the homepage of gregory and ann kline

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Petition for Guatemalan Adoptions

A friend of a friend sent me this petition to stop Guatemalan President Berger from halting all adoptions, making it impossible for over 5,000 children who currently have no family and no permanent home to be denied that opportunity. Please sign.


If you have a blog please post this. If you don't have a blog, please email this to everyone you know!


Thursday, September 27, 2007

We Need Your Help!

All families currently adopting from Guatemala need your help. A dire situation has recently been announced. We have been aware that Guatemala may be closing its doors to adoptions to the US but the agreement had remained that all in process cases would be grandfathered in. This week the announcement was made that beginning January 1, 2008, all new cases as well as cases that are in progress will not be permitted to continue to completion. This means that over 5,000 families and children will never be able to be united. We are staying confident that this will not affect us, that William will be home before the end of the year. There are many friends of ours that are in the process who may suffer horrible consequences.

What can you do? I am copying in the letter that was just sent to us from our agency that tells you what you can do and the best time to do it. If you are not able to contact anyone on the suggested days, please contact them when you can.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support. I will post this again closer to the dates when your action is needed.

Dear Friends,

Guatemalan President Oscar Berger has announced plans to suspend all intercountry adoption with American families on January 1 2008. Joint Council strongly opposes such a suspension and asks for your support in our efforts to ensure that all children retain the right to permanency through Intercountry Adoption.

President Berger's plans also call for the suspension of adoptions currently in-process. Such a suspension would be extremely detrimental to the children referred to adoptive parents. If President Berger's plan is actually implemented, up to 5,000 will unnecessarily remain in foster care or orphanages indefinitely.

This situation represents a pending crisis for the adoptive families who have lovingly chosen to provide permanency, safety and love to a child in need and most importantly a crisis for 5,000 children of Guatemala.

What can you do? Make six simple phone calls and one email.

1. Call your U.S. Senator.
· You can find your Senators' phone numbers at www.senate.gov
· Ask to speak with the Legislative Director or Chief of Staff

2. Call your second U.S. Senator.

3. Call your representative to the U.S. House of Representative.
· You can find your representative at www.house.gov
· Ask to speak with the Legislative Director or Chief of Staff

4. Call or fax the Department of State's Office of Children's Issues
· Their number is 202-736-9130
· Their fax number is 202-736-9080
5. Call or fax UNICEF Headquarter
· Ask to speak with Ann Veneman, Executive Director
· Their number is 212-326-7000
· Their fax number is 212-326-7758
6. Call or fax UNICEF Guatemala
· Ask to speak with Manuel Manrique
· Their number is 011-502-2327-6373
· Their fax number is 011-502-2327.6366
7. Send and email supporting Intercountry Adoption to guatemala5000@jcics.org
· Write briefly or at length
· Joint Council will use the cumulative email petition in our advocacy for Intercountry Adoption

When should you call? Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday (October 8th, 9th 10th)

· For maximum affect, we are asking you to make these calls within a 72 hour window!

What should you say? Speak from your heart and give them the following information.
· The Guatemalan government has announced that all adoptions with the U.S. will be suspended on January 1 2008.
· Their announcement also indicated that there will be no 'grandfathering' of adoptions already in process.
· If children referred to families are not allowed to be adopted, they will languish in institutions or foster care.
· Your office must get involved and sign the CCAI sponsored letters to the President of Guatemala and UNICEF. These letters ask that all adoptions in-process as of January 1 2008 be allowed to processed to completion under the existing notorial laws.
· Your office should contact the Office of Children's Issues at the Department of State. Their number is 202-736-9130.

Can you explain the problem behind the pending crisis? Here is some additional information.
· Guatemalan President Oscar Berger has announced plans to effectively stop all adoptions into the United States including those children who have already been referred to adoptive parents
· Over 5,000 children have been referred
· The birthparents for these children have already relinquished their parental rights. As a result, they currently have no family and the Berger suspension will result in these children having no prospect for a permanent, safe and loving family
· The government of Guatemala currently does not have the finances or facilities to even provide housing for these 5,000 children
· The Berger plan is a crisis waiting to happen

Best Wishes,


Thomas J DiFilipo


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

End of the Line

Music is awesome. I am always listening to something in my car and I love picking out lines that are relavent to whatever it is that is currently going through my head. Through most of Marcus’s adoption I kept singing the chorus of a Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers song Loco to Stay Sane:
“This ain’t not joke,
You gotta learn how to bend if you don’t want to get broke.
To keep your head in the big bad game
You know you gotta go a little loco to stay sane.”

This morning as I was driving to work I was listening to the Traveling Wilbury’s. Although the whole song, End of the Line, doesn’t apply, the first verse just made me giggle because it pretty much explained my life this week. (Sorry if I totally blow these lyrics but you will get the point.)
“Waiting around for the telephone to ring.
Waiting for someone to tell you everything.
Wondering what tomorrow will bring,
Maybe a diamond ring.”
Obviously I am not literally thinking that tomorrow will bring a diamond ring. I think the song originally was written that last line being “Maybe PGN approval” but that just didn’t rhyme so they had to get all symbolic.

I emailed out case worker last night to ask her when she was expecting to hear something on our case. She said that case updates are due out by the end of next week but of course she will let us know if she hears anything sooner. She better hear something sooner or else I will certainly go a lot loco.

