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, December 22, 2007

Happy Holi-Hanua-Kwanza!

My friend Terri sent me a link to this poem on another blog - The Potter's Hand ! It fits in perfectly with my post from yesterday!!

Twas the month before Christmas
When all through our land,
Not a Christian was praying
Nor taking a stand.
Why the Politically Correct Police had taken away,
The reason for Christmas - no one could say.
The children were told by their schools not to sing,
About Shepherds and Wise Men and Angels and things.
It might hurt people’s feelings, the teachers would say
December 25th is just a ‘Holiday ‘.
Yet the shoppers were ready with cash, checks and credit
Pushing folks down to the floor just to get it!
CDs from Madonna, an X BOX, an I-pod
Something was changing, something quite odd!
Retailers promoted Ramadan and Kwanzaa
In hopes to sell books by Franken & Fonda.
As Targets were hanging their trees upside down
At Lowe’s the word Christmas - was no where to be found.
At K-Mart and Staples and Penny’s and Sears
You won’t hear the word Christmas;it won’t touch your ears.
Inclusive, sensitive, Di-ver-si-ty
Are words that were used to intimidate me.
Now Daschle, Now Darden, Now Sharpton, Wolf Blitzen
On Boxer, on Rather, on Kerry, on Clinton !
At the top of the Senate, there arose such a clatter
To eliminate Jesus, in all public matter.
And we spoke not a word, as they took away our faith
Forbidden to speak of salvation and grace.
The true Gift of Christmas was exchanged and discarded
The reason for the season, stopped before it started.
So as you celebrate ‘Winter Break’ under your‘Dream Tree’
Sipping your Starbucks, listen to me.
Choose your words carefully, choose what you say
Shout MERRY CHRISTMAS, not Happy Holiday !

Friday, December 21, 2007

Return to Sender

Our "Merry Christmas" Candy Cane gift

"Merry Christmas!" said 7 year old Meghan as she handed her classmate a present.

"Thank you Meghan!"

"You're Welcome" she replied as she continued to pass out candy canes to each of her classmates during her lunch period at school.

Her teacher had given her permission to pass out her Christmas gifts at lunch, and Meghan was enjoying blessing her friends. She was so excited to give them to her friends and teachers this year that she just couldn't wait till the "Winter Party" 2 days later. She had even reminded her mom a few weeks earlier to "not forget" to get candy canes this year to pass out like she did the previous years.

Lovingly attached to each cane with bright red ribbon was a handmade note. It was the same note that has been attached to candy canes given out by Meghan and her siblings for over 8 years . . . . . a reminder of what Christmas is all about and a Holiday greeting from Meghan.

A Gift for You

I hope you enjoy this candy cane.

As you take it in your hand, turn it upside down and you will see the "J" that reminds us of Jesus who was born on Christmas Day.

Turn it back upright and you will see the crook that reminds us that He is the Good Shepherd.

The stripes are a reminder that He was beaten for us.

The red color reminds us how He shed His blood for us on Calvary.

The white tells us how He can wash our sins white as snow.

As you taste this candy cane be reminded that fellowship with Jesus is ever so sweet.

Merry Christmas!

From Meghan West

As lunch was ending, Meghan's teacher returned to collect her students and take them back to class. She saw one of the cards on a student's tray and read it. The kids went back to class after a bathroom break, and the day would go on as each and every day has so far this year. . . . . with one exception. . . .


Meghan arrived home on Wednesday, happy as usual and excited to see her Grandmom and Aunt who had just come over to visit. I was sitting on the couch, trying to enjoy the visit despite my pounding headache, sore throat and exhaustion. I greeted Meg as usual, she got her snack, and then got out her backpack to do homework. She handed me a note. I assumed it was from her teacher explaining why Meghan was "off task" today or some other issue. Her teacher has been very patient and creative in trying to find what will "work" for Meghan in the area of attention and focusing on the work she needs to do. It's been a frustrating year as I see so much potential in my intelligent daughter, but she day-dreams the days away many times. This would not have been the first note that has been sent home.

Imagine my surprise to read instead -

"Mrs. West,

Thank you so much for the treats.

But the administration has kindly asked that the cards be returned.

Thank you again!

Mrs. 'Teacher' "

Attached to the note were 4 of the handmade cards that had been attached to the candy canes! Meghan told me that once they were back at class the teacher had asked the kids to remove the cards from the candy canes and give them to the teacher so she could return them to me. No explanation was given as to why.

I could feel it deep inside . . . my blood was starting to churn. . . . . I tried to remain calm (and looked that way on the outside) but my insides were burning! I was sad and hurt as we had made those gifts to bless people and the teacher had the audacity to ask the kids to remove part of their "gift" and return it! And I was especially frustrated as I knew that it was only because it was "religious" - ie. CHRISTIAN - in nature.

I couldn't concentrate on "chatting" anymore. I had to do something. So I looked up information from the ACLJ (Amercian Center for Law and Justice - they fight for Constitutional rights - especially religious freedom of speech) regarding whether we had done anything wrong with mentioning Jesus on our Christmas card/gift. I found an almost identical case back in 2004 in Oregon - and the school system decided to "change their mind" (and policies) about it all and settled out of court. I looked up some more info, called the ACLJ - and then made a call to the teacher.

I won't go into the whole conversations with the teacher and then the Assistant Principal (who I was passed off to) as they were not pleasant. I tried to remain calm (but probably wasn't) and not say things I would regret later, and I just tried to let them know that I was hurt, that it was rude and disrespectful to myself and my daughter, and that it was my daughter's Constitutional right to give a card with the word "Jesus" on it. There had been no wrong-doing on my daughter's part. They told me it was done because they were not allowed to send home things of a religious nature! Hmmm . . . what about all the Hanakah menorrahs and Kwanza cups and Muslim projects the kids have been bringing home all week?! Are those not "religious"????!!!

I didn't get an apology. Instead the Assistant Principal was going to contact the legal dept and let me know - but he didn't think they did anything wrong. I felt very patronized by him and that he was just wanting to push this under the rug, but was willing to do a little research for me.

I sent an email to the principal - trying to state our position and what happened in an intelligent, hopefully non-threatening way and saying that - "overall we have enjoyed our kid's excellent teachers at "this school". We were hesitant at first when we were rezoned here a couple years ago from "another school". But the staff, administration, and kids have all been wonderful. I hope that our remaining years at "this school" will be just as good."

Yesterday my husband Jeremy got the story on CBN News - but asked them to withhold all names - the school's, teacher's, ours, etc - as we were not out to smear the school or teacher, but wanted to get the word out to people that we DO have a Constitutional RIGHT to be able to pass out Christian Christmas cards/gifts!!! It was aired today.

Here are 3 different versions depending on how fast your connection is to the internet.

High quality

Medium quality

Low quality

This should play correctly in Windows Media Player on your PC.

The story is about 12 minutes and 23 seconds into the video. You can drag the play slider in the player to get to that section without having to watch the first 12 minutes.

They did a pretty good job summarizing the incident and Gordon had some good commentary about it afterward.


