June 30, 2007

Things are going so well. . . .

I have some great news to share. While they are small in progress, they are huge to us!

First off, our Power of Attorney made it to FTIA yesterday and was shipped to Guatemala. This allows our attorney, Alejandro, to act on our behalf in the Guatemalan court system. Yay! Secondly, we also had made 2 errors in our dossier which needed to be corrected. I got them done and they made it to FTIA yesterday as well. That means that our entire dossier was shipped to Guatemala and will arrive their early next week. Once it arrives along with the POA, it will be translated into Spanish and approved for our attorney to act on our behalf. This process generally takes 4-8 weeks. In the meantime, we are waiting on DNA authorization- hope to have it by July 13th. Once we have this, our attorney can arrange for the DNA testing to be done. We will receive the results about 2 weeks from the date it is taken. Can't wait to cross that off our list! We're hoping to have DNA testing completed and get the results before labor day weekend (our second tentative trip- Rich and I). As this process is moving along our case will also be entered into the Family Court System in Guatemala and will be assigned to a social worker who will review our case, meet with our son, birth mom, and foster mom to make sure everything is legit.

My second piece of good news to share is that I spoke with our foster mom, Maria, again. I just love her! I hired a translator who indicated he was a descendant of Timothy Leary (concerned me a bit, I must say!) but he was fabulous. He actually lived in Guatemala for a while and was in Greenpeace and now lives in Oregon. He did a great job. I learned that Nathaniel is "very pretty and very cute". That's how she described him. I have also been wondering when she got Nathaniel- which she confirmed was on the 10th of May. That is great- as I know he has been receiving consistent loving care from the beginning. She also said he sleeps well, only waking to eat 1-2 times per night and when he is hot (no a/c down there!). She bathes him twice per day to help with the heat, too. He eats 2-3 oz every 2-3 hours and that sounded good to me. She requested I bring a papoose and a stroller- which I already have. She said she had plenty of diapers and formula. Also, I mentioned in my last post that she said she would like clothes. . . well, that's why I need a translator- she said "It would be very very kind of me if I would bring her jewelry". . . I was glad to hear this b/c I got her a jewelry box with 2 pairs of earrings and a watch and a necklace. I hope she will like them. I told her what we have named him and I don't think she quite understood-- probably never heard the name before. It's Natanael David (nay-tan-yul) in Spanish.

Well, that's the scoop without writing a novel! Just for fun- I have also included very cute baby bedding for you to see and let me know which one is your favorite- see to the right and below.

Finally, my mom's husband is in the hospital and is not doing well. Please say a prayer that he will be ok. They are not sure yet what is going on. This may interfere with my mom's ability to come with me. Don't worry though- my Dad is my back-up. I'm very lucky!

4 days left and I'm off to Guatemala to meet our son! :-)

June 26, 2007

A great call!

I had an unbelievably good call with Nathaniel's foster mom, Maria, this evening. I got home from work and found that my coordinator had emailed me her number. I slowly dialed the numbers to make the call. . . and she answered! It was tremendously difficult to understand her but she was so gracious and patient with me. I was also using an online translator and she gave me all the time in the world to formulate my questions. It may sound strange-- but I got a very good feeling from her voice and her overall sense of conversing. When I asked her to describe Nathaniel (always was good with those Spanish adjectives- now, if I could only remember how to conjugate all those verbs! :-)). she kept saying "muy bonito". When I told her I was the adoptove mother of Juan, she said "SI, SI, SI" "Muy Bien"! She said she has had him since the 10th of May. She also said he is over 8lbs and eats a lot. I knew he was going to be a future linebacker for the Eagles or the Patriots! :-)

There were times during the conversation where I knew she was offering priceless information but I simply couldn't understand her. I ended the conversation by telling her I was coming down next week and would meet her and how very grateful I was for her to give my son such great care. I also asked what she needed and she said clothes for Nathaniel and for herself as well. I told her I would bring clothes down. It was such a wonderful conversation and she was so patient with my online translation. I think she would have stayed on the phone with me for hours because she sensed how important the information was to me.

