The Legal Process Has Begun

I received word this morning that the legal process has officially begun. Although I don’t know exactly when everything was filed I do know that we are in Family Court and that the first steps to setting up DNA have been completed. So, progress is finally being made! The two big things that need to happen next are receiving a positive DNA match and the social worker interview with Liliana’s birth mother and her foster mom. Keep your fingers crossed that we’ll get some good news within the next couple of weeks.

Interesting and Impressive Essay

In order to stay informed on what is going on in the world of adoption, I read several groups, forums and websites. The following link was posted by another group member and I wanted to share it with others as I found the information and thoughts of this young lady to be remarkable and thought provoking.

I hope you’ll take the time to click and read.

Enjoy.

http://kadnexus.wordpress.com/2007/06/04/my-sisters-adoption-essay/

More Updates

Now that I’ve gotten everyone caught up since having “technical difficulties” on the last blog site, it’s time to move on to the next bit of news.

Last week was a banner week in our household. I found out on Monday afternoon that I would be going in for some surgery on Thursday. On Tuesday I was in the doctor’s office filling out paperwork for the surgery and on Tuesday afternoon my surgery was rescheduled for Friday. Don’t worry, it was nothing major and within a couple days after surgery I was back to normal. Okay, for those who really know me, ‘normal’ may not be an indication that you shouldn’t worry 🙂

Despite all the surgery stuff, it was a good week because we received updated pictures of Liliana. She has really changed over the last 1 1/2 months and is an absolute doll baby! We also received the following comments from our agencies other Guatemala Program Coordinator, Edna . . .

Shenny, the foster mom, says the baby is doing wonderfully. Liliana smiles often, she focuses on people and things, she turns towards sounds, she has a strong grip and strong legs. These pictures were taken on July 13.

While the photos were certainly a crowd pleaser in our house, there still hadn’t been any movement forward on our case. We finally received a note from Julie that she had received an update from our attorney on Monday. As of yesterday, July 24th, our attorney would have the final birth mom document that she needed and she hoped to begin the legal process this week. We could actually be in Family Court (FC) by the end of the week. YEAH! I’ll keep everyone posted.

Starting All Over Again

For those of you who so kindly visited our previous blog, please let me explain why I’ve made this switch. “Technical difficulties followed by frustration.” Obviously, had I allowed Dave to handle all the blogging, things would have gone smoothly. However, he has no time to blog so I’m moving on in hopes that this will require little technical expertise on my part. We’ll see how this works out.

In an effort make sure I’m not leaving out anything, I’ve included all previous blog notes.

Happy reading!

Blog #1 from July 8, 2007

I’m finally getting started on the Weeks World blog. Although I have certainly had the best of intentions, I haven’t done a very good job keeping all our friends and family up-to-date on the various events that have taken place in our lives. This is my attempt at keeping everyone informed, especially now that we have a major life event taking place.

So let me officially introduce our family to those who we’ve not yet met.

My name is Debbie and I’ll be handling the majority of the blog entries. I have been married to Dave for 21 years and he is an amazing and wonderful husband and father. We have three boys Ryan, Josh, and Ben, all three are now grown and out of the house. In addition to our boys we have two beautiful Keeshonden, Jada and Lexie. A complete family! Or is it complete?

Here is a little more information about Dave and Debbie . . .

We live in the small farming community of Minier which is located in Central Illinois.

Dave works for a little company based out of Redmond, WA. Microsoft?! In addition to his job duties at Microsoft, Dave is furthering his education by taking on-line college classes and enjoys spending time in the garage on various woodworking projects. He is also a talented musician playing several different instruments, but primarily enjoys playing his Martin guitar. He has also written several songs over the last few years and if interested you can go to www.garageband.com/artist/daveweeks to hear a few. One of his songs, “Lay Down and Sleep”, was recently published and is currently being reviewed by a major country artist in Nashville for his next CD. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that one day in the near future it will be heard by millions across the world

After several years in the workforce, I was given the opportunity to become a stay-at-home wife and jumped at the chance. I’m not nearly as busy as my husband, but in addition to taking care of the house, errands, household budget, I enjoy digital photography and scrapbooking. I also like spending time gardening and coming up with new woodworking projects for Dave (some of his projects have an obvious benefit to me). Some would also call me a professional shopper, although Dave refers to it as professional spending. Jada and Lexie also keep me busy, with their antics and grooming needs.

We have certainly had our fair share of struggles over the years. Our oldest son, Ryan, has Autism and that has caused some real challenges. Josh and Ben have also brought more than their fair share of challenges to our lives over the years, yet we survived.

So after 21 years of marriage and raising three boys, we are now at a place in our lives where we can relax a little, enjoy some traveling, and spend some quiet time with just the two of us. The problem though, is that I’m not ready for that kind of life yet and over the last two years have felt this pull in a completely different direction. But wait, there is more to the story!

Like I said, I had felt this pull to go a different direction in life and it pretty much started when I sat down one evening a couple years ago, to relax and watch some t.v. As I moved through the local channels I came across an Oprah special on the children of Africa and found myself drawn to finding a way that I could help. As I read more, watched more, and researched more I knew I wanted to do something that would make a change in a major way and approached Dave about my idea. I wanted us to adopt children living in a country or countries that suffered from extreme poverty. I didn’t feel our life was yet complete and felt that we could provide a loving, nuturing environment to another child and offer them an opportunity for a better life. After much discussion we decided to move forward and chose to begin the adventure of a lifetime in Guatemala.