So - today the school had a "Winter Party" for youngest son's kindergarten class. . . . . . and YES! I did send his candy canes to school!!!! And his teacher LIKED them! :) She even commented about the button I was wearing that said "It's OK - Wish me a Merry Christmas!". She said she liked it! :) I knew she would! The kids even sang the song "Silent Night" (all about Jesus' birth!). My camera batteries kept dying on me - but miraculously it stayed on throughout that WHOLE song (and shut off right as it ended)!!

2 funny things about this week - on Wed. my kindergartener's class had a Polar Express Day at school and got to come in his PJ's, drink hot cocoa, read the story and make a craft. They made little trains out of candy. Now this is a CHRITMAS story - right? Well, the train had a tag on it that said - "A Happy Holiday Train"! ????? Hunh? Do the Jewish people get on trains to light their menorrahs? What about the Kwanza or Muslim celebrations? As far as I know, the last time Jews all got on trains was when they were being transferred to concentration camps. So why bother calling this a "Holiday" train? What other Holiday do we have stories about riding on a trian? (if anyone knows - let me know!) Here's a picture of the train and tag!

The other funny thing was the entryway display at my kid's school! Smack in the middle of the entryway is a Christmas tree with 2 HUGE sign displays (text and pictures) on either side. One side said "Happy Kwanza!" The other side - "Happy Hanakah!" My 10 year old son asked - "So, where is the Merry Christmas sign?!" Oh - I wish I had taken a picture of it!! I didn't think to do that till I got home. It was kind of comical considering what's happened this week! :)

So I was at peace today - expectantly waiting for a call from the Principal or Assistant Principal (or even the teacher . . . .Heck! Even a note from the teacher!) saying they were sorry for what happened and that they were wrong.


Instead I got a call (from the A.P.) stating that they were right! Another very patronizing call that lacked real evidence - other than "I'm just a policy-keeper and doing what the Assistant Superintendant told me to do." He couldn't even point me in the direction of the specific policy - but said that they just couldn't pass out things of a religious nature (it might offend someone else!) - and that my daughter couldn't pass it out in a way that would "interfere with the instructional day"! Hmmm. . . . . I don't think she hindered the instructional day in any way (it was during lunch!) . . . AND she had permission to pass it out . . . AND the teacher was not the one passing it out . . . AND it said Meghan's name on it - not the school's or teacher's . . . .AND Meghan was not trying to get anyone to convert to Christianity right then and there or forcing the kids to take the candy or cards . . . AND . . . .. Ok - don't get me started again! :)

It's a shame that giving a simple Christmas gift and card would end up like this. With all the stressors of the season and the busyness in our house right now - I was tempted to let the whole thing slide. . . . . . . .but then what would happen next year? What would happen to other kids trying to give Christmas cards? Would they ban me from passing out cupcakes with the name Jesus on it (for HIS Birthday?!)? . . . . . I know it's a huge fight - but for some reason I have to fight it. My Mama Bear instincts have kicked in! Don't mess with my cubs!! :)

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


ps - I'll have to update you on Wendy another time. My computer is being waaay tooo slow to do it now and I've been on waaay tooo long today looking up Constitutional law and Department of Education guidelines! :)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Wendy's first PAP's

No - it's not a Pap smear! Gosh guys! Don't you know the lingo by now?! :) hee,hee.

PAP stands for Prospective Adoptive Parents. Why am I talking about Wendy's first PAP's? Did you even know that she had another family wanting to adopt her? Let me back up.

We knew that Wendy ended up at Casa Bernabe because she had been placed for adoption at some point before she was 15 months old, but her birth mom never showed up for the DNA testing. That's all we knew. We speculated on some things, but we never really had concrete info, as CB didn't really know. All during the adoption I was dying to find out more history on her first 15 months of life - who wanted to adopt her? What really happened? Did the previous PAPs name her from birth, or did she live with her mom/family for awhile? We just knew nothing. I know that Wendy will have questions when she gets older, so I really wanted to find out. However, I really didn't want to do any "digging" until our adoption was complete. Now that it is, I wanted to start trying to look for her previous PAPs. I wasn't sure if I would even find them as it's been a few years, and I wasn't 100% sure they would want to be found or would be happy to know we adopted her. I didn't want to bring up the heartbreaking feelings they must have felt when they lost Wendy's adoption. I didn't even know what the circumstances were - if they had decided not to try to adopt her when she became an abandonment case, or if they had fought to keep her, and what happened. Anyways . . . .all this to say - God hears our cries!

I had not even started looking yet, when, last Thursday, a woman named Kelly who I had become friends with from my agency (through our adoptions and similar life/family situations) said she had seen a post on an adoption forum of someone looking for the family that adopted a "Wendy" recently. Through a series of emails between my friend and this person, and then that person and another (3rd) woman - the 3rd woman's info got passed back to me as the possible previous PAP for our Wendy!!! (did I just confuse you??) She was 99% sure after seeing this blog (sent to her by the second lady, who got it from my friend!). The 3rd lady sent me her name and number . . . . and don't you know I called her immediately!!! I left a message and she called me right back. WOW!! God is sooo cool!! After quickly comparing some info - we realized that our little Wendy was the same Wendy that she and her family had tried to adopt in 2005 when Wendy was 1!!! I was in shock that God totally led her to me in such a quick way (and a big THANK YOU to my friend Kelly for making the connections!!!!!!!!)! AND . . . . this woman is a woman after my own heart!!! She saved all sorts of pics and info on Wendy . . . which she so graciously is passing on to us!!! What a woman! God bless her!!! We talked for about an hour on the phone, and she sent me several emails of info, and will be sending me some CD's with pics &/or videos too!! Wow! I can't wait! It was such a pleasure to talk with her, hear about her daughter they ended up bringing home last year, and how this has been such a blessing to her, as it brings closure to her and her family. They loved Wendy and were so worried that she had been sent to a gov't orphanage and wouldn't get out of there. They were so happy to know that she was well cared for and loved at Casa Bernabe (we are too!!!)!

So - here's what I learned - Evidentaly Wendy was placed for adoption when she was 1 and that's when this family got her referral. They were totally in love with her! Can you see why?After a few months, however, Wendy's birth mom came and took Wendy back. This was devastating news to this family (can you imagine?)! They accepted another referral, but after that one fell through too (can you feel their pain?) they were told that Wendy was back, but that she would be an abandonment case (as her mom was no longer in the picture) and did they want to continue? . . . . Of course they did!!! So they did everything they were supposed to . . . filed papers, wrote letters, sent pictures, etc. And despite it all - the "abandonment decree" was denied (NOW can you feel their pain?!). Who knows for what reason the judge denied it - but as both the previous adoptive mom and I said - "It was meant to be"! We are thrilled that we were able to adopt Wendy as she truly fits into our family perfectly and is a true West, and the other family has adopted a BEAUTIFUL little girl that fits perfectly into their family! Isn't God good??!!

Well, as you can see - I was on cloud 9 last Thursday - and feel so blessed to have had my prayers answered so quickly and easily!! We still don't know anything about her 1st year of life, but we assume she was living with her mom &/or her family. We do have more info on her mom's age, grandparents names, and some early medical info (from 1 year till the orphanage) - and that's a blessing.

