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I saw that some of you were interested in Keely's adoption story, so I thought I'd post a little bit of how she came to be our little girl. Here are clips from her adoption journal, hope you enjoy!!
We received our referral on October 2, 2006 of a 13 day old baby girl. We were in love with her instantly. At birth she weighed 5lb 1oz and was 18in long.
On December 27, 2006, Keely was placed in our arms for the first time in the Guatemala City Marriott lobby. The emotions were overwhelming. We had just flown all day (been up all night for 2 nights from preparing for the trip and butterflies) so we were exhausted, our flight was delayed so we were worried we had missed the foster mom, and we were nervous and excited beyond imagination at the same time. I will never forget the first moment I saw my sweet little bundle sleeping so soundly in her foster mother's arms. She was so beautiful dressed all in yellow and green. It was one of the most unbelievable experiences of my life. We were able to keep Keely for 3 nights, but the time came to leave our sweet Keely and come home to our 4 angels at home. We were so sad to be leaving our baby girl but we missed our kids at home so much and were eager to get to them as well. We have prayed ever since that the time would quickly come that we could go take her into our arms forever.
PRE-Approval from the US Embassy to adopt January 19, 2007
After 40 days, we finally received Visa Pre-Approval from the US Embassy in Guatemala. This means they have reviewed our case and have issued a preapproval that once the case is completed through PGN, they will issue a citizens visa for Keely to enter the US. WOOHOOO Now we can enter PGN and pray hard! My mom, grandmother, 2 sisters, and I were actually having a girl day when I got the call. We were getting facials, pedicures, manicures, and our hair done. It was a WONDERFUL day on all levels!
Enter into PGN January 25, 2007
We were entered into PGN today. This is a scary place but something we must get through in order to have Keely come home to us. It's the final Guatemalan court system that can make or break and adoption. They are similar to our US Attorney General's office. Their job is to try to find any reason whatsoever that we should not have Keely (and they will find it if it's there!). WISH US LUCK!
We are OUT of PGN!!!!!! March 09, 2007
After 6 weeks 1 day, our case exited PGN today!!! This is one of the biggest milestones of the whole process. PGN is a huge hurdle because it's the final Guatemalan court system that is known for it's toughness. They like to issue kick outs for silly little unimportant mistakes like missing punctuation and hyphens not where they're supposed to be. They are important because they also catch all the bad guys that haven't been caught yet, but they also put everyone else through the mill in the process. We were so lucky to receive no kick outs, but we have so many friends that did and were held up unnecessarily for weeks and months.
Keely is OURS!!!!!! March 12, 2007
Keely's birth mother came in and signed away her rights for the 4th and final time today! I cannot even begin to say how bittersweet this feeling is. We are so relieved that the adoption cannot be ended at this point (what an emotional 5 months of worrying if the birth mother would take her back), but I feel so sad for the birth mother as I cannot imagine how this could be easy for anyone. She is doing the right thing. Our family will love her baby girl with all our hearts for the rest of our lives!
We have Keely's new birth certificate and passport! March 22, 2007
As of today we have Keely's new birth certificate with her NEW LAST NAME! She is officially on paper part of our family!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Our attorney also obtained her Guatemalan passport today, so she will be able to travel home with us when it's time! It's a good thing they got her Guatemalan passport instead of her US passport because those are taking forever right now! HAPPY DAY at our house!
Submitted for PINK March 29, 2007
We were submitted to the US Embassy in Guatemala today for our pink slip. Our pink slip will contain our embassy date on it which will be when we travel to get Keely! This typically takes 1 week to process.
Waiting on our Embassy Appointment April 04, 2007
We are on day 6 of a typical 7 day wait for our embassy appointment date. Since the embassy will be closed Thursday and Friday, and our attorney will be out of the office on Monday, we won't know when we will travel to pick baby Keely up until Tuesday. Dates being issued right now are between April 27-30, so we expect to travel sometime around then. This has been the most difficult wait so far through this entire process. On a positive note we got new pictures of Keely today. She didn't look like herself at all and was crying in them. She also had cotton taped to the crook of her arm like she had blood drawn. Poor baby girl. I wish I could be there to give her loves and kisses when she feels bad.
