Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Today's adventures

We explored Antigua more today and spent some time lounging at our parents' hotel. Our paths also crossed with one of our blogger pals, Frances, so she joined us for dinner tonight. We are having a great time, but we are certainly tired by the end of the day! No PINK today. Hopefully by Friday. Here are some pics from today's adventures.

Family pic on the rooftop of Don Rodrigo Hotel
Eli exploring the rooftop of La Merced
Ahhhhh...snuggling with daddy
Mommy & Eli time
On the go...constantly!!!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Together at last!!

Greetings from Guatemala!! We just got our internet set-up today so I have not been able to post until now.

Wow. What a whirlwind adventure this has been so far and it's only been 3 days!! We were reunited with Eli on Sunday around 4pm. It was very emotional. We were finally holding Eli forever while his foster family was saying goodbye. They are such a loving, kind, and wonderful family and they clearly love Eli very much. His foster mother returned most of the toys we brought down for Eli and she also included other toys from her family. Eli was dressed in a three piece suit that he recently wore in his first wedding! His foster mother's oldest daughter was married a week ago and Eli was in her wedding. We all agreed that this was not goodbye forever. We intend to stay in touch with them and hope to see them again in the future. We definitely plan to come back to Guatemala as a family in the future. We plan to meet with the foster family one more time before we leave as they have more items they want to give us for Eli like a CD of his favorite music and some photos. We are so lucky to have them in our lives and for the amazing love and care they provided Eli.

Eli is doing amazingly well!! He definitely remembers us and I think it made such a big difference that we were here just a month ago. He is the same sweet, funny boy, but now he is walking!! He can take quite a few steps by himself, but still likes the security of a hand to hold or furniture to hold onto. So far, he seems to be adjusting very well, but we realize that this is just the beginning and that attachment takes time.

Now, I realize what you really want is pictures!! Well...unfortunately, my mom has been in charge of taking most of the pictures so I will have to get them off her camera. But, here are a couple to tide you over!!

One last update....DNA arrived at the embassy yesterday so we hope to be getting our PINK slip any day now.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

DNA has left the building

and is on the way to the US Embassy in Guatemala City!!!! Expected arrival is Monday afternoon!!! That means we should definitely be seeing PINK by the end of next week. My prediction is a May 12th embassy date. What do you think??? Unbelievable!!

Last night, Jason and I had our last date night that won't require planning and a babysitter! We had such a great time talking, watching our favorite baseball team beat the Yankees, and just being together, amazed, that after 6 years of starting our journey to parenthood we will finally be with our son within a matter of hours. We reflected on what this journey has meant to us, how it has transformed us, and how we feel so incredibly blessed. We had no idea what was in store for us when we decided to start a family six years ago. We had no idea how much our faith would be tested, how much our hearts would ache, and how much it would change us in ways we never could have imagined. We also had no idea we would find a source of strength we never knew existed, that we would experience love that has no boundaries, and that we would be wrapped in so much support by our families, friends, and complete strangers.

So, we toasted to our sweet his loving foster his birth the next chapter of our lives as a safe healthy finding honoring and respecting one an amazing summer...and, too ALL OF YOU.

There is no way we could have made it through this process with strength, perseverance, and grace without all of you. There are no words to fully express our gratitude for the amazing gift of love, support, encouragement, shared tears, patience, cheers, hugs, that ALL of you have provided to us. You have all touched us soooo deeply and we have learned so much from you. And, I am talking to EVERY one of you: my blogger pals, our amazing families, our friends, coworkers, my carpool friends, and to everyone we have met along way. There were days I was simply unbearable to be around, there were days it was very difficult to even muster up a smile, there were days it was all I could do to get through the hour without breaking down. And, there were days of pure joy and celebration!! Through it all, you stood beside us, cried with us, jumped for joy with us, plotted with us, and held up that hope for us. So, just know that you are in our hearts and we are so lucky to have you in our lives.

So, we hold up a toast to all of you.....(ya gotta love the "Pig Out" above Jason's head!!!)

With that said...we have some bags to finish packing, some housecleaning to do, and some other last minute details to take care of before we leave at 3:30am to be reunited with our SON forever!!! Our next post will be from Guatemala as a family of three!!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

DNA has landed...

I e-mailed PTC lab today and found out that Eli's DNA sample arrived at the lab today for processing!!! Rosalie from the lab said the results should be shipped to the embassy on Friday or Monday, at the latest. Yipppeeee!!! Once the results are at the embassy, we will receive notice of our final embassy appointment to get Eli's visa. This is the PINK slip. Hopefully we will be seeing PINK by the end of next week!!!

3 more days until we are kissing this silly face again!!!!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Favorite color of the day

Our file was submitted to the US Embassy on 4/17 and we received DNA authorization for the 2nd DNA test that same day!! The 2nd DNA authorization used to be issued on an orange piece of paper so that is why everyone refers to it as "orange." I was a little perplexed because I thought his BC was issued on 4/18 and we could not be submitted to the embassy without the new BC. Well, I looked at it little closer and discovered that it was actually issued on 4/16. So, we don't know if Eli has had his 2nd DNA test done, but it should be any day. Hopefully, it has already been done and is on it's way to the lab!! We LOVE getting a daily dose of good news!!! WOW!!! We are just cruisin' all the way home!!

