I hold you in my heart and touch you in my dreams
You are here each day with me, at least that is how it seems.

I know you wonder where we are.....what' s taking us so long,
But remember child, I love you so and God will keep you strong.

Now go outside and feel the breeze and let it touch your skin...
Because tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind .

May God hold you in his hand until I can be with you,
I promise you, my darling , I 'm doing all that I can do.

Very soon, you'll have a family for real, not just pretend.
But for tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind.

May God wrap you in His arms and hold you very tight.
And let the angels bring the kisses that I send to you each night.

-Author unknown

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Edited versions & latest news

Well folks -
I have edited the 2 entries ("a weird turn of events", and " . . .part 2"). If you hadn't read them before, that's ok as you just won't know what you missed (a good reason to be checking my blog more often - hunh?! :) hee, hee.). If you have read them before - just keep it all in prayer. Thanks. I'm trying to be considerate of other's personal lives, but still letting you guys know about my personal adoption journey - and that included our last referral. Anyways - I'm movin on! I wonder what God will think up next to entertain me. I'd be ok if things were a bit quiet for awhile. I might even get some cleaning done around the house! :) hee, hee. . . . . well, maybe not! :)

So - what is new with you all? Drop me a line sometime. I'm thrilled that you guys are reading my blog and interested in our adventures - but I would love to hear yours as well! :)

As for the latest on the Adoption front:

A big THANK YOU to all who have helped us out so far financially (esp. the recent donation to our paypal acct . . . you know who you are!!)! You all are a blessing and I pray that God will bless you back a 100 fold!!

We are still selling the Entertainment books till the beginning of December. The coupons in them are good till Nov. 2007 - and many of them have a "Repeat savings" feature which allows you to print more of the same coupon online (like the Portsmouth Children's Museum! My kids love that place.)! And don't forget - when you register your book online, you will be able to print out a $25 gift certificate for one of many (over 150) restaraunts in our area (maybe more wherever you live) - so it's like getting the book for free! :) You don't have to live in the Hampton Roads area to buy one. They have many books for all over the country! Try it out and help out our adoption!

We are also looking into having a yard sale on Oct 7th at my mom's house (5208 Canoe Landing, VB) in Lake Christopher. We are looking for donations for the sale (and volunteers as my mom will actually be out of town that weekend!). If that day doesn't work out, we may have it on Nov 4th at our house. I'll let you know. If you want to volunteer to help, or have things to donate - let us know soon! We'd really appreciate it! We'll be selling the Entertainment books at the yard sale as well. So come by and get one! :)

We have applied for a couple grants, and are in the process of filling out a few more applications. Haven't heard anything yet, and I'm not sure if we will get any grants - but it never hurts to try. We may even try to set up an account to accept donations that offer a tax deduction for the donors. I just haven't gotten that far in my paperwork yet (with all the excitement/drama this last week).

Oh yeah - and we are starting to collect ink jet and laser toner cartridges to recycle as part of our fundraising efforts. If you have any old ones you'd like to donate, let us know. That's better than just throwing them in the trash! :)

Ok - I know that was alot about money -but that's just where we are at right now. . . . waiting for a referral, and praying & strategizing about how we will pay for the referral and adoption. :) Sorry if I bored ya!

Thanks for all your prayers. Continue on! The battle is not over, and I expect more bumps and jostles along the way! Our boat ride down the river may have some rapids along the way - and that's ok! I trust my Guide! Hope you do too!

Blessings on you and your family today!
Lori :)

Friday, September 22, 2006

Missing info

Sorry guys - had to remove some info. Hope you understand. Still keep praying for our adoption and all that's been going on.
Lori :)
I'll let you know when I've posted the edited versions of "A weird turn of events" parts 1 & 2.

2/09/2011 - I added back in the info I had taken out - especially since it's been a few years - and Juliana is back in our life now (we are sponsoring her)! It will be interesting to see what God does in her life and with our lives connected again now! :)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

A weird turn of events - part 2

Hello my friends and family!
I just wanted to let you know to keep praying for the adoptive parents of little Juliana. It has been an emotional rollercoaster ride the past several days (for me as well). My heart just aches for them! I've cried several times over everything! Wish I could tell you more - but just keep praying it will all work out!

