intestinal parasites and a urinary tract infection. There is no way to know what affect the damage to her brain will have long term'.

Right then my world changed forever. The damage to her skull was done with great force, not the result of rolling off a bed or falling down. This precious baby was either hit with a blunt instrument with great force or forcibly slammed into a hard surface. Then they let her lay there for over a day until she began to seize uncontrollably. At that point they took her to the hospital and dropped her and left. No charges were brought against the foster family. Peri Brynn was a mayan 'orphan' girl, not worth the bother. The family abused her because they had not been paid in several months so they took it out on the baby. End of story.

I convinced the doctor to release her to me the next day. I had to show her that I could continue to give her injections of the drugs to keep the swelling in her brain down, control the siezures and give her meds to fight the parasites and infection. I stocked up on high quality baby formula and diapers, and I went and got my baby. I stayed in Guatemala for a couple of weeks, nursing her back to health, found her a new foster family that I paid directly and who had medical training (the brother was a doctor nearby) and even visited the US Embassy for their help. They were awesome! Poor woman at the window who had to deal with this blubbering US woman holding a tiny very ill baby and waiving skull x-rays around like a crazy person! They didn't let me down, though. They couldn't do anything until the adoption actually finished in Guat, but they expedited all the US side of things. Too bad the Guat side never finished.....

Peri Brynn now resides in one of the best orphanages in Guatemala. The rest of the story is long and full of legal nonsense and screw-ups. Two years ago we were told our case was over, tossed out for some sort of wrong-doing by an attorney we had never heard of. It took me a very long time to come to grips with that and be OK. Then suddenly, out of the blue, we got an e-mail from the US State Department telling us they were intervening in Guatemala to finish the open cases. Ours was one of them. How do I tell my heart not to get excited? How do I keep a lid on the hope to guard my heart? We can't. We decided where she will sleep, who will go get her, how we will help her join the family. It takes everything in me to not buy cute little girl clothes. Shoot, I don't even have a clue how big she is. I have gotten pictures every once in a while and she looks wonderful. Now the long wait and pain begins all again.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm dying to know if you get any medical updates about any residual physical effects from the abuse now that she is 4 1/2 years old. I cannot imagine your mother's heart after knowing this baby as your own and the pain you must have felt hearing it would never be. Now...HOPE! I have moved you and Peri Brynn to the top of my prayer list!! Jennifer Distefano

Diana said...

What a wild and crazy ride. I've actually been hanging around your blog long enough that I actually knew most of that! Hoping and praying it works out. You're an amazing lady!

Michelle said...

I have been following along long enough to remember your heartache with PBJ! Oh, I am hoping and praying that she is indeed able to cone home to you. Those boys need a little girl to boss them around!

Shelby said...

I remember when you made that trip. Broke my heart then and still does. We will keep praying that they move along and she gets home to boss around the boys...

Leah and Maya said...

Oh I hope that she finally comes to be at home with her family. I remember this story while I was living in Guatemala, I dont' know if I heard it thru our agency or who told me. We had the facilitator as you, I don't think we would have gotten home had I not lived there. I have my fingers crossed, I hope that this finally all works out the way it should, she should be at home with her crazy brothers.

FosteringDreams said...

Thanks for the update post. I keep wondering how things are going and how she is doing. Good luck...prayers and thoughts for all.

Reba said...

I remember the story very well...I think I started reading your story right before the hospital incident. I still pray that PBJ will come home to you. She is a special baby with special parents waiting for her.

Essie the Accidental Mommy said...

omg, omg omg!!!
I didn't realize you had a definitive word on her. Oh my gosh, you must be just crawling out of your skin! Hoping my hardest for you and Peri Brynn.

Deb said...

My prayers continue for PB and for you on this road. let me know if you need anything or there is something I can do.

Love and hugs,
Deb

BT said...

I've been hanging around your blog for long enough to know the unfortunate PB story. It frustrates me every time I think about it or you mention it, so I can just imagine how crazy it must make you. I am keeping fingers crossed now that things move.

Anonymous said...

Wishing you the best. Hoping for a good, swift outcome :)

Stephanie in NC said...

Praying that I read Peri Brynn is on her way home this year! It is wonderful that you are willing to get back on the roller coaster again. Praying everything goes well!
Stephanie Mother to 2 Guatemalan Princes

bearie1 said...

"Wouldn't it be nice" if they would quit messing around and let those kids come home. I've been following your story for years, before Ahren came home, and know how frustrating the journey has been.

Any news on Ashley? Elaine

Guatmama said...

Been reading your blog since you left for that hospital trip - praying for a miraculous end@