Friday, November 30, 2007

Eyes on the Prize

She IS coming home...and that's ALL that matters (in this whole mess)!

Thursday, November 29, 2007


I would like to thank you for making the process to contact so damn difficult and for giving us the proverbial "run around" not once but twice this week. When looking at the form we were sent it said if we had any questions or concerns about our appointment to call the said number. So Greg spent 30 minutes on the phone with your representative trying to reschedule our appointment only to be told we had to infopass. So we infopassed and showed up promptly for our appointment today, only to be told by the Department of Homeland Security Officer at the counter that she can't understand whay we were told that for two reasons....1. We live in Ohio and should have had to use an Ohio office even though our appointment letter clearly states Pittsburgh, and 2. They don't do fingerprints at that location. Can you say ANNOYING? So she, kindly called up the Support Center and asked if they could print us today. Yes they could but we would have to leave the South Side of Pittsburgh and go into the heart of Downtown during lunch hours. Yippee! So USCIS Customer service, could you please at least try to give us the correct answer just ONCE this week. You are making a frustrating situation even worse with your incompetance! Oh, and maybe, just maybe, you actually create some sort of online fingerprint appointment scheduling. I'm sure my adoptive friends would very much appreciate this service. BTW, Kudos go out to the Columbus Adoption Unit of the USCIS and to the Pittsburgh Field Office and Support Center for being so very helpful to us.


Somenone whos glad that her time dealing with you is almost at an end!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


If you read my previous post you know that this week has been a doozie already. After talking with my coordinator, I decided to look at the USCIS website for Columbus to see what I could find to help us expedite our case. I hit the motherload and found the email address to the Adoption Unit Processing Department. So I took a stab and wrote them expecting not to hear back for a few days. They emailed me within the hour. This is what they said "All adoption cases are expedited. Our processing time is posted at 30 days from receipt of last item (i.e., application, home study, fingerprints). We are generally able to get them down in about 2 weeks as long as everything is acceptable in the package." So here's what we need you to pray for....that everything in our packet of paperwork is acceptable to them and that we will receive our new 171H in two weeks. If this happens we shouldn't be delayed by too much if not delayed at all.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Well I found out today that the USCIS officer was wrong. We need to file another I600A asap and we need it approved even faster. We will not get her visa without an active 171H, so until we receive it Liliana will not come home. Please pray that the Columbus USCIS processes us quickly so that we are not delayed by too much. I'm going to see if we can get some officials involved to see if they can influence the USCIS to process us quickly.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Rain, Reck, and a Really long drive

OKay Okay, I am well aware that reck is not spelled correctly, however it needed to fit my pattern. So today we had an appointment at the USCIS field office in Columbus. So we all got up and ready, piled in the car with all our junk and paperwork and headed off to Columbus in the pouring down rain. We drove there, waited, and were informed that are 171H was not expiring but expired and that we no longer qualify for the free extension. This pretty much means we need to refile. The USCIS officer did say though that the I600 must be filed BEFORE the 18 month period is over and since we filed it for DNA and received preapproval that we should be fine. I have, per his recommendation, contacted the Dept of State at the US Embassey in Guatemala to find out if he is correct. Hopefully we'll hear something soon. We also hoped to get refingerprinted, but alas their office was closed, for whatever reason so that was a bust. So why did we drive all that way, well because you can't reach the USCIS office by phone, damn pains in my ass!

