Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Christmas to all our Friends and Family

We wanted to take a moment to thank each of you for your thoughts, support, and prayers during this time. We would not have been able to handle some of the ups and downs without each of you. We look forward to Christmas knowing that even if Madison can't be with us she is in our hearts and she is part of God's plan for our life. I am sure we will have a hard time over the next few days, especially on Christmas day knowing that she is so far away but we will take comfort in knowing that she is taken care of and in God's hands. We ask that you all continue to pray for the adoption process, not only ours but all of the adoptions in Guatemala.

Here are a few pictures of our Christmas tree and one of the many ornaments we have for Madison.

Isn't she Gorgeous!

When we checked our email a little while ago we were blessed with an early Christmas present. We received new pictures of Madison. In the pictures she is 8 months and 25 days old and weighs 20 pounds and 13 ounces. The medical report stated that she is developing normally and is very active and curious. She also evidently has what they described as "with certain grade of flu" which I can only guess is a cold that could be the flu. They are giving her medicine for that so that she does not get worse. She is changing so much that I can't believe it; she is changing from a baby to a little girl more and more each month.
The pictures are bitter sweet because of course we would rather have received information that we could go bring her home but we will take pictures any day instead of no news. We know that God is in control of the adoption and that even when we don't understand his timing is perfect. I can tell you that the "hurry up and wait" theory I learned in band in college does not work with adoptions.
We also received a phone call from the foster family last week. Which at first we were upset by the phone call because the neighbor they had trouble translating. We thought that she was telling us that the foster family thought we didn't care about Madison because we had not called them. I could not get her to understand that we didn't call because we don't speak Spanish but that we care more than we can say. During the phone call they did hold the phone up to Madison and we could hear her laughing, Hearing that made both Wayne and myself cry. After the phone call we were upset but the miscommunication so we called our friends Enrique and Chrissie who were willing to call the foster family and talk to them for us. Enrique called and explained to them that we do care and the only reason we haven't called is because we don't speak Spanish. He also found out that they never felt like we didn't care but instead they were trying to tell us that when we finally get to bring her home they are going to miss her terribly. She has become a part of their family. They also wanted to let us know that she is doing well and has almost out grown all of the clothes we left for her. They also wished us a Merry Christmas.
We are so thankful that she is with a foster family who cares so much. We never have doubts about her care she is receiving or about her not being loved.

We wanted to say a special Thank You to Enrique and Chrissie for helping us with the phone call.

As always please keep the adoption in your prayers.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Still waiting to be re-submitted back into PGN for the Guatemalan approval.

Well at this point we are still in the waiting process to be re-submitted into PGN. We did find out the reason for our case being kicked out. There were evidently some issues with the birthmother's signature. We were told that her signature on her ID card did not match the signature on the paperwork. Which at first can be alarming but when Wayne and I thought about it we understood. First of all if she had to sign as many papers as we did then her signature changed a little with each document. Secondly, how many of us have the EXACT signature each time we sign our name? We are currently waiting for a certified copy of the page in the Central Registry where she signed. As soon as our attorney has this then he will re-submit our case back to PGN. We were told this week that they were hoping our case would be re-submitted by the end of the week but as of Friday that had not happened. This set back is very disappointing and it just makes is longer before Madison can come home, but we still remain Faithful that everything will work out. The hardest thing is knowing that she is changing so much each day and we are missing out on it all. I just keep reminding myself that we have so many more years to look forward to and to just remember that once she is home she will be here forever. She has no idea what she is in store for once she gets here. She has a ton of family and friends just chomping at the bit to get their hands on her and spoil her.
In the mean time we are getting ready for Christmas but Madison is not being forgotten. We have a stocking hung for her, ornaments we bought for her on our tree, and lots of presents waiting for her. We also mailed a small package to the foster family. We put several small presents for her in the package as well as a present for the foster family. We are just praying that it gets to them without any issues. It is extremely hard to know that she will be celebrating her very first Christmas without us but she will definitely be in our thoughts and prayers during this time. She also better look out for next year because Christmas will be soooo much fun.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A picture of us with our beautiful daughter.

Still out of PGN!

