Thursday, April 13, 2006

Flying away

Today is the day! We are headed to the airport in a little under an hour. Then it is back to the good ol' USA! We have a 3 and a half hour plane ride to Atlanta, then I have a 4 hour layover there. Hopefully that will be long enough, since the immigration interview for Dany can last anywhere from 10 minutes to 2 hours. Plus we have to go through customs and get screened back through security. In fact, Dany and I take off after Becky is back at home! I just hope that Dany remains a happy baby all day and goes to sleep tonight!

Well, we need to finish packing and get out of here. Next time I post we'll be home and Dany will be a US citizen!

Adios! Hasta manana!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Today's big event was visiting Antigua. Antigua was the capital of Guatemala when it was a Spanish colony, and only moved when Guatemala City got so large. It still retains much of its colonial feel, right down to the cobblestone streets.

Antigua is the place to go to celebrate Easter in Guatemala. They have processions every day, and decorate the city streets with colorful sawdust carpets. Unfortunately the procession for today did not begin until 4pm, but we still were able to see many of the floats that are carried during the parades. They were incredible. I only hope that the pictures do them half the justice that the impact of seeing them in person had on me.

We also visited a couple of markets while in town. I bought some gifts for folks back home and some items for Dany. I got him the cutest pantalones that are handmade. He also got an extra large hackey sack to play ball with -- he loves playing ball already.

Overall it was grand fun. The only difficulty was maneuvering the stroller along the cobblestone streets. Becky and I were afraid that we were going to lose a wheel or get run over a couple of times. It was very nice to get out of the city and see more of what Guatemala has to offer. It is a beautiful country, and I look forward to coming back here soon with Dany and Chris.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Dany Jose Merrill -- Happy Adoption Day!

A little before 10 am this morning (Guatemala time) the US consul told me congratulations, and with a quick signature Chris and I are the proud parents of a happy, bouncing (literally) boy! He looked very handsome today in the outfit that Josh and Monica bought him. Pictures will be posted once I'm back stateside. I just wanted to cry, and a few tears did leak out. I really wish that Chris could have been there to seal the moment, but I know that he was with us all day in spirit. Dany will remain Dany Jose Merrill until Chris and I readopt him stateside, but he'll be a US citizen as soon as we cross the border! I still can't believe this handsome, happy baby is ours for ever and for always! It just feels so good!

Once we returned to the hotel Dany crashed out for two hours, and so did Mom and Auntie Becky (we've learned if the baby is sleeping, so should we!). Then we went to the pool. The little guy looked pretty cure in his swimsuit and hat. We filmed his first splash in the water -- he wasn't so sure what was going on at first, but took to it after a while -- and took pictures. I think I might have to sign us up for swimming lessons for this summer. What fun that will be!

Tomorrow is Antigua. Veronica is picking up our visa, so Becky, Beckie, and Dany are free to explore the countryside. I'm looking forward to seeing how Guatemala looks outside of the city. There is a folkart style that makes carpets out of sawdust for Easter. We have one in the lobby of the hotel, and it is unbelievable. I have heard that Antigua really goes all out with decorations and parades for the holiday. Needless to say we'll be bringing both the video camera and digital cameras.

Well, I'm going to sign off for now. I have a feeling that Dany is going to be up and at 'em before sunrise again tomorrow and I need to be rested to keep up. Thank you to everyone for your prayers and support. We can feel it all down here and look forward to seeing everyone soon!

4 am and baby is ready for the day!

Well, Dany crashed out for the night about 7pm last night. I knew that meant he would be up early today, but I was still hoping that he would sleep until 5 am. We have our embassy appointment today and have to be ready to leave the hotel at 6:30, so I really was hoping for a little more sleep. However, how can I fight a happy, giggling, yelling with joy baby? He's just too darn cute!