As for the other adoptive mom (who's 2 girls are still stuck in the Guatemala court system) - I just got word that the lawyer is finally going to file for DNA approval on this coming monday! :) Yeah!! Please pray that this really happens! Alot can go wrong throughout the whole process, but I know that God can move these mountains!!!! Please keep them in your prayers - come join the battle with me! She is really encouraged that God may be hearing our pleas!! Yeah!!

Thanks so much guys! You are affecting lives and generations forever!

Lori :)

2/09/2011 - I'm posting part of the original unedited post here.

Hello my friends and family!
I just wanted to let you know to keep praying for the adoptive parents of little Juliana. It has been a rollercoaster ride the past several days. One day it seems they are hopeful to get her back, the next day - telling me they hope I get Juliana if they can't, then back to thinking they may get her home. At least that's the gist I get from the mom's emails. My heart just aches for them! It's now looking like they will not bring her home and I just cried - for them and Juliana. I cannot imagine what they are going through. It's like losing a child.

There may be a chance that the adoption process could be "undone". We'll see. I hope so - for Juliana's sake. If it's not, she will be stuck in the court system forever and go to an orphanage. Not a good thing. If the adoption is "undone", I don't know if she would be referred to us again or not. It would all depend on what lawyer gets "custody" of her. She may go back to our lawyer, and in that case, we may see her again. Only God knows and it's all in His hands - thank goodness!

Thank you for your prayers so far for Juliana and her adoptive parents here. They are grieving again, as you can well imagine, and would covet your prayers still. Thanks.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Rest of the Process

Many of you have asked about when we would bring our daughter home (once we get and are able to accept a referral!). Here is the basic process after referral (apprx. 4-8 months of waiting!):

The Guatemala Adoption Process (and approximate timeframes)

External Relations Ministry
The case is registered with the courts and the documents are certified.
All documents are translated into Spanish for the courts
DNA Testing (30 days)
The US Embassy authorizes a DNA test for the biological mother and the child. The test is analyzed by a lab in the United States.
Family Court (6 weeks)
A social worker is assigned to interview the biological mother and the foster mother. The report is prepared and the case is approved to continue. DNA test approval. Irrevocable release by birth mother to Guat. atty.
Procuraduria General de la Nacion (PGN) (1-4 months, or more; varies)
The office of the Attorney General reviews the entire case to ensure that all the documents are in order. PGN then approves the adoption to be passed through the remaining procedures.
INS Medical Exam
The Immigration and Naturalization doctor will review the entire medical records to ensure that all vacations are current and that the baby is in good health.
Birth Certificate
A birth certificate will be issued with your last name on it for your child.
Passport (20 days)
A Guatemala passport will be issued for the child. You can get a US Passport issued once you return home.
Final Embassy Review (2 days)
The US Embassy reviews your file to ensure that all the paperwork is in order to process your travel visa. "Pink" interview - waiting to get "Pink" appointment slip to pick up child.
Pack your bags! :)

As you can see - our journey is only half way done (or maybe even just 1/3 of the way done). Thanks for the support along the way so far. Keep on praying! :)

Lori :)

Sunday, September 17, 2006

New Best of the Wests website

Just wanted to let you know that I am starting to set up a new website (as a trial). It will allow me to add more pics and videos, etc. I will probably still blog on this site. We'll see. I did import my blog entries on the new site - but it's not as easy to navigate to the entry you want as this site is. Anyways - you can check it out at .


Lori :)

A weird turn of events

Here's the latest.
I got a call from Lucy (our agency director) on Thursday saying she finally had good news and bad news. The good news is . . . . she had some info. The bad news is . . . what the info was.

Evidentally, (to make a long story shorter) our lawyer was not responding to calls/emails as she had found out that Juliana had already been in the adoption process a year or two ago, and something happened that halted the process. Juliana was still stuck in the court system! So, Lucy was going to try and find out who this family was that had tried to adopt her before and see if they were still interested, and if not, if they would write a letter (or whatever they needed to do) to terminate the adoption so we could move forward with it possibly.

The whole story sounded vaguely familiar to me - and I thought I had read something like it before on my Guatemalan yahoo group, so I posted a message for any info on little Juliana on my group. I got a response right away (which was a miracle as this woman had stopped reading the yahoo group email's - but my title had caught her eye. Now that's God!).