Well we found out yesterday that our case has still not been resubmitted to PGN. Our agency is working to try to find out the exact reason for us not being in PGN so that we can at least have some type of understanding for the hold up. It is looking more and more like Madison will not be home by the end of the year but we are still praying for a miracle. Miracles do happen! We are asking for everyone to pray for our case and for Madison. We know that there is nothing we can do to speed things up we just have to trust in God that his will is being done. It is really hard to have Christmas just around the corner and not have Madison home. Our families have told us that it would not bother them if we were in Guatemala for Christmas preparing to bring her home instead of spending time with them. We know that it would be a true miracle for this to happen. Madison will be home soon, we just don't know how soon that will be. It seems so amazing to love someone so much through pictures and the one week we spent with her but honestly all it took was the very first picture. In our hearts she is already our daughter.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Bad news and great pictures!

Ok, well I have not updated in a while mostly because we were hoping to get some good news to report. But unfortunately the only news we have received concerning our case has been bad news. We found out that the timeline for our case is as follows:

On September 3 we entered PGN (Guatemalan Government Agency - I compare it to a DHS type agency but for the entire country)
We were kicked out a short time later for having been submitted to PGN prior to receiving our pre-approval from the US Embassy. We received that on September 28.

On October 12 we were in PGN and on the second reviewer’s desk waiting for the case to be reviewed. (In PGN each adoption case must go through three reviewers and then back to the first before it can be approved and a Visa be issued.)

We found out on October 30 that we received another previo (the term PGN uses to basically mean "kicked out") in PGN on October 25. We don't really know the reason for the previo at this time.

Currently we are not back in PGN and we still don't have a reason for the previo. We are assuming that the previo does not have anything to do with our paperwork or that it is not something that Wayne or I could correct. The previo could be caused by a variety of reasons some of which could be the birthmother’s paperwork, the hospital records, and etc. We are just praying that the problem is resolved soon and our case goes back in PGN without any further issues.

We are very disappointed by this news because this puts our case on hold indefinitely but will still remain hopeful. This is one of the biggest tests of faith we have ever faced. We are trying to remain strong and keep our faith that Madison will be home soon.

On a better note we did receive a medical update with new pictures. In the pictures Madison is 7 months and 10 days old. She currently weighs about 19 1/2 pounds and is developing normally. She is beginning to be more verbal and sitting up by herself.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

We're disappointed but our Faith will not be broken!

Well I know it has been a little while since I updated the blog but we really haven't had anything to report. We did hear some disappointing news last Tuesday and I attempted to update that day but was so upset I decided to wait until I calmed down a little. We found out last Tuesday that our case is not in PGN and we have no idea when it will be entered into PGN. Due to this they feel that it is very unlikely that we will be able to bring Madison home by Christmas. I have to admit that our hearts were broken and the news was very troubling. However Wayne and I both believe in miracles and still have Faith that God is in control and can move this adoption. God has proven many times that he is in control. We were told that we would not be able to go for a visit in September but we did. We are still praying that we will have Madison home by the end of the year.
On Thursday night of last week we finally received a couple of emails from our adoption agency about our case. We basically found out that PGN only accepts a certain number of cases each month and that our case is waiting. That same night we received a phone call from Madison's foster family. The call was very brief due to the fact that we don't speak Spanish and they don't speak English. All they could communicate to us was that "baby Nulsy is fine". That was just what we needed to hear and gave us some peace about the situation. We believe that the phone call was not coincidence but that it was God's way of reminding us to trust him.
We are currently waiting for the medical update for October. In the update they usually send recent pictures. We have not received an update since August so you can imagine we are very anxious for this one.
Please pray for our case and that a miracle will happen so that Madison will be home by the end of the year. Also pray that we will receive an update soon.
Wayne and I may get down and upset about everything but refuse to lose our Faith.
Madison is meant to be a part of our family and we know that God will bring her home when the time is right.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Amen! We have our Pre-Approval.

We received our pre-approval from the US Embassy today through email. This is one huge step and now means we are in the PGN portion of the adoption. As stated in the post from Aug. 28, PGN is basically a Guatemalan Government Agency that approves all adoptions. The adoptions cases are averaging anywhere between 5 to 9 weeks in PGN. We did hear about some instances where PGN took up to 20 plus weeks but we have faith in God that our case will not take that long. God has been so good to us so far and everything has been completed in such a timely manner that we can't imagine going that long. We have been praying that our pre-approval would arrive earlier than the 60 day deadline and God answered our prayers. The pre-approval wait was only 45 days. This just puts us that much closer to being able to bring Madison home for Christmas. We miss her sooooo much that watching the video of her or looking at the pictures of her is sometimes a joyous pain. (If that makes any sense) Please keep this process in your prayers and also continue to pray for all three of us. As soon as we know more I will post the details.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Meredith is 35!!!!!!!

