Thursday, December 28, 2006

Parting is such sweet sorrow

Yesterday was a very hard morning. We had to return Elena to her foster mother. It was especially hard since she was finally warming up to us and showing her true colors instead of just watching everything and taking it all in.

Garrett woke before his sister, and being a stinky boy from playing hard all the day before and sweating all night, Chris gave him a bath. Afterwards, Chris quickly slipped into the shower while I kept watch. Well, I must have drifted asleep because from behind closed eyelids I heard, "giggle, giggle" "giggle, giggle". Garrett was standing next to Elena's crib, patting her through the bars and entertaining her. Once more they were cracking each other up. It was too cute! Of course, by the time I got out the camera, the show was over. Then while I took a quick shower, Garrett helped Dad feed sister her bottle. That I was able to catch on camera. What a good big brother he is going to be! And she loves him tons, or at least thinks he's pretty funny.

During breakfast she had fallen asleep, so Chris was carrying her carefully through the hotel. When she heard her foster mother's voice she smiled in her sleep. Then she heard it again, smiled, and her eyes fluttered open. It was easy to see how much she loves her foster momma. That made it a little bit easier to let her out of our arms, but not much. Garrett just about refused to give her a kiss goodbye, instead head-butting her once then clinging to Dad or Mom. This after showering her with kisses and hugs all weekend long. Elena, however, tried several times to grab her brother and pull him to her for a kiss. It's nice to know that Garrett will have a sister who gives as good as she gets and can keep him in his place.

After a quick trip to the market, a rushed lunch, and rapid final packing we left the hotel and went to the airport. As we finally boarded our plane and prepared for take-off, I told Garrett (who loved watching out the window) that we were leaving Guatemala, but we would be back soon for Elena. I asked him to blow her a kiss to keep in her heart until we returned. Sitting on my lap, he babbled something then threw more kisses than I could count out the window. So precious! That again set tears in my eyes.

Now we wait. We have been in PGN for almost 6 weeks, and we are hoping for a quick out after the new year. Of course, I am very thankful that we are not one of the many families we met who have been waiting in PGN since September, and for them, I hope for a quick return as well. We just cannot wait to have a our whole family together under one roof.

Christmas in "The Land of Eternal Spring"

Well, we have arrived home again. However, I thought I should include some thoughts on our first Christmas together as a family. Needless to say it was wonderful!

Presents: Garrett thoroughly enjoyed ripping the paper and then to discover there were BOOKS inside! Wow! What a treat! We read his new books again and again. He discovered a new trick -- point to a picture and have Mom or Dad repeat what it was. Of course, he had to show how smart he is by pointing to the picture of juice, then picking up his juice cup to show Dad. As for Elena, she thought ripping the paper was very fun, especially afterwards it was quite tasty. As for the books, well, they tasted pretty good, too!

Christmas Eve: We dressed the kids in the Santa jumpers that my mom bought them. Everyone in the hotel commented on how cute they were. Pictures together were a challenge, as Elena is not quite sitting on her own yet (to be expected by a Guatemalan baby who spends all her time in her foster mother's arms), and Garrett always wanted to takeoff in his own direction. The only way we were able to get a photo of them together was either when Garrett finally conked out in the baby room in the bouncy seat, or by the tree for just a minute before Garrett wiggled and Elena crashed forward, face first. The best was after dinner though. At about 8:30 every night Elena's personality would really begin to break through. She would start to giggle, blow raspberries at Chris, me or Garrett, and then demonstrate the power of her voice at eardrum-splitting levels. Of course, all of this cracked Garrett up enormously, and they fed off each other for well over an hour. So much for sleep! Finally they crashed out at about 11:30, followed shortly thereafter by Chris. I, on the other hand, decided to stay up and watch the fireworks at midnight. It was the most spectacular sight I have ever seen after seeing in person my children for the first time. Fireworks literally rimmed the entire city, and they were shot off at rapid pace for almost twenty minutes. People inside the city shot off their own bottle rockets and firecrackers. It was a beautiful sight to celebrate the start of Christmas day. Of course, it also sounded as if the city was under attack, but it didn't have that feel.

Christmas Day: After dressing the little ones in their finery, we went downstairs for breakfast. Elena and Garret sat in their high chairs (sillitas) while Chris and I tried to also eat. I had a hard time eating because I was watching the two of them interacting and just laughing at the joy of it. Elena would babble and blow raspberries in Garrett's direction. Meanwhile, Garrett stared at her ernestly, nodding his head, and making some comments in response. I have no idea what they were discussing, but it was wonderful. Of course, when I started to laugh out loud, Elena gave me a look as if to say, "Excuse me. My brother and I are trying to have a conversation here." Shortly after breakfast they both crashed out, as did Chris and I after our short night (Garrett liked to wake at 5:30, regardless of the time he went to sleep). The only way we could get a photo that day was to hold them in our arms and beg a stranger to snap the shot. After the requist photo we all changed into more comfortable clothes and enjoyed a nice meal with new friends that we made in the baby lounge.

