Yes, it is true. The reason I didn't write for so long is because I hopped on a plane to Guatemala to meet William! It wasn't just me, Greg and Marcus went as well. I took my laptop with me and wrote every day about the events. Here is how the trip went:Day 1- Tuesday, June 12, 2007
The first day in Guatemala is coming to a close. I am going to attempt to write at least once a day, more for the sake of me remembering what happened than anything else. Oh, and because you all want to know too!
We were up at 4:15 this morning and headed to the airport before 5. The trip was mostly good. Marcus had a few moments but all in all he was very well behaved.
Our first flight to Charlotte was just over an hour and Marcus slept for about 30 minutes. Our flight from Charlotte to Guatemala City was 3.5 hours. Unfortunately, Marcus was getting a bit cranky by the end of the flight. I don't blame him because I was too. We bought some toys at the dollar store and he played with some of those, new things that he had never seen before. That mostly worked but he was finding the most entertainment from throwing the toys and making us pick them up. I decided to get out my engineering skills though and made a sort of net with one of the airline blankets. I tucked one end around Marcus's waist and secured the other end under the closed seat tray. He would throw his toys and they would roll right back to him!
I was completely unimpressed by the service that we got from US Airways. When we tried to check in our flight the other day online we discovered that there were no two seats next to each other. Since Marcus was sitting in his own seat this meant that he wasn't going to be sitting next to either of us. We asked about this when we checked our luggage in and were told that we would have to get the situation fixed when we got to the gate. When we got to the gate we were told there was nothing that we could do there but would have to settle it on board. (Umm.... couldn't they have paged someone sitting next to Marcus's seat and asked them if they would be willing to switch with one of us??? No. That would have made sense.) It was left totally up to us to fix. I just don't think that is acceptable. Shouldn't the airline want to make some sort of effort to make their customers happy? Thankfully people are generally nice. Greg, Marcus, and I just boarded the plane first (a great advantage when you are traveling with a small child) and the three of us sat together. We asked the two people who's seats we stole if they would mind switching. One guy was very understanding. The other man sorta grunted like he didn't have a choice.
We had purchased this really wonderful restraint device
to use on the plane. It is FAA approved and I located it through American Airline's website. It is just a system of straps the converts the seat belt into a four point harness. The crew on our first flight was fascinated by it and thought it was the greatest thing. The crew on the second flight (both flights were US Airways) started to get into an argument about how it wasn't approved for use in their manual, despite the fact that it was approved by the FAA. The one stewardess said that they don't approve anything that attaches to the back of the seats because their seats break off. I really don't think a seat that breaks off should be approved for human use! The one stewardess said to the other, in a very bitchy voice, "Well, you KNOW you shouldn't argue with parents." I was really hoping they would come back because Greg and I were hoping to tell them that from now on we will be doing all of our travel on another airline because other airlines seem to care more about the safety of their young passengers than US Airways does.
It is the rainy season in Guatemala. This means scattered thunderstorms. So far it has been rather ugly. The airport was even close to being deserted. We were the only people on the shuttle to the Westin
. Everyone we have come in contact with so far here has been really nice. We talked shortly with one couple at the airport who is visiting their little girl they are adopting. They are staying at a different hotel though so we probably won't see them again.
As soon as we walked into the Westin Greg and I remembered the smell of the place. The nice lady at the desk even remembered us and welcomed us back. Our room is only 2 rooms away from the baby lounge so that is definitely a perk. Marcus had a great time exploring the room while we unpacked.
Then we headed to the baby lounge so he could get something to eat. We played a bit more there. It was fun watching Marcus play here again and really made us realize how much he has grown since we brought him home. Last time we were playing with him in there he was still having problems sitting up. This time he was all over the place, throwing balls around, and pulling himself up on the window to take a look at his native country. We went downstairs to the yummy Italian restaurant. It is silly that we ate Italian on our first night in Guatemala but the food there is so good. Since it is a more formal dining area than the cafeteria we figured we better hit it up when things are under control with one kid instead of insanely crazy with two kids.
So, tomorrow morning we get to meet William! I wish he was here now but I know we made the right decision to wait until tomorrow so we are rested up. I know I am going to need my rest! I keep thinking of things that we take for granted now that Marcus has gotten used to us. He sleeps through the night. He doesn't spit up on us. Heck, I am not even sure I am going to remember how to prepare a bottle! Off to bed we go to prepare for the big day!!
