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

Saturday, December 22, 2012

We Received An Early Christmas Present!

On Friday December 14th, while everyone was reeling in disbelief over what happened in CT, we received a phone call that brought more tears to my eyes.............happy tears!  A USCIS staff person called us to tell us that they received the referral information from CNA for our case and we are ready to begin processing under the new Acuerdo!  I couldn't believe what I was hearing!  My mind immediately started running through the list of things that need to be done..............our Spanish............first on the list is improving our Spanish!  We've had 5 years and here we are........not very proficient in her native language!  That phone call didn't include any kind of time line that we can expect to follow but knowing our little girl will be coming home is enough for now and knowing I still have some time to get my Spanish skills whipped into shape is not a bad thing.

We also found out where Nola is living.  When we went to Guatemala a few weeks ago with the Bags of Blessings for the children at Hogar Solidario, I was devastated to find that Nola wasn't there.  The house moms told us she was with a family.  They made sure I understood that the family wasn't adopting her but that didn't make much sense to me.  When we returned home, I sent a message to my USCIS contact letting her know that Nola wasn't at the home and asked if they could find out where she was.  When they received the referral information, it contained the name of the hogar where Nola is currently living so they gave us that information.  It's a small private Christian home called Hope For Tomorrow.  They have several pictures of Nola on their site (although they refer to her as "Mary"?).  She looks healthy and happy!  According to her bio, she was adopted by a Guatemalan family in January but two months later, the family decided they couldn't keep her so she was taken to the Hope hogar.  It's amazing the path her little life has taken but it has finally lead her back to us.  God has had His hand in it all along.  I believe it's been His plan for her to come home to us and I know He was protecting my heart by not letting me find out about the national adoption until after it was disrupted.  I can't imagine how I would have dealt with that!

Hopefully as soon as the Holiday's are over, we'll get our documents translated and delivered so we can again begin waiting.  The next step will be the Empathy Study which will be a supervised one week visit with Nola.  We're hoping to get that scheduled about 8 weeks after the CNA receives our documents but they will contact us when they're ready for us to come.

It has been a long five years full of doubts and fears and anger and frustration but last Friday, all of that changed!  Our little girl's coming home!  No, we don't know when, but she IS coming home!

Thank you all for your prayers and please continue lifting up all of the waiting families.  We've become a very close group and there are still so many who are waiting for their turn to receive good news.  I'm praying their turns come very soon!     

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Our clan minus two.  Geri's youngest, Jillian, wasn't able to be here and Luis' youngest, Laura, wasn't feeling too photogenic.  What a wonderful time to be together and count all of our blessings!!

 

 



Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Best News We've Gotten In A Long Time!!!

We received an e-mail from Kristen Smith yesterday:

Dear Ms. Lane,
We are happy to inform you that last week CNA confirmed that your case is ready to move forward under the Acuerdo process. We hope to receive their referral very soon.
Please let us know if you have any questions/concerns.
Sincerely,
Adoption Unit
USCIS Guatemala Field Office
Guatemala City
 
I almost couldn't believe what I was reading!!  After years of waiting, she is actually going to get to come home!  We still have a good bit of wait ahead of us but our prayers have been answered!  Once the USCIS office in Guat City receives the referral letter, we will submit our new paper work and wait for an invitation to come down for the empathy study (one week of supervised visitation with Nola).  Following the approval of that process, the case is submitted to a Family Court.  Not sure how long that may take for approval but I am more than willing to wait and find out.
 
We so appreciate the prayers that have been offered up on behalf of Nola and our family!  Please continue to keep all of the waiting children and families in your prayers.  This is an unbelievably difficult process and it won't be over until every child is home with their forever family

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Now, an even bigger BIT of news!!

