Wednesday, November 14, 2007
My Gallo isn't here and I miss him terribly. I haven't been away from him since the day he was placed in my arms. Seven whole months - I can't believe how fast the time has gone. By all reports he's doing well. He's being spoiled rotten by my parents. I'm just glad they have all this one-on-one time with him. It will help them build a relationship. I've been so worried for so long that they won't see him grow up. Every day he's able to spend with him I am thankful for immensely.
I have begun the packing process. When I think of the task in it's totality, I start to freak out. When I look at it piece by piece, I realize it's not that big of a deal. This evening I got organized. Tomorrow I start the actual packing. I still need to gather boxes from the liquor stores in the area. It's a college town so the supply the endless.
I'm thinking I should steal some of these memes going around. It might give me something interesting to write about. The truth is that I generally have tons to share in my every day world. Most people say I'm a wonderful speaker. I just can't seem to get it down here and have it make any sense. I'm guessing that good writers might be horrible conversationalists. Or maybe it's just wishful thinking on my part!!
Saturday, November 10, 2007
This weekend I will spend hanging out with family. I love these people but they grate on my nerves something fierce. I look at them constantly and am convinced that biology has little to do with family connections. I have no doubt that I'm biologically related to these people. Other than that, I'm not so sure how any of the "connection" remains.
I wish I had something exciting to report but it's status quo. Life seems so busy yet when I write it down, it seems like not much and no big deal. Maybe that's a good therapy technique. When you think life is completely overwhelming, write down everything going on. You might be surprised to learn it's realy not as bad as you think!
Friday, November 09, 2007
Thursday, November 08, 2007
In other news, there's a bit of office gossip going on. It seems that the husband of one of my coworkers has posted pictures on his Facebook account. The pictures are of her and one of his coworkers out of town having a grand old time. Nothing risque, per se, unless you count the fact that
a) he's married
b) the girl with him is the same age as his daughter
c) his wife, my friend, is currently out-of-town at a conference
d) this out-of-town trip was just the two of them (not business related), just a "hey let's go to the city and have a fun day" kind of thing.
I'm a bit freaked out about it. The question is: Do we tell her the pictures are there or wait for her to find out? Obviously there may be nothing going on. Even so, I found the pictures a bit distasteful. If Mr. Beans posted pictures of a trip with some woman... hell, if he WENT on a trip with some woman ... I would be more than a little mortified. Call me old fashioned but married men do not hang out with young, single coworkers alone. It just sets up a bad situation. Maybe it's just me?
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
So now, the job situation appears to be rectified. Now, I just wait for the confirmed transfer dates and I'm off and running. Now, we've just to close on that house!
Speaking of, any suggestions for paint colors for Gallo's room? The current room is a disgusting shade of lavender which just won't cut it. Mr. Beans says we have to paint it before we move everything. I'm leaning toward lime green with bright blue and orange accents. No theme in mind; I'm not that creative. Guess I've got some researching to do!
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Gallo had his 15-month check up at the doctor yesterday and was given a clean bill of health. The pediatrician said he is doing wonderfully. He is 30 inches tall and weight 30 lbs. He’s got a little potbelly but the good doctor said that was fine. That will disappear as he continues to grow, so he says. I’m thinking with Mr. Beans wonderful culinary skills the belly may stay! Everything else is right on target or “within normal limits.” I’m still a bit worried about language development. The doctor says nothing to worry about. I’m still going to have him evaluated as soon as we get moved.
I’ve been reading so many blogs and have so many ideas for posts. I just can’t seem to get myself together enough to write. Hopefully I’ll have time at work this week. The truth is, now that they know I’m leaving, they’ve begun to transfer all of my duties to my co-workers. (They’re not planning to hire a replacement. Budgetary issues.) I’ve had to meet with folks and make a plan for the transfer. Most of them asked to just go ahead and start doing the tasks assigned to them. That way, if there were problems I would still be around to ask questions and help out. That’s great, except there haven’t been many issues. So, in essence, my job has been totally farmed out and I’ve still got another month to go. I’ve done so many sudoku puzzles, I’m dreaming about them! Guess I could use the time to write more blog posts. Plenty of downtime to think !
Monday, November 05, 2007
I read an article that didn’t surprise me. It says that there continues to be a mental health crisis in the gulf coast region affected by Hurricane Katrina. It also highlights the lack of mental health providers in the area, especially outside of the metro-New Orleans area. Once again, I feel the need to speak for my people.
People still live in FEAM trailers with no prospect of moving out. There is no affordable housing available. The upper and middle class folks have been able to move on. Those without the means, however, are still stuck in pretty much the same place they were on the afternoon of August 29, 2005. You can’t “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” when you don’t know how. Mental illness is a disease….. just like cancer and diabetes. If you don’t receive treatment, you will die.
Another silent group is the children of the disaster. Is anyone thinking of the future? There are hundreds of “Katrina babies” – those children born 9-12 months after the storm. These children will have no memory of Katrina or its physical aftermath. The problem is these children will be raised by parents who could very well be suffering from the emotional aftermath of the storm. These children will suffer the consequences of their parents’ disease. Sadly, it’s preventable. If the parents receive adequate mental health care, the children will in turn receive the benefits. Healthy parents raise healthy children. And if you think this isn’t your problem, just remember. These children could end up in your communities dating your children someday. Think about it.
Whether or not these people should have had kids in the first place misses the point. The reality is that the children are here, in the flesh, and they need help. A 15 month old child can’t ask Mommy and Daddy to stop fighting. He just learns that yelling and hitting must be how be people relate to one another. Lessons like that are hard to forget.
