Thursday, July 26, 2007

It's official. She's TWO!

Our first picture:

July 26,2006

Maya turns 2:

Happy birthday, sweet Maya! I can't believe you're already 2! Mama and daddy love you, sweet baby girl!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


I've been tagged! And I didn't even know it until much later!! Freaky, huh? LOL!

So, today's post will be all about me. Here's what I have been "tagged" to do (by Sarah, who is mom to Lily, one of the two cutest baby girls that have ever come out of Guatemala!)

1. I have to post these rules before I give you the facts.
2. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
5. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they have been tagged, and to read your blog.

#1. I am the 'indecisive' queen. I hate making decisions. Just tell me what you want to do, where you want to go, what you want to eat. It will not be rude. It will help me out GREATLY if you make the decision for me. Honestly. I mean it!

#2. I'd really love to lose about a gazillion pounds. But I'd be happy with 30.

#3. Even though I am adament about taking Maya back to Guatemala with us when we go pick up Maria, I'm scared. I'm worried we'll lose her somehow, or that she'll pitch a fit in public in front of people who might not like us being there to start with, or that E will be miserable because of how much work it will be to care for two in a foreign country. ButI desperately want her to be there with us. I cannot imagine meeting Maria without Maya being with us. She's part of me now, and I just can't leave her behind.

#4. I wish I could be a stay at home mom and teach, play with, hang out with, and just LOVE my babies all day. But alas, it's not gonna happen. I must work. Sometimes I resent my job because I have to be there. I actually enjoy the work, but I would much rather be home with Maya, and soon Maria. It scares me sometimes when I realize how little control I have over their lives while they are being watched by others. I know without a doubt they are receiving excellent care, but I still wish it could be ME that provides it. I guess I'll just hope for grandbabies to watch one day, while MY babies go to work. Or even better, if they happen to be stay-at-home moms and I can just be there and enjoy all of them!

#5. Sigh. I'm a shopaholic. I admit it. I love to shop.

#6. I'm VERY excited about having Maya's birthday parties this weekend, but I'm disappointed in myself for admitting I can't do two birthday cakes and work. So I ordered them today at a local grocery store. I promised myself I would make ALL of Maya's birthday cakes. I mean, it's the reason why I took those cake decorating classes in the first place, right? Even way before I even thought about having kids! But I didn't even make it through 2 years. Now, to make myself feel better, I'll go look at the pictures below of ALL the wonderful cakes and cupcakes I made for her 1st birthday party last year! I can be pretty unforgiving with myself if I feel I haven't lived up to my standards!

#7. Peanut M&Ms and Almond Joys are my all-time FAVORITE candy. I will admit I hide food from E occasionally. I vowed to love, honor and cherish for the rest of my life. I said NOTHING about sharing my chocolate!

#8. I will never, ever regret adopting my two babies at this age, but if I had the chance to erase 10 years of my life, I would do it, provided I could end up in this same place with these exact two baby girls. I always swore I would never wait as long as my parents did to have children. But guess what? I'm 4 years older than my mother was when I was born. When I received all of the immigration paperwork back that we had submitted in Houston, I found out that Maya's maternal birth-grandmother is only about 5 years older than me. But on the positive side, it's much more common these days to find older parents like myself. When we first visited our adoption agency, we were not the oldest potential parents there!

And a bonus one ....
#9. I have been lucky in my choice of friends. I have awesome friends. One left over from high school, some from my first job in state government almost 20 years ago, some from newer jobs along the way, some from church. I am blessed by my friends. Some I don't even speak with on a regular basis, as life is busy for us all, but I know without a doubt that I can call any of them in a pinch and they would drop everything to come help me. I love them all! I pray that Maya and Maria will be so lucky. I know friends can lead you down good or bad paths, and I hope they will have the ability to discern which is the correct path for them. Now, having said that, I'll have to admit that I don't know a single person personally who has a blog!! So I can't exactly forward the 'tag' I received! Oh well, maybe one of them will start one and I can then pass this along.....

