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!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Photos from El Estor, Guatemala

These photos are of the town of El Estor, Guatemala, where Gabriella's birth family is from. The photos were taken by Victor on the day he was searching for Gabriella's birth mother. It looks like a very beautiful place and I look forward to visiting with Gabriella when she is a bit older.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Playing at Imagination Island

Gabriella loves playing at playplaces and had a great time playing at Imagination Island in Plymouth.
Gabriella's two favorite activities of this day were playing in the pretend kitchen and playing with the dollhouse. We actually had to "rip" her away from the dollhouse so we could leave! Mommy is definitely going to let Santa Claus know this because these seem like perfect toys for her age and interest.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Kiva Loans for Entrepreneurs in Guatemala

I just made my first three loans to entrepreneurs in Guatemala. The three loans went to one female entrepreneur, one entrepreneur group, and one all female entrepreneur group using Kiva (http://www.kiva.org/). You can go to Kiva's website and lend to someone across the globe who needs a loan for their business - like raising goats, selling vegetables at market or making bricks. Each loan has a picture of the entrepreneur, a description of their business and how they plan to use the loan so you know exactly how your money is being spent and you get updates letting you know how the entrepreneur is going. The best part is, when the entrepreneur pays back their loan you get your money back. You can either reinvest the money or withdraw. Kiva's loans are managed by microfinance institutions in the country where the money is sent who have a lot of experience doing this, so you can trust that your money is being handled responsibly.

I made one loan to an entrepreneur named Eva Cecilia Gutierrez Pretzantzin. Eva GutiĆ©rrez is 33 years old and is married. She works as a storekeeper, selling typical clothing for women. She lives with her husband and they both work in the same small business. She has sold clothing in this way for 3 years. Currently her clientele’s demand has increased, but her economic conditions aren’t enough for her to be able to increase her capital. She is asking for this loan with the intention of buying raw material so that she can increase her sales. Her loan amount will be $925, I donated $25. You can learn about Eva Cecilia Gutierrez Pretzantzin at:
http://www.kiva.org/app.php?page=businesses&action=about&id=139464
I made my second loan to a group of entrepreneurs named the Pasanieb Group. The loan amount will be $2,725, I donated $25. Each member of the group will be responsible for $227. Each member has various intents for the money from commerce to raising animals. You can learn about the Pasanieb Group at: http://www.kiva.org/app.php?page=businesses&action=about&id=139127

I made my third loan to a group of five female entrepreneurs named "Las Emprendedoras" Group. The loan amount will be $1,225, I donated $25. They are looking to start a small business selling clothes, fruits, and other staples. They hope the business will help them to improve living conditions for their families. You can learn about the "Las Emprendedoras"Group at: http://www.kiva.org/app.php?page=businesses&action=about&id=140687

Vote for Gabriella!

Gap is holding a nationwide contest to find the next faces of babyGap and GapKids, and Gabriella is entered into the contest. Check out Gabriella's entry here: http://family.go.com/gapcastingcall/entries/Melissa_Gabby/563907169/

Please follow the link and vote for Gabriella! Ask your friends to vote as well! You can vote every 24 hours through November 17th.

Thanks so much!
Melissa and Gabriella

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Meet Mayra Paola

Mayra Paola is a three-year old from Guatemala who I sponsor through Mayan Families (http://www.mayanfamilies.org) to send to preschool.
Mayra's Family:
This is the house that Mayra's family rents for $33 per month. Mayra's 26 year old father only makes $28 per week as a tuc tuc driver. Mayra's 23 year old mother stays home to care for her children. Mayra lives in this house with her father; her mother; 3 brothers who are 6 years old, 5 years old, and 2 years old; and one sister who is 5 months old. They have one room made of tin sheeting walls, tin sheeting roof, and cement floor and a kitchen made of tin sheeting walls, tin sheeting roof, and dirt floor. They have 6 chairs, one wooden table, and one wardrobe (they keep the rest of the clothes in cardboard boxes). They only have 2 beds. The parents and the baby sleep in one and the other four children sleep in the other one. They did not have enough blankets but, in addition to sponsoring Mayra, I sent Mayan Families money to buy them blankets and some food.
Mayra's six year old brother needs sponsorship to go to school. If you are interested in sponsoring him, helping this family in any way, or helping another family, go to http://www.mayanfamilies.org

You're Cute

We were at the Olive Garden this evening for dinner. As we were leaving we passed a group of waitresses and one of them said to Gabriella, "You're cute." Gabriella replied, "Thank you" and kept walking and all of the waitresses started cracking up! I have to say, she was a very smart waitress!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Apple Picking 2009

Gabriella went apple picking for a second time, with the first time being last year in 2008. We went a month earlier than we had gone last year, so we enjoyed much warmer weather this time! Aunt Kathy, Kerri, Dave, and Ava joined us.
Gabriella LOVES animals and was instantly attracted to the sheep. We had to pull her away form the sheep to pick apples!:
Relaxing with an apple after all of that hard work!: