January 29, 2008

Practice Photo Shoot

With a very easy subject! I thought we would practice taking photos since we will take Nathan to get his 9 month pictues as soon as we get home. I think they came out pretty good- though I need to get better with understanding the lighting on my camera and can fix that when I get home. He's so easy going and just eats the camera right up!

We have been so busy the last few days. It seems we are out to lunch each day with some new friends we have met. Last night we had pizza with our new neighbor (also adopting) from Dubai and this weekend we went out to dinner with some other friends. Nate loves the attention he gets from all the people and he is so good when we go out. Yesterday we went to the market and bought a few things to take back. I got Nate a mayan sling which I can wrap him in if he falls asleep. The weather continues to be- perfect. Honestly, the past few days have been mid-70's without a cloud in the sky. What I would do have this climate at home...

Tommorrow is the big day....Rich arrives at the airport at 2:30pm! Nate and I will be there to meet him and it will be such a relief to all be together at last. We have a busy week planned here in Antigua before we head to the Marriott in GC next Tuesday for our final appt.

Adios for now!

January 25, 2008

My little "Escape Artist" ....

Oh, look, I can get out of here if I want to...

I'm almost there!

Oopps, I got caught!

I know I am probably biased as a mom, but Nate is learning and developing so well. He is such a smart little guy. He is getting into everything lately and is very active. He loves to play and move around. He has discovered, and very well, that when you hide an object- it still exists! I've tried to trick him a few times into believing I hid a toy....well, he does everything in his power to turn his whole body toward it.

He's also learned that there is other food besides formula, cereal, and baby food. Anytime I eat he uses all the strength in his body to try and grab what I am eating. It's so cute... he had his first taste of Domino's pizza tonight (didn't actually eat it but he tasted it in his mouth). I think he thought it tasted better than his pears and apples!

The missing shoe

We've been here almost 4 weeks and as of early this past week- we had managed not to lose any shoes. My mom gave Nate some really cute shoes on her trip here and while returning home from town earlier this week- I realized we lost one.

I was talking with my mom later in the week and she suggested I retrace my steps and find it. I had to explain that it would be gone (Guatemalan's generally pick up clothing, etc. that is fair game on the side of the road).

So, fast forward to today. I had written off the cute teddy shoe and figured it was lost in Antigua forever. I really didn't give it a second thought. After having lunch today with some friends, we stopped by the farmacia for some baby wipes. I requested the wipes and got my money out to pay the cashier. Just as I looked up, the woman cashier looked at me and said, "is this your baby shoe"? I said- "yes"!!! I couldn't believe that the shoe had made its way back to us without even being looked for. I guess we were meant to have that cute little teddy shoe!

January 23, 2008


It's official- we're PINK! We're coming home!

OUR Embassy appointment is February 6th with our Visa pick-up on the 7th. We'll be flying home on February 8th. Nathaniel will be comfy and cozy in his home on his 9th month birthday!!

This has been a process filled with joy, sadness, and significant uncertainty, but it has ultimately been the most fulfilling journey either of us will ever embark upon. We have been truly blessed throughout this process with the support of our family and friends and for that we are eternally grateful. What a life-changing journey...

Rich is coming early next week!

We're so happy we can barely stand it. Can you tell?!

January 21, 2008

Sharing some pics from the weekend....

This is the El Arco Restaurant in Antigua...the ambiance is beautiful and the food is excellent too.

One of my favorite places to eat and to visit here...Casa Santo Domingo- an old convent transformed into a beautiful hotel and restaurant. There is a wedding here almost every day of the year.

This is a typical Guatemalan "Chicken Bus" which is used for public transportation here. It acquired the name "Chiken Bus" because when people travel in these buses they put their belongings on the top. This includes everything from chickens to furniture, to people!

This is San Lazaro cemetary, one block from my apartment. It is a beautfiful cemetary and a very peaceful place.

On Saturday night, Nathaniel and I went to dinner with our friend, B and her family. B is adopting a little girl and lives in a home only 2 blocks from us. We get together often and had a great time at dinner on Saturday night. We ate with her parents who are visiting for 2 weeks. This picture is in Cafe Mediterraneo: a must-visit while in Antigua!

