Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Guatemalan Flag

The Guatemalan flag is made up of three equal vertical bands of light blue and white. The first blue band represents the Pacific Ocean, while the last band represents the Caribbean Sea. The white band has a coat of arms on it which include a green and red quetzal ( the national bird) and a scroll bearing the inscription LIBERTAD 15 DE SEPETIEMBRE DE 1821 (which is the original date of independence from Spain). A pair of crossed rifles and a pair of crossed swords framed by a wreath surround the coat of arms.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Legend of the Worry Doll

In the highland Mayan Indian villages of Guatemala, they tell a story of the worry dolls. As the sun sets and you prepare for bed, you should not take your worries with you to the next day. You are to tell one of your worries to one doll and place it under your pillow. While you sleep the doll will take your worries away. With any adoption there is always a lot of worrying going on. Needless to say we have slept with many dolls under our pillows in the past few months!

Guatemalan Weavings- Fun Fact of the Day

Guatemalans make many traditional handicrafts, both for everyday use and to sell to tourists and collectors. Crafts include basketry, ceramics and wood carvings, but the most prominent are weaving, embroidery and other textile arts practiced by Mayan women. The beautiful traje (traditional clothing) made and worn by these women is one of the most awe-inspiring expressions of Mayan culture.
The most arresting feature of there costumes is their highly colorful weaving and embroidery, which makes many garments true works of art. It’s the woman’s huipil, a long, sleeveless tunic that receives the most painstaking loving care in its creation. Often entire huipiles are covered in a multicolored web of stylized animal, human, plant and mythological shapes that can take months to complete. Each garment identifies the village from which its weaver hails (the Spanish colonists allotted each village a different design order to distinguish their inhabitants from each other) and within the village style there can be variations according to social status, as well as the creative individual touches that make each garment unique.

The huipil is one of several types of garment that have been in use since pre-Hispanic times. Other colorful types include the tocoyal, a woven head-covering often decorated with bright tassels; the corte, a piece of material 7m or 10m long that is used as a wraparound skirt; and the faja, a long woven waist sash that can be folded to hold what other people might put in pockets. Blouses are colonial innovations. Mayan men’s garments owe more to Spanish influence, hat and calzones, long baggy shorts that evolved into full-length paints in most regions, were introduced in colonial times. Mayan men now generally wear dull Western clothing, however, except in places such as Sololá and Todos Santos Cuchumatán where they still sport colorful traje.
Materials and techniques are changing, but the pre-Hispanic backstrap loom is still widely used. The wrap (long) threads are stretched between two horizontal bars, one of which is fixed to a post or tree, while the other is attached to a strap that goes round the weaver’s lower back. The weft (cross) threads are then woven in. Throughout the highlands you can see women weaving in this manner outside the entrance to their homes. Nowadays, some huipiles and fajas are machine made, as this method is faster and easier than hand weaving.

Yarn is still hand-spun in many villages. For the well-to-do, silk threads are use to embroider bridal huipiles and other important garments. Vegetable dyes are not yet totally out of use, and red dye from cochineal insects and natural indigo are employed in several areas. Modern luminescent dyes go down very well with the Maya, who are happily addicted to bright colors.
It’s generally in the highlands, which are heavily populated by Maya, that the colorful traditional dress is most in evidence, though you will see it in all parts of the country.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Guatemalan fun fact of the day- Chicken Buses

To pass the time I decided that I am going to try to post a Guatemalan fun fact of the day. Today's fun fact is:Chicken Buses. There are two kinds of buses in Guatemala: public and private. Public buses are known as "chicken buses" since they accept livestock as well as people. Fares are dirt cheap and the buses go anywhere, no matter how remote or how bad the roads. They are also incredibly uncomfortable, since most are refurbished school buses. A second-class chicken bus is one with no missing parts, seats still bolted to the floor and windows that sometimes open. Third-class buses are those that could have been condemned but haven't stopped running. All buses are kept very clean no matter how old.

Something you will never hear from a chicken bus driver is "Sorry, we are full." Drivers will cram as many people into a bus as humanely possible- and then some. Expect to rub elbow, hips, thighs, and other unexpected body parts with the locals while traveling on a chicken bus. There are usually three to four people to a seat and sometimes you will end up holding the odd parcel (or chicken) for your neighbor. It's always an adventure riding a chicken bus and it's a great way to meet the locals.

Chicken bus schedules are subject to change without notice for a variety of reasons. Breakdowns are frequent and during the rainy season the roads may get washed out. Fiestas are another reason for delays, as bus drivers will often join in the party and not be able to drive the next day. There is nothing you can do except enjoy you surroundings and be patient. Delays are part of travel in Guatemala.