One more thing. It is a two hour time difference between here and home. I am hoping to keep Marcus close to his normal schedule from home but we will see how that goes. It will mean he gets up at 4 am and goes to bed at 5:30 Guatemala time.Day 2 - Wednesday, June 13, 200711:00 am (Guatemalan Time)
He's here! I was sitting in the lobby telling Greg how I haven't been nearly as emotional this trip as I was when we visited Marcus. Just then I saw him and started crying. In the video William's foster mom, Sylvia, said he was perfect. He is. Sylvia handed him right to me and he was just as happy as could be. I hogged him for awhile before I let Greg have a turn. He thinks Greg is hilarious. William was mostly interested in watching his big brother. Marcus was mostly interested in everything except his little brother. I talked a lot with the foster dad, Jairon, who speaks perfect English. (He is Guatemalan, born in Queens, NY, and moved back to Guatemala when he was 16.) He and Sylvia have a 4 year old daughter who is head of her pre-school class and they are also fostering another boy who is 8 months old. Jairon gave us his cell phone number and told us to call anytime if we have any questions while we are here. That is just wonderful!
We headed to our room where both kids had a lunch. I laid William down in his crib like I was instructed to do by his foster parents. I was expecting lots of fussing and craziness like Marcus gave us. Instead he checked out the bumper in his crib for a few minutes,
rolled onto his side, and fell asleep.
We were told that he likes to smile. He sure does! We just look at him and he starts smiling!7:16pm (9:16 pm Eastern)
So more about what we did today... I was up at 4am with the time difference. I am used to getting up close to 6 so I wasn't surprised. Marcus was exhausted and slept until 6:30am (8:30 our time). He had some breakfast and soon after we went down to have real breakfast in the cafeteria. Then we ordered some things from the pharmacy that we knew we would need once William arrived. We had a few minutes left to play. Marcus started melting down though and he had to sneak in a little nap so he would be ready for the big event.
Finally it was time! Pablo, our in country agency person, called to say that they would be here in about 15 minutes. We headed to the lobby to wait for them. I was telling Greg how I wasn't nearly as emotional this trip as I had been when we visited Marcus. Just then I saw William come in with his foster family and started to cry. The foster family was so nice and it was definitely helpful that the foster family spoke English very well. We had a wonderful conversation, talking all about the things William likes best, what he eats, when he sleeps, etc. They just love this little boy so much. Marcus was scooting all over and William mostly sat in my arms totally content. That pretty much describes him. He is just content no matter what. The foster family was off and we were left alone with two kids.
Back to the room we went. Marcus had some lunch and we stared at William awhile. I wasn't sure what we were supposed to be doing with a baby. He just kinda hung out. I am used to dealing with a toddler who is all over the place and into everything. The foster family said that all we needed to do was put him in the crib with his bottle. They said he would drink it and go to sleep. Yeah right. I figured I would give it a try anyway. I put him down. He held his own bottle with a little support from a folded up blanket. When he was done with his bottle he laid there and checked out the interior of his crib for a few minutes. Then he fell asleep. What was that?? Not long after he fell asleep I put Marcus in his crib for his nap. He cried for about 5 minutes. He needs to start taking lessons from his baby brother!
It wasn't long after that that all the boys were asleep.I wasn't tired and just emailed a few people. About 2 hours later we were all ready to play. We headed to the baby room where we met two families. One family is adopting a little boy and a little girl that are one month apart. The little girl is a day older than William. There was another couple there that is taking home their 10 month old daughter. The poor little girl was so upset and just cried all the time. I felt so bad for them! Marcus scooted around and got into things and William laid around and was content.
Oh, and he smiled at everyone. In one of the videos of him we were told that he loves to smile. He just smiles all the time!
Marcus is mostly indifferent to William. William loves watching Marcus. Marcus finally did spark up a little curiosity when William was having some applesauce, but I think that was mainly because Marcus was confused why I wasn't feeding him applesauce.
We weren't sure that William did much more than just eat, sleep, and smile until we went to dinner. Suddenly he decided he wasn't happy. We didn't have a clue what the problem was. He wasn't hungry. He wasn't interested in toys. He didn't want Greg. He didn't want me. He just cried. The waitress came over and put our her hands. The staff here is incredible and I was fine with handing him over. She flipped him into some position I hadn't tried and within seconds he was all better. She was enjoying William so much that Greg had to ask for him back about 10 minutes later.
After dinner he fell asleep in the stroller. Marcus got a bath and went to bed, although he is being rather restless in his sleep. William woke up and we gave him his bath.
