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Friday, September 29, 2006

Crisis Diverted

Everyone needs to just remain calm! I read this on guatadopt.com yesterday after getting some potentially horrid news from our agency. I told Greg that it kinda cracked me up because people were acting like a nuclear bomb went off. He reminded me that in the world of parents waiting for their children to come home forever, it was a nuclear bomb.

I got an disturbing email from our agency yesterday. It is all politically driven actions and frankly, I don't totally understand politics. The important parts were that due to some Executive Order, the President in Guatemala could be halting all adoptions indefinitely either beginning on October 1, 2006 or on January 1, 2007. Although we have been prepared for Hague Convention "stuff" to slow things down at some point next year, we were not in the least expecting to hear that there would be no more adoptions at all beginning processed immediately.

I am sure this would have hit hard at any point, but it hit really hard yesterday being that we have just got back from our trip to Guatemala to meet our son and we are so close (hopefully) to the end of this process.

After spending my day researching and hoping for good news, it finally came. The President has decided to withdraw the Executive Order. It seems that this was all some sort of threat, to the attorneys perhaps, that things are going to need to change in order for international adoptions to still take place. I think I can start breathing again. Maybe. Or maybe I will just keep holding my breath until Marcus is home with us forever.

Because of the title to this blog, I will mention two other crisises (is that a word?) that I didn't bother to mention. I didn't want to bring them up until we knew something for sure and now that we know things they both seem crazy.

We got some information in past medical reports that was of concern. One thing was that one of his eyes was smaller than the other. This was mentioned in 3 medical reports and looking at the pictures taken at that time it was evident. We spoke to our pediatrician about it and she felt that it was nothing, that one eye was just swollen perhaps from a cold. However after 3 months of dissimilar eyes we were getting concerned. Our pedi suggested having Marcus taken to a specialist to rule out any sort of neurological problems. We did so but never heard back the anyone was actually going to take him. Now, after receiving the latest medical report (no mention of the eye there) and seeing him in person, I am confident that it was nothing. He focuses his eyes. He stared me down in my eyes several times. All of his motor skills seem to be on track which definitely steers us away from the idea that it is something neurological. He is perfect.

The other little scare I got was with a mention and some photos of two blood blisters on a medical reports. One on his back and one under his hair. At first I thought, blood blisters are nothing! I emailed our pedi about it and waited over several days to hear from her. After nothing came and I got curious I made a fatal mistake. Never ever under any circumstances ever go to webmd to diagnose something. The only thing I found about blood blisters and infants told me that they were a sign of a fatal blood disease. I was so worried that our baby was going to die that I didn't even tell Greg because I didnt want him to worry too. After about 3 days of secretly worrying, I heard back from the pedi. They aren't really even blood blisters. They are these red bumps that I forget the name of. They are known the everyday person as birth marks. Yes, that is right. Marcus has two birth marks. I confessed to Greg what I thought at first. We got to see these birth marks in person last week. The one under his hair is only visible when his hair is wet since he has so much hair. It is actually a nice size lump but definitely not fatal. The one on his back is very distinguishing! It just reassures me that Marcus is really one in a billion.



Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Great Trip to Guatemala!

Greg and I got to meet Marcus! It was the most surreal experience of my life. In all the days leading up until we left I kept wondering when it was going to feel real, that we were actually meeting our son. During the entire day of traveling I kept wondering when it was going to feel real. After spending eight days with our son I still wondered when it was going to feel real.

With basically no sleep, we arrived in Guatemala on Saturday afternoon. There was a bit of confusion about getting Marcus to us and he ended up not arriving at the hotel until a little late and our agency facilitator was not able to attend. We spoke to Marcus's foster mother through a translator for a few minutes and got the basics about him, mainly that he was a very happy and healthy baby. And then we were off to be parents!

The evening was moving along smoothly. He fell asleep earlier than we were told he would and when he woke up he had a bit of a freak out, wondering where he was and who we were. It probably wouldn't have been so stressful had Greg and I not been running on empty in the sleep department. The foster mom had told us that he really liked the stroller so for two hours Greg and I took turns walking back and forth along the hallway on our floor of the hotel.

We stayed in the Westin Camino Real in Guatemala City. I would definitely recommend it. Although it wasn't technically a vacation, we still got treated very well. The food was wonderful. The staff was friendly. The pool area was beautiful. One floor is considered the "Family Floor" which is where we stayed. There is a family room filled with communal toys. We had the opportunity to meet several other adoptive families, talk adoption, talk babies, and meet several people that were going through the same things that we have been going through over the last several months.