As I said, our embassy appointment is today. Hopefully all will go well and we get our visa tomorrow. I haven't been worried about this appointment at all, then yesterday talking to other parents picking up their children they all commented on how stressful the appointment was for them, and how they worried that something would go wrong. Now I have that doubt trying to nag me in the back of my brain. I already packed our bag for the trip (I can only take a large clear Ziploc) and double-checked it twice. Veronica (our agency contact) has been through our paperwork and said that all was ready. So now all I really need to do is get us both gussied-up and just be patient as the embassy staff and the consulate goes through the paperwork.

Speaking of, I had better go hit the shower and start getting ready. The boy obviously is not going to sleep any time soon, and my clock to get ready is starting to tick.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

el Mercado

First, it has been said that I need to correct the record. In one of my previous blogs I stated that Becky had not changed any diapers. That statement is no longer true. Last night, Becky had to prove me wrong. Her comment is "It's not that I can't. It's just that I chose not to." So there.

Another question has been, "Who's Dany?" Dany is Garrett's birth name, the name that is on his Guatemalan passport, and what I am calling him for right now. So much else has changed, I figured the least I could do is continue to call him the name he is familiar with. Of course, that said, when I want his attention I call him "Gordo" -- he is such a chunk that his foster mom, Olga, simply referred to him as Gordo, and his head swings in your direction when he hears that name. Becky thinks that I am going to give the boy a complex, but I think that it is cute.

Today has been a good day. Dany is sleeping and eating close to schedule, and while awake is just all smiles, giggles, and shouts of joy. He has found two girls that he particularly likes to flirt with, and they seem to like him just fine in return. Of course, we have to convince all three that it is not nice to grab eyes, hair, and for Dany, that we can bite our own fingers, but not our friends.

Becky, Dany, and I even made a trip to el mercado this afternoon after Dany's lunch. Everyone of the vendors promised us a "very special price, just for you." I managed to avoid the temptation of buying anything so that I wouldn't buy everything. I think that I am going to buy some authentic Guatemalan clothes for him to play with when he gets older. There is a very nice painting of the Mayan calendario on Mayan paper that I can get framed when we get home and hang in his room. Plus, I am debating whether to buy a mask for my classroom -- I love masks even if I don't teach social studies any longer. There are also some Guatemalan toys that I'm looking to purchase. However, all of those purchases will be made tomorrow. Dany spent the time at the market in his backpack (thanks Jeff!) and even took a brief nap as we strolled through.

Well, I think that the little guy is starting to spike a fever with a new tooth. Everything is going into his mouth, and as I type Becky is trying to give him his bottle which he just wants to bite on. Time for Mommy to get the Tylenol and ease the baby's stress.

Happy Baby!

The happy-go-lucky baby from Christmas is back! I think Dany finally decided I might be OK. He's smiling much more, and starting to snuggle with me pretty well.

Last night Dany slept for most of the night. He woke up at 12 for his bottle, but he didn't eat all of his bottle before bed -- he was asleep too quickly. However, after that brief period to eat, he stayed asleep until 7 this morning. We've had two bottles already, a bowl of wheat cereal, and took a nap while Becky and I ate breakfast.

The smiling boy has just played and giggled all morning. He has a soft ball that he loves in the baby lounge, and he has spent much of the past hour crawling around the room after it. He just found the baby piano again, and is currently bust composing his second movement -- seems to really be taking after Dada (his favorite word to say).

Well, a line is forming for the internet, so I am going to sign off for now. I think Becky and I are going to visit el mercado (the market)that is around the corner. This afternoon we are going to try to visit some museums. It'll all depend how happy the baby remains.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Sleepy Baby

Well, remember that baby I told everyone about after Christmas? The one who we could just place in his crib and would fall asleep without fuss? The one who slept almost all night long, with the exception of a short wake-up for a bottle? Yeah, well that baby was not around last night.

