Friday, March 30, 2007
so mad: Well, the other night I sat down and wrote a great blog entry. Then I went to add a cute picture and it deleted. I tried my best to retrieve it but could not. I'm going to sit back down and retype it out in the next few days. Out of frustration, I haven't posted since then. Sorry!
so sad: Nana (Russ' mom) left today. She had been here for 10 days and they flew by! Eliot really took to her and it just made this all seem so much more real. It saddens me though that he won't get to see her again until this whole thing is over. On the flip side, it's exciting to know that next time she sees him, he'll officially be ours and an American citizen!
so glad: Russ is coming for visit #3!!!! I'm pretty much over-the-top excited that I get to see him again and that he's going to see Eliot in this stage. He was able to visit for a week w/ me in July (Eliot was only 7 weeks old) and then came and lived here for 5 weeks over the holidays. A bunch of friends got together and bought a ticket for him for his 30th birthday since we haven't seen each other in 10 weeks! I'm so happy!!!!
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Sunday, March 25, 2007
In the last four months I've had several experiences that make me shake my head and say, "wow. guatemala." The majority of these experiences make me laugh and appreciate the fact that I'm here. Most of these wouldn't have occured in St. Louis! To start, I've been in 6 earthquakes already. The smallest being a 4.2 on the scale and the biggest was a 6.2. I'm not as scared of them as I thought I would be. It is a little scary though to be in such an old city full of ancient ruins while everything is shaking...
While Beth, Keri and Heather were here we got to see a volcano erupt. We were in a restaurant and got a phone call saying that Mt. Fuego was erupting. The girls didn't know which volcano that was in a city set in a valley of volcanos so Beth got quite a panicked look and asked what we needed to do. She was unaware that Fuego is over 80 miles away. Kinda funny to me. It was really amazing to see it happen though!
I have now seen two dogs who regularly wear sunglasses here. The first was riding in a backpack and on a motorcycle w/ his owner. hmmm. The second was just walking through the park like any normal day...
A "car wash" down here includes one guy out on the street w/ a rag flagging cars into a side street while a team of 3-4 guys have their buckets ready.
It is not uncommon to see a family of 4-5 people riding a mo-ped. together. all at one time.
Once I saw two grown women riding a moped. The one in the back also had a baby in a sling and was holding onto a full-size stroller propped up between the women. on a mo-ped.
It is also quite normal for men and women to carry things on their heads. While we're used to seeing that in pictures from National Geographic, I had never seen men carrying large furniture on thier backs using a strap on their foreheads.
They do not have or sell or see the need for decaf coffee. It's a weird concept for them to understand. It's also tradition for babies and children to have coffee w/ every meal. When Eliot first started on solids the cook in the bed and breakfast kept trying to give me bread soaked in coffee for him to eat. She finds it weird that he's never had coffee at the age of 10 months.
The most odd of all my experiences occured one Sunday after church. I was walking down the street to go home and heard a car w/ a loud speaker. This is somewhat typcial of Antigua, especially for cell phone companies or beer companies who are advertising. So I looked down the street to see which this was only to see a large elephant with a Guatemalan woman in evening wear riding him, walking down the street. While some may say how odd this is, it gets weirder. Behind the elephant was a Geo Tracker w/ the loud speak advertising some event in town. Not so weird...wait for it, wait for it. On the hood of the Tracker was a female Guatemalan midgit wearing a gold sequin bikini waving at everyone as though it were just a normal day.
Hopefully this gives you a small window into life in Antigua, Guatemala for the Mohr family!!
Friday, March 23, 2007
It's become "tradition" to meet at a great cafe in town on Friday afternoon/evening for dinner. Tonight we had 14 babies there and you would be shocked. At several points we looked around and only 1 baby was crying, the rest were just chillin. That's pretty much how it is for most get-togethers here. Guatemalan babies are so great! (and so cute!) It's amazing to have such a community of friends down here. It's been a HUGE blessing that I"ll never fully know the impact of, I'm sure. I'm not quite sure how else I would've stayed sane!
I also wanted to show off my new roomie/ suite mate and her beautiful daughter, Bella. She's the one w/ her baby in a sling all cuddled up! (Bella just started walking this week and it's pretty exciting!) Her name is Sharon and she's from Washington state. She's actually one of the first people I met here back in November and we've come to be great friends! She and her old house-mates took me under their wing to show me around town and get me connected to the large group. Pray for her case as you're remembering us, she's already been here almost 8 months and her daughter is almost a year old. She's definitely due to go home!