So, after I hung up, I decided I needed to find a translator. I found a professional who will be doing a conference call with me on Thursday evening. This way, I will be able to ask all the important questions, get all the answers, and make sure she gets all her questions answered. This process continues to amaze me; in all its complexity the simplest little phone call can make you so grateful. And to top it off, I think I heard my son "cooing" in the background. Our little guy is 7 weeks old tonight- can't wait to meet him in 8 days! Hasta Luego.

June 23, 2007

What's in a name, anyway?

Nathaniel: means "gift of god"

David: translates to "beloved one"

These couldn't better explain how special this little guy is and will be to us forever. I can't wait to hold him and see him for the first time. Speaking of that, just booked the flight and the hotel- leaving July 5th and coming home July 8th- staying at the Marriott in Guatemala City. I am so excited! I will have him all to myself for 3 whole days! I'm hoping to take him to the doctor while I am there, too. Daddy will get a phone call, hopefully with some "cooing" in the background and LOTS and LOTS of pictures and video. We wish Daddy could come but someone has to stay home and work. :-) I'm counting down the days. . .

By the way, Happy Birthday today to Daddy! I don't think he could have asked for a better present- even if it did come a few days early. I'm jealous- they get the May and June birthdays and I get one in the dead of winter. Go figure!

June 21, 2007

We're still in shock...

Nathaniel David Hoyt - 6 weeks old

Yes, we're still in shock. I feel so blessed and honored to be able to give Nathaniel David a wonderful home. We received the fed-ex package yesterday. We got all his pictures and medical reports. Everything looked good to us! Of course, we consulted with a physician which was very helpful and she gave us the go ahead (medically speaking). There was a picture of Nathaniel's (Juan was his birth name) birth mom -- she is single and 21 years old. She lives with her mother, who is 50 years old. Her picture on her cedula (ID card) looked so sad and I find peace knowing that she gave him up for adoption so that "he could have a family". I hope she will find comfort in somehow knowing how loved he will be.

Nathaniel was born in Chinautla, Guatemala on May 8th, 2007 @ 8pm. Chinautla is a town/village 6.5 miles Northish of Guatemala City. It is known for its handmade pottery.

We are absolutely thrilled to meet him. We sent in our acceptance papers today and they will go to Guatemala tomorrow. That will allow us to get DNA authorzation, which is the next step. This is a US requirement which involves both the birth mother and child to have DNA swabs done and then they are sent to a lab in the US. We hope to have DNA auth by 7/25- that's our goal! We still have to send in our power of attorney and our agency will have that next week after we get the appropriate seals. Then we just wait- and hopefully plan a visit trip down to see the little guy soon!

June 19, 2007

Our son has arrived!

Nathaniel David Hoyt, Born May 8th, 2007 ~ 6lbs
Chinautla, Guatemala

I am still in a complete state of shock. Today is a day I will never forget. We got the call in a very strange way- but the news was the best- WE HAVE A SON FOR YOU! OMG! Anyway, I will post ALL the details later this week after I have calmed down and we have had our medical review from the doctor at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. He's a big boy! 7', 8oz- 20 " long on 6/4/07- full term healthy baby boy. He was born May 8th, 2007 @ 8pm in his birth mother's home- he is exactly 6 weeks old today! I am IN LOVE with him. Gotta finish calling my family! I promise to post more details- I can't believe it - I'M A MOM! What a great birthday present for Rich on Saturday!

P.S. (update since we did more research) These pictures were taken on 6/8- when he was exactly one month old!

June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day. . .

First off, I want to wish all of you Dad's out there a Happy Father's Day! I was fortunate enough to spend an absolutely wonderful weekend with my own dad and family. We had so much fun up in VT. We went running, swimming in the freshwater pond (my absolute favorite!) and to Saratoga NY for dinner and fun. Saratoga is one of my favorite towns and we ate at a fabulous restaurant (Hattie's). Being with my family is so important and I am grateful to have that time.

Anyhow, back home now. We will officially be waiting 5 days tomorrow (not that I'm counting or anything!). On my agency's chat group there was one new boy referral last week. According to this unofficial list we have composed, there are 4 families ahead of us. There seems to have been a slow down in referrals over the last few weeks. It goes in cycles and I am hopeful that there will be a surge of referrals in the next 2 weeks and that we will be one of them. Again, we are still looking at the 4 week window as we were told which would mean we would get the "call" by 7/13- no guarantees of course.

