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Thursday, July 7, 2011

For those who love scavenger hunts...

Midnight-- July 4-- return from vacation to Canada and previous trip with students to Costa Rica.... Celebration of 5 years of marriage on June 10....  Alas, we are back home with deadlines for adoption paperwork closing in.  I have been anxious to get it taken care of.  Yesterday, as I was driving up to the Secretary of State's office in downtown St. Louis for the 2nd time in two days (the notarization of our I-171H was rejected the previous day due to the notary using a stamp with the incorrect expiration date on it.  I had that form notarized at two different banks before going back yesterday-- thank goodness, because one of the two attempts was rejected again due to the notary's failure to use her middle initial in her signature as it is printed on her stamp.  The Secretary of State is VERY attentive to detail! )..... as I was saying, while I was driving I heard about a summer activity for students called letter-boxing.  Apparently, it is like a scavenger hunt by kids and for kids posted online.  Various participants have created these scavenger hunts in public places, hidden neat little trinkets, and deposited a journal for those who find the treasure to sign in.... hmmmmmm.... this sounded a lot like what I have been doing for the last year, and there are people who do it for fun!!!  At any rate, yesterday, during my final trek to gain the last golden seal, my childlike spirit of adventure kicked in! V-day! Happily, yesterday marked the completion of the last scavenger hunt.  The last apostille.  The last sets of copies rolled off the copier.  The last check mark.  Upon inserting the last piece of the puzzle into the rompecabeza, a sense of contentment settled over me.  I marched over to the downtown post office, purchased the most expensive postage possible for my scavenger hunt of the last three months, and submitted our paperwork.  Right now, I am in delivery.  The 9.9 pound dossier is in Dallas, Texas-- just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the agency and  its final destination in Honduras.  What joy!  I feel proud of Mike's and my efforts to produce such a beautiful, immaculate pile of papers-- but more importantly, I can't wait to see the little one that they will produce!  It is amazing to think about where this process has taken us so far, and where it will lead us in the future... Con cada paso estamos más cerca de ser una familia-- por eso cada búsqueda vale la pena.  Tu papá y yo estamos viniendo.... vamos a encontrarte hijo/a en cualquier lugar que estés.  Te queremos, amor.  Y si quieres jugar a búsquedas así cuando llegues, me enstusiasma por tales juegos.


                              Our dossier.... complete...



Me, with the final product of the scavenger hunts.... can you tell that I am doing a victory dance?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Lightness of summer

