Sunday, September 6, 2009

Well, we are going to have rename this blog. It didn't work out here in Guatemala. Luis and I are going home together empty handed. We consulted a lawyer when we got to Puerto Barrios and he informed us that it was going to be impossible to bring her home. First the baby would have to be placed in an orphanage for a year, during which we would have to spend about 14,000 dollars and at the end of that time, we might not even get the original baby. Then because the US does not aknowledge Guatemalan adoptions, we would not be able to bring her home. I knew coming here that there was that chance, but I wanted to try for it anyways. I am sad that I'm not bringing her with us, but after having met Luis's extended family, I am comforted that she will be looked after. The birth mother is going to keep her and we left all the clothes and supplies that we had brought (except for those few things that I held dear to me). As of today she does not have a name, but she has a full head of black hair and white skin. She was born c-section and weighed in at 7 lbs. even. I took some pictures and plan on displaying them soon. I will be home in my beloved United States in 3 days and can't wait!!!

Monday, August 24, 2009

On the countdown to baby!! Luis gets into town in 2 days! And I can't wait!! His plane arrives at noon on wednesday. I'm going to pick him up from the airport and then either check into a hotel to drop his stuff off, or come here for lunch! We'll play it by ear:) Then we are off on Thursday to Puerto Barrios where we hope the baby will make her appearance soon after. We are taking a 5 hour bus ride to get there. Last year we went on a double decker and it was very comfy! I just prayed I wouldn't need to use the bathroom! All the buses here have armed escorts and security is pretty tight, but there are frequent stops and sometimes the air conditioning goes off when you go up a hill. I'm just glad that there isn't livestock roaming the aisles.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Here are some funky tidbits about Guatemala
#1- Everything Comes In A Bag!
No joke!! You go to the corner store and you can purchase milk, water and detergent in bags. When you go to the market and want a slurpee, or shaved ice, they put it in...a bag. We`ve been going to the hospital lately to visit Mama Nita and you can buy freshly cut fruit... in a bag. The pineapple is the best!! They sell little homemade popsicles here at the a bag. Mayo also comes... in a bag. Don't ask me why, maybe because it looks better when the people just throw their garbage in the street!
#2- The other day we were driving down a main road and the traffic came to a stop because there was a guy driving a herd of goats across the street. He had a huge whip and when he cracked it, my hairs on my head stood up straight! Indiana Jones has nothing on him. Why goats you ask? For anyone who wants a fresh cup of milk, of course. Haven't tried it and probably won't, warm milk straight from the source doesn't ring my bell.
#3- Pretty much every house has there own little business. Here at the house they sell blended beans, home made popsicles, dried corn for tortillas, and cream. The lady down the street sells soda and this morning the woman selling toilet paper made a timely call at the house. Also, I've seen a lot of people just cooking on the street and selling a meal.
#4-When someone knocks on the door, they usually use either their keys or a coin and it is LOUD!
#5-Driving...that is a whole other story. No one uses their blinker, but the horn is always in working order. Red lights are ignored if they take too long and turning a left from the right lane is a specialty. Two lane roads are sometimes three or even four lanes and the person behind you always needs to get there before you!
All of these things make me love my husbands country even more! I want this little girl to know where she is from and take pride in both the US and Guatemala and I am looking forward to getting more aquainted with this wonderful quirky country!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

We got a little bored this night and just played with the camera. Catherine is a pro at holding the camera, everytime I tried it, I had a triple chin!! Those pics got erased!
Only 10 more days until the baby is due!! Every couple of days I open the suitcase that I packed only for her, to remind myself why I am here! I am finding myself to be increasingly homesick. It is hard to be away from all your comforts of home and those you love. Even something as trivial as a wet towell set me off today. I forgot to bring 2 towells with me; one to wash and one to use. The one I brought was getting a little musty, so I washed it and hung it up to dry, not knowing that we were in store for 2 days straight of rain. Needless to say, my towell is nowhere near to getting dry and so after my shower, I towelled off with my dry washcloth!! Now, I am a big girl, and one arm later, my washcloth was sopping! I had to laugh as I trooped back to the bedroom, hopped over a mound of wet cement and passed the guy building the new bathroom, all while wearing a wet muumuu! Sounds attractive doesn't it?! At least I brought my hairdryer so I could finish the job!! I will never take an indoor bathroom for granted again! Side note: I have to remember to bring my own toilet paper every where as all the public restrooms have none. And it is 2 bucks for a few sqares! I am almost out of my anti-bacterial wipes, so add that to the list, Luis!!