***Finally, I will definetely post a formal process guideline before the end of the week so that all of you out there can become familiar with the dossier process, referral process, and process post rererral. Adios for now. . . .

June 13, 2007

It's HERE!!!

I guess 13 can be a lucky number! We are so pleased to report that we recevied our I-797c today (aka I-171h). What a relief! As of 12:30 this afternoon- we are officially on the wait list for our baby boy! I called Rich this morning and he told me that the mail didn't come before he left for work. Knowing I wouldn't return home before 7:30pm, I decided to make the 40 minute roundtrip ride home on lunch to see if it had arrived. The entire drive over I kept telling myself "The chances of it being there are so slim- why are you making this drive!". I had never made the drive in the previous 32 days but something must have compelled me to do so today! When I pulled up to the mailbox I parked my car at the end of the driveway and opened it. On top of a huge stack of bills and junk mail lay a thicker envelope upside down. It was torn a bit on the back. I abruptly grabbed it and flipped it over- and this is the envelope I saw!! I was so excited to see the envelope that I forgot to open it right away to see if we were actually approved. I gently opened it -- knowing what had gone into it's long awaited delivery- to find that we have been approved to adopt 1 child from Guatemala. YAY! The letter basically read:
"It has been determined that you are able to furnish proper care to an orphan as described in section (etc.). . . . You are APPROVED - Number of Children for which Petitioner is Approved For: 1"
"Your VISA 37 cable has been sent to the American Consulate or Embassy in Guatemala City. "
The ironic piece is that it was approved on June 7th and mailed out on the 11th- usually it's a one day mail but we got it in 2. There's a reason for everything in this process! Alright, almost everything!
Just a few tid-bits of info for you all to share the process with us!
So, what does this all mean, you ask? Well, I immediately emailed our adoption coordinator a copy of our approval form and we are officially on the waiting list (as of 12:30pm on 6/13/07) for a baby boy! She told us the current wait was 2-4 weeks! We are anticipating the call sometime before July 13th! We will keep you all posted for the SPECIAL day when our son arrives. Thanks too for all your thoughts and kind words during our wait time for our USCIS approval. It means the world to us and we are so grateful to have such wonderful friends and family. Melissa- BTW- I should have taken your email a little more seriously last night- you always have had those 'premonitions'! Thanks to all and we will keep you posted on the wait.
In the meantine, there was a fairly serious earthquake in Guatemala today. I posted a CNN article that gives more details. Warm wishes to all!

June 12, 2007

If I see another credit card offer. . .

Ok, if I see another credit card offer in my pile of mail I think I just might scream! It takes 10 minutes to comb through the junk mail to come to the realization that it didn't arrive. Yes, that's right, you guessed it, no I-171h today. Was hoping the 32nd day of waiting might be the 'magic' day- but no such luck. Several credit card offers, junk mail, and boring bills. I worked a *long* productive day today so I at least had my attention focused elsewhere. I got home at 8:00 and ran 2 miles. Again, need the distraction and exercise. Still can't believe this is the "free nation" for all free nations and we are caught up in this *&$#$%&* beaurecratic CRAP. I keep picturing my 15 pages of materials sitting there just waiting for approval and wondering if it's even been looked at. Makes me angry but what else can I do but wait. I hope to have better news soon- as the wait slides into 33 days tomorrow. . . I'll keep optimistic that "33" will be that magic number!

June 10, 2007

The Wait Continues. . .

Hi Everyone-

Well, we didn't get our "paper" this week. I have begun to refer to this precious thing as our "paper" because I don't like the term I-171h- it sounds so technical! Anyway, I did stalk the mailbox again on Saturday and it wasn't there. I was disappointed (big surprise!) but I think I am adjusting better to the wait. Like many other adoptive families, I have started engaging in different activities to make the wait manageable and also be productive while I wait. I am running again! Wow- what a shock to the system it is to start endurance running when you haven't in years. This was my first week- and I must admit-I am a little sore. :-) I hope to continue running maybe 2-3 nights per week about 2 miles each time. I also walk at least once per week with my neighbor Cathy. In addition, I have been putting together photo albums and that's always such a fun thing to do.

