The greatest experience, the one which shakes a soul with hopes and fears, the results of which are never ending, and incidentally, the one which pays the biggest dividends, is to be found in the adoption of children.
--Anonymous

Monday, December 26, 2011

Sending You A Little Christmas!



Praying this is the last Christmas we spend without you home!

Thanks to my brother Jay and my nephew Trey for putting this together for me!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Happy 4th Birthday Nola!



We celebrated Nola's fourth birthday last week end. It's so hard to believe four years have gone by! I know her special day wasn't recognized in the hogar. They do have a monthly celebration of some sort for all of the children who have birthday's that month.

I'm looking forward to the day when she can have her own party, and pick out what ever design she wants for her birthday cake and have her birthday wishes come true!

















Maria has appointed herself the official candle blower outer.

But I know next year, Nola will take care of that job herself!

We're praying you home sweet baby! Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

It Feels Like It Might Be Hope!!

We finally had some news last night, through a conference call, about the most recent trip to Guatemala by Senator Landrieu and her group. It sounds like cases, like ours, that have Certificate of Adoptability will be ready to process rather quickly. The CNA has released a Memorandum of Understanding which covers how the process will work and seems to have included most if not all of the stalled cases. I guess now we wait again to see how the process will actually function but for now I'm thrilled for an answer to prayer. We were told that the tone of this trip was completely different than the trips before. I know that was God at work. He softened the hearts of all of the officials involved which allowed them to see a way forward for these cases. The process is indeed in writing and ready to be put to work.


Thank You Lord!!!


"Hope has a way of turning it's face to you just when you least expect it.
You walk in a room, you look out a window and something there leaves you breathless.
You say to yourself, it's been a while since I've felt this
But it feels like it might be Hope!"


(Chorus of It Might Be Hope by Sarah Groves)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Waiting



There have been moments in my life when I wished time would stand still...........and then, there is this moment. At this moment, I am so anxiously waiting to hear some news, any news, of the most recent meetings between the US and Guatemala concerning adoptions. The US group was in meetings in Guatemala Monday and Tuesday last week and arrived home one week ago today. Now tell me, how long should it take to gather thoughts, information, facts and statistics and put it all together into a message for the hundreds of families who are waiting???? In my opinion...............one week is plenty of time.



Saturday, July 2, 2011

Could It Be, There's Finally Some Good News To Report???

I may be getting a little ahead of myself here and I may be sorry for posting something that really hasn't been verified by anyone from our government...........yet...... but it looks like we may have something to celebrate on the adoption front.



The Presna Libre has reported that CNA has sent a proposal to the US Embassy in Guatemala outlining a way to process cases like ours. There are some stipulations stated. The case has to have been registered with PGN by 12/31/07 (our case was registered 12/27/07). There has to be proof of a bond with the child (no problem there). The case has to have Certificate of Adoptability and not be able to process under the old law. That's us!!!



I know I have gotten excited before just to be shot down but I can't help myself. I'm feeling hopeful again! The stipulations stated in the article will disallow some families from completing their adoptions and I hope this proposal by the CNA is just the beginning of a resolution. Many of those families have been in process much longer than we have so I'm praying there is going to be some on going talks between the two countries to allow all the in process families a way to bring their children home.




This news has been a long time coming. It's still really hard to believe and I'm not planning on things starting to happen very quickly (although I wish they would). Nola will be four years old in September................and we want her home!!




Please pray that the positive news continues to flow. Since my meeting with Sr. Valesquez in April, I've prayed that God would open his heart and show him a way forward for these cases. It's looking like that specific prayer is being answered! Thank you God!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A "Magical" Vacation!

Just returned from a wonderful week in Florida. Spent four days on our favorite Anna Maria Island and four days in Disney. Maria was in heaven!! She had a great time on the beach and she LOVED Disney. Seeing the expression on her face when she saw the castle in the Magic Kingdom for the first time was one of my favorite moments of the whole trip. Our little princess just couldn't get enough of the princesses. We had made arrangements for her to get her hair, nails and makeup done at the Bibbity-Bobbity Boutique and when we arrived for her appointment, they took her to the front window and she was the "display princess". She sat inside the big picture window and had her hair put up and her make up applied while passers by looked on. She was beyond thrilled! Then it was off to the castle where we had lunch at the Royal Table with the Princesses. She was living her little dream, all decked out in her sparkling Rapunzel dress, princess sash...........and tiara, of course.




Our week went by much too fast.



