Saturday, June 30, 2007

Just for fun!

Just had to post this pic of how Eliot's morning is going...

A last little naked time with his latin lover.

How many, Eliot?

How many days until you're crawling in dog hair on hardwood floors instead of volcanic dust on tile floor? How many days until you're gettting lovingly attacked by two crazy dogs instead of two adorable brown babies (Madie and BellBell) each day? How many days until your mom makes a fool of herself at the airport? How many days until you can growl at daddy? How many days until you're officially an American citizen?


On a different note, please pray for the cases that I've mentioned before. It seems that 2 out of the 5 are hitting more delays than expected (and that's saying a lot!). Each of these brave women have been going through times of hearing no news and now are into hearing bad news. Both of these women have been waiting longer than we have. Please pray pray pray! They just want to be able to take their children home and start their lives with their families and friends.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Eliot's learning numbers!

Today is brought to you by the letters: H O M E and by the number: 10.

That's right! Start the countdown! We have plane tickets!! If you'd like to come see us arrive at the airport, shoot Russ or me an email and we'll give you the details!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

oh, no big deal...

Just wanted to let you know that we're officially coming home on Monday July 9th. That's just 12 silly little days away. Thanks to Senator Bond our Visa appointment was moved up to this next week! We are welcoming anyone who can and would like to, to meet us at the airport to offer a welcome to a new American citizen!

and just another quirky timing: Russ and I met Eliot for the first time last summer during this same week in July that we're coming home. It boggles the mind...

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

We have PINK!!!

We did get our PINK slip yesterday!! Hurray!!! This is our ticket home!! The appointment is set for Monday, July 9th which would bring me home two days later, Wednesday July 11th. We are trying to get the appointment moved up to next week so that I can come home on the 9th instead of the 11th. We'll keep you posted! Woo-hoo!!!!!! Bottom line: Eliot is actually coming home.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Still waiting.

Sorry, everybody. We didn't get any news today. Pray that this doesn't mean bad news. I'll update as we know anything.


This afternoon/evening we should find out when I get to book my flight home. I will blog as soon as I hear something! Pray that the appointment is set for Wednesday morning!

Here's a pic of Eliot's new smile. It's a fake/nervous smile that he's been giving people he doesn't know. It's kinda funny.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

My Abba

If you read my blog entry on Father's Day you saw that my dad and I hiked up an active volcano on Saturday together. It was a great time for the two of us. I can't remember the last time I had some good daddy/daughter time, let alone doing something so unique together. I've had the opportunity to climb it any time I wanted to in the last 7 months but never really was interested until I thought about making the trip with my Dad. We haven't really done anything like that before, but it just sounded good to me. Climbing a volcano with my Dad. Love it.

Anyway, needless to say, anytime you're climbing a mountain, it's tough. Climbing an active volcano presents different challenges. There's the heat, first of all. My pants were wide-leg at the bottom and I kept getting warm air shooting up into them as I passed over each crack in the dried lava. Secondly, there's the dried lava to contend with. It's unstable to walk on and if you attempt to steady yourself with your hand, it's likely that you'll cut yourself as lava dries in to sharp edges. The higher you get, the hotter and sketchier it is. However, the higher you get the cooler the experience. As we went up through the trails, taking many breaks to catch our breath in the high altitude, we got more and more tired. Breaks happened more frequently and lasted longer. Our water bottles were getting emptier with each stop. Why did we keep going? Why would anyone keep going? Because the view from the top was worth it. Once we got up there and were just feet from the active lava, we hardly noticed how short of breath we were. We forgot how thirsty we'd gotten as we shouted over the hissing from the crater on top. We had done it. Through the heat and the height, we had climbed a freakin' volcano.

