Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Almost 24 hours ago...

It has been almost 24 hours since we got THE CALL and I am still having a hard time believing we are truly OUT of PGN. Thankfully I have my caller id to rely on that reminds me, YES, this did actually happen.

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???

Hmmm....need I say anything else?

Well, the reality hasn't sunk in just yet that our son is coming home soon. Considering I went to sleep at around 11pm and woke up at 4am, I am simply running on pure adrenaline right now. I still have so many people left to call and emails to answer.

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

7:12pm EST

At 7:12pm EST, our lives changed FOREVER. We got THE CALL. THE CALL that told us we ARE OUT OF PGN. That's right, we are officially Gabriel's parents. We are still in complete disbelief that in 7 weeks and 5 days our file was approved. Utter disbelief.

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!

October Social Pictures!

This morning we received Gabriel's October social visit pictures. Thankfully we got these to help us through our wait in PGN. Thank you for continuously keeping us in your prayers. We greatly appreciate them.

Friday, October 26, 2007

A Call for More Help - Pressure On UNICEF

We still have not received any sort of uncanned response from UNICEF as to their stance on everything that is going on. Our agency has asked us to spread the word and continue to pressure UNICEF until they quit sending us canned email responses that are so vague that no one understands which side they stand on and start to tell us where THEY REALLY STAND.

Here is the contact information so that you can begin emailing them.

Anne Veneman
Patrick McCormick
Manuel Manrique
Kate Donovan
Max Gebhardt
Corina Peralta
Ben Amich

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 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

7 Weeks Today

Today marks seven weeks that our file entered PGN. I pray we get our OUT call very soon! We just want to hear the very good news that our file has been approved and we are officially Gabriel's parents.

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

Everyone Rejoices A Little More!

Three more families from my agency found out today they got out at 7 weeks and x days, previo free!!! This is amazing! That makes it 6 seven-weekers in one week!!!! We are truly rejoicing with them!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Everyone Rejoices!

We learned today that three families from within our agency exited PGN at 7 weeks without any whammies/previos! This is very good news and hopefully a sign of good things to come!!

Dear Lord

I pray everyday and ask that you guide us through this difficult time right now as we wait for our file to exit PGN. I ask that you bless the reviewers in PGN and Sr. Barrios as he looks over everyone's files. I cannot imagine they have an easy job. We are frightened with the upcoming 12/31/07 deadline looming in the not so far distance, but we put all our faith in you and know that in your time, our file will be approved and little Gabriel will be coming home to his forever family.

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

6 weeks in PGN

Today marks 6 weeks that we are in PGN. Most files begin to exit around week 8 or 9 - some before that mark, others after. Please pray our file exits PGN soon, so we can bring our sweet little boy home.

Thank you to all those who signed the petition yesterday. Please continue to sign it. Our voices need to be heard!

Please sign this petition!

We continue with our efforts in getting the word out about everything that is happening. I ask that you please read this petition and sign it.

Thank you!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

A Weekend Call to Action!

1. Phone Call. Since UNICEF has been protecting Director Veneman and not transferring calls to her or to her voicemail from the switchboard, then here may be a way to get through while they are closed.

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

Yet Another News Story!!

It is great to see these stories hit the news! It means our work is paying off!

Please watch the clip below:

Watch this news clip!!!

Another positive media clip! Turn the volume up.

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

True stories are finally hitting the media!!

Please read the story below.

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

October Doctor's Visit

Well, in the midst of all this blahness, we got pictures of out little man today! He only gets cuter! He is now up to 13lbs, 70z.

Monday, October 8, 2007

First Lady Contact information

For those who have asked for the First Lady's contact information.

Phone: (202) 456-1414
Fax: (202) 456-2461


While I recognize there are a lot of posts on my blog regarding this pressing issue, please refer to this post here for the most information:

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.

What ELSE can you do?

What else can you do? In addition to your primary calls to U.S. Congress and UNICEF, you can contact the following:

SOSEP (Guatemala)
Director Teresa Echeverría de Bastarrechea
Office Phone - 011-502-2383-8400·
Assistant Director - Edin Palma - Same office phone
Office Phone - 011-502-2383-8400
Jaime Tecu
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

PGN (Guatemala)
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

More information on what to say (if you need guidance)

Below are some suggestions on what to say when you contact the US Congress and UNICEF to help you out. This can be a bit confusing, but the general idea is very straightforward and all they need to do is help pass a grandfather clause amendment to the Ortega Law. That will help all in process parents bring their much loved babies home.


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.

More information on how you can help!

Thank you to everyone who has sent/fax/emailed letters on our behalf! We are incredibly grateful to you for doing this.

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· 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· 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· Write briefly or at length· Joint Council will use the cumulative email petition in our advocacy for Intercountry Adoption

Sunday, October 7, 2007


I am asking that all of you that read my blog (and I know there is a number of you) to please read the posts below very carefully and TAKE ACTION. We, and 5000 other in process families are in danger of not being able to bring our babies home if our adoption goes past 12/31/07. I have cut and paste (with her permission) a post by another fellow adoptive mom who clearly explains everything that is going on and what we can do:

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.

Thank you.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Happy 5 - Month - a - Birthday!!

Guess who turns five months old today??? I can't believe how fast time flies!! Next Tuesday will mark five months since our lives were changed forever and we received Gabriel's referral. What a day that was!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Hey everyone!

Sorry I haven't been blogging much in the last week or so, but there isn't much to share. Tomorrow will be four weeks that we have been submitted to PGN. So far, we have been very blessed and have not received any previos. We continue to pray that we stay the course as is. This is normally around the time where previos are prevalent.

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!