Yesterday we received a message from Kelley at USCIS.  She wrote to say they had received a message from CNA.  CNA stated that they had received the letter from us, via the US Embassy, that documented the dates of our visits along with pictures.  They said that the empathy period in this case with the domestic family had failed and that, as a result, they would be willing to re-consider the new evidence from the U.S. PAPs.  It can't get any better than that...........well....it can.......but for now, this is great!!  Basically, what they are saying is that they tried to place Nola with a Guatemalan family and that placement failed so they will now reconsider us.  It's not a "yes your case can proceed" statement but the next best thing!  The CNA Board is still debating the issue and until we hear a definite "YES" I won't be resting.  Thank you all so much for your prayers up to now and please keep them coming.  We are getting closer!  Praise the Lord!!


Monday, October 1, 2012

Little Bits of News

On Friday, I received two e-mails, one from USCIS and one from the US Embassy in Guatemala.  Kelley from USCIS just let me know that there hasn't been a decision made yet.  She also wanted to inform me of a meeting they were going to have with CNA today to discuss our case and cases like ours who the CNA say have no bond with their child.

The message from the Embassy was more uplifting.  We were told to write a letter to CNA documenting our visits with dates and pictures.  The Embassy will deliver the letter and support our appeal of the CNA decision.  I was up until 2am copying the information from all of our visits (13 total) and adding pictures for nearly every one.  There were some visits that I wasn't able to get pictures because I wasn't allowed but I still have the stamp in my passport to prove I was there.  When I was finished I had 8 pages!  Far too large a file to send as one attachment.  I had to divide it into three files.  I just received confirmation from the Embassy that they received all three sections.  The official said she would send the letter to CNA immediately but I would imagine there would have to be some translating done first.  Anyway, I'm resting easier since I have that job done.  Now, I only need to print out the letter and send a hard copy to the Embassy for them to keep in our file. 

***Update***

I received a message from the Embassy around 6:30 letting us know our letter had been delivered to CNA.  The Director said our case would be reviewed and they would let the Embassy know if there is a possibility for our case to continue.

I'm praying specifically for the Board of Directors at the CNA to recognize the love we have for Nola.  I hope they can see our determination to bring her home hasn't diminished at all over the last five years.  I'm asking that they honor the bond we have established with our little girl and allow our case to proceed.  Please join me in that prayer!

I'll keep you all posted.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Not the call we wanted!

I received a call yesterday evening that knocked the wind out of me.  Kelley Miller from USCIS called to let me know that they were contacted by the Guatemalan Government and told that Nola's case doesn't meet the requirements to continue.  There are two basic requirements 1.  a certificate of Adoptability has been issued (and there has been one) and 2.  a bond has been established between the child and parents.  The CNA showed Nola a picture of me and Mark and she couldn't identify us as her mommy and daddy so they have declared there is no bond.  The USCIS was told Nola would be adopted domestically if she hasn't been already.  Kelley wasn't sure if Nola has been placed with a family already or not.  The entire time I was listening, I just couldn't believe what I was hearing!  If the 13 trips we've made to Guatemala since beginning our adoption doesn't establish bond I really don't know what does!  Kelley wrote down all the information I gave her and will be attending a meeting on Monday at noon to try and plead our case.  She told me not to get my hopes up but that she would do all she can to help us.
We could use your prayers.  I'm praying that God will give Kelley the right words to say and those who hear the words will be open and understanding.  Kelley assured me she would call and let me know how the meeting went and when I hear from her, I'll post.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

In Case Anyone's Wondering.......

Yes we are still alive and kickin'!  I blogged several weeks ago and was going to post when I had finished downloading some pictures.  During that time I read and reread it while it was hanging out in draft land.  I decided the words were just too depressing.  There is one thing I can say for sure, this blog has been a good therapist.  It lets me vent and never charges me a cent!  I actually have several posts that never made it out of draft land but they all  have helped me by allowing me a place to leave my anger and sadness and move on to finding my joy again.  So, with that said, I'm sincerely going to try and make this a family journal until it one day again becomes our place to post adoption news.       