Friday, August 14, 2009

This morning I decided to tackle the huge pile of dishes in the 'pila'. When I say 'pile' I mean mountain! We do not heat the water to wash, but use a soap that is specially made for cold water washing. The only time I have ever seen water being heated is for soup or coffee, which by the ay, kids start drinking coffee here early. It's not uncommon to see a baby with coffee in it's bottle. Won't see it in my baby's bottle! Anyway, back to the dishes...While I was washing I began to hear a little 'cheep, cheep' noise coming from behind the pila. I thought that maybe the cat had brought a present in the form of a baby bird, but I couldn't find the source of the 'cheeps'. Come to find out that the woman who came to do laundry had a baby chicken in her pocket!! Her neighbor, she said, wasn't taking care of it, so she snagged it. What's funny is that the resident cat here is black and it completely reminded me of Tweety and Sylvester. The chicky is safely esconced in a bucket with a blanket under a collander, but I have seen the cat licking it's lips and plotting! I thought it was so cute, I just had to take it's picture. All day though, it has been cheeping a merry tune and if it doesn't sleep tonight, I am having fried chicky in the morning!!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I have a new respect for our healthcare. Yeah, right now it's a little crazy, but go to a foreign country and you will appreciate what we take advantage of. Tonight we went to the hospital to visit Doña Juana, Jennifer and Catherine's grandma. Last week she took a spill outside her Dr.'s office and then another here at the house. Since then she has gone downhill and no longer talks or eats. The doctors believe that she suffers from some brain trauma from the falls. The hospital here only allows visitors on tuesday, thursday, saturday and sunday for one hour only and you MUST buy a face mask in order to enter the hospital. They sell them outside the grounds on your way in, I thought that it was a magnificent idea!! She was in a room with 2 other women and it was stifling in there with no real privacy. One of her roomates has been there for 5 years because her family abandoned her, very bleak. Doña Juana, or, Mama 'Nita as I call her was too sleepy to talk and didn't even crack a smile at my dorky attempts to draw out a grin. I feel awful for this whole situation and pray that she either makes a full recovery or at least is not in pain. Her daughter, Gessi, is allowed to go everyday at meal times to help her eat. Last year when I was in the hospital I had my own room, tv, bathroom and Luis was able to stay the night, and I complained the whole time!!! PLeasae keep her in your prayers. Jennifer and I had to ride in the back of the truck to and from the hospital and we counted our lucky stars that it didn't rain, but we brought a bright blue tarp for just in case. Anyways, I have a little under 2 weeks now until Luis gets here and we can go pick up our little bundle! I am too excited!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Thi is the kitchen where the cats love to wait for any food that is thrown their way. One night Anya said she saw a mouse just sitting on the burner. Turning the light on at night for a midnight snack can be alittle adventurous here, because the cockroaches fly!!
This is the "pila". Alot goes on here! The left side is for washing clothes, the right sde is for the dishes and the middle is always full of tap water to draw from. When I first got here I was not aware of "pila" ettiquette. Never wash your hands in the middle, use the bowls to draw water from the middle sink to wash hands and clothes and dishes. Also, they caution to not drink the water, so there is purified water, which I use to brush my teeth. This morning I washed all my undies and some pants by hand and was amazed that these women can do it all the time. And here I am complaining that at home I had to walk across the parking lot to go to the machines. Luckily, there is plenty of sun today, so they should be dry by tonight.

Speaking of doing the laundry, here's a glimpse. This is the view from the bedroom door. The blue door is the toilet and the other is the shower. And that is Gary who is building a new baño that is wheelchair accessible for the grandma. Everyone is excited at the prospect of flushing toilets and a shower with tile. As of right now, we have to pour a bucket of water down the toilet to flush and there is not much room to manuever! The shower is a little scary too. The water heater is just over your head and it is either scalding or freezing and very tempramental. I'm afraid that one of these days I am going to lose my balance and crash thru the door and onto the patio in all my glory!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Say "hola" to Catherine Cruz. She also loves to hijack my camera. She watches her older sisters kids and disappears for the week, but comes back on Friday full of stories about the kids. She also loves to gab, she could probably talk Bin Laden out of hiding!