For me, this is directly correlated to this whole building-a-family process. It has been messy and hard and we've taken breaks. We've tried to encourage each other to keep going even when the peak wasn't even in sight and somehow, that has gotten us to now. We're not quite to the top yet but it's in sight, I can hear it, smell it and taste it. We are just weeks away. Instead of forgetting how hard it was to get here, through all the infertility world, all the paperwork to get an adoption started, and the ups and downs of being separated and living in a foreign country for 7 months, instead of forgetting that, it makes the peak that much richer. Does that make sense? If my Dad and I had taken a car up the mountain, it wouldn't have been nearly as amazing to reach the top but we got there through our own sweat and endurance, together.

I once read a book that said that God isn't as interested in your happiness as he is in your character. I wasn't super excited to read that at the time, being American I have a right to pursue happiness, right? But I think I'm coming around on that one. On this side, I can say that as he's built my character through this craziness, happiness that I've never known has been the result. God knew my heart could experience something so much better through this experience than if I'd had my own way 6 years ago when we started all this. I feel like he's the guide on the top shouting down to the stragglers trying to make it, "Get up here, you gotta see this!" At this point in the process, I can look around at my surroundings and say, "I climbed a freakin' volcano with my Dad, my abba, and the view from the top IS WORTH IT!"

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

"The Others"

No, this isn't about season 3 of LOST, but that is on my list of things to do when I get home. This is about those that have been a part of my Antigua life for the last few months. First, a congratulations and goodbye to two ladies who got to go home with their babies last week! Neither of them had a flawless adoption but regardless, they are now home with their children! Congrats Lisa and Maria and enjoy a Target visit for me!

Now comes the second half. There's 5 women that will still be here when I'm enjoying a slurpee and playing with my dogs. It takes some of the fun out of those moments as each of them wants to be home dearly and they don't know when that will happen. While my name was finally called to leave the 'waiting room', I can't help but look back and see each of them patiently waiting to hear their own name called. Each of them would be included in the "troubled adoption" category. Their children are all around the same age as Eliot and each of them are doing this on their own with an occasional visit from family. Please pray for them daily. These women are brave, ridiculously self-sacrificing, and have made the commitment to fight for their children NO MATTER WHAT. This hasn't been easy for any of them and they covet your prayers.

As good fostering moms, each of them has a blog that is linked to mine. Please take a few minutes to encourage them. Melissa, Sharon, Emily, Cheri and Rebecca are their names. I'll let their blogs tell you each of their stories.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Eliot's life of crime

Well, it's over. Eliot got fingerprinted today at the passport office. He will now have to cease his incessant life of crime he's been living behind the scenes. But seriously, could there be anything cuter than 1. Eliot's passport picture or 2. Eliot's little fingerprints? I mean, it's ridiculous!

Okay, so what now? Our file will be submitted at the U.S. Embassy tomorrow and we will wait until Monday to hear when our final Visa appointment is. The appointment will probably be about 2 weeks later. We're trying to get it moved up but don't know what will happen. Sometimes they are very flexible but other times not. Pray that our case finds favor with whoever answers the phone!

It's fun to think that I'll be driving Eliot to the St. Louis Zoo in a few weeks after a quick stop at Bread Co.! Unreal!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day!

Dear Da Da Da Da,
I miss you but mom says I get to come see you very soon. She says that you're going to get up early with me each morning and play for hours! I can't wait! I really liked your pancakes you made for me last time you were here. Maybe next Father's Day I can make some for you. I have been listening to you sing on our computer and can't wait to come to one of your shows, is it okay if I bring my drum along? Thanks for playing catch with me and I can't wait to show you how I can kick the ball now and even catch it with my feet. Don't worry, that might come in handy with baseball, too, not just soccer. I miss you Da Da Da Da, and can't wait to see you! Happy first Father's Day!

Te Amo,


Yesterday I took my Dad hiking up an active volcano! We rode on an old school bus for an hour and a half and got to the base of Volcano Pacaya. Then hiked straight up for the next 2 hours until we got to the dried lava. And they just kept going up so we got to be a few feet from active lava streams as the volcano hissed at us!! It was a great experience for us to have together while he's here for a visit! A tad different from any other father's day we've had together! Yeah, that's right, my dad and I hiked an active volcano yesterday...

P.S. I don't want to ignore the fact that Russ got to do that with our friend Peter last time he was here, too, so here's a picture of him on the same volcano!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Fun times with the Abuelos!!

Eliot is loving the time spent with my mom and dad so far!! We've been all around town and had some great hang out time together!! This time has been such a blessing for each of us!

We also heard that Eliot's new birth Certificate was issued today!! We have an appointment Monday to get his passport before my parents head back home! That means that our case will be submitted for PINK on Tuesday!! The list is getting checked off, friends!!!! AUGHAHGAHGHGHGHGHGHG!!!!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Yes, we're alive and the 'Rents are here!

My parents arrived yesterday just in time for the rain! We spent the afternoon in the city hoping to get Eliot's passport. We're still waiting for his new birth certificate, so please pray that it happens soon!!

Today I got to show my parents around Antigua a little bit. During our mini-tour we got to be in a 6.8 earthquake. Apparently it was all over the news in the states that it was big and scary but it wasn't that big of a deal. No buildings fell down, no people died, and the phone lines are still intact. My parent's thought a large truck must have driven by! Sorry to disappoint but it was really that lame. There must not have been that much going on in the news elsewhere. Also, keep in mind this is my 9th earthquake since I've been here, three of them being over 6.2.

Eliot's new name is Spazzy McGee as he is completely showing off for his abuelos (grandparents). He's loving them to pieces and I love to see them interact! My dad already taught Eliot how to catch a ball with his feet to stop it like a good little soccer player even while giggling...

I'm blessed to have them here. I'm so very excited that they get to meet Eliot before we come home. So excited that they get to meet him in his native country and so excited that they get to see where I've lived for the last 7 months!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Ode to La Bodegona (for you fosterers...)

Dearest Bodegona,

You are my one and only. No other grocery store can offer me quite what you can. Your sale prices are unbeatable and your tiny aisles help me to cuddle with the other locals in town. You offer me fresh-squeezed orange juice you matter how busy you are and you are always so helpful to remind me when holidays are approaching. You always provide shelter from the storm as long as I watch where I'm walking. You have always helped me to be efficient with my space by providing the tiny baskets so as not to add fluff such as yummy chips or ice-cold soda.

However, you tease me sometimes. You will have shelves and shelves of my favorite products one day and then never again. Why are you so fickle, Oh Bodegona? What have I done to make you take the eggs out of your selection? Was I giving the skim milk more attention than I should have? Is that why you've rid yourself of such a thing? I fear that you fancy my husband more than I or you wouldn't have taken Quaker Oat Squares from me and filled your endcaps with Mucho Nachos.

Bodey, you make me laugh more than any other grocery store has before. Your "ofertas" are my weakness. The way you can combine items in your endless stock rooms with packing tape and sell them as a pair gets me every time. I have always loved the classic of a 54oz Soda with Ramen Noodles but you out-did yourself last week with the jelly taped to the box of crayons. Not to mention my personal favorite that you chose to offer at Mother's Day: the can of Raid taped to fabric softener. How do you know the way to my heart?

Oh, Bodey-gon-gon, I will miss you when I depart. As I'm gliding seamlessly through aisle-ways of my old love, Schnucks, gathering products that are faithfully there each and every time, I will miss the adventure you provided in my life. Please know you are cherished for always but I will move on. Thanks for the good times,

Katie and Eliot

Friday, June 8, 2007

One man's trash is another man's "HOLY COW!"

Is it some sort of faux-pas to blog twice in one day? Forgive me if I've offended you by posting another entry! Russ called today to let me know that he had a quick, but interesting stop at a friend's house this morning. This friend that we have through church connections handed Russ a card with a check inside. Apparently more than 24 families participated in a massive garage sale last weekend in our honor. We are again in a place of being happily overwhelmed. I don't want to commit another faux-pas by telling you how much the check was for, but I will say that people from church must have A LOT of junk.

I can't even begin to think of all the ways we've been blessed through out this process. I know this post is beginning to sound like every other post I make. "everyone's amazing, couldn't have done it w/o all of you, God rocks my face off, how can I say thank you enough, yada yada." However, I really truly mean it each time. It's truly been that amazing, I"m not just acting humble like Melinda from American Idol, I promise.

I love the scene I have in my head of families dropping off box after box of junk and the host family's eyes getting bigger and bigger. While this is grammatically way off, we got served. The Mohr's have gotten their proverbial feet washed more times in the last year than we can even remember. So, again, if it's not too much, thank you.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Adoption is the new "black"

At first hearing this, it took me a second to figure out that it meant that adoption is the new trend. Apparently this was printed on a t-shirt and a lot of the adoption chat-boards are boycotting it. I'm guessing this is in reference to my good friends, Brad and Angelina and Madonna. It's interesting to think through this. Do they make it look rather easy? Sure. It's actually somewhat touchy for some of those in the real adoption world, especially if you've had a hard time. Does that mean that more people have been and will be looking into the possibilities? Maybe. Celebrities aside, does it just mean that society is more open to families that all look different but have the same name? I hope so.

Here's a fear of mine that has occurred to me now and then throughout our journey. I pray that our "troubled adoption" wouldn't scare people away from considering it for themselves. I know that if it's on people's heart, that if it's the right thing to do for them, that they would act on that. I know there's a crowd of you out there that have said, "one day..." and that's the group that I hope hears our story and says, " 'one day’ should be sooner rather than later", not, "turn and run so we don't have to be like the Mohr's!"

So, I guess this is a call to adoption. While Russ and I will eventually fill our house, we can't take them all. I know each person needs to come to his or her own conclusion and it needs to be the right timing. Our adoption information packets sat in the guest room closet for years before we acted on it. Looking back now, we realize the timing was perfect so that we could have Eliot. But even if there's one person who's felt "the nudge" but dismissed it, I implore them to take a second look. This experience is like nothing in the world. (I don't mean the whole leaving my life for 7 months, I mean adopting a child into our family).

Not everyone has to pick up and move to a foreign country in order to make things happen, by the way. The majority of Guatemalan adoptions still take 6-8 months total, not 4 million like ours! Not to mention the majority of families adopting from here are what we fosterers call "scoopers" who literally make a 3-5 day trip and scoop up their little buddle and start life together in the states. But seriously, I can't tell you how amazing this experience is. Not just because Eliot is stinkin' cute, but because God created our family and searched the world over to find the perfect fit. Trust me, this kid is a Mohr through and through, just wait until you meet him.

Orphans are so close to the Lord's heart. Whether they come from foster care or an orphanage, by definition, they need a family. For us the hesitation was ALWAYS about money. Does that mean we suddenly came into some Benji's and started the process? No, but we felt the Lord say it was time and that He would provide. As far as I know, they haven't repossessed the house quite yet... If the mental conversation for you starts with, "I would love to do that someday!" and ends with, "but it's just so expensive" then stop yourself and imagine the Lord's endless storehouses of money. If only you would say yes, the Lord would have a chance to honor that. Trust me, if you look at the numbers for the Mohr's you'd probably wonder how we ever thought we could swing this, but it's been taken care of. I'm not preaching a prosperity gospel here, please don't hear that message. I'm just asking you to think about your role in taking care of the orphans. Adopting isn't for everyone, I know, but there's ways you can support those that can adopt (I don't mean just us, I mean the foundations that provide financial assistance or orphanages, etc. ) Please also don't read this as "look at us, we're so holy and righteous..." although I can't seem to get rid of this halo that showed up once I got here. =)

Thousands of Guatemalan children become someone's child and become part of a "forever family" each year. I don't know any stats for the other countries or for domestic adoptions but it's time. It's time for adoption to become the new "black" for more than just Hollywood.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007


Russ here. I go home tomorrow. I've been thinking a lot about the past 6+ months, and here are some general observations...