I know I’m not doing this topic justice. Even so, I thought it was important to share. If you know someone in the mental health field who would like to make a difference, tell them to contact their counterparts on the gulf coast. Volunteer. Find a way to help these people. My people.
Sunday, November 04, 2007
No one ever told me how to care for a toddler who is whizzing out of his behind when I am vomiting profusely myself... even before I get to the diaper change.
Good grief I hope this passes soon!
Saturday, November 03, 2007
I mention this wonderful present idea to my co-workers who promptly inform me that I will “make him gay” if I buy him this kitchen. Yes folks, cooking = homosexual tendencies. I was floored. Forget the whole concept that you can’t make people gay. (I didn’t even try to explain this idea.) I simply tried to point out that cooking in a kitchen couldn’t possibly make a 15-month old child gay. I explained that his father does all of the cooking in our house and Gallo LOVES to be in the kitchen with his papa. This had no effect. (Which I found odd as I also made it very clear that Mr. Beans is definitely of the heterosexual persuasion. I even included diagrams and flowcharts.) They weren’t buying my story. I then tried to explain that Gallo loves talking toys. The voices make him laugh and he tries to imitate them. (This is important, as I am a bit concerned about his language development at this point.) Gallo also loves the concept of putting items into things – like putting plastic rings into boxes or pulling clothes out of dresser drawers. The whole cause-and-effect game can keep him entertained for a long time.
Nope. None of this mattered. If I buy the boy the kitchen, I’ll make him gay. In the end, I capitulated for the sake of the argument. I finally asked what would be so bad if he were gay? I might as well have asked what was so bad about Hillary Clinton while dining at an RNC fundraiser. Deer-in-headlights was the expression on most faces; others looked horrified.
Have I mentioned how much I can’t wait to move? Three weeks and counting……
Friday, November 02, 2007
It seems that the sellers of our wonderful new home have decided to quibble over $195. Yes, you read that correctly. ONE HUNDRED AND NINETY-FIVE DOLLARS. During the home inspection it was noted that there were some wiring issues. It was nothing that would make a buyer run screaming from the premises. The garage had been closed in years ago and apparently someone played the home version of “let’s-be-an-electrician.” Two many things on a breaker, wires not marked appropriately – whatever. The inspector said it was a safety issue in that it needed to be fixed but nothing that couldn’t be remedied quickly by someone who knew what he/she was doing. So we sent the sellers a copy of the report and told them these safety issues had to be fixed before closing. No big deal, so we thought.
Our realtor called today to tell us that the sellers contacted a licensed electrician who gave them a quote of $695 to make the repairs. They consider this stuff “incidentals.” Therefore, it’s covered by the $500 they’ve given us in the contract for said incidentals. We’ll need to pay the difference to have the repairs done.
Um – NO. Incidentals, my friends are things like scuffed paint, cleaning the carpets, replacing a squeaky ceiling fan. There is now way IMPROPER WIRING WHICH CAN RESULT IN A MAJOR FIRE can be considered “incidentals.” Our realtor wanted to know how far we wanted to take this. We told her, they can pay for the repair or they can shove the contract straight up their candy ass! I should also mention the sellers’ realtor mentioned he saw Mr. Beans’ name in the paper a few weeks ago. That would be the announcement that he had joined the firm. Kinda makes you wonder whether the fact that he’s a lawyer makes them think we need to pay the additional $195. You know, since lawyers have SO much money! (sure drop by, there’s a cash giveaway in the driveway tomorrow at 9am….) Honestly, they’ve lost their minds. This house has been on the market for months with NO offers and it’s a buyer’s market extraordinare! They can cough up the dough or they can enjoy their house. I’d rather live with my parents for a few months than get taken. It’s the principle of the matter.
On the job front, it’s even more ridiculous. In case you didn’t pay attention, I work for a state agency in this here fine state. All employees with the state have a classification for the pay called a PIN. These PINs are assigned to agencies and they see fit to assign PIN to whatever jobs they want. You may be in PIN X and be an instructor. He may be in PIN X and be a supervisor. The point is, you both make the same amount of money. Your job is the agency’s business. I was in a specific PIN (PIN X) for three years in my previous life. I then moved to another agency and was promoted to a higher level PIN (PIN Y). In order to transfer, I applied for the open PIN X at The Agency. I got my letter from the state personnel office. It seems that I’m not qualified for PIN X. Nope. I was qualified five years ago and in that time compiled five more years of experience, three of which was in PIN X, along with a promotion to PIN Y and a master’s degree. Now, I’m no longer qualified for PIN X. Overqualfied? Nope I “don’t meet the minimum requirements.”
I think I should apply for a job at the state personnel office. Perhaps I’m qualified for that.
On a posotive note, Mr. Beans is coming to visit this weekend. I get a day off from total parental responsibility. And oh yeah, a few happy minutes alone with my husband. Guess I should stop complaining. Happy Friday!
Thursday, November 01, 2007
I’m trying this NaBloPoMO thing….. I hope I the link correctly. Not that many folks read me regularly because, well, I don’t post regularly. Go figure.
I do however have plenty for Day 1. Perhaps the prospect of explaining it all will give me something to do with my free time. (As if…)
Sine my last post, life has continued to get crazy.
House: the crazy folks accepted our offer on the house in HomeTown! We’re now in the process of working out the kinks. There were a few minor things on the home inspection that have to be completed. Once that is done, we’ll have the survey done and get the mortgage crap all signed, sealed and delivered. We’re still hoping to move in by Thanksgiving. Oh, and did I mention the hot tub ?? Yeah baby! It comes with a hot tub. Just in time for the cold weather. I can’t wait!
