Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Which Hand Will it Be?

We just heard that we were resubmitted to PGN yesterday, February 25. One the one hand, I'm so glad. One month ago, we were looking at a possible 6-month delay -or worse. On the other hand, I was disappointed that it didn't happen sooner. Once we were registered with the Central Authority (which was the big unknown), we had hoped to be resubmitted right away - a week and a half ago. I guess it's all a matter of perspective, isn't it?

I'm not sure what to expect from this resubmittal. I've heard both positive and negative things about how PGN is running right now. On the one hand, things could move really fast, or on the other hand, things could get downright bogged down. Which hand will it be?

We shall see.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Favorite Foto Friday

Look closely...Can you see a family resemblance?

Blessings to you,
Mamita J

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The First Step...

...is admitting you have a problem.

I confess. I stalk the email, hoping for any news from anybody, but especially hoping for news for us. It's been going on for, oh, about two years. There have been periods of contentment, when I knew no news was coming, so I could go about my daily life with just a normal ache in my heart. But the closer things get, the more I long and hope for some good news, and the more insane my stalking.

I can hear, "You've got mail." from any corner of the house. I can be in the basement folding laundry. I will drop everything, run upstairs, and kick the kids off the computer, because "I've got mail."

We still have no news.

It's like waiting in bad weather for your husband to get home. (We had bad weather today.) You look out the window. You pace. All the scenarios run through your mind. You listen for the garage door for a sign of his well-being. You wish he'd call. More looking. More pacing. All the while, you're holding your breath. Breathing easy can't happen until he's home safe. (He's home now.)

I've spent the last two years pacing, worrying, looking, wishing, and stalking. You would think I could get used to it. I can't. You would think I'd have learned patience by now. I used to think I was patient. Now I know I'm not. Shallow breathing is a way of life. I'll breathe easy when Cupcake comes home.

The next email might be the one that says we're one step closer.

I've got to go. I've got mail. :-D

Blessings to you,
Mamita J

Monday, February 18, 2008


No news today. We were hoping to hear that we are back in PGN today, as our agency tries to talk with our facilitator on Mondays.

But we didn't hear.

We are fairly hopeful that we really are back in, because our facilitator is on the ball.

But we don't know for sure.


Also, all of my close adoption friends are either having really great news or really awful news, so I find myself dancing for joy for the kids that are finally moving and crying in sorrow for those that seem lost forever due to someone's inattention, or laziness, or lack of compassion.

So, please join me in praising God for the kids that are finally getting due process and pleading on behalf of the kids that are stuck.

That's all.

Blessings to you,
Mamita J

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Children Deserve Special Protection

And now back to our regularly scheduled pro-life moment...

Last time I discussed that the Bible tells us that God values Human Life.

Today, I would like to explore the fact that children are especially valuable to God and deserve special protection. This principle is found all over scripture, so I will pick a couple of passages that show this vividly.

First off, let's look at a couple of my heroes. You may not have ever heard of them, but I bet you know the little guy whose life they saved. Their names are Shiphrah and Puah. They were midwives in ancient Egypt. Now the Israelites lived in Egypt for 400 years - since the time of Joseph (the guy with the amazing technicolor dreamcoat). The Israelites were fruitful and multiplied - they had lots and lots of babies. The new Pharoah started to get worried because there were so many Israelites, he was afraid they might turn on him and join in on an enemy attack. What's a long-term solution to make sure there is no Israelite army to fight against you? Kill all the boys. So that's where we enter the scripture...

The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, "When you help the Hebrew women in childbirth and observe them on the delivery stool, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live." The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live. Exodus 1:15-17

The midwives feared God. They knew that killing little boys is wrong. They knew that God would not be happy if they used their power to destroy children. They had a legal right to do it. In fact, it was a direct order from the most powerful man on earth...and still, they chose to do the right thing.

And one of the little boys that they let live... his name was Moses.