We are so blessed to have such a wonderful baby. He really was quite happy. He was full of smiles and giggles. He loved to play and check out the other babies. All the little girls seemed to be sucked in by his cuteness. We took him swimming twice. We did laps around the hotel in the stroller. (We weren't allowed to leave the hotel with him since we are not legally his guardians.) We took pictures. We took video. We watched him sleep. The only time he would start to fuss was when he was ready for a bottle or a nap. By the end of the week I knew that he was going to need to eat or sleep before he ever needed to bother getting fussy.

He ended up getting a cold which is very common. Most of the babies aren't used to air conditioning and it doesn't help that they are confined to a hotel. It was a rough day until we were able to get his sniffles and his fever under control. Then he was back to smiling.

Everyone that we talked to was so optimistic about the progression of our adoption. Someone said they had never heard of anyone being kicked out of PGN more than twice and since we have been kicked out twice already we should be approved any minute. Greg even told someone that he thought we would be back in 4-6 weeks to finalize our adoption. I don't know if he totally believes it but it is fun to think he knows what he is talking about! There were a few babies that were the same age as Marcus that were going home this past week which made me joyous and jealous all at once.

Guatemalan people are much more relaxed about the passage of time than we are here. We told the foster mom to come back to the hotel between 9am-10am this past Sunday so we could give Marcus back to her. She showed up at 10:20 which didn't allow us much time to get our things together and check out before we had to head to the airport to catch our plane. I knew it would be very hard to hand Marcus over but I didn't know it would be THIS hard. I bawled like a baby (much like I did when I held him for the first time). The foster mom walked away with Marcus in tow and immediately Greg had to run to the room to get the rest of our luggage and check out. I sat in the lobby feeling more alone than I ever remember feeling, and continued to cry. I got a lot of strange looks from others in the lobby and a lot of sympathetic looks from other adoptive parents that were pushing their babies through the lobby at the time.

Things have just been strange since we have gotten home. Greg and I feel lost. I don't know what to do anymore because I am not thinking about bottles or playtime or changing diapers or giving baths. My arms feel empty. I have been trying to come up with a good analogy as to what it is like. The best I can come up with is that it feels like I went to work without my purse. I feel naked, like a piece of me is missing. I feel like someone is going to call my cell phone and I wont get the call because my phone is still sitting in my purse somewhere else. I know I will get my purse back or get to return any missed phone calls, but in the meantime I just feel.... Something is missing.


We took lots of great pictures of Marcus while we were there. See them here!

-- Greg


Thursday, September 14, 2006

Sad News for a Friend

I have met some wonderful people through our adoption process. I have a support group online of women who are all adopting from Guatemala. There are a couple of people who have their children home already, a couple that are just thinking about starting the process, and many like myself that are somewhere in the middle. We have all been there through paperwork trials, finally getting our referrals, and getting to hear stories of when these women got to meet their children for the first time. I want to talk about Nicole. I have never met Nicole but as those of you who frequent message boards know, you can form strong bonds with people without ever knowing them in person. Nicole waited forever to get her referral. Months and months. We all screamed with joy when finally, just a few months ago she shared pictures of her son Sammy with us. His face was so cute and expressive. He had ears that stuck out from his head that made him all the more adorable. We were all so excited, but not nearly as excited as Nicole was for sure! Nicole just made plans that she and her husband would get to meet Sammy for the first time this October.

God had other plans. On Wednesday morning God decided that He needed Sammy to come to heaven to be one of His angels. Sammy was not quite 4 months old. My heart aches for Nicole, for her husband, and for Sammy's foster family who is also feeling the tremendous weight of this loss. Please keep them all in your thoughts and prayers.



Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Last Form Submitted... Again... Maybe

We got word from out agency that unfortunately PGN has been rejecting files recently for not having a notarized/certified/authenticated copy of the Home Study Agency License. I can totally understand why they would want this although it irritates me. This isn't a requirement. Not sure how they can reject a file for not having something that they didn't ask for. That is PGN for ya!

Finally we got the license back from the long journey of being certified and authenticated yesterday. Today I ran it up to our agency. I remember running down the steps with excitement when I had turned in the last of our paperwork back in March. Little did I know that wasn't the last of it. Or maybe it was. Maybe we wont need this license in our file at all. It would be nice if PGN would just nicely take a look at our file, say, yesterday, and tell us that we are approved and we wont need this license at all.