1. I've been here half as long as Katie.
In thinking about my visits down here, it's cool to think that I've accumulated about 3 months of time down here. So although I have spent a great deal of time in the US alone, it's not been as much alone time as you'd think. And of my 3 extended visits, 2 of them were surprises to me: the second was a birthday gift that a bunch of church friends chipped in to surprise me with, and the third (this trip) was a surprise gift from the staff and families of Bridgeway Elementary, where Katie used to teach. Thanks so much to all of our friends who have given so much to allow me to visit my family. Words cannot describe how meaningful these visits have been to all of us!

This is us doing our "Out of PGN Dance"

2. I've not missed as much BIG stuff as you'd think.
Sure, I didn't get to see the finale of LOST or American Idol. But Bob Seibel Tevo-ed LOST for me, and Melinda was voted off American Idol before I left, so that wasn't even worth watching. No, I mean with Eliot. With my 3 months worth of visits, check out this list of stuff I got to be here for: Eliot's first Christmas, New Year's (and we DID watch college football all day), El's first time saying "da-da," Katie's Birthday, Easter (which is the biggest time of year in Guatemala), my birthday, Eliot's first time to pull himself up by himself, teaching him to high-5, cutting his first tooth, and the day we got the call that we're out of PGN. Really the only thing I missed was Mother's Day and El's 1st Birthday, and Katie had friends from home here to celebrate those. Not to mention the fact that I attended his birthday party via webcam. I've seen him make so many strides and learn so many new things. All in all, not too shabby. And again, I got to experience all of this because of the generosity of our friends and family at home.

Rock Star or Zoolander?

3. GOD has spoken. We have been taught more than we could ever imagine or say. About ourselves, about GOD, about life, about people. We have learned about humility, patience, hardship, heartache, joy, parenthood, love, community, generosity, hope, disappointment, and faith. We have been broken, convicted, stretched and challenged more than we ever would dare ask. We have endured more than we ever thought possible. Our marriage and love for one another has been deepened and strengthened. We have learned the boundless love of God and His people. We have learned how important one life is, not just to us, but to the body of Christ. We have learned we have way more friends and loved ones than we ever knew. Jeff Peters recently told me that his favorite thing about baptising a baby at Greentree is the part where the church stands and pledges to love and support the family and their child and encourage and guide them in the ways of God. He said that the coolest thing about this is that our church has already put that commitment into action before ever even laying their eyes on Eliot. I would agree. Everything we've been able to do to bring him home has only been possible through the care and support of our family and friends. El has more people loving and praying for him than he'll ever know, and he's not even set foot in the US yet. I keep telling him to run for mayor, because he's easily the most popular person in St. Louis these days.

Vote for Eliot Mohr, 2008!

4. Some other cool things:
I've seen 2 volcanoes erupt. A new friend and I climbed one, the other I saw at night from our rooftop patio. Couldn't have done that at home. I've made tons of new friends from all over the US and even the globe. You can only imagine how many Katie has made. I've had the world's greatest french fries (Mono Loco) and the world's greatest fajita (Frida's). As mentioned before, I've experienced 3 major holidays in a foreign country (Christmas, New Year's and Easter). All of them were unfogettable experiences. Some of the most beautiful parts of creation I've ever seen have been right here. And, my favorite: when I walk into Cafe 2000 (home of the best burritos in the world) Cesar knows exactly what I want. And when I go to & Cafe (best coffee on the planet... and coffee is SO CHEAP here!), once Gabriela knows I want a grande white mocha, mint chocolate mocha for Kate. Perfecto. Yeah, we're locals (side note: Katie just called me an "American" the other day in a very sarcastic, insulting tone. She's definitely a local.)

My two favorite people.... COMING SOON!

Katie will be home in a couple short weeks. It's wierd to think that this is my last visit here for probably a long time. I'm getting used to coming here often. I like coming here. It's like a home away from home now. I can only imagine how strange this all is for Katie. But we'll be back again for lots of family vacations. I can only imagine what awaits us as we bring Eliot into Greentree for the first time, or when we stand up in front of our church family to have him baptised. I've played it over and over in my head, and each time it is more beautiful. And now it's REALLY going to happen. Very soon!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007


Yesterday marked the day that I have taken care of Eliot longer than the foster mom! He was with her for a little over 6 and 1/2 months and yesterday I went over that mark!! His foster mom was great and she truly cared for Eliot. We are so blessed that Eliot was put in her care in our stead. We are hoping to be able to see her again on our way out of town.