This is Jennifer Cruz, Luis's niece, who has so graciously given up her bed for me. She loves to snatch the camera and take random pictures of her favorite person....herself! And for all you who have an appliance from Sears, and it breaks, you might end up talking to her when you call in for a repair!!! She's great, so be nice!!
So yesterday we piled a bunch of people in the back of a small truck ad went to a park here in the city. Wait, did I mention taht I was the driver? For all of you who have driven in a foreign country you will appreciate my next statemant. Where do the natives learn how to drive? At Pick a Lane, Any Lane Driving School? At one time I found myself sandwiched between two buses spewing black smoke and a truck whose driver couldn't stop staring at this"gringa" trying to drive in their streets! Meanwhile, the jokers in the back of the truck were merrily screaming "derecha" (right) and "izqierda" (left). But we made it to the park unscathed and had a good day. But on the way back, after we stopped for Piza Hut, it began to rain and I didn't feel so bad for those jokers in the back of the truck huddled under umbrellas! HAHA!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

OK. How funny is this? I just spent about 15 minutes watching professional wrestling with my nieces "abuelita (grandma) Juanita". She doesn't speak a lick of English, but let me know who was "mala" (bad). She was so cute. The family that I am staying with went to a party and we didn't think it was a good idea for me to go, so I am at home with Doña Juanita nervously waiting for people who might come by to buy frijoles, crema or corn. Doña Juanita only has one leg and needs help getting along, so we'll see how that goes. She is going to tap on the wall with her comb if she needs anything. I guess alot of people run little stores out of their houses. Here, they sell beans, corn, popsicles, cream and cheese. So all day long people are knocking on the door asking for various items. Today I went to the market, we needed to buy toilet paper. This market is outdoors and they sell everything from little booths. I accidentally backed in to a booth selling meat, I turned around and was face to face with some sort of animal leg, and the flies were plentiful!!! I am enjoying my time alone as we have had a houseful these last 2 days. Just listening to the neighbors music and the fire crackers which are quite plentiful at all hours of the day!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Alright, time for the Immodium!! Not too bad, just enough to be annoying. But enough about that. Last night I had my little pity party and am ready for the long haul. Luis and I had a heart to heart and we decided to push his ticket back to the 25th and I am going to wait for him and the baby here! It's hard because they have their schedule here and at times I feel in the way, but they are very kind about it. Last night a woman came to wash clothes. She was at it for hours and worked so hard, wasing and wringing and hanging them up, only to be greeted by rainstorms today. I helped rush out to pluck the exposed clothing off the lines and hang them up under cover. Can't stop the washing for a little rain. Which by the way is not just a little rain. We are getting showers off and on and running to the bathroom is always an experience. Tomorrow I am going to a store they say is a lot like Costco, so I have that to look forward to. And, their cable here plays Law and Order and CSI and ER!!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

