Not flesh of my flesh
nor bone of my bone
but still miraculously my own.

Never forget for a single minute
you didn't grow under my heart
but in it!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Red Thread Legend

"An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but never break."


This is a Chinese legend and it underscores the belief that when a child is born an invisible red thread connects that child's soul to all those people, present and in the future, who will play a part in that child's life. As each birthday passes, those threads shorten and tighten, bringing those people closer who are fated to be together.
The China Adoption community has has embraced the tradition of the red thread bracelet as a means of connecting with the children who wait to be united with their new families. Moms-to-be generally wear their bracelets from the time they begin the paperchase to the day they bring their new daughter or son home. The red thread bracelet is also similar to the red thread Kaballah bracelets which are thought to bring its wearer good luck and protection from harm. Goodness knows that I openly welcome a little extra luck during this process!

I obviously am not adopting from China, but with the uncertainty in Guatemala I find it necessary to embrace comforting traditions - and this is one that I will be embracing. I will be wearing a red thread bracelet until Gabriella comes home.

Order one for yourself to symbolize your connection to Gabriella (and to add some extra luck to our process!):

Red Thread Bracelet ($3.98) - http://www.borninourheart.com/00jewelry-redthread.html

Monday, October 22, 2007

Sixth Call to Gabriella's Foster Family

Gia and I spoke to Gabriella's foster family again this evening. N. said that Gabriella is gaining a lot of weight and her strength is increasing. When the family picks Gabriella up she straightens her legs out. N. also said that Gabriella splashes her legs in the water when they give her a bath. N. said that when they leave her lying down she inches herself around, although she is not quite rolling over yet. She also said that when Gabriella has hiccups they give her a bit of sugar on her lips and Gabriella really gets into the taste and smacks her lips. It sounds like Gabriella is doing great, changing lots, and getting tons of love!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Fifth Call to Gabriella's Foster Family

Gia and I called Gabriella's foster family this afternoon and spoke to Gabriella's foster mom.

We asked what types of "new" things Gabriella is doing. N. said that when they give Gabriella a kiss on one cheek, she turns her cheek so they kiss her other cheek too! She's a little princess already! N. also said that she makes sounds and tries to talk a lot. She loves to watch television and talks a lot when the television is on. N. said that Gabriella says “mama” really slowly.

I heard Gabriella cry while we were on the phone with N. It was a VERY loud cry with short outbursts!. N. said that that is the cry she does when she wants a bottle, quick loud cries. N. said that all she wants is her bottle; when she’s awake she wants her bottle! N. said that Gabriella has gotten really fat and has lots of fat rolls! Definitely sounds like my daughter!

N. said that Gabriella's cold is better and she will be going to the doctor on Saturday for her shots.

N.'s daughter, S., took my e-mail address so she can e-mail photos. Now I won't have to wait as long as I do currently for the attorney's office to send them.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A Statement From the Guatemala President

The following is a statement from Guatemalan President Berger’s administration, as it was sent to the Joint Council on International Children’s Services via email.

1. The President of Guatemala, Oscar Berger Perdomo, has NOT issued a statement about the suspension of all intercountry adoptions.
2. President Berger supports a new adoption’s law (Initiative 3217), which regulates the adoption processes, will give more judicial certainty to a social noble institution, as the adoption, and which will be in accordance to the Hague Convention.
3. Guatemalan children, who are going through an adoption process, are minors under the protection and shelter of the Guatemalan Constitution, hence, the State of Guatemala has the right and obligation to assure their best interest. Therefore, the Government supports a new adoptions law, in harmony with the Hague Convention, that will foster secure and dignified adoptions and above all adoptions with judicial certainty.
4. As from December 31st 2007, it is the will of the Government of Guatemala, that the Hague Convention on International Adoptions, enters in force, as reflected on the Legislative Decree No.31-2007. From this date, ALL ADOPTIONS from Guatemala must meet the Hague Convention standards.
5. The Congress of the Republic of Guatemala will soon pass the Adoptions Law (Initiative 3217, with amendments). IF this law is approved, this will regulate the procedure for the pending adoption cases or adoption cases which are already in-process.
6. The Government of Guatemala has nominated the Social Welfare Secretariat (Secretaria de Bienestar Social) as the Central Authority for adoptions (Government Accord 260-2007). The Central Authority will issue an official statement regarding adoption processes in the next few days, which will be sent and notified to international authorities, through official channels.
7. The Government of Guatemala reaffirms that it is in favor of adoptions with all countries and families that will GUARANTEE a secure and dignified life for the Guatemala children, but it will not tolerate adoption processes outside the law.