Finally, after a long weekend, we're tired and it's time to rest!

January 18, 2008

Good News....but no appointment yet

First, the good news- Nathaniel's feeling better. I think the medicine is starting to work its magic. I'm so relieved!

And, secondly, what else to report but more waiting...we did not get our appt. today. This does not mean we will get a later appt.- it only means we will have less notice to plan for Rich to come down and to book our return ticket. Looking into my crystal ball (combined with some obsessive stalking of other boards)... I think our appt. might just be on the 6th of February. I hate to make predictions when this process is so ridiculously irrational, but we're so close now I just have to. :-)

The US Embassy will be closed on Monday for the MLK holiday. Looks like Tuesday might be the big day. Keep your fingers crossed for us!

January 17, 2008

2nd DNA is at the US Embassy!

Hallelujah! We are one step away from our final appointment. There is a good chance we may have that date tomorrow. Fingers crossed!

We've both been battling sickness here. Nathaniel has a tonsil infection and I have had a sore throat (which I think are one in the same). I'm doing fine but he's been pretty sick the past couple days. He's on an antibiotic and he seems to be doing better today. I'm hoping he is able to kick this thing by the weekend.

January 15, 2008

We have been OUT and ABOUT...

An afternoon at Hotel Antigua...

We are definitely learning more and more about Antigua. On Saturday afternoon, we headed to Hotel Antigua to play on the swings and have lunch. It is such a beautiful place and Nate couldn't love the swings any more. :-)

All is going well here. The weather continues to be the same- low 70's and partly sunny every day. It just dawned on me that I've been here 16 days today and it hasn't rained once. Pretty good weather for the middle of January. On sunday Nate came down with a fever- which I am almost certain is a result of his final vaccination last week. It lasted 2 days and now he just seems to have a little cold. Yesterday I awoke to a sore throat...but I'm feeling better today. Our days are quiet and relaxing. I am definetely getting the bonding time with Nate that I have always wanted. He is so easy to love.

Well, the lab in the US emailed me yesterday to inform us that our sample had arrived on Monday morning and that it was being processed. They said it would arrive at the US Embassy in Guate on Thursday. So, realistically, we are looking at getting an appointment date for our FINAL appt before Wednesday of next week. Within a week- we should know our return home date! Stay tuned for the details...

January 14, 2008

Welcome to our home in Antigua...

"Las Jacarandas"

Our house...

Our neighborhood...

Our kitchen...

Our family room...

Our bedroom...

Our backyard...

January 11, 2008

My heart rests easy tonight

My special little boy...

I am feeling a real sense of relief and it's just hitting me. It seems surreal that this journey to bring Nathaniel home is ALMOST done. I feel so grateful to be blessed with such a wonderful son. We are so lucky.

We checked 2nd DNA off the list yesterday, too. We also had our final medical appt. with Dr. Hagen, one of the US Embassy physicians. It went really well. He got a clean bill of health! My little guy is 16 lbs and 27 inches long.

Now we wait for the final appt. I'm guessing our appt will be sometime around the 6th of February and we'll be home within 2 days of that. I will keep you posted.

In the meantime, we're enjoying our time here! Today we went to the playground at Hotel Antigua with some fostering friends. Nate LOVED the swings... I think we'll be going back tomorrow. Happy Friday. :-)

January 9, 2008

Still celebrating today...

Nathaniel would like to share his thoughts on the day...

Today was a long day but it paid off. We waited 3 hours at the municipality and finally....the civil registrar allowed us to get the birth certificate. Nathan was issued a birth certificate when he was born in his birth name. This new birth certificate shows his name as HOYT and his parents as US! After we got the birth certificate, my driver and friend Claudia and I went to lunch with my attorney. We then went next door to get the Passport -- and it was a breeze. It took about 30 minutes total. This was a full day! Tomorrow we are going to lunch with Claudia and then to the US Embassy for the 2nd DNA test. This will show that Nathan is the same baby he was back in August when the 1st DNA was taken. Then he will have his final medical exam by a US Embassy physician. After that, there is nothing else to do except wait for the DNA results to get back to the Embassy. That should take 7-10 days from tomorrow and then we'll have our appt. date 2-3 days after that. I am anticipating an appt. the 1st week of February (1st-7th). Rich will be coming down as SOON as we get the appt. We should be home by the 10th (of course, if all stays on track from here).