When I began this blog, I really wanted it as a documentation, or journal, of this whole experience. I guess that means the good,bad and the ugly. Well, I have a little ugly. Originally, luis's niece (the birth mother) told us she was due August 27th, then she told us she was due July 25th and that was verified by Luis's mom who said that the baby has dropped and that she has been experiencing contractions. Luis and I scrambled to buy a ticket for me and I gave my notice to my job. We planned for me to come down first and stay in Guatemala City to wait for the baby and Luis would come down a week later and then we would be able to start all the legal proceedings. Since we decided to adopt, we knew we would have some responsibility to the birth mother and the baby to make sure both were healthy, so we sent money every week. Not a ton, but enough to live on. On accasion she would call asking for a little extra to cover a doctors appt., and we would gladly send it to her. Just found out yesterday that she is back to her original due date and would like a t.v and dvd player!!!So now I am here early and will have to wait for about a month now until she is born. Luis and I both feel as if we've been played and right now it is unsafe for me to travel by myself to Puerto Barrios (5 hours by bus) so I must stay in Guatemala City. We have decided that Luis will push back his arrival date and will come closer to the due date, since he is an intregal part of the legalities. I have no problem with the tv and dvd player part, but lately I've been feeling a little taken advantage of. Dealing with family is a delicate process and so far we have been playing fair, but it is frustrating when the other party is not. Don't get me wrong, I am just fine here and I am enjoying Luis's ex-sister-in-law and his nieces but I also like my own bed too. Last night it began to rain pretty heavy and as I was lying in bed listening to the rain hit the aluminum roof, I was also thinking that to get to the bathroom I would have to jump some puddles. Sorry if I am complaining, but I miss my husband. I still feel like this is the right thing to be doing and I know that Heavenly Father wants me to be a mother and I know that He will look out for me. I am looking forward to this baby girl and dressing her in all the pink clothes that I have brought!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Day two into my Guatemala trip has me reunited with my luggage and living "as the natives do". This morning I woke up to roosters and motorcycles, and heat. Although, its not near as bad as I had thought. I am staying with Luis's nieces and their mom and grandma and grandpa and the occasional stray kitty. Very nice people and very patient as I stumble thru my spanish. (the girls speak fluent english, so it's not too bad) I do think that I have contracted black lung on account of riding in the back of a pick-up truck thru the city next to buses that spew black smoke from the exhaust. And I've learned to pour two buckets of water down the toilet when one just won't get the job done! I took a shower by candle light after killing the biggest cockroach I have ever seen .... Okay, I didn't kill it, but I watched and cheered; hope thats not bad karma!! Overall, I am having a great experience and asof yet, have no news of when this baby girl is going to be born. Luis joins me in a week and hopefully she will be here by then, if not, I'm taking Carla (the birth mom) on a 12 mile run and then 3 hours on the trampoline! Just kidding!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I was thinking the other day aboout what kind of mother I am going to make. I began to look back on the wonderful examples of "moms" that I've had in my life and found myself to be truly grateful for some great women in my life. First and foremost is my own mother. She and I have enjoyed a bond that has only strengthened as I've gotten older. When I was younger I did not fully appreciate the sacrifices she undertook for our family, but now I can honestly say she is my best friend. My mom, hates to be in the limelight (for those of you who know her, remember her pictionary dance?) so this posting may embarass her, but oh well!! I was once asked to write about someone I admire and I remember writing about my mom and how she always took the small fork when there were no more big forks so that the kids could have the last big fork. Small thing, I know, but made a lasting impression. Will I be able to relinquish the proverbial "big fork"? I hope so. My mom is an incredibly hard worker and is never one to complain ... much. As a matter of fact, I wish she would complain more!! Whenever I was sick, she was there with the 7-up and saltines (even to this day, when I am sick I think "I want my mommy"). I love her and will be forever grateful to her. Thanks Mom! I have been blessed to have many great examples of motherhood and as I embark on my own journey, I can look back and say thank you to these women who have shown me how to be!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Okay. So I have 8 more days until I hit the runway. It's going to be one long day. Leave Seattle at 5:30 pm and get into Guatemala City at 10:30 am the next day. I have a super long layover in Houston and have yet to convince my brother and his family to spend the wee morning hours with me in the airport. Today Luis and I spent most of the day looking for suitcases at the Goodwill and Thrift Stores. I am hesitant to borrow any because I am not sure if they will make the return trip. We found a few that will work for us. It's kind of funny to be packing for three. The rest of my week I'm sure will be doing these last minute details. I can't wait to see this little one and say "I'm your mommy". Luis has been getting into it to. Although he is nervous about changing that first diaper. Someone spilled the beans and told him that those first poops are messy and I shared the story that my brother told me about Camille (my oldest niece) and her flying mustard. He's a tad apprehensive! I told him to not fear and I will hold his hand during trial and error!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Today is the start of a new adventure! It's my first post on my brand new blog. Please bear with me as I get the kinks ironed out. I am probably the worlds worst/slowest typer and have just barely joined the technology age. Just ask my old roommates how long it took for me to hook up my voicemail on my cell phone (which was about the size of a small volkswagon) A little about what's going on... My husband, Luis, and I have been married for almost 5 years.... Wait, this goes back further than that. I started babysitting at an early age. My sister was born when I was 8, and before there were child labor laws, I was called on by my parents to watch her.... a lot. I'm not complaining, but that is what happens when you are the oldest girl-child. Mom went back to school and I had more responsibility. Mom, before you say anything, remember that this is coming from an 12 years old sense of responsibility when just emptying the dishwasher was the end of the world! So, I began picking up the occasional babysitting job from people from church, then it became a pretty regular thing as I got older. The money wasn't too bad and kept me in clothes and gas money during high school. Needless to say I was pretty busy watching babies, toddlers and those rascally 6 1nd 7 year olds. I realized that I was cut out to do this! I loved the kids! We had fun and I was loving it! Fast forward a few years and I started working as a nanny. Fell in love with each little one I watched over, I got married and we started dreaming of the family we would have one day. Needless to say, it is not too be. Various issues of the female kind have kept us from joining the ranks of new parents.
One day in february of this year, Luis got a call. His neice in Guatemala had been involved in a drive by shooting. She was ok, but found out she was pregnant. Casually, Luis said (in spanish) "why don't we take it?" to the person on the phone. My spanish is limited, but I can get the gist of a conversation. One minute after he hung up the phone, I said "no way, we live in a tiny apartment, money is tight" 5 minutes after that, I said "well, maybe" 5 minutes after that, I said "we could put the crib here" I was hooked and we started looking into it. His niece cannot care for it and the rest of the family isn't willing, so have jumped on this bandwagon!! 3 months ago we found out that "it" is a girl and have bought everything in pink, pink and more pink. And now I am days away from flying down to Gyatemala city. She is not born yet, and right now adoption laws and regulations between the US and Guatemala are tricky, so I am gearing up for a long stay. But I am coming home with her.