Tuesday, January 29, 2008

New Pictures

Wow, it has been a while since I have posted. I have kind of needed a break from the whole blogging world. I have been pretty discouraged lately by the whole adoption thing.

The good new is that in the mean time we have gotten lots of pictures of Shiloh. (thanks so much Jennifer and Krystal!!!) Here are a few of them:

We also got some Christmas pictures last week, but I'll save those for the next post.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Office

"It feels like somebody took my heart and dropped it into a bucket of boiling tears... and at the same time, somebody else is hitting my soul in the crotch with a frozen sledgehammer... and then a third guy walks in and starts punching me in the grief bone" Michael Scott, The Office

OK, so maybe it hasn't been quite that bad. My brother forced Filipe and I to watch a few episodes of The Office on Christmas Eve, and we have been hooked ever since. Last Wednesday Filipe took the day off to be with me and to run around fixing the issue with our paperwork. When we got home we were emotionally spent and just wanted to veg out in front of the TV, so we spent the afternoon watching The Office. In spite of our depression, we were rolling on the floor laughing. Lately, whenever I am feeling bummed out, I just watch an episode and I walk away with a smile on my face. I really think this show is going to keep me sane through these last few months of torture. If you haven't seen it yet, you really should rent it!

I am still pretty bummed out about the whole thing, but doing better than I was. Thank you so much for all of the prayers, comments and support! It has really been so deeply touching! One day I will be able to tell Shiloh how much people from all over the place cared about her and prayed for her. Thank you!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Kicked out of PGN

Well, we found out that we were kicked out of PGN. I guess we got kicked out Dec. 18 and are only finding out about it now. I am totally depressed and have been crying about it all morning. Our agency said that PGN is still taking cases, though I don't know if that is really true. Plus, it is going to take a few weeks to fix the problems, so who knows if they will still be taking cases by that time. I know it is normal to get kick outs, but under the circumstances I was really hoping that we would go through without a problem. This also pretty much guarantees that Shiloh won't be home by her first birthday. I am so sad right now.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Retail Therapy

These last few days have had a lot of ups and downs for me, and I am sure that will continue for many days to come. I am really working on not worrying and letting these problems in Guatemala go, but there are times when that is easier said than done. I have had little pieces of encouragement this weekend and times of truly being ok with everything.

Every time problems or delays come up in the process, I get the urge to do something or buy something for Shiloh. I think it is a subconscious way of me rebelling against the problems, like saying, "Oh yeah, well I still believe she will be home and just to show you, I am going to go out and buy something for her, because I know she will get to use it soon, so take that!" Kind of like my own stubborn show of faith. Well, today was no exception.

We went to Babies R US and finally bought a baby monitor. It has been one of the only big things that we have been missing. We also bought the warranty for when it falls apart (as all monitors seem to, according to the reviews).

I also got some bottles. This was my big "stick it to you" purchase. I had taken all of my bottles and sippy cups back a few months ago because I had done some reading about bisephenol in some plastics, but once I had returned them I was hesitant to buy new ones because I started thinking, what if it takes too long for her to come home and by the time we get her, she doesn't even use bottles anymore. Well, I am having faith that she will be home and will still need bottles. The great thing about these bottles, besides the fact that they don't have the bisephenol in them is that when it is time to move into sippy cups, you can replace the bottle nipples with silicone sippy nipples and they become the sippy cup without having to buy a totally different cup.

Now I just need my little girl home to use all of this stuff! The latest that I have heard about PGN (though my agency warns me that it could change every day) is that the cases that are currently in PGN are still being processed and approved, but if the case has not yet been submitted into PGN or if it gets a previo and is kicked out, then it can't be submitted again until it is registered with the Central Authority. We have been in PGN for 3 1/2 weeks now. I know that it is very normal for cases to be kicked out, but I am desperately praying that we will be one of the rare cases that goes through quickly without getting kicked out. Please continue to pray for us and Shiloh, and all the other families who are having to deal with all of this too! I know that God is faithful, and truly believe that if he has moved to grandfather the in process cases into the new laws, that he will also work this out too!

Friday, January 4, 2008

The drama is still not over

Just when we thought that all of the conflict and turmoil was more or less over in Guatemala, we have started the new year with a whole new batch of complications.