Monday, June 4, 2007


News came today that our case got the final sign-off from the birthmom on Friday! Then this morning our case went into the civil registry here in Guate city for the new birth certificate. This can take up to 2 weeks and then we can apply for our Pink Slip at the U.S. Embassy. Things are moving along!!

It's exciting and unnerving all at the same time to be in this spot. I could come home in the window of 3-6 weeks. I've gone from being here for an unlimited time amount to a limited-but-I-have-no-idea-how-limited amount of time. Russ leaves this week and then my parents are coming down soon. Surprisingly, I'm sad to realize that my limited time here will go quickly. But I'm ready to come home. After the initial shallow restuarant/mall/puppies/etc list of fluff that I miss, there's a never-ending list of things that I have cherished from home and will hold onto tightly upon returning. Only this time around I get to share them with our son. I'm pretty stinkin' excited about that.

Russ and I have been overwhelmed with everyone's response to our great news. We LOVE that this causes so much joy and celebration for everyone along with us. This has been quite the long road and we have felt so loved and supported by those around us. It has added so much more to our story and I can't wait to bring little man home to meet everyone.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Raise yo hands in the air, Raise 'em like ya just don't care...

I hope you all joined me this morning in Worship Dance Party 2007...

Here's the first picture of the official Mohr family!!!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Processing Difficulty!

"We are out of PGN." "We are out of PGN?" "We are out of PGN!!!!" So many different ways to say it and so many more ways to process it. I am in a state of disbelief, if you can imagine. We've been waiting so very long for this moment that it feels a little surreal.

Things have been popping into my head over the last two days, things that I miss. After a loud "congratulations!" most moms here follow it w/ "Will you go to Target for me?" Collectively, we miss Target. Driving a car seems foreign to me since it's been over 6 months since I've been behind the wheel. I've only been in a car about 10 times over the past 6 months. Eliot will have his own room and an actual crib. His nursery has been ready since October. He's currently sleeping in a pack-n-play each night so I wonder how he'll do w/ a real mattress. Thinking of my dogs is now an exciting thing instead of a depressing thought. I can't wait to see Eliot running after them and climbing all over them. I'm excited to head to Busch Stadium with Russ and Eliot for his first Major League ball game, no matter how the Card's are doing. I'm anxious to get my Arbonne business back up and running. It has taken quite a hit over the last 6 months, go figure. I cannot wait to go to Greentree (my church family!!) I'm a little apprehensive about Eliot getting attacked when we walk through the door, but I'm sure we'll be okay. I'm ready for it to be "normal" that we're home. I would actually love to take a road trip from STL to Michigan, just because I can. I'm ready to not start translating what I need or want before I open my mouth.

I feel a little desperate to eat things that were unattainable here: good chinese food, decent chicken fingers, toasted ravioli, a good house salad. Not to mention just sitting in certain restaurants: Bread Co, Texas Road House, etc. I had a random craving for CeCe's pizza last week, even. I can't wait to enjoy a very tall, very cold glass of pasturized milk. Who knew I'd be so thankful for our pasturization process at home?

However, certain aspects of this place have grown on me. First of all, my new friends. Many of them have already left and gone home to start real life but there are still a wonderful handful of them here. We will keep in touch, I'm sure after this bonding experience that that won't be a problem but it's not the same as grabbing coffee w/ them and their cute little brown babies each afternoon. I will miss the randomness and culture of living in a tourist town in a foreign country. If you haven't read my entry back in March called "Things that don't happen in STL", you might enjoy that. I won't miss the pig farm behind our house but I will miss seeing multiple volcanos surrounding us each day.

It may be premature to start this train of thought but maybe not. I do, however, know the first thing I will do when I get home...