As Maya says ... night, night!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Update on Maria!

I got a call from our agency on Friday to let us know we were kicked out of PGN for no preapproval. We knew that would happen, of course, but my problem with it was the fact that I didn't even know we were IN PGN! Which I told Missy when she called. I hadn't even heard that we were out of Family Court yet. DNA testing happened on June 20, and we got the results around the 26th. We knew that once we were out of family court, our attorney would submit our paperwork to PGN and to the US embassy at the same time. So we knew that we would be kicked out of PGN for not having preapproval yet, but our attorney did this in the hopes that if we're missing any other paperwork, he'll find out now rather than wait to be kicked out after we receive PA. It has been taking pretty close to 60 days to get US Preapproval (PA), so we don't expect that until late August. Hopefully the rest will go like clockwork, and "the rest" includes the following wishlist:
- receive PA by the end of August
- be resubmitted to PGN by the end of August
- no more kickouts!
- be out of PGN by the end of October
- received the reissued birth certificate, the visa/passport and our pink slip with our appointment date by Thanksgiving
- travel to Guatemala to pick up Maya's baby sister by late November or early December!!

We were excited to get this particular attorney in Guatemala, so we'll just have to deal with the lack of up-to-date information. He works quickly, but we'll probably have to wait until we pick Maria up to learn any details about her birthmother or the various processing dates.

Well, I'm off to get a good night's sleep for once. It's going to be a busy week with Maya's birthday coming up, and her parties next weekend. I've been 'tagged' by Sarah and will be answering the tag in my next post!

Party pics!

Maya had such a good time in the water! I just can't believe she's turning 2 already. Seems like just yesterday we were in Guatemala picking her up.

This was the party we had at Omi and Papa's house on Sunday, July 15th. I told Omi we would leave the little swimming pool there so we could use it when we come back to visit, but Maya had so much fun with it, we decided to bring it home and use it at her next two parties. We have an inground pool, but Maya hates to wear the floaties and/or other paraphernalia, so we thought she'd have a lot more fun with this pool. I'm glad we did, because we've been out 'swimming' in it twice now since the party, and it's so much easier than dragging everything to the big pool and constantly worrying about Maya jumping in the deep end.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Getting behind already!

So it's been 10 days since my last post and I feel like I'm getting behind in this already.

We had the first of Maya's birthday parties today at my parent's house. Yes, I said the FIRST of Maya's parties. That little girl is having THREE birthday parties. Last year's 68 people were a little much for me to handle in one day, so I decided to split them up into 2 different parties this year. But then I was worried my parents (Omi and Papa to Maya) wouldn't be able to make the trip up here for one of the parties. Since I didn't want them to miss out completely, I decided to have a party for my old hometown friends at their house. It was really fun, but exhausting, and HOT! I remember being so excited when I found out my new baby would have a July birthday! My birthday is in December, and boy does that stink! So I was really excited about having swimming parties, and buying summer stuff for Maya's birthday. What I didn't think about was ... it's HOT in July in the south!

Anyway, Maya had a ball playing in the water! We got a small inflatable pool for my parent's house, and a few different sprinklers for the bigger girls to play in. The minute I started putting water in the pool, Maya headed for it and stepped right in the water ... shoes, clothes, regular diaper and all. My mom tried to get her out, but at that point she was already wet, so I said to just take her shoes off and let her play. I did, however, wait a little too late to change the regular diaper to a swimmy diaper, and the gel stuff busted out. All I can say about that is .... EWWWWW. That gel is some gross stuff! The other problem we had was ants. Lots and lots and LOTS of ants! I didn't see an ant bed where we first put the pool, but all of a sudden a swarm of ants started climbing one side into the pool. So mom went to get the ant spray while E and I dumped water out to move the pool, while trying to keep Maya out of the ants. We ended up having to move it again a little later to the other side of the pool. It didn't even slow her down much.... she just LOVED that little pool! So we emptied it and brought it home. She likes it better than our big pool because she doens't have to wear swimmies or a lifevest or anything. She was just too adorable today! And this birthday I actually managed to get pictures. Last year it was too busy with too many people.