Now, getting back to the "paper" (aka- I-171h). Your guess is as good as mine at this point. On my adoption agencies email group, there are some people getting it in 2 weeks and others that wait upwards of 10 weeks! But, it all depends on what state you live in and in some instances, where in the state you live. Every office has only one petition officer-- regardless of the size. As you can imagine, Philadelphia is a pretty big office and covers all of the Philly area and Delaware, too. Needless to say, the fact that the petition officer was on vacation for the whole month of May doesn't really help my cause either. Here's my best guess at this point:

As of 6/11/07- we have been waiting 31 days for the paper/ approval. I was told by her that we would receive it within *6 weeks* and found that most people in the Philly office receive it within 30 days. They seem to always overestimate the time- similar to waiting times at a restaurant. I guess it goes with the old saying- "Underpromise and Overdeliver" and your customers will see you better for it in the end. So, I am guessing- positively of course- that we will have it by 6/16/06- which will be 5 weeks! Obviously there is no science to this craziness, but from talking with others, it is definetely reasonable that I would receive it this week. Yay!

The not so good part is that I am leaving for business mid week so I won't be here to check the box during the day (so fun!). Rich will be here though and he has detailed instructions (in case he forgets! lol) to fax/email it to FTIA so we can get on that list immediately! On a positive note, I will be heading from a business trip on Friday to my dad's in VT for the weekend. I love VT! I will meet up with my sister and her boyfriend there, too. We'll probably do some shopping and take my dad out to dinner for Father's day. Hope this is all done knowing we are on the list! We'll see. . . and I promise to post while out of town as soon as we receive. Keeping my fingers crossed for good news this week!

June 7, 2007

Yup, it's been a long week!

It's Thursday already. I'm disappointed- though not entirely surprised to report that we still haven't received our I-171h (or aka. I-797c). I stalk the mailbox-- or Rich does daily-- but it's never in there! This morning we awoke to find that our mailbox had been vandalized- as had the entire neighborhood! We live in a very rural and quiet area so this was a surprise. We figure it was probably some teenagers in the neighborhood just getting out of school with nothing better to devote their time to. Someone called the police and they apparently have a "suspect" in questioning. So, of course, I immediately began to wonder how in the world the mail woman was going to deliver the mail without a mail box! I quickly asked Rich to see if he could fix it for the time being and he went out, propped it up, and it's working. I felt much better to know that we could at least have mail delivered. What perfect timing for a mailbox vandalism, huh?! I also have a new feature on the blog that will play a favorite song on a weekly basis. You can play it if you like it or ignore it if you don't! :-) Yes, and BTW, I am a huge American Idol fan! We both love the show every year.

In the meantime, I will keep you all posted on the 171. I keep reminding myself that patience is a virtue. . . but for some reason I don't think it sticks very well. As you can see from our timeline, Monday will be 30 days of waiting. I just continue to go and keep Nathaniel in my mind. I am constantly wondering- is he born yet? What will he look like? Typical mom thoughts, I guess. This weekend I will post "Frequently asked Questions". During this process, I have been asked a number of really great questions that I didn't know prior to adoption. Adoption is a very complex process (for those of you not familiar with it) and I will help to shed some light on the process from A to Z and give you an idea of what we will journey through to bring our little Nathaniel home. Until next time. . .

June 3, 2007

Hope this is a good week! Come on I-171h!