 Just for the record, there is no news on our case but there are some cases moving.  One family brought their daughter home this week.  Several cases have begun snailing their way through the new Acuerdo process with CNA.  I'm praying it's just a matter of time before we get the notification that our case is ready to proceed.

Sooooo, now for catching up.  We had a wonderful get away over the summer at our favorite vacation spot, Anna Maria Island FL.  Of course, the week went by much too fast for me.  I'm never ready to leave there.
Some people say "if you've seen one sunset, you've seen 'em all"  but I strongly disagree.  I never get tired of sunsets on the Gulf!
Joshua (our oldest) with Alison and Audree
Crazy Kyle trying to get Audree to smile so Erin can get a pic
Kels and Maria.  Typical sisters, one minute their all smiles and the next, their pulling each other's hair out!
So glad Daddy got to go with us!  He is the shark tooth finding champion!  It took him a few days to get his eyes pealed but he came through!
 






 
For some reason, Maria's first day of school picture will only post side ways so it's not going to make it in this post.  She's been back in school for almost three weeks now.  Long enough that the newness has worn off and she is back to her old ways.........sleeping until the last possible second and then turning her mother into a ranting raging crazy woman trying to get her to school on time!  I'm already ready for a vacation! 
 
The bathroom is coming right along.  So close to being done.  And it's just beautiful! 
The lighting's not good in this picture but you can get the general idea of the bathroom.  The back part of the room with the window is where the claw foot tub will be.  It arrived this week so hopefully it will be installed soon.
 
While Mark and I are finishing the bathroom, there is a lot of other work going on around the house.  Two weeks ago, carpenters began work on our new family room.  So far, the weather has cooperated and they are really moving along.  Today they framed the second dormer in the roof and will probably have the roof sheeted before they go home.  I'm hoping it will all be closed in before Isaac rolls through this area.  Local weather guys are predicting up to 5" of rain here.  Nothing like making up for the majority of our deficit in one week end!
 
Closing for now but continue to keep the children, waiting to come home to their forever families and the families who wait for them in your prayers.  The helpless feeling in waiting is so difficult but we are not giving up!!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 






Tuesday, March 6, 2012

BEST DAY EVER!!!!

And what a day it was! Maria had such a wonderful time! Her 8th birthday party was a success and I don't believe she could have had more fun.
After much thought, she decided on a Tangled party theme again for this year. We made invitations and invited her first grade class plus some extra special friends who don't go to her school. We had the party in the ministry center at church and rented inflatables for the kids to play in and on. They all had such a good time!
We took a break for craft time. My sister came up with the idea of making satchels (in honor of Flynn Rider). After the satchels were finished we had a scavenger hunt for gold covered chocolate coins and golden wrapped bubble gum. The satchels were adorable and the kids loved making them (and filling them with yummy loot).
They used their satchels to carry their pinata stash too! Those bags came in very handy!
Next, the pizza came. We had to keep up our strength with all that bouncing and sliding ;) and then of course, cake and ice cream. To top it all off, we had to send the kids home with a little more sugar. The cotton candy machine was a big hit and everyone took a bag home.
Such a great birthday party! It was wonderful to see the kids have so much fun! There were some adults who enjoyed themselves too!!
Happy 8th birthday Maria! We love you sweetheart!
Thanks to all who helped, especially my big guys who loaded the inflatables back into the trucks when it was all over.
A party fit for a Princess!!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Blog Post About Nothing