The pobrecito (poor little one) cried for a full half hour before falling asleep at 8:30. He then stayed asleep until 9:30, but fell asleep after a little cuddling. He woke up at 12:30 and stayed awake for 2 HOURS! I finally got him to go to sleep with some warm milk in his belly and Spanish television on. Then he woke up for the day at 5:30 this morning. He did take a 20 minute nap at 8, just as Becky and I were ready to go to breakfast. Finally he took a long nap at 11 and stayed asleep until 12:30! Needless to say I slept in the bed right next to him for most of that nap. Becky's comment was that this was "the longest 24 hours of my life" and "This is not what I was expecting." However, she has been a complete Godsend, helping me entertain Dany, make bottles, but I just can't get her to change any diapers. :)

Gordo (fat), as Olga, his foster mom, called him, is just missing everything that he knows. He has different faces, different sights, different sounds (he does settle down when we speak Spanish to him or have Spanish television on -- he particularly loves Buenas Noches, Luna), and different smells. I am using the clothes that Olga brought him in yesterday as his snuggle blanket for now, just to give him some sense of familiarity. I can't imagine how hard this must be for him. Thankfully, he finally seems to be taking to Becky and I and realizing that we are going to take care of him.

Well, as I type this Dany is rubbing his eyes and twirling the hair by his right ear. A sure sign that he is sleepy. Time for a bottle and maybe, hopefully, a nap.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

In Guatemala

So, the day has finally arrived! Becky and I took off early this morning and landed in Guatemala before noon local time. Dany (Garrett) was in my arms at 2:30 local time and we have been living the high life since then.

He has discovered just how cute he really is and loves to stare at himself in the mirror -- any mirror. I can't blame him -- he really is cute! I'll post new pictures once we return, thanks to Becky for being the trip videographer.

I am just so excited to be here and have it all for real. But now is time for my little one to hit the hay for the night. I'm going to sign off and will post more tomorrow.

Welcome to our lives Dany Jose!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Waiting is the hardest part

Ok, so today I am just sitting around the house waiting to get that email -- the email with my new embassy appointment date. I have completely packed all my bags -- literally they are sitting by the door, as if I am going to just grab them and make a run for the plane. I have called the adoption agency at least four times, and I have completely lost count of how many times I have called Becky for whatever reason.

I do not know what to do to use up my time. I can't even sit still, nor can I get anything accomplished. It took me over an hour just to paint my toes (I know, like that is an important task) because I kept getting up to do something else -- none of which is completed.

Now I am waiting to call the embassy. They only take phone calls between 2 and 3 local time. Wish I could have that job! Hopefully, they will have word for me on a travel date and put me out of my misery! Tomorrow would be perfect!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Day of confusion!

Monday at 12:45 the adoption agency called to ask if I could be in Guatemala that night -- I had an embassy appointment at 8:15 TUESDAY MORNING!!!

Needless to say, I began running around like a chicken with its head cut off. I was still in the process of finishing grades, plus I hadn't finished compiling all our paperwork or packed! Thank goodness I have been blessed with wonderful friends. Katherine, a wife from squadron, began calling the travel agent for me to try to book a flight. Monday night she came to the house to help me pack and figure out just exactly what all I would need to take with me, and what needed to go in my carry-on versus regular suitcase. Cynthia, my friend who recently completed her adoption from Korea, came over to help me pack and let me borrow her Space Bags -- thank you to whoever invented those for a trip like this! They kept reminding me to breathe, and Cynthia reminded me of a very important point -- at the end of all this confusion and hecticness I would have Dany home with me! Somehow Chris knew that I was having a mental breakdown, and called. I thank God everyday that he sent that man to be my husband! To top it all off, my email went down, and I had to call for a tech to come out and repair it. Becky also has been a godsend, putting up with my frequent calls, and being willing to drop all of her life to travel around the world with me to pick up my son.

I was not able to get a flight out until Tuesday morning, so I would miss my embassy appointment. I emailed the embassy to reschedule and now I am sitting on my hands waiting for that email to come back with my new date. I have finally finished compiling all my required paperwork. I have packed. Now, how am I going to stay busy until I get news?