He is so little! I forgot how little even almost 6 months old are. I was planning on giving him a bottle after the bath and hoping he would go to bed. He has decided he wants to play instead. Greg is enjoying his smiles for the moment but I must get back to them. They are just too cute! Day 3 - Thursday, June 14,200710:06 am (12:06 pm Eastern)
I keep meaning to write about things but then I forget. I am not going to forget this time. So, here are the things I keep meaning to say but haven't:
1. Flying into Guatemala was gorgeous! Marcus was a bit fussy but my eyes were glued to my window. We had to make a couple circles before landing so I got to see a lot. The mountains are beautiful. They aren't huge tall mountains, more like rolling mountains covered with green. I could see roads that zigzagged their way up and down the mountain sides. Houses were situated mainly on top of the mountains. It was like entire villages just placed up there. As we got closer to the city, the houses were in the valleys as well. I counted 6 soccer fields as we came in for landing.
2. When we went to get off the plane, there was a Guatemalan woman in front of us. She just tossed her bag right up on her head and walked out the plane. I was really jealous. There I was with a kid on one hip and a bag on the other, bouncing my way off of each row of seats as I exited the plane. We saw the woman in the airport and she was just walking around, hands to her sides, bag on her head, having a conversation with a man. My arms were tired.
3. We went to the pool yesterday, just to sit around for a bit.
It didn't last too long. Marcus was being a toddler and throwing all of his toys off the chair. Greg and I don't play that game but apparently the cabana boys do. They entertained him for a bit, picking up his toys and making him laugh. They left. We didn't play the dropping game. Marcus started throwing a temper tantrum. We left the pool.
William has been a bit more fussy today. We don't have a clue why. We've tried the special position that the waitress showed us to calm him and it helps, but it hurts our arms after awhile! He slept really well last night. He fell asleep around 9 and woke up around 12:30. Greg played with him for a few minutes and then he had a bottle and fell asleep until about 5 this morning. That is pretty much the excitement so far today.12:58 pm (2:58 pm Eastern)
I was feeling a bit slow this morning. I didn't know if I was just tired or if I was just having an emotional overload. Whatever the case, I was rather lazy all morning and left most of the parenting duties up to Greg (who didn't complain because he is awesome like that).
Now I am ready to go! I noticed during the last two trips to Guatemala that I had problems eating. There is just too much going on and too many things to worry and think about. It doesn't help that eating takes place in the cafeteria where an added worry of one of the kids suddenly flipping out exists. Last night for dinner I ordered a cheeseburger with fries. I ate about 3 fries and couldn't even look at the burger. Finally this afternoon I got an appetite and scarfed down the whole leftover meal. I am sure this helped improve my energy level as well.
William took a nice nap in the baby lounge this morning so he wasn't interested in his 10:30 nap. 10:30 = 12:30 back home, which is when Marcus naps.I decided to take William to the baby lounge to play so Marcus and Greg could nap.
There was someone from the staff cleaning the baby lounge when I went in. She and I had a great conversation, which just amazes me because she didn't know English and I don't know Spanish. We talked about how big and beautiful William is. (Actually, he is tiny. He is way smaller than the other babies here his age.) We talked about the bug bites on his face. Then we talked about whether I had put him in one of the walkers yet. This is the second time on this trip I have had a conversation with someone who speaks a different language. When I was at the airport we talked to a porter, let him know where we were staying and that we were waiting for the shuttle, not taking a taxi. Then he called the Westin and let us know how long we were going to wait. When the shuttle came he told me to take his umbrella so we wouldn't get wet.
Marcus didn't take much of a nap this afternoon so I am thinking that it will be another lazy afternoon. We were hoping to go to the pool after he snacks and William naps but I guess we will see how he is. He is doing really great on the trip. It is just hard because he is a toddler. He is exploring and getting into things and laughing and throwing tantrums just like normal. It is just that normally we aren't messing around with another kid on the side.
One of the families I met yesterday is getting ready to take home their 10 month old daughter. I felt so bad for them because she was just a crying mess all day yesterday. I saw them today and they said they think she was teething. They gave her some Tylenol last night before bed. She slept for 10 hours straight and woke up a new baby. I am so happy to hear that! We really haven't met too many families this time around. I haven't even seen nearly as many babies as we did in prior trips. I don't know if people are just hiding or if this is a sign that people just aren't adopting as much through Guatemala because of the pending issues with the process.
If you haven't done so, check out our photos on our webpage. Greg put up some videos in the video section as well. We will keep updating the photos during our stay. We got some really good ones of William and Marcus together.
In case you didn’t hear, there was a big earthquake down here yesterday. The first I heard of it was 5 hours after it happened when Randy, my brother-in-law, and Melissa, a friend, emailed us to ask if we were okay. Obviously we were fine. I guess it was about 70 miles from where we were staying. So, I survived my first earthquake!! My friend Amanda even said that it was breaking news on WPXI yesterday. She couldn’t believe that news about an earthquake here was more important than the latest news on Paris Hilton. As you might recall, I mentioned in my blog that one thing we were looking forward to in Guatemala was watching Cinacanal, a TV station. We turned on the TV when we got here in hopes to locate the correct channel. The first thing we saw on the screen was news about Paris Hilton.6:05 pm (8:05 Eastern)
Turns out we had a pretty interesting rest of the day. There was one point this afternoon that we realized that both kids were well rested and fed so we decided to take a trip to the pool. It looked like rain but we managed to get in a swim without any raindrops.
We almost didn’t go because Marcus started acting like a typical toddler again. He was throwing fits about everything and making things up when there wasn’t anything to throw a fit about. As soon as we hit the pool, he was all smiles. The big pool was a bit cold for William. He seemed to be loving it but he was shivering. We headed to the hot tub, which is more of a warm tub. We didn’t stay in too long because we didn’t want anyone to get overheated. I got a chance to talk some more with two other families that are here. Then it was back to our room and Marcus was back to being a toddler again.
We spent the whole evening in the baby lounge. Marcus was just a wreck most of the time which we felt was likely a result of him taking almost no nap this afternoon. We were all hanging out at one point, William smiling away on my lap and Marcus throwing a temper tantrum while half laying on a chair,
when a woman walked in. I said hello and she said, "I read your blog!" For a split second I felt almost famous, until I realized that this woman knows a whole lot of stuff about me! It turns out that I have spoken to her husband on the phone a few times. She is currently in Guatemala fostering her beautiful daughter. Her family is also from Pittsburgh and using the same agency that we are. As much as I wish I could be with William all the time, I don’t think I could handle being stuck in the Westin pretty much all the time for three months. We had a ton to talk about. We are both rather dissatisfied with our agency at this point. As much as it sucks, I am glad to hear that it isn’t just me that is having issues. Her husband and son will be coming down this Sunday and I can’t wait to meet them in person as well.
During this time Marcus fell asleep on Greg. Eventually he did wake up and was just as crabby as ever. The baby lounge was starting to fill up with families and Marcus was crying. Then he just laid down on the floor with his butt up in the air and fell asleep.
Greg went to get the thermometer (thanks Amanda for that wonderful gift!) and the Tylenol. Whoa. He had a temperature of 102.5. Within 20 minutes he was filled with Tylenol, had a cool-ish bath, was stripped down to the bare essentials, and his temperature was 99.7. Go us! Okay sure, we probably should have realized that he had a temperature earlier but really, he didn’t even feel warm!
Now we are all paranoid that we are going to come down with some sickness. William is just fine, oblivious to what is going on. He had some diarrhea today but that could be from anything, like change of diet or water or just being in air conditioning. Greg just ordered some chicken from Pollo Campero and we are waiting for that to be delivered to the room. The boys are asleep. All is well and I am starving.Day 4 – Friday, June 15, 20074:22 pm (6:22 pm)
I just lost everything I spent 30 minutes writing about what has happened today. Stupid internet!!!
In a nutshell, I was really tired today. William decided that he no longer likes to sleep so getting him to sleep has been a chore. We thought we had discovered the magic chair, a vibrating bouncy seat, but in our most recent nap attempt, it let us down.
Marcus is still feverish on and off. I was up about every hour last night with him, giving him Motrin and Tylenol every 2 hours. He has only needed medicated every 3-4 hours today so that is improvement.
It was a beautiful day but we stayed inside because of Marcus not feeling well. We did some shopping and picked up some things for William to give him on his birthdays or Gotcha Days from his birth country. We are still short some things for both boys so we will have to do a inventory when we get home to figure out what else we need to buy.
So yeah, the magic chair failed us this afternoon. Greg tried all his tricks and nothing was working. I tried one of mine with no luck. So then I pulled out a trick that I think I learned indirectly from The Yarn Harlot. She taught the move to Amanda and I overheard Amanda repeating the story of how she learned it to someone else. He wasn’t so sure at first but within about two minutes he was out. Then I just had to figure out how to get him laid down. I ended up just putting him on his belly (don't tell!) on one of the beds surrounded by pillows.
That worked for about 35 minutes and then he woke up again. Now he is all comfy in his crib enjoying a bottle and I am thanking The Yarn Harlot for helping me let my son get some sleep.Day 5 – Saturday, June 16,200711:04 am (1:04 pm Eastern)
We are all rested up! Last night we had an early dinner on the Guatemalan watch at 4:30. It was a dinner almost without incident of either kid crying. Dining out in Guatemala is different than dining out in the US. Things here in general are just more laid back. Back home if you go to a restaurant the waiter or waitress is practically shoving the check down your throat the minute your meal hits the table. When you sit down here sometimes it takes a few minutes for someone to even ask you what you want to drink. Then they bring it and don't usually ask you what you want to eat. During dinner, the wait staff isn't constantly asking you if you need anything. You just sit and eat and enjoy your company. If you want something usually you have to flag them down. They almost never bring you your check until you ask for it. All this is great in concept but difficult when you have two antsy kids that don't quite get the idea that sitting in one place and enjoying each other's company is a good thing. This usually results in either Marcus going crazy by the end of the meal or William crying or fussing.