So, in December of this past year we began the process by choosing our home study and placement agencies, submitted our paperwork to the United State Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and started collecting the paperwork for our dossier. In January we began our home study and by May 17th our completed dossier along with USCIS approval was on it’s way to Guatemala. Then the long awaited day finally arrived on June 8th when our agency called to tell us that they had a beautiful baby girl for us. With every piece of information they gave me about her I felt more and more excitement, but I couldn’t have been more overwhelmed then when they told me her name. During all the months of waiting while we collected the necessary paperwork and completed our home study interviews, Dave and I had been discussing names for our little girl and had finally decided we would name her Liliana and would also include at least part of her birth name as her middle name. When our social worker told me her name, I could hardly believe my ears. Her birthname was Ana Maria! I never imagined we would be able to incorporate her entire birthname so easily into the name we had chosen for her. So let me introduce to you our little girl . . .

Liliana Maria (pronounced Lilly-awna)
Birth weight – 6 lbs 5 ozs
Birthdate – April 30th

Although my intention is to keep everyone informed of all the major events in our lives, I’m sure everyone realizes by now that Liliana and our journey to bringing her home will be the main topic of discussion. There is a lot that will need to take place between now and when we bring her home and I’ll do my best to explain the process as we go along, but just so everyone knows, we are looking at an average wait time of 8-10 months from referral before we are able to go to Guatemala and bring her home.

Here is where we are in the process and what is left to do . . .

1. We have, of course, accepted the referral of Liliana and have an attorney in Guatemala that is handling our case.
2. Our legal documents have been submitted to the US Embassy in Guatemala City and we are awaiting Embassy approval for DNA testing. This is a major step in the process because DNA testing requires that both Liliana and her birthmom be present at the same time for the test. In Guatemala, a birthmom must sign off on the adoption, four different times. However, if the birthmom is going to change her mind, it is most likely to happen during DNA testing as she is reunited with her baby at that time. Also, there has to be a positive DNA match in order for the adoption process to continue.
3. Our dossier and “Poder” (Power of Attorney) have been translated from English to Spanish and we are waiting to hear if our adoption petition has been filed with the Guatemalan Family Court. During the Family Court process the birthmother and Liliana’s foster mother will be interviewed by a Guatemalan social worker . All documents will be reviewed and the social worker will write a report expressing his/her opinion of the court toward the adoption. Steps 2 and 3 will probably be the longest in the process, accounting for an average of about 3-4 months.
4. Once the case has received US Embassy and Guatemalan Family Court approval the case is presented to the Office of the Attorney General of the Nation (PGN). This is the governmental entity responsible for approving all adoptions in Guatemala. A staff attorney will review the case and must give his/her consent before the adoption is final.
5. The adoption decree is registered at the Civil Registry where Liliana was born and a new birth certificate will be issued with Liliana’s birth name and our surnames.
6. Once step 5 is completed, our attorney will apply for Liliana’s Guatemalan passport and the legal documents are submitted to the US Embassy for review. Once it is reviewed the Embassy will issue a “pink slip”, which is our invitation to travel to Guatemala City to pick up Liliana and bring her home.

Unless our process moves faster than expected, we plan on taking a trip down to Guatemala in November to visit Liliana and meet her foster mom. It will certainly be a bitter sweet trip, but one we wouldn’t miss for the world.

I’ll continue to add updates as I have them and hope that you will follow along on our journey.

Blog #2 from July 12, 2007

We’re celebrating my birthday today and all I really want for my birthday is a call from our agency, Wide Horizons for Children (WHFC), letting me know that DNA testing has been completed. As of Monday, our attorney still didn’t have the necessary documents on Liliana or her birth mom and without those documents we can’t be submitted to Family Court or have DNA testing scheduled. It’s possible that things have changed by now, but we will only get updates when we hit major milestones and our program coordinator typically gets updates on Fridays. If anything has happened, we might not hear about it until early next week.

I did find out that the latest medical updates have been received and are being translated from Spanish to English and we should have that information within the next week. We might even get new pictures, so keep checking in for updated information and photos.

Just in case I don’t get my birthday wish, I’ve requested Thai food for dinner tonight. Yum, yum!!!!

Blog #3 from July 14, 2007

I just got back from picking up the mail and there was Liliana’s updated medical report. I was fully expecting to receive the information via email so this was a pleasant surprise.

As of July 2nd she weighed 10.8 lb and was 22.4 inches long. It sounds like she’s growing well and must really like to eat. She’ll fit in well with our family. According to the report she holds her head up, fixes her gaze, smiles, and babbles. Okay, I know this is a good report, but I want to be the one to hear her babble and see her smile. November can’t come fast enough at this point.

Still no updated pictures, but I’m sure they should be arriving soon and I will post them as soon as we get them.

For those who know me you won’t be shocked to hear that Liliana has an ever growing wardrobe already. As I’ve added more and more items to her closet I decided I needed to better organize things, so at this very moment, Dave is in the garage building closet organizers for her closet. Once I have her room completely decorated and ready for her to move in, I’ll post pictures. It’s going to be so cute!

Blog #4 from July 17, 2007

I emailed our Program Coordinator, Julie, for an update on our case and found out that she is in Guatemala right now. Although she told us there has been no movement I didn’t expect the following response . . . .

I was able to hold your “beautiful” baby and I was so fascinated by her smile. She loves being held and was pushing her feet against me, it was so cute! She was the second baby I was able to meet and so cuddly. I also met her foster mother and she really is an incredible woman. She is very responsible and caring.

Knowing that Liliana is happy and being well cared for is such a relief.

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