Saturday, September 29, 2007

I Woke Up Today to Something Amazing :)

We got an email from Devon's Foster Mommy in Guatemala!!!!

We sent some pictures down a few weeks ago and included our email address. This morning I got an email from her brother and a scanned letter that she hand wrote to us. I was so excited!

My friend Natalie kindy translated it for us. Her beautiful words immediately brought me to tears. What an awesome blessing for Devon to have her Foster Mom in her life and know how much she is loved. I will forever save and cherish the correspondence with her.

I better get busy writing and translating and picking out my favorite pictures to email back!! This is just the coolest ever!!
Here's my silly little chica wearing her brother's frog boots :)

Friday, September 28, 2007

I Need to Get a Few Things Off My Chest

Well you all already know how beautiful my children are so I am going to forgo adding new happy pictures of them today and do something I really never dreamed that I would have to do: defend my daughter's adoption. In light of new sensationalized "media" coverage I think the wonder of illegal activity surrounding adoptions from Guatemala is in people's minds and I'd like to set the record straight.

Two events bring me here to do this. The first was a completely biased report done on NPR's show All Things Considered. NPR was once a source I turned to for a balanced view on world events where I was able to formulate my own opinions. After last weeks story on Guatemalan adoptions I can no longer regard their "news" reporting as truth. They left listeners with the idea that all one needs is money and an adoption from Guatemala is "quick". Anyone that remotely knows me, knows the 12 month struggle it took to bring her home. For 8 months, I knew my baby and half of my heart was in Central America. Our case, just like all the others, went through the rigorous checks and balances of both the US and Guatemalan government. We followed the rules and brought our daughter home legally and ethically. Highly quoted in the piece was a representative from UNICEF. Yes, UNICEF has done plenty for countless children worldwide in terms of vaccines and food relief but they are VERY anti-adoption. To see what I mean please read this.

The 2nd was a reference a friend made that Guatemala is a "baby farm". Birth Mothers (often respectfully referred to as First Mothers) are NOT paid to relinquish their children in Guatemala. That is against the law. However, it should be noted that it is NOT against the law in the United States for a Prospective Adoptive Parent to provide financial assistance to an American First Mother. Money that is paid to the attorneys in Guatemala is for the care/food/medical needs of our babies, salary to the Foster Moms, translation of documents and fees for the attorney's honest work.

This is me, speaking as an adoptee. Imagine Devon's horror if one day 10 years from now she is online doing a Google search (or whatever the hip piece of technology will be at the time to find out info) and she reads an article that Guatemalan babies were bought or sold as a commodity because of sloppy reporting. Put yourself in her shoes. Put yourself in my shoes. It just is not true. To make the "media" accountable, please sign this online petition.

Yes, there are a few bad apples out there that have given adoptions a black eye. Those people have been caught and prosecuted. Rightfully so.

Adoptions in Guatemala may or may not stop at the end of this year. Not because of the unscrupulous few that tried to milk the system. Because of something called The Hague Treaty. To put it simply, The Hague Treaty was put into place to ensure that countries participating in international adoptions adhere to standards. Guatemala is working through legislation to comply with the treaty. In fact, they most likely will become compliant before the US does. That's right. The almighty US of A is not Hague Compliant.

That fact leads me to my next point. Because the US is not compliant and most other countries that are involved in International Adoption are, there are only a handful of countries that will permit Americans to adopt children from them. Russia, The Ukraine, China, Ethiopia, Haiti and Guatemala are all on the short list. From that list, you have issues with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) in Eastern Europe, a nearly 3 year wait for a daughter from China and countries with black children, and let's face it, the stigma surrounding inter-race adoptions is alive and well.

Children in Guatemala are mostly cared for in private foster care, receive one on one attention. They are less likely to have FAS because culturally women do not drink alcohol there. Plus it is in our hemisphere making trips back to continually celebrate Devon's birth country an easier reality.

If you are wondering why so many children are placed for adoption in Guatemala, you can read this . It is 63 pages long and goes into detail to what the socioeconomic situation is like in Guatemala. If you've ever been to a slum in the US, it doesn't even begin to compare to the level of poverty in Guatemala. It isn't something that I talk a lot about. Devon's birth country is filled with natural beauty and warm people. Obviously the details need to be presented so you can assess for yourself why adoption is the only answer for many First Mothers.