Chicken buses are privately owner and are decorated according to the owners/drivers tastes, not to mention the name of his current girlfriend♥

That is the fun fact for today. Hope you enjoyed it!

Baby shirt sayings that just aren't right!

I was looking online for a shirt for Mia that was specific for adoption and came across several sayings. I found many that were cute for adoption. Some of my favorites are:
♦Don't tell my parents, but they don't look a thing like me

♦Sorry to have kept you waiting

♦Made in Guatemala ♦Waiting for Pink

♦I'm Guatamerican ♦I grew in my Mommy's heart, not under it

♦Some moms got to the hospital, mine went to Guatemala ♦Superman was adopted

♦Yes I'm bilingual, I cry in English and Spanish ♦Adoption is another word for love

♦I don't have my Mommy's eyes, but I have her heart ♦Worth the wait

Here are some other general sayings that I also found:

♦If you can read this, you are close enough to change my diaper ♦Daddy calls the Lions bad words

♦The "twos" aren't terrible...I'm having a blast ♦PhD in progress (pretty heavy diaper)

♦Captain Poopypants ♦Don't look at me, that smell is coming from Daddy

♦I have Mommy's looks and Daddy's gas

♦Does this diaper make my but look fat? ♦Hello, My name is: Poopy Stinkerpants ♦I don't smell anything

♦Come're kidding right? These people are really my relatives! ♦It's not my diaper that stinks, it's the Lions

I hope that you get a smile from them!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

What's all the fuss about PGN???

So what's the big deal about getting out of PGN? PGN stands for Procuraduria General de la Nacion. It is roughly equivalent to the national Attorney General's office. After Family Court (FC) (which is a court system in which a Guatemalan social worker visits the foster family, the birth mom and reviews your documents. The social worker issues a 2-3 page report indicating approval for adoption. DNA testing is normally done sometime in this process. Once the Family Court Judge has signed off on the social worker's report, the DNA testing is complete, and the US Embassy has indicated approval, you get the "green light" to go into PGN) In PGN the FC paperwork is joined by the US Embassy authorization and the DNA testing, and it all goes to PGN for review. Once PGN reviews and agrees to the adoption, it issues the orders or declarations that terminate the birth family's rights, make the child legally yours and change the child's last name to a version of yours. Around that point there's the final birthmother signoff and the issuance of a new Birth Register. Then the lawyer can apply for a passport, then for the exit physical by a US Embassy-approved MD before the VISA is applied for from the US Embassy. The range of individual cases in PGN depends on which attorney in PGN is assigned to the case. (Typically right now the wait is 6-8 weeks) If there is any discrepancies in the paperwork a case is given a "previo", or is kicked out. The attorney must then fix the mistake and then resubmit. When you are resubmitted, you go to the bottom of the pile and must wait another 6-8 weeks. Once you are given the final sign off from PGN, you are OUT, and in Guatemala's eyes, you are the legal parents of your child. So that means as for as Guatemala is concerned we are Mia's parents ☻ (That's such a great thing to hear!!)

Friday, March 23, 2007

We're OUT of PGN!!!!!!!!

At 3:16pm today Amy got "the call" from Kathi. What does this mean?? Well it means that in about 4-6 weeks Mia will be home with us FOREVER!! Why the wait you may ask. Well we now have to apply for a birth certificate in Guatemala for Mia. It will be issued with her Guatemalan given first & middle name but Tennant as her last name. Also we must apply for a Guatemalan passport for Mia. In order to do that Mia also must have passport pictures taken. Once we have Mia's passport & new birth certificate we can then apply to the US embassy in Guatemala for the coveted PINK slip. So as you can see many things still need to be done, but we can see the light becoming brighter at the end of the tunnel! We thank everyone for their thoughts & prayers during this time♥

Easter Pictures

These are Ethan's Easter pictures. They were taken Wednesday March 21. Steve took Ethan to get them done at Portrait Innovations. It was very hard to pick out the ones we wanted (these are just a sample---the photographer took 64 pictures!!!). The brown hat in the pictures is Amy's Grandpa's. He was such a character, full of spunk and energy! Her Grandpa loved to wear that hat and we have many memories of him in it. When Ethan put the hat on he told the photographer that "This is Mama's Pa's hat, he's in heaven." How special these pictures are to us and our family. What a surprise Gram will have in her Easter basket when she finds a picture of Ethan wearing Pa's hat!!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Pirate Egg Hunt