We celebrated Kyle's 25th, while we were at the beach, at a yummy sea food restaurant.....and no, he wasn't able to eat that entire dessert. Not even with help from his dad!








The weather was perfect, the water was warm and we couldn't have asked for anything better. I wish we could have reversed our time and had Disney first and the beach last so we could have had a chance to relax a bit before we headed home but it just didn't work out that way. By the end of our vacation we all felt like this:





Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Birth Mom Search Results Are In...

...And it was just as we were fearing............or rather than fearing, I should say suspecting. The cedula (ID card in Guatemala) is a fake. Our birth mother's picture is on someone else's ID. We know what our birth mother looks like and we know nothing beyond that. Talk about a road block. I'm waiting to hear from our dear friend down there to know where we go from here.
We know we're looking for a small woman with black hair and dark eyes. Hmmm, anyone care to take that search on.....................in Guatemala?

Yes, it does seem like doors are slamming in our face at every turn. And yes, it would be very easy to give up but it's not happening! I'm more determined than ever to find a way forward for this adoption. I have faith and I believe our little girl is coming home.

Mt 17:20 ..."I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Happy 19th Birthday Kelsey!

Nineteen years ago, on Easter Sunday morning, God blessed us with our fourth child......and life has never been the same! Don't know where the time has gone but Kels just finished her first year of college. When she was little, an all too often visit to the shoe department would be her idea of bliss (if there was a purchase made) and today.........she's much the same way! One of her favorite past times is photography so I decided to use that theme for her cake. It's hard to see in the pictures but the camera on the cake is much like the real one she uses. The camera is made out of rice crispies and covered with butter cream icing.






Happy Birthday Kelsey!! Love you!!



Don't know for sure what kind of birds these are but they graced us with their presence one Saturday morning on their way to somewhere warm I'm sure.

They didn't stay long. I don't think they enjoyed having their picture taken.






Adoption news



I don't have a lot of news to share. The search for Nola's birth mother is going on currently. Mayra was hoping to have some news by the week end but we'll have to wait and see. The area where she has two men searching is a place that will be hard to access once the rainy season starts so we're praying for some quick results. We're also waiting to hear news from Senator Landreau detailing her visit over the Easter Holiday. As soon as there is something to report, believe me, I'll post it.




For now, please continue to pray and believe that everything that needs to happen, will happen, for us to bring our little Nola home. Pray for the men who are searching that they will remain safe and God will guide them to the area they need to go to find the birth mother.




Another prayer request. I've been praying for Byron Valesquez and would love for you to join me in covering this man with prayer. He is the head of CNA. He is the man who is leading the charge to find homes in Guatemala for the children who are already promised to adoptive families here in the US and beyond. I'm praying that God will soften his heart. I'm asking God to allow Sr Valesquez to recognize the bond the families have with these children and honor that bond by finding a way forward for these adoptions.

Friday, April 15, 2011

My trip in a nut shell

Well, there were wonderful moments and heartbreaking moments. I met with the Consul General who was very kind and did her best to explain the problems they are having trying to deal with the Guatemalan government. I left the meeting feeling hopeful.


Then it was on to the the hearing. The hearing was cancelled. No notification, just cancelled. The judge no longer presides over the court. I'm not sure if she quit or why she is no longer there but no judge means no hearing. We left information so we could be notified of the rescheduling but I'm not sure that will happen. The hearing was my chance to see Nola and since there was no hearing, those hopes were dashed..........until I got back to the hotel. When I told Gloria about the hearing she got on the phone and worked her magic. Within two hours we were on our way to see my baby girl. The day could not have turned out any better. I have pictures but just don't feel comfortable posting them right now with the situation the way it is. Take my word for it, she's as beautiful as ever!


The following day I met with Lissette of the Foreign Ministry. She is very kind, took down our case information and offered to help in any way she can.


And now for the not so good news. We decided to go to CNA and just wait until someone would see us. Well, that's not all together true. We were at CNA at 9:00 and my taxi to the airport was coming at 10:30 so we were prepared to wait for an hour and a half anyway. After about 35 minutes we were called back to Sr Valesquez's office. He proceeded to tell me our case was terminated the day the judge issued the Certificate of Adoptability. He also said they are required to look for a national home for Nola. Talk about tears, wow! They did bring me a box of tissues and a glass of ice water.......if they had just brought me my little Nola, I would have said thank you very much and gone home!


So now we're really under the gun. I'm not sure how hard the US is pushing the Guatemalan government to honor the remaining cases. I'm praying if some sort of agreement is reached, it happens before Nola has been placed in a Guatemalan home.