Job: As I last explained, a job unexpectedly came open at my previous place of employment, The Agency. I had a phone interview and she hired me on the spot! We’re now trying to work out the transfer process to ensure a seamless jump from here to there. It also appears that I won’t have to bit the bullet with a five figure cut in pay! Talks were in the works to upgrade certain positions to provide more oversight within the Agency. The powers-that-be decided that I would be the perfect fit for this newly created position. Volia! Instant job with same pay package I currently receive. It will be a LOT more work and I’ll probably be on the carpet 24/7 whenever the higher-ups decide it’s time for the bi-annual flogging contest. In the end, though, it’s another big jump career-wise for me. I’m honestly floored. Of course, the whole thing is a bit ironic since all I ever wanted to be was a stay-at-home mom. What’s with the career opportunities now?
Obviously Gallo will need someplace to go during the day while Mommy and Daddy are out conquering their respective worlds. We’ve found a wonderful in-home childcare situation that fits us perfectly. We’d prefer he be at an actual daycare with more structure. Unfortunately, there are ZERO openings in the area and waiting lists are at least a year long. So, until then, we’re happy with the situation that has presented itself. Hopefully Gallo will be happy, too.
I’m definitely worried about the continued changes he has to deal with on an almost constant basis. Mr. Beans has already been gone a month. Gallo will leave the daycare he’s known for four months. Then, he will be away from me for a few weeks. (He’s going to Home Town to stay with Daddy and Grandparents while Mommy packs up the house here.) Then a new house, new day care…. Good grief. The boy has had nothing but changes since he arrived in this world! Adapt, overcome…. Hoorah! It must the military brat in me that says it will be okay. The professional who works in the field of mental health isn’t so sure. Only time will tell. We’re giving him all the love and attention we can. We’re trying to gradually ease him into each new situation the best we can. As parents, aren’t we always wondering if we’re doing the right thing? We do what we know. When we know better, we do better. I truly hope I’m learning fast!
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Mr. Beans passed the bar!!! He took it in July and results were posted in September. I knew he’d pass and had no doubts. Even so, he wasn’t going to believe me until he had confirmation from the people who count. He was sworn-in in our fair capital city. Gallo and I were able to be there and witness the event. We went to KFC for dinner that night. Yes folks, the life of an attorney is as glamorous as you thought!
I didn’t mention it here but over Labor Day weekend, Mr. Beans had a job interview back on the coast. It went very well and he was tentatively offered a job, pending bar results. So, when he heard the good news, the compensation package for the job was offered and we accepted. The bad news: he had to start immediately. So, he headed south and Gallo and I remain here in Whitey McWhiteville. I’d like to say I miss my husband but the sad truth is that most days I don’t have time to miss him. Thankfully we have daycare that I love, but it now means that Gallo is there nearly 50 hours a week. That breaks my heart but we have no choice. I also hate that I’m completely drained on a daily basis. I get myself ready, then get him up and get him to daycare. (Thankfully they feed him breakfast.) Then when I get off work, I pick him up. We come home, have dinner, and then play in his room. He then gets a bath and it’s off to bed. I usually have cereal for dinner and crawl into bed. I’m just beat. I don’t know how single moms do it everyday. I just can’t keep this up and I’ve only been doing it for 3 weeks! My mother has offered to come help until we can be together again. I think I’m going to have to take her up on it.
In order for the family to be together, we need a place to live. Unfortunately, rent in the area is INSANE. It’s cheaper to buy than to rent. (Literally… not in “the long run” but literally, a mortgage for a decent house is less than rent on an apartment in a scary neighborhood with shaky plumbing. How sad.) Insurance is going to kill us (a 1500 sq ft home will run you about $4000 a year – insurance agents are the spawn of the devil.) So we looked at houses in various neighborhoods and managed to find one we really liked. Mr. Beans signed papers on an offer today! We should know by tomorrow whether or not they’ve accepted our offer. Keep your fingers crossed!
The final piece of the puzzle is that I needed to procure a transfer between state agencies. I have worked for the state for eight years. After the storm, I was able to transfer from one agency to another to be with Mr. Beans. The transfer was important because it allowed me to keep my personal and medical leave as well as not loose my retirement investment. Transfers are always the best. So, when he got the job back on the coast, I’d hoped I could transfer back to the agency where I started. I was told it wouldn’t be possible for a while thanks to budgetary issues. (I was told not to even try before the next fiscal year!) We had resigned ourselves that either we’d be apart until next summer or I’d just have to quit. Ditching the career is a sacrifice I’d make easily; loosing the benefits of insurance and retirement are a bit harder to swallow. We were trying to figure out another way. Monday night, the “other way” landed in our laps. It seems that two people resigned on Friday at my old agency. Even with the budget crunch, the agency MUST hire at least one person to fill the gap or risk being out of compliance with federal regulations. So, I made some phone calls, faxed my resume, and kept my fingers crossed. This afternoon I got a call that I have a phone interview tomorrow afternoon. (She’s making accommodations since I live so far away.) It’s the answer to prayers, if we were the praying type. If I could get this transfer, we could be together as a family by Thanksgiving. Hopefully, we’ll also be in our brand new house!
I’m taking deep breaths and telling myself it’s going to be okay. We’ve been through so much in our lives….. I’m always afraid the other shoe is going to drop… the bubble is going to burst… I’m hoping this time, I can finally just exhale.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
“Anyone out there?”
Yeah that’s what I thought. I am still faithfully reading so many blogs – my list is way too long. I even manage to leave comments from time to time. So why can’t I get my shit together and leave my own posts? I really don’t know. I think work and home and self have just gotten the best of me. I often wonder how so many of you manage to do it. I think the blogs I love the best are those that read like journal entries. The blogger just writes as if chatting up a friend and filling in the details of the day. Sometimes the details are fascinating; others days, boring as hell. But there’s a connection between the writer and the reader. So here I am, rambling on about mindless drivel…
Gallo is amazing! He made his first birthday on 8/08.
Cake was had by all and he did indeed wear a good bit of it. I think that’s a tradition. So was the fact that the first birthday cake had to be carrot. That’s a Mr. Beans family thing. I always thought chocolate but I was immediately voted. Since he was the one baking it, I guess I didn’t have a say! It was yummy so no complaints here.
My youngest stepson, C, was here for two weeks. That was an adventure. I really should have been blogging at the time. I understand that 13 year olds can be trying even during the best of times. However, he’s the product of being 13 and having had ZERO discipline during his life save the two-three weeks a year he’s spent with his father for the past decade. One cannot solve 49 weeks of bad parenting in three. It just doesn’t work that way.
Oh and I had a birthday this month as well - turned the big 33. When did that become old? Seriously, one day I was young and vibrant and sexy. I woke up and had facial hair, varicose veins and didn’t know a single band on MTV. Of course maybe that’s because I actually witnessed the BIRTH of MTV. E-gad!
I’ve actually written several posts but never published them. Of course they were on hot button topics that got my blood boiling. I’d write, and edit and add…. And then save them and never publish. I just didn’t have the energy to bother. That’s sad… and really not like me. Again, maybe it’s an age thing.
I would be remiss if I didn’t make mention of today’s date. August 29…. It’s been two years since a bitch named Katrina changed my world forever. Two years seems like a lot of time, until you’re trying to rebuild your life. Then it’s the blink of an eye. Some things have changed. Most have not. Time rolls on. King George is using the coast as a photo-op. How nice. Thankfully I’ll miss his trip. We’re making the pilgrimage there to visit the family for the Labor Day holiday. I want my parents to have more time with Gallo. He’s growing up so fast…. I’m afraid he won’t remember them.
Did I mention Gallo’s walking already? Yup – mastering it more and more every day. We’re moving from formula to milk…. from the bottle to the sippy cup. He’s so independent and smart and determined. I’m more proud of him every day. I keep trudging along, still in awe that I have the opportunity to raise him. I’m so incredibly lucky.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
I probably should have posted more about brining my son home. I’ve decided to call him Gallo, as in el gallo (the rooster). I do this for two reasons: a) I have the most adorable picture of him in the bathtub with a soapsuds mohawk that makes him look like a rooster; and b) Gallo is a popular beer in Guatemala of which I was able to partake a few of and really enjoyed. So he’s officially Gallo.
The infamous “pick-up” trip was full of so much excitement and anxiety rolled into one. Thank the goddess for xanax! We all know I hate to fly so a little pharmaceutical help makes the journey so much easier for me and even more so for Mr. Beans. We arrived on time with no worries and were expecting a full night’s sleep before the arrival of Gallo and his foster family. Guess again! We arrived at the hotel to be told they would be here in about an hour! We ran upstairs, brushed hair and teeth, changed clothes and voila! They arrived.
His foster family was amazing. It was obvious how much they loved Gallo and were sad to see him go. He was placed in their care when he was three days old. Now, 7.5 months later, he was leaving. They brought a beautiful picture of him with angels superimposed around his face. On the back was a message saying how much they loved him and wished him a happy life. They included their address and asked that we keep in touch. I promised that I would. Letters and pictures are the least I can do to show my appreciation for caring for him all this time. That may sound flippant but what else can I say? Foster families understand that the children they are caring for will one day leave to go to another family. I’m not insinuating it’s not heartbreaking each time a child leaves. I’m only implying they understand, at least cognitively, that the day is coming. I am happy to continue this connection for Gallo. He may never be able to locate the family that brought him into the world, but I can do my damnedest to maintain the relationship with the family that cared for him during his first few months.
We visited for some time and then said our goodbyes. The whole scene was unbearably painful. I remember the pain I felt when we visited having to leave him and return to the U.S. without him. My only solace was knowing I would return, sooner or later, to bring him to his new home. This time, there was no solace for his foster mother. This was it. She had nothing more than my word that we would stay in touch. I can’t fathom what she was thinking or feeling at the time. I can only live up to my word to remain in contact.
The next few days went by so quickly. The details of the embassy visit are irrelevant to most. I’ve recorded them for Gallo’s questions, should there be any. Unless you’re going through the adoption process in Guatemala and are interested to know what will happen during your visit, I’m sure you aren’t interested. Short version: We spent the weekend bonding. We went to the embassy on Monday. It took four hours. We returned Tuesday afternoon and received his visa. We left Wednesday morning and arrived back at home, safe and sound, a little after midnight on Thursday. I have no positive comments for Immigration folks at the Charlotte airport. (perhaps I’ll elaborate in a later post). Suffice it to say, I wouldn’t recommend using that airport to return to the U.S. Go through Atlanta or Houston – better chance they know what they’re doing.
April was a blur! I stayed home thanks to lots of personal leave accrued during my past decade of being a state
Rush forward to May: Law school graduation! The entire clans, on both sides, made the journey here to WhiteyMcWhiteville to see our genius Mr. Beans receive his Juris Doctor. I was so proud of the man. Considering the tumultuous happenings of the past three years and yet he still made it through. We got married; Katrina destroyed everything we owned; I moved here to WMW and started a new job; we started and finished Gallo’s adoption. All of this during his three years of law school - unfuckingbelievable. Truly, the man is a wonder. He’s now consumed with studying for the bar exam… and being Mr. Mom. Every day I marvel at his ability to care for Gallo. I don’t mean emotionally because that’s a no-brainer. I mean the actual day-to-day physical care of this child. He has the patience of Job. It’s sad to say that I’m impressed because he’s a guy. I know it sounds stereotypical. It’s just been my experience that fathers aren’t usually the “hands-on” caregivers that mothers are. That’s not the case here at Casa de Beans. Papa is the primary caregiver; Mama is the bread winner. And so it goes, until the bar is passed and a job is found.
Gallo is, of course, the most amazing child on earth. He’s now 10 months old. He’s crawling, pulling himself up, standing without assistance and certainly about to take his first steps any minute now. He knows “mama” and “papa” and can say them somewhat discriminately. He knows “bottle” and “doggie” but won’t say them. He’s got six teeth with number seven trying to rear its ugly head. His hair is so long if one more person asks me when I’m gonna give him a hair cut I’m gonna ask when they plan to loose weight! (as if either question is the inquisitor’s business!) He’s at the 95th percentile for weight and 75th percentile for height. He sleeps through the night (at least 12 hours) and takes two, 2-hour naps during the day. When he’s awake, he’s “balls to the wall” (as Mr. Beans would say) until he goes to sleep. He’s big and happy and healthy. We couldn’t be more thrilled he’s finally with us!
Reality-ville? I’m exhausted. Mr. Beans is exhausted. This is hard. This is trying. Some days I wonder “what have I gotten myself in to?” Some days I don’t think I’m gonna make it. Some days I wish I could just pull the covers over my head and just go back to sleep. Most days I’m in tears about something I’ve done or said or not done or not said to Gallo. Yes, at the end of the day, it is all worth it; but that doesn’t mean it’s all moonbeams and fairytales. It’s Motherhood and it ain’t always pretty.
So there’s the boring “catch-up” post. Sorry it’s so long. I guess I really have to get better organized. So much of my life pre-Gallo has taken a backseat. I know all the moms out there are saying, “Um yeah, what did you expect?” Honestly, I expected nothing less. I’m just taking longer than I would like to get into a discernable rhythm. I’m sure I’ll get the hang out it sometime. Every day I’m finding I understand more and more and feeling less and less confused about my role as mom. I should figure this thing out in oh…. 50-60 years??
Friday, March 23, 2007
Missing Guatemala City Signature: Searching Out Others
Thank you for your supportive comments. Unfortunately, this is not a situation for which we can contact US politicians or government bodies for assistance. It concerns a Guatemala citizen's document -- issued by a municipality in Guatemala -- that is not being accepted by a Guatemalan government body. It could even be counterproductive to attempt to bring US parties into the mix.
However, there is something you can do to help if you so wish. If you are ADOPTING FROM GUATEMALA and you are with an agency or facilitator that is not HAPS or For This Child, PLEASE EMAIL THE FOLLOWING LETTER TO YOUR AGENCY. If you are NOT ADOPTING but you have a blog, please POST THIS REQUEST ON YOUR BLOG.
If your agency has a case in process that contains a Guatemala City cedula or birth-certificate that is missing the Civil Registry signature (usually the mayor's signature), we have important information to share.
According to PGN, if your case has not yet received a previo for the missing signature, it will. The letter from the Civil Registry and/or the Mayor of Guatemala City is no longer sufficient to satisfy the previo. The four PGN assessors have made a joint decision that these unsigned documents MUST be signed. However, at this time there is NO ONE in Guatemala City with the authority to sign these documents!
We are Cheri xxxxxx and Erin xxxxxx, in the process of adopting Guatemalan babies through For This Child and HAPS, respectively. After many months working on this issue separately, our agencies are now collaborating to find a solution. They have discussed this with the PGN reviewers, Barrios, and the Mayor of GC directly. The conclusion is that the mayor does NOT have the authority to sign a document issued under another mayor's tenure. Therefore, we must file an acta with a different branch of PGN that will require the Civil Registry of GC to 1) designate and authorize a person to sign these documents, and 2) order that person to do so.
The PGN reviewer on Erin's case currently has 12 cases that have been kicked out for this reason. If all 8 reviewers have a similar number of cases, that means 80-100 cases are in this same predicament! We have been advised to find as many of these other cases as possible so that we can ALL file the acta together.
We have strength in numbers.If you have, or know of, a case that contains a Guatemala City cedula or birth-certificate that is missing the Civil Registry signature, please contact:
Karla Ordonez, with HAPS: cell 5555-3610, office 2332-9040 Traci Orr, with For This Child: US #214-370-8436, email@example.com
Thank you for your time,
Cheri and Erin
Friday, March 16, 2007
I’ve really wanted to comment on the recent news that Angelina Jolie has added a new addition to her family. The number of threads regarding this information have been staggering to me. There are many “that’s not fair” posts about how fast the adoption was completed. Supporters argue she started the process early last year, that she adopted an older child who was paper ready, etc. Detractors generally argue simply that she bought off Vietnamese officials and that she’s receiving preferential treatment because of her celebrity. On many of the adoption forums I’ve lurked, the majority of adoptive parents have commented a) why does it matter anyway because at least the child is out of the orphanage and b) who cares if money / fame brought the boy home early because if they had the money/fame/resources, they would have given “whatever it took” to bring their child home sooner.
My first thought was to agree because obviously I’ve wanted my son home with me from the moment I laid eyes on him. Having to wait, month after month, for the process to be completed has been difficult. There have been times when I thought I would have “done anything” to bring him home. After reading so many threads / posts, it has left me wondering, would I? Honestly, would I be willing to do “whatever it took.”
Vietnam was closed to adoptions from U.S. citizens due to allegations of serious corruption in the system. It took several years for the U.S. and Vietnam to work out a Memo of Understanding to allow adoptions to proceed again. Families were caught in the crossfire and, I believe, some families never brought their children home. Now, the country has “reopened” and agencies must be licensed by Vietnam to complete adoptions. I definitely can’t speak to whether this new system is better or worse than before because I don’t have first-hand knowledge and haven’t done enough research. However, I feel strongly that any processes in place need to be followed to the letter to ensure this “transparency” everyone talks about wanting in international adoptions actually occurs.
Back to Ms. Jolie: I’ve read several parents’ blogs who adopted children born in Vietnam. These parents’ anger stems from the idea that they had to wait two, three or more weeks for all of their paperwork to be processed, G and R ceremony, embassy paperwork, visa, etc. I perused the State Department website about the process for Vietnam adoptions. I didn’t really come away with a clear understanding of how long it “should” take. I only have the information I read, time and time again, from parents. Their trips to finalize the adoption of their child in Vietnam surely didn’t go as quickly as Angelina’s trip. Most of these parents were "in country" at least two-three weeks attempting to complete the process.
Now I understand that everything provided by the media shouldn’t be accepted as truth. I get that. I’m simply throwing out this food for thought: Let’s all assume that Ms. Jolie went through the exact same processes as any other U.S. citizen with regard to home study, I-600A, wait for referral, etc. Fine. Now all the paper-ready parents and paper-ready children are matched. Everyone has made their travel plans and has arrived in country on the same date. Great – everyone is at the same exact place in the process, right?. So how is it that the Jolie adoption is completed in a few days and the other families are waiting weeks? This is where I have to ask those saying she’s not receiving preferential treatment to explain the difference in the process. If anything, wouldn’t she have the resources to stay in country for months if she chose to? Wouldn’t it make more sense to expedite the case of Ms. Random Parent because she DOESN’T have the resources to stay in country for an extended period of time? I just don’t get it. Maybe I’ve missed something here and those who’ve adopted from Vietnam can explain it to me. I’m not arguing whether the adoption of this child is a good thing because I think it is. I’m simply asking why the finalization process in country took a CONSIDERABLY shorter time for AJ’s adoption than it appears to take for all other U.S. adoptive parents.
[I feel the need to add a small disclaimer that I happen to ADORE Angelina. I applaud her work as a Goodwill Ambassador. From what we ARE privy to in the media and IF you believe it, she appears to be a devoted mother. When I’ve heard her speak I come away with a feeling that she is a genuine human being. This is NOT a bash toward her as a person. My questions about her adoption are PROCESS questions.]
Back to doing “whatever it takes:” Adoptive parents get their panties in a wad when others criticize their adopting internationally. We freak out when people mention the POSSIBILITY of corruption, buying children, bribes, forged documents, coercion of birthmothers, etc. Yet in the same breath we make comments like “I’d do anything to bring him home.” Really? So handing an orphanage director an extra $5000 to bring your son is okay because it’s YOUR son. If I do it, it’s corrupt? Yeah, not so much. How can we expect government officials to follow outlined procedures if we take the attitude that “as long as the child gets out of the orphanage” then the behavior doesn’t matter? Of course it matters. If the behavior is wrong in the light of day, it’s wrong at night. Are we as adoptive parents helping to feed the fury when we turn a blind eye to those employing corrupt practices? I’d rather face the problem head on and make changes than bury my head in the sand and pretend it’s not happening.
Monday, March 05, 2007
So, back to the good news: After submitting the “missing” paperwork, we waited over the President's Day holiday expecting to receive our precious pink slip the week of the 21st. Nothing arrived and I emailed the embassy asking for an update. OH SILLY GIRL. I can’t believe I didn’t bother to read my own history to know that if you ask questions, you won’t like the answers. I got a quick reply – another I-72!! It seems that they didn’t like the form our attorney submitted. Our original signatures didn’t make it original enough. So another form had to be completed and over-nighted to GC. We were finally resubmitted and held our breath. Surprisingly, two days later, we received PINK!
Now, the irony is that apparently the embassy is conducting training or spring cleaning or taking some time to reorganize their Rolodexes instead of conducting visa interviews during the month of March. So we are forced to wait another three weeks before we can go get our son. Our appointment is at the end of March. Another month will go by that we can’t get back. In the end, I’m just grateful to have the pink slip. I’ve been watching others who are now being relegated to some time in April for their visa appointments. Even worse, for those still further back in the process, more delays can be expected on the Guatemala side with Holy Week being early this year. There are so many parents absolutely terrified with the goings-on of the VP of Guatemala and HRH Wendy de Berger and the whole Protocolo. My thoughts are with all those families that are faced with the prospect of not bringing their children home. Truly, I can’t imagine what you’re feeling.
So now, I am packing like crazy and planning the pick up trip. I’m also trying to get my affairs in order at work. Suffice it to say that I’m pretty much the only person at my site that does my job. If I’m not there, it doesn’t get done. I’d like to say that I will be taking off my 12 guaranteed weeks. Alas, my employer is being an ass. Personnel is saying that I’m only allowed to use my personal leave and not my medical leave. When I questioned this, I was told maternity leave requests are generally granted for the entire 12 weeks because the mother is able to use her medical leave as she is recovering from a medical event. When medical runs out, she can use her personal leave – all up to the FMLA allowed 12 weeks. For me, since there’s no medical issue, I can only use my personal leave. (I should point out that I have over 550 hours of medical leave and had planned to use most of it for this. Personal leave? I’ve got less that half of that.) So, I can exhaust my personal leave then beg for leave without pay, or just suck it up and go back to work early. Thankfully, Mr. Beans (my beloved husband) is almost through with law school. So, I’ll most likely be off work until May, and then beg for a flexible schedule until his graduation. My immediate supervisor has said she is willing to work with me on a flexible schedule. Hopefully I can take her word for it. We shall see.
