Friday, September 28, 2007

We Need Your Help!

For anyone visiting this blog for the first time, here's a brief overview of our story. My husband Greg and I battled 6 long years of infertility and finally at the end of last year decided to pursue an adoption. We found a reputable agency and decided to apply to their domestic program and their Guatemala program. In May we were matched with a woman in Connecticut who was looking to place her son for adoption. Two days after the baby was born and an hour before we were supposed to pick him up she changed her mind. It was a very difficult time, and we poured our energy into completing our dossier for Guatemala as we had set that aside due to the domestic match. We were referred a beautiful baby girl, named Ana, on August 6th and have planned to visit her in 6 days! We are now being told that any cases still in process at the first of the year will not continue to be processed. According to current time lines, we most definitely will be one of the still in process cases. As you can imagine, this is a very scary time for us and for thousands of families in the US in the same situation.

I have gone around and around trying to write concisely and clearly an overview of the issues surrounding this crisis. I feel so brain dead, I haven't found the words to explain it all well. I have thus decided to take the "big picture" explanation directly from the Joint Council on International Children's Services (JCICS) website (

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. There will be no 'grandfathering' of adoptions already in process.

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.
If children referred to families are not allowed to be adopted, they will languish in institutions or foster care.

The Berger plan is a crisis waiting to happen

Where to get more information: -
a fantastic resource on all the issues surrounding adoptions from Guatemala

What you can do:

Please go to these links and read these online petitions:
Guatemala Adoption and DOS Accountability
Media Coverage of Intercountry Adoption

The Call to Action:
The Guatemala 5000 Initiative (This is the big one, please read!)

Additionally, a little information about UNICEF. Always in the best interest of children? Not really...
Families Without Borders
"Dear..." - a letter outlining UNICEF's position on inter country adoption

Thursday, September 27, 2007


I just love this song. It makes me feel good and I've decided to feel good today. After the past two emotional days, it's hard to describe how I'm feeling. Lot's of people have asked if we are still going to make our visit trip next week. We most certainly are. A very good friend reminded me of a saying, "it is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all", and it got me thinking. If we had given birth to a child that we were told we would only have a certain amount of time with, wouldn't we love her, and make the best of the time we have with her? The answer is yes. I feel the same about Ana. She is our daughter. Whether she is meant to be ours for a short time or forever, she has come into our lives for a reason and we have to make the most of our time together. I would not give up meeting, loving and caring for her regardless of any amount of hurt it may carry with it. I think that's what being a parent is all about.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Guatemalan Adoption Troubles

Adoptions from Guatemala have been a complex situation for some time now. We knew that going into it. We knew that there would be timelines extended beyond the previous 6-8 month norms. We knew that there was the threat of the Hague Convention (go to and you can read all the latest news) going into effect possibly complicating matters. We knew that when we brought our baby home there was a good chance she may be a year or older. We didn't think it would happen, but we knew it was a possibility, maybe we were completely naive. What we didn't know was how real the connection feels between parents and a child they have only seen pictures of. We didn't know that we would be making our visit trip with the knowledge that we may hold yet another baby that is not meant to be ours.
The US Department of State issued another warning yesterday. There is a real possibility that if our adoption is not completed by December 31st (and there is really no way it could be) that it may become incredibly difficult if not impossible to complete the adoption. I will not pretend to understand all the issues that surround this matter. If you would like to read more, the site I mentioned above is an excellent resource.
There have been scares like this before, but somehow it gives me no solace, it wasn't happening to me then, so I don't know if it had the same ominous feeling. I would like to think that any cases that are in process would be allowed to finish. It is really a disservice to the children of Guatemala, as they are the ones that would suffer needlessly should adoptions come to a halt. Don't get me wrong, I am fully behind the need for reform in Guatemala. I would never want to adopt a child who was kidnapped, who's birthmother was coerced, or who was brought to adoption through illegal means. But for the children who truly need homes, who's family cannot provide for them, they are the ones who will be most affected. I have complete trust in our agency that everything has been done properly to ensure we have been matched with a child who's birthparents relinquished her legally. I will continue to have faith that we were led in this direction for a reason. I cannot deny though, the cloud that seems to be hovering over our visit trip coming up next week. I knew saying goodbye to Ana after our visit would be hard, but it's taken to a whole new level now. I don't know if I can say goodbye to another baby.

Monday, September 24, 2007


We finally received our medical report today. As of August 24th (about 8 weeks old and 2 weeks before the latest pictures were taken), Ana weighed 7 pounds 12 ounces, and was 20 3/4 inches in length. That's right folks, despite what we've all thought when viewing her pictures, she's a peanut. Looks like 0-3 month clothing will be the size needed to clothe our little one! I just can't wait to get down there and get my hands on her, the difference between my perception of her size and her actual measurements are so opposite, I just want to see her in person and make sense of it! Her first measurements were taken on July 24th, (6 pounds 8 ounces, 19 1/4 inches so she's growing!) so I'm assuming that today she had her third visit with the doctor, which we probably won't get to see until next month. But I'm guessing that she is somewhere between 8 and 9 pounds now. We shall 9 days!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Happy 6th Birthday Ian!, the final chapter

We concluded the birthday marathon weekend this afternoon. It was so nice to have our families here to celebrate with us. Nannie and Papa, Mimi and Bumpa, Auntie Agnes, Uncle Shawne, Auntie Shelle, Uncle Mike, Uncle Steve and Auntie Amy were all in attendance, thanks so much everyone for all the wonderful gifts. Ian is so excited, he just can't figure out what to play with first! I was so tired this morning, I just couldn't get myself going. I had plans of making a pasta salad, a tossed salad and my home made hamburger buns and of course, with another birthday party, comes another cake. I just couldn't muster the energy for it and was getting stressed out so Greg said he'd take care of the food today. This is what you get when you send your husband and your six year old to the store with a vague list:

*6 ears of corn for 13 people
*16 hamburger buns for 13 people (okay, not bad, but when are only serving hamburgers and chips, people may want more than 1 hamburger!)
*8 hot dogs for 13 people
*8 hot dog buns for 13 people (at least there were enough buns/dog!)
*1/8 sheet cake with "Happy Birthday Flame Needle" written on it. I was assured this was a good alternative to Ian's first choice of "Happy Birthday Rubber Butt" I guess when you put it that way. I would have loved to see the cake decorators face after that request.

I will admit though after making fun of Greg's shopping skills that we did indeed have enough food for all (mind you I didn't even cook the corn. I just couldn't bring myself to put out 6 ears of corn for 13 people, c'mon that's not even half an ear each!). I love you Greg, but remember that list you said you didn't need? Yeah, I'd like to imagine what you would have brought home without a list. Next time I'll obviously have to be much more specific, lesson learned.

Anyways, after presents, cake and a rousing verse of "Happy Birthday Dear Flame Needle", it was indeed a very good close to Ian's birthday celebrations. Thanks again to all our wonderful family members for the great gifts and your company today. We love you all!

For those of you that are wondering, Flame Needle is a super hero name
Ian concocted a while ago. It is the successor to Door Slam.
Please don't ask, I have no answers for you.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Happy 6th Birthday Ian, part II

Okay, part two! We had Ian's birthday celebration with his friends today and it was so much fun. A special shout out to Nannie without whom I would have no pictures of today, thanks for being our photographer Nannie (and for running around for things!) so I could deal with the birthday stuff! Anyways, Ian had a tie dye party, and everyone got to make a t-shirt. We even had a tie dye t-shirt cake! Ian had so much fun and got so many wonderful gifts from his friends, thank you so much everyone!

Happy 6th Birthday Ian!

Today my Ianie Beenie turned 6 years old. He was so excited, "I'm six, I'm six, mummy I'm six, daddy did you know I'm six?", it was super cute. He brought a special snack to school to share with his friends, a mix he likes to make of popcorn, teddy grahams, and goldfish and was so excited to tell his teacher his birthday had finally arrived (apparently he's been giving her a countdown). When he got off the school bus, Greg met him with their traditional silly string birthday greeting where I provided Ian with a can of not so traditional silly string birthday greeting defense. He just loves that stuff!

