the homepage of gregory and ann kline

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Garage Sale - Success!

What a great turnout we had for our garage sale! First of all, thank you to everyone who donated items for us to sell. Probably about 80-90% of all the things that we had were donated items. Also, thank you to everyone that came out to help and to shop.

It was a neighborhood garage sale, with about 6 streets all involved. We had an incredible turnout of people throughout the whole neighborhood. There were points when I couldnt see a car-free curb in either direction from our house and I couldnt make it from the end of our driveway to our house because it was just packed with people!

Greg and I got up at really early and started setting up around 6:30. The sale hours didnt begin until 8:00 but we had our first customer at 6:45! And right behind him came several others. By the time the sale officially started, I think we made more money than we did all of last year.

We made a sign with our son's picture on it, announcing that all the proceeds of the sale would go towards bringing him home to us. There were so many strangers that wished us good luck in the process and several others who told us that they were also adoptive parents. We got to meet several of our neighbors that we just havent crossed paths with yet. One neighbor who has two little kids even gave us all of her little boy clothes that she didnt sell for us to hold on to until our little boy is big enough to wear them.

It was such a great day. The sun was shining and Greg and I both turned from pastey white to bright red. With every sale, we were reminded of all the generosity of our friends and family and of how blessed we are. We couldnt make it through this process alone and each little $0.25 item that we sold just brought us that much closer to having the family that we always dreamed of.

We still have a garage filled with unsold items. We are going to try to list some things on ebay and we are already thinking about having another sale later this summer. We made almost enough money to cover both of us traveling to Guatemala to pick up our son to bring him home forever. When that little boy is placed in our arms forever, we will think of everyone that helped us get there. Thank you again!



Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Just Starting to Wait

It's been a little while since I wrote anything on here. We abrutly went from being so overwhelmed with collecting paperwork, getting things notarized, getting fingerprinted, sending things to various agencies, and stalking our mailbox, to just waiting. At this point there really isnt anything that we can do.

We got our POA (Power of Attorny) completed. It is a form that states that a particular attorny will act on our behalf throughout the adoption process in Guatemala. Now we wait. The next thing to be accomplished is for the US Embassy to authorize the DNA test. I dont know how long that typically takes to happen.

We have still been keeping busy though, just indirectly adoption related. Our HUGE garage sale is this Saturday. We are totally overwhelmed by the amount of generosity that has been showered on us by our friends and family. We have so many donations to sell. If you are in the area, please stop by. I gaurantee we have something you could use since we have just about everything - clothes, books, holiday things, kitchen supplies, toys, bikes, exercise equipment, sporting goods, linens, house decorations, electronics, computers, air conditioning unit... Many of the things that people have given us to sell are still in their original boxes, never even opened or used. We have been so busy organizing and pricing items that we have been avoiding the realization that we arent going to sell everything and we are going to have to get rid of what is left. Of course, that wont be nearly as big of a task if everyone comes and buys things!

If you cant make it, remember you can still donate on our website or play our name game to help lighten the financial burden of adoption. We are keeping the name under wraps until we sell all 50 squares so it is up to you when you get the news on that one!

Just a couple random thoughts:

I find the reactions of people quite interesting when I tell them we are adopting a little boy from Guatemala. I am just now starting to really tell people at work and because these are people that I dont always share my personal life with, their reactions are a little more guarded. I always chuckle watching them stumble over what to say. I know they want to ask questions but often they seem afraid of what is appropriate or what is politically correct. I got the question, "Is he from around here?" which I knew really meant, "Where is he from?" On the other side, I got the blunt question, "Why did you decide to do that?" I am learning quickly who is genuinely curious and who is trying to pass judgement. Fortunately, those who are trying to pass judgement are few and far between.