Later on in Moses life, when he was leading the people out of Egypt, they came to Mount Sinai, got the Ten Commandments, and then God gave them some other instructions. Listen to this...

The LORD said to Moses, "Say to the Israelites: 'Any Israelite or any alien living in Israel who gives any of his children to Molech must be put to death. The people of the community are to stone him. I will set my face against that man and I will cut him off from his people; for by giving his children to Molech, he has defiled my sanctuary and profaned my holy name. If the people of the community close their eyes when that man gives one of his children to Molech and they fail to put him to death, I will set my face against that man and his family and will cut off from their people both him and all who follow him in prostituting themselves to Molech. Leviticus 20:1-5

If you know the scriptures, you know that God does not talk like this often. The overwhelming message of scripture is God's love for people. Is that true here?

This is angry language. This is a finger-pointing, hand-on-hip, set-jaw command. It seems that this is something that makes His blood boil. This must be serious stuff.

So, what is this all about? Who's Molech? And what would make God so angry?

Molech was a Canaanite (pagan) god. Worshipers of Molech constructed a huge idol in a valley. Picture an enormous statue with a head and torso. Imagine large stone arms stretched out as if the statue was going to do arm curls. The belly of the statue is a large furnace.

Worship of Molech was a fertility cult. In other words, you worship Molech, and he will make your life prosperous - fertile. And how do you worship Molech?

You take your child, wrap him up in cloths so he can't crawl off, and place him in Molech's arms. As the child wriggles, he rolls closer and closer to the fire. Finally, he falls into the furnace and where he dies a painful, horrifying death...all in the name of prosperity. Hmm...

No wonder it made God mad.

And notice that not only is the person who sacrificed his child in trouble. The community that lets this happen is just as much responsible in God's eyes. That's because children are especially valuable to God and deserve special protection. The overwhelming love of God is directed at the children who are the innocent victims.

What about Jesus? How did he feel about children?

Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there. Matthew 19:13-15

Jesus thought kids were just as important as adults and He had a special place in His heart for the little ones. He placed His hands on them. Mamita's paraphrase says "He loved on them." Children should be loved on, not destroyed. They should be protected by the adults in their lives, as well as by the community at large.

Blessings to you,

Monday, February 11, 2008

Ups and Downs

Did I mention that adoption is like a roller coaster ride?

It's not like one of those tame rides that makes your stomach fly as you glide over the hills. It's more like "The Boss" here at our local Six Flags. Personally, I think "The Boss" was designed by flunkie engineers. They messed around a while on Roller Coaster Tycoon, thought this one would make people almost die, and concluded, therefore, that it would be the ultimate thrill ride.

So, I look over "The Boss". It doesn't look that bad. TE is begging me to ride with him. I'm a hero. I like my kids to think I'm cool and I can take it. I generally love roller coasters, and I can usually take what they dish out. So, I jump in, confident that at the end of the ride, I'll be all laughter and smiles.

About 5 seconds into it, I'm thinking, "Oh my word, what did I get myself into?" 10 seconds in, I'm facing certain death - from heart attack. This is not at all what I thought I was signing up for. It's fast and rickety and the turns are too sharp and the hills too steep. All confidence is gone. These flunkie engineers are going to kill me. It's all I can do to shut my eyes and try not to barf. This is not fun!

The ride stops. I made it! RELIEF! I get out, checking my body to make sure it's all there. My neck and back - they're okay. I turn to TE. "Don't EVER ask me to do that again."

So, the last couple of weeks have been especially like "The Boss". We really thought we were near the end of this journey. We had very high expectations. We were floating on cloud nine. Then WHAM! We're going down! And it's lower than low. Unexpected twists and turns have changed everything. All I can do is try not to barf.