During my typical stalking about guatadopt.com message boards, I found a post that someone from Adoption Supervisors contacted PGN yesterday. Apparently the computers were down at PGN on Monday but Adoption Services was told that cases submitted from July 26 and 27 were expected to be released yesterday or today. What happened to cases like ours that was submitted on July 25?? I know there is really no rhyme or reason to PGN. Right after that post there was another from someone who was resubmitted on July 12 and their case was still on the second reviewer’s desk. (I’m not totally sure of the work flow in PGN but I think it goes first reviewer, second reviewer, and then sign off by big head person.) So, that is all I really know, which pretty much comes down to nothing. I’m just going to continue to sit here waiting for my phone to ring and wonder what tomorrow will bring.

P.S. Just a little shout out to all my lovely Pgh girls who sent me emails and ecards of support and love and hugs yesterday. You girls are the best! I haven’t even met most of you in person but you are all so caring and know just when I could use a little more strength. Thanks! I am feeling much better today!


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Releasing the Bitch

It is time to let the bitch in me out, at least an ounce of it. Trust me, it is just best if I keep the majority of the beast locked up inside. Yesterday I was so depressed and mean and disturbed by this whole adoption process that I don't even want to discuss that. So, let's move ahead to today's bitchiness.

It is 8:00am and I have already been on the guatadopt message boards twice looking for "outs" (people who have been approved by PGN this week). No such luck. I did find someone that wrote a rant about how she can't concentrate on work or anything else and her plan at having a positive attitude has completely failed. I currently have 97 unread emails in my work email account and my voicemail message light has been blinking since I got to work yesterday morning. Yeah, I'm doing a great job at concentrating at work here.

So off I went to check a local message board. The first post I see is how this person is having a crappy week. I am not totally insensitive at the moment, just mostly. To her maybe it was bad that her washing machine broke. Really that would suck. But I would gladly give her my washing machine, carry it on my back to her house even, if we could just be out of PGN.

So there you go. The bitch is here. And she is going to stay here until we get some good news so ya'll better just get used to it... dammit.


Saturday, September 22, 2007

Catch Up Blogging

I keep meaning to blog about some things and then it never seems to happen. Mostly this has just been an exhausting week. We have been busy, busy, busy but also it has been emotionally tiring as well. Here is the rundown.

1. Monday I had a meeting with my boss, a one-on-one meeting so we could discuss the progress I have made on planning this huge yearly training event that will take place in February. (I really haven't made much progress by the way.) Since I don't get much opportunity to talk to my boss in private, I felt that it was a good time to say something that has been bugging me. Chances are, come February when this big training event is supposed to take place, I will not be there. I will be at home with my boys on leave. I was going to wait until we got out of PGN to tell her that because then I would have a little closer idea as to when I would be leaving work, but the moment presented itself so I spoke. She said, "I was afraid of that." Everyone at work knows that we are adopting again so it wasn't that it was a big secret. It just seemed like most people, particularly my boss, were completely ignoring the fact that I would be taking time off to be with William. I feel better that I just said it right to her so there are no questions now.

2. My friend Val and I decided that today we would take Marcus to the zoo. I was a bit nervous because of Marcus's growing independence that he would be quite the handful at the zoo. Mainly I was concerned that being in the stroller the whole time wasn't going to cut it. Off I went to Target where I found this cute backpack/harness that I thought I would give a try. Marcus didn't seem to mind having a monkey on his back.

3. We took the plunge, cashed in our amazon.com gift cards and purchased our double stroller. It is about the only thing I somehow managed to not take a picture of this week. We took it for a spin - Marcus on one side and Hopkin Blue Frog on the other - and we have decided we love it. Besides, who could not like something that is black and gold? You can check out our stroller by clicking here.

4. During our test run of our new stroller we stopped at the park to play. When we learned that Marcus would be the little boy that we were adopting we ran out and bought him his first toy, a green stuffed frog that we named Hopkin Green Frog. As we received baby equipment, we had Hopkin Green Frog test it out for us since Marcus wasn't home yet. Right after we learned that William would be our son, we bought him a Hopkin Blue Frog. Hopkin Blue Frog has been sleeping next to me for a few months now. We figured it was time he got out to play. So, off to the park we went.

5. Marcus got another cold this week. I am happy to report that I did not get it. I think this is only the second sickness that he ever got that I didn't get. I started taking vitamins a few weeks ago and I really think they helped. I also sucked down a few of those Airborne things too. I did get some sort of sickness, like a mouth virus that gave me all these ulcers, a swollen lip, and a sore throat. I would take that any day over a cold that knocks me on the butt for 3 days. Go vitamins!!

6. Thursday I hit the lowest day yet waiting for William to come home. I really don't remember ever feeling that helpless and hopeless the entire wait for Marcus. The anxiety of waiting to hear something from PGN was eating away at me. I was trying to work but work was the last thing on my mind. I got in a good cry at one point and that seemed to help a little. I don't even have a clue why Thursday was any worse than any other day. On Wednesday William turned 9 months old. I can't believe he is 9 months already. Somehow Wednesday flew by and even though I was very aware that it meant William was 9 months old, it didn't really start to hurt until Thursday. And no, we still haven't heard a word from PGN. I did hear that two cases that were submitted on July 20 were approved by PGN on September 20. Our case was submitted on July 25.