I spent 2 hours and over 33 emails on friday to connect the dots between the woman who responded who knew the previous parents, the prev. agency handling the case, the parents who had tried to adopt her, Lucy, and of course - Jeremy (to keep him in the loop). In respecting the adoptive parents, I won't really go into the details. That side of the story is theirs to tell.

I can tell you (with permission) that the original woman who told me about the adoptive parents has also been through a 2 year ordeal and still has hardly progressed with her adoption of 2 beautiful girls (still possibly in Family court -since Feb. Can you imagine?! Bless her heart!). She has given up (mentally,emotionally, etc) and doubts she will ever bring home her 2 girls (3 & 6 years old). :( My heart breaks for these 2 women!

Will you guys please pray for these ladies and their adoptions? Pray for their girls to be released, for their Mommy's hearts to be at peace and filled with hope and trust in God, for these cases to progress forward, and for God to send His angels to do the spiritual warfare needed to get these girls to freedom!!

As sad as it seems that we (once again) did not get the child referred - I am at total peace. I thought earlier today that she may be our daughter and it would all work out - till I talked with Juliana's adoptive mom and found out all the info. I am glad we could be used to (hopefully) help this family. I would want someone to do the same for me!

So - we are back to waiting. :) I'm getting pretty good at it. :) Actually - we haven't really been "just" waiting for long. God knows I like to stay busy, and I think that's why He allowed me to be "able" to redo so many of our forms, etc. :) hee, hee. It gave me something to do. Just imagine if our dossier had been right the first time? I would have been waiting since June! (Not as long as some people - I know) Anyways - it's all in God's hands. Our daughter will come to us when she is supposed to. :) I know that for sure. I've got enough craziness around here to keep me busy till she does. :)

Lori :)

2/09/2011 - Ok I am going to add back in the parts that I had edited out before. It's been 4 years - so I think it's fine to tell her story - especially considering how Juliana is back in our life now!

Here is what I took out of this post. (I'll add things to the other post as well if I edited that one too).

This family actually got to choose Juliana's name the day she was born (the day they got their referral). That was March 2, 2004!!! They got all the way through all the courts in Guat, and all they were waiting on was the official new BC and their visa/travel appt. and the atty stopped the process for some reason (no one really knows). The lawyer didn't really disappear - but didn't continue to work on the case. The poor family hired Adoption Supervisors (probably to the tune of several thousands of dollars) and have been to Guatemala several times to try and get things finalized. No such luck. I think they had given up. I found out they actually live 2 hours from us and still have Juliana's room all ready (they were originally hoping to bring home a baby and were not sure about a toddler - so I thought there may still be a chance they could write a letter to terminate the process - but they are too far into it now to just do that). Anyways - Lucy contacted the other agency and hopefully things will get moving for this poor family. That is my prayer!

**Side note - I found out the adoptive parents are now divorced, and the mom has no intentions of trying to bring Juliana home (I think she still might have been able to as she most likely was grandfathered in before adoptions shut down - because of how far they were in their adoption. I could be wrong though.). So sad.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Happy Independence Day!

September 15 is Independence Day in Guatemala, celebrating the independence of the countries of Central America from Spain! On September 15, 1821 Guatemala gained its Independence from Spain. This Independence Day is shared with all the other Central American countries except for Panama and Belize. Following this, Guatemala was briefly part of Mexico and then later became a part of the United Provinces of Central America. This confederation fell apart due to a war between the members that occurred from 1838 to 1840. At the end of the war Guatemala became an independent nation.

Here is how it is celebrated in Guatemala-adapted from!

Independence Day is not a tourism draw and is not celebrated much outside of the country (like Cinco de Mayo) but is a local Guatemalan celebration. Since it is a national holiday many Guatemalans take the opportunity to travel to the more traditional tourist areas to watch celebrations. On the day preceding Independence Day the national anthem is sung with gusto in schools. The Schools, and even the school buses, are decorated with patriotic motifs in celebration. Traditionally the army of Guatemala celebrates with a protocol act and air acrobatics, usually for the audience of the President. As the day comes to a close children and adults can be seen waving small plastic Guatemalan flags in the streets and the stores are decked out in Blue and White decorations.
While Guatemala is celebrating so are the other countries of Central America. Since they all achieved independence together they also have ways of celebrating together, though many celebrate on both the 14th and the 15th. A torch, which begins in Guatemala on the 14th, travels by relay race down the Pan American Highway to Costa Rica where it arrives on the 15th. Along the route people decorate homes and schools. Children dress up in their finest school uniforms and cheer along with the adults as the runners and the torch goes by. It is a great honor to be chosen to be a runner of the Independence Day torch. As runners cross between countries borders there are cultural ceremonies with dignitaries of all the Central American countries there to honor Independence Day.