The following is a letter we got from our agency yesterday:
Subject: Update about the adoption law - Jan 2, 2008

Last week we filed an amparo (legal resource to stop a threat to a constitutional
right) to protect the notaries from the elimination of the notarial process of
adoption, but unfortunately, the lawyer who reviewed it, without asking anyone else,
decided to change some vital parts of the petition, that caused it to be rejected
at once by the Constitutional Court. Right away, I printed the original version of
the amparo and this time it went to the CC without any changes, on December 28th.
The CC should have ruled that very same day, accepting the petition, requesting
the Congress to send an inform about the facts of the case, and granting (or not)
the suspension of the law. Instead of doing so, the CC notified us today that it
only accepted the petition of amparo (big step), but neglected to request the inform
from Congress and to rule about the suspension of the adoption law. The CC also
requested us to let the court know about the possible interest that the entities
that we requested to have as interested third parties, may have in the amparo. We
filed a brief today, stating the interest of the professional entities who have a
vested interest in the outcome of the amparo and pointing out that the CC neglected
to request the Congress' inform and to decide about the suspension of the law. We
believe that the CC is trying as hard as they can to avoid having to suspend the law
and that is why they also delayed the order to Congress. But skirting the legal
issues won't solve the problem of the CC . Eventually they will have to rule on the
legal issues. If they reject the amparo, we are poised to file as many
constitutional challenges as we can, to take down that awful law. Meanwhile, we will
try to work with the new congress, where the political forces have shifted after the
elections, and two thirds of the congressmen are new people, to pass a law that
would keep the good of the current system and the good of the Hague Convention, to
allow us to keep helping children to have families who love them.

The PGN is refusing to accept any cases, old or new, under the argument that the
cases must be registered with the Central Authority, which of course, doesn't exist,
and very well could be that it won't ever be established, because after all, they
don't want us to finish the "in process" adoptions. Bienestar Social is trying to
get an inventory of all the children at the hogars and of their situation, because
they are getting ready for a hostile takeover of all the children, after the 30 days
are over and we failed to register those cases with an nonexistent central authority.
We must start raising the public outcry, because this is way different than what they
offered to the US, and to us.

Seems that the director of the hogar in Guatemala of Holt's is the designated member
by Bienestar Social of the BOD of the Central Authority. If that is so, the plan is
clear. Snatch as many children from the private hogars as possible and accredit only
Holts and a couple of other adoption agencies, to send all the children to them.

We will see tomorrow what the CC says about the brief that we filed today, and if
the law is suspended or not. If it is not, we will know that they are playing hardball
and we will react accordingly.

Happy New Year to all of you, and don't give up. This is very far from being over


I have to be honest, I don't completely understand what all of it means, but the danger isn't over yet. Please be praying for us and all the other cases waiting to be completed and babies who are still waiting to come home! Please be praying for all of the cases and children in Guatemala, that these problems will be worked out and that the transition into the new laws will be quick and easy, that all of the cases will be able to be completed without any problem and that God will keep a fence of protection around all of the hogars.

I feel confident that God will move and work it all out! I am fighting to trust in Him and not worry, because He is the only one with control in this situation, and He is more powerful than any government or authority. Please pray for our children and our peace of mind as we continue to wait for our children!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy 2008!

I can't believe that the holidays are over! They went by so quickly! We had a great time relaxing with my family over Christmas, but Shiloh and Eva (our first referral that we lost) were on my mind a lot. Every year, on the last Sunday of the year, people at our church share different testimonies of things that had happened to them through that year. Last year Filipe and I shared a little about how God had put it in our heart to adopt and how God had provided for us to be able to do so. I remember thinking how cool it would be that the next time they did that, our daughter would be with us, but I guess God had different plans. It is a strange feeling to be sitting in almost the exact same place as we were in last year, still anxiously waiting for our daughter, but knowing that at the same time so much has changed. 2007 was the hardest, most emotional year ever for me, but also brought me a lot of growth and depth to my relationship with God. In spite of all the pain, I wouldn't change any of it. I still hope and pray that God might bring Eva back into our lives one day, but we have also released her into His hands, knowing that that may never be in His plans. I am so thankful that He has brought Shiloh to us! He has given me so much hope and healing through her. My life has already changed so much because of her, and she isn't even home yet. So, I am thankful for the year past, though not sorry to see it go, and am anxiously waiting to see what this year brings! I am so excited and hopeful for this next season in my life, and can't wait to have my baby girl home with me!

Filipe's dad and his girlfriend gave this little bracelet to Shiloh for Christmas. It is traditional in Portugal for all the babies to wear these little bracelets, and I have always loved them. I am planning on taking it with me to Guatemala when we go to pick her up. I feel like putting it on her will feel a little symbolic to me. It is definitely not the kind of thing we would put on her if we were just visiting and then leaving her behind, because we would probably never get it back, but something we would put on her when we are bringing her home forever. I can't wait to see it on her little wrist!

My sisters-in-law and I also decided to do a little project yesterday for New Years. We embroidered little shirts and sweaters for our kids. These are the ones I did for Shiloh:

The top one says Shiloh Hope Raquel, but the Raquel is hard to see in the picture because it is white.

Please continue to pray for us and our process! It has meant the world to us! I am determined to wait until at least Monday to call PGN again and am really hoping that things have progressed a bit in these last 3 1/2 weeks. I am getting really anxious now that we can almost see the end of all of this!

Also please be praying for my brother and sister. They are hoping to get their referral this week from Ethiopia. Their process is a lot different than ours because they get their referral at the end of the process vs. near the beginning, so we have all been waiting a long time to see this little boy!

Wow, I didn't think I had that much to say, but somehow this post got really long. I'll post some Christmas pics later.