7. I went into work on Friday and the first thing I saw was an email from our case worker. I asked her not to email me at work because I don't check my work email at home and I didn't want to miss an important email because it was sitting in my work email. She sent it on Thursday. I didn't see it until Friday. That made me mad. My anger only lasted a second though because I opened up a picture of my little baby. Seriously, is there any possible way to look at this boy and not have your heart explode with sadness because you are not with him?

I knew I should be so excited to get a medical update but mostly I was just heartbroken. I want to be with him so badly. He is there. I am here. There is not a damn thing we can do about it. William's foster family dressed him in one of the adorable outfits that we sent down for him.

I almost forgot to read the medical report because I couldn't take my eyes off of my baby's pictures. The medical report made me sad too. He is growing (up to 18 lbs 1 oz now) and developing right on target and I know I should be happy about that. But, I am missing it all. He sits unassisted. He is trying to pull himself up to a standing position. In a couple of the pictures you can see that he has his two bottom teeth. I am missing every bit of it. I showed the pictures off to a few people and every single one of them said the same thing, "When is he coming home?" The day I have an answer to that question will be the happiest day of my life.

8. We also found out what the issue was with our medical reports. Our old case worker sent us a medical report (with the date mysteriously removed) and told us it was from his July appointment. Turns out the report was actually from an appointment in early August. William didn't see the doctor in July for some reason and since he had an appointment in early August he didn't have another one two weeks later when he normally would have been due for his August appointment. Wow, I can't tell you how fascinating it is that we actually got an answer on this. Sure, it took a little while to get the information but we got it. Our old case worker would have just said over and over that she was looking into it until we quit bugging her about it. Our new case worker has asked us a few questions about our case which have indicated to us that our old case worker didn't keep a very good file on our case at all. So all that stuff is looking up. To see all of William's latest photos from his medical appointment/photo op, click here.

9. It turns out that both of our sons are part zombies. Oddly enough, this picture was taken of Marcus on Halloween last year:

We were hoping that he would be the only zombie. We were wrong. This picture was taking of William earlier this week:

You may be thinking that the camera just happened to snap at an odd time. You are only fooling yourself. They are zombies.

10. Greg and I started watching Heroes, a show that we missed when it first came out. This sparked the age old question, "If you had a super power, what would you want it to be?" Hands down I would want my super power to be the ability to finalize my adoption on my terms.

11. My friend Cara and I joke that we have parallel lives since it seems that many of the things we have done and been through even before we met were quite similar. Cara has a little boy Max that Marcus plays with sometimes. Max is 13 months old. Cara is also due with number two. I have said from the beginning that she is having a boy. It only makes sense since I will have two boys that she will also have two boys. Friday she found out that Max is going to have a baby brother. I am sure that there will be lots of playing in the dirt, eating bugs, and harassing girls in the future for all of our sons.

12. I finished the blanket I was making for William. Pictures will follow (if I remember). It is currently blocking on our living room floor.

13. Today was the big zoo trip for Val, Marcus, and me. Gone are those few wonderful days of fall weather and back was a day of too much sun and 85 degrees. I wasn't sure how long Marcus would survive today since we went to the zoo right in the middle of his nap time. He caught about 5 minutes of sleep on the way there and did amazingly well. First stop was the tigers who decided to come right up to the glass. Marcus was completely amazed by them.

We tried out the new backpack/harness a bit but it was so crowded and Marcus isn't capable of walking a straight line so it didn't last too long. Plus he is just so little that I was afraid he was going to get run over.

Every time we have gone to the zoo so far (this was Marcus's fourth trip) Marcus has fallen asleep in the aquarium. Today was no different. I decided to put him in my Mayan Sling when we got to the aquarium thinking it would be the best place for him so I could point out the fishies up close and personal. That worked for about 5 minutes. Then he was out.

He never falls asleep on me so I was loving it. I was not loving the fact that it was a million degrees in there (see all that sweat on me) and I had a sack of kid on me. (I just wanted to add that I LOVE my Mayan Sling. Even as he keeps getting bigger it is such a breeze to throw him in there. He loves being in the sling too. It is so comfortable to wear even though Marcus is over 25 lbs now and I have back problems. I have made a few of these for friends now and would be very happy to sew some more so if you are reading and interested, shoot me off an email at anniemwk6@hotmail.com. And yes, that was a shameless plug for me. It is my blog and I can sing the praises of myself and my sling making abilities if I want.) Mostly I was worried that he was going to get overheated. He did end up coming home with a temperature that seemed to have mostly gone down since he cooled off. He slept in the sling for about 30 minutes, missing the aquarium, polar bears, sea otters, and sea lions. He woke up in time for ice cream and to hit up the play area.

We went into the petting zoo area. He showed very brief (about 3 seconds) interest in a sheep and after that he was just excited to be free to run. I let him run around the area for a few minutes before I decided he was probably scaring the goats.

He fell asleep the minute we passed through the gates of the zoo and was so tired he barely moved when I moved him from his stroller to the car seat. Once home, he could barely keep his eyes open. We had a quick dinner, then it was into the bath and into bed at 6:40. He is zonked.


Monday, September 17, 2007

Totally Unimportant Information that You Should Just Ignore

I am not going to jinx anything but I just wanted to throw some info out there. You can draw your own conclusions as to what this information may or may not be making me think.