So Happy Independance Day!

Lori :)
ps - I will have to tell you all about the craziness today concerning Juliana. Got to go put the kids to bed, so maybe tomorrow.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Juliana Gabrielle . . . our daughter??

Hello friends and family! So - you want to know, hunh? :) Well - so do we! Here's what we do know:

We had to wait over the Labor Day weekend, but on Wednesday (Sept 6th), I got an e-mail from Lucy (our agency director) stating that she finally got some info on the little girl, but it was still in Spanish and didn't look like it had much medical info or any pictures. She wanted to know if we wanted to wait till she got everything or just to go ahead and send what she had (she was leaving for Haiti in the morning). I asked for what she had (of course!) and later told Tammy (Lucy's Guatemala adoption helper/advocate) to go ahead and send me the documents in Spanish (she had called at 5pm saying they hadn't received the translations yet). We have 2 neighbors that speak fluent Spanish (one is from Spain and the other from Mexico) - so I think we could get it translated! :) I actually could understand most of it, and had a couple friends (not even my neighbors) help with the rest.
In the letter, the lawyer said she would fax the medical info and email some pics the next morning (Thursday). Well - it's now monday and we still have not heard back from the lawyer. My agency tried contacting her again today. Hmmm . . . . . what's going on Lord? It is hard to feel like we have a "real" referral, as we don't have all the info. Even Lucy said the same thing. :) As you can imagine - I check my e-mail even more frequently throughout the day (is that even possible?!) just waiting for the pics and info! Though - I do still trust that it's all in God's timing as the past 2 weeks have been quite stressful for me with school starting and all the new schedules, etc. (teaching Ty at home MWF) - so, not having to figure out the finances to accept a referral yet, has been a blessing. God has a reason and has His ways! They are definitely NOT my ways!

The other interesting thing that the Lord has done lately . . . is to keep making me cry! . . . or was that my hormones? Well, I can blame that on God too! :) No, seriously - last night at our monthly Mei Ming (adoption ministry) meeting - we were praying for the Chinese orphans and adoptions and I was totally overtaken! I saw a picture of a huge wave, like a Tsunami, sweep over the land in China and wash through an orphanage (or several) and over all the kids - submerging them. I just started to cry. I wanted to sob uncontrolably - but held it in. I didn't know what it meant. I didn't think it was a literal interpretation, but it still made me cry. Then I felt like God told me that this was a picture of His love for these children - the orphaned, and was I ready to experience it? . . . . I would love to say - yes I am - but when you do, it's too overwhelming. Your heart is full of love and heartache all at once - and the power of it overwhelms you like a Tsunami wave! I didn't like feeling out of control in it, but I do want more of His heart - it's just hard to handle.

Then today, somehow, in one of my many online adventures, I ended up at a website for US kids that needed adopting. I came across this little girl - Carolina. I could not stop crying for over an hour. I would slowly stop, but as soon as I thought about her, or any other orphan for that matter, I just started weeping uncontrollably. And of course my mind just went crazy trying to figure out why the spigots in my eyes wouldn't shut off! Was it just my "mother's heart" feeling for this child (I was crying as if she was my own child just diagnosed with end stage renal disease. I just wanted to take her home and love on her!)? Was it the shame I felt for wanting a "healthy" child? Was it the desire to help this little girl? Was it the feeling of sadness and frustration at the unfairness in life for these little ones? Was it God? Was it my hormones? Was it just stress??. . . . . What was going on? I had to lay down on my bed and weep before God and pray for this little girl, and others like her that I have seen recently online, who may never be adopted because of their "special needs" - but who desperately want and need a loving family of their own! I called and talked with (more like sobbed to) my mom and had her pray for me, and that seemed to finally slow the stream of tears to a trickle and eventually they stopped altogether (thankfully!). But I'm still not 100% sure of what the intense emotions were all about with this girl. I had almost started to cry when seeing a few other kids before - but nothing like this!