It took the other girls a while to get in the water ... I thought they weren't going to do it at all. But they finally got around the big water ball sprinkler and had fun. Omi got Maya a cake with fish on it for her birthday. I made an Almond Cream Cheese Pound cake with White Chocolate icing for everyone else. It's my most requeted cake, and really good!

Packing up was a nightmare. Luckily a couple of my friends stayed to help. We finally got on the road close to 6:00, and E drove faster than I had ever known him to. I didn't mind, since we got home around 7:15. Maya was sooooo worn out that she didn't even make it out of the driveway before she fell asleep! E took her out to start the van and get her settled in her carseat, and all I did was throw out what was left of the cake I made, pack up the rest of Maya's cake, collect the few things we had left inside and say goodbye to mom and dad. I opened the door to the van and little Miss 2-year-old was fast asleep. She slept all the way home, and then was wide awake when we turned on to our street. ugh. We had hoped to put her straight into bed, but no such luck. So we stayed up a while and played and watched some Wiggles, and then she got real quiet and rubbed her eye a few times. So I put her to bed, but she didn't care for that idea and started crying. We decided she really needed to go to sleep (around 9:00), so we just waited and let her settle herself down. It didn't take too long for her to drift back off.

I got some great pictures today, but not sure how many I'll post here. After we finally changed Maya's diaper to a swimmy diaper, we didn't bother putting her bathing suit on over it. She had such a wonderful time, but I just don't think I want to post pictures of my near-naked baby on the internet. We'll see if I have any good ones when I finally download them.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Too Pooped to Party

A friend keeps Maya for us on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and she sent me this picture at work. She said Maya was a little tired today, and took two catnaps in addition to her usual nap. I think Eric forgot to warn her that Maya got to bed really late last night after the big 4th of July celebration. Isn't this the cutest thing you have ever seen?!?!

I was reading another blog about a mom adopting from Guatemala and she was just describing her first visit trip to adopt a little 1 year old girl. I truly admire those who can visit and then leave and come home. I just don't think I have it in me. While I would have LOVED to have held Maya during those long, agonizing, excruciating months of waiting, I just couldn't do it. I couldn't hand her back to that hogar. And we are definitely not in a position where I could just stay and foster her myself as others have done. So we will not be visiting Maria, either. I'm just not that strong.

Speaking of Maria, the discussion continues about her name. We had one heck of a time agreeing on Maya's name. Her middle name is my maiden name. But we argued and discussed, discussed and argued, and it was so hard to agree! My alltime favorite name choice was Sarah Elisabeth, after my paternal grandmother. My cousins and I used to argue when we were young about who was going to have a baby girl first and use that name for our daughter. Well, at 41, I became a mother first and wouldn't you know it? Eric refused to even consider it. He didn't like it. His choice was Savannah. And why, you ask? Just because he liked it. I hated it. We had agreed on Maya as a middle name early on in the process, as we (well, mainly me) wanted to give her one name that reflected her Guatemalan heritage. I wanted her other name to reflect her new family roots, but that didn't appear likely to happen, since Eric didn't like any of our family names (his side or mine). His grandmother's names were Madge and Ruby. I told him that Ruby is once again a popular name, but no dice. And to be honest, it's not my favorite, either. Eric's niece already has one of his mother's names, so he wouldn't consider that, either. We didn't agree on anything until one night when we were out with his coworkers, eating ribs, and we were discussing our naming dilemma. One of the bright souls there finally suggested that since Maya is the only name we can agree on, why not use it for her first name? We just looked at each other and wondered why we hadn't thought of that?! So then the discussion flowed around middle name choices. I don't know how my maiden name entered the discussion, but once it came out, everyone at the table loved the combination. So, there you have it. The story of Maya's name.