I just read on a message board from people adopting from Guatemala about three cases that were submitted on July 13, July 18, and July 24 that were recently approved by PGN. Our case was resubmitted to PGN on July 25.

...just something to think about.


Sunday, September 16, 2007

Continually Amazed

We had a busy day again today. We were just playing, playing, and playing. I continue to be amazed by this little boy of mine, watching him grow and learn. Sometimes he does things and I don't even have a clue where he picked them up.

Yesterday we stopped by a friend's house for a few minutes. We chatted, we played with doggies, and Marcus broke something. (Elizabeth, tell your mom again how sorry I am about that!) Then I said, "I guess we better hit the road soon." Marcus started waving good-bye to everyone instantly. At what point did he learn what "hit the road" means? I could see if maybe I said something about going in the car or even leaving, but hit the road.

Then there are his shoes. "Shoes" is one of his most used words. Tonight I put socks on him after his bath and asked him what came next. I was expecting him to make the sign for "eat" since we always eat after we put pj's on. Nope, he said, "Shoes." Anytime he trips and falls because he is not used to walking in his big boy shoes he tells us, "Shoes," which of course translates to, "These stupid annoying shoes made me fall AGAIN!"

Today we spent a lot of time playing out in the yard. We have a terraced back yard and even though the upper part is the largest part of the yard, we don't spend too much time up there. We played up there for quite a bit today. Marcus was playing stick with the pooch, throwing the stick for her. He also was just running around, enjoying the open space. I almost forgot that he just learned to walk a few weeks ago! It was getting a little warm out so I told him I was going to take his coat off. He stopped, pulled on his coat, and was ready for me to remove it. I didn't know that he knew what a coat was.

Later this evening we went to the playground. This was the first time that we went there that Marcus really made the most of it, climbing and crawling and walking and sliding and swinging. He even let us know when he was ready to quit sliding and head over to the swings. He must have been getting warm because suddenly he grabbed at his coat and repeated a few times, "Off." He had to repeat it a few times because Greg and I had no idea what he was saying. He has never said that word before. Off came his coat and he was ready to play again.

Of course, there are times when I remember that he is still just a little toddler and has a lot of learning to do. I got really tired of him making this annoying "EH!" sound every time he needed my help with something. So I started making the sign for help and saying, "Mama, help." So now anytime he needs help he makes the sign for help and says, "Mama!" It really makes no difference if I am even around or not. Help=Mama! He also seems slightly confused about his self-identity. Every time he looks in the mirror he gets all excited, points, and says, "Dada!!"

All this cool fall weather is really getting me excited for the changing of the seasons. Today I got to thinking about how great it will be to get to do all the fall stuff with Marcus this year. I called up my mom and we are hoping to arrange a time when we can join my sister and her kids and go for a hay ride and pick out pumpkins. I'm excited! I haven't gotten to do that since I was a kid! I am keeping my fingers crossed for a miracle and maybe William will be able to join us too.


Saturday, September 15, 2007

New Wardrobe

Marcus is now completely equipped with a new wardrobe. Earlier this week we were at the mall and took a quick stop in J.C. Penny's. I remember my mom saying that it is a great place to shop at the end of the season. Everything they had on the clearance rack was summer stuff but I stocked up for next spring/summer in 2T sizes. I'm not quite sure right now if these clothes will end up being for Marcus or William (or both) but they will certainly get worn. So I handed over $15 and in return I got 8 new shirts and one pair of shorts. I also found a pair of hard sole shoes for Marcus for $10. He still needs some practice walking in them so we only let him wear them a few hours each day at home to cut down on the number of face first into the floor falls he takes.

Then yesterday I came home to find a box on my front porch addressed from Grandma and Grandpa to Marcus. Grandma hit up some sales as well. I got the box opened and Marcus pulled out each item one by one.

Everything looks like it is going to fit great. He got a couple pairs of pants as well as a few shorts in 18 month sizes for the last of the warm days left this year. The shorts will certainly work double duty next summer when William will be wearing them.

Then there was today. Mega shopping spree for us this morning! We got up bright and early and headed to the biannual NPMOMs (North Pittsburgh Moms of Multiples) sale. I went in the spring and knew it wasn't something I wanted to miss this time around. Greg, Marcus, and I arrived around 8:50. The sale started at 9:00. I wish I would have brought my camera to show how many people were in line already! There had to have been over 100 people there and the doors weren't even open. We got in (the sale is held at a church social room) and headed right for the strollers. Unfortunately we didn't see the double stroller that we want so we are still going to need to purchase that. We did pick up an umbrella stroller though which should work great for our pickup trip to Guatemala. Greg spotted a wagon but just as I headed for it that was gone. I headed towards the book table but it was so packed I couldn't get within 5 feet of it. I attempted to look at the clothes at that point, trying to locate fall/winter things and pj's in size 18 month. There were so many people and so many clothes that I was having difficultly even being able to move the hangers along the rack to see what was hanging there. I grabbed a few things and headed back to the books. I don't even know what I was picking up but if it looked in decent shape and wasn't about princesses or ponies, I put it in my bag. Off to the toys I went. I found a truck that carries four little cars. Then I found a table with a bunch of puzzles. I grabbed up several of those since Marcus loves puzzles. I decided I better check out the clothes again, particularly since I saw one woman there who's giant shopping bag that we were handed at the door was completely overflowing with clothes. Clothes are really what we needed. Things had been picked through a bit at this point which actually made it much easier for me to find things that were appealing. There were just so many people. We had only been there for 30 minutes but so much stuff was gone! I just sifted through the rack and grabbed anything that said 18-24 months with long sleeves that wasn't totally ugly or not in good shape. Where were Greg and Marcus during all this? I really don't know. I saw them a few times, mainly trying to keep out of the way, and I would fling a few things I had picked up at them to hold periodically. Then it was time to hit the line, the really really long line, so we could pay. In the end we had purchased an umbrella stroller, 8 shirts, 9 sets of pj's, 1 vest, 1 2-piece outfit, 1 sweater, 1 bathing suit with a flotation device attached, 1 ball cap, 3 sleep sacks, 1 truck that has 4 cars on it, 11 books, 1 movie, 4 puzzles, and 3 zip-lock bags filled with Mega Blocks. All this for $82.75. Check out the loot! (Just don't tell Marcus and William about all the books, toys, and puzzles in that second photo because most of that is evidence that our Christmas shopping is almost done.)