Anyways . . . . I'll stop telling you my "sob stories". :) hee, hee.

So - Back to our referral . . . Pray that we get the final info on little Juliana Gabrielle (that's her birth name) so that we can make a decision. She is 2 1/2 years old (born March 2nd) - which is right about the age I was thinking we would get. By the time we brought her home, she would be 3 probably - or almost 3. Meg plays well with the 3 year old down the street, and I think she would like being a "big sister" to a "little sister", instead of having a sister almost her age. We'll see.

Also - continued prayer for:
- Adoption Finances (haven't heard back from the grant application; am planning of having a garage sale this fall; we're still selling Ent. Books, and starting to collect ink and laser cartridges for recycling; plus there are some other possible fundraising ideas that we haven't approached or tried yet; and finally - looking into low interest loans or 0% credit cards . . . we'll see where God leads)
- Info to arrive soon!
- Coverage for our whole family! - we have felt very attacked lately (J's stress at work, me with my new, busy schedule of schooling and "taxi" mom, etc, etc, etc)
- Orphans around the world - to be released to families that will love and care for them!

Thanks so much you guys! We love and appreciate you - as always!!!!!

- Lori :)
ps - Hopefully our next news will be tears of JOY when we accept a referral! I hope so!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Dossier is Finished . . . I hope!

Sorry so long between posts - not much exciting happening. . . . .But - I think I can safely say that our dossier is officially finished! Our last form (the Home Study agency's license copy) was authenticated at the State and Consulate levels and was received in KY at KAS on Friday! Yeah! Now they can send it to Guatemala for translation into Spanish. :) I guess that is exciting!

About a week and a half ago, our agency director came back from her trip to Guatemala. I was anxious to hear if she had any good news for us. On that tuesday, she responded to an email of mine and said that she "may have a referral of a toddler girl" for us "soon". I was thinking - within a few days! But no phone call or email the rest of that week. This past monday, I emailed again. She said that she was quite frustrated as she had called Guatemala every day the last week and had not heard back from the attorney who had told her about the little girl. As of this friday, she still hadn't heard, despite her "pestering". Hmmm . . . . did the atty fall off the face of the earth? Is this delay a ploy of the enemy or the plan of God? We are praying that, if she is meant to be our daughter, God will release her to us soon. If she is not meant to be our daughter - then the delay is fine (and justified). Only God knows. I feel at peace about it, even though my "mother's heart" and curiosity are anxious to see who our daughter will be. I feel like I'm in my second trimester of pregnancy and I am waiting to get my ultrasound to see what I'm having! :) The day can't come quick enough! :) Once we get our referral though, it will still be 4-7 months till we bring her home. Having her home for Christmas is getting slimmer and slimmer. :(

I still check the site quite frequently looking at the little babies and kids that need to be adopted. I've fallen in love with quite a few of them. Several of them were at another agency that I had contemplated switching to when we switched to KAS, but I just didn't feel a peace about them when I talked with their staff a couple times. They weren't mean or anything - I just didn't get that inner peace like I did with KAS. . . . . Gotta follow the "Peace" - even if it means we have to wait a little longer. God knows our needs, wants, desires, etc. I trust Him 100%. Plus - we still need about $8000 to be able to accept a referral, and then we'll need another $11,000 towards the end of the adoption process. We are still in the process of trying to come up with the money. On that topic though - we have been blessed recently with 2 $500 checks to be applied towards our adoption! :) PTL! God is good! Oh yeah - and the blessing of the new van couldn't have come at a better time. We gave our old car to my parents, and just a little while later, my mom's car completely died!! They would have been scrambling to get a new car, but now they can at least take their time and still get around town. Thank you God!

Well guys - thanks again for all your prayers. Pray for the release of our daughter, and the finances needed to bring her home. Pray for wisdom as to how to bring in the finances (extra job, loans, grants, fundraisers, etc). Thanks so much for the encouragement!

Blessings today!
Lori :)

ps - We do have the Norfolk entertainment books in, so let me know if you need one. They are regularily $30 (or $32 online), but we are selling them for $25 (unless you want to give us $30 for it. :) hee, hee). You get a free $25 gift cert to a local restaraunt just for registering your book online! We've already used our certificate at Taverna in Va Beach for our Anniversary. Very yummy! So it's like getting a free book basically! You'll be glad you got one! Lots of great coupons!!!!