After dinner last night Marcus got a bath and William watched on from his stroller. Marcus was in bed by 6:00, which really isn't that early considering it was 8:00 back home. Greg and I played with William for about an hour, just having a good time making him laugh and smile.
He loves playing with my hair. I tickle him across the face with it and sometimes he grabs fistfuls of it, which is undoubtedly more fun for him than it is for me. At 7:00 we gave him a bath.
Then it was into his pj's
and into bed where he had his final bottle of the day. He zonked out while eating his bottle and there was no need for the magic chair or super Yarn Harlot moves.
I guess Greg got up around 12:30 and stuck another bottle in William's mouth. I never heard a thing. William went right back to bed. I heard William up around 5:30 this morning so I stuck another bottle in his mouth and he went right back to sleep again. Normally we are all dressed and down to breakfast around 7:30. This morning at that time we were all still in bed. In conclusion, Marcus slept from 6pm until 8am. William slept from 7:30pm until 8am. Greg and I slept from about 8pm until 8am.
Marcus is feeling much better today. So far there hasn't been any fever. He isn't very hungry but is still eating some. I am sure all the sleep helped him as well. There is a little boy that I just met this morning who is 18 months old. His family had a really long process and he is finally going home. He was running around the baby lounge playing ball. Marcus was being very nice and was giving him the ball whenever he got it. I am looking forward to getting to hang out with that family again. Finally Marcus has someone close to his own age to beat up on! Several of the families that we met so far are leaving today and there are several others trickling in.
All the boys are napping, including Greg. Not quite sure how they can be tired after a night like we had. I decided not to bring anything to knit on this trip because I brought knitting the last two trips and never had a chance to partake. I guess I'll read some of my book if I can figure out where the cleaning service put it.Day 6 – Sunday, June 17,20072:17 pm (4:17pm Eastern)
Happy Father's Day! I can't believe that it is day 6 already. Sometimes time just drags and other times it flies by. I am not looking forward at all for Tuesday when we are leaving because I am not ready to give our little angel back to his foster family. We all love William so much. It is really amazing how quickly you can fall for someone. There is so much that we have to tell the foster family. We are concerned that the marks on his face are actually from an allergy, perhaps to gluten, instead of mosquito bites like we were told. We are hoping that the foster mother can talk to William's doctor at his next appointment (which should be soon) about this possibility. We are also hoping that the foster family will have access to email and we will be able to contact them periodically to ask about William.
Marcus was refusing to go to bed last night. I know it is hard for him since he is used to having his own room. Here we were still playing with William, getting him bathed, and eating dinner and Marcus was peering at us from over the side of his crib. We ordered pizza last night from Domino's and got an extra pizza so hopefully we won’t need to spend lots of money in the dining area again this trip.
Marcus was barely functioning this morning he was so tired. His sickness has now turned into a horrible cough that makes it hard for him to sleep. He seems to be feeling fine apart from the cough and the lack of sleep. Hopefully he isn’t passing his germs on to every other kid that is in the hotel.
William is staying healthy and is just as happy as ever. He is so content all the time. I just was in the baby lounge with him and for 2 hours he just sat in his stroller, smiled at me, and watched the other kids. I feel bad because I am not holding him constantly but he seems perfectly fine with just sitting around. When he has decided he has had enough, he instantly lets us know and we know it is time to move on to other things. I have said it a million times but I will say it again. I don’t know how we ended up with two perfect kids but we did.
Breakfast was packed today which was likely because it is Father's Day. We had to wait for a table because the only one they had available was this little two seater, which was not going to work. They didn’t have any highchairs available either so Marcus sat on my lap, shoved strawberries in his mouth, and then wiped his hands on my face. It was a good time. For some reason I didn’t eat a whole lot.
Daddy and Marcus took a nap this afternoon and I hung out in the baby lounge with William and lots of other families. We have met some really fun people on this trip. I just love this one little boy named Christian. He is 18 months old and is finally going home. I talked to his mom for a while. When Marcus finally got up, he and Christian played together.
Now it is William's turn to nap. We lucked out earlier in this trip because Marcus would nap during one of William's nap. It didn’t work out like that today.