God bless you all today! May God answer the cries of your heart and bless you above and beyond what you could ever imagine!!!

Lori :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

No mas Wendy . . . Katie Giraffe!

Yes folks - our 3 year old has decided that she no longer wants to be called Wendy . . . . her name is now . . . Katie Giraffe! Or Katie Monkey-girl, or Sugar-booger, or . . . . . . basically anything silly! :) She's a goof-ball! But we love her still!!! :) hee,hee.

Yesterday I took her to Walmart and she got to ride in the shopping cart for the first time. She LOVED it! She just laughed and giggled whenever I turned, and especially when we went in the bumpy parking lot! I think it was tickling her butt!!! She couldn't stop laughing!

We are enjoying watching her experience her "firsts" - first time sleeping in her bed, first time pooping in her bed (diarrhea! Yuck!), first time putting toilet paper in the toilet (instead of the trash can like in Guatemala), first time not having to wear her "zapatos" (shoes) all day in the house, first time having to watch her siblings go to school and she had to stay home (there were tears involved with that), first time fishing with daddy and eating most of the hotdogs (bait), and many more! She's having to learn a lot of new things - or new ways of doing things. Today she wanted to clear my breakfast bowl and plate. I had eaten a half of a grapefruit. She decided to try to flush it down the toilet. I guess she figured, since you put TP in there, you must put other things too - like grapefruit rinds. :) hee,hee. I had the fun job of fishing it out. Thankfully there was nothing else in there to fish it out of! Yuck.

Well - just wanted to let you know that Wendy (Katie Giraffe) is doing well! She fits right in and acts as if she has been here a long time. She takes her naps well (no arguing at all - she even WANTS to take them!!), sleeps well, eats well, and loves playing with her siblings! Thank you guys for all your prayers for her and us! They have truly worked. Keep them up! I know this honeymoon phase will wear off some after awhile - but I hope it's still just as good around here then!

Lori :)

Saturday, September 08, 2007

We're home!

Wow! Are we really home with our little girl? It just doesn't seem real sometimes, yet at other times it seems like she's been here awhile. She really is doing well. I know it's just the "honeymoon" season still, but I hope that after that's over, we will all continue to do well. You know we are praying through it all! And God has been sooooo faithful to answer so many of our prayers! We are blessed!

We left Guatemala around 1pm (3pm VA time) - and Wendy LOVED the plane ride!!! She was sooo excited to get on the plane (which she talked about for 3 days before) - that she was hoping up and down at the gate saying "El Avion! El Avion! El Avion!" and talking to everyone (saying Hola, etc). She excitedly pointed out all the other airplanes and "carros" (cars), and when we took off she was all smiles! There was a slight "dip" at one point, and she LOVED it! Her mouth was wide open in a huge smile! But within 10 minutes she was asleep! It was close to her naptime and we had had alot of excitement that day! I was surprised she could sleep with the high-pitched, ear-piercing screaming coming from the baby behind me! I felt sorry for that couple! Ouch!
Wendy did well on the rest of the flight to Atlanta - and on the flight home. We fed her some Ben and Jerry's ice cream (God is so good to bless me with putting a B&J's right next to our gate!!! PTL!), and it wound her up! She was, again, bouncing down the jetway, and talking/rambling on and on and on in spanish - and I'm not sure it was even real sentences - but just a bunch of random Spanish words. I could understand a few of them. :) We finally put on a movie for her and Meg, and she settled down some for the rest of the flight.

We flew in late last night, about 10:30pm, and didn't get home till close to midnight (and we had a wonderful sign waiting for us at home!)We had such wonderful friends meet us at the airport to welcome Wendy home! Thank you so much guys! It meant alot! Even though Wendy seemed quiet last night, meeting everyone, I tell you what - that girl can talk!!! :) Just you wait till she gets settled in! And her giggle cracks me up! I love hearing it! In the parking garage at the airport, Jeremy buckled Wendy into her carseat, and she started crying - probably because she was tired, but more than likely because she has never ridden in a car seat before (that I know of). She settled down quickly, and before we knew it Jacob was making her laugh! The kids all learned the Spanish word for crazy - and was asking her if each of her family members were "loco". She would laugh and say "si" or "no". At first all the boys were loco and the girls were not, and then she switched it - except daddy was always loco (and he is! :) hee,hee.). We came home, and the boys excitedly showed her some things in the house, and where her room was. She went up to her bed and said "Wendy cama!" (Wendy's bed). We got ready for bed, and when I asked "Who wants to pray first?", it was a tie between Jacob's "ME!" and Wendy's "YO!" :) How cute! Jacob said that Wendy could pray first "since she was the youngest". She said her prayers in Spanish, thanking God for each of her family members. That just tickled my heart! We had prayed together on Thursday night in Guatemala, and I was trying to help her pray in Spanish, and she stopped me saying "No Mami! Yo puedo!" (No mommy. I can!). She's definitely 3!! Her favorite things to say are (in Spanish, of course) - I want . . . I don't want . . . and I can (do it)! :) She is also a total ham - just like her big brother Jacob! She just fits in perfectly.
As I sit and write this, she is content in her bed - and even yelled out "Good-Night!" to me and Jeremy when we were in the room. :) She'll be speaking circles around us in English before we know it!

In Atlanta, at Immigration, I noticed that the other adoptive families didn't have their last names doubled on their paperwork like ours (West West). The Immigration official said that her Certificate of Citizenship would be sent to us with her name as it is on the paperwork - Wendy Elizabeth West West. I asked if there was any way to change that first, and he was going to try - as they had to fix a mistake on our address too. We'll see. We will probably have to change things anyways if we add Kathryn into her name.

Well - it's getting late, and I am exhausted. I got most of the laundry done today, and visited with my mom & dad, a couple friends, and my brother and his wife (and my adorable niece!). I've got about 10 syllabus' to read and sign for the kids' schooling, and groceries to buy, and a party to attend to tomorrow (along with church too!). So - I better get some sleep myself. I will try to upload more pics and post them when I can. Be patient with me, but check back to see them!

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for all your prayers and support along this WHOLE journey!!! I can't believe this 18 month pregnancy is finally over (except for the post-placement stuff - visits and paperwork)!!! I love my little girl, and I think she enjoys being here with us so far. She's even been able to go play with Meghan at our neighbor's house. They have a little 4 year old girl who also speaks Spanish. We've been blessed with 2 sets of Spanish speaking neighbors!!! God is good!!

Blessings to you all!

Lori :)

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Wendy Elizabeth West West

Yes - that's what it says on her passport and visa - Wendy Elizabeth West West. :) When they called her name (Wendy West) to pick up the visa on Wed, she just smiled a big smile! :) They put the mom's and dad's last names on the birth certificate, passport and visa. Strange - I know. Let me back up though, as I haven't had internet access since Monday.