Ah, what a wonderful life we lead, and what a wonderful way to spend Christmas!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Family Traits

Well, after I logged off this afternoon I realized there are several other key similarities between our two children. First, the first thing the foster mother told me about Angie is that "She loves to eat. She eats everything!" That sounded remarkably similar to what Olga told us about Garrett. Then at dinner tonight we witnessed the purple face, the tongue stuck out, and the face of concentration on our dear daughter's face. I guess they really are family. It was just too cute to witness that baby Garrett move again. We haven't witnessed the purple face in some time.

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Garrett says "hello" and that it is time for Mommy to be done. We miss you all, but I couldn't imagine us anywhere else for this Christmas. Love you!

1st meetings

Well, all I can say is that Angie is an absolute baby DOLL! Literally, I thought I was going to break her just changing her clothes because she is so dainty. She only weighs 16 lbs. Needless to say, all our 6-9 month clothes should still fit when she comes home.

Garrett took to his little sister like a champ! We haven't been able to catch him in the act with the camera, yet, but he has been kissing her, and giving her head butts (his other form of affection), and handing her toys. Of course, those aren't the toys that he wants to play with, and any toy that she is holding is suddenly the world's greatest toy -- unless he has given it to her.

They are definately related. Their eyes are almost identical. In fact, when we entered the hotel I knew immediately that Angie was waiting for us in the lobby just by those big eyes staring out at me from under her hat. However, they also share several key personality traits. Angie has the perpetual tongue stick-out, which is a classic Garrett trait. Last night when she would not give in to sleep for anything she started to smack her head with the side of her left fist, another classic Garrett move. I can't wait to see what else they share as they get older.

Thankfully today is going smoother with Angie than yesterday afternoon did. At first she wasn't quite sure what to make of us. She fussed and fussed. Of course, she had a terrible diaper rash and her second tooth popped through, on top of leaving her foster mother and meeting us strange folks. It tore my heart out to hear her in the crib crying last night, calling out "Mama, mama, mama, uhhh, mama". I just went to her, knowing that she wasn't calling for me, and we spent some time in the baby lounge until she settled down. That was good bonding time, and today she has been much more snuggly with me. Of course, Angie has Daddy wrapped around her little finger. Chris says that she switches which finger she has him wrapped around. Definately Daddy's little girl.

Well, I need to sign off for now. The baby lounge is full of families sharing stories and I have hoarded the internet for long enough.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


Okay, so I have been a little delinquent updating my blog. My hope is that things will change now -- hahahahhaaa you laugh, those who know me.

A very quick update is this: Garrett (Dany) and I arrived home on the 13th of April. We had company visit us, Chris's parents and my sorority sisters, the Big Freaks. While Chris's parents were visiting they placed an order for a granddaughter (none yet in the family). Wouldn't you know three days after they left I received a phone call from our adoption agency asking if we wanted to adopt Garrett's biological cousin, a beautiful baby girl! Of course we said yes, so I rapidly got our dossier together and had our homestudy done -- all while Garrett had only been home THREE weeks! Fast forward to the summer, and Garrett and I spent the month of July in Maine visiting my folks and friends. When I returned to North Carolina, Chris and I started to realize how much house a baby takes up. We started to discuss moving, but didn't think it was possible with all our adoption debt. Again, God must have intervened because the PERFECT house was for sale down the street from some friends, and another friend of mine signed on to be our realtor. While I prepared the house to sell, I also had to get ready for Chris's return. He came home from Iraq the beginning of September, and we started to finally spend some time as a family. Garrett started to walk a week after Chris came home (had to be shown up by a little girl his age running around before he started, but we all need motivation from somewhere). Just when we started to wonder if our old house would ever sell, a family from Hawaii signed a contract and we rapidly moved into our new home. Since then my mom has come to visit for a week, as did Chris's parents over Thanksgiving (and thankfully helped out with the move). We hosted our first party this past weekend, with our friends Becky and Scott coming into town.

Now we head to Guatemala to visit our soon-to-be daughter, since she can't be home with us for Christmas. I'm starting to think that visiting Guatemala at Christmas is going to be our family tradition. While we are in country I'm going to post our thoughts and awe daily so that our friends and family can stay in touch with all that is going on. Once we come home, I plan (that's right, I intend it this time) to keep up the blog as we finish the process of bringing home Elena and completing our family. Please check back often, as I'll also be attaching photos of our darling bundles of joy.