The weather was beautiful this morning and at 9:30 almost every seat around the pool was taken. Then it started raining and has been ugly the rest of the day. Hopefully when William is done napping we can take a walk around the ground floor. I just need to get off of this floor for a bit!
Today was the first time I heard anyone here mention the earthquake. I really don’t know how I missed it! Apparently everyone else here felt it. The one woman said she didn’t realize it was an earthquake and just thought that maybe it was a train or else a low flying airplane. I guess that is probably what I assumed when I felt it too. I guess everyone went out into the halls right after it happened and was talking about it. I missed that too! After I heard about the earthquake I was trying to remember where I was at the time. I was either in our room or in the baby lounge, but I definitely don’t remember feeling anything. I am so unobservant that I even missed an earthquake!3:23 pm (5:23 pm Eastern)
I keep forgetting to mention something! Marcus learned out to do something new. It was totally by accident. The first day that we were here he was standing by a window looking out and holding on to an empty pop bottle with one hand. Apparently he forgot that that pop bottle wasn’t attached to anything. He let go with his other hand. Without realizing it, he was standing all on his own. We have practiced this new skill a few times, but like anything else, he is only interested in doing it on his own schedule. Once he was even standing for about 10 seconds straight before he reached out for Greg for support.6:53 pm (8:53 pm Eastern)
All is getting quiet in our neck of the woods. Marcus didn’t take much of a nap this afternoon because he had a coughing fit. He could barely keep his eyes open all evening. He was being cuddly which is a rare thing now that he is constantly on the move. Mostly we all just hung out in the baby lounge some more, marveling over how cute William is. There were lots of families in and out and we had a good time talking with them all. Marcus had some food and then he was ready for a bath and to bed. I figured out a way to kinda manipulate the furniture in the room so we could hang out on one side of the room and he couldn’t see us. I don’t know if it really helped or if he was just so tired he didn’t have a chance to mess around like he did last evening before bed. William is currently sucking away at his bottle and hopefully he falls asleep when he empties it.
Although nothing is decided yet, there was talk today about leaving Marcus at home for our next trip. It is just hard on him being sick this trip and we are afraid that the same thing would happen next time. If he was feeling fine this trip and we could do more things, like actually go to the pool, I don’t think we would really be thinking about leaving him next time. I suggested that if we do by chance leave him at home next time and we happen to have time, perhaps we would take a day trip to Antigua, just Greg and me. I would love to see the area and I feel bad that the only parts of the country where my son's are from that I have seen are the airport and the Westin.
I'm off to get some pizza that is leftover from last night's dinner. Wish us a restful night! Tomorrow is our last full day with William. Why did I just think that?? Now I am going to be really sad.Day 7 – Monday, June 18,200710:58 am (12:58 pm Eastern)
This is the last full day with William. I am trying not to think about it much but it isn’t working so well. Several of the families that we met had their embassy appointments this morning, which means that their little ones are theirs forever! Congrats to all of them.
Greg was feeling very much under the weather last night. Usually he is the one that stays healthy and I am the one that gets sick. Maybe I am just saving up my sickness until tomorrow when we are somewhere over the Gulf of Mexico. I didn’t sleep well at all. I was having bad dreams on top of needing to get up every several hours to put a bottle in William's mouth. Greg was stealing all the covers and Marcus was snoring. I thought I would be a mess today but somehow I am functioning quite well. I had the best breakfast yet today. Maybe I was just starved because I haven’t had a good breakfast yet. Normally I am just trying to shove food in my mouth that I have no appetite for while I am trying to keep Marcus entertained and get out of there fast enough so William doesn’t get bored. Today, all the boys, including Greg, were behaving quite nicely. I even had a chance to stop at the Smoothie Bar and get a blackberry and pineapple smoothie. I am definitely going to be hitting that up tomorrow as well. Yummy.
We took a little stroll around the Westin after breakfast. There is this one store here that we have spent about $200 in, buying things for Marcus and William. The man the runs the store is very nice. He was just locking up to take a break when he saw us coming. He unlocked for us, probably expecting us to drop another $100. Greg fooled him by just running in to stock up on some over the counter medicine. We also did some window shopping at some of the art stores. I totally fell in love with his huge painting of an adobe village that has lots of oranges, yellows, and reds in it. I didn’t even bother to ask the price because by the looks or it, it would probably be about a year's salary. Maybe if we make it to Antigua on our next trip I will be able to find something there from a street vendor that is more in my price range.