Monday night the staff prayed over us as a family - a blessing on Wendy, the adoption and our family in general. It was all in Spanish - but I think that's what they were praying. It sounded wonderful anyways. :)

We kept Wendy with us in our dorm room Monday night, as she had cried the day before when we took her back to her house. I'm glad she wanted to sleep with us. However, like most 3 year olds, when daddy said "It's time for bed!" she started to cry. We immediately prayed for her, and Meghan prayed against the spirit of fear that might be bothering Wendy. . . . and Wendy immediately stopped crying!! :) PTL! I was starting to think "why did we decide to bring her up here when we have to get up at 5 am tomorrow? I'm not going to get any sleep?" (selfish thoughts - I know - but that's what first went through my head as I knew it would be a looooong day on Tuesday). She slept great - only once did she moan a little in her sleep (and Meg responded in her sleep - "Yes - It's ok."). And somehow in the middle of the night they switched places in bed (they were sharing a double bed). :) But she didn't fall out of bed! This was her first time in a big bed (she had been in a crib still).

So Tuesday's appt went well - about 2 1/2 hours sitting in the embassy - with about 1 1/2 minutes of interviews. :) OK - maybe 5 minutes total - between 2 interviews. :) But we were approved for an IR3 visa (meaning she will come to the US as a US citizen)! :) Whoo-hoo!

We had to come back on Wednesday to pick up the visa and the yellow envelope that we can NOT open!! We are to give it to immigration in the US.

The rest of Tuesday we went to Burger King and then the beautiful zoo in Guatemala City!

Jeremy read a small sign in B.K. that said last month they only had a "40% infestation." :) Of what - I'm not sure?? I don't want to know. :)

The zoo was absolutely gorgeous, and our day was the same - sunny skies ALL day till we got back to the orphanage!!! God answered my prayers. We went with Wendy's housedad and his 3 girls, as well as the couple from Florida that I had met online, who were visiting their soon-to-be-adopted son Juanito (who came too).

Wendy and Meghan both loved the zoo! Wendy's favorite animal was the pink Flamingo

and Meghan like the Tapir (that seemed to like her too!).

At the end of our zoo tour, J got a banana split, Meg and Wendy got fruit bars (popsicles) and I got a wonderful Chocobanano!! Yum! That hit the spot on such a sunny day!

Tues night, Wendy cried again when we said it was almost time for bed, but because I was sitting in the dining room talking with the couple from Florida, I just held her, and she eventually fell asleep in my arms. She's a good snuggler! She did fall out of bed that night, but I had put pillows by the bed this time. :)

Wednesday Antonio took us to the Children's Museum and out for lunch at Pollo Campero before we went to the embassy.

We tried to go see a Star Wars Museum (of course!) - but it was closed. Both Antonio and Jeremy LOVE Star Wars (if you didn't already know)! There was a Lego room at the Children's Museum - and it had an R2D2 in it! :)

After the embassy we went to the church of some friends of ours, and they took us down to Antigua to spend the night with them. Their house, and Antigua are just beautiful. I wish we could have stayed in Antigua all week instead!! Very peaceful! Wendy cried again when she was going upstairs to our room with our friends (and I was tagging along behind) and she just wanted to snuggle and cry. She was exhausted (only a 10 minute nap that day), and in a strange place. We just rocked in a rocking chair and I prayed over her - again rebuking & binding any spirits of fear, sadness, etc that shouldn't be there, and again - she stopped crying right away. (noticing a trend here?) We snuggled a little, then I laid her down next to Meghan on a mattress by our bed. She stared at me for awhile, and then at Meghan, and then fell asleep within about 10 minutes. Yeah! :) She slept through the night fine and woke up happy! :)

Today we had breakfast on the porch, and then spent a couple hours sightseeing. We saw the ruins in Antigua via horse and carriage (VERY bumpy!!!),

went in an old convent,

and then went to the Market (not long enough though - only 45 minutes. I could be there for hours!), and to eat lunch at a beautiful coffee plantation!!!

Just breathtaking! I think this has convinced Jeremy that he could move here now! :) hee,hee.

The down side of this trip has been Wendy's diarrhea (yuck!) and Meghan vomiting last night (double yuck!). Wendy just caught something the other kids had in her house - it started the day before we got here. Meghan - ?? - she probably just ate something not too good for her (I hope that's all it was). She hasn't eaten much today, so we'll see.

OK - well I've written long enough I think! :) I had to catch on up the week's events though. Tonight we are going back to the church in Guatemala City (right by the airport) and will stay there in an apartment. Tomorrow J will help our friends with some technical (audio/visual/computer) stuff before we head to the airport around 11am for our 1pm flight. And then we will be home around 10:15 pm (I think that was the time). Yeah!!!! Home for good!

Thank you all for your prayers! It was a beautiful day in Antigua today - when it was originally supposed to be raining and miserable from a hurricane. We only got a slight drizzle all day yesterday - actually less rain than we had earlier in the week! So Felix was a bust here! PTL!!!

God bless you all! Pray for our safe return! See you on Friday (for those that are meeting us)!!

Lori, Jeremy, Meghan and Wendy!

Monday, September 03, 2007

"Hey Mami . . . " What? "Hola!" :)

Yes - we are here! And yes - Hurricane Felix is a Cat 5!!! Yikes. :) We are still praying it to move further north so as to not his us at all. We'll see. More than likely we will be touring Antigua in the rain on Thursday. :) Anyways . . . that' s not the important info . . . .

We arrived here safe and sound . . . a little tired . . . but excited. Well, J shouldn't have been tired . . . he slept the whole trip down (except to wake up to eat lunch). He then took a 2 hour nap yesterday and slept 11 hours last night (and another shorter nap today!). But - I can't blame him - I've been just as tired . . .but I'm not as sound a sleeper as he is. I've been too excited to sleep much.

It's the rainy season here, so in true rainy season fashion - it rained all day off and on yesterday. Today was better - beautiful this morning - but rainy in the afternoon.

OK, OK - enough about weather Lori! :) As for our Wendy girl . . . :)

She came up to see us with her housedad Antonio (and his two girls) and she looked beautiful! She seemed a bit shy at first, but still came to my arms and then Jeremy's without a problem. It wasn't too long after that that Wendy and Meghan were playing and giggling and having a blast together! Meghan is a GREAT big sister to Wendy and Wendy seems to love hanging out with Meghan. Yeah! :) Last night they chased each other around the dining room playing tag and giggling all the time! At one point Wendy came up to me and said "Hey Mami" What? I asked. "Hola!" she said with a smirk. :) She then went to Jeremy and did the same. So I did it right back to her! She laughed. When we first landed in GT, Meghan said "I think I want to go home already". But after playing with Wendy for less than an hour - she changed her mind! Plus there has been a couple puppies around to entertain Meghan too. :) She loves animals!

Right now I have a snuggling girl (Wendy) on my lap (she got a little over-emotional about something someone said to her here - so she needed some loving) - so I'm going to cut this short. You know I can write a book! :)

Pray that our appointment at the embassy goes well tomorrow. 8 am GT time (10 am VA time). We are hoping for good weather so that we can go to the zoo and possible Children's museum afterwards. I hope so.

