Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
1 Corinthians 3:17

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The final stage of our international adoption

A glimpse of our reunion~
The final days of our adoption process
Guatemala   June - September 2008

We began our adoption journey in January 2007.
We felt led to Guatemala since I studied Spanish and Latin American history and culture, and I also speak Spanish.
And the program was quicker than most...yeah, not for us.
We did not have a good experience with our adoption agency, which makes the process that much harder!  This was one of the main reasons we decided to move to Guatemala in the end- we couldn't stand to be separated any longer!
I had made lots of great friends through some yahoo groups, and they were such an invaluable support system for me through the process of relocating our family to Antigua (a beautiful, safer city an hour from the capitol).

Isabelle Katie, the last time we saw you and held you, it was November 2007, and you looked like this...
 You were trying so hard to take off walking~ you held Daddy's finger like this everywhere we went!

We celebrated your first birthday exactly one month before your official one because we couldn't bear to miss your special we made our own special day!
We gave you Princess Bunny, and you LOVE to squeeze her hand to listen to us saying hello to you!
The waiters at the restaurant made you wait a little too long for your cake, and you let them know you wanted that cake finally arrived and you got to blow out your birthday candle!
I will never forget that night for as long as I live.

This is a picture of you at our early Christmas celebration~ even though we couldn't be together, you were always in our hearts.
You were the most beautiful, perfect Christmas angel I've ever seen!

And now look at you!!
Such a big girl!!

Getting to know your big brothers

and spending time with Daddy

Daddy's last night with us in Guatemala
Enjoying dinner at Dona Luisa in town
Poor Jonah...look how sad and nervous he is

 Passing the time in the neighborhood pool
I made sure to find a place with a pool for the boys' sakes- but it ended up being a lot more work thanI bargained for!
No gates, and it was deep!

My Mom and Dad came down to meet Isabelle!
Such a special time
Except Ethan and Jonah had been injured- we later found out that they were suffering from chemical burns on their hands from a lethal pesticide sprayed on some plants beside our pool
I'd never seen burns before, so I had no idea what the blistering was from
It was agonizing to watch, and I'm sure more agonizing to go through it
The doctors in Antigua agreed that the boys should return home with my parents, and I was devastated
I knew I would miss them so much, and there were many complications with the adoption at this point, so we had no idea how much longer we'd be in Guatemala

Enjoying the local culture

Grampy cutting poor Jonah out of his shirt because we couldn't get the sleeves over his hands
Jonah spent 4 1/2 days in this shirt
And it took us over twenty minutes to convince him we could ease it over his head without hurting him further!
Jonah had to sleep with his arms propped up on his chest, resting on thick towels because the blisters began to leak fluid
My poor little guy couldn't feed himself, use the bathroom unassisted, shower, swim, color or draw- nothing!
So we tried to distract him the best we could
Ethan's burns were less severe, but still awful
I can't imagine how much pain my boys must have been in

McDonald's in Antigua rocked!

So glad I brought these comforts from home
They saved us on more than one {sad}occasion
(this was pre-burn)

Favorite chunk of sidewalk that the boys surfed on
we walked to town

Cool rooftop shot of one of the volcanoes

Playing with Mimi in our courtyard

Jonah and Mimi having fun at the market while Isabelle....sleeps....

 Heading to town with Grampy

Taking a walk with Ethan our last full day together
I remember trying to stay positive, to keep from breaking down in front of him
It was hard

Last night together
The boys dressed up as warriors so they would be strong when it was time to say goodbye
Many private tears that night

Everyone arrived safely home later the next day
Jonah was almost sent straight to the Boston Burn Unit his hands were so bad
He began to heal quickly and today you can barely see the faint pink scars where his skin was burned

The first few days with them were especially difficult, but I was glad Bill wasn't alone any more
We're so thankful for family and friends who helped us with the boys while Bill left for work each day!

Some days there was a lot of down time
Especially when it was raining outside
It rained almost every afternoon

 And a lot of fun days too
I loved watching the bond between Caleb and Isabelle grow stronger each day

One of the things I promised Caleb was that we would have FUN
Every day
So every single afternoon or early evening we walked to one of the several ice cream shops in town for a small treat~ that was his special thing
Every single day
Except those 5 days when Caleb was so sick he couldn't even keep water down
So much worse being sick far from home

Grandma and Grandpa came down to meet their first granddaughter
And to bring Caleb home for the first day of school
which I missed
and I wasn't there- that was hard

 Celebrating a friend's birthday
This apartment became our last home away from home a few days later

 boo hoo

Buggy ride

One happy Grandpa

The zoo in Guatemala City
It was beautiful
And very wet- we got drenched in a downpour after lunch!

ooh la la
Isabelle's first bath since coming to Guatemala~ a hotel in the city, my last two days with Caleb
We only had kitchen buckets at "home"

Goodbye handsome boy
Everyone made it home safely
There had been severe hurricane warnings for Texas, and that's where they were flying first
But everything was fine
It was also Ethan's 9th birthday
I wrote him a birthday letter and cried
a lot

And then it was Isabelle and our new home

Life in the new flat is fun!
Except we still miss our boys

My friend Beth snapped this picture before church one morning
I love this photo
bruised arm and all

Counting down the days until Daddy comes!

Daddy's here!!!!!!!!!!!
It had been more than two months!

Touring the city with Bill

Saying goodbye to my good friend, Beth
It was so hard leaving friends behind, not knowing when it would be their turn to go home
Beth and our friend/flat mate Michelle and our beautiful girls
Bill and I left for Guatemala City about ten minutes after this
We were headed home

Very last picture taken in Guatemala
Dinner at the hotel
Airport shuttle at 4 am

Isabelle did such a good job on the way home
Two planes and fourteen hours later we were driving to our boys and family
Poor baby got sick in the car (twice) on the highway, but we managed
Other than that little mishap, all was well
I will never forget how good it felt to be going home!

The very next morning

Happy girl
It was so much fun having my little girl at home

Our adoption journey was not a smooth one- we faced obstacles, financial woes, emotional ups and downs...everything!
There were even times when people told us to give up, that it must not be God's will~ but we knew God called us to adopt, and we faithfully followed His plan for our family, even when we couldn't see hope. 
Our lives would not be the same without our sweet baby girl, and we are so grateful to God for bringing us together.

If you have considered adoption in the past, or are thinking about it right now, and have any specific questions, or maybe just need a little encouragement, please don't hesitate to contact me at

And here we are a year later...

Fall 2009

Christmas time 2009

Late Spring 2010

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