Needless to say, picking a name for Maria has been just as painful. We agreed some time ago that we didn't want Maya to be an only child, so we had discussed a few potential names for her little sister. At one point, I brought up Maria B, with the 'B' name being Eric's mother's maiden name. I thought it would be great for each of my girls to have an unusual middle name that was also a family name. 'Maria' is for my mom (one of her middle names), but also a popular hispanic name. Anyway, at that point in time, Eric actually somewhat agreed to it. So when the time came to start the next adoption process, we were matched very early with a beautiful baby girl from Poptun, Guatemala. Then the naming dance began once again. The usual standbys came up, Savannah and Sarah, and were promptly nixxed once again. Then Eric came into the room one day and says he has the "perfect name" for our new daughter..... Maria! I laughed and said 'ok'. Turns out he was serious. To this day he does not remember our previous discussion about Maria B. So no, he no longer likes the 'B' part, so the search is on for a middle name. So far Anna Maria is the current favorite, just because we both like how it flows, and neither of us hates it. My choice would be Maria Elizabeth, Maria for my mom and Elizabeth for me ... my middle name before I dropped it when we wed. No such luck. Eric is currently trying to convince me to use Maria Katarina, which I don't hate, but I like Anna Maria better than that. I will still call her Maria, despite the well-intentioned advice from friends who have been called by their middle name all their lives, and who insist it's not a nice thing to do. But Maria Anna doens't have the same flowing sound, and I definitely want to use Maria. We also discussing using R again for Maria .. my maiden name. Then they would have the same initials, and we could stop racking our brains for name options. But we have definitely not agreed on anything definite. Wish us luck....

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy 4th!

Not only was my little (almost) 2 year old not afraid of the fireworks, she practically fell asleep during them! She was so cute ... she swam and ate and played and danced and had a great time at Lisa and Robert's house. Then Robert started the fireworks a little early so that she could see them before we had to leave. She oohed and ahhed and went "wow!" when she saw them. But after about 1/2 hour, she just couldn't hold her head up any more. Bless her heart ... so I changed her into her pjs and we loaded up the minivan and started home. I'd say she got about 1 mile down the road before her head nodded. I can't wait to get the pictures downloaded .. we got a GREAT video of her dancing!

It was a great day, even if I did have to work. I'm trying to save ALL of my leave time for when we go back to Guatemala to pick up Maya's little sister, Maria. Right now it's looking like late October to late November for a potential pick up date. But of course there is really no way to know for sure. I can't wait to travel back and take Maya with us. I know she won't remember any of the trip when she's older, but I will! And I'll take plenty of pictures, of course. And as a friend once said, it's a family that we're building, and Maya is part of that family. We finally got her passport in the mail a couple of weeks ago. So anyway, I worked from 7:00 until 1:00 and then came home to spend the rest of the day with my Maya Papaya. I just adore hanging out with that little girl!

I'll come back and include pictures after we get them downloaded. She was too cute in her little ladybug swimsuit! How did I ever get so lucky to be mom to the best baby in the whole world?!!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Maya's Adoption Timeline

I feel like I was rambling yesterday, so I thought I would regroup and post the timeline for Maya's adoption. I pulled it out recently to compare to Maria's timeline, but it's a difficult comparion at best, because we received Maria's referral so much earlier in the process. Plus, I know a few of the steps have changed somewhat in the past 2 years.

Without further ado, here it is .......