I guess Seinfeld and I have something in common. I haven't posted for a while because........well.........although there's lots going on in our lives, there hasn't been anything earth shattering happen. We are STILL waiting to hear from the USDOS. I did receive an e-mail a couple of weeks ago that said "several" of the cases with CNA have been submitted to the DOS and their paper work has begun. The message also said that they are urging the CNA to send more cases but I'm not sure the CNA is obliging.
There has been some very encouraging news for adoption cases in general. There were meetings in Washington DC this week between Guatemalan and US officials and the talk in those meetings was very positive. It does seem that the new Guatemalan President and his staff are committed to finding a way forward for the cases that have been stalled for so long. The Guatemalan Minister of Foreign Affairs has promised to have a transparent process for the pending adoptions within 100 days. Believe me, the waiting parents have that 100 day deadline marked on their calendars!
In other news, Mark and I are stiiiiilllllllll working on remodeling our bathroom. I think we could probably go into some record books as having the longest running remodel job in history! I'll have to post some before and after pics when it's all done. But.........don't hold your breath for those.
On a personal note, I started on January 1st to try and get myself back into shape. I had become, over the last few years, a sedentary blob!! After months of encouraging from Kelsey, I finally attended my first zumba class on January 5th and now I'm hooked! I've never had so much fun sweating in my life! I've lost about 10 pounds. The weight is certainly not coming off as fast as I would like but at least it's coming off!
We're preparing for Maria's 8th birthday which is coming up in just a week. We sent out the invitations on Friday and she is so excited. She is still princess obsessed and is having a Tangled party theme again this year. She wants a cake just like last years. So far, all of my talking hasn't swayed her from that idea yet. We'll have to see who wins this battle.
Stay Tuned!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!!


I'm still amazed that another year has flown by. I'm learning what I had always heard is true; the older you get, the faster they go. But also, hopefully, another saying I've always heard is true; the older we get, the wiser we get. I'm believing that one too. I'm already thinking about how I can make next year's holiday's a little less chaotic. Even though I started shopping earlier this year than ever, I didn't finish until the last minute. Mark will never believe it when I say I'm going to do better next year. I'll let you know next year how I did with that.
We did receive some news about the adoption a short time back and I started a post but never finished it. I kept thinking I would have time to sit down and proof read..........ha! Since our news (that was actually 3 weeks ago now) nothing has happened. Even though the USCIS expected to immediately begin receiving names of cases, no one has gotten the call that their case is ready to proceed. Hopefully, now that the holiday's are over, things will start moving. There is the issue of a new president and new faculty and staff that will also potentially slow things down............don't you know..........there's always something. But I believe our good news is around the corner. Below is the post that never got posted and was written on Dec 14th.
It feels like forever since we've gotten any good news but it has finally happened! We were contacted by the USCIS on Monday. The e-mail stated the CNA had given them our case as one that they are planning to process under their new Acuerdo. We were given instructions to call in to a teleconference call today to find out about the process. The absolutely wonderful news is that our case now has a path to follow to completion. The not so wonderful news is we have no idea how long that path is. We were told that the group of families who were invited to join the call are cases that could be ready to process rather quickly. Not sure if they're talking my idea of "quickly" or CNA's but I really hope it's mine. The process will be initiated by the CNA so when they are ready to begin the final stages of our case, they will contact the USCIS, who will in turn, notify us. We were informed about the documents we will have to prepare when the USCIS contacts us and then were basically told to just sit tight until we are contacted. That'll be easy........... I thought I was bad at stalking my e-mail before! Now that I know we could get a notification at any time, I'll probably be tied to this computer!! The process sounds fairly simple. The CNA will require 5 items for our file:
1. a CNA application
2. current homestudy
3. photos of the inside and outside of our home
4. a psychological exam for both Mark and I
5. a copy of our I171H.
We are responsible for getting any written documents translated into Spanish before we can submit them. The psychological exam won't be cheap and getting a certified translator to translate the documents won't be cheap either but at least now we know there is a process to follow and our case will be included. I had been praying Nola would be home by Christmas. That's not going to happen but getting this good news during the holiday's is certainly a blessing! And now............we wait again!
I'm praying the new year brings good news for all of the waiting families! Let 2012 be the year that all of our children come home!!

Gordon Mote - Don't Miss the Glory