People make the assumption that now that we have a picture of our son, that I must sit and stare at it all the time. I really dont. I dont necessarily avoid looking at it, but I dont dedicate long periods of time every day looking either. Partly because I know that picture was taken at 2 weeks old and he is now almost 8 weeks old. He probably doesnt even look much like that anymore. Mostly though, it is because it will only make me sad, wanting to hold him and feel his skin against mine, and knowing that it will be so long until I get to do that.


Sunday, May 14, 2006

And the Secret is...??

We got matched with a little boy! His name is Enrique Quino Pablo and hopefully in a few (very very short) months he will officially be our son.

Here's how it "went down":

I posted about having a secret on Monday, May 1st. The secret was not that we had our match. The original secret was that I contacted our case manager that told us that she would review our paperwork and forward it on to the head of the Guatemalan Program to review. If the head of the Guatemalan Program saw no problems with it then we could be put on the waiting list even though we would still have 4-6 more weeks to wait for our I-171H. The waiting list for referrals was 2-3 weeks long so there was a good chance that our referral and our I-171H would come at the same time.

On Thursday, May 4th, I was home sick from work with a cold. I wondered a lot of the day, in between blowing my nose, if the head of the Guatemalan Program had gotten our paperwork yet and had a chance to review it. I wondered exactly when we would be put on the waiting list. The dog and I went to get the mail and like I have been doing almost every day, before I opened the mailbox I said a silent prayer that our I-171H would be in there. I flipped through the mail finding nothing but phone bills, store ads, a credit card application, and a rather plain envelope. I stared at the envelope trying to figure out if it was just the cold medicine that was making me see the word "Immigration" in the return address. I ripped that puppy open and when I saw that inside really was our favorable approval for international adoption, I-171H, I forgot about my congestion and stuffy nose and ran around the yard screaming to the pooch. I am sure it must have been quite a sight for the neighbors since it was late afternoon and I was wearing a bright yellow/green work safety t-shirt and my purple plaid pajama pants.

I ran into the house and took a deep breath, holding back tears of joy since we were one step closer to getting our little boy. Then I headed to the computer to fire off an email to our case worker telling her that we had gotten our I-171H. At 3:00 I got in the car with a box of Kleenex and headed to my office to make a couple copies and fax one to our case worker. Then I went to the post office to mail a good copy to the agency. I got home a few minutes before Greg.

Greg got home and we laid around for awhile talking excitedly about how quickly everything was going and how we really needed to start getting ready for our referral. In mid-conversation, the phone rang. It was our case worker and I was expecting her to tell us that she got the fax that we sent, that everything looked good, and the head of the Guatemalan Program was putting our name on the waiting list. That is pretty much what she said. Then she went on to say that we happened to be the only people on the waiting list AND there was a little boy that they were waiting to match with someone. My response was "Are you serious?" It didn't help when she told me that Enrique was born on April 1st. While we were still on the phone she clicked "send" on an email to us and sent us pictures and some medical information on Enrique.

Greg and I waited for the pictures to load. My hands were freezing and my palms were sweaty. I kept forgetting to breathe and my heart was pounding double time. Then our hearts melted when we saw that cute sleeping baby face. After looking through all the pictures, I held Greg and cried. It was a huge sense of joy, excitement, and reality all at once.

We went out to Toys R Us that night and bought him a present to celebrate that day forever - a big camouflage stuffed frog.

There was so much to do! There is a doctor in the area, Dr. Sarah Springer, who is an expert on all things international adoption. I had to email her all of our referral information, pictures, and medical information that we got. It was going to take her 1-3 business days to review everything but we needed to know by Monday that there was nothing of concern with Enrique. Plus, in order to confirm that we wanted to accept this referral, we had to play a large chunk of the adoption costs. We had all the money but in several different places so we had to write checks and deposit them and hope that they cleared before our time limit was up to confirm the referral. By Monday morning we had received a phone call from Dr. Sarah Springer saying that everything looked fine and I took that cashier's check that we got (since all our checks had thankfully cleared by then) up to the agency. And finally on Monday, May 8th, it was official. Enrique Quino Pablo would be our son.

With Mother's Day less than a week away, we decided to try to hold off on telling our families. It was a rough week and I was certain that I would accidentally say something. Today was the big reveal.

Greg and I found picture frames with a little heart opening and on the frame it said "My Heart Belongs to Grandma". We put one of the pictures of Enrique in there and wrapped them up for our Mother's Day presents. They were so excited when they opened their gifts and realized that they were looking at their grandson. If you would like to see their reaction go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q29tf0uETY4

Then it was time for the next question. What will we name him? We are going to use some form of Enrique Quino Pablo as his middle name but we are going to choose the first name. We have picked a name but all I can tell you at this time is that it will be one of these 50 http://gkline.com/names.html If you would like to play our name game just contact Greg or me and we will tell you how.

And now we are on to the hard part. Mostly, all we do from this point on is wait. Much of the process is out of our hands. It is a very hard position to be in knowing that we really have no control how long it will be until our son gets to come home with us. I have heard that this is the hardest part. I couldn't understand how that was possible since getting our dossier together was so stressful - waiting for things to come back, wondering if there would be mistakes, etc. Now I understand. Every day that passes and there is no progress is one day less that we get to spend with our son.



Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Garage Sale!! We could use your help!!

As you may or may not know, unfortunately adoption is a rather expensive
process. Greg and I are going to try to organize a few fundraiser
activities so by the time our son comes home we can afford to feed him.
The first event is a garage sale that will take place on May 27th.

Please look around your homes and if there is anything - and I mean
anything - that you have been itching to get rid of and would like to
donate to our garage sale I would love to take it. I'll come pick it up
from you and everything. This would be a huge help!! Anything that we
cant sell we are going to donate to Good Will.

Take a look around - clothes, toasters, that old office chair, a spare
telephone. Let me know. You can email me at anniemwk6@hotmail.com.

The garage sale will be on May 27th so the sooner we can start
collecting donations, the easier it will be to get everything organized
and priced. Please share this information with your friends, family, or
whoever else you can think of too. Thank you so much in advance!

Annie and Greg


Tuesday, May 02, 2006

I Have a Secret!!

Shh!! I have a secret!! It is a really big one too. I am dancing in my seat just thinking about it. I did a cartwheel in the parking lot of my office today in celebration (which resulted in some serious back pain) because I am just that excited. You want to know?? Well, the thing is, if I tell you, it really wouldn't be a secret anymore. Looks like you are out of luck for now.

As for the non-secret stuff, things are moving along wonderfully! We got all our paperwork back from being certified and authenticated. I love the fact that everything was certified on April 24th - my mom's birthday - and authenticated on April 25th - Greg and my 2 year wedding anniversary. The only thing that we had to left to do for our dossier was to finish our family photos. Greg set that up on Sunday night after we took a picture of us rockin' it out on our guitars (actually we aren't really even playing but the pictures wont tell). We needed to submit the original and a copy of everything to the agency and I took care of that on Monday. The woman I handed it over to from the agency smiled and congratulated me. Then I skipped down the stairs.

Unfortunately, we are still waiting for that pesky I-171H to show up. I stalk the mailbox everyday looking to see if it is in there. No luck so far. It has been a week and a half and USCIS claims it takes three. In the meantime it will give several people from our agency to review the other documents in our dossier, scanning for any errors we could correct now before it gets sent to Guatemala.

Apart from a few minor setbacks that seemed to have resolved themselves rather quickly, things have been moving along rather smoothly. It is almost scary. I keep waiting for the bottom to drop out. Something has to go wrong, doesn't it? I talked to Heidi, our case worker, for a long time on Sunday and asked her how the process in Guatemala has been moving. She told me just what I have been hearing - it is hit or miss. I will just keep praying that we are missed, or hit... whichever is the one that means things move along quickly and painlessly.