So much for being "Grandfathered"!


We are now trying to locate the birth mother and yes, it will be quite similar to finding a needle in a haystack! Sr Valesquez told me if we find the birth mother, it's possible we can have the judge's ruling reversed and continue processing through PGN.


I'm just not ready to give up yet. I haven't fought all of this time to quit now. Until God reveals to me that her coming home is not part of his plan, I will continue to pray and believe that Nola's coming home some day. Please stand with me in that hope and pray our little girl home!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Latest News From The DOS

Not sure where to begin this one. There just doesn't seem to be any good news to tell. We had a conference call yesterday with the DOS, USCIS, some other officials but I can't remember who they were and I don't really care. I'm sick (literally) and tired of being strung along all this time. Basically we were told yesterday that there are 27 cases like ours with the CNA. We are grandfathered cases and the Guatemalan government will process our cases but only after exhausting the possibility of National adoption. In other words, the CNA will try to find a Guatemalan family to adopt Nola first and if they can't find one, then our case can proceed. Thank you US Government for all of your support on that move! When we were told the news, it was very matter of factly, no words of encouragement, no promise to try and encourage the Guatemalan Government to see that these children already have loving homes to come to and there are so many children in their hogars who need families. No, basically, the facts were stated and then they moved on. Not sure what was said during the rest of the call. I was dumbfounded! How can they say we have "grandfathered status" yet make those of us with CNA process under the new law? It makes absolutely no sense! Welcome to the world of International Adoption. When it works, it's wonderful but when it doesn't, it's heart breaking. I'm leaving to head down to my home away from home on the 10th. The judge had scheduled a follow up hearing for the 11th that I will be attending. I'm sure I won't be able to sit in on the hearing but at least the judge will know that I'm there and I may be able to speak with her after. I have a meeting with the Consul General before the hearing and a meeting with the Foreign Ministry the following day. Believe me, this is one momma who is going to plead her case, probably through a lot of tears but..............that's me! I know that it isn't over yet. I know, if it's a part of God's plan, Nola will still come home. I also know this is getting to be almost more than I can take. Please pray. Pray that our little girl is going to have a loving family. Pray that no matter if her home is here with us or with a family in Guatemala that God will watch over her and protect her. Pray that God will give me the strength to get through this next wait cause, wow, it's going to be rough! This is a picture of my new mother's ring. I've always wanted one but could never find one I liked until now. Nola's birthstone is third from the right. It looks black in this picture but it's a Sapphire. She's my baby girl. She will always be my baby girl. Even if she never comes home to live with us she will always be in our hearts.

But I'm still praying "Please God, bring her home to us!"


Monday, March 7, 2011

Maria's Tangled Castle Birthday Cake

Well, I wasn't sure at first how I was going to accomplish the latest birthday cake wish but after looking at several finished products on line, I came up with my plan. I used an old Wilton separator set that belonged to mom. I'm not sure if it's even made any more but it's the one with the center post that goes up through the tiers. I made a 14" lower cake and a 10" upper. I started with a batch of rice crispie treats to mold the spire for the top of the castle. I let that set while I iced the two cakes.



I iced the roof in butter cream and used fondant cut into little rectangles to make the shingles and fondant for the small spire over the balcony and the balcony wall.




After I had the top decorated, I formed two more batches of rice crispie treats into two halves to make the tower.


I should have let the two halves set longer than I did because the tower kept wanting to slump down as it set. I ended up wrapping a piece of plastic wrap around the tower to make it stay tight and hold where I wanted it.


I iced the tower with butter cream, decorated it with some vines and flowers and it was finished!

Maria was very pleased with the finished product! Although, as I was decorating, she did let me know when I wasn't making it quite like the picture.


She had a wonderful birthday party with all of our family here.


Happy Birthday Little Princess! We love you very much!


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Happy Birthday Maria!

I can't believe she's seven years old today!

Oh how she loves sparkles........and crowns........

so what can be better than a sparkling crown!!

Happy birthday sweetheart!

The birthday party (and cake) will be Sunday. I'll post and let you know how

I come up with a Tangled Castle.

It should be interesting;)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine......

.... You Melt My Heart!!

We finally got around to making the melted crayon hearts for valentines day this year. It was really a lot of fun! Maria loved making them........almost as much as Kelsey did;) We got an assembly line going. Maria and I picked colors and pealed crayons while Kelsey cut the crayons into pieces and filled the molds.



The finished product.