And now we're headed up again. Last week the two people who were appointed by the last administration were both denied their lawsuits, and both decided to not pursue any further legal action. HURRAH! Then, both of the new appointees were sworn in and the Central Authority opened for business - it was supposed to be on Wednesday, but I understand it actually opened on Friday. The lawyers lined up outside for hours and hours, into the night. Keep in mind, the deadline for registering old cases is today at the close of business. At some point, someone came out and offered "line tickets" to those who were waiting, so they could come back later in the weekend at an appointed time. Sometime late this weekend, our facilitator was able to apply to register our case! Now what this means is, we have been input into the CA for registration. At some later point, they will output a piece of paper that actually says we are registered. With that piece of paper, we will be able to get back into PGN, so they can approve our case.

But wait! Another twist and down again...

On Thursday, I was talking to our agency director. When I had spoken to her 2 weeks ago, there was some confusion as to our foster mother's name. I was sure it was Carol. She thought the caregiver had a more Hispanic name. So I sent her a picture and she was going to ask our facilitator so we could know for sure. She was getting back to me about the name of Cupcake's caregiver. It went like this.

Agency: "I asked R___ about the picture. That was her first foster mom."

Me: "What do you mean? She's only had one foster mom."

Agency: "Well, that was the only foster mom. But now she's in the group home."

(Stunned silence.)

Me: "She's in a group home?"

Agency: "Yeah... ... I thought you knew? Oh, I'm so sorry. I thought you knew."

So, back in August, when the elections were causing anti-adoption frenzy, our facilitator got very scared of the police raiding foster homes, so he put her in his group home (orphanage) for her safety. But the communication fell through the cracks. We knew this had been a possibility, but we never knew that it had happened.

I'm not devastated or angry or anything. I just feel like it's one more part of her life in Guatemala that I need to process. One more placement that we'll have to deal with when she comes home. One more hurdle for her to get over. She loved her foster family and I hurt for my baby. I'm sure she feels like they rejected her. She's going to have anger and grief that she can't even put into words.

On a positive note, the group home is very small - only 4 children. And Cupcake is being cared for by our facilitator's sister-in-law. She has two little girls to play with and one little boy. It's almost a family setting with that few kids.

But she was thriving so much with her foster family and I know this sets her back some more. I just want to get her home.

Now, the one way that adoption is not like "The Boss" is that God is not a flunkie engineer. He knows what He is doing and I trust Him. Sometimes, I don't think I can survive this ride, but I know I'm strapped in, and I'm not getting off until it's over. I'm sure when this is over, I will say, "Let's not EVER do that again." But I know if Sunshine or Sugar ever wanted to ride "The Boss", I would suck it up and jump on board, because I love them. In the same way, if another child pulls my heart and needs me, I guess I would jump on the adoption ride again, for the love of a child. Some things are just more important than my comfort zone.

Blessings to you,
Mamita J

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Some Bloggy Fun and a Little Update

Well, I've been tagged by my dear friend, ManyBlessings, over at A Life Outside the Box. You should check out her blog. She's not only a good friend, but a fantastic writer.

So, these are the rules of tag:
  • Link the person who sent this and leave a comment on their blog so their readers can visit yours.
  • Post the rules on your blog.
  • Share 7 strange/weird facts about yourself.
  • Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and link their blog. Let each person know they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
So, here are my seven weird facts...

  1. When I was a kid, my eye teeth came in above my regular teeth. I looked like a vampire child. (This is also one of my dental horror stories.)
  2. I'm scared of balloons popping. I really, really hate it. I cried when that was the party game. And my college roommate used to chase me with balloons for the fun of it. You know who you are, and I've forgiven you. ;-)
  3. I can't walk away from a puzzle until it's done. It's a sickness.
  4. I was engaged to Mr. Wrong-for-me when I met Daddy S. He was, and still is, my knight in shining armor.
  5. The best job I ever had (besides being a mom) was driving an Ice Cream Truck. It was also the worst paying job. Some days I was lucky if I came home with $10 after 9 hours in the truck. But where else can you make kids happy all day long? And no one EVER left my truck empty handed. In fact, that's why I never made any money.
  6. Okay, don't laugh...I homeschool, and every time I bring out the Grammar books, I do my best MC Hammer impression and say, "It's Grammar time!" The kids roll their eyes. I'm such a geek.
  7. Two songs that got way too much play time on my record player (yes, record player) are Tony DeFranco's "Heartbeat (It's a Love Beat)" and the Bay City Rollers "S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y Night".
Since I'm new to blogging, I don't have 7 friends yet (or the ones I do have have already been tagged), so I choose these three adoption buddies...Gayle, Tracy, and, Lori. A special congratulations goes out to Gayle, who will soon be traveling to get their handsome little guy! Go check out their blogs.