We then met Mimi and Auntie Agnes at Ian's choice for lunch, Applebees. Ian's friend Ollie joined us. Mimi brought him a little magic kit that was very exciting and has prompted Ian to now want to be a magician for Halloween (mind you, he believes he will master all the tricks and insisted that he would not just dress like a magician, but will be a real one!). We got through lunch and it came time for dessert and the singing (the reason we chose Applebees, by the way). Our waiter delivered Ian's ice cream and announced that they are just too busy to pull the staff together to sing. Well, Ian's Mimi looked at that man and informed him that her grandson was looking forward to that part and it was the deciding factor in choosing Applebees for his birthday lunch. She let him know that "we will wait" until they are able to gather a group to sing to her grandson. Well wouldn't you know it, before Ian could have two more bites of ice cream the sound of clapping and singing came marching into the dining room and Ian got his birthday song. We love Mimi!

We let Ian open his gifts from us between lunch and dinner. He was very excited about his new scooter and Power Rangers helmet. We wrapped up the day with dinner at Ian's favoritest restaurant in the world, McDonalds with Nannie and Papa in attendance. They also brought Ian a gift, a Red Ranger transformer thingy, yeah I don't get boy toys...We came back to the house to have some cake before putting Ian to bed. All in all it was a really nice day and I think Ian really enjoyed it. In fact at one point he proclaimed "This is the best birthday ever!"

Next up, Ian's party with his friends tomorrow afternoon (still so much to do!) featuring tie-dye t-shirts. Then Sunday we'll have our families over for a BBQ. Man, nothing like dragging out a birthday huh?! Do you think I can get Ian to wear the ridiculous Fraize family birthday hat for the next party? Greg had to tackle him for this picture!

By the way, the awesome shirt Ian is wearing is courtesy of Mimi. He was so excited to wear it to school and asked that it be washed immediately so he can wear it tomorrow as well. It's times like that I know he's excited to be a big brother!

Happy Birthday my buddy, we love you so so much!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

4.3 down

I neglected to post the weight loss progress last week, but I have lost 4.3 pounds in the last two weeks. Last week I was "the biggest loser" at my mum's work, that was a nice boost. Also, I had a doctor's appointment yesterday. You ever get a call from your doctor's office saying you have an appointment that you don't remember making? Well that's just what happened to me with this appointment. I assumed it was a check up for asthma...wrong! It was a full physical. It was actually a good visit, I appear fit as a fiddle, and as of my last appointment, I'm down 11 pounds :) She had also noted at that last appointment that we were pursuing an adoption so she asked about that and was very interested in seeing the pictures of Ana and hearing about the process. All in all it was a good visit, and just what I needed to keep on track. Stay tuned for next weeks update! Oh, by the way, two weeks from now I'll be holding my daughter, isn't that a nice thought?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Guatemala, here we come!

It's official, we're leaving on a jet plane to go visit our Ana! We have booked our flights and we are leaving Thursday October 4 and staying until Tuesday the 9th. Words cannot describe the way we feel, we're going to meet our daughter two weeks from tomorrow! We also happen to be traveling the same time as another family I have met online, so that's just sugar on the top! We had been debating for some time whether or not we were going to bring Ian for the visit trip. For a few weeks, we had decided that we would. I thought it would be good for him to see her and know that she is real as he has mentioned a few times to me that she isn't part of our family because she doesn't live with us yet. When we really started to think about it, we began to think it may not be the best idea after all. He'll be really bored unless we spend the entire time at the pool, and it just may not be the best first impression I want him to have of time with his sister. I also think it would not be the best for Ana. We only have 5 days to spend with her, and we don't want her to feel frustration or anxiety from us because we are dealing with a bored 6 year old. It comes down to what will be best for both our children, and having him stay with family and friends seems to make the most sense. I can't wait for him to meet her, but I also want some time to really get to know Ana. I'm pretty sure Ian's idea of a good time is not spending 4 hours counting baby toes, but it may be just what I need.

Monday, September 17, 2007

We have a match!