If you've made it this far, you now understand how passionate I am about the need for the truth to be heard. You now understand that you cannot believe all that is reported in the "media". You probably already know how much we love our daughter and how much we respect the difficult decision a beautiful 18-year-old woman made to save her baby girl from poverty and social injustice.

Devon is waking from her nap now. I am signing off now to go and love my baby.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

All Around Way Awesome Weekend!

Meeting friends, an over-night splash fest AND our anniversary!

This weekend was GREAT! It started with a much anticipated visit from my friend Ruthanne. She stopped in Cleveland on her way to her parents and more importantly, on her way to pick up her precious son in Guatemala (huge WoooHooo!!).

We met up with Nikki for a fun dinner at my brother's yummy restaurant. We had such a great time talking and laughing. It makes me that more excited for Guatoberfest in Atlanta.
The fabulous ladies on the town :)

Ruthanne and the calamari (THE "Squid")
Nikki and me with the
Ruthanne getting a little pre-bedtime Milo lovin' :)

Saturday was our 7th wedding anniversary. We really wanted to do something special but we didn't think Devon was ready for a babysitter (is she??). So we decided to spend our anniversary having fun as a family. We packed up the van and headed out to Sandusky to The Great Wolf Lodge indoor waterpark for the night. We ALL had a great time! Logan loved the slides and the arcade and Devon was all about splashing and storytime. Mommy and Daddy just loved watching those two laugh and giggle. Being a family is so awesome. I am so thankful for my amazing husband and all the love he has for the kids and me. Happy Anniversary to the BEST Daddy and Husband in the entire world!

Our room was so cool. It had a built in log cabin with bunk beds, a day bed, tv and room for Devon's pack-n-play. We were on the main floor and close to all of the "action". On the way home, all Logan kept saying was that he couldn't wait to go back to the "lodge".

Getting ready to hit the highway
Logan on his zillionth trip on the slide
Splashy and sassy!
This splashing is FUN!

All ready for storytime. I don't wanna take a nap!!
My 3 loves.
The kiddos and me

Logan on the top bunk in the in-room Kid Cabin
My sweet silly's at bed time
Hugs and goofing around
Passed out after 24 hours of PURE FUN!

Monday, September 17, 2007

There's a Party in our Potty!!!!!


My friends with Nuero-typical friends might be thinking "Big Whoop, he's almost 5. He should already be going in there". Well, not so much. Logan had/has a ginormous fear of the toilet. I don't really know what the fear is. I try to guess, cold seat, loud flush sound, losing part of his "self", etc.

I am walking on air today!! This after our insurance company denied my claim to pay for pull-ups/kid Depends! WOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOO!

Here are some pictures of my Big Boy sporting his Pirate Halloween costume that will never make it until Oct. 31st!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Logan Rode the Puke-a-Nator & Devon Rode the Merry-Go-Round!

Today was the last day that Geauga Lake was open for the season so we headed there tonight after the Browns' game for a little family fun with Grandma and Grandpa. We had a great time! I cannot believe how daring Logan is! He dragged Daddy on a roller coaster (twice!) and this thing that I can only describe as a puke-a-nator that spins in circles REALLY fast (twice!). You guys should have seen Curly's hair after that! LMBO!
This was Devon's first go at an amusement park. She loved looking at all of the people (sometimes the people alone are the most amusing thing about an amusement park! The only ride that she went on was the Merry-Go-Round. They have pretty strict rules about being able to walk before being allowed to ride. Party poopers!
Ugh, I'm having some serious formatting issues so here are a bunch of pictures :)

Friday, September 14, 2007

Who Needs Sleep??

For my fellow sleep deprived mommy's and daddy's. Enjoy!