Then we headed to the baby lounge. We met a couple there from London that are visiting their little boy. We had a great conversation with them, learning about the differences between the processes in the states and in England. In Europe, adoption is very uncommon, as are interracial families. They said they feel fortunate though since their specific area seems most open to the idea. In all of 2006, there were only 20 Guatemalan adoptions throughout England. We talked a little bit about parental leave. The government there allows mothers to take off 9 months paid and then can also take another 3 months off unpaid and still have their job waiting for them. It would be nice if the US had some sort of mandated leave instead of leaving it up to each company. The little time that we get off makes me feel like our government doesn’t hold childcare and parenthood in as high regard as they should.
Then kids were melting down so we are now back in our room, listening to Marcus snore and assuming William is sleeping as well. (When William wakes up, he doesn’t cry. He just scratches on the sheets of his crib until someone comes over. Then he smiles.) We are starting to get some things packed up so we don’t have to hurry around and do it all tomorrow. I don’t even want to think about tomorrow.
I think I should add in my observation of being a parent of two kids. It is so much easier going from one kid to two kids than it was going from no kids to one kid. Part of it I am sure is because I am just more relaxed since I have been a parent for a few months now. When we first spent time with Marcus, the minute he would start crying I would go into a panic, wondering if I would be able to get him to stop or wondering if I would be able to figure out what was wrong and worrying that he would get too worked up that it would take forever to calm him. I am much more calm with William. I am sure that part of it is that William is so easy going and I know that any fits that he starts to throw will be short lived. This morning Greg was in the shower, Marcus was eating, and I was trying to change William's clothes. William hates to have his clothes changed and was screaming about that. Marcus was telling me that he was all done. Then William got changed and suddenly realized that he was starving. Marcus was flipping out because he was still in the highchair and he had told me repeatedly that he was done. All in all, I think I handled it well. William's need to eat was more pressing than Marcus's need to get out of his highchair so I handled that first. I thought having one kid was all about juggling. I am sure I am just starting to see what I have in store for me. Even at such a young age, the two kids do keep each other occupied. Marcus loves helping us change William. (I use the word "helping" very loosely of course.) William loves watching Marcus do whatever insane antics toddlers do. Yesterday Marcus crawled right over to William and gave him a big hug, totally unprompted and of course we didn’t have a camera ready. Another great thing about having the two kids so close in age is that Marcus hasn't yet developed the ability to really be jealous. Sure, sometimes he wants picked up by one of us while we are already holding William. I don’t think he truly sees him as another person yet though so it isn’t like he only wants picked up because we are holding someone else. Plus, Marcus is so young that he will probably adjust really easily to having another kid in the house and he won’t even remember what life was like when he was the only spoiled kid we had. Day 8 – Tuesday, June 19,20074:41 Eastern
Hola from somewhere over top of Guatemala. We are on our way home. Marcus is fast asleep and Greg is on the verge. We had a very emotional morning because we had to return William back to his very loving foster family. More on that in a minute though.
We were all prepared last night for a nice relaxing evening. It had been close to a perfect day. After taking a nap, we headed to the pool. We ordered some food poolside and enjoyed being outside. We were all going to go swimming but William had other plans. He decided that taking a nap would be more entertaining. Greg and I took turns taking Marcus in the pool. We chatted with a few families and then headed to the room to change.
We decided to skip going to dinner. Instead we were going to order Pollo Campero. We hung out in the baby lounge, chatting with families and having a great time playing. Marcus had dinner and we were making plans for our last night in Guatemala. We planned on giving William a little snack while Marcus got a bath. Then we could put Marcus to bed and have an hour to spend just with William. Then it would be time for his bath and off to bed and then we would order our chicken from Pollo Campero. Of course this plan was all too perfect to actually work.
Greg went back to the room to make a bottle for William for his snack. His key card wasn’t working so he borrowed mine. That wasn’t working either. We had a little problem considering we didn’t even have shoes. Our room was only 2 doors from the baby lounge so we had just run over there shoeless. We called the front desk from the baby lounge and they said they would send someone up. After waiting about 15 minutes, someone finally did arrive. They tried their key card and it didn’t work. Then they got a key card from a maid that was supposed to open every door and that didn’t work either. Then they headed off to find maintenance. Greg stayed in the hall watching for them and I attempted to entertain Marcus, who was very tired since it was way past his bedtime, and William who was on the verge of starving to death. About another 15 minutes went by before maintenance showed up. They tried sticking in their key cards and then pushing really hard on the door. Oddly enough, that didn’t work. Then the maintenance man left. Another 20 minutes or more passed before he came back, this time with a whole group of maintenance men. They tried to use some sort of programmer for the lock on the door. That wasn’t working either. At some point, some other guest at the hotel who was for some reason hanging out in the hall with Greg watching the whole ordeal, grabbed a screwdriver from the maintenance person's equipment. He started banging on the lock with the screwdriver attempting to do something, although Greg has no idea what. It was determined that there was no way that we were going to get through that door. That is when they moved on to plan B.