Summer is upon us... all of the heavy heat, suffocating moist air, sticky-stinky-sweaty clothes, and FREEDOM!  As a teacher, I love it!  Alas, we were released for summer and I slept-- how many naps I have taken, I cannot count; books are pulled from shelves and actually read; my mind has begun to relax and release itself from the endless multitasking that I feel compelled to do in order to survive during the school year.  Ah yes-- ice cream tastes best now.  My granny's lilies are unfolding themselves in radiant bursts of color.  I see my lovely friends at a leisurely pace over slow dinners outdoors.  Soon it will be time to pick blackberries down the street.  My mouth is turned up into a smile.  The best part is that Mike and I are both teachers, so we get to be together all summer long-- we enjoy our little projects and little outings-- life is delicious this time of year. When we have our Más 1, it will be a time for making the ice cream with the little one, picking flowers from the garden, excursions to a variety of children friendly local destinations that we have not had an opportunity to visit since we were kids.... Más 1 will fit very well into our happy summer plans... I love to imagine it!  I weave it all into a beautiful little story-- our child's face just a bit too much in the shadows to ever really see it-- but the little one's laughter drifts along light as summer and the joy is clearly visible.  This daydream is a better activity than packing my suitcase, which is what I should be doing right now..... Summer is starting a little differently this year-- Mike just left for Colorado for a week of hiking and climbing with friends, and I leave in a day and a half for Costa Rica with students for two weeks.  Over two weeks of separation is not something I relish.  A million times a day, I think of things that I want to tell him or show him when we are apart and I especially miss my favorite part of the day-- waking up to find him next to me.  To make the time apart easier for him, Mike will find a book (made by me) with pictures and little notes for each day-- I even included one of the four leaf clovers that I found this year to bring him luck in his travels and 2 bars of expensive chocolate to keep him energized.  Also, he will find a card for our 5 year anniversary and a different card for Father's day.  It will be his first Father's Day card.  No te preocupes-- escogí una tarjeta cómica porque sé que por vivir en esta casa vas a tener un buen sentido de humor:)  ... Then, when he comes home and I come home, we will be off to Seattle and Squamish to celebrate being reunited....and shortly thereafter, summer will begin again-- normal summer that is-- normal, joyful summer!  Paperwork is winding down, so we really can enjoy just enjoying summer!  Podemos apreciar los ricos sabores del verano:) Sé que cuando vengas, estos días serán tus días favoritos también.  Ni tú.... ni tu papá.... ni yo podemos imaginar el futuro que nos espera juntos.... solo sabemos que nuestro destino es ser una familia y que la vida que conocemos va a cambiar.  Estos cambios no me dan miedo.... Al contrario, me dan confianza para tomar decisiones que van a beneficiar a nuestra familia.  Me dan esperanza para un verano eterno.  Sé que vamos a enfrentar gran retos a veces, pero cuando pienso en ti, me siento paz.  Es el tipo de paz que me siento cuando pienso en tu papá.  Esta paz nace del amor y sigue creciendo cada díá.  Así, no hay miedo y la confianza es fácil.  Sin poder pronunciar tu nombre, te digo que te quiero mucho, y te querré por siempre.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Check....

Yesterday was a superb day!   After an extended period of grim gray skies and some restless nights haunted by end of the school year assorted activities, the sun crept through the clouds and smiled upon St. Louis. Happy day!  Mike and I both took a personal day to get our background checks, get fingerprinted and to head to the Secretary of States office to get apostilles.  We decided to make the day more like a date than list of chores.... starting with a celebratory disabling of the alarm clock-- it was FABULOUS to sleep until 7:30!  Then, we headed up to the local police substation to verify a clear records check for both of us.  Check. Next, it was off to the Robert A. Young building downtown for our scheduled appointment.   Fingerprinting went very quickly.  Check.  Finally, we headed to the old Post Office to get our seals for our notarized documents.  We don't have our entire dossier compiled yet, but our paperwork is getting much closer to being done.  It seems like a good idea to be sure that all the documents are being notarized correctly so that we don't have to waste time waiting for them to be redone.  The good news is that due to the extreme conscientiousness of EVERYONE who has helped us, not one document was rejected by the Secretary of State.  Hurray!!!!  Mike and I had a nice lunch while we waited for the necessary formalities to occur and shiny gold seals to be affixed.  When we returned around 1:30, all 16 documents were ready to go with their apostilles.  Check.  The day was a success.  What a joy it was to make more pretty purple check marks on my HUGE list of paperwork to accomplish.... check for program management fee #2 and the refundable deposit in the mail.  Check.  Photos ordered for the photo book.  Check.  An expected 2 week wait for the I-171H.  The race is on-- our goal is to have everything ready to submit when the I-171H comes back to us... Then, the real waiting will begin.... Pues, ves que nosotros estamos trabajando duro para que el día de tu llegada venga pronto... tu papá y yo-- somos muy unidos en todo, especialmente en el deseo de ser una familia.  Besos, mi amorcito. xoxo

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

So-- Mother Nature is certainly smiling on mothers here in St. Louis. We could not have had a more beautiful day.... sunny, warm, a cool breeze, a cerulean sky, brilliant spring green foliage, chirping birds, and cheerful flowers in every yard.  Yesterday, we spent a full day with my family at my brother's house.  Today, we enjoyed a lovely dinner with Mike's family at our home.  All the guests have left, and now the house is returned to its quiet, pre-children state.  The cat is slinking about.  Laundry is waiting to be folded.  It is hard to imagine how life might be different next year.  Everything was perfect, and while I am filled with anticipation of the little one who is to join us, I am just a bit sad.  There is a sense of longing and a little bit of emptiness.   The hole within me is the desire that we could all be together now.... This is impatient Jeanette, not a pretty sight..... A million «happy Mother's Day» and I wish one could be for me.  I am so eager to see our baby's face or know our baby's name.... we have filled out all the paperwork we could to make is a reality.... I have given it 110% of my best effort... but really all we can do is wait.  So I must accept that.  Today, patience is difficult.  I don't like that.