Who Needs Sleep? Lyrics » Barenaked Ladies

Now I lay me down not to sleep
I just get tangled in the sheets
I swim in sweat three inches deepI just lay back and claim defeat
Chapter read and lesson learnedI turned the lights off while she burned
So while she's three hundred degrees
I throw the sheets off and I freeze
Lids down, I count sheepI count heartbeats
The only thing that counts is that I won't sleep
I countdown, I look around
Who needs sleep?
well you're never gonna get it
Who needs sleep?
tell me what's that forWho needs sleep?
be happy with what you're getting
There's a guy who's been awake
since the Second World War
My hands are locked up tight in fists
My mind is racing, filled with lists
of things to do and things I've done
Another sleepless night's begun
Lids down, I count sheep
I count heartbeats
The only thing that counts is
that I won't sleep
I countdown, I look around
Who needs sleep?
well you're never gonna get it
Who needs sleep?
tell me what's that for
Who needs sleep?
be happy with what you're getting
There's a guy who's been awake
since the Second World War
Who needs sleep?
well you're never gonna get it
Who needs sleep?
tell me what's that for
Who needs sleep?
be happy with what you're getting
There's a guy who's been awake
since the Second World War
There's so much joy in life,
so many pleasures all around
But the pleasure of insomnia
is one I've never found
With all life has to offer,
there's so much to be enjoyed
But the pleasures of insomnia
are ones I can't avoid
Lids down, I count sheep
I count heartbeats
The only thing that counts is
that I won't sleepI countdown,
I look around
Hala Hala Hala
Who needs sleep?
well you're never gonna get it
Who needs sleep?
tell me what's that for
Who needs sleep?
be happy with what you're getting
There's a guy who's been awake
since the Second World War

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Isn't He Pretty in Pink????

This little boy, Andrew, has made his Mommy the happiest woman on the planet. He is coming HOME to be with my dear friend Ruthanne forever. Their Embassy appointment is two weeks from today. Join me in wishing my future son-in-law and his Mom a big "WOOOHOOO"!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Let the Race Begin!


Yesterday my buttercup turned 10 months old and tonight she crawled! Oh man, I better get out my track shoes. She has also been teasing us with trying to walk.

For those of you wondering, yes I did video tape it and YES I'd like to sock Bill Gates and his crappy Vista for deleting it from my memory stick and not letting me open the file. I don't have a Mac why???

Assuming the position....soooo nervous!

"I think I can, I think I can"

This crawling business is intense!

I did it!!

Hmmmm, 1st conquer the world!

How pretty am I??

Devon's a droolin' fool!

I'll make this face until you buy the ENTIRE Royal Garden line from Gymboree!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Phew! - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

I got a new laptop tonight! And YES I did get the if-the-dogs-eat-it-and-Logan-dismantles-it-you-get-a-new-one insurance plan for 2 years :)

Now I need to figure out this Vista dill-e-o and decide which email I'm going to use (This new Windows Mail or my old Outlook). Opinions anyone??? Buehler, Buehler??

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Was Monday Really the End of Summer?

Labor Day is the typical marker for the end of summer. Mind you, Logan's been back to school for a few weeks now, my mom's been back to work and nighttime comes earlier now. But Labor Day makes is more real.

On one hand, it seems like just yesterday that I was working on Devon's room before she came home and timing my day by the sound of the lifeguard's whistle from the newly opened for the season pool in our backyard. But it also seems like moons ago that we were getting Logan ready to start camp as we packed for Guatemala. There have been so many great days and so many hard days between then and now. Maybe I'm feeling nostalgic because Monday also marked 2 months of becoming a forever family here in Ohio. Maybe it's because, although it is darn hot, I'm not ready to say goodbye to the sun and get ready for the winter to come.

Regardless of what it is, I would not replace this calm in my heart for more days at the beach or after dinner runs out for ice cream. It's OK that summer is coming to an end because our family has new memories to make. There's Halloween and Christmas and all of the ordinary days in between that I am thankful for. There is so much to look forward to on days you least expect it.

Logan striking a pose in from of Uncle Shawn's boat. (I turned this into an 8x10 for his newly designed Big Boy room with pictures to follow in a few days)

My little Beach Baby splashing to her heart's content

Curly schoolin' the "kids" in Boccie (It truly is an Old Italian Man's

So beautiful & amazing even when covered in sand

Logan 1st time playing Boccie. Watch out Rome, NY. Daddy's got a protege!