Friday, April 18, 2008

It's official!!

We received a wonderful surprise in our inbox today...a copy of Eli's new birth certificate that lists us as his parents!! I was shocked because I didn't really expect to get it until next week!! We are legally and officially a FAMILY!! Of course, we have been a family since the moment little pea came into our lives, but now it is official in the eyes of the government. What an amazing start to the weekend! After waiting and waiting and waiting for so long in the PGN slow lane, it feels like we have suddenly moved over to the FAST lane. It's AWESOME!!!!

Now we are waiting for Eli's passport and that should be done in the next couple of days.

Fav Fotos Friday

Eli's favorite sleeping position! What an angel. I can't wait to see him sleeping in his bed at home!

Sleeping pea at 4 months old
Sleeping pea at 8.5 months old
Sleeping pea at 11.5 months old
This past week has been a whirlwind of excitement, anticipation, planning, scheduling, making lists, and full of pure joy. Between getting things ready at home, preparing for our trip, and tying up loose ends at work, I feel like I have hardly had a moment to really reflect so that will have to wait for another post. In the meantime, not only will we be reunited with Eli on 4/27, but he will also be meeting his grandparents for the first time!!! Both my parents and Jason's parents are traveling with us for the first week of our stay. We anticipate we will be in Guatemala for about 4 weeks. Oh, I can't wait!!!!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Greatest gift of all

We celebrated Eli's birthday today by calling him and his foster mother and then spending the evening with family. We got home and found out that the final adoption decree was signed by Eli's birth mother on 4/8/08. Our hearts are so full of gratitude for this amazing gift. This means that we are legally Eli's parents!!!!! IT IS OFFICIAL!!!!!! OMG!!!!!

So, what happens next?

Birth Certificate: The adoption is registered at the Civil Registry. Since we are legally Eli's parents, our attorney requests a new birth certificate that will list us as parents and Eli will officially be a SHANK!! Eli's birth certificate is coming from Guatemala City so it may take anywhere from 1-4 weeks.

Passport: Once the birth certificate is issued, Eli gets a passport so he can come home. This is typically completed within a day.

DNA Authorization: Our attorney then submits our file to the US Embassy and requests authorization to complete the 2nd DNA test. This test simply verifies that Eli is the same baby we fell in love with 11 months ago today. This is typically issued within a couple of days.

DNA test: Eli gets swabbed for the DNA test and also undergoes a final medical exam by the embassy approved doctor. The DNA sample gets shipped to a lab in the US for processing. Once the DNA sample is processed, the results are shipped back to the US embassy in Guatemala. This step can take anywhere from 5-10 days on average.

PINK: Once the embassy receives the DNA results, they notify us of our final embassy appointment for Eli's visa. The embassy typically issues the pink slip within 3-5 days of receiving the DNA test. The pink slip will tell us when we need to be at the embassy and it may be scheduled within 1-2 weeks.

Embassy appointment: We will receive Eli's visa the day after our embassy appointment. Once we have his visa, we are free to come HOME!!!!!!

We are ready to go!!! We leave on 4/27 and are staying in an apartment in Antigua until it is time for our embassy appointment. We are deliriously happy!!!!


Happy 1st Birthday, Eli!!!!!!!!

Happy birthday, sweet boy!! Mommy & daddy send you lots of hugs and kisses on your special day!! Remember what we wished for when we blew your candle out??? Well, our wish CAME TRUE!!!!!! We will all be together very soon and we have lots of fun stuff planned for the summer! We love you, Eli!!

Mommy & Daddy

Here are some pics from Eli's birthday party in Antigua!
Playing with his buddies
Dora cake and Elmo doesn't get any better than that!! (okay, the other b-day cake option was Garfield!)
Notice the foot? Yes, he stuck it right in the cake!!!

yummy birthday cake
Any birthday wishes for Eli?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Do you believe in miracles?

WE DO!!!!!!!!
After 195 days in PGN, we are finally APPROVED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ADIOS PGN!!! WE ARE OUTTA OF THERE!!! We can't believe it!! It is FINALLY our turn!!! Oh my gosh. We are still in disbelief. Shock. And, most importantly, unbelievably happy and overjoyed!!


So, now we have so much to do!! I AM SO EXCITED!!!!! At this point, it will be approximately 5-7 weeks before we can bring Eli home. I will outline those steps in another post. We are planning on heading to Guatemala in about 2 weeks and waiting for our embassy appointment while bonding as a family of three in Antigua. I can't believe that we never have to say goodbye again! The next time I hold my sweet will be FOREVER!! Oh wow. We will be having a HUGE birthday and OUT celebration on Friday!!!!!!!!!

So, what does Eli think of this news??????

Mommy and daddy are coming, sweet boy.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Hold onto your chips

No jackpot today. But, as Jason and I see it, we made it through another day without news of another kickout! A few weeks ago I asked our coordinator not to call us during the workday with bad news. So, 4:45pm - 6:00pm has been designated as the "danger zone" at our house! You can probably hear the huge sigh of relief once 6:00pm rolls around. We are not OUT, but we also aren't KICKED OUT at this point. This the longest we have been back in PGN, yet. All of our previos were issued within 3-4 weeks. So, to get another kickout at this point would just be CRUEL!

Even so, we know the unpredictability of PGN all too well and anything is possible. But, we are hopeful and, believe it or not, feeling more relaxed than we have in a long time. Of course, "relaxed" is a relative term because I really don't know what that means anymore! Right now, it means that I am not laying awake at night consumed with worry and anxiety and we are enjoying the "idea" of spending the summer home together as a family of three. It feels so close, closer than ever, yet still so far away. PGN seems to be back to working at a snail's pace, but hopefully we will hear some good news very soon.

In the meantime, we are getting ready for Eli's first birthday on Friday. I thought I was "okay" with missing his birthday. That is, until I went to the party store Saturday to buy cutsie first birthday plates and napkins. It hit me like a brick and it was all I could do not to lose it in the store. Once I hit the door, the floodgates broke open. I know it won't matter once he is home and I know it means nothing to Eli at this point, but it still hurts to miss spending this special day with him. We celebrated his birthday while we were in Antigua and that was wonderful. We are also having a birthday party with family this Friday. I think this will also be a very special day for his foster family. Eli has been a part of their family since he was 2 days old. There is so much LOVE surrounding our sweet pea and there will be celebrations in two countries on April 11th!!
We love you sweet pea!!!!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Lucky 777?

I just realized...
  • we are in our 7th month of PGN

  • we are in our 7th week of our lastest resubmit to PGN

  • tomorrow is the 7th of April

Hmmm...what do you think? Anybody a gambler?

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Little surprises

As if the 481 pictures we took on our visit trip were not enough, we received updated pics from our agency on Friday! Woohoo!!! These pics were taken AFTER our visit noted by the new hairdo. Seriously, can little pea get any cuter??????

And, I know many of you are updates on our case. We are still in PGN and hoping, hoping, hoping for some good news soon. We have officially entered our SEVENTH month in PGN. That is just wrong. Enough is enough. This cutie needs to come home.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Crazy boy

Here's our crazy, bouncy boy in action!! The lighting in the video is weird due to the darkness of the hotel room so just ignore that! Oh, the movement in the video is not the camera!! Notice the toys, papers, wipe container, etc strewn all over the floor. Yep, that's our boy! :)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Eli's been tagged!!!

Awwww...his first blogger tag! Hee hee!! Logan & Austin and Reese, Cassie, & Krista decided that everyone should know a little bit more about little pea. For this tag, Eli has to list 10 random things about himself. So, here he goes!

1. Sleep is gooooood. I usually sleep around 10-12 hours every night!

2. But, sleeping in a crib is overrated. I would much rather spend the night kicking mommy & daddy.

3. I guess I really need all of that sleep because I can't sit still. I love to jump, bounce, crawl, dance, and touch EVERYTHING!!! Sitting still is just boring!! I don't even like to lay still for a diaper change, which makes it really interesting for my mommy & daddy. It's actually really funny!! Like the time in MonoLoco restaurant...I made such a mess in my diaper that mommy & daddy had to take all my clothes off in the booth and then they ran out of wipes! Then Aeson's mommy had to come to the rescue with more wipes. It was like a circus!! I was trying to see what was going on, but for some reason my mommy did not like me sticking my hands in the mess. So I then had to stick my hands in my hair.

4. When I get really tired, I love to scratch my head and pull on my hair and ears.

5. I love to eat!!! I love black beans, chicken, papaya, bananas, carrots, red peppers, pancakes, guacamole, cake...the only thing I really don't like is pineapple.

6. One of my favorite games is "ojitos." My foster family plays this game with me. They say "ojitos", which means little eyes, and we all squint our eyes together. My mommy thought it was really cute and sweet.

7. My mommy & daddy say I have a funny laugh that sounds like a baby howler monkey.

8. My mommy & daddy also told me I am really smart (they said I have to earn lots of scholarships, too). I learned how to pull out the big phone book and stand on it so I could reach all of the fun stuff on the bedside table. I also learned how to climb off of the big king size bed and I discovered where daddy packed the snacks in the suitcase.

9. Mommy is a little worried that I have a high pain tolerance. I hit my head a lot, but it didn't bother me. One night I fell and hit my head on the wall and it just made me laugh!! I think I heard her say the word "daredevil." She also said my daddy is the same way. If that's the case, I think daddy and me are going to have loads of fun together when I come home!!

10. My mommy & daddy are pretty awesome. They smiled and laughed A LOT when we were all together. They also gave me lots of hugs and kisses. I think I make them very happy.

I guess I get to tag some of my buddies!! I like this game!!

Kinsey & Kaiden
Nathaniel (Little E)
Alex & Anika