Our neighbor who has twin girls was working at the sale. She informed us that the next sale is on March 29th. It is already on my calendar. I think I am heading to the next sale alone and going to let Greg stay home with Marcus and William.

We weren't done shopping. We headed off to Target. There were a few essentials that Marcus, our growing boy, needed. We picked up some new onesies in the 18 month size and some socks that won't cut off the circulation to his feet. We also needed to get him some more child-sized plates and silverware since we have been encouraging him to eat like a grownup. Actually, that is something I failed to mention. Instead of sitting in his highchair, Marcus has moved to sitting at the table for his meals. He is so grown up!


Friday, September 14, 2007

Another Mistake

Yet another error that our agency has committed was brought to my attention today. The error itself is really no big deal in the big scheme of things, but really, I have just had enough. William is supposed to see his pediatrician in Guatemala once a month which occurs around his monthly “birthday”. We continue to have issues getting this medical report to us in a reasonable amount of time. The doctor emails the report to the head of the Guatemalan program in our agency. That person then gives it to our case worker who then gives it to us. About a month ago I found myself getting really irritated because William was due for his medical appointment around July 19 (his 7 month “birthday”) and it was a month later and we still hadn’t gotten our medical update. So I called our old case manager, told her how upset I was not only about not getting the medical update, but just with our agency in general. Nothing happened unless you count getting our medical update a few days later, even though it was over a month late.

For nearly a month now we have been waiting for our August medical report. I was so excited when I saw sitting there in my email this morning a medical update! In the email our new case worker sent us it explained that William’s pediatrician was having computer trouble in July which is why we didn’t receive our July medical update. Huh? But we did receive our July medical update. Anyway, I went on to open up a picture of our sweet baby boy. He looked exactly like he did in our July medical report, right down to wearing the exact same clothes. After closer inspection I realized that these were the same pictures we were sent for our July medical report. Then I went to check out our “August” report on William’s development. It was the exact same report.

This all just really pissed me off. What a stupid mistake! And where is our real August report??? I was off and typing an email to our new case worker. I was hoping, really really hoping and praying that things would be different with the new case worker. They are different and I know that this mistake has nothing to do with her, but that doesn’t change the fact that our agency is glowing with incompetence. I told our new case worker that I realized none of these mistakes were her wrongdoing in the email because the last thing I want right now is for our new case worker to hate us already. I really wanted to be all sugary sweet and nice and cooperative but there is no way I am going to sit back and do that while our agency walks all over us (and all their other clients for that matter). I explained that there was a bit of miscommunication somewhere and I wanted to know what the real story was. Then I went on to say that I am just tired of all the little bits of miscommunication. After being with the agency for nearly 2 years now and 2 adoptions, I have watched the rapid diminish of the quality of service that we have been provided.

There were a couple things I didn’t mention. For starters, I was really looking forward to this medical report because we sent a package down to William about 2 months ago now and I couldn’t wait to see him in the super cute clothes that we sent. William’s foster family is always very considerate and dresses him in the outfits that we have given him for his photo ops. No new clothes because there were no new pictures.

I also didn’t mention the one thing I saw different on our medical update this time. In every single medical update that we have received from our old case manager, there was no date on the report where William’s growth and development is described. On this report there was a date. Even when we got this exact same medical report a month ago, the date had been deleted. Why?? This is clearly something that our old case manager was doing. The only reason I can think of as to why she would do this would be so if the date on the medical report was two months previous, we would have no idea that the medical report took 2 months to get to us. Lies lies lies.

In support of our latest repeat of a medical report, the date on the report says that the doctor wrote the report on August 8, which is 2 weeks after William was due for his appointment. If that was indeed his real appointment date, I can clearly understand why we didn’t get this medical report the first time until mid-August. Also, if that was the date he was at the doctor, he probably wasn’t going to be going again until the second week of September, which means we really haven’t been waiting too long for his last medical update.