- Feb. 2, 2005 – completed the application form for Worldwide and put it in the mail.
- Feb 19 – turned in our second completed packet today.
- March 1 – filed I-600A at U.S. immigration office in Greer
- March 5 – fingerprinting in Charlotte
- March 9 –completed our in-home homestudy
- March 19 – paid the dossier fee and began the process of collecting the documents we would need for this packet.
- April 13 - notarized documents authenticated at the Secretary of State’s office in Columbia
- April 16 – turned in all notarized, verified and authenticated dossier documents
- April 18 – picked up the final, notarized copy of our homestudy from Worldwide.
- April 19 – notarized copy of the homestudy authenticated
- April 21 – turned in the LAST of our dossier paperwork to Worldwide
- May 20 – received a letter from DSS to U.S. Immigration saying our completed homestudy had been received and approved.
- June 4 – received our U.S. Immigration approval in the mail!
- June 6 – took copy of the immigration approval to Worldwide
- June 27 - we got a call about the possibility of twins. Didn’t work out
- AUGUST 2, 2005: WE GOT THE CALL! A LITTLE GIRL HAD BEEN BORN ON JULY 26, AND MISSY WAS SENDING US SOME PICTURES. She is the most beautiful baby I have ever seen.
- August 3 - withdraw the international fee to forward to Guatemala
- September 6 - DNA testing
- September 30 - received the notice that she was indeed the birth mother (99.9% chance)
- October 18 - family court date. The social worker had to meet with the birthmother and write a report.
- November 9 – received the U.S. preapproval!!
- November 23 – our case is in PGN
- January 18, 2006 – early January KO from PGN
- February 2 – Email from Missy: I just wanted to let you know that your case is finally going back to PGN on Monday... February 6th.
- March 22 - yesterday afternoon PGN asked for another document from our lawyer. He was able to turn it around same day
- April 3? – OUT OF PGN! WOOHOO!! Now the wait for the reissued birth certificate from Esquintla, with our names on it as her parents, and for her VISA to be issued.
- ? – birth certificate reissued
- ? – VISA issued
- April 25 – pick up call! Fly out April 30, pick up Maya May 1, home on May 6.
- May 1, 2006 – best day of my life. Truly!

Note to Self

Note to Self: If you begin a blog, WRITE DOWN THE URL. I had to go through some convoluted steps to get back here. sheesh..... Now, where was I ....

I was able to stay home from work with Maya for 10 weeks after we got her. Those 10 weeks flew by so fast! Maya was such a perfect baby! She ate well, slept all night, never threw up or even spit up. She loved bathtime ... I can't tell you how much that child loves water. Even today she will find opportunities to get to a sink and play with the water. We came home about 2 weeks before Mother's Day, and I had been so afraid that she wouldn't be home for it. I was selfish enough to be upset that she might miss Mother's Day but somehow be home in time for Father's Day. I was already bitter about missing her first Christmas, her first Valentine's Day and her first Easter. I had her V-Day present sitting on the table, and her Easter basket on the table, and believe it or not, we still had the Christmas tree up when we came home on May 6. I absolutely refused to miss her first Christmas, and we opened her Christmas presents after she came home.

Maya's first birthday loomed in the distance and I began planning early. We still had some family and friends who had not met Maya yet, so in horror I watched the birthday invitation list grow to close to 100 people. I thought about cutting it down, but then decided to just deal with it. I finally figured out we were expecting somewhere between 60 and 80 people. I decided on 'bears' as the birthday theme and started stocking up on plates, cups, napkins, tablecloths and decorations as I started planning the menu, cake designs and entertainment. Obviously it would be a pool party since it was in July, and I decided to hire a couple of the teenagers from church to come watch the pool area so that I wouldn't have to be concerned about children jumping in the water while no one was watching. The final tally of attendees totaled to 68 people. I actually enjoyed it very much, and Maya handled it very well. She was not walking or even crawling yet, so she was once again passed around from person to person. My only regret is that I did not appoint anyone as 'official' photographer, and I didn't have a chance to take a single picture during the party. I have a picture of Maya with Gran prior to the party with her little party hat on, which I adore. And I have a few shots at the end of the party when Maya finally had a chance to sit and eat her birthday cake. Bless her heart, she was so tired by then that she just picked at it. I made a small stand-up teddy bear cake for Maya to eat and smush, and then another decorated bear cake, plus a two-tiered almond cream cheese pound cake decorated with white chocolate cream cheese icing AND cupcakes with teddy graham and gummi bears as decorations. We had a LOT of cake, but I wanted it to be perfect! Needless to say, I will not be inviting 100 people to her 2nd birthday party next month.

Maya's 1st Birthday party outfit!

And Maya's cakes: