Guatemalan Sisters

Saturday, September 30, 2006


So I finally figured out how to download photos from my camera again...I do it so rarely that I seem to forget each time.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

What Have I Done????

I'm nearly in tears with laughter tonight. Jayden, Rowan, Riley and Taylor (this is the 18 year old) have been goofing around here tonight and frankly, I think I must have signed on for a 15 year long slumber party. Here are some of the highlights of our day:

Jayden had a soccer game so when Jayden was in Rowan and Riley sat on my lap near the end of the field and repeated EVERY comment I yelled out towards the girl. It's like having live echos every where you go.

Riley has found one one of those gerbals that plays music when you squeeze it's paw. This particular one plays "I'm Just a Love Machine." She squeezes it, hold it to her ear and talks into it like it's a cell phone. She then wiggles her little booty in time with the music. This one brings me to tears every time.

All three of the youngest girls played "Mama Mia" repeatedly through dinner to see who could get my attention. I didn't catch on to what they were doing for a bit so they found themselves entirely too funny. I suspect I'm going to be enduring their jokes on me for years to come.

As proof these little critters pick up languages fast, Rowan demanded "Mamma come in here" as clear as a bell when she wanted to get out of time out. (Yes, we still have a few of those it seems.)

Rowan JUST slid off the end of the couch head first into the toy box and yelled "uh oh" giggling as she went in.

These girls are just too much fun.

The cats are doing well and even the cranky one comes into the fray to play. The other one is generally in hiding but that's really the norm for her.

Devin is back and school and trying to catch up. She's got an accounting test on Monday so that's her priority right now. We likely won't see her for a few weekends.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Home At Last!

Hi Everyone,

We are home at last. I have never been so happy to land at the Portland airport or get into my own bed. What was supposed to be a 10 hour trip lasted 21 due to the LAX customs and airport folks. They "lost" Riley's passport and took 45 minutes to find it. (Seriously, how do you lose a passport you've only had for 5 minutes???) They then have a very inefficient, understaffed international baggage rechecking system. One line and only two screeners to look at everyone continuing on. (Again, seriously. I thought it was an international airport?????) All of this caused us to miss our connecting flight to Portland and resulted in an 8.5 hour layover in LAX.

Now the good news is that Rowan and Riley sensed mom was very upset about the problems and impendng layover. They remained completely cooperative and calm during the customs and baggage challenges. The additional good news is that I can officially answer any questions you might have about LAX. Which restaurants are the most croweded, which ones seem to be the favorites, where to best find quiet space, best people watching areas, which window sills are of need of regular dusting (none right now because my girls cleaned them all yesterday with their shirts/skirts/hands, and the game they play with delaying flights and moving your gate to keep you moving around. The bad news is ..... OK, there is no bad news. I'm really over it now that I'm home. It just adds to the experience I guess. Rowan and Riley really did well though we had a few "moments" at the airport and on the various planes.

My heart really goes out to the foster mom. She was incredibly sweet and even wrote the girls letters to read when they're older. She welcomed photos and continued contact as well. We also receive a sweet letter from the foster mother's daughter, son-in-law and grandson to share with the girls when they're older. The foster mother was crying from the moment she arrived at the hotel. I felt so bad for her. The girls came to Devin and I immediately and haven't "looked back" or asked for her since they were handed over. This only means she prepared them well and they expected and understood they were coming with us. Jayden didn't and she has told us recently she kept thinking we would take her back to her foster mother.

While in Guatemala we met some wonderful families who were bringing home their children. It was great to see that most were pick up versus vist trips. When we visited in June, only one family was picking up and the rest were visiting. We only met two visiting families this time. We did see many toddlers and older children come home this time. These older kids have a place in my heart so it was good to see. Magaly, Maya and Gracie - I am so happy you're on your way home.

The girls are adjusting well as near as I can tell. They clearly have not been told "no" too often but are used to saying it a lot. They do have regular, predictable tantrums, especially if napping or bedtime is involved. They are not fond of baths as well.

The tantrums are getting shorter and with fewer tears. They involve more noise than anything else. I established a clear pattern or method of dealing with issues (time out with one warning only) plus the ability to get out fairly quickly by telling me they are done and immediately demonstrating the correct behavior. Rowan is more obstinant than Riley and even managed to put herself in time out at the airport yesterday when I gave her the choice of behaving or sitting. She's had five time outs today but each lasted less than 3 minutes and Riley only had one and she was done in less than a minute. This compares to tantrums that lasted for an hour the first day. (Imagine that in a hotel room....imagine it happening in tandem - one child after another.....imagine it in a room full of other parents and wondering if they think you're insane or cruel because you're ignoring your child's scream.....and wondering if hotel security might call the police!) Adopting toddlers and older children is NOT for the faint of heart...or those who get bothered by what other people think. :)

Tonight Jayden is happily playing the role of big sister. My family room looks like a toy box exploded and the girls are giggling, running around and rolling on the floor at various times. She really is enjoying them and was happy to have them at her soccer game tonight, even when Rowan ran on to the field and tried to chase down the ball during the game itself. I distracted them both with a ball laying on the sidelines. Seems I'll have 3 soccer players in the family. That being said, Jayden got to two goals tonight and even had a great steal that she ran down the side line and then cross kicked it into the goal.