Please keeps the vibes and prayers coming our way that this adoption reaches its end very soon so we can just enjoy being with our son instead of all this other crap.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Seven Weeks (and lots of random stuff)

Seven weeks of PGN are now behind us. I have to remind myself to breathe. I know the saying is supposed to be that no news is good news, but there is still a chance that when the news comes it could be bad. It won’t be, but it still could be. Everyone on the guatadopt message board tries to get the whole PGN process down to a science. There is really no way of discovering what will happen with your case but it is still therapeutic to use other people’s good news to boost your mood about your own impending good news. Last week I heard that two cases were approved by PGN that had been submitted about 2 weeks before ours. They were approved around week 9. So, using that information I have deduced that in two weeks we will get approved by PGN. Another little “rumor” in the Guatemalan adoption world is that you are in PGN longer when you are going to get approved since your file needs to be signed off by some other people, steps that don’t take place when you get kicked out. Last time when we were in PGN (a LONG time ago, long before we got our PA) we were in PGN for 6 weeks and 2 days before getting kicked out. So unless we have been kicked out and our agency just hasn’t told us yet (our agency not giving us important information? NEVER! Ha!) our file has officially been in PGN longer than last time.

This whole uncertainty with our adoption time line is stressing me out at work. Everyone at work knows that we are adopting so it isn’t like I am keeping any secrets. Since I did just get promoted and I did just get back from being on leave for 6 months after Marcus came home, I haven’t been running around screaming about how I am planning on taking leave again as soon as William comes home. If people ask, I tell them that I am planning on taking time off. Of course I am. Why wouldn’t I? I know my boss has to know this as well. My part of the building is very small, just 7 of us all sitting in open desks, and we talk. I know she has had to have heard me talking about taking time off. Plus, she has two small kids of her own. I am betting that she was off work when they came home. She keeps giving me things to do though, which makes me think that she doesn’t know that I won’t be here at some point. We are hoping to have William home in November. She has now given me information about three (THREE!) overnight, out of town training courses that she wants me to consider attending. I mean, I don’t KNOW that I will be off work in November but I am certainly not going to be planning to attend training classes then. There is a huge event in February that I have to organize as part of my job description. I have been putting off doing some of the planning because there better not be any reason whatsoever that I am still here in February. I did have to start doing some of the planning though. Tomorrow I am going to go check out the venue where this event it supposed to take place. My boss wants me to go so I get an idea of how the place is set up so I can help to instruct people how to get around there when the event takes place. I am not going to be there! Anyway, I just am ready to get out of PGN. Once that happens I can sit my boss down and explain that in about 4-8 weeks my son will be coming home and I will be taking some time off so she can just stop suggesting I go to training or out of town events or be the sole planner for this February event.

Marcus is getting too smart for his own good these days. He used to have this minuscule memory which worked out great because I could easily distract him from whatever he shouldn’t be doing. Not so much now. The other night I had to take his book away from him (he LOVES his books) because it was time to get in the bath. Distraction by bath toys was not an option. The entire bath he cried out, “Aba!!!” (Aba is “A book”.) After that it was time to get him dried off and into his jammies and the whole time I heard, “Aba!!!!” Then it was time for snack. He didn’t want his snack. He made it clear he wanted, “Aba!!!” So for an hour it was “aba aba aba”.

We have been using and abusing Marcus’s smarts to the best of our ability. Marcus now has little “chores” that he “helps” us out with. It is his “job” to give the pooch her treats. Because our pooch has food allergies her treats are those little baby carrots. We open the fridge and Marcus does the rest. He opens the vegetable drawer, takes out a carrot, and gives it to the pooch. One of Marcus’s other “jobs” is to help set the table. Greg hands Marcus napkins, silverware, salt and pepper, parm cheese, or whatever else we need on the table, and Marcus takes them and puts them in the right spot, or at least generally in the right spot. I thoroughly plan to start saying here in a few years, “But you used to LOVE to set the table! I don’t know why you complain about it now!” Next week Greg is teaching Marcus how to mow the lawn.

I have a new kids book I would like to recommend. It was recommended by Adoptive Families Magazine. I happened to pick it up and figured it would be just like all my other kids books about adoption. Nope. It isn't about adoption at all. It is called, "We're Different, We're the Same". It is a Sesame Street book and it uses all the characters to show how they all have different bodies and body parts but even though they might look different, they all do the same things and actually have more alike than they do differences. It is a great book for all kids in my opinion.

Okay, enough talking about my kids. I am going to talk about me. I did something bad and I am ready to take full responsibility for it. Greg and I have intentions to move at some point in our lives. Our house is very nice. We like the area. The school district is great. We would be content living in our house forever. Still, there are things in a house I would prefer to have that just aren’t an option with our current house. We are in no hurry to get out of our house and obviously have some things to do to our house before even attempting to sell it (you know, like tend to our currently uninhabitable basement). I do like to check out listings of houses for sale from time to time. The other night I was doing this and happened to fall completely in love with a house. Logically, this house was totally wrong. It was an area that I wasn’t necessarily interested in. There was no garage and no master bath. With the price and the taxes, it would be stretching it a bit to even pay for the thing. Oh, and there was oil heat which was certainly no good on a tight budget. But there were some extreme positives. First of all, there was a little bit of land associated with it and a barn! I don’t have a clue what I would do with a barn but it would just be awesome to have one. It was about 6 miles from downtown. Land and that close to downtown? Unheard of. And it had a barn! It was about 1000 sq ft larger than our current house. Rather cool looking, contemporary style. In the yard was a barn in case you missed that part. I seriously became obsessed with this house. Greg is totally awesome and said that if I wanted we could make an appointment to look at it but we weren’t buying it. What was the point? So I stared at it all night last night. Then I got Greg to stare at it for awhile. I showed him the barn of course. Finally I decided we needed to look at it. I contacted someone today from the realtor company and was told that someone made an offer on the house, the offer was accepted, and although the sale wasn’t final the realtor really found no reason to be showing the house. The house had only been on the market for 10 days. Somehow I managed not to cry. It just wasn’t meant to be. Somewhere out there is another house and it will have even a better barn and it will be meant for me.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Naked Marcus

