Friday, March 28, 2008

Called PGN

I called PGN again today and found out...we are STILL with the 2nd reviewer. Yes, I know, it is good news that we haven't been kicked out for a stupid previo, but I really wanted to hear that we were on the director's desk waiting for approval or that we were OUT! I'll call again next Friday.

Baby Rachel is OUT!

Today I found out that my friend Alex and her husband received the call that they are OUT of PGN!! Their daughter Rachel is one month older than Miranda and we met Alex, Rachel, and Alex's mom in Guatemala on our visit trip. Rachel's file went into PGN on 2/15 and they just found out yesterday, 3/27, that they are OUT! I am so happy for them! Here is a picture of Miranda and Rachel by the pool. (Miranda has the big bow in her hair!)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Mitchell's birthday festivities

The whirlwind birthday fun has ended! We had a fun dinner with Grandma Donna and Papa John last night. Mitchell was very excited about the steak and potato dinner! The bowling party was also a success today. Matt, me, and 11 boys under the age of 9. Crazy! The boys all had a lot of fun. Mitchell was pretty excited about a lot of his gifts, but when I asked him what his favorites were, he said "The Pokemon stuff, the shoes (Converse high-tops), the Brain Quest questions, and the popcorn!" One of his friends gave him a gift card to Blockbuster with a tub of microwave popcorn and he was pretty excited about it.
Here are some pictures from last night and today.
This shirt is from the Mitchell, IL volunteer fire department. A friend from work whose brother is a volunteer firefighter got it for me.
For dessert, I made individual molten chocolate cakes. They were awesome! They had gooey chocolate centers....YUM.

Mitchell laying in our bed, reading one of the many books he got for his birthday. He's just like I was/am...he reads super fast and will read a book over and over again.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Happy Birthday to Mitchell!

Today is Mitchell's 8th birthday! This picture is from last night at the Science Fair, where Mitchell received a blue ribbon. His project was about the different ways to find North and which way is the most accurate. He and Matt had a lot of fun working on the project.

Today we are celebrating Mitchell's birthday by going out to breakfast with Matt's parents and then having my parents over for dinner tonight. Mitchell has requested steak and baked potatos for dinner! His birthday party is tomorrow at the local bowling alley and 12 of his friends will be joining him. I'll post pictures of that later this weekend.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

2nd Reviewer

I spent about 30 minutes and $20 yesterday on the phone trying to call PGN. After being hung up on a few times and transferred to extensions that didn't work, I finally reached an English-speaking employee at PGN. This employee fields most of the questions from English-speaking families with questions about their cases. She has a computer and can type in your case number and tell you where your case is: first reviewer, second reviewer, "on the director's desk," has received a previo, or has been approved. Only occasionally has she been known to not have the most up to date information. MANY adopting parents call her once a week to check on their file. Sometimes the parents will know more about their file than their agency or their attorney! (By the way, it is my understanding that the "reviewers" are actually attornies.)
So, the word from Laura (the employee at PGN) was that our case is with the 2nd reviewer and has been on the desk of the 2nd reviewer since 3/11. The first reviewer does a quick check of documents and then passes the case on to the 2nd reviewer, who does a more thorough check. The 2nd reviewer then either approves the case or issues a previo or multiple previos for missing documents or errors on documents. All of the files then go to the director's desk for signature--approved cases AND cases being kicked out have to get his signature.
Here's one of the insane things about PGN, though...there are anywhere from 3-5 2nd reviewers (I think there are 12 first reviewers...and only one director--Sr. Barrios). Each reviewer has different requirements that they like to have in of them insists that the adopting parents have a specific kind of notarized and certified letter, while another reviewer doesn't care if that letter is in the file or not. There really is no rhyme or reason to the whole process.
In the past, cases could stay on the 2nd reviewers desk for 6+ weeks. There is no telling how long we could be there now. PGN is closed for the rest of the week for Easter, but after than, anything could happen...we could find out we are OUT at any time...we could find out that the 2nd reviewer has issued another previo at any time...The timing is completely up in the air. There are people whose cases were submitted to PGN before us who are OUT and some who are still in PGN.
It is kind of mind-boggling to think that there are around 12 first reviewers, 3-5 second reviewers and one director for THOUSANDS OF CASES!!! No wonder it can take so long!
Please keep praying. We would love to hear news in the next few weeks that Miranda is OUT of PGN!! That is our prayer.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Talked to the Pediatrician

I just got off the phone with Dr. Hagen. It was a pretty quick conversation, but he got out Miranda's chart and went over her last visit with me. He said that the foster mother didn't have any concerns and told me what immunizations they gave to Miranda. He said lots of positive comments including:
  • "looks very well"
  • "doing great"
  • "physically and neurologically normal"

I asked him specifically about Miranda's eyes. He told me that the foster mom mentioned I was concerned about a possible lazy eye and he told me he checked her eyes and they "look fine" and are "OK."

He also told me the foster mom had told him I was concerned about Miranda's head shape---which is true..she has a pretty flat back of the head!! He said her head is just a slight variation of normal (and even used to correct medical term-plagiocephaly) and was nothing to worry about. Those of you who have known us for at least 7 years probably remember that our oldest son, Mitchell, had to wear a corrective helmet because he had EXTREME plagiocephaly. So, as you can imagine, I am a bit hyper-vigilant about head shape!

I have heard good reports about this doctor from other families and hope to meet him when we are picking up Miranda. He is one of the doctors who the U.S. embassy contracts with to do "exit" medical appointments on children who are being adopted. I hope to go to that final appointment with Miranda in Guatemala.

No word yet from PGN. I asked our coordinator if she had heard anything and she said "No." The good thing, though, is that we haven't heard about a KO (kickout) either! So, I'm praying that our file will have God's protection as it goes through different reviewers at PGN and will be on the director's desk soon. The director of PGN, Sr. Barrios, gives the final sign-off on the cases. Last night I was talking with Matt again about the whole PGN process and he said, "So, we need to pray for Barrios, right?" I thought it was a good approach to take...Let's all pray for Sr. Barrios!

Monday, March 10, 2008

New Measurements

Today we received Miranda's measurements from her doctor's appointment on 2/29. The facilitator in Guatemala also said "the doctor said if the family can call him, because she is excelent," which I am taking to mean she's healthy and the doctor would be willing to talk to us. I tried to call the doctor today, but he said he was with patients and could I please call back tomorrow at 9am. This doctor, Dr. Sidney Hagan, is a pediatrician who was trained in the U.S. He is on staff as one of the U.S. embassy pediatricians in Guatemala City and also has a private practice. I'll post more after I talk to him tomorrow!
Miranda's measurements as of 2/29/08:
weight: 14.4 lb. (55%)
length: 24.6 inches (26%)
head circumference: 16.1 inches (35%)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

When will winter be over?

No news from PGN or from Miranda's doctor's appointment from last week. I'm checking my e-mail multiple times a day in the hopes of getting some news. Oh, how I would love to have a miraculously fast OUT from PGN!!! In the past few days I have seen people posting in the internet who are out of PGN who were submitted or re-submitted to PGN on 2/18--just 3 days before us. I'm praying that our turn is coming.

Yesterday, (yes, March. 4!) we had a lovely winter storm that left us with 6+ inches of snow and yet another snow day. The kids had fun with Matt and the neighbor kids playing in the snow. I stayed inside and was warm! Here are some pics from yesterday.