Happy Birthday to Meredith today she turned 35! No other news to report with the adoption process. We are still waiting. Meredith did say today that the only thing that could make this birthday any better is if we got an email from the US Embassy in Guatemala with our approval. So far that hasn't happened. We are also still awaiting new pictures and medical information on Madison. We know that she had a doctors appointment on the 21st of September (and usually within a day or so we get an update) but as of yet still no update. Meredith emailed our agency coordinator this morning to see if she has any news, but she hasn't responded yet.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Madison is 6 months old....

and all she wants for her birthday or Christmas is to get to come home and be with Mommy and Daddy. Oh, and the teeth she is working so hard to get.
As you can tell in the pictures she loves to chew on her fingers while she is teething.

Happy 6 Month Birthday (half a year old - such a big girl)!

Monday, September 17, 2007

We are back home.

First of all we want to thank everyone for your support and prayers while we were in Guatemala spending time with Madison. We cannot wait for everyone to meet her and to see how wonderful she is. One day while we were there, I think it was Wednesday, I was a walking with Madison in the lobby of the hotel waiting for Wayne. When I walked around the corner into the lobby a lady who was sitting in the area stopped and looked at me. She immediately said to me that Madison lit up the room when we walked in. I have to agree with her. When you see her you can't help but smile. We miss her every day but know that each day that goes by is one more day closer to us bringing her home forever.
I thought I would share some more pictures of our time with you all.

Madison enjoys watching football with her daddy.

Mommy and Daddy are way too funny!

I love my Daddy.

I love my Mommy too.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

What a Beautiful Little Girl!

Ok I know that you are all wanting to know about our days here in Guatemala. Well Tuesday we went to the Zoo with Chrissie, Enrique, and Marissa. We had a great time seeing all of the animals. I am not sure how much Madison enjoyed since she fell asleep and slept a good part of the time. It seems that everywhere we go people want to stop and talk to Madison. She does not look like most of the babies here and people just assume that she is our biological daughter. They are surprised when they find out we are adopting her.
On Wednesday we went to the local Artisian Market. This is a local outdoor market with all types of Guatemalan items. We would have loved to spend a lot of money there but we had to be realistic in what we really needed. We are also planning on buying things when we come back to get Madison to bring her home.
Today we stayed at the hotel all day. We spent the morning at the pool and then at lunch by the pool. Madison seems to enjoy the water which it great since both her parents do as well. The staff at the hotel is extremely nice even to the point that when it started raining at lunch, instead of us having to take Madison through the rain, they took us through the kitchen. Wayne and I felt really strange parading through the kitchen with a sleeping baby in the stroller and us in our swimsuits, but we were really thankful for not being in the rain.
Tomorrow will be our last full day with her which will be very hard. We are meeting her foster family at 9am (11am est and 10am cst)on Saturday morning to give her back to them. That will be the hardest thing we will ever have to do. Please pray for us at that time and that everything with the adoption will continue to go smoothly and in a timely manner. We want our time apart to be as short as possible. I can't imagine not having come here to spend this week with her and getting to know her personality. She is the sweetest girl and has such a serious side to her. I am crying as I type this because the thought of leaving her is sooooooo hard. I never knew how much I loved her until I held her in my arms that first day.
Well now on to the pictures which I know you are all waiting for.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Happy Birthday Daddy!

Monday was Wayne's birthday and not only did he get to spend it with his daughter but she was attached to him most of the day. I have to say that I think that was the best part of his birthday. We started off the day with going for a swim after breakfast, then a nap, and then later that evening we went out to dinner for Wayne's birthday. We went to a local steak restaurant a few blocks from the hotel and had a great dinner. At the end Wayne was surprised to see that a group of the wait staff came and sang to him. I have to say that he did not see that coming....hahaha!

Isn't she the most adorable baby ever!!!

She is such a daddy's girl already!

