Thursday, December 13, 2007
Friday, December 7, 2007
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
We will be in Miami for a couple of days, but as soon as I get back to Jax, I will upload his pictures.
Thank you for everything! Without you guys, this would not have been possible.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
Thank you for all your prayers, thoughts, well wishes, emails, and calls during this journey. They have absolutely meant the world to me.
Next time you see pictures, Gabriel will be in our arms!
Monday, November 26, 2007
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
This 2nd DNA test began recently in August to aid in eliminating any issues with regards to switching babies. Our agency is incredibly reputable so we never feared that problem, but every baby adopted from Guatemala now has to have this test done. This is a good procedure to have in place - to be able to compare the baby's 1st DNA test with his 2nd DNA test.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Two families from my agency (www.forthischild.org) were interviewed regarding their personal adoption journeys and they bravely told their story. We continue to pray that a grandfather clause is enacted for in process families to be able to finish the adoptions they began.
In the meantime, we keep Baby Nora and Baby Isabella in our prayers; that they may be reunited with their forever families very, very soon.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
On another good note, I was checking my credit card statement online and noticed that we were charged for his 2nd DNA test today!! So hopefully his DNA will be taken soon and the results can be sent to the US Embassy in Guatemala quickly so that they can issue pink!!!
* The new birth certificate and the entire adoption file of documents are sent for translation from Spanish to English.
*After translation, the final file is submitted to the Embassy for pink slip and the lawyer is given a second DNA authorization slip (US office processes payment with US Lab and faxes confirmations to Guatemala lab).
*The child is brought into the Guatemala lab for a second DNA test. The Guatemala lab sends samples that same day to the US lab.
*When the Embassy receives the results from the lab in the U.S. indicating a match with the first DNA test, it issues the pink slip (probably within 14 days of the second test).
* Pink slip is picked up at 3:30pm - embassy appointment day and time will be printed on the slip. FTC sends Pink Slip to you by email and you book your flights.
*After receiving pink slip and before Embassy Day, Guatemala office will prepare the package for Embassy Doctor visit and make the appointment based on availability of the Embassy Doctor.
*You come for Embassy interview appointment (M, T, W, or Fri, currently one to two weeks after pink)
*Next business day – Visa is ready (3:00 pm M-Th; 11:00 am Fri. – FTC will pick this up for you)
*Next Day – you can fly home
Monday, November 12, 2007
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Oh how I love baby shoes! I adore baby clothes too, but shoes always get me! Check out the three pairs I bought for little G. I can't decide which are the cutest, but when I saw the black ones, I had to get them because they are just like his daddy's.
We found out today at 5:07pm EST that Gabriel's birth mother signed off for the fourth and final time. Upon finding out, I started sobbing uncontrollably. I am beyond elated that he is officially our son, but my heart hurts for her tonight. She will never be far from my thoughts and one day I will tell Gabriel what an ultimate sacrifice she did for him ~ to have a better life. I knew this journey would not be easy for me. I have experienced a myriad of emotions on this rollercoaster ride especially since my birth mother gave me the same gift almost thirty years ago. I don't expect a lot of people to understand my feelings, but that is quite alright. My son and I already have things in common ~ a birth mother that loved us enough to make this sacrifice and adoptive parents to carry that journey out with unconditional love.
Monday, November 5, 2007
Sunday, November 4, 2007
Saturday, November 3, 2007
- Birthmother signs final decree (final time she signs off)
- Birth certificate issued (From Maza for those wondering - with our last name!)
- Passport issued
- Orange (request for DNA to be done)
- DNA taken
- Results to US Embassy
- Pink (Embassy appointment is issued)
- Buy plane tickets and pack our bags to go pick him up!!
Friday, November 2, 2007
Well, today we received my favorite pictures - surprise visit ones. Isn't he just adorable!? I can't wait to bring him home for good. My sweet little man...
Here are the rest of the pictures: http://share.shutterfly.com/action/slideshow?a=67b0de21b35574b50534&sid=8CYuHDRqxbsi0&auto=1&idx=-1&m=1&d=1194712873756
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
For those concerned as to why I would put my agency's number on my blog, need not worry. This is their main number that can be found on any internet search or their main home page. Besides, why not spread the word that we have the world's best agency???
I had seen this adorable onesie at Kohl's a couple weeks back, but didn't want to purchase it just yet. At 9am this morning, I was at Kohl's buying the last one left. I can't wait to see Gabriel wearing it.
My BEST Christmas present EVER.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Thank you, Lord. We are in awe of you and the mercy you have bestowed on us.
What does this mean?
That in about 5 - 6 weeks, our sweet little boy IS COMING HOME!
Friday, October 26, 2007
Here is the contact information so that you can begin emailing them.