Last night we took Wendy down to her house after hanging out with us all day up near our dorm room, and she was not happy about having to sleep back in her house! She cried and wanted to sleep with us! :) We had her sleep down there (as it was pouring rain at that time), but we will have her in our room tonight. She even took a nap in our room today. It makes me so happy to see that she is WANTING to be with us and seems to be attaching to us quite well. I know we have a long road ahead of us . . . but so far so good. :) Not hitting, biting, screaming, etc. :)

Here are a few pics of our day today.

Blessings to you all. I'm not sure if I'll get to post again or not. The internet is sketchy here, plus I have to ask one of Wendy's caretakers to borrow their computer.

See you friday!
Lori & Jeremy and Meghan & Wendy! :)

ps - This is what we got for dinner last night (and again tonight - frozen though)! Jeremy was excited . . . till we tasted the pizza. :( Oh well. After dinner the girls had a blast giggling and running around chasing each other!!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

And now a Hurricane! What an adventure!

Yes - it's 4am - the day we leave - and I'm here typing to you guys! :) I must love you all . . . either that or I'm addicted to the computer! :) The truth be told - I slept horrible these last two nights. . . . . I'm waaayyy tooo excited! :) Hmmm . . . wonder why?!
Well - I hope I've packed enough (1/2 of my suitcase is snacks! Better than orphanage food!). And whatever didn't get done will just have to wait. I'm a bit sad we didn't leave on Friday like originally planned, to be able to go a see Tikal or Lake Atitilan . . . . but that's ok. Now we might have a Hurricane instead! :) What fun. Take a look . . .

Actually - just since last night around 9pm - it has shifted more north. Keep praying it does more of that - and slows waaaay down so it doesn't get to Guatemala till Saturday! We leave on Friday, and on Thursday I had planned on seeing Antigua! Hmmm. . . . What is God trying to tell me? Not to sightsee? :)

Oops - gotta go! I've got 25 mintues to dry my hair and finish packing the last minute items!

God bless you all! Keep us in your prayers.

Wendy . . .Here we come!! - Oh, we got to talk to her some last night (she mainly just listens) - but we heard her tell someone near her "esta mi mami y papi". :) That just warms my heart! :)

Lori :)

Saturday, September 01, 2007

1 more day!

I dreamed last night that we arrived at Casa Bernabe, and Jeremy picked up Wendy. She looked sad and scared. :( That's not the dream I wanted - but it could very well be a reality. We are coming to take her away from everything she has ever known for the last 2 years. It's her home. That's her family. Though, her family has changed some over the 2 years, especially this last year with some of her "friends" being adopted or having to move on to the next house (for 3-5 year olds). At 3 1/2, she's the last remaining "old" kid around. She enjoys helping out with the little ones (20 of them!)- being very motherly, and even helps out with the laundry from time to time (she can teach her older siblings here!). It will definitely be an adjustment for her coming here and being "the baby" of the house again. I hope she likes it. :) I think she will. So - my dream may really reflect my fear of her getting upset about leaving, more so than being prophetic about what will happen. Of course - every mom and dad wants an "Annie" reunion/welcome - with your child excitedly running into your arms - so excited to finally have a Forever Family. But that's not always the case. They may be excited by the thought of it - but once their Mom and Dad materialize in front of them - reality sets in - and the reactions range from timidity - to screaming or crying for hours; quietly going - to biting, kicking, hitting, and even peeing on the mom and dad (yes - that really did happen to a friend of ours!). We prepare for the worst, but pray for the best. We were pleasantly surprised in April when we visited, as Wendy spoke to us right away and didn't seem afraid at all. She was VERY good with us the whole week, and was actually a bit sad when we were not around - asking "?Donde esta mami y papi?" - Where is mommy and daddy? :) That's a good sign! So . . . . I am praying for a joyful reunion. I know that the caretakers have been preparing her to come here - talking to her most everyday about it - using the photo books we sent. When they ask her who is coming to get her soon, she says "Mami, Papi y Meghan"! :) And we will be coming . . . TOMORROW!!!! I can't believe that day is already here!!!! PTL!! It's exciting, but scary at the same time.
All the same feelings & thoughts you get before adding another child to the family start to flood your mind . . . . am I ready for another one? Will I be able to handle 5 kids? Have I done everything here I need to before she comes? What will it be like when she's here? How will the kids adjust? What do I need to be prepared to encounter or deal with (sibling jealousy? attachment or adjustment issues? etc)? Will Wendy get frustrated trying to communicate with us (with her little bit of English and our little bit of Spanish)? How quickly will she learn English? . . . . . . . . . . (you get the picture!). Deep down though - I know it will all work out as this was ALL God's plan to begin with! So, if we stick with His plan and ways and continue to seek HIM above (and about) all things - then we will make it! :) PTL!

Well - it's back to packing and spending some time with my kids here before we leave bright and early tomorrow morning! I know I've said this a million times over the last 18 months . . . but . . .Thank you all for all your prayers, encouragement and support during this fantastic adventure!! We REALLY appreciate it and needed it!! Keep praying - as we will still need your prayers. Here are our requests:

1. Safe and FUN trip to pick up Wendy! That we will actually be able to get off CB's campus several times to do fun things with Wendy and Meghan (I am NOT going to be stuck there again this time!!)
2. Easy adjustment for Wendy and our kids here. That Wendy will attach to Jeremy and I quickly and in a healthy way.
3. Easy adjustment for Jeremy and I as the parents of 5 kids - esp. with a crazy school schedule this fall! Why didn't I just homeschool them?? :)
4. The remaining finances for the adoption and travel.

Thanks so much guys! God bless you today!

Lori :)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

September 4th!!!

OK . . . .finally . . .the moment you have all been waiting for . . . we have our embassy appointment for 8am September 4th!!!! Yeah!!!! We are still # 21 (out of 30 couples assigned. yuck!). That just means more waiting for us. . . . of course I can pray that maybe that some of the couples won't show up (like us today). :) No - that would be mean. Anyways . . . we will probably be leaving Sunday morning as flights are MUCH cheaper than on Monday - Labor day, and coming back possibly Friday. We are hoping to see our good friend Almarie's parents in Antigua for a couple days, and it looks like we will be able to see Angela (the caretaker) before she leaves!! Oh yeah - and we will get to meet another adoptive mom I have been chatting with online who is adopting adorable Juanito, from Wendy's orphanage!!! So - see? God is good! Plus I will have taken all my antibiotics for this ear infection that cropped up on Saturday. I definitely wouldn't have wanted to fly with my ear killing me like it was!

I tell you - Today I sent 2 emails to the US embassy today and finally had to call them (3 times to get through - and then it was a horrible connection) - and got to speak to a "not-so-friendly-and-slightly-patronizing" woman - but I didn't back down and take "just wait for our email" for an answer!!! :) I think she wanted to get me off the phone and to stop asking so many questions, so she finally gave me a date and time! :) Hee,hee. Yeah! Then she told me "Remind your attorney to follow regulations as we normally do not do reschedules over the phone." - click- :) I wish he would have "followed regulations" - then I wouldn't need to be calling. :)

OK gotta run! Dinner time and lots to do here! :)

Lori :)

Bad news . . . . . We got PINK! :)

Hello Family and friends!

I was startled awake this morning by my phone ringing at 8:15 am. I wasn't coherent enough to get it before the answering machine did - so I checked the message as soon as I could. It was my adoption case worker. . . . . on her cell. . . . . . either that was going to be really good news . . . . or bad news. Hmmmm . . . .

I called her back immediately and her first words were "I have some bad news." ?? Hmmm . . . Thankfully she followed it up with "Well, it's good news, but not good news".

The funny thing is - yesterday I just KNEW she was going to call me and tell what she did! But my consolation was . . . . "well, she will totally understand - as she had it happen to her as well.".
Yes - we finally got PINK (our pink slip has our visa appointment date on it)!!! :) Normally my case worker will tell you that in excitement . . .but ours was said shortly after "I have bad news. . . . you have pink . . ." :) hee,hee. Seemed kind of out of place yet funny. The bad news is . . . our appointment is at 8am, Guatemala time (10 am VA time) TODAY!!! . . . . I don't think we can make it (ha,ha. Boy do I wish they had invented transporters already!). :( Man - bum deal. I kept praying and praying we would be down there before school started so I wouldn't miss my kids first days of school, and even a couple weeks ago I was looking at airfare and a sale was going on for $440/ticket - and I was looking at dates to be down in GT on the 28th! Ha! See . . I just knew when my appointment was supposed to be. . . . we just couldn't get it all together with the lawyer and embassy (BTW - why doesn't the embassy just email the families like they do for PA (pre-approval)? That would solve this issue of lawyers not getting the info to the parents quick enough. Oh well). So - my prayer was answered - we have an appt before school starts. But, we just can't make it! Now, hopefully, we will go down next week. If it's early enough in the week (tues or wed) then we can still see one of Wendy's caretakers before she leaves on the 4th. :)

When I told my 7 year old daughter (who will travel with us) that our appointment was today - she was all excited - till I told her we can't make it down there today. "Tomorrow then?" - No - next week hon. Then she got sad and said "NO! Not next week! You keep telling me . . . Next week . . . next week. . . next week!" Poor thing. She's been feeling the looong wait for her sister to come home (she has 3 brothers - so you can imagine her excitement over these last 18 months waiting for a sister!).

Well - I've talked long enough. Just wanted to let you know our good and bad news! :) I'll let you know when we are going as soon as we find out!

Oh - I told my mom this morning about it all . . . she was so mad (and rightfully so!). :) Mad that we couldn't be down there already, that the lawyer didn't let us know in time, etc. She is truly experiencing the emotions that we have dealt with through this journey. By this point - I've given up being mad at people for not doing what I expect them to do (or what they should do) - as, ultimately, it is in GOD's hands! He controls everything - and I have to trust HIM that this delay is for a reason! I may not ever know the reason, or I may find out some day, but I still trust God 100% - especially since I know that this adoption has been covered in tons of prayer since the beginning! So - I'm really not mad at all. I'm bit sad that I couldn't be holding my little girl today (and that I'll miss my kids first days of school) - but very excited that I will definitely be holding her soon!!!!

Blessings today!

Lori :)

I was going to tell you guys - Today - August 28th - was the due date for my first son and my last son. 3 of my babies all came7-12 days LATE. My youngest was the only one that was kind to me and came 10 days early. So my one son came Sept 8th, and the other August 18th. It's not surprising to me that my "due date" (embassy appt) is August 28th - and that we can't "deliver" till a week later! :) Wendy is definitely a WEST! :) hee,hee. What I want to know is . . . what's so wrong with August 28th that none of my kids want to be born on that day?! I think it's a great day!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Embassy closed? Entertainment books!

Keep praying! Evidently the embassy was supposed to be closed all week ("not accepting new cases") due to training - and we were told that meant NOTHING would be happening this week (except the visa appointments already scheduled). However, I have found out that a couple people have received their PINK slips (visa appointment dates) and some PA's (pre-approvals) this week - so SOMEONE is still working at the embassy! :) Yeah!! There's a chance then that we could get our PINK slip this week and still travel next week. I was getting so discouraged yesterday (and frustrated at the gov't) thinking we would miss Angela, etc. Anyways . . . Please pray!

Also - I wanted to let you know that the 2008 Entertainment books are in! They came in yesterday. They are only $20 this year (for the Norfolk/Va. Beach book) - and we are selling them again because we still need to raise a few thousand dollars to pay off our final fees and travel expenses down there. this year - for buying the book, you will get a FREE 2 week membership to Entertainment on Vacation - for "2 weeks of savings wherever you vacation - even at home (a $9.95 value). " If you would like to help us out you can get them directly from us (call or email that you want one and we can coordinate a pickup/drop off) or you can order directly from the website using this link - Entertainment book - or the link on the sidebar (click on the picture of the book). There will probably be a S&H charge when ordering online. If you do not live in the Norfolk/Va. Beach area - you can still order a book for your area through the web link. :) *Make sure the blue box at the top of the site says you are supporting the "Best of the Wests". Thanks.*

And if any of you have it on your heart to help us out with our adoption fundraising and sell these books - please pass on this info to your family and friends - or let us know if you need local books to sell (to your co-workers, neighbors, etc) and we can get them to you - especially before the schools start selling them. :) For every book YOU sell - you would also receive a FREE Entertainment on Vacation 2 week membership, PLUS a chance to win a 32" Plasma-screen TV, Starbucks gift cards, and many other great prizes! (I'm warning you though - I'm gonna win that TV! hee,hee.)

Thank you all who have helped us sell last year! We really appreciated all the help you gave!!! Every little bit helps and gets us closer to our goal of bringing Wendy home!!

Thank you for everything!
Blessings today!
Lori :)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

In the Embassy!!!

Most of you know this already (as I couldn't help but scream for joy . . . via email of course) - but . . . . . .
We are currently IN THE EMBASSY!!! Well - our case is. . . . . . waiting for PINK - the pink slip they issue stating the date and time of your visa appointment to bring your little one home. We were submitted on Thursday - but I found out Friday morning. This has been a good week (on top of celebrating our 15th Anniversary, going to Busch Gardens with the kids, and celebrating 2 kids' b-days)!

I had not heard anything from my agency since last week when they said that Casa Bernabe was responsible for getting Wendy's new Birth Certificate and passport - and that they had not done that yet. :( I emailed them again early this week. On Wed I my case worker finally had news for us that CB did get Wendy's BC and passport!! Yeah. I also heard from Wendy's housedad that he had gone to pick it up on Monday. It is a happy time for him, but sad as well - as he loves Wendy and has been her "Papi" for 2 years. I can't even imagine having to let these little ones go that you have helped to raise and that you love. It's got to be hard. The only other option is to distance yourself from them - emotionally,etc - but then they don't get the love they need. God bless Antonio and Carmen for loving those kids!