We had an unexpected surprise in the mailbox today, our DNA results! We have a 99.96% match! What does this mean you ask? Well, it means we are able to now start planning our trip to visit Ana! I am just walking on air tonight, I really didn't think we would receive this information for another month or so. So this was a wonderful end to the day! I have to say though, it was a bittersweet experience opening up that envelope. Along with the DNA report we received a picture of Ana with her birth mother. I knew it would be there, and I'm happy it is, I'm sure it will be a treasured piece of information for Ana to have as she grows. It's difficult to explain the emotions I felt as I laid eyes on this beautiful woman. Along with the joy that I felt knowing that we were one step closer to bringing Ana home, there was sorrow and immeasurable gratitude for this woman whom I've never met. She understandably looks very sad, I cannot begin to imagine what she must have been feeling as this picture was taken. Having a child already, I know the depth of the love I feel for him. To have that love for Ana, and not be able to provide for must be devastating. The Guatemalan women who relinquish their children do so largely because they simply do not have the means to provide for them. It is so entirely selfless and I wish I could reach out to her and let her know just how grateful I am to her for allowing us to raise her daughter. I would want to tell her that we will love her with every ounce of ourselves and will always help her remember what her roots are. That she will know how her mother loved her so much that she would sacrifice watching her grow to know that she will be given opportunities she would not otherwise have. We have had many people say to us how lucky Ana is, but I really don't feel that way. We are the lucky ones.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Whine and you shall receive?

Well, I'm a little embarrassed by my whining about not having an update yet. I don't believe I mentioned that Greg has been away on business since last Thursday, he just arrived home at 3:30 today. I am now an even bigger believer in the "things happen when they're supposed to" philosophy because obviously we weren't meant to get an update until Greg was home and we could view the pictures together! I opened up my e-mail as soon as we got home and lo and behold there they were, photos of our Ana and a brief message from our coordinator:

"I hope you are well. I met with Ana yesterday and she seems to be doing wonderfully. Her caretakers say she coos often, she smiles, she turns to sound, and she sleeps and eats well. Usually she takes a 5oz bottle every three hours. These pictures were taken yesterday. Enjoy..."

I can't explain what a joy and relief it was to open this e-mail. I've been following other
peoples journeys for so long, to see it playing out for yourself is very surreal. The first set of pictures were wonderful, but to get this next set and to see her thriving is just so amazing. I was kind of hoping we'd get a smile this time, but maybe she's saving them for next time! Anyways, without further ado, here's our latest pictures of Ana, she's 10 weeks old, isn't she sweet?

Girlie Stuff

So, I love to shop. That's no secret to some of you, I know. When Ian was a baby, I had a ball shopping for clothing for him. I loved dressing him like a little man, I became very proficient at finding the best deals at Old Navy and Baby Gap. Shopping for him now is not so fun as...get this....he has an opinion, imagine that! Now we have to search out "slip in" pants and "slip in" shoes (no buttons, ties or fasteners of any kind). This was worse last year, now I am actually getting him to wear other things, including jeans, thank goodness. But still it seems like the boy things are always all the same! So, I have really enjoyed perusing the girls things for a change! We are able to send packages to Ana every 2 months or so, and I have been working on one for a month now (yeah, for those of you that don't know me so well, I'm a perfectionist as well which gets me in a lot of trouble!). There were two empty pages in the "Who Loves Baby" book that I wanted Ian to draw a picture in and he was just not into it. Well, I was about to send it anyways (I've been really getting down on myself for not getting it out sooner!) and I told Ian. He decided this morning that he wanted to send Ana a picture and a letter, and he cut a paper heart out for her as well. It was so sweet and it's those moments that I know he really is happy and excited. I think it's really hard for him to "get it" because there is no permanence. We haven't been able to see or touch her, we just have a photograph and he has mentioned on several occasions that she isn't part of our family yet because she isn't here. How do you explain it all to a 5 year old?
Anyways, our package is complete (I've taken some pictures for you all to see, Ian picked out the doggy) and I'll be off to the post office to mail it in a couple hours. Hopefully within the next few posts we will have some new pictures of our baby girl to share!

Ian's picture started out as a heart but he decided it looks more like frog's eyes. So he added a body and "jumpy legs" to complete it! Okay, I'm off to squeeze all these things into a gallon size ziplock bag now, wish me luck!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Well, Monday was the 5 week from referral mark. I have to say I am getting extremely antsy to have new pictures and information on Ana. The first three weeks or so were not bad, but the last two have just been excruciating! When I get to feeling like this, I find myself spending loads of time on the computer, which is probably why I can't seem to catch up on cleaning the house that is falling apart around me. It's like I wander aimlessly from one site to the next, most involving Guatemala....anything Guatemala as if I'll find the answers to my questions! I search for blogs of those also pursuing a Guatemalan adoption and scour them for information on their timelines, but truthfully, the journey is so different for everyone. Sure we all go through the same steps, but the time to complete those steps, and how they were completed are all different. The number of updates, and timing of those updates are all different too. As are the number of trips people take, some even move to Guatemala to foster their child until the legal process is complete and they can come home. Most of the time though, I'm checking my e-mail, hoping that THIS time when I hit the "get messages" button that what I am seeking will magically appear (even though the LAST time I pressed that button was only two and a half minutes ago). So I broke down and e-mailed the agency just to see if there were any updates. While in their eyes there is no news, to me it was something. I was told that our documents have been translated and that our case is in family court. She did go on to say that the DNA results will come directly to our home address, but that the coordinator would probably be faxed the results and might be able to notify us sooner. I don't know if this means DNA has been authorized, performed or what, she didn't indicate anything regarding the timing of that. When you are sitting at home waiting and have no knowledge of what is going on, you just feel like you are at a stand still so it's really nice to hear that things are moving as they should be. I am definitely an instant gratification kind of girl and that most certainly does not lend itself well to the adoption world. Maybe that's why we have been led this way, another lesson to learn!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Daddy Minutes

Greg is away for work and my mum invited us to spend the night last night, which we gladly accepted. Ian had a hard time settling down, partly because it was not his own room and bed, but partly because papa has a knack of getting him riled up in no time flat! We do love you papa, but face the truth, you can bring Ian from calm to chaos just by walking into the room!! Anyways, Ian was out of bed for the I don't know how manyth time, this time wanting to discuss what he wants for his birthday (we were talking about it and obviously he was listening!). I told him he had two minutes to tell us what he wanted and then he needed to go lay down. Now, I didn't time it I'll admit, but let a reasonable amount of time go by before telling him his time was up and it was time to go to bed. He then informed me that he liked "daddy minutes" better because they are longer. I'll have to ask Greg just how long a daddy minute is. Man, this child is destined to never have a sense of time!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

As promised...

Well, after I took the pictures I became a little hesitant about posting them, but I promised so here they are:

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Am I a germophobe?

Having a boy, I haven't really had to deal all that much with little bums coming in contact with public toilet seats. There's always the fear of the flusher handle (Greg has taught him to flush with his foot) and the mysterious wet floor puddles (and doesn't he always just drop his drawers right down around his ankles nearly coming into contact with them?!) that are enough to make me run, but we are generally spared the horrifying thought of his skin actually coming in contact with the seat. That being said, this was our adventure in the park bathroom facilities today.

We were having a lovely visit at the playground. Ian was having a ball playing with Maya and Ryan, two friends we don't see enough of.

All of a sudden I see him heading for the bathroom, "mumma, I have to go poop!"

Oh man. "Are you absolutely sure you have to go?"

"Yes, I hafta!"

I dragged myself groaning from my spot on the bench and headed toward the bathrooms. We walked in and I surveyed the surroundings, stained concrete floors, the seat is up (Oh gosh, when he came in here to pee earlier he touched the seat!!), there is no soap (and he didn't have soap to wash up after!!), the trash is totally overflowing (he probably touched it!!), and there are three dead bugs in the sink (I choose not to think about his habit of playing in the water that sits in the sink). I don't know if I can do this

"Are you 100% sure this can't wait?"

"I'm sure"

"Okay, well don't touch anything until I've covered the seat!" So I go to work totally enshrouding the toilet seat with paper towels "You're still sure?"

"Yup, but you didn't close the door". I turn around to tell him he can sit down and, Oh my good God.....where are his shoes "Ian Gregory, where are your shoes?!" I think I'm about to faint....

"I always take my shoes off to poop"

"Not here you don't, look at this floor! Yuck yuck yuck get your shoes on your feet!!"

"Okay, here you go, let me lift you on"

"You know mumma, I don't really have to go actually"


"Yeah, it went away, can I go play again?" Aye yie yie.......We wash our hands (sans soap remember) and I feel like a goalie trying to stop him from touching every surface on the way out of the room.

Poor Ana, she has no idea what she is getting into!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Biggest Loser

Okay, it's no secret that I've been at war with my weight for some time. Let's face it, my whole life I've been overweight. Well, I'm sick of fighting and losing (the battle that is!), and I'm ready to take control of my body! A couple months ago my mother's work had a "Biggest Loser" contest. I joined and made it about 4 out of the 12 weeks (not even consecutively). At the end of the contest last week, I had lost a total of 8.8 pounds. Not bad, but not because I've been really good, I'd been climbing back up in pounds since I fell off the wagon a few weeks before that. I think since then, I've even added another couple pounds on top of that. Well, this Thursday marks the start of another round of "The Biggest Loser" and I am once again taking it on. I am hoping that by announcing my intentions here I'll be more driven to stay on track. I will post a picture every week and hopefully will begin to see my progress and keep myself motivated. Oh boy, now I'm imagining my brother saying "You can dooo eeeeettt!", and you know what? I can. Stay tuned...

Sunday, September 2, 2007

How I Feel

I have been feeling a whole range of emotions lately. Before we decided to pursue adoption, there were a lot of rough days. Ian was getting older, I never imagined our children would be spaced so far apart! My siblings are spaced a couple years apart and we are very close, and I so wanted Ian to have that; so as the days went by it was hard to see that slipping away. I felt guilty that Ian didn't have siblings, and it stung every time he would ask "why we only have one kid in our house and every one else has lots". There were reminders everywhere too. There were days that I just felt suffocated by images of bulging pregnant bellies and precious little bundles of baby everywhere I looked and it's everything I could do to not just unravel. After we decided to go ahead with the adoption (which looking back, I wished we had gotten to sooner!!), I definitely had a lift in mood. It truly felt like there was a light at the end of the tunnel! That's not to say I don't still have my days, I guess there will always be a part of me that mourns to feel a baby kick within my womb again and there will still be days where I cannot look at an expectant mother without feeling the sting of our infertility. But it's different now.
The waiting is harder than I expected. I thought that once we received the referral that I would feel better. Don't get me wrong, I am thrilled and so thankful to have surpassed that hurdle, it's just that now that I have a face, and a name, I find myself thinking so often during the day, what is she doing right now? Is she happy? Is she crying? Do they pick her up right away when she cries? Is she smiling yet? Does she feel loved?
I have been asked by some to relate the feelings about waiting for an adopted child versus waiting for a biological child. The biggest difference is with a biological child, you are never without them. From the moment they are conceived, they are with you. I don't think I gave that a ton of thought before beginning this process, but that is a huge thing! I am having a difficult time accepting the fact that we are not directly involved in the first 10 or so months of our daughters life (think about what a child accomplishes in their first year of life!). The fact that she was created and carried in another woman's belly, she is comforted by other people, she's bonding with other people. There are parts of her life that I cannot control, and there will be a time in the future when I won't have all the answers to her questions. That's a tough pill to swallow.
We have a neighbor who had a baby girl on June 30th, the day before Ana was born. Every time I see her, I can imagine what Ana might be like. Now that Ian has started school, I see them every morning at the bus stop which I have to admit has been fairly difficult for me. It's like a daily slap of reality, "hey girl, look what you are missing!". I have to believe that there is a reason, in her life and in ours that we've been brought together this way. And though I'm still envious of the women I see day to day nursing their newborns or gobbling up big gummy baby smiles, I will try not to think of what I'm missing as the days go by, but of the things that are to come. Imagine what is in store for us, we have two children now!