Speaking of Mr. Beans, he went for a job interview out of state… hell, out of our region of the country! The interview went really well. He was told they would make a decision by the middle of the month. I don’t want to say where until we know for sure whether we’re going or not. We’ve talked about it for awhile now and have pretty much decided if they offer him a position, we’re going. So, cross your fingers! We are very excited about the idea of moving because we’re both pretty sick of living in the Bible Belt. I was born and pretty much raised in the South. It’s NOT what it’s cracked up to be. I know when I travel I find myself defending it a lot because I know what a bad rap it gets. But in the end. I’m not so sure it’s worth defending anymore. Taking a dip in the gene pool CAN be refreshing.
More to come…..
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
I wish I could report that we'd made plans to travel. Unfortunately, the worker bees in the Kingdom haven't managed to get things together. We were submitted to the embassy for our visa interview last week. Instead of issuing the infamous pink slip, we were given an I-72.
UGH - the dreaded I-72. For those 'in the know" it means that the embassy requested additional information before processing our visa request. It seems that our attorney failed to include a necessary document in the final packet. One would think I would be furious with the attorney. Alas, I'm not. Why? Because I have the memo from the embassy that CLEARLY states the document they are requesting is NO LONGER NEEDED. Yes, my friends, the embassy wants us to submit a document they have said is no longer required! I'm worried some of our fine federal employees have gone to the PGN training school. Seriously. I'd expect this from first-line PGN reviewers, not from our highly trained Foreign Service Officers. These people are supposed to be the creme-de-la-creme! Obviously not. So now we wait. Maybe next week we will be given the go ahead and secure an appointment date. Who knows? I'm taking nothing for granted.
On a completely different subject: for you two-three kind folks who are following along at the 'place, have you noticed the comments on my previous post? (Go ahead, check it out. I'll refresh my drink.......)It seems that I have managed to offend someone(s). I'm actually kind of flattered that someone took the time to read what I have to say. Even more so that my thoughts are so offensive people feel the need to read them OVER AND OVER AND OVER. I'm thinking it’s mob mentality.... the car wreck syndrome... "It was so gruesome but I just couldn't look away!" Much like I told my anonymous compadre, I would welcome anyone to drop by and give me a piece of his or her mind. Yes, I sensor the comments on my blog. I assure you that I've posted every single comment I've ever received. (as if there were too many to post... MUUWWAAHAHAHA!) I require the posts to go through me so that I know they're here! I'm too neglectful to watch on a daily basis. Comments run through my email so I can know when the public stumbles upon my ramblings.
So once again, take a minute to enlighten me. Seriously – I’m apparently an idiot and uneducated about pretty much every topic I’ve posted about so far. I would think that people would jump at the chance to school me. I’m willing to listen. This isn’t a challenge. It’s an invitation to dialogue. I can’t be expected to learn anything if only those who agree with me are the ones in the conversation.
Of course if it’s easier and more convenient to just trash me and lump me in with “those people,” then that’s okay. I understand that sharing with others is a difficult task. I’ve noticed that much of this online community is female and pretty much a Queen Bee and Wannabees kind of world. I don’t mind sitting at the lunch table by myself. I was never one of popular girls either. Old habits die hard; don't they, ladies?.
Friday, January 26, 2007
We are out!! The PGN decree was signed yesterday, 1/25.
DNA Match: Sept 25
Pre-Approval: Oct 25
PGN decree: Jan 25
I do believe that 25 is my new lucky number.
We got the call while we were in WallyWorld buying milk and dogfood. (Not to be used together, thankfully.) I had made it to the back of the store, near the baby section, when my cell phone lit up and I recognized the agency's phone number. I paniced for a few seconds wondering if I should be so excited. What if it was a kick out? I don't know what I would have done. Alas, it was the good news we'd been waiting for. No kick outs and we're done. Decree granted. It took eight weeks for the final signature. I got my copy of the decree and noticed the reviewer signed off on the case on Dec 4th. He got it on a Thursday and signed it out on the following Monday. The rest of the time was waiting for that one final signature. Bureaucracy at its finest.
At this point, we are now awaiting his First Mother’s signature on the final adoption deed, the Protocolo. I want to take a minute to share a few thoughts here. I have seen others write similar statements but now it’s my turn. This will be the fourth time she has had to sign paperwork related to the relinquishment of this precious baby boy. Her baby boy. At any time she has had the right to say “No. I can’t do this. I don’t want to do this.” I am very well aware that I have no right to this child. I personally would argue that no person on this earth has the right to this child. He is his own person and he belongs to himself. However, for legal purposes, his First Mother has the ability to grant custody to whomever she sees fit. I hope that continues to see fit to grant custody to us.
I won’t insult her by pretending to know how she feels or what she is thinking. I don’t know anything about her or her family. I can only offer that I and my family will do everything in our power to raise her child to manhood. I hope that he is able to accomplish any and every dream that he has. I promise that I will spend every day of my life loving this child and caring for him until I draw my last breath. I know it all sounds trite and cliché and has been said thousands of times in the past month alone. I can only hope that my actions will speak louder than my words.