After driving 2.5 hours to go to this lovely appointment we headed home. We made it about 30 miles outside of Columbus when we saw these lovely signs for an accident ahead. This was after we passed the last available exit to bypass the upcoming mess. By this point in time, Toby had waken up and since we weren't going anywhere we got off at the rest stop to play. While there we found out that the traffic delay was due to a wrecked tanker truck that had spilled diseal fuel all over the road. The interstate was closed and all the traffic was being diverted to a piddly two lane state route. We got back on the interstate (our ONLY choice) and it took TWO hours to go TWO miles!!!!! Seriously, are you kidding me! After waiting two hours and slow merging cars, we made it up to the exit ramp, with the promise of another headache on the state route. Well God must have figured we had suffered enough by now because they opened back up the interstate 2 hours ahead of schedule. We were off and actually going faster that a snail! Throughout this whole mess and after we finally were set free it was pouring (read as torentoral downpours like those in a hurricane or monsoon). So all in all a 2.5 hour trip home turned into 7 (yes 7) hour trip home. I HATE the rain and tanker trucks that drive recklessly in the rain!!! For all the driving we did today I could be on a beach, with family in Missouri, or enjoying myself in some other destination. Instead I am home, exhusted, still clueless as to how the last stages of our adoption will procede, and in a relatively foul mood due to it all. Okay, I'm done ranting. Go to some of my better, happier, lower on the page posts.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Feliz Cumpleanos Tobias

Today was a FANTASTIC day. We missed Toby's first birthday, so to spend this one with him was overwhelming for me. I absolutely love this little man. He and Greg are my life right now. We started the day hanging out at home, then went to NaNa and PapPap's for his party. He crashed at 5:25 and has pretty much been asleep ever since. Too Much Birthday! I have so many pics that I split them up. I posted the really cute ones and put all the other fun ones on a montage at the bottom of this post. (A tip: Go to the bottom and put the radio player on pause to hear the montage music.) I wish everyone could have been there cause it was hysterical to watch him. He loved ripping through the presents. And if the present was clothes or a stuffed animal he would say no and throw it to the floor, then ask for another package. It was a stitch! He did use his manner though and said Thank You after every present. What a wonderful day!

The Birthday boy this morning

We had a Wiggly Party with everything decorated in Wiggle colors. This was my very first cake. I was very proud of myself and it was a hit!

My "guitar" playing, highly decorated little man

A family photo

The lame cake. After doing the other one, I really didn't care much how this one looked.

His reaction to the new Wiggles DVD was Ooooo. You can see most of the priceless look on his face.

The after shot

Double Click on the picture to begin the Show.

Keep reading cause there are several new posts.

My I-Can't-Believe-It's-Been-Ten-Years-Already High School Reunion

Out of 77 classmates 37 of us showed up. Not too shabby. I had a great time and really enjoyed seeing everyone. The evening consisted of drinks and snacks and lots of catching up with old friends. Here's to CCHS Class of '97!!!
If you haven't heard the fantastic news keep reading to the next post.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Pictures with a Message

Click on the picture to begin the slideshow

View this slideshow created at One True Media
Thanksgiving 2007

Hey Everybody, Guess What??
I'm coming home!!!! We are OUT of PGN. We only spent 3.5 weeks in PGN, which is almost unheard of. Greg and I are in total shock. Our corrdinator told us to expect to travel around or right after the holidays. We are SO blessed this Thanksgiving.

The Countdown is ON

I've gone deal with it! LOL I absolutely love Christmas and have spared you holiday music thus far. I begin listening to it after Halloween. I could never have too much. I have added some of my favorite Christmas music. I wasn't able to get all of it....BIG John Denver and the Muppets fan along with a Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton Christmas. I'm sure some of you are thankful I could only find one song off of each of these. (Oh, the Hunnakah(sp?) song along with Boys to Men are for my husband) So sit back, relax, and enjoy or scroll down to the bottom of the screen and double click on your favorite song on my list to listen to as you read.

As for the Thanksgiving pics, they are coming. Evidently I left the transfer cable at my Mom's last night. So the Turkey Day pics will be added sometime today.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I am Thankful for....

THIS! My beautiful baby boy when he sleeps. here. at home. with us! (These pics were too cute to pick just one. That's Toby's cat Smokey.)