And now for the update....

Apparently, some of the "facts" from my last post are already slipping into the rumor category. I believe there is only one entity that is recognized as the true Central Authority. And I've heard that they are open for business. Our facilitator will try to apply for registration by tomorrow. They have not yet begun to output the "proof of registration" papers that are needed to enter PGN, but they are at least accepting applications...we think. So keep praying, and we'll keep holding on.

Blessings to you,
Mamita J

Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Truth Sinks In

"The bigger they are, the harder they fall."

What is true of men is also true of hopes. Just three days ago, we were hoping that we were within weeks of bringing Cupcake home. In order to gear-up for the drastic changes that were imminent, we've been daydreaming about how it will be when she is home...and not all sunshine and roses - we have three kids. We know better. When TE picked on Sugar, I thought, "How will I handle this if TE picks on Cupcake." When everybody had meltdown, I thought, "Oh yeah, it's only going to get worse." But I also dreamed of walking through the grocery store with a little girl who's never seen so much food. And I bought an Easter sweater that will match the Easter dress that I bought 2 years ago. (It will still fit. I bought it big.) We dared to dream...and now we're licking our wounds. We were so close, we could almost reach out and touch it.

...and now that's all changed...

I've had my head in the sand with this whole Central Authority thing.

I thought God had parted the waters for us, like Moses at the Red Sea. I have felt through this whole process that we would be like Moses and the Israelites at the Red Sea. Stuck between a rock and a hard place (actually it was a mountain and the sea), they look back to see Pharoah and his whole army. There appears to be NO WAY out. Then, at the moment of greatest despair, God comes to their rescue and delivers them. They walk through on dry ground! What an awesome testimony to the power of God and His loving care for His people.

Now, God has brought us through the Red Sea on numerous occasions during this process already. If we had known all the dangers we would face, we would have chickened out before we ever got started.


If we had been sure of His incredible deliverance and when it would happen, we might have been up for this frightening roller-coaster ride.

"WOO-HOO! Bring it on!"

Instead, we stepped out in faith, knowing that God's hands were all over this, but not knowing what it is He is teaching us or what the outcome will be.

"Yes, Lord."

We are certain that Cupcake was meant to be ours. We are pretty sure God plans to bring her home. We don't know how many more times He will need to part the waters for us, but He is obviously not done letting us sweat and showing us His glory.

So, what's our Red Sea? Well, it goes like this...Rumors are flying and truth is hard to come by, but these are the confusing facts as I know them.
  • The old President appointed the three "Board Members" for the Central Authority(CA) a few days before he left office.
  • The new President replaced two of those with his own picks. The two that are "out" are suing the administration.
  • There are two sets of people claiming to be the legitimate "Central Authority".
  • One of those CAs is telling PGN (the Attorney General's office) what to do. PGN does not like to be told what to do. They claim the CA is overstepping their bounds.
  • The CA claims that they deserve half of the attorney's fees so they can finish the processes themselves. The attorneys have sued the CA.
  • The law that went into effect January 1st, states that all grandfathered cases must register within 30 days. The lawyers claim that means 30 business days (Feb 12). The CA claims it means 30 days (Jan 30). So the CA is not accepting new registrations. We were kicked out on Feb 1.
  • The last time Guatemala had adoption issues, it shut down for 6 months while it hashed out the details.
So, as you can see, even if you don't understand a thing I'm saying, things are a mess...and we're stuck between a rock and a hard place. Now, it's possible that the CA will get it's act together and accept registrations in the next two weeks, before the law runs out, and we'll just pick up where we left off...or it's possible that we're in for another long haul.