So Wendy has a B.C. and passport that say "Wendy Elizabeth West" on it! Kind of cool, eh? :) They automatically put her first and middle names (that she currently has) and her new last name on the documents. Then when she comes home - if we want to change her name, we would fill out the appropriate forms here to do that. We are still talking about adding Kathryn in there - either first or middle name. But I really feel we need to talk to Wendy about it - so that may be awhile. We'll see. No matter what her name is - we love her!!! Maybe Kathryn is supposed to be for our next child. . . . . . um . . . . did I just say "next child"?? . . . . . hmm . . . . I'm leaving that one up to God. :) You just never know. Now that I'm no longer in the "4-no-more" club - and adding 1 more just means it's still just as chaotic here as before . . . . . what's the big deal about adding one more? :) Though - we would definitely need a 12 passenger van then! :) J wants one already. It would be nice to have more space in the van. That's for sure.

Well - that's about it for now. We are waiting to hear from the embassy about our date to travel. It usually takes a week to hear back - though I heard rumors that the embassy might be closed next week for some training?? Can't find that anywhere online though. I'm looking into that! I hope not - or at least I hope it doesn't affect them issuing me my PINK slip next week. So . . . we could travel in 2 weeks . . . or 3-4 weeks . . . . we'll see. But - it WILL be soon!!! Yeah!

Lori :)
ps - Thank you to everyone who was praying for Wendy, her caretakers and the babies in the baby house last week. I have not called again or heard how everyone is doing - but I am believing they are getting better. I will probably call again this weekend. Keep praying for their health and safety! And keep praying in the remaining funds we need for this adoption! God is so good and faithful - but we always have to do our part! God bless you for doing yours!!! You are a blessing!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Getting closer . . . and Juanito

Sorry I haven't posted lately. I was hoping that this week I would be posting that we had been submitted to the US Embassy. :( Unfortunately . . . we did not get that news. That means that now it is looking like we won't be in Guatemala till the last week of August at the earliest - but more likely it will be September. Not what I wanted at all. I REALLY wanted to go down the week of August 20th - be home the week before school started - so we could spend a little time all together as a family before all the kids started school. Doesn't that sound like a good plan to you? :) Me too. God has other plans though - evidentally.

The one benefit of going the first week of September - would to be able to finally meet (in person) my friend Kris - who I met online and is adopting adorable little Juanito from Wendy's orphanage. They are going down to visit him then. You can check out her blog at Their local paper did a story on them - click here - or find it on their blog. You can see video footage of Juanito (taken by us) and some video of Kris and her family. Please pray for their adoption. Juanito has a heart condition that needs surgery - so we are praying that their adoption goes quickly. Pray that he stays healthy too. Speaking of which . . .
Many of you got an email from me earlier this week asking for prayer for the babies at Wendy's orphanage. There is a nasty respiratory virus (worse than bronchitis - so I've been told) going around - and it has hit the littlest babies the hardest. There are about 20 babies in that house & several of them have to be on a nebulizer 3 times a day. The caretakers need prayer - to take care of all these kiddos, to stay healthy, and to get more help. Everyone needs prayer to stay/get healthy. Keep praying. It's not good for Juanito especially. Pray for his protection and health. I called and talked with Wendy this week - and she sounded a little congested - but not too bad. But still pray for her health as well. It just makes me want to go down and rescue her and bring her home now!

Well - today has been a slightly "down" day for me (too hormonal I think). With hearing that we haven't been submitted yet, and knowing that it will be even longer to go get Wendy, and having a dream last night of Wendy hugging me saying "I've missed you soooooo much", and it being Friday (ie - meaning no news for at least another 3 days) . . . . . I've held back the tears today. I just want to get on a plane tomorrow and be with my little girl till she can come home. I wish all my kids had passports (and we had the money) - and I would totally take us all down there tomorrow. :) . . . . . ahhh . . I can dream, eh? Some of my yahoo forum "friends" have done just that. I'm jealous.

So . . . . . Please pray for:
-Me (and J - and the kiddos here)
-Wendy (her health and protection - and her transition to our home/family)
-Juanito (and the Dreyer's who are adopting him)
-The orpahange to get Wendy's Birth Cert and passport QUICKLY!!!!!!!!!
-To be submitted to the US Embassy (in Guatemala) for our visa appointment
-For our remaining finances (I should find out soon how much we have left to pay)

Thank you guys! You are a blessing!!

Lori :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

It's a girl!!!

Some of you have already heard me screaming with joy today. Why was I screaming?

The news you have all been waiting for . . . . . . . . . (drum roll please) . . . . .

We have a daughter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)
OK - so you know we already have a daughter. What I mean is . . .

We are out of PGN!!

What the heck is PGN? . . . . don't you know? . . . . Haven't you been reading my blog? :) Well, for those that have just been skimming through my lengthy posts . . . it's the Attorney General's court in Guatemala that decides the fate of our adoption. Mr. Barrios (the director/attorney general/whatever his title is) signed off on our case and approved us!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But here's the funny thing . . . .

A month ago I put a donation widget on our blog, and I had to list an "end date" for the donations. I looked at the calendar and said "Hmm . . . I bet we'll get out on the 24th. That's a good date." So that's what I put (I later changed it as I started doubting last week). Even yesterday I woke up and said "OK Lord. Today's a good day to get out of PGN". But then I didn't hear anything all day. This morning around 11:10am, the phone rang and I thought "Wouldn't it be nice if that was Mandy calling me" (my case worker). And it was!!! She sounded happy - so I didn't think it was bad news. And it wasn't! Yeah!!!!!!!!!

So - we will travel in 4-6 weeks. Our lawyer needs to get Wendy's new birth certificate (with Wendy Elizabeth West on it!) and her passport. Then he can submit us to the US embassy for her visa appointment. When they make our appointment, they will issue us a PINK slip (our appt date) and we will travel 1 to 1 and a half weeks later!!! Can you believe it?!!! Wendy could be here by mid-August! No wonder I've been "nesting" these last 2 weeks! Our 15th Anniversary is on August 15th, and I can't think of a better present than to be able to travel down and bring our daughter home!!! For our 10th anniversary we got Jacob! :) What priceless gifts!

Please pray for us to travel in 4 weeks (or sooner)- before school starts. 6 weeks will be a crazy time to travel (don't want to miss the kids first days of school and I don't want to take Meg out of school to travel). Also pray for the remaining finances needed for this adoption. I know that God will provide! He has so far! God is good!!!

Well - folks . . . .stay tuned for the departure date! Thank you sooooooooo much for the many, many, many prayers, support and encouragement over these last 17 months. We have totally appreciated it and needed it!! It's still surreal that this part of the journey is almost over! I'm excited for what God will do next in our lives with Wendy home! God has good and perfect plans!

Lori :)

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Wendy's ABC Adventure!

Just for fun . . .

Watch our "talented" and very "experienced" little girl in her own adventure! :) hee,hee.

Or you can check it out at this link: Wendy's ABC Adventure

Lori :)+

Friday, July 13, 2007

Waiting . . .

I sat down to write a song or poem about the waiting we've done to bring our little girl home - but what came out was more from the perspective of an orphaned (older) child. It's still a work in progress. Haven't decided whether to put it to music or not. It's been a long time since I've tried writing songs. :) I'm a bit rusty. Maybe I'll get my hubby to help. He's much better at it!!

Let me know what you think.

Lori :)

Waiting . . .

Waiting . . .
For a family to love
Waiting . . .
For a gift from above.
Waiting . . .
Will the day ever come?
I'm waiting.

