Thursday, November 29, 2007

Called PGN...

"Thank you, 1st reviewer!"

"Now come on 2nd reviewer... Give us some good news!"

I couldn't wait any longer. I called PGN today!

We went to the 2nd reviewer on 11/26. There are a total of 3 reviewers. 90% of the kickouts I've seen come from the 2nd reviewer. So let's hope that everything is in order in our file and the 2nd reviewer looks upon us favorably!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Goodbye again

These 5 days passed so quickly. I had a nice dinner with my foster family. Dominic was up 3 hours past his bedtime, so he was quite fussy, but so glad to see them. Here are some pics from after dinner.

There is a fountain in the middle of the food court that resembles Tikal and they stuck a Christmas tree on top of it! :)

We've been on the lookout for Santa this week. We saw one in front of Hyper Paiz on Thursday, but he was gone by the time we finished our shopping. I believe this is Chef Santa? Close enough..

The bracelets I have on my right arm are gifts from Dominic's 7 year old foster sister.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Peek-a-Boo from Guatemala

PattyCake and Peek-a-Boo... 2 of our new favorite games. :)

Dominic really doesn't like to spend much time in the room. Perhaps it's too quiet? He loves to sit in the lobby or walk around the mall area. We spent 2 hours in the lobby this morning and another hour or 2 this afternoon.

So we've established that I love a good bargain... Guess what I found in Gutemala City? A dollar store! Well everything's not exactly $1, but most of it was less than $5 and they have the same cheap stuff as in the States. This is a great place for children's games, flashcard/puzzle sets and baby books in Spanish. I've got to find something to fill those suitcases for the way home. ;)

Tomorrow we'll meet Dominic's foster family for dinner and say goodbye again.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

A room with a view

Posting this photo especially from my niece since this was the topic in school in October...

We have a wonderful view of El McDonalds from our room. Oh yeah, and 2 VOLCANOS! :)

Hola from Guatemala!

What a busy day we've had!

Breakfast around 8am and then off to the Marriott to visit with some agency friends and do some shopping. I love the shops behind the Marriott and seem to find the best bargains there. Back to the Grand Tikal to visit with friends from another forum, a quick nap and then down to the food court for dinner. We took half of our dinner back to a friend's room to finish, chit-chat and have Chocolate Churros for dessert! They also come in vanilla and strawberry, so we'll have to check those out before we leave.... :)

It was 9pm when we got back. No major plans for Saturday or Sunday. Just lots of relaxing and bonding (and photo shoots, of course).

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I'm here!

The internet connection here is awful though, so I'm not sure if we'll get any photos posted today.

Dominic is doing wonderful! He's talking and playing and even after an awful night of travel delays and a few hotel issues, we're still going strong on the 3 hours of sleep I've had.

We had an amazing morning with my foster family and have another dinner scheduled before I leave.

For our first Thanksgiving dinner we had Pollo Campero, the Guatemalana KFC, but MUCH better! :)

I have so much to be thankful for this year and although I dearly miss my family at home, I am glad to be spending this day here with Dominic.

Eat some turkey for me! :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

In Houston and I'm tired

I'm sure friends and family wonder what the hell is wrong with me when they have asked me if I'm excited about going to see Dominic and I can only manage to give a half hearted "Yeah". But the truth is I'm not excited. I'm tired.

I'm tired of packing 150 pounds of outfits and toys and bottles for a life for Dominic that I'm not yet able to share with him.

I'm tired of the stress of planning and coordinating with my agency and foster family and translators and drivers and hotels and airlines.

I'm tired of washing bottles in the bathroom sink and boiling nipples in a coffee pot.

I'm tired of taking hundreds of pictures to try to make them "last" between trips.

I am so tired of terminal E in the Houston airport.

I'm tired of deciding what to leave and what to bring back home.

I'm tired of him adjusting to the hotel and not knowing where he is when he wakes up.

I'm tired of the unpredictability of the process.

Most of all I'm tired of saying goodbye and coming home without him.

I know everyone in this process is going through the same thing. I am very fortunate to be able to visit as often as I have and I'll always be grateful for the time that we've been able to spend together in his early months.

I also know that all of this stress and bitterness will melt away the moment I see his face tomorrow... :) but right now, I'm tired.

6 months already?

Happy 6 months, Dominic!

This is the last of the pictures from our last trip. More coming soon - next post from Guatemala! :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Updated Measurements

Weight: 17 lbs
Head cir: 43 cm
Length: 25.2"

Looks like someone is liking the rice cereal! :)

Kiss the heart and make a wish...

I wanted to get Dominic a special gift for Christmas, but nothing really seemed right, until I saw my blogger friend, F.'s, blog... She inspired me to visit the Build-a-Bear Workshop. I chose the softest bear there, selected Brahms Lullaby for one arm and recorded a special message from me to Dominic in the other.

After the woman placed the audio chips inside and stuffed it, she instructed me to choose a heart for my bear, give it a kiss and make a wish. Anyone guess what I wished for? :)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Friday, November 16, 2007

Favorite Foto Friday

We usually only manage to get 1 group family picture per year, so this is my favorite photo today. This one isn't really complete since my brother wasn't there....

This was taken in August the night we met to celebrate my Dad's birthday. This was also the night I gave my mom her photo album from Guatemala filled with pictures of Dominic from my first visit.

Adrian, Niki, Bill, Pat, Jacob, Jamie

Now she thinks she should get a new album FULL of pics after each visit trip. I can't let her down so I'll continue to take lots of pics... :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

"But I thought Halloween was over...."

No, I didn't dress Dominic up like a little girl. Well that wasn't my intention anyway...

This is my christening outfit from when I was a baby. Ask anyone who's been to Guatemala, the water at the Marriott is holy...