We have a naked kid on our hands. Or at least we will here very shortly. It seems that Marcus is no longer this tiny little baby that fits in tiny little baby clothes. Instead he is on the verge of breaking into the 18 month size. Currently, I don't have any clothes in that size though, or at least very few. Add to that the fact that the seasons will quickly be changing here from unbearably hot to nice and happy fall weather that lasts for about 2 days before becoming freezing cold constantly, and we have an issue.

So, I am on a quest to find some clothing. Yesterday I contacted someone from craigslist who was selling a great big bag of size 18-24 months clothes. The family headed over there yesterday to pick up the bag for a very reasonable price. It is a start but since a lot of the clothes are 24 months, it looks like many of the clothes won't make an appearance until next fall, either being worn by Marcus or William.

This weekend we are taking off bright and early to the kids sale being held by NPMOM (North Pittsburgh Moms of Multiples). They hold two of these each year, selling gently used clothing and kids items. I am planning on purchasing every fall/winter clothing item in size 18 months for boys, so if anyone else is hoping to snag a few of these items, you are going to need to beat me to them.


Sunday, September 09, 2007


This is a long overdue post, but our cookbook orders are in and we are waiting for our masterpiece to be returned from the printers (probably won't be until mid-October). We were hoping to sell 200 cookbooks. We met our goal and then some and ended up selling 267 copies! Also, we ordered some extra copies so we are going to continue to sell our cookbook until all the copies are gone. If you forgot to order yours or forgot to order one for everyone you know (remember, they make great Christmas presents!) just follow the link on this page and order away!

I want to send a special thanks out to our friends Melissa and Jon. Jon pimped our cookbook out at his place of employment and was able to sell 47 cookbooks. Incredible! Remember guys, if you need anything just ask! Melissa and Jon are adopting a little Guatemalan angel of their own so head over to their blog and support them.


Thursday, September 06, 2007

6 weeks, 1 day

That is how long we have been in PGN this time around. I know, not really that long in the big picture but that doesn't stop me from wanting out, in approved status of course. We got a case update today, the first from our new case worker. Due to the subject line I didn't even know it was a case update until I started reading. This was a good thing since I am currently fearful of case updates because they could contain potentially horrible news - not that that is going to happen so it is silly of me to worry. Anyway, I decided I already like this case worker better. The essence of the update was that we are still in PGN.

Our old case worker would have presented the information to us exactly like this, "Ann: I have a case progress report for you. Your case is still in PGN." That would have been it. Nothing else. Just that. Our new case worker told us that our case is still in PGN. She also went on to say that right now cases seem to be in PGN for about 8-10 weeks before they are approved and although there are no certainties, she feels that our file will be approved and that we should be out of PGN by the end of September. Woohoo!! I mean, it is just speculation and mostly speculation that I could have drawn myself, but for someone from our agency to tell us this and answer questions that we didn't even have a chance to ask yet, it was a treat.

Our new case worker also mentioned that she couldn't find in our file when we received our last medical update. I almost found this funny, thinking that it probably wasn't in there because... well, never mind. I am going to avoid saying anything more negative about our old case worker... for a second at least. I gave her that information, noting that the update was way overdue by the time we got it and how even this next medical update that we are expecting currently was from an appointment two weeks ago. Then I mentioned how we couldn't get a straight answer on why our medical updates were so far behind due to some past communication issues and perhaps she could spread some light on that. Wanna know what her response was? Yeah, so do I. I haven't heard from her yet. I guess I was expecting too much when I expected her to respond to our past communication problems with good communication.

Then there is Marcus. Yesterday he had an epiphany. It turns out that he is a big boy who can do whatever he wants and he can do it by himself. Therefore, there is no reason for him to answer to anyone whatsoever. Yeah, lovely. A simple wiping of his nose now requires me to pin him to the floor. Today, being the crazy mom that I am, I insisted that when we got to the parking lot of his day care Marcus hold my hand. Seriously, I don't know what I was thinking. He is Marcus, independent boy who doesn't need to do babyish things like hold hands. I took his hand. He protested. I held on. He fell to the ground and screamed his head off. (You know, because big, mature boys throw temper tantrums.) That was the end of him walking. He got carried to the car. While I buckled him into his car seat I explained that there are just some things in life you have no options about. You always wear your seat belt in the car. You always eat your vegetables. And you always hold hands in the parking lot. I am willing to bet that tomorrow when we reach the parking lot he is going to have forgotten all about our conversation and throw another temper tantrum.


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Movin' on Up

We have been dropped, ditched, abandoned. Thankfully, we were picked back up again. Our case worker who has been handling all our adoption needs since we started the process with Marcus is slowly resigning from her position. I knew this was happening but didn’t think it would affect us. That was until today when we were informed that we have been assigned a new case manager.