I had bought 3T clothing but it's clearly too big. They can't even keep 2T pants and skirts on. Riley was jumping up and down on the soccer field and kept losing her skirt and showing the world her panties. She found it incredibly funny. I think I'm going to need to do some more shopping.

We also visited KinderCare today when we picked up Jayden after school. Rowan and Riley charged right in and seemed to enjoy the various play areas. They are truly ready for preschool. They like writing, drawing, puzzles and can play at table areas for long periods of time. They were not even remotely put off by meeting new teachers, the assistant director or director. In fact, they all received a big "hola" and "adios" before they left. This is good news because I do need to work. :)

I'll post pictures of the girls soon. Right now my eyes can barely stay open.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Twins Spotted Roaming the Marriott

Hi Everyone,

Rowan and Riley are now happily wandering the Marriott and playing in the playroom. Seems Rowan is DEFINITELY the more dominant of the two. She can be quite obstinant when she doesn't get her way. We're relying on sitting down and time out when those moments occur and her puting periods are much shorter and she gives me hugs afterwards.

They are both happy girls and we got to spend more time with the foster mom. What a very dear woman this is. She has given us notes to give the girls to share with them as they get older. These will be treasured moments for them.

We're all doing well. Devin, my 19 year old, is very helpful and they are calling her hermanita when they want her attention. Devin's napping right now. Seems Rowan and Riley don't take naps any more. On the other hand, they are potty trained, say gracias and pardone, and LOVE shoes. It's obvious they were meant to be one of my daughters.


Thursday, September 14, 2006

Guatemala Bound!

We finally have visas for Rowan and Riley. Devin and I are Guatemala City bound at midnight Saturday night and we'll return early Thursday evening. I was a bit caught off guard because most visa appointments issued early this week were for the following week. I figured I had one more week to get my work life in order. Oh's time to get those girls!

There are so many other families with Celebrate Children waiting for pink many families from other agencies as well. The back load of cases coming out of PGN have created a high volume of cases waiting for visa appointments. Others are waiting at different points in the process.

Michelle...Wilson's is just around the corner.
Ginger....your documents will get redone and Maya will be home.
Denise....The missing I171-H will be found. (Yes, we know it's not missing!)
Ellie....You'll be out of PGN soon.

We'll post photos on our return.

Friday, September 08, 2006

A Tiny Baby Step

Happy Friday everyone. So today we have a tiny baby step. Senator Cantwell's office called and the US Embassy in Guatemala emailed them back and said I had finally emailed them the form they needed today. OK, so we won't point out that it's actually been mailed, faxed and emailed them countless times BEFORE today and frankly, I didn't send it today. Perhaps this means we're going to see pink next week.

Other big news this week is that Jayden has survived her first week of first grade. She likes her teacher, Mrs. Henderson, and tells me she's having a lot of fun. The big highlights seems to be that she gets three recesses, brings a snack to school, eats in a cafeteria, and they write in a journal every day. She also had three friends in her class going into the first day and that helped a lot. I did learn she gets lost a bit trying to find her classroom from outside on the play ground. Now if that isn't a heart breaker!

I hope everyone has a great weekend. Jayden's got her first soccer game tomorrow. It should be fun to watch. After years of very competitive basketball, it's nice to just watch the girls run around and chase each other.


Thursday, September 07, 2006

No Longer Half Way There

Hi Everyone,

So we do NOT have Kimberly's pink slip. Seems the Embassy can't find the amended I171-H (form from the Department of Homeland Security) that says I have been approved to adopt 2 children, even though it's been faxed/emailed at least 20 times in the past week. Even the Yakima WA DHS office insists they've sent it 3 times now.

I have 4 (count them 1, 2,3, 4) emails from the Embassy yesterday insisting I have my Guatemalan attorney bring it to them in person. Senator Cantwell's office has an email insisting my attorney bring it in. So, my attorney has made three trips and each time is sent away and each time the Embassy refuses to take the I171-H he has in his hand.

Today I receive direction from the Embassy official through my agency director to email them the form myself and be sure to include the second page that references my finger print expiration date. Keep in mind, no second page exists and so I have to confirm with the Yakima DHS office no second page exists, re-email the I171-H and reference the fact no second page exists.

Senator Maria Cantwell's office is trying to resolve as well.

Katerine's pink slip appointment is for Monday the 11th, and we won't be making that one. I want to make one trip and pink them up together. I can't really wait in country for the US Embassy to figure out how to open their email or read their faxes. It almost feels like I'm gettng the run around for some unknown reason.

On the bright side, it means I've likely got 1-2 more week at work to put some things to bed before I take time off. :) Only I would find some perverse relief in that.