Anne Veneman firstname.lastname@example.org
Patrick McCormick email@example.com
Manuel Manrique firstname.lastname@example.org
Kate Donovan email@example.com
Max Gebhardt firstname.lastname@example.org
Corina Peralta email@example.com
Ben Amich firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is the letter to cut and paste.
Dear Mr. Gebhardt:
Why won’t UNICEF just say precisely what it is doing in Guatemala right now and what it has done in the past few months?
(1) UNICEF purports to disavow responsibility for Guatemalan adoption policy by claiming that it is up to the Guatemalan government to decide what “in process” means. Yet, it is UNICEF's involvement that raised the issue. Guatemalan law has always been clear that an adoption is “in process” upon registration of a power of attorney with the appropriate Guatemalan ministry. It was only after UNICEF and the Hague Permanent Bureau and the U.S. Department of State got involved with “advising Guatemala on Hague compliance” that the meaning of “in process” became unclear. UNICEF may not make the final call, but UNICEF certainly bears responsibility for this even being an issue.
(2) UNICEF's definition of “due process” begs several questions: What does “verification of the origin of the child” mean? Aren’t two DNA tests, one near the beginning of the process and one at the end, sufficient to “verify” the “origin” of a child? What does “informed consent of the biological mother” mean? Aren’t at least four opportunities during the process for the birth mother to declare her intent to parent the child sufficient to establish consent? Isn’t a report by a family court social worker, prepared after a birth mother is interviewed about the adoption process and the meaning of her decision to relinquish, enough to establish informed consent? Most of all, how is it "due process" for the rules to change midstream?
(3) I believe, after educating myself on the adoption process and on Guatemala generally, that the Ortega bill is a disaster and that bill #3635 is better. Why does UNICEF refuse to even acknowledge 3635? What is the basis for the claim that 3635 is not Hague compliant? Which provisions fall short? What is missing that must be there? Until this is explained by those who claim it (UNICEF, the Hague Permanent Bureau, the Department of State), I am persuaded by Focus on Adoption's analysis of this matter - see www.focusonadoption.com/pdfs/FOA%203635%20Support.pdf. FOA has published what the treaty requires, what 3635 does, and how 3635 complies with the treaty. UNICEF, on the other hand, is choosing to refuse to state publicly what it is doing in Guatemala and why it thinks only 3217 is Hague compliant but not 3635.
(4) Please explain the following remark and what UNICEF believe it means, precisely, for in-process cases: “UNICEF believes that the current legislation includes not only the law which allows private notarial adoptions, but also includes the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Integrated Protection Law of Guatemala.”
[Insert your signature]
Thursday, October 25, 2007
I greatly appreciate everyone's prayers and thoughts during this time. We thank you for your continued support during this difficult time. It's all a waiting game...
Could this be the week we get the call???
Friday, October 19, 2007
Thursday, October 18, 2007
I pray that everyone who reads distorted stories regarding adoptions in Guatemala realize that what they are reporting is not the truth. We are not bringing Gabriel home to do him harm; we did not steal him from his birthmother, we are not going to harvest his organs - we are going to give him a loving home; watch and guide him as he grows into a strong, Christian man. That is all we want for our son. He will learn one day that his birth mother made the ultimate sacrifice and I pray for her peace everyday.
I lift all those on the adoption journey in Guatemala up in prayer. If this journey wasn't for the weak of heart before, it is definitely much less right now. We lean on you Lord, for your guidance, peace and mercy. We acknowledge that everything good comes from you Lord and that you are watching over us - every step of the way.
In Jesus' name, I raise these prayers up to you, Oh Lord.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Thank you to all those who signed the petition yesterday. Please continue to sign it. Our voices need to be heard!
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Maybe this should be passed around the adoption community for the weekend while Unicef is closed?
The issue is that Unicef needs to clarify clearly is:- does UNICEF support the grandfathering of all cases in process as of the effective date of any new law in Guatemala (cases would be processed under the current adoption system)?; and- what do they mean by "due process" in their statement? Due process has a very different meaning than grandfathering.
To leave a message on the voice mail of the Executive Director (Veneman) you should:
1. dial the switchboard 212-326-7000
2. Listen to the recording, and choose 1 to use the "dial a name feature"
3. Type in 8363626# (which are the numbers for the letters Veneman)
4. You should hear a voice mail outgoing message for the office of the Executive Director.
5. Leave your message at the beep.
2. Fax. Ask the same questions, in your own words, by fax.
Unicef's fax number is 212 326 7758.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Please watch the clip below:
If the picture doesn't come through, click on the article titled Couple Fights to Bring Adopted Daughter Home from Guatemala
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
It's just another story that we hear on this side that the media DOES NOT PUBLISH until now! There are thousands of these stories that never get heard. Unfortunately if a grandfather clause is not enacted soon, many of these children will end up in foster care until they are 18. What a travesty and injustice this is.