Happy Birthday Daddy!

Monday, September 10, 2007

We're in Guatemala!

We arrived in Guatemala yesterday around 11:30am after a long morning but pretty easy trip. Chrissie, Enrique, and Marissa picked us up at the airport which was a huge plus. After we got our luggage at the airport and headed toward the exit we were immediately greeted by a huge crowd all eagerly wanting to take us to our hotel. Some even almost insisting. The other thing was they all were speaking Spanish which made it even harder to understand what they were trying to do.
We were not at the hotel probably for more than 30 mins. when they called and said that Madison was downstairs.
The meeting was just like my mind said it would be but my heart was hoping for something a lot calmer. Madison's foster mom loves her very much and was crying when she gave her to me. Madison immediately started crying and not just a regular cry, a toe curling cry. She cried for a good while before she calmed down a little bit. We also determined that she had really bad gas pains and of course we had nothing to give her. Again thank goodness for Enrique and Chrissie who were able to help us through this time by the support they gave and their ability to communicate with the hotel staff to locate some gas drops.
We spent some time in the "baby lounge" with other adopting families and they all told us that the first day is the hardest and to trust that it will get easier each day.
After a rough start last night she finally fell asleep and slept for 4 hours straight.

Today has been a huge improvement. She has eaten better, played more, and is even taking a nap at the current moment. She does not look at Wayne and I like we are going to hurt her anymore either, which is huge for us.
Below are some of the pictures from our day yesterday.
Please continue to keep us in your prayers for this visit as well as the adoption process.

(I can't spell check at the moment, so if there are typos in the post...Sorry!)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Still Waiting and No Guatemala has not closed adoptions at this time.

I just thought I would let everyone know that we are currently in the 60 day wait for the US Embassy pre-approval for Madison's visa. That is supposed to be a 60 day wait but the most recent rumor is that it could be a much as a 90 day wait. We are praying that is not the case. Once we have the Embassy pre-approval our case will move to PGN. The easiest way to describe PGN is that it is a Guatemala Government agency. Each adoption case has been averaging about 7 weeks in the PGN process but it could be longer. Some of you may have either read or heard about a raid on an orphanage in Antigua Guatemala. The reasons behind the raid and the issues surrounding this situation do not have any relation to the majority of the adoptions in Guatemala. However this kind of news does tend to send fear into the foster homes, attorneys and birthmothers. Guatemala is currently in the process of making all of the adoption policies and procedures compliant with the Hague Treaty (Convention) which regulates international adoptions. The new guidelines will only help to strengthen the system and weed out the dishonest people but in doing so it may lengthen the entire process. Wayne and I ask that you please keep all Guatemalan adoptions in your prayers. We are confident in our agency and trust that they have our best interest at heart. We know that they are doing everything they can to see that our case is completed in a timely manner. We all know how much red tape is involved anytime you deal with a government office and when dealing with two different countries that only multiplies. We are hoping to have a miracle and have Madison home by the middle of November but know that it is not up to us. God is in control of this entire situation and we have to continue to trust in him.

As to the rumors that Guatemala has stopped all adoptions and closed the system, they are not true. Yes the US Government has recommended that no new cases be started until after the first of the year when the Hague treaty is in effect, but the current cases are still being processed and are all expected to be completed by the end of the year.

We are currently getting ready to go for our visit in Guatemala. We are so excited and thank God for this opportunity. Some of you may remember that at the beginning of August we were told that a visit in September was more than likely out of the question, well God Is Good! He made it happen and we are going to see our little girl. We will be in Guatemala on Wayne's birthday. I know he is so excited to get to spend his birthday with his daughter. I keep telling him that we will find a restaurant that sings to you like they do here, except that they will be singing in Spanish. If that happens I will try to get pictures. We are also excited to get to spend time with our friends Chrissie, Enrique and their daughter Marissa. Chrissie and Enrique are missionaries in Guatemala and are going to come to the city to spend a few days while we are there.

Again please keep our adoption in your prayers and that whatever happens we know it is God's will. We also ask that you keep our trip in your prayers.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Madison is now 5 months old!

