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!

Friday, March 28, 2008

What is PGN?

PGN is responsible for reviewing each adoption case and determining whether a case is ready to be approved. The US Department of State states, “The PGN scrutinizes the adoption case for signs of fraud or irregularities before providing its approval of the adoption. Upon receiving PGN approval, the adoptive parents in the U.S. are legally responsible for their child(ren). The attorney obtains final approval from the Guatemalan birth mother and then requests a birth certificate listing the adoptive parents as the parents of the adopted child.”

Two reviewers individually review the file for each case and then it is sent to the PGN director's office to be signed. After the PGN signs off, the "Escritura Final de Adoption" is issued. The adoption is considered complete from the standpoint of the Guatemalan government.

Very few cases go through PGN without a “previo” or “kick out”. This occurs if the PGN reviewer sees any irregularities in the file. They will stop reviewing the file and return it to the attorney for corrections.

The PGN review is the most important step in the process. Once PGN approval is received the end is in very clear sight!

I AM IN PGN!

It's official! I have a case number. Laura, the English-speaking receptionist at PGN who is absolutely impossible to get through to, told me today that my case is being reviewed by the first reviewer. Thanks goodness! Let's pray I get out quickly.

In PGN?

I was told that my case was entered into PGN yesterday. I am not going to get too excited until I have a case number and I can verify it directly with the PGN office. I wish I could be excited, but I just want to be positive. Hopefully I will have a definitive answer today.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter! I pray that this will be the final holiday that Gabriella and I will be apart.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Not In PGN Yet

My file did not get submitted into PGN today like I had hoped and expected. Since everything closes down for Holy Week beginning tomorrow, I should be sumbitted to PGN next Monday or Tuesday. The attorney's office did pick up my preapproval yesterday from the Embassy, though. Let's keep our fingers crossed that my submission to PGN happens early next week!

Friday, March 14, 2008

I Have PREAPPROVAL!

Oh my goodness! Praise God! He answered my prayers. I received an e-mail notification at 11:53 AM from the US Embassy in Guatemala stating that I received Preapproval today. My preapproval is available for pick-up at Window #10 at the Embassy!

The next step will be for my lawyer to pick up the preapproval and submit my file to PGN. PGN is equivalent to the Attorney General's office in Guatemala. Next week is Holy Week and pretty much everything will be shutting down in Guatemala, so I am not expecting to make any progress next week. But I am hearing that the PGN process has shortened tremendously. It had previously been taking months on average and now it is taking only days or weeks on average for approval. So, please pray that I get submitted to PGN quickly and that there is a quick approval from PGN.

What an up-and-down journey this is. Only yesterday I received a message from the Embassy essentially stating that I would have to wait a few more weeks; I was a complete mess and in tears all day and all morning this morning. Today I have so much adrenaline that I think I could lift a car if it were not for all of my broken bones!

My throat hurts from screaming phrases of joy after I opened the e-mail. I happened to be on the phone with Gia at the time when I opened the e-mail. Gia and I had just completed a call to N. and she and I were talking about how horrible the process was. After I saw the e-mail I started yelling, "I got it, I got it,...," so I think Gia hung up with a blown-out ear drum! Sorry Gia!

Keep saying prayers for Gabriella's homecoming because He's listening!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Another Sad Day With No Preapproval...

As I posted previously, I received an e-mail from the US Embassy in Guatemala on March 6th which led me to believe that my case was actively under review. I waited and waited and incessantly checked my e-mail for that magic e-mail stating that I had received preapproval. Because nothing came, I sent another e-mail inquiry last night asking more specific questions about the e-mail I received from them and this is what I received, "your pre approval will be issued around second week of April." THE SECOND WEEK OF APRIL! They are going to take the full 60 days, TWO MONTHS, for an approval that only a month or so earlier was taking them TWO WEEKS to issue. I truly believe, with every ounce of my being, that they are taking the entire 60 days simply to make a political statement. Plus, if they can make the statement that my preapproval will be issued on a certain date, then they must know that my file satisfies all requirements, so why are they holding out on issuing the preapproval? Instead, my case will be delayed an additional month, just because, with no valid reason. Gabriella will be 8 months old on April 4th and there are still many steps to complete in this process. At this rate, I will be lucky if she is home for her first birthday. Don't they realize that this is not just another file, but a child. Don't they realize that their political grandstanding is only hurting children and does nothing positive.

I am obviously extremely frustrated and sad. I knew this would be a physically and mentally exhausting process when I started it, but did not realize how painful it would be until now that I am in the throws of it. I also have listened to many adoptive parent's stories about how they knew the child was his or her son or daughter the moment they laid eyes on him or her. Nothing could be more true and, again, you cannot imagine the impact of that until you experience it. Gabriella is my daughter; my daughter is stuck in another country, being rasied by and bonding with another family, tied up in a frustrating process that I have absolutely no control over. I have certainly never felt more powerful feelings than I am feeling right now, and I do not know if I ever will. This is compounded with the physical and mental scars that I am still healing from from my accident on January 14th. This is definitely a trying time, but my thoughts of Gabriella and prayers for her homecoming help me through these difficult days.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Donations through "Mayan Families"

"Mayan Families": http://www.mayanfamilies.org/

Gabriella and I will be forever connected to Guatemala. There are thousands of Guatemalan children and adults in tremendous need for the basic necessities for living. We have been to Guatemala twice to visit Gabriella and witnessed first-hand the extreme poverty – people begging in the streets, children juggling in the middle of the road to earn monetary tips, leg amputees carrying themselves around on their hands because they cannot afford crutches or wheelchairs.

During my next visit trip to Guatemala I would like bring donations for items to be donated through "Mayan Families." If you would like to give a monetary donation we will have our driver in Guatemala take us shopping in Guatemala for some of the necessities.

Also, if at all possible, please consider sponsoring a child or donating to Mayan Families. For $120 a year you can sponsor a child to send him or her to school for the year. School is free in Guatemala but there are many costs attached to it. The costs includes school subscription, school uniform and sweater, all school supplies, backpack, two pairs of socks, underwear, school shoes, tennis shoes, shorts and t-shirt for gym. Also, depending on the school and the grade it may also include a musical instrument. It also usually includes an annual school excursion and help with projects.

Mayan Families is a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit organization that works within the Indigenous Mayan Communities on projects ranging from enrolling and keeping kids, especially girls, in school, helping single parent families deal with HIV/AIDS, Malnutrition, Basic Health Care, Organizing Medical and Dental Clinics, Animal Rescue and so much more. Mayan Families provides assistance to populations in distress, to victims of natural or man-made disasters.

Friday, March 7, 2008

7 Month Photos

These are Gabriella's 7 Month photos taken this morning! Gabriella weighs 16.5 pounds and was 63 centimeters, up a half of a pound and 3 centimeters since January 16th at which time Gabriella weighed 16 pounds and was 60 centimeters.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

My File is Finally Being Reviewed at the US Emassy in Guatemala!

I received this e-mail at 8:47 AM in response the the e-mail inquiry I sent last night:

"Dear Ms Draper

Your file is under adjudicator’s review for adjudication

Adoptions Unit
US Citizenship and Immigration Services
Guatemala City"

I take this to mean that my file is actively being reviewed rather waiting in a pile for review, which is what I feared. Hopefully this means I will be receiving Preapproval SOON!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Still No News...

I am still waiting on Preapproval from the US Embassy in Guatemala. Even though the Embassy told me that they have extended the adjudication time frame to 60 days and that the office has until April 7th before they will respond to any inquiries on my case, I sent them a second e-mail this evening inquiring about my case. In addition, Representative Barney Frank's office also sent an inquiry on my behalf. (By the way, his office has been AWESOME to work with!) Hopefully the US Embassy in Guatemala will get so sick of me, they will have no choice but to review my file soon to get me out of their hair!

While in Guatemala we met several married adoptive moms who are living in Guatemala temporarily fostering their babies themselves. They have either rented apartments or are living in the hotel while their husbands continue to work, live, and support their wives from the United States. As embarrassing as it is to admit, I get very jealous of these families that have the financial means and family set-up to make this possible. I also feel a bit guilty that I cannot give this same luxury to Gabriella. I do realize though, that if I cannot parent her myself in Guatemala, there is not a better person in Guatemala than N. to assume this role for me.

I often have dreams of Gabriella at night. Sometimes the dreams are nightmarish in which something goes wrong in the adoption process. Sometimes the dreams are happy dreams in which we are living our lives together. I also think of her many, many times every day. It makes me so sad because each day she is one day older and it is one less day that I can share with her. It is one more day that I am missing out on her development, changes, and discoveries. One more day in which I cannot take her for a walk, read a book to her, play with her, or kiss her precious cheeks. One more day for her to develop a stronger bond with her foster family which will make it that much more difficult for her to leave their home. One more day apart from the baby girl who I love so dearly...