Waiting . . .
For a parent's hand
Waiting . . .
For a brand new land
Waiting . . .
Do you understand?
I'm waiting . . .

Lonely and longing
A sense of belonging
Desiring to know how it feels
Safe and secure
In a love that is sure
As the wound in my heart heals

Here I am . . .
Ready to love
Here I am . . .
Sent from above
Here I am . . .
Today, can't you see?
Here I am.

Here I am . . .
Going home!
Here I am . . .
I'm not alone!
Here I am . . .
In a family!
Here I am.

Lonely no more
Someone opened the door
Of their mind and heart to see
The beauty of love
That is sent from above
in the form of a Family.

Waiting . . .
No more
Wonder . . .
What's in store
Wishing . . .
That more could stop

Thursday, July 12, 2007

God is so GOOD!

Thanks to some investigation, and some info from a few friends - I was able to contact the USCIS office about our re-fingerprinting (to see if we really had to pay another $140 to get them redone, as we are almost done with this adoption). This is what they told me:

According to the Federal Register (Volume 72, Number 203) Effective 7-30-2007, Prospective Adoptive Parents who have I-600A applications with an I-171H approval notice that expires on or after July 30, 2007 can file a one time extension to waive fingerprint biometric services. Request for fingerprint clearance update must be made in writing, with a copy of the I-171H attached. Fingerprint appointments will be scheduled when the request for extension has been received.

YEAAHHHH!!!!!! WHOO-HOO! PTL!!! God is so good! OK - well, it's the gov't who is giving us the break - but I am thankful to God for my inquisitive nature and for following up on it! :)

So - that's one prayer down. :) Now . . . keep praying for the others!!

Oh - and another praise report - Jake's stye popped some yesterday. I was able to get some puss out before he started freaking out and throwing a royal fit and not allowing me to get any more out (he's a big boy and hard to hold down by myself!). I'm going to try again today - if the stye will cooperate! PTL it is healing!

Thanks for your prayers. Keep it up!

Lori :)
ps - We called Wendy yesterday. I LOVE hearing her sweet voice saying "I love you" and "Hola Mami". :) I love her so much! I want her home now!!

Soon . . . . . .

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

2 weeks away?

13 weeks today. . . .since we entered PGN. But - to be totally fair - it's only been 5 1/2 weeks since we were resubmitted. So - can I really complain? . . . . I can try. :) hee,hee. Actually - I found out that Mr. Barrios (the man who approves our adoption in GT) is signing off on cases that were last submitted around May 15th. We were logged in on June 1st (despite the lawyer taking it down there on May 21st) - so that means we are about 2 weeks away from being approved. . . . God willing. That's good news! :) Yeah! However, I can't count my chicks before the eggs hatch. You just never know with this adoption process. Even though some people have gotten through in 3-4 weeks recently (don't know how that happened . . .hmmmm . . .) - most people are getting through PGN in 8 weeks (if they didn't have a KO - and about 8 weeks after the KO). So - we are really right on target based on our last submit date.

Seeing as our fingerprints expire August 10th - there is really no way to be approved and get down to GT before the 10th - unless they approve us today or tomorrow or some time REALLY soon. It takes 4-6 weeks to get our visa appt - so more than likely, we will be going down to GT around the end of August. As much as it irks me that we have to pay $140 to have "valid" fingerprints for the last couple weeks of our adoption - it's ok. It's only $140 and a little time out of our schedules - and Wendy is worth WAAAAYY more than that!!!

Please pray we are approved soon; that we get "PINK" quickly (that's our visa appt), and that we can travel before school starts. Meg is coming with us, and I really don't want to have to take her out of school right at the beginning of the school year.
Continue to pray for the remaining finances. I'm not worried. Just want wisdom.
Pray for Jacob's right eyelid that is totally swollen with a huge stye! It is trying to come to a "head" and pop. Yuck. So - pray it either pops or goes away miraculously! We don't want him to have to have surgery like he did last summer.

Oh - I didn't tell you. God is so cool! I sent out several emails to some teams/people going down to Casa Bernabe soon, to see if any of them could take down Wendy's book and earrings for us. Only 1 person responded (well - since then a couple more have - but they couldn't take stuff). . . . and what a GOD connection it was!! It is a wonderful team from Ohio that will bring Wendy's things to her. One person on the team knew Wendy since when she first arrived, and is supposed to be sending me some pics of her!! Another woman (a fellow nurse) is hoping to adopt a little girl who lives above Wendy (it's a 2 story building), and another family is hoping to adopt an older boy from CB. Out of the 150+ kids there - we really only met one older child . . . and it was this boy! What are the chances? :) Anyways - I've been blessed (and hopefully these people have been blessed as well) at chatting with these people and getting to know them. They are a wonderful group of people! I have some more prayer warriors on my side in bringing Wendy home, and some possible connections to families who are adopting from Casa Bernabe (in case Wendy wants to meet any of her former friends, etc). God is so cool. He has reasons for our delays - and I am glad that He has used our delay in bringing Wendy home to be able to encourage and connect with others, and hopefully be a blessing. You never know what God will do with these relationships!

Thank you all for checking in us and for continuing to keep us in your prayers! We are so grateful!

Lori :)

Monday, July 02, 2007

Approved by first reviewer!

Friday - we had just arrived at our campground to spend a weekend with nature, when my cell phone rang. :) (Hey - I have to still be in touch with the "real world" somewhat!) It was Mandy - our case manager with KAS. She was calling to update us. I was hoping to hear "You are out of PGN" . . . but we didn't. She did tell us that they had someone call PGN and get some info for us. They found out that we have been approved by the first reviewer, and are onto the second reviewer/advisor/whatever they are called. :) After an approval there - it has to be signed off by "the big man" and we are officially Wendy's parents (once the adoption decree is signed)! :) Yeah!!! We would travel about 4-6 weeks later. There's no way to say how long this second reviewer will take and if they will still kick us out at all for something. But - I hope it goes quickly.
So - it wasn't exactly the news I was hoping for - but it was still Great news and it made me happy! :) We're coming soon Wendy!!

On another happy note - I got the book today that I made for Wendy. I LOVE it! It's a hard covered book and it looks great! Now I just need to get it down to her.

We had fun camping at Westmoreland State Park in Virginia (about 3 hours from here). It has a beach that has a large concentration of fossils - shark's teeth, bones, etc. We had fun sifting the sand in and out of the water for the teeth and fossils. We found quite a few - even Jacob found one just washed up on the beach. :) However, the second day that I went looking, I was just about to leave, and I slammed my toe into a tree root and broke it (my toe - not the root)! Ouch! At least it happened at the very end of our trip. :) You have to climb a hilly trail to get back up from the beach - but thankfully the pain wasn't too bad until later when my toe started to bruise and swell. Overall, we had a great time (despite the rain at night). If you love "the hunt" of finding things (ie - seashells, fossils, shark's teeth, etc) - then you should check out this state park. You get to keep what you find (you can't do that in the National parks).

Well friends - thanks for praying. Keep it up! She's coming home soon! Hopefully by August! :)

Lori :)