We received our medical update and a few new photos so you all don't have to wait until we get back from our visit to see Madison.
She is currently 5 months and 4 days old. She is 16lbs and 24.8 inches long. According to our loose translation of her medical report she is healthy. They include things in the report like her cardio system is normal, she has no sores, her abdomen is normal, etc. The report also said that she is an active baby. She is our little "chunky monkey". These pictures make us more anxious to see her in person. We can't wait to take our own pictures and video of her.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


Well we have a few things to update about. First of all the yard sale was today and it was a big success. We put in a lot of work to pull this off but in the end the hardwork was worth it. We want to say a special THANK YOU to everyone who donated items, bought items, and gave donations. Every bit helps us with the costs of bringing Madison home, and trust us when we say she is worth every penny and every bit of the work.

Now to the other good news. WE GET TO GO FOR A VISIT! (yes I know all caps is considered yelling but we are excited) We were approved to go for a visit last week when the DNA test results were confirmed. We have purchased our plane tickets and are currently working on our hotel reservations. I can't even begin to tell y'all how excited we are to finally get to hold Madison in our arms. We can't wait to see her personality that is so apparent in her last pictures. We will have her with us at the hotel the entire time we are there so we will actually be a family for that short time. We know it will be really hard to leave and have to leave her there but it is just as hard only getting to see her through pictures. We are already planning on taking a ton of pictures and video so everyone will get to see our visit.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

We have a DNA match!

We received a letter from the lab yesterday stating that the DNA was a match. Madison and her birthmother had a DNA match of 99.991%; I would say that is pretty close. We also received a copy of Madison’s First Identity Certificate. This is a little certificate made up with a copy of what her DNA looks like. I hear having your DNA printed out in color and then framed is a new rage in the art world, but we won't be doing that.

From this letter we also learned that Madison was born in Nueva Concepcion, Escuintla, Guatemala at 7:30pm. In researching this on the internet I learned that Guatemala is divided into 22 departments (which I believe is like States) Escuintla is a department and Nueva Concepcion is a district within that department (I believe that districts are like our cities). This department is located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean. It has a population of about 686,764 and the languages are Spanish,Cackchiquel, and Poqo’mam.

We also received a Polaroid picture of Madison with her birthmother. In the picture her birthmother looks so sad, in fact if you look closely at the picture you can see a tear stain under one of her eyes. Seeing this it broke my heart. I have no idea what the circumstances were for her and why she put Madison up for adoption but I can tell from the picture that it must have been one of the hardest decisions she ever made. I am very thankful for her decision and pray that she knows what a good home we will provide for Madison and that she will be loved by so many people. I never thought about how hard the reunion for the DNA test might have been for her and ask that you all keep her in your prayers. As many of you may be wondering, yes she still could change her mind and decide not to let Madison be adopted. If I think about her possibly changing her mind I end up making myself crazy. Wayne and I have to hold onto our faith in God and trust that he is in control of this adoption. I truly believe that God would not have allowed us to get this far into the process only to have it fall apart. Again I remind myself of the verse Jeremiah 29:11
" For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

We are currently waiting to hear back from our agency as to what steps are next. We are still in for a pretty long wait before we get to bring her home but each day is one day closer. As soon as we know more we will post it to let everyone else know.
Again please continue to pray for us, Madison, and the process as well as everyone involved.

Monday, August 13, 2007

See the Video below.

Wayne and I decided to create a video of the pictures we have received of Madison during the adoption. We will continue to add to the video up until we bring her home. At the end of adoption we will put it on a DVD.

We thought we would share what we have so far since we don't really have anything to update about. (The video has sound so make sure you volume is not muted.)

Thursday, August 2, 2007

The DNA test has been requested.

Our adoption agency called and left us a message yesterday stating that the DNA test for our case has been authorized and requested. As far as she knew there were also in the process of conducting the test as well. This is a huge step for the adoption. Once the results are confirmed and the tests results are finalized then we should be able to at go visit.

We also found out that there have been some changes with adoptions in Guatemala. Guatemala has signed the Hague Treaty which regulates the adoptions with new standards by the United States and Guatemala. Part of the new standards is to have a second DNA test done toward the end of the adoption. This is a test which requires Madison's DNA to be taken and tested to verify that she is still the same baby that was originally tested in the beginning (the one we are waiting on now). Of course we all know that these regulations are not put in place just for the fun of it. Guatemala has had a bad history of illegal adoptions and child abductions. This is just part of the steps both countries are taking to try to reduce these incidents from happening. It is hard to hear about the changes but when you think about the innoncent children who have families already and can be spared from being taken from their families, it is all understandable. The second DNA test will be another expense but it is one we completely understand and it will just help to confirm that Madison is able to be adopted.