On a happy note, I watched Mike playing with my nieces and nephews yesterday and realized... he will be such a wonderful, creative, playful, (and tired) daddy.  He folded airplanes with my nephew and niece and ran around their back yard... chasing, and throwing, and chasing, and throwing, and running some more, and turning the crumpled plane into a paper meteor when it had all but desintegrated into shreds, and throwing, and chasing some more.  I don't think my niece and nephew have it within them to be worn out.  Somehow, my lovely husband kept up... It is exciting to see how naturally Mike falls into being a great dad.  He never let those kids see how tired he really was!.... Así te digo.... sé que escogí bien-- tu papá no es el papá típico.  Tiene una imaginación increíble y  lo respeto muchísimo.  Obviamente, soy bastante parcial, pero creo que estás entrando una familia fenomenal:)  .... y, mi amor.... sé que no puedo darte ningún abrazo hoy ni los besos que mereces mucho, y eso rompe mi corazón..... pero estoy guardando cada uno para ti y te los daré cuando finalmente nos podemos conocer.  Estoy contando los días aunque no sé cuantos sean.  Te quiero mucho, bebé.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sim number received

Yeah!  I got the text and email this morning with our SIM number from our I-600A for our I-797 from USCIS!  If you understand that, you know too much about international adoptions!  I continue to work on the process meticulously, daily, and prayerfully. Speaking with our program director at our agency seems to be a weekly occurrence as I plow through the dossier. Yesterday, I conversed with her about timing the receipt of the I-171H with the completion of the dossier and she shared a bit with me about her recent trip to Honduras. What a kindhearted woman we have helping us! It was exciting to hear her perceptions of what our children will most likely experience before arriving to their forever families in the United States.  Happily, it sounds like the individuals working in the IHNFA are very concerned with doing what is best for children-- I could not ask for anything more.

Beyond adoption, dates with my lovely husband (last night we went to wonderful Thai restaurant and played cards with friends), excursions to the gym and local trails for running (I have a 5K this weekend) and grading school papers (they seem to be reproducing FASTER than a box of bunnies) fill the other hours of our days.  Life is not too exciting at the moment, but we are enjoying the simplicity of our days.... y felizmente, cada día nos lleva al momento de reunión contigo.  Le pido al Señor que esté dándote su protección y la nutrición que necesitas para crecer.  Cuídate bien ángelito... ¡Te queremos mucho!  XOXO