Come back later for what a Day of Thanks looks like with 6 children, two sets of parents, an uncle, a Godfather, my brother and I and our significant others. That would be 16 people and you just never know who else will show up. Love to all and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Torture of NaNa

Okay NaNa, I think we should do your hair kinda like this

My gorgeous Niece

NaNa getting pigtails

This look is just devine

Nate brushing his hair


Enjoying playing with the grandkids

Check out the "do"

Greg with his GodDaughter

Hey NaNa, can we talk too?

Check out the next post to see what else happened this weekend!

Random Pics and a Rescue

Hey Mom, I'm drooling on your couch. ahahaha

Toby's New Big Boy Bed (and bedding...from Ikea) and my elusive cat, Shivers

Strike a Pose.....

I'll give you a pose Mom, here's one...

and another

Now, I'm throwing all my cuteness at you

Do you like see-food?

What do you mean you don't like fish?

What do you like of this pose?

What up dawg?

This big beautiful boy lucked out yesterday. He nearly got hit by 3 cars on a major state route. We were behind the first car that almost hit him, knowing me Greg pulled over so i could go and get him. I had to hike up a hill and lead the poor baby back to the car. He had a collar but no tags. He was old and arthritic and beginning blindness which is how he probably got so lost in the first place. He hopped right in the car and put his very large head on Toby's lap and was quite content. We took him to the animal shelter and found out this was the 3rd time this week that his owner had let him get away. The animal shelter was so depressing, i hated to leave this sweet dog, but he had an owner (albeit, a piss poor one if you ask me) and they knew who she was so hopefully this gentle giant is back at home.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Then and Now

I thought since I have nothing really interesting to post (give me a few days) that we could do a session of Then and Now.

Toby at nearly a year old. I hated this picture last year. I couldn't believe that the hogar had him dressed all "ghetto." That is suppose to be a hat on his head that I'm sure they turned so I could see those beautiful eyes and chubby cheeks.

And here's my boy at nearly two, wearing the remainder of his scrambled eggs. He has grown and developed so much in a year. I am so blessed to be able to be called his Mommy. Look out for even more sappiness as we get closer to the big day.

Oh and.... family members and local friends be on the lookout for the invitation to Toby's party in your email. I kind of cheated and sent out evites.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Mother to Mother

As Toby's second birthday nears, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about what brought Toby into our lives. Everyone has a story and I thought I‘d share ours, mother to mother..... (WARNING: Tissues may be needed)

Three years ago when Greg and I got married it was not a matter of will we have children but when. (we wanted 4 and pretty much had all the names planned already) Within 3 months of being married, we were pregnant. Within one month of finding out about the pregnancy, I lost the baby. When I began to lose the baby, the doctor told me that the fetus was so tiny that I wouldn’t notice. Well I had a complete miscarriage (the fetus and the placenta, a blessing I was told) and it was noticeable. I sat holding my unborn child and grieving. I wept harder than I have ever wept and I cry now just thinking about that day. Now being Catholic, I believe that the baby is a child of god from the moment of conception and as such that baby needed a name. I chose Alex. I had always loved that name and knew I wouldn’t use it and it could be asexual, as we didn’t know what sex the baby was. (I knew it was a boy, call it mother’s instinct) I took me months to “get over it” and I’m still not really. (I could write chapters on this part of my life and the pain and questioning that I went through.)

We tried for 8 more months to get pregnant again and it was incredibly hard on me. Everytime we failed it felt like the miscarriage all over again. I pleaded with God for understanding, a reason, anything! I yelled at him in anger for taking my precious child and for the inability to conceive again. I wept silently to him for months, depressed and mourning so no one could see that I wasn’t okay. I prayed on my situation and God reminded me what I had promised him when I was a young girl, that I would adopt his orphan children. I had always known that I would adopt, God had that talk with my heart when I was a young girl. Now I’m going to pause right here and say that we didn’t adopt because I couldn’t get pregnant, we adopted because that is where God lead us at that time. So with this new plan in mind we signed up for foster to adopt classes. After the classes were over, Greg and I knew we were not ready to foster, but we’re open to other adoption possibilities. I spent 2 months researching different adoption options and then picking an agency. God lead us to BBAS and Guatemala.