This situation nearly set me over the edge. For one thing, I was ecstatically happy. Although I found our case worker a delightful person on a personal level, I felt that she was really lacking at bringing us answers to anything adoption related. Many of my questions did not get answers for days, normally not until after I had to email multiple times wanting to know what was going on. These were not difficult questions generally either. Sometimes the answers seemed to make no sense. Like I would ask, “Do I need to sign this form in blue or black ink?” Two days and two emails later should would respond with, “Yes.” Yes what? Yes you had turkey on Thanksgiving? Her favorite direction to move conversations was circular. Half of what came out of her mouth seemed to be some canned response that she was dictated to use for any question she did not immediately know the answer to. So for that, I am quite excited. There is always the possibility that this new case worker won’t be any better but I am really doubting that she will be much worse. My agency has been known to surprise me though!

Then there is another edge that this former case worker almost set me over. Our old case worker told us that she was only keeping a few cases, cases that had been approved by PGN and cases that had been in PGN for several weeks and were expected to come out approved very soon. Umm… wouldn’t that latter category apply to ME??? This week marks 6 weeks in PGN. Cases usually get approved or kicked out around 8 weeks. We are planning on getting approved here in about two weeks. Did she know something we didn’t know and is not telling us?? Is she expecting our case to be kicked out?? Immediately I stopped breathing and had to email Greg and a few friends to remind me to inhale. Thanks guys for your help with that breathing thing. I figured, what the heck, and emailed said case worker. I wasn’t expecting to get any magical answer but she did tell me that she was referring to two cases she has that have been in PGN for 12 weeks. I remembered to breathe on my own after that, keeping in mind that really she could be telling the truth this time. Of course I did have a moment where I stopped breathing again for a second when I imagined being stuck in PGN for 12 weeks. Okay, not going to think about that. Entirely too scary.

So, all is well I guess. I emailed our new case worker and told her just how wonderful we are and how she should use her magical powers to make William come home soon. Then I told her how wonderful she is even though I have never met her because a little brown noising never hurts.

Other than that, would the person who has been slipping Marcus insanity pills please step forward? You need injured, or at least forced to spend long hours with my crazy man to get a glimpse at what I am dealing with.


Sunday, September 02, 2007

Help a Mom Out!

Hey you, whoever you are. I know someone has been slipping Marcus some happy pills this week. I didn't mean for my post yesterday to scare you off. I have been quite happy with Marcus on happy pills. I noticed today that Marcus did not get his dose of happy pills. Even if you are out of happy pills, maybe you could spare some no hitting or kicking pills, some sleep past 6 am pills, or some anti-temper tantrum for no known reason pills. Heck, at this point some rope and duct tape will work just fine too.


Saturday, September 01, 2007

Happy Pills

In my quest to stop being sick all the time, I decided to try taking these vitamin things that people keep talking about. Me and vitamins just don't get along. They end up making my tummy feel all gross which in turn makes the rest of me just miserable. So on one of my two Target trips this week, I picked myself up some One-A-Day vitamins. Just for giggles, I decided to grab the kind that claim "all day energy". You try being a working mom of a toddler and tell me you wouldn't have opted for some extra energy as well.

These vitamins are awesome! I think One-A-Day makes the things so darn big just to keep you from swallowing up a handful of these things every day. I took my first one on Thursday morning while I was at work. Turns out I had to be stuck at my desk all day Thursday, something that usually doesn't happen. Let me just tell you, having all day energy and being stuck at a desk is not a good combination. By 10:00 I was contemplating taking the rest of the day off for no other reason than the run laps around the building. I am not a runner, I was wearing dress shoes, and it was 90+ degrees outside but none of this mattered.

Friday was quite similar, except I didn't have to be stuck at my desk all day and got to travel around the area. Then there was today. I was up at 6:45. I made muffins. (I have never made muffins in my entire life.) Marcus and I played. Then we took a 30 minute walk. Then we gave the dog a bath. Then we played with sidewalk chalk. Then he played with his toys while I cleaned up a little. Then he and I played tag, chasing each other around the house. After lunch he went down for a nap and I went to work cleaning all the windows in the house. I got dinner pre-cooked at some point in there as well. Once he got up I vacuumed the house, we had a quick snack, and then we were off to meet Cara and Max for our last swim of the season. Usually at this point each night I am using toothpicks to keep my eyes open. Tonight, I feel like dancing!

Although I didn't see it, I suspect that someone must have slipped Marcus some happy pills of some sort as well. Generally he is a happy kid but this week has just been FUN! He is so excited about walking and just loves loves loves to do it. He is so distracted by walking that he has even forgotten to do all those other toddler-like activities like throwing temper tantrums, touching things he shouldn't be touching, and generally destroying the house. We just play and laugh all day long. Sometimes I just have to scoop him up and hug him and kiss him and make him giggle because I just love him so much. And it is fun!! I chase him. He chases me. Then he chases the dog, something I am pretty sure Marcus finds way more fun than the dog does.

Totally an aside, but this evening I thought I would try to curb some of my energy and catch up on a few blogs that I have bookmarked. I started reading and thought, Why in the world am I reading all these adoption blogs? How does that pertain to my life? Oh yeah. I actually forgot for a second there that my little boy is not flesh of my flesh. He so much my son that I forgot that he was brought into my life through a unique path.