Friday, April 15, 2011

Adoption paperwork and psych evaluation

I don't want to spend a lot of time going through all the paperwork that is essential for international adoption, but since it has become like my second job, I thought maybe I should mention it.  Of course, it varies by country with all kinds of strange requirements for each one.  For Honduras, all forms must be signed in black (NOT BLUE or some other pretty color) ink. Our dossier (which is the application that Honduras receives) should include a recommendation from a government official, a recommendation from our church, a recommendation from a member of the community, a psychological evaluation, our homestudy conducted by the social worker, a police background check, fingerprinting, copies of our birth certificates and marriage license, a picture book of us and our home, a psychological evaluation of each of us, and some other stuff that I don't remember right off of the top of my head.  Every day, I am satisfied with myself if I make some progress on the paperwork.  It does not have to be a huge step, but I do require myself to do something daily.  Today (yesterday by the time this is posted), I mailed off the I-600A form to Homeland Security petitioning the US government for the opportunity to get an appointment for fingerprints and permission to bring a child from Honduras into the country and make him/her a US citizen.  It was exciting to submit one more form!  (Really I don't mean that sarcastically-- everything we send off gets us closer to our goal).  Then... this afternoon, I had an appointment with the psychologist in Webster Groves.  I have a degree in counseling, so I am familiar with the MMPI (personality test) and I realize that this is nothing to really be that worried about (I may call myself crazy, but I don't think you can find a real diagnosis for me in the DSM 4).... I suspect that the test will determine that more than anything, I am an anal retentive perfectionist with a great eye for details, as revealed by the fact that I changed my clothes 4 times this morning so as to make the right impression.  (You never know.... wearing black might make me look like I am grim or dark-- a bit above the knees might suggest that I am promiscuous-- too casual looks like I don't care-- a spring green dress looks fresh and cheery-- my favorite color--  surely that is the color of sanity).  Anyway, all went well... although I am not sure what the good doctor made of the inkblot test.... then came home-- a recommendation from Deacon Tom came in the mail (beautiful) and a failed attempt to request a new copy of our birth certificates and marriage license (can't be over 3 months old) came in the mail with a request for us to notarize the paperwork (notary requirement is new).  So, you can see what doing adoption paperwork is like... ups and downs... steady progress... with an eye to the goal. It is doable as long as you don't feel compelled to do it all at once.  We have to view this as a marathon instead of a sprint.  So.... my mind drifts back to Honduras and the baby that waits for us with the knowledge that even when we cross this finish line, we are really not done.  Then, a new life and a new journey begins.  Antes de regresar a mi vida cotidiana, tengo que decirte que tu papá y yo te esperamos con mucha ansiedad y mucho amor.  No sé como hemos tenido tanto suerte en nuestras vidas-- en algunas maneras somos muy diferentes (por la diferencia en nuestras edades, las diferencias en nuestras experiencias y talentos, y diferencias de personalidad también).  Sin embargo, somos la pareja perfecta.  Tenemos una vida tranquila y sencilla....y estamos completamente enamorados.  Cada mañana, mi primer pensamiento es un pensamiento de gratitud a Dios de que nos hayamos encontrado.  Ahora, te incluyo en mis agradecimientos y me siento completamente bendita por tenerte en nuestras vidas.  Espero que ya puedes sentir nuestros abrazos calurosos a pesar de la distancia.  Hay una canción que dice que «el corazón no tiene cara» y aunque no hemos visto tu cara, ya tenemos consciencia de tu corazón y ya te consideramos parte de nuestra familia. ¡xoxo!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

First entry

I keep postponing starting this blog because it is so hard to know where to begin.  In a nutshell, Mike and I want to start a family.  We have been married for 5 years and dated for 5 years before that.  Our home is warm.  Our life is comfortable.  It is the right time to embark upon this new adventure together.  We have made attempts to start a family the ´old-fashioned way´, but with no luck.  So, since we are not quitters, we decided that we needed another approach-- hence adoption.  Don't think that this was an obvious decision.  There were times of self-doubt, and I sometimes wondered why God would not want us to have children.  Would Mike and I not be good parents?  Were we just supposed to keep giving ourselves to teaching and working out without any real change in our lives?  Was there any sense in our lack of success?  Now that we have been through so much of the process, our perception is very different.  Yes, this is a long journey.  There are no reading lists or lengthy paperwork involved in having children via childbirth, and perhaps that seems unfair.  (Maybe the world would be a better place if these things were a requisite for all).  This approach is complicated with a lot of hard work upfront, but after traversing a piece of it, Mike and I feel like it is NOT that we are not good enough to have children.  Rather, it is that we are even BETTER than good enough.... we are good enough to be adoptive parents, with all of  the paperwork, psych evaluations, criminal checks, and financial scrutiny... and amidst it all, we still enjoy life and anticipate the day when we (me, Mike, the cat, and our más 1) can all be under one roof together.  You may also be wondering... why Honduras?  Good question and I have an answer.... but that will be for another day.  ¡Qué estés soñando con los ángeles, bebé!  Estamos pensando en ti con mucho cariño todos los días!  Ya tienes un lugar especial en nuestros corazones.  Besos......