I wonder how God is going to orchestrate this one?

Blessings to you,
Mamita J

Friday, February 1, 2008

A Heartbreaking Setback...

Today, we received news that our file was kicked out (rejected by PGN - the Attorney General's office) because of a typo on the Social Worker's Report. The wrong birthdate was listed. In the grand scheme of things, this is not the end of the world. This is a setback---probably a 2-month setback. But it's more than a setback...

First of all, we were anticipating "the call" any day now. "The call" would be the phone call that we had been approved by PGN. That call would mean that we had been approved by the government of Guatemala and would be traveling to pick up Cupcake in approximately 4-6 weeks. For the past two weeks, every time the phone rang, I jumped out of my skin. So we are, once again, readjusting our hopes.

In the second place, April 18, will be the 2-year anniversary of when we were matched with Cupcake. In my mind, we were well on our way to beating that ugly anniversary. Now we will surely be facing that day with aching arms and longing hearts.

Cucake 4/18/06

Cupcake 12/16/07

Third, and most frustrating, because of the new adoption laws, a new government entity was established in January to control adoptions. It's called the Central Authority. In order for existing cases to be "grandfathered in" to the old adoption laws, each case must be registered with this new Central Authority by February 12. Here's the kicker...the new Central Authority has not clearly established how to register with them. There seems to be a lot of political power struggles going on and no one is actually able to figure out how to proceed. So, here's the deal...we cannot be resubmitted to PGN until we are registered with the Central Authority. We have 12 days to get registered. We are not alone. There are hundreds of other families in the same boat.

You say, "Surely, they will make extensions or do whatever it takes to help these families." I sincerely hope so. but we are not talking about America. We're talking about a developing country that was pressured by UNICEF and our own State Department to implement legislation before they were ready. One of these days, I'm going to enlighten you on the finer points of UNICEF's intentions. Did I mention that a new presidential administration took office in January too? Yep. So it's not a "for sure" thing that they will just work things out.

So, I'm asking you to pray like crazy that the Central Authority would get it's ducks in a row, so we can begin to begin the 6-8 week wait in PGN again.

God Values Human Life

I have many, many reasons to believe that abortion is wrong, but as a Christian, God's Word is the ultimate authority for my life. I will cover a lot of other reasons later, but I'm going to start with the Bible. You will not find a Bible verse that says, "Abortion is wrong.", but there are several principles that can lead us to know that truth.

The first principle that you can find all over Scripture is:

God Values Human Life.

It's a fact. Let's start at the beginning. In the first chapter of Genesis (1:27), it states that man (mankind) is made in God's image. No other creature has that distinction. Trees are not. Animals are not. Only people are created in the image of God, in His likeness. And God places special value on the lives of people. Number 6 of the 10 Commandments is "You shall not murder." (Exodus 20:13) Murder is the deliberate taking of a human life for no good reason. It also says in Proverbs (6:16-17) that there are six things the Lord hates...among them, the shedding of innocent blood. Apparently, God places great value on people simply because they are people, and casually snuffing out a life is an offense against Him.

And then, in Romans (5:8) ,the Bible tells us that God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Who is "us"? Is it just the pretty people? Or the smart ones? Is it only the "perfect" ones? Did He die for the handicapped? Did He die for the losers? What about the little ones? Or the very old? "Us" is all of humanity, no matter the color, the size, or the abilities. In fact, it says He died for "sinners". He died for rebellious people who had no interest in the things of God. And He knew what He was doing when He went to the cross. He died for us because we are worth dying for. We're valuable to Him. Oh, so valuable.

Blessings to you,
Mamita J