While passing the time waiting to hear from PGN, why not go on an Easter egg hunt?? And not just any egg hunt, how about a pirate egg hunt! That's exactly what we did Saturday. After putting out the easter decorations, Amy asked Ethan if he wanted to hunt for eggs. Little did we know what type of hunt we would be going on!☻ Ethan picked up his kaleidoscope egg and looked through it and said he found the eggs. Amy asked him where and he again looked through his "telescope" egg and put his patch on his eye and said we'll have to use the map. Ethan then reminded Amy that the eggs would be marked with a Y not an X. With our map, telescope, patch, and pirate bear we hunted the house to find the eggs. After 1 hour we finally found all of the eggs. Amy put some fruit snacks in some of the eggs and Ethan was in awe as to how his snacks got in the eggs. We had a great time hunting for eggs and I'm sure we'll have many more egg hunts before Easter comes!
----------------the Y marks the spot!!!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Steve's Visit Thursday & Friday

Wednesday night went very well for both Steve and Mia with only one time up during the night for a bottle. Daddy was actually catching up on his sleep while he was in Guatemala! Steve got up early to get a shower before Mia woke up. But Mia stirred almost immediately and ruined that great plan. So Steve tested out what Zoila had said and took Mia to the shower with him! She really did love it much to the disbelief of her father. The rest of the day was spent by the pool with friends that Mia and daddy had made. The weather was beautiful and the company was great! After a rather enjoyable and uneventful dinner Mia started to get a little fussy. It was getting late and daddy just thought it was close to bedtime. But Mia had other plans! Her belly wasn't hard, she wasn't feverish, she was tired but didn't want to sleep, no hands in the mouth or slobber, Mia had daddy perplexed! After more than an hour of fussiness, Steve finally in sheer desperation stuck a finger in Mia's mouth! Mia quickly started gumming on her daddy's finger, gumming with so much force that her jaw would click! Yuck! Dad went straight to the Ibuprofen and by about 10:30 PM Mia had her last bottle and was down for the night. Daddy then had to tiptoe around to get things ready for Friday. It would be the end of his visit and Mia would have to go back to Foster Mom Zoila.
Friday morning came too fast for Daddy, but Mia was able to sleep in for a while and didn't get up until a little after 8 AM. So that meant she got a bath and she hated it! Daddy dressed Mia in a beautiful blue and white dress that Mommy had packed specifically for Friday. Mia truly looked the part of Daddy's little princess. Everyone thought that she was just a doll. At 11 AM a driver came to take Mia and her daddy back to the lawyer's office. Evelyn, the driver, couldn't believe how beautiful Mia was and how calm she was with her daddy. When they got to the office no one could believe it either! When Zoila saw Mia, she was so excited. She had enjoyed her little break, but it was quite evident that she missed Mia a lot. When Zoila put out her hands for Mia to come to her, Mia would smile and then bury her head in her daddy's chest. Nothing could have made Steve more proud. Mia did willingly go to Zoila and Zoila and Steve had a really nice time talking through the interpreters and passing Mia back and forth and loving all over her. Zoila repeated over and over how glad she was that Mia was going to have such a great family while Steve reinforced how thankful we are for Zoila and her family for all that they are doing for us. Much to soon, Steve had to leave and go back to the hotel so he could make his flight back to the States. He hated to leave, but really felt good about the visit. Steve was able to spend some quality time with his little girl and things had gone really well.
Steve made it into Detroit at a little after 10:30 PM that night. He was glad to be home to Amy and Ethan but it was hard not to have Mia there as well. Her smile is infectious and Mia definitely holds her Daddy's heart even tighter than she did before. We all hope and pray that everything keeps moving and we soon get the news that we are waiting for. In the mean time we will keep praying and keep Mia in our hearts!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Steve's Visit Day - Tuesday & Wednesday

So on Tuesday morning around 11 AM Jose Luis, a driver for the attorney's office in Guatemala came to the hotel and took Steve to get Mia. It is policy for our attorney to have the visiting parent(s) meet at the office with the foster mom to make sure all schedules and any important information for the child can be gone over. Steve was so excited but also very nervous. It is common for one parent to visit babies in Guatemala, but not very common for the dad to be that parent. He new he would have some skeptics and also be watched very carefully by those around him. When he arrived at the office, Steve was greeted by the interpreter Alma. After saying hello, her first words were, "Oh, you came by yourself". Later she assured Steve that she knew he would do a great job and have fun with his little girl. He then saw his little Princess for the first time with the Foster Mom Zoila. Mia came straight to Steve which relieved a lot of his fears. She was happy and healthy and according to Zoila's schedule, she ate all of the time! Mia fell asleep in the car on the way back to the hotel in her Daddy's arms as they don't use car seats in Guatemala. Things went great the rest of the day until around 6:30 PM when Mia decided it was time to get fussy. Mia has had a history of meltdowns around this time which tends to ruin dinner time. Naturally as daddy was by himself, that night he went hungry. Things settled down after this and Mia went to bed by around 9:30 PM. Daddy quickly cleaned up and was in bed by10:30 PM. Wednesday was just a great day as daddy and Mia played and ate all day. Daddy gave Mia her bath and learned that she really didn't like baths. The only time she didn't cry was when she was getting water poured on her head! Zoila said Mia liked showers but until this Steve hadn't believed her. One of the biggest thrills for Steve happened on Wednesday night when he gathered up the courage to take Mia to dinner by himself! This was Mia's witching hour but Daddy was getting hungry! Steve would eat a little and then feed Mia a few grains of rice with a spoon. The two of them ate for quite a while and then Mia fell asleep on her daddy's lap! Steve was one proud Papa! He was able to finish his dessert and drink a whole pot of Guatemalan coffee which he loves very much. Mia woke up a little later to have a bottle and then proceeded to sleep through the night. Story will continue next time.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Steve & his Princess