Adios for now!

It's a BEAUTIFUL day!!

After 5 long weeks....

Birth Certificate: DONE!!!!

Passport: DONE!!!!

2nd DNA and Final Medical: Tomorrow!!!!

More to come and pictures later!! We are so happy. We should be home in about 3 weeks! :-)

January 7, 2008

Meeting with Mayor (or not)

Today we went to the town where Nathaniel was born to kindly request our birth certifcate which we have been waiting for since 12/3. We waited 1 hour only to have the mayor walk out of his office and down the stairs without even acknowledging us. And we even had an appt! Well, we weren't successful today but we are not giving up. We will get the birth certificate. We just don't know when....so, for those wondering when we will be coming home....we don't know. I am praying to hear something in the next week or so! Also**** this is a very rare problem in Guatemalan adoption. I have done extensive research and there are 3 towns where the mayors are not cooperative in issuing birth certificates. Generally, a birth certficate is issued in 1-3 weeks or so....but with these towns, there are delays due to the corruption of those in charge. This is one reason I fully believe that Guatemalan adoptions are in need of some reform. The govt. must have better control over these mayors who simply decide they don't like adoption and as a result will cause lengthy delays. Completely wrong and in need of major reform...I pray that the new adoption law will address issues like this.

In other news, we moved on Sunday from the East side of Antigua to the West side. We were in a very nice hotel but it was small and we needed more space. So, we rented a studio apartment in a condo complex and it's perfect. It has everything we need and more. It's about 8 blocks from central park.

Tomorrow we are going to the pediatrician's office. Nathan's having his monthly check-up.

I am still amazed at how happy of a baby he truly is. He is always smiling and loves to be held. I am counting my blessings each day.

January 5, 2008

Happy Anniversary!!

To my partner of 10 years and husband of 6 years, today! 6 years ago today Rich and I were married in a small little church in Vermont. We celebrated all weekend long and then set off for a week in Paris where we had an amazing time.

I am truly blessed and couldn't ask for a better husband than Rich. We have been through a lot in the past 10 years- moving away from family, the tragic loss of my brother, changes in career, the loss of 2 beloved pets, the journey to our adoption....and so much more.

I also feel so thankful that Nathaniel will have such a wonderful Dad to be loved by and to learn from. That is one of the things I admire most about Rich...he is the most honest and committed person I think I will ever know. So, from across the miles tonight- Happy 6th Anniversay Hun!

P.S. I just wanted to add- there was an earthquake here last night. According to the news, it was 5.4 on the scale. Our whole house shook and I was concerned for about 30 seconds until it stopped. It was brief and there did not appear to be any damage nor was anyone hurt. The weather across the world is so unpredictable right now and Guatemala is no exception. Today was about 70 and partly sunny but it was windy. The power goes out about 10 times a day but thankfully does eventually come back on.

January 3, 2008

Winter in Antigua, too?

Well, sort of. This morning we awoke and our innkeeper was so excited that there was snow on the top of the volcano.

Here is a picture of the volcano from our terrace

It actually isn't cold here, bit it is chilly. Today was only about 60 for a high and it was very windy. The whole country lost power last night for at least 2 hours. Nathaniel enjoyed modeling his hats today

(we know dad will just love the bonnet look!)

We had fun just hanging out in our room, too

Tonight we went to dinner with our new friends who are also fostering down here. We went to Ni fu Ni fa- traditional Argentinian food- it was very good.

Tomorrow we are going to lunch with some other friends we've made. Then we'll settle in for a relaxing weekend. On Monday, we have an appointment to go meet with the mayor and our attorney. It should be very interesting...

Have a good weekend!

January 1, 2008

Our first few days in Antigua!

Saying goodbye to Maria on Sunday...we'll see her again! This was our GOTCHA day.

I'm handsome and I know it...

Lunch yesterday at Cafe Condessa...delicious!

Welcoming in the New Year at the Arc in Antigua