Can't believe it's already Sunday evening. Just finshed watching the Soprano's (gotta love it!) and I had a need to post before bed. This week will be busy at work so I will not have a ton of extra time to post. I'm recovering from a bad cold and my productivity was below average last week. Need to make up for it this week. As you can see from our timeline, we are *simply* waiting on our I-171h. For those of you readers unfamiliar with this term (as I was 3 months ago!), it is essentially the US govt's approval to adopt a child from another country. We have been waiting a glorious 24 days for this which I genuinely believe is too long. I have posted an article below that gives some insight into my thinking here. The Philadelphia USCIS offce has one woman who processes these petitions. Ironically enough, I contacted her on the 15th of May because our tracking # wasn't working. Her voicemail said: "Today is Friday May 4th and I will be out of the office until May 29th. " I thought, great, as much as I respect our govt workers I just thought it funny that she was on vacation for the whole month of May! Thankfully, there was a gentleman filling in for her-and though he accepted my call-- he did not give me any information on when I could expect to receive my approval and told me that the tracking numbers don't work and haven't in a long time. Hmmmm. . .perhaps they should consider taking that part out of the letter (novel idea!). Anyhow, I contacted this woman on 6/1-- thinking she'd be refreshed from a month of vaca. She was abrupt but she did tell me that my case was received, on her desk, and would be processed within 6 weeks of 5/11/07. I did feel better after this brief conversation in which I repeatedly thanked her and told her how appreciative I was of her time (hey- hoping that would get me some bonus points!). At the very least we now have a more tangible timeframe in which to expect this precious little piece of paper. And, I can assure you, when we receive it, I will not hide my excitement. This little piece of paper will get us on the referral list for a baby boy! The second (and I do mean second!) we receive it I will fax it to our wonderful adoption coordinator, Natalia, and we will officially be waiting parents. Ahh- can't wait! Anyhow, say a prayer for us that we will receive it soon. I am secretly hoping it comes before the 14th- that would be a great Father's day gift for Rich! :-) Sweet dreams to all and I will post soon-- and as soon as I receive it! Goodnight.


In 2005 the US State Department says they processed 21,895 orphans into the U.S.
The USCIS site shows that they have 75 offices that process I-600A applications.
21,895 divided by 75 is 292, barely more than one per business day. But, let’s say that 30 of these offices only account for about 60 applications and the rest have to process everyone else.
That would mean that 45 offices are processing 21,835 applications per year. That is still only 485 applications a year per office. If you figure a month of vacation time and another two weeks of holiday time we are left with 230 working days per year. That is 2.1 applications per day. So, WHY ARE SOME OF THEM TAKING THREE OR FOUR MONTHS TO PROCESS THEM? Twenty minutes to read through the homestudy, ten minutes to check off that everything else that is needed is included, and thirty minutes to do whatever is needed to get it entered into the system and the information sent to GZ and the I-171H ready to mail. That’s an hour. But let’s say it takes two hours, they should still be able to get 4 a day out the door!
Sorry for the screaming, but this is outrageous to me. We hear sob stories of there only being one person who processes them in some offices. Well, if they only need to process two a day to keep up then I should hope that they only have one person assigned to this job. But since they are behind, maybe they should put another person or two on the job to help get caught up?
If they get 485 applications per year at that office, then that is $264,325 per year coming into that one office in I-600A fees. Subtract out the cost of one office (or maybe just a cubicle), salary for one employee, and stamps for 485 letters and that is still quite an income generator. Especially when you multiply it by 45 offices. I think they should be able to afford to put another person on the job so they can get caught up.
This entry was posted on Saturday, September 9th, 2006 at 8:53 am and is filed under I-171H. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

Welcome to our Adoption Journey!

Gosh- I can't tell you how happy I am to be building this site. I have put it off for a while- you know, the usual procrastination. But this weekend my usual OCD got the best of me and I refused to do anything else until I at least put the basics together. I am glad I did because it's important that I journal about this process and also have the opportunity to share our story with friends and family. We decided to journey down the adoption path in January of 2007. I have always known, for some reason or another, that someday I would adopt a child. When we first made the decision, we began to research and spent a month looking into every aspect of international adoption. We immediately decided on China. We liked the quality and stability of their program and had emailed and talked with AP's who had had such wondeful experiences. Well, that all changed so quickly! While we still believed in the China program, we learned some things about the program that would delay our adoption including a 16-18 month wait for a referral! We knew that adoption is and will be a long and complex process but we thought that was a little too long. So, after further research we chose Guatemala! :-) There are many things that are appealing to us about the program such as the health of the children, the young age at which they are referred, and the fact that they are placed in loving foster homes from a very young age until they make the journey to their home here in the United States. How long does this take, you ask?! Well, it generally takes a year (for a boy which is our request!!). We started the process on February 22nd, 2007 and anticipate having our son home by February 22nd, 2008. We can't wait!