The other guests in the baby lounge were so nice during all this. They offered up baby food so William wouldn’t starve. Poor Marcus was attempting to get comfortable on the couch but it just wasn’t happening. At one point I was trying to keep Marcus from grabbing some of the formula someone had brought for us and he flipped right off the couch and hit his head on the floor. I iced his head while one of the other ladies in the room rocked William's stroller to keep him entertained. One lady even offered to let us use her bathtub so I could give the kids a bath. I declined the offer, which meant two very dirty kids today.
Meanwhile, the staff was working on Plan B. One of the staff members climbed out on the window ledge of our sixth floor room. He then proceeded to break our window with a hammer and climb into our room, about 2 hours after this whole thing started. Then it was on to the next issue.
We needed to get another room since we now had a broken window in our room. This meant packing up our entire room. I put Marcus in the crib and he was asleep instantly. We got a bottle for William but by then he was exhausted and feeling quite grumpy. We were running around like crazy trying to throw things in suitcases so we could get out of that room and into some other room so everyone could get rested. At one point I told Greg that I just needed to go over on the other side of the room and cry for a minute. I made sure that I got mascara all over the nice white comforters in the room, which made me feel slightly better.
We were moved to the other side of the hall, into a room that was slightly more spacious than a closet. We had to wake Marcus up to move him but thankfully he went right back to sleep. William still wasn’t asleep but went to sleep shortly after we crammed ourselves into the new room. Then we had to unpack a few things and locate our pj's and toiletries. Eventually we determined that despite the fact that it was then after 10:00 and we hadn't eaten since around 2:00 that afternoon, we just weren't the least bit hungry.
I have decided that maybe next week the whole situation will be funny. It still isn’t funny now though. Greg had a nice chat with the manager this morning and we did get our last night free.
It was our last few hours with William when we got up this morning. There wasn’t room in our tiny room for him to play on the floor so he was left to play in his crib while we finished packing and chased Marcus away from attempting to unpack our suitcases. We headed down to breakfast but still didn’t have much of an appetite. Our in-country person from our agency was supposed to be at the hotel with the foster family at 9 this morning. They finally showed up at 9:45. I would have enjoyed the extra time we had with William if it weren't for the fact that he was overtired from the adventures the night before and decided to have a complete screaming fit from 9-9:30.
William's foster mom was so excited to see him. They just smiled at each other and she made him laugh. After a few minutes I took him out of his stroller and just held his face to mine. I barely said two words the whole time the foster mom was there because I was just crying too much. I finally was brave enough to let Greg give William a few last hugs. William gave Marcus a huge smile and a sloppy kiss on the cheek. Then I got to hug William one last time. Handing him over to his foster mom was so much harder than I thought it would be. I thought since I had done this before with Marcus that I would be an old pro. There is nothing in the world that can prepare you for that moment. I hugged the foster mom really tight and she told me that she was going to take wonderful care of him. (At least that is what our translator told me she said.) I know that she will.
Then the insanity of trying to get back to the US started. We spent a few minutes in the baby lounge and then checked out of the hotel. Then it was onto the shuttle to the airport where we waited in line for about an hour to check our luggage. Then we had to pay the tax that you need to pay to leave the country, $3 a person. Then it was through some other line where we had to present some other forms and show our passports and tickets for the millionth time. Then we finally got to the security line. At last we were in the airport. The airport is very hot. Greg went to find us some food while Marcus and I found a place to sit. We ate and then headed for the gate. Each airline has its own gate, which is a secure area. Once you enter the gate you cannot leave. We had to go through another security check, through another x-ray machine, and have our bags searched again. We had to wait at the gate, which was also very hot, for another 30 minutes before we could finally board the plane. Marcus was asleep before we ever took off.
The flight is making me sad that we missed out on ordering our Pollo Campero last night. So many people get Pollo Campero and bring it on the plane back to the states since it is so yummy and you can’t buy it in the US. I would have to guess that the ratio of boxes of Pollo Campero to passengers is about 1:1.
In conclusion, this trip started off with really bad airline service and a toddler with a temperature of 102.5. It ended with a staff member of our hotel climbing out onto the ledge of our sixth story room and breaking the window because it was determined that was the only way we could get in our room. Oh, and we can’t forget about that earthquake that occurred somewhere in the middle of it all. Somehow it ended up being one of the most amazing trips of my life. I met one of the sweetest little boys in the whole world, fell madly in love with him, and let him steal my heart and keep it in Guatemala for me to retrieve when we are ready to bring him home. We love you William and miss you so much!