Please continue to keep our adoption and Madison in your prayers. We also ask that you keep the other families with our agency who are adopting from Guatemala in your prayers and that these changes don't cause too many speed bumps in the process.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Nothing new to report except the wait is REALLY hard.

Wayne and I know that our INS-171 H was sent to Guatemala and is currently being translated or has been translated. We are now waiting on our case to be accepted into Family Court. Evidently once the case is in Family Court the DNA test will be requested. We were told that we could not go visit until the DNA results are back and that could take a month or so from the time the test is done. Wayne and I had so hoped we would be going to visit Madison in September. We both have birthdays in September and wanted to spend that time with her but it looks like that is out of the question now. We were really discouraged at that news. I know that God's hand is in this and he is in control but when we hear of other families getting to go visit and we can't it is really hard. We so want to see Madison in person and to be able to hold her and tell her we love her. We are still planning on going to visit as soon as they tell us we can and are praying that God willing she will be home before the end of the year. We know that we are so lucky to be as far in this process as we are in just 3 months but knowing that Madison is so far away each night is extremely hard. Please keep us in your prayers. We don't want to get to impatient with God because we know that he will use this time for what he has planned. Please continue to also pray for Madison and all those involved in this adoption.

PS... we love to read your comments so please let us know you stopped by the blog.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

It's Official, All paperwork has been turned in!

This morning Wayne went to the mailbox and finally found the long awaited INS 171-H.
We immediately scanned it into the computer and emailed it to the adoption agency. I then called the agency and talked with Jen. She opened up her email and was as excited as we were to see that we had received the 171-H. She told us that she would open up the email and send the form to the attorney in Guatemala. We can finally say that we are OFFICIALLY in the waiting stage. The next step will be for our attorney to request the DNA test. He can also file for our case to go to family court in Guatemala. We are hoping that both of these are done within the next few days. I have spent a lot of time today thinking about the adoption process and how if this was a pregnancy some of the excitement would be with each ultra sound. Well with adoption some of the excitement is with each bit of information you receive in the mail. We don't usually see our mail lady so she has no idea how important today was or probably even how important what she delivered was to us. Today was our USPS "ultrasound" excitement. Now we can't wait to feel the "kicks" (DNA results, enter court, exit court, etc).

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

We have an update with more pictures

First I will tell you about the update. Yesterday I received a call from Missy, our adoption coordinator, and she informed me that DSS had lost a letter that immigration needed before they could process our INS-171H. The letter is one that Wayne wrote as part of our Dossier paperwork and was turned in with everything else. Missy told me that they had already sent two copies to DSS and both were evidently lost. They needed me to hand carry the letter to the DSS office to guarantee that it did not get lost this time. So yesterday off I went to get the letter and hand deliver it to the DSS worker. Except when I got to the office I ended up having to leave the letter with the security guard at the door. Needless to say I was a little bit worried that it would get lost again. This morning I called our adoption agency and verified that DSS did receive the letter and that they have already forwarded it on to the immigration office. Which means that as soon as they receive the letter they should be getting our INS-171H sent out to us and we can move forward with the adoption.

Now here is the update on Madison. She is currently almost 4 months old (turns 4 months on July 20). Her medical report basically stated that she was in good health and playful. She weighs 13 lbs 13 oz and is about 23 inches long.
And I must add that she is the most beautiful baby ever! We can't wait to get our hands on her.

Don't you just LOVE her facial expressions!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Here is a ton of information!

Ok, Since we have received numerous questions about the adoption process such as why the wait, why does it take the government so long, etc. I decided to list the steps we will be going through as well as try to explain them the best I can. We are still learning this process as well but hopefully this will help.

1.We are currently waiting for our INS-171H form from the Immigration office. This form basically tells us that the US Government approves us to adopt a child from another country and is required before we can go any further in the process.

2. Once we receive the INS form (letter) we will immediately scan it into our computer and email it to our adoption agency so that they can immediately send it to the attorney in Guatemala. We will put the original form in a safe place because we will have to take it with us when we go to bring Madison home.

3. Our attorney will request DNA testing to be done (which is required by the US Embassy for all adoptions). We will pay for the DNA testing to be done on both the birthmother and Madison as a precaution that she indeed has the right to put Madison up for adoption. Once the testing is completed the results will be sent to the US Embassy as well as to us.

4. Our attorney will submit our case to the Family Court. This can be done at the same time as the DNA test and we are hoping that is the case in our process. (It could only make it a little bit faster) Once our case is in family court the court will assign a Social worker to review our case. The social worker will read over all of our paperwork (that has already been translated), meet with the birthmother, and visit Madison. It is my understanding that the meeting with the birthmother is required under Guatemalan law and it is during this process that the birthmother signs off on the adoption for the final time. (Yes I know it sounds crazy that we can get so far into the process and still have to have the birthmother sign off but that is what the government requires so that is what we have to do.)
Once all of this is completed the social worker will then write a report recommending that the adoption proceed.

5. At this point our case will leave family court and enter PGN (Procuraduria General De La Nacion). This is where a PGN reviewer will go over everything that has been submitted in regards to the adoption - our paperwork, the DNA test, US Embassy pre-approval, social workers recommendation, etc. They will review everything to make sure all requirements under Guatemalan law are met. Once everything is reviewed they will sign off on the adoption and forward it on for final approval. Once the final approval is received our case will leave PGN.
When our case leaves PGN we will officially be Madison's parents.

6. At this time the attorney will apply for Madison's new birth certificate. The new birth certificate will contain Madison's first and middle names (as given at birth) and our last name. We cannot change her name as part of the Guatemalan adoption process. We will have to wait until we are back in the United States to change her name to Madison. Once the new birth certificate is received the attorney will apply for Madison's Guatemalan passport. (which she has to have to leave the country as well as enter the US)

7. The attorney will then submit everything to the US Embassy for our "pink slip" which is our invitation for us to go to the US Embassy for a final review (this is when we will finally get to go to Guatemala). Once the "pink slip" is issued Madison will be taken to an Embassy approved physician for one final examination. It is during this process that her visa will be issued and we will then be legally able to bring her home forever.

It is our understanding that this process,from the time we receive our INS-171H letter to us traveling, could be anywhere from 4 - 6 months. We have already been very blessed to be this far in the process after only 2 1/2 months. We have now entered the part that is the hardest -The WAITING period! Please keep us and the process in your prayers. We trust that God is in control and his timing is everything so we just have to trust in him.

One last note, we have postponed our yard sale to sometime in August.

Friday, July 6, 2007

One letter down, one to go...

Well today the long awaited letter from DSS finally arrived. We have been waiting on this letter for several weeks now. I have gotten used to going to the mailbox and not finding anything but bills and junk mail so when I went today I almost overlooked the letter. I had to look at it twice before I realized that it was from DSS. This is a letter from South Carolina's Department of Social Services that states we are approved by South Carolina to adopt Madison. We are now waiting on the approval letter from Immigration. I have been told that typically it takes about 2 weeks to get the letter from Immigration after the DSS letter has arrived, but I am not holding my breath. This letter just puts us one step closer to the time when we will get to bring her home. In the mean time we are working on getting her room ready. We ended up having to do some repair work to a wall in her room which has postponed us from painting but hopefully I will be able to get started painting next week. I am also in the process of getting things together for a yard sale to help raise money for the adoption. I am not a yard sale person (I don't do mornings) but this is something I felt led to do so we are having a yard sale on July 21.
Below you will see some pictures of the "ziploc of love" care package we sent to Madison. We were able to send a small package with someone who is going down tomorrow to pick up her two little girls. She was gracious enough to save room in her luggage for several families to send the "ziploc of love" care packages. We were only allowed to send items in the ziploc bag due to someone hand carrying the packages. I am just grateful we were allowed to send her something. I know she is really small and won't even really know who the package is from but Wayne and I will know as well as her Foster Mother. We sent some photo books with pictures of the Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins. Again she is too small to really look at them but we are hoping that the Foster Mother will look at them and show them to her. I wrote the name of each person in Spanish and English so that there would be no question as to who each person was. For example, Wayne and I are listed as Papa, Mama, and Daddy and Mommy.