Day 10 waiting for PINK April 09, 2007
Today has been the most difficult day yet waiting for our appointment. I just don't understand why it takes so long to get us an appointment. We are still praying to hear something this evening, but the chances are slim.
Day 11 and we HAVE PINK! April 10, 2007
We got pink today and our appointment is April 30 at 7:15am. We will leave Carolina on April 28 and return late on May 3 or early on the 4th. I am completely devastated that we will miss Kelsey leaving for 4H camp and Karoline's BUGZ production, but so happy to finally have an end to this process and to get to bring our baby home. I have tried everything to get us home quicker so we won't miss these 2 special things for our girls, but nothing has worked. We think my parents will leave with the kids right after the Bugz production and pick up Kelsey from camp meeting us at the airport by 10:30 when we land. The kids wouldn't miss seeing their sister arrive in America for anything in the world.
April 18, 2007
We made tshirts for the kids to wear to the airport! Keely will probably be freaked out to see a whole airport full of people wearing shirts with her picture on them. I cannot WAIT until that moment when I am able to introduce Keely to our friends and family! They are going to be able to see why we fell head over heels in love with her from the moment we saw her.
A week from today April 21, 2007
A week from right now we will be in Guatemala City (assuming we have no flight delays). We will be picked up at the airport by one of our attorney's staff members. They are very very helpful because they will become our driver, translator, and guide for the duration of our stay in Guatemala. Within a couple of hours Keely's foster mom will arrive with Keely and she will be in our arms forever. Saying goodbye to the foster mom will be the hardest. She has been so wonderful to Keely and has loved her like her own for 7 months. How do you repay someone for that? I can imagine it will be a very emotional transition for everyone, especially little Keely who has no idea this is about to take place. Things are getting done here as well. I am working on spring cleaning and getting projects out of the way so we can focus on our children and everyone's adjustment to their new roles when we return. So many exciting things happening in our home!!!!! God is so good!
We leave in 8.5hrs April 27, 2007
I'm so nervous. We leave our older 3 children behind in 8.5 hrs and not see them again for 6 days. It will be brutal. On the flip side, Keely Marie will be part of our family forever in about 18 hours. This is the last night that it won't be me, her mommy, rocking her to sleep and tucking her in bed. This is just part of the process...one last hurdle to overcome. Leaving my kids (both Keely after our visit and our kids here when we've had to travel to Guatemala) has been by far the hardest part of this process. I don't like leaving the kids to run to the grocery store, let alone to leave the country for a week. I have to keep reminding myself of my goal. After this hurdle, all of my children will be together and I won't have to leave 1 to be wiht the other 4 or 4 to be with the other 1. YEAAAAA I'm SO excited. Our bags are packed and we're just hanging out with our kids having one last family night until we return.
We're home, exhausted, but so happy May 06, 2007
We got home about 6pm on Friday, May 4. The first leg of our flight was really rough. Both kids got so antsy and didn't like sitting still. Keely cried most of the 2.5hr flight. The 2nd flight was a bit better because they both slept most of the way, but the plane made weird (scary) noises and take off and landing was really rough. Keely did so well from day one. The first 4-5 days she was super serious and laid back...very easy baby. What a dream! The last day we were there the foster mom came back for a visit and she really started grieving after that. She wouldn't take a bottle from us after that and would arch her back pushing us away when we tried to comfort her or feed her. 70% of the time she is still a happy baby, but that 30% of grieving is really tough on the whole family. I completely understand why she is going through this and actually expected it to be worse, but I had no idea it would be so exhausting. Each day does get a little better and that's wonderful. I think she is attached to me because she is making wonderful eye contact and gives me lots of cuddles and smiles when it isn't bedtime feeding time. She is sleeping really well too. She loves her bedroom and enjoys looking around at all the animals and talks to her pig on her bumper pad when she wakes up from a nap. Luckily the soccer games were canceled yesterday so we were able to just hang out at home bonding with Keely with no distractions. I'm hoping for one more day of that before the regular week starts again tomorrow. Overall, I cannot even put into words how wonderful it is to have our whole family under one roof. I'm so in love with my little family my heart flutters when I think about them.
I just happend upon this. Wow. That is a beautiful story!! BEAUTIFUL! It is great that you kept such a detailed journal of the whole experience I am sure that will really mean a lot to her some day. You have a beautiful family!!