Right after we signed, we started to get group emails of children that needed a forever family. After about a month (while we were doing the paper chase) another one of those emails came and this time there was the most beautiful baby boy!, but we were no where near ready. That entire year had been difficult for me, Mother’s Day SUCKED and when school came back in session I had at least 4 parents the were pregnant and one that was due when Alex was suppose to be born. As if it already didn’t hurt enough. Now it was the holiday season, and here I was not only grieving my lost child but also trying to prepare myself and the paperwork for our child to be. Right as we were hitting the year anniversary of the finding out we were pregnant and the loss of that baby, we were paper ready (not a moment too soon cause I needed this, I needed to know that God had a plan for me). We let our director know that we were ready and about a week later she sent me an email saying we really need to know your decision about the baby boy. I responded with what baby boy? The email had never made it to me with our referral. Now Greg and I had decided that we would take the referral as long as the baby was healthy. As we sat at the computer waiting for that email, so many things went through my head, mostly prayers. Then the email came and we opened it up and there HE was, that baby I had fallen in love with 6 weeks before, but we weren’t ready for at that time. How could no one have picked this beautiful baby boy, I asked myself. No one picked him cause he was meant for us. I then looked down at his name (now remember that it had been a year almost to the day that we had shared the pregnancy news with our family), it was Angel. I had prayed that God and Alex would send me a sign and this was it. God sends us Angels when we need them most and to send us a message. And his message to me that day was “this is why”. I knew from that very second that THIS was my son. We went through our list of names, and Tobias popped out. Not cause he necessarily “looked” like a Toby but because of the meaning, a thankful hymn of praise to my Savior. God is Good!

Toby’s road home was long and painful for me. The year was complete torture. (All the delays, the unknowns, the questions from family and friends.) I was crying and pleading for not one child but for two. I was angry with the process to not one child but to two. So as Toby’s second birthday is upon me, I’m thinking of not only how God has used and transformed my life, but also how he used and transformed the life of a young girl thousands of miles away from me, in a strange country that I had never really thought about before. Her name is Angela, the feminine form of angel and she is mine, FOREVER. I will be forever grateful for her sacrifice. And as his second birthday approaches, I am praying that she knows the peace of her decision and God’s plan in her life, but also knows that our son is beautiful and perfect, just the way that God designed him for us.

Sunday Family Dinner

So our Sunday dinners have become alittle crazy at my Mom's house. In the past 10 months my parents have gained two Grandkids and two surrogate grandkids (Cat's children). So our Sunday dinners have gone from my parents, godfather, my brother, and greg and I to the afroementioned group plus an infant, 2 toddlers, and a 6 year old and Cat(my brother's girlfriend, for those that don't know). It's a mad house, but a joyous and thankful mad house to be surround by this much family each week. Here is the picture proof (and last night wasn't as messy as most)....

Toby drinking from his new Wiggles cup

Maybe no one will notice I'm drinking from Nate's cup

Looking for the Guitar section of the Christmas Wish Book

Terrorizing the tupperware cabinet

Toby joining in for some tupperware hockey

"Setting the table"

Losing the fight for the napkins

My brother and his daughter

Hold on Toby, I'm bringing your bib


Mom, I'm hungry...When's dinner?

Playing together with the house

The whole clan of Children

Gianna "doing" my Mom's hair. Doesn't she look pretty?

Toby made his own play area behind the fireplace screen

Aunt T, look at Toby. I don't think Santa will like him messing with the fireplace!

The "special ops team" on their mission to get ice. They had pushed that chair into the kitchen from the dining room. Nate had also pushed the stools to the counter to try to get to the food. They are hysterical together!

Oh Damn Nate, they caught us. Toby if you don't look at them they'll go away. It's too late Nate, they caught us on camera.