Well Steve's trip went well and Ethan & Amy are recovering from their colds. The colds and all the hours worked this week really have hampered my blogging lately. Amy picked Steve up from the airport late Friday night and Steve was just full of stories. We won't put all of the stories in one post. We are going to drag it out over a few days. That we it keeps you coming back. To start with Steve's connecting flight from Houston to Guatemala City arrived 1 hour late. That meant he didn't arrive at the hotel until 12:00am Tues. He stayed up until 3:00am organizing things and getting the room ready for Mia. He finally went to sleep and had got up and had breakfast by 8:30am Tuesday morning. He called Alma (our contact in Guatemala) and she said that she couldn't come get Steve until 11:00am. Steve was a little frustrated because he expected to have Mia first thing Tuesday morning, that's why he stayed up so late. To make the best of the situation Steve walked down to la pharmacia and bought formula for Mia. That way he wouldn't have to have the pharmacy deliver it to the hotel. At 11:00am Steve was taken to the lawyer's office and met Alma, Zoila (Mia's foster Mom) and Mia. After getting the latest schedule for Mia, he then went back to the hotel and spent the rest of the day hugging and kissing her. He didn't get any dinner that night because he said it was "all Mia all the time". Mia was happy as long as daddy was holding her and only had one thirty minute major meltdown that day. Mia was just at the doctors March 3rd and weighs 16.6 lbs and is 26.4 inches long. She is definitely much longer than Ethan was at that age! This story will be continued with more pictures to follow.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

The Offical Weigh In

Well Steve packed his his bags and the official weigh in was 48lbs and 46.5lbs for his two checked bags at the airport. (We were dangerously close to the 50lb limit) Steve left for Guatemala Monday afternoon and arrived in Guatemala City around 11:00pm. He then got Mia at 11:00am on Tuesday and has had her with him all week. Things have been going very well. Steve is enjoying spending time with Mia. Back here in Michigan things have been a bit hectic. Both Ethan and Amy have come down with colds. By the time Amy went to pick up Ethan from Grammy's Weds. Ethan's cold had turned into with flu. Today Ethan seems to be doing much better , but Amy has lost her voice. (Not good when she still has 2 more days of work left!) Amy did buy a calling card and called Steve from work. She was able to hear Mia talking in the back ground. She even got Mia to laugh! Both Steve and Mia seemed to be doing well. The first day Steve found it hard to eat because as he says it was "All Mia All the Time"! Things have since calmed down. Amy picks him up at the airport late Friday evening so we will post pictures soon! Hopefully Steve will come home with information on our case. This Friday will mark week number 11 in PGN. But President Bush is visiting Guatemala this weekend so maybe he can put a good word in for us!

Saturday, March 3, 2007

The Lucky Red Bean

In my travels this week for scrapbook supplies I came across some Guatemalan items. Of all places it was in Monroe, Michigan. (you know the new Guatemalan scrapbook supply center :) The store had worry dolls and other items I had seen before but then I came across the Legend of the Red Bean. I had never heard of it before and I thought you would enjoy it also. It reads as such:
When you walk in the highlands of Guatemala and find a red bean, it means you will have good luck. You can tell the bean your wishes and keep it in your pocket. Use it again and again-- this bean's luck never runs out!
For $1.00 we now are the proud owners of a lucky Guatemalan Red Bean! We have made some wishes, I guess that we just wait for the luck to come. At this point in time we are willing to try anything to bring Mia home!!

Boy, Is My Daddy In Trouble!!

Only 2 more days until Mia will have her Daddy wrapped around her finger. We are frantically packing bags and going down lists to make sure we are not forgetting anything important like Amy did. When she visited in January she forgot to bring onesies. For a split second there was panic in the air but Amy's Mom went to the local grocery store in search of them. With the language barrier she could only locate t-shirts. So that's what she used. When Amy got home, she immediately packed the onesies that were lying on top of the dryer. With this "defensive" packing we hope to alleviate any similar disasters!