My I-600A Approval Arrived Today

My I-600A approval arrived today (very quick since it was only mailed yesterday from Boston) via form I-797, Notice of Action, Notice of Favorable Disposition Concerning Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition. I faxed the form to my agency and they, in turn, faxed it to my attorney in Guatemala.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I-600A Was Approved Today

My I-600A (Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition) was approved today and forwarded to the National Visa Center. As soon as I receive the "approval letter" in the mail I will fax it to my agency. My agency will then send it to my attorney in Guatemala to continue to proceed with my case.

My application had been "approved" a couple months ago, but the "official" approval couldn't be processed until October 11th when my divorce was final. When the "adoption coordinator" at USCIS shared the news with me that she couldn't approve it until October 11, she saw how devastated I was. So she gave me her personal office line after making me promise that I wouldn't share it with anybody else and stated that I could fax her the final certificate on October 11th and she would immediately approve my application. So, the plan was to get my final divorce certificate on October 11th and then fax it to the USCIS worker who would immediately approve the application and then I would be done with my I-600A. So my plan was in place.

On October 11th I took the day off from work and went to the Taunton probate court to get my divorce certificate. There was a sign on the door of the courthouse stating that they had moved to Fall River! Nothing's easy! So I called the phone number and got directions to the Fall River courthouse. I attempted to follow the directions but managed to get brutally lost. After driving around and pleading for help from a kind man on the phone at the courthouse, I finally found my way. When I arrived, I proceeded to the entrance only to find out that the fire alarms were going off and they wouldn't let anybody enter the building! Just my luck! I really began stressing because I had to get home to take care of Gracie's and Riley's new puppies that had been born only three days earlier. I finally got in, got my certificate, and made a call to my contact at the USCIS. Another lady answered the phone and I explained the situation and she stated that my contact no longer worked there and that a fax was not acceptable! Again, I have the worst luck! I explained the story and pleaded with her. She said she would make a determination next week (the week of the 15th). I hadn't heard from her, so I called her today to follow-up. She said she would call me back shortly. She called me back and stated that my application was approved. I think she rushed it through because she was sick of hearing from me! But at least I am one step closer to bringing Gabriella home.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Guatemala 5000 Initiative

The situation is Guatemala right now is a complicated mess wrapped up in power, politics, and money. Rumors, notices, and warnings from the United States government change constantly. It's a very volatile time and I have almost become numb to it.

Guatemala is in the process of changing its adoption laws and made a statement that in-process cases that did not complete by 12/31/07 would not be honored under their current laws. The U.S. Department of State issued a statement warning in-process parents that they and their children may be "out of luck". They then updated their statement to say that they would encourage Guatemalan officials to abide by the laws that were in place when the in-process families started.

I feel that the the United States government should support its citizens in the contracts they enter into and encourage all parties to abide by the laws governing the process when it was initiated - no retroactive enforcements. That's basically what is being threatened.

There is the potential for bad things to happen, which is why I chose the reputable adoption agency that I am working with. They may not get Gabriella home the quickest, but they are one of the most ethical agencies that I found while doing my research. It is a possibility that if this is not resolved, Gabriella's adoption may take even longer to process or could come to a complete halt altogether. What happens to Gabriella if adoptions stop completely; no one really knows. Guatemala does not have an infrastructure like we do here in the United States such as foster care and welfare. I am paying for her foster care, formula, diapers and medical visits through my adoption agency. There is a potential for a terrible outcome, but I am keeping faith and asking for the prayers and support of my friends and family.

What can you do to help?

Sign the online petition: http://www.petitiononline.com/foafoa1/petition.html

And support the Guatemala 5000 initiative from the Joint Council on International Children's Services: http://www.jcics.org/Guatemala5000.htm

Fourth Call to Gabriella's Foster Family

Gia and I spoke to Gabriella's foster mother's daughter, S., this evening. Gabriella had her monthly doctor visit this past Thursday, October 4th. She weighed 9 pounds! I knew from her pictures that she was finally gaining weight, but I was relieved to hear the number. She had a stuffy nose and could not get the shots she was due for, but has to go back on Friday for them so long as her congestion has cleared. S. said that she looks at the photos of me that I sent to her. She said that Gabriella is trying to "talk". It is great to hear that she is interacting more.

Gabby Girl!

My cousin Trisha has nicknamed Gabriella, "Gabby Girl." Trisha has officially coined the nickname with the gifts below!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

2 Month Photos