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Monday, October 8, 2007
I don't want all these other additional posts to get in the way of the one that has the most information.
Thank you again for all your hard work! I know it will pay off and we will bring Gabriel home. Your prayers and good thoughts are always appreciated.
Director Teresa Echeverría de Bastarrechea
Office Phone - 011-502-2383-8400·
Assistant Director - Edin Palma - Same office phone
Office Phone - 011-502-2383-8400
Office Phone - 011-502-2239-0000 ext 2766
Please note that calls and faxes to Guatemala are international calls
Guatemala Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Minister Gerth Rosenthal
Office Phone 011-502-2410-0000, 2410-0010
Vice Minister - Marta Altoaguirre
Office Phone 011-502-2410-0020
Carlos Victor Hugo Barrios Barahona
Office Phone 011-502-2248-3200 Ext. 207/208
Procuraduria of Human Rights
Dr. Sergio Morales
Office Phone 011-502-2424-1717
Embassy of Guatemala in the U.S.
2220 R Street N.W.Washington, DC 20008
Office Phone 1-202-745-4952
Office Fax 1-202-745-1908
What should you say or write to a member of the U.S. Congress? Speak from your heart and give them the following information:·
Inform them that you are calling regarding the Guatemala 5000.· Ask them to sign the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) sponsored letter to President Oscar Berger· Ask them to sign the Joint Council sponsored letter to UNICEF· Inform them that the Guatemalan government has announced that all intercountry adoptions with the United States will be suspended on January 1, 2008.· Inform them that President Berger's announcement also indicated that there will be no 'grandfathering' of adoptions already in process.· Inform them that if children referred to families are not allowed to be adopted, they will languish in institutions or foster care.· Ask that their office get involved and sign the sponsored letters to the President of Guatemala and UNICEF. These letters ask that all adoptions in-process as of January 1, 2008 be allowed to process to completion under the existing notorial laws.
What should you say or write to UNICEF?
Speak from your heart and give them the following information·
Inform them that you are calling regarding the Guatemala 5000.· Ask them to support the right’s of children and lend their considerable influence to ensuring that intercountry adoptions currently in-process be allowed to process to completion under the existing notorial laws.· Inform them that the Guatemalan government has announced that all adoptions with the U.S. will be suspended on January 1, 2008.· Inform them that President Berger’s announcement also indicated that there will be no ‘grandfathering’ of adoptions already in process.· Inform them that if children referred to families are not allowed to be adopted, they will languish in institutions or foster care.· Ask them again for their support of the Guatemala 5000 Initiative.
Can you explain the problem behind the pending crisis? Here is some additional information…
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· 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· The Berger plan is a crisis waiting to happen.
For those that did not know this - UNICEF is very much against international adoptions. Yes, you read the correctly. Four months ago they attempted to halt all adoptions in Guatemala and now they are refusing to back us on implementing a grandfather clause for all those who are in process. Needless to say, now we are going to begin contacting the corporations that give UNICEF money to let them know EXACTLY what is going on. More to follow on that once we have the contact information. Check back for details....
Below is how you can participate in the Guatemala 5000 Initiative. Make six simple phone calls and one email. Some of you have already begun doing this and for that we thank you GREATLY. Everyone is calling/faxing/emailing in the next 72 hours beginning tomorrow morning since today is a holiday (for some). This will maximize our push to get our point across.
Make six simple phone calls and one email.
1. Call your U.S. Senator.· You can find your Senators’ phone numbers at www.senate.gov· Ask to speak with the Legislative Director or Chief of Staff
2. Call your second U.S. Senator.
3. Call your representative to the U.S. House of Representative.· You can find your representative at www.house.gov· Ask to speak with the Legislative Director or Chief of Staff
4. Call or fax UNICEF Headquarters· Ask to speak with Ann Veneman, Executive Director· Their number is 212-326-7000· Their fax number is 212-326-7758
5. Call or fax UNICEF Guatemala· Ask to speak with Manuel Manrique· Their number is 011-502-2327-6373· Their fax number is 011-502-2327.6366 Please note that calls and faxes to Guatemala are international calls.
6. Send and email supporting Intercountry Adoption to email@example.com· Write briefly or at length· Joint Council will use the cumulative email petition in our advocacy for Intercountry Adoption
Sunday, October 7, 2007
Here is her post: READ THIS
This is her post about what action needs to be taken: READ THIS
We all want Gabriel to come home and we simply cannot face the reality that he will not. The issue at hand is that once his birthmother relinquishes her rights to her son and we have not fully become his parents by law, that means, YES, he has NO LEGAL PARENTS. What happens then you might ask? HE GOES INTO THE FOSTER CARE SYSTEM. We cannot allow that to happen. It is simply not an option. Guatemala is too poor of a country to even be able to take care of 5000 babies in their foster care system. It is not a reality and what is so saddening is that here you have all these parents that are going through the grueling adoption process only to be told that after all their work, they will not be grandfathered in under the countries old laws. This is simply unacceptable and we need to have our voices heard.
Greg and I will die trying to get that little boy home. He is our son and belongs with us here.
Please do what you can. We implore this of you.
Friday, October 5, 2007
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Gabriel will be five months old on Friday! How time certainly flies by! And we should be receiving his doctor's update around the 8th or 9th! I can't wait to see how much weight he has gained!
Also, some friends of ours from our agency got out of PGN unscathed and previo free yesterday after being in for 9 weeks!! We are elated for them and hope to see many more PGN outs in the weeks to come!
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Thank you for all your prayers! We should be receiving social pictures soon of our little guy. Can't wait to see them!
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
I do hope you are doing fine. This morning I had the opportunity to evaluate little Gabriel. He has now reached 4 months of age and has been doing well in the time since he was seen for the last time here in my office. He continues to be a very bright little boy who shows interest in all that goes on around him will turn to sound and to the different tones of voices he hears. He is also quite vocal himself and plays with the sounds he can produce, varying the tone and producing short bouts of laugh and vocalizes high feeling of pleasure.
He now shows better control of his neck muscles and will keep the head pretty straight in the midline when pulled to the sitting position. Also when on his stomach he is able to lift the head clear from the bed. Will attempt to reach out and grab whatever is nearby to put into his mouth. I am told that he takes well his formula and is also receiving his ordered vitamin supplement. Upon evaluation today I found this little one in good health with no obvious physical or neurological abnormalities, his weight is 12 lbs5 oz, length of 59.1 cms and head circumference of 39.2 cms. Please find some pictures attached.
Here is the link to his pictures:
Sunday, September 9, 2007
Post a comment and let me know what you think.
Saturday, September 8, 2007
We have been told to expect a previo during our stay in PGN. A previo is when a reviewer requests more information or doesn't approve of a particular document and wants a do-over. During this time, you are kicked out from PGN while you wait for the file/document to be rectified. This basically adds more time onto your stay at PGN. So we pray for a previo-free stay in PGN. We also call them whammies. So no whammy, no whammy, no whammy!
Thank you to all our blog readers. We greatly appreciate you all keeping us in your thoughts and prayers. I truly believe deep in my heart that all our prayers will bring little Gabriel home.
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Prospective adoptive parents must receive receipt of “pre-approval” from the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (DHS/USCIS) office in Guatemala before their attorney can submit their dossier to the Guatemalan authorities. After obtaining clearance from a social worker under the supervision of a family court to proceed with a potential adoption case, the attorney submits the case to the Guatemalan Solicitor General’s Office (Procuradoría General de la Nación, PGN) for review.
The PGN reviews the adoption case for signs of fraud or irregularities before providing its approval for the adoption to proceed. Once the PGN approves the case, the Guatemalan attorney (the notary) authorizes the adoption deed and registers it at the Civil Registrar where the child’s birth was registered. The Guatemalan birth mother needs to provide final approval for the adoption at the time of the adoption deed. Upon registration of the adoption deed with the Civil Registrar, the adoptive parents in the U.S. are legally responsible for their child(ren). Finally, the Guatemalan attorney requests a birth certificate listing the adoptive parents as the parents of the adopted child. Following issuance of the new birth certificate, the attorney then requests and receives, normally on the same day, the child’s Guatemalan passport. With these final documents, the attorney submits the complete case file, including the I-600 orphan visa petition, to DHS/USCIS in Guatemala.
Slow and steady wins this race.
As soon as we have PA, I will let you all know.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Monday, August 20, 2007
Friday, August 17, 2007
I learned that two more families from my agency received pre-approval between Tuesday and yesterday. One family had their DNA collected on 5/31 and the other on 6/1. Gabriel has his DNA collected on 6/4. So we are getting closer and closer!
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Monday, August 13, 2007
Ok, so today begins week #11 since Gabriel had his DNA done. The wait for Pre-approval from the American Embassy is running about 11-12 weeks. We learned yesterday that there are 11 other families that had their babies' DNA done the week before ours that are still waiting for PA. So hopefully they will receive word soon. Then we should hear something shortly after that. This wait is endless. This is what we need to be able to enter PGN. But without it, all we do is wait some more.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Thursday, August 9, 2007
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Will someone hold my hand and help me through this?