Saturday, December 29, 2007

From Cloudy to Clear

OK. Well, I guess it's time I explain how we got to this point. If you remember correctly, our agency was shut down for unethical practices. Around the same time, the facilitator that was the go between for our agency and the facilitator in Guatemala, was arrested for harbouring illegal aliens. (Yeah, I know. The pot just thickens.) Round about this time, I was starting to give up hope. It was just a mess. Come to find out, some of the hopeful parents really didn't have referrals at all. They were being lied to and the sweet children they said "yes" to were never up for adoption. The children actually had a family and it was sort of a system of rent-a-kid. Whenever the families would go over for visits, the agency would pay the true family money to allow them to use their children for a while. It was a nightmare. And I could go on and on about the things that came to the surface. But that is old news and no good will come of hashing up such negative stories. So, let's press on......

We, of course, were very concerned that our process was also fraudulent. We contacted several people that are "in the know" and they agreed to check it out for us. One was a popular Guatemala site, the other was a trusted adoption agency and then the last was the Adoption Supervisors, ( I call them the survival guide for Guat adoptions). They all conferred. We had a legit case! Ok, that's good. So, what's next?

Trying to set up communication with our team. Ben's birthday is in July. This past birthday he turned two. My husband and I decided to go over and spend it with him. This was our "do or die" mission.. During this trip we were connected back to a dear friend that we have used as a translator while in country. We had lost contact with her b/c our agency had forbidden us to use her services anymore. Instead, they had another translator that worked "more" closely with the agency, (Yeah, I bet). She was also later detained and banned with the embassy. ( Go figure) At any rate, the translator was horrified when I contacted her and told her our story. She said she would help us and would set up appointments while we were in country, so we could get to the bottom of what was going on. And that she did. First we spoke with one of the original attorneys on the case. She explained exactly what had taken place and where we needed to go from there. She also agreed to work with us in any way she could. That was a big deal. She could have refused and I would still be crying the blues today.

Next, we move on to a new attorney. One that is ethical, (w/ clients), and a go-getter. Upon our first appointment, I was impressed. He showed up with all of our file in hand and he had already done his homework. He knew exactly where we stood and what needed to be done. Great! We settled on a fee and he was hired. Now, keep in mind, this type of thing is not normal. It is not "politically" correct to bypass your main team and contract outside help. It is a little risky. But we were at the end of our rope and it was "do or die" time, remember?

My husband and I came back home, full of hope. We finally had a ray of sun on our faces and the warmth of the hope felt good. "E', the new attorney ran into many more difficulties than originally expected. (In my opinion, the only thing to be expected in our case, is that, you get what you don't expect). To make the story short, he had to keep going back to Pto Barrios, over and over. I have a feeling that the staff at the civil registry and Judge were still so upset with our case and all the extra work caused by our original attorney, that they just kept toying with "E". On his maiden voyage, he found our file was sent to the abandoned file. They had given up that anyone would come back to finish this case. (Hacheemama!) And when he finally got everything straight, except for the signature of the Judge, the good Judge took his frustrations out on "E". He would tell him to come back next week and he would sign the paper for him. So "E" would travel over the mountains and through the hills once again, just to have the good Judge tell him he was too busy, come back next week. Well, after many trips and a brief stay in the hospital, (from a little green present he picked up while in Pto. Barrios), he FINALLY got the signature. YEAH!!! We had what we needed to move forward. While the ink was still wet on the papers, he moved quickly to the next office and received the new birth certificate. God is good. Through this little Sherman Tank of a man, we had our documents correct.

Next, move back to the black hole of PGN. That building is like the roach motel. Files go in, but never go out. (Just kidding). But while you are in there, it feels that way. "E" kept an eye on our file the whole time it was there. When it came down to the wire and we were finally with the last reviewer. He would sit at PGN and pester them for news on our file. He took people out to eat and stayed in the building day after day. His tenacity paid off. We have our file approved! As of December 13th, 2007. That was a joyful day!!!

Now the file is back with our main team and they are doing their part. We still have a few steps left, but they are all requirements of the US. It is just a matter of time now. The guesswork is over. Our little son, WILL BE OUR LITTLE SON! No doubt about it! Thank you God. And now, please let me take the time to thank the people that are true players in our case.

First, God. Thank you for keeping me from going crazy, (and those little pink pills). You knew I would be a mother one day and your lesson in patience has paid off. I may be a slow student, but I am no dummy. I have learned what you taught loud and clear.

Next, Ilse. You are a beacon of light. Thank you so much for your continued support and friendship. Without you, we would not have our son coming home. God put you back in our path as a catalyst. You are the one that got the ball rolling again. Others may not be able to see it, but I can. Your halo is luminous and wings, strong and beautiful. Thank you for carrying us this far.

And to "E". You are our Ever-Ready Bunny and Weebles-Wobbles all in one. You kept going at them, never faltered and never gave up. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you, for your tenacity. I know it was a job you were hired for, but I will never be convinced that you saw it as just another job. You had to have had your heart and soul in this one to get as far as you did. You too, are an angel.

And begrudgingly, I need to thank my main team. Even though it has been a long road and you brought us to it, you are redeeming yourself now. You have been efficient in the last steps. Thank you. And thank you for your part in bringing my son home.

And last but certainly not least. Family and Friends. Thank you for the continued patience and support. I know it was a long haul, but we made it, (WITH RELATIONSHIPS AND MINDS IN TACT). Our reward...Ben.

I have met so many amazing people on this journey. Some taught me how not to behave and others are a ray of hope. I love and cherish every one. And to the rest of the Long Road Home'rs. You know who you are. Thank you for your friendships and circle of support. I pray every last one of us will be able to take part in the celebration of our children's homecoming. What was it "W" put so well...Now that the holidays are over, it is time for the "Mama Bears" to come out of hibernation. Let's kick some butt and get those children home!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

My Baby Boy is Coming Home!

Ain't he cute? This has been the most wonderful Christmas holiday ever! On December 13 we got the news that we FINALLY received Approval of our case. WE ARE OUT! WE ARE OUT! WE ARE OUT!
Oh, you have no idea how good it is to be able to say those words. We have waited two and a half years. This has been a process from Hell and at times, I doubted we would ever get this far. But God has been good to more ways than one.
We also found out, the day after Christmas, that Ben's birth mother signed her final document. He is REALLY and FINALLY OURS! Can you believe it? Now we just have to wait for a few more documents from the US side and we will be on our way.
I am going to make this a short post. Just wanted to post the good news and to apologize, (of sorts), for being so inactive for the past year. But all I had was bad news and plenty of it. It was getting to be a little redundant. And if I hadn't of lived it myself, I would have thought the story to be some horrible "B" rated flick. But now...we are on to greener pastures and it's time to put the rose-colored glasses back on!!!
So for now, please join us in the celebration. And for my friends still waiting for their good news, please say a prayer for them. Take care.

My Baby Boy in His Bus