Thanks for all your encouraging emails, I'm blessed by your thoughts and prayers!
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Russ's mom, Sandra, got here yesteday for a visit to see her first Grandson! Eliot took all of 45 minutes before he was on her lap and giving her big sloppy kisses! It's a blessing to have her here, to see Eliot's 'homeland', and most of all to help me!! ( a little selfish, i know!) It's been a huge blessing to have her here even just for the last 24 hours! It's also fun to show her around town! She'll be here until the end of the month!
If you refer back to a previous posting, this will make more sense, but we are out of the "reviewing" step with our paperwork in PGN and onto the Attorney General's desk! This is exciting and scary at the same time, so pray for FAVOR AND MERCY AND SPEED from this guy!
Monday, March 19, 2007
I was so blessed to have Heather, Keri and Beth come for a visit for 5 days! It was such an encouragement and helped to give me a little piece of home! We went to the pool, went to a local spa, visited the Mercado and spent lots of time making Eliot laugh!! He fell in love w/ the girls and was sad to see them go! If anyone else needs a getaway, just let me know!!!!!
Greetings from Central America! Believe it or not, I am sad to miss all the snow back home but it's nice to wear tanktops and capris each day! There have been several people that have been asking for more details of what's going on and I'm afraid that poor Russ is getting exhausted answering so many questions! I'm sending this email to give everyone the same "cliff's notes" version of what the next steps are in order for Eliot and I to come home. You would help Russ and I if you could pray specifically for these steps and also to spread the word. Please know that we are SO THANKFUL for each prayer, thought and kind word. Hopefully this will eleveate some of the mystery as to what the hold up is. So, here goes:
> >Step 1: Get approval from PGN.
This is the big one. PGN is the Guatemalan government office that gives the final approval on our entire case. They go through each document and have the power to "kick us out" to fix whatever they see as a problem. It could be as huge as a missing Power of Attorney or as small as using the wrong colored ink. So far we've been in this stage since the beginning of September and have been kicked out 6 times already (the average per case is 2). Our file has to go through multiple reviews/people before it gets to the final signature. We've been on the first reviewers desk since Feb. 27. The average time between entering PGN after a kick-out and approval is 6-8 weeks. Our lawyer is hoping to get a meeting w/ the head Attorney General once we're on his desk to see if we can shorten that window of time since we've already "put our time in."
> >Step 2: Final adoption decree
This is where the birthmom signs off for the final time. This should only take a couple days.
> >Step 3:New Birth Certificate
This is where Eliot becomes Eliot Mohr! This can take up to a couple weeks depending how busy the city hall office is.
> >Step 4: Submit case to U.S. Embassy
This is where our entire file is submitted for the U.S. approval once it's all been translated back into English. At this point,
we also file for an appointment for an interview, which commonly takes place a week later. Within that week we also have to meet w/ the Embassy doctor to clear Eliot's health. This is also when we apply for a passport for Eliot.
> >Step 5: Pink slip-Visa
Once that week is over we go into the embassy for our interview and they issue us a "pink slip". Within 24 hours of the Pink slip, we're allowed to come get Eliot's Visa. The tricky part of all the steps that involve the embassy is that the embassy only processes adoption stuff 3 days a week so that they can handle the other stuff they have to do.
> >Step 6: Get on the freakin' plane!!!!
Sorry this ended up being so long, I actually left out a lot of background and details if you can believe it! But now you know and when people ask, you'll have somewhat of an answer. I hope this helps answer the overall question of "What the heck is taking so long". The main prayer at this point goes back to step 1: getting approval from PGN. Once that happens it's usually 2-4 weeks before we can come home!
I will be updating you again once we hear any news! Again, THANK YOU for praying, thank you for getting your friends and family to pray, thanks for making me feel missed, thank you for everything!
Friday, March 16, 2007
Well, today is Eliot's ten-month birthday! We never dreamed that Eliot and I would still be in Guatemala for this small milestone! I'm creating this blog so that I can keep everyone updated on the happenings down here, whether that's interesting experiences like the volcano explosion of last night or adoption news, I wanted to have this available. I'm still learning how to "blog" so this will hopefully get better as we go!