On a happy note, we’ve cleared another MAJOR hurdle in the journey that will bring us back to Guatemala. We’re hoping for a quick embassy appointment to bring him to our humble little abode. A new life for him and for us. Not better. Not worse. Just new and different and full of possibilities.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
As a future adoptive mother, however, I obviously hope that this is not the case with my future son. I hope that he does not look upon his adoption as the sum total of his world. I expect that he will grieve and may have many doubts and fears. I have already begun to plan for these events in his life. The only thing I can do is be there for him, recognize his feelings and be there for him, in whatever capacity he wants me to be. Tragic events can happen in a person’s life but it does not mean they have to be defined by that tragic event.
I read numerous blogs of women who placed their children for adoption or were adoptees themselves. (Placed is my word. Feel free to peruse their blogs to read how they define it.) These blogs are rarely pleasant and generally fill me with fear and dread. I have to remind myself that it’s highly unlikely someone is going to create a blog that says “Hi. I was adopted and thrilled about it.” Of course not – don’t be silly! For the most part it appears that only people with horrific adoption experiences are compelled to share them with the world. I can understand why. I compare it to the infertility blogs I’ve read. As an infertile I often felt like I was the only person that felt the way I did. Oh, but only if I had known about the blogosphere five years ago!! I might have felt less alone. As such, I can understand the need for adoptees to write about their experiences in order to relate to other who feel the way they do. Power in numbers. I get it.
Another phrase I hear often in the aforementioned adoption / adoptee blogs is when an adoptive mother “gets it” or “doesn’t get it.” I continue to read these blogs in an attempt to be open-minded and understand there is another side to adoption. I’m happy to report that I have finally begun to understand the difference between my ability to “get it” or “not get it.” If I agree with their point of view, I “get it;” if I make the mistake of not agreeing with their point of view, I’m one of those who “doesn’t get it.” Good to know.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not so naïve as to think that someday, my son will tell me that he wishes I never adopted him. He may tell me that I stole him from his “real” family. I hope that it doesn’t happen, but it’s possible. I have to tell you though; my mother has four biological children. Two of these children adore her, are active in her life and thank her constantly for the lives they currently have. The other two children rarely speak to her and blame her for every negative thing that has ever happened in their lives. Same mother, same parenting skills – different perspectives on childhood. And I remind you – they are all the biological children of this woman. Interesting… sharing DNA with another human being does not equal a special bond. This may be an area worth researching. Anyone looking for a thesis topic in social psychology????
I guess this is just another rambling rant. I was under the assumption that folks with blogs were looking for discussion, open dialogue. If not, then close the comments section and simply post. Make it your personal op-ed page. If you’re writing and requesting comments, then you’ve got to assume the general public is going to do just that. If you’re looking for a specific demographic then perhaps a little disclaimer letting the unwelcome know who they are would be a helpful addition to your blog.
Then again, maybe I should just shut my trap and read. I always assume the silence is an invitation to talk.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Today marks the seven weeks mark that we’ve been in PGN. I’m trying to stay positive that no news is good news. I watch the forums religiously in an attempt to make some sort of sense. In the past few days there have been a dozen or so “outs” posted. Most of these folks have entry dates in the teens or early 20s of November. We went in on 11/30. Oh please, oh please… let us out soon! Ironically today is my youngest step-son’s 13th birthday. We got confirmation of our DNA match on his older brother’s 15th birthday. I sure was hoping we’d get out today. It would make for a cute story wouldn’t it?
Eye update: My eyes have finally healed. After 4 weeks of steroid drops, fire-water eyewashes and being stuck in my glasses, I am thankfully back in my contacts with no permanent damage. Yea! I love my optometrist. He’s a keeper!
Mom update: She’s fine. She was released from the hospital on 12/30 with a gazillion prescriptions. Final diagnosis? Bleeding ulcer caused by H-pylori. I believe she is finally on the mend. Apparently, my father was feeling overly generous because he bought her a belated birthday present. How about a 2006 P*ontiac $olstice? It absolutely gorgeous! I’m so happy for her. Too bad it’s a stick and I can’t drive stick. (Sad, isn’t it?)
The in-law visit was relatively uneventful. Only one slightly uncomfortable moment when MIL informs me that her sons were on solid food before she left the hospital with them. I must be an idiot for worrying about bottles and formula issues. Colin’s almost 6 months old. I apparently should be picking out a nice corned beef for his homecoming! (I was a good girl, however, and kept drinking my margarita rather than calling BS on her.)
In other news, last weekend I made a pilgrimage to I*K*E*A.
If I hade a religion, this place would be my temple! It was the most amazing experience. I drool online all the time and have ordered a few minor things. Unfortunately, the closest one is SIX hours away. I’ve complained repeatedly that we needed to go when we both had a three day weekend. Thank you, Dr. King! Because how better can I give back to my community than by shopping? Can you believe I bought a room full of bedroom furniture that fit into a 1999 C@mry? Honestly, I love this place. I got tears in my eyes when we pulled into the parking garage! It’s the simple things in life that move me. Being able to decorate a house exactly the way I want to? PRICELESS. Of course I couldn’t leave out my little man. Unfortunately, my favorite store doesn’t ship any of its baby textiles (quilts, bed linens, etc.). So I loaded up on my favorites. I bought a new quilt for my bed as well. While there we decided we wanted to buy a new bed, too. They didn’t have what we wanted so we’re going to have to go back. LOLOL – no you heard me correctly. We have to go BACK! Tentatively, we’re heading back for President’s weekend. This time we’ll be renting a minivan. I promise I will do my best to fill it up before I head back home. As always, all bets are off for this schedule roadtrip if we’re too busy in Guatemala bringing home my precious baby boy. He turned five months last week. If things don’t move quickly, he’ll have a beard by the time he comes home!
I continue to read around the blogosphere on a daily basis. I’m gonna get that blogroll thing done sometime soon. Maybe this weekend. Beats cleaning the house.