These two get along like a couple of battering rams sometimes
but they really do love each other.
Happy Valentines Day!

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Valentine Letter To Nola

The Guatemala 900 has asked each of the waiting families to write a Valentine letter to their little one. They are hoping to bring a new awareness to our struggle. A new valentine will be featured on the Guatemala 900 site each day of February. This is my letter to Nola.




To: Nola


From: Mami




I want you to know, every moment of every day, you're in my heart.
In the morning, before I even open my eyes to see the light, I think of you.
I wonder if you're an early riser or if you love staying snuggled
in your bed until the last possible moment.
Through the day, little things turn my mind to you.
When I'm picking up your sister's toys around the house, I wonder,
do you have a favorite toy you like to play with? or a favorite color or outfit
you like to wear? Do you like to have your hair brushed and fixed or
could you care less about such things?
It's sad that I'm your mami and I don't know the answers.
When the night comes, that's when I think of you most.
When the house is quiet and there are no distractions, I pray for you.
I pray that someone in the hogar holds you close and kisses your little cheek each night.
I pray someone looks into your sparkling eyes and marvels at the
special little girl you are.
I pray that someone loves to hear that little squeal in your laugh
almost as much as I do.
But most of all, I pray that the time comes soon when we can bring you home,
when we can hold you close and never let you go
and make sure you know how very very much you're loved and adored.
We all love you and miss you so much sweetheart
and we won't stop working until you're home where you belong.
Te amo mi hija!


Friday, February 4, 2011

Yet Another Disappointment!

Yesterday we received the long awaited update from the USCIS. There was no information in the update that we didn't already know. I guess it confirmed data. We waiting families are getting to be a pretty close knit group so when someone gets out of PGN, we all know. When someone receives the date for their Embassy appointment, we all know. So to read those statistics in the update, as if they were some sort of revelation, was disappointing to say the least! During our phone conference with Ambassador Jacobs, we were lead to believe we would find out "how many cases could be completed in X amount of time" and "what path those cases would take to completion". There was no mention of any of that.
We were told that the working group in Guatemala is meeting once a week and the Embassy is in close contact with the working group. Well gee, now that makes me feel all warm and cozy!
Maybe, just maybe, there is work going on that isn't being shared. I hope that's the case, otherwise, it looks like what we received in December were more empty promises.

The link to the update: http://adoption.state.gov/guatemala.html

Friday, January 28, 2011

Believe It Or Not!!

I couldn't decide if I should post the following or not. I have to admit, if I had heard this story from someone else, I would probably not believe it but I didn't hear it from someone else.
I SAW IT WITH MY OWN EYES!

I was on my way home from Praise Team practice Monday night, around 9:00, about a half mile from home when something caught my eye. The road was slick so I was driving slowly and off to my left something dark was moving. When I looked closer, I saw a very large dark colored cat (I'm not talking a kitty cat here). He was moving up a small embankment and into a field. All I saw clearly from the headlights were his back legs and tail. His tail was very dark colored with even darker spots.

I put on my breaks but, of course, my car slid on the ice. I kept my eyes on the cat and watched him walk a few yards and then turn around and look at me as I tried to back up and get my bright lights to shine on him. The brights were no help. They just bounced off the snow on the embankment and I couldn't see beyond it. When I turned them down, I could no longer see the cat. I couldn't imagine a cat like that around here!

Tuesday morning, after I took Maria to school, I went to the place where I saw the cat and got out to see if he left any prints in the snow and he did!!


Don't think I would want to mess around with those claws! I came home and called the sheriffs office to let him know what I had seen and to ask what it might have been. He told me what I had seen was probably a panther! A PANTHER!!! That puts a little fear factor in the idea of back yard camp outs! I had no idea cats like that were anywhere near here but the sheriff said they have had confirmed sightings of bob cats, cougars and panthers in our area. The bob cats have been reintroduced by the DNR to the area because they were native here and were hunted to near extinction. I'm not sure where the cougars and panthers came from.
I know, it's probably something I'll never see again but believe me, I'll be lookin'!

Monday, January 3, 2011

From Our Home...

......To Yours,
(or maybe I should say "From our yard to yours")
Wishing you a Bright and Blessed 2011!

Can't wait to experience all of the joy in store for us in this new year!
This photo was supposed to be the cover of our Christmas cards this year.
Downloading it to our computer was as close as it got
to becoming a Christmas greeting.
Oh well, it made a fantastic New Year blog post pic!
Happy New Year!!!

Gordon Mote - Don't Miss the Glory