Monday, November 12, 2007

20 seconds of pure joy....

Not his first words, or first steps or anything monumental. Just a few seconds of his precious smile... :)

Click here to see the video from our October Visit

Another acronym?

Ok, folks. We're getting to the end of the acronyms. So, PGN... this is the final stage of the process.

After the judge approves your file in Family Court, it will be submitted to the Procurduria General de la NaciĆ³n (PGN). PGN is similar to our Attorney General's office. At the PGN, your case will be randomly assigned to a staff attorney who is responsible for reviewing the entire file. Most importantly, the review is to determine if all legal aspects have been complied with for your adoption. This includes verifying that the documents are in proper form with proper notary, state seals, and authentications. The reviewer will also assure your file includes the proper stamps and seals from the Family Court and other offices that review your file in Guatemala prior to being submitted to the PGN. The reviewing attorney has great discretion in interpreting the law and requesting documents so it is very common for variations in which documents are requested. If your file is "kicked out" of PGN because the reviewer is wanting something additional or a correction, this is called a "previo" It typically takes 4-8 weeks for the attorney in PGN to complete his/her review.

Most people get at least 1 previo, some people are on their 4th or 5th which extends the PGN process months and months....

Hoping our stay in PGN is short!

Friday, November 9, 2007


We are OUT of Family Court as of 11/7 and were submitted to PGN today!!

More details on what all that means later for my non-adoption friends, but it is GOOD NEWS!!!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Favorite Foto Friday

I shared a similar picture a few weeks ago. I love this series of photos my sister took of the 2 of us on our last visit trip.

Pictures from our foster mom's house

Here are some pictures from the cameras I left with my foster mom in August. He loves his LeapFrog and as you can see, she plays the tape I left for him often. When I sang those same songs to him in October, he looked at me curiously like he had heard those before... :)

As you can see, like most Guatemalans, they have tile floors which means the babies don't get much time there or learn to crawl before walking like American babies.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Congratulations to our friend!

I am happy to announce that our friend, Dominic A. , is coming home next week!

I travelled to Guatemala for the first time to meet my Dominic along with my friend K. who was making her second visit trip to see her son, Dominic A.. K. is a wonderful friend and mother to her 3 children and was an amazing resource for me as I navigated my way around Guatemala City and my first few days with Dominic. She was able to share my first moment meeting Dominic and captured everything on video for me - an amazing gift that I will always treasure.

Dominic A. will be home just 1 week before his first birthday. They've had quite a year with many frustrations along the way. Wishing them safe travels and the wonderful homecoming they deserve!

Dominic A. (9 months) and Dominic M. (2.5 months). August 2007

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Out of Family Court, or not?

I still don't know.

My coordinator said my file may have been released last Wednesday, but I haven't heard from her since... Perhaps I'll hear something this Friday.

I talked to my foster mom last week and we made plans for my trip in November. Dominic and I are so fortunate to have such a wonderful foster family and I look forward to spending time with them while I'm there. She has been feeding him rice cereal over the last week or so and will introduce more food over the next few weeks. Apparently he gained 3 pounds this month! She said the 3-6 month clothes were still fitting, but that it would probably be a good idea to bring some 6-9 month clothes, as well. So you know what that means, right? MORE SHOPPING! :)

Actually I already have 2 - 17 gallon totes full of clothes in larger sizes, but I still had to pick up a few more items. Every boy needs a brown corduroy blazer, right?

I went shopping with my family this weekend in search of a crib. As usual, the options overwhelmed me and I couldn't make a decision for fear of picking a less than optimal crib solution, so we came back home with nothing. Nanny picked out his Christmas outfit and we'll be taking plenty of pictures over Thanksgiving.

I know it's time to visit when I run out of pics to post.... Only a few more left from last trip!

Friday, November 2, 2007

New pictures

Guatemala 5000 Update

Good news! Again, thank you all for your letters, faxes and phone calls!

JCICS posting this week -

"Through our collective efforts, the Guatemala 5000 Initiative has resulted in 203 Members of the United States Congress supporting the completion of all in-process adoptions via their signature on letters being sent today, October 31, 2007 to Guatemalan President Oscar Berger, UNICEF Executive Director Ann Veneman and UNICEF Guatemala Director Manuel Manrique. The 203 Senators and Representatives represent the largest number in the 22 year history of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption and the first time the Coalition has addressed UNICEF.

Joint Council thanks the thousands of adoptive families and their friends who made calls, sent faxes and emailed their Congressional representatives. We also extend our considerable appreciation for the efforts of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute for their tireless efforts, to the National Council for Adoption for their support and to the Co-Chairs of the Congressional Coalition, Senator Mary Landrieu, Senator Norm Coleman, Congressman James Oberstar and Congresswoman Ginny Brown-Waite for their vital leadership.

The text of the letters along with all signatories will be available on Friday, November 30 2007 on both the Joint Council and CCAI websites. It is our continued hope that these letters will result in the development of a legal, transparent and expeditious process by which the thousands of children currently in Guatemalan orphanages and foster-care will find their permanent, safe and loving family.

As we have stated many times, Joint Council will continue our advocacy on behalf of the Guatemalan children until each child needing a family has found one."

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Dia de los Muertos ~ Day of the Dead ~ All Saints Day

Today is a holiday in Guatemala. Although it sounds like a very sad holiday, it's actually a festive celebration in most Latin American countries to honor the lives of the dead and celebrate the continuation of life.

Each country has different traditions. In Guatemala, they celebrate with huge kites, "barriletes gigantes":

These kites are between 10 - 25 feet in diameter and are flown high to symbolize the link between the living and the dead. Some also contain written messages attached to them from families to their loved ones who have passed.