Friday, March 31, 2006

Just pictures!

Take a glance as Isabella explores her new world and all the people who love her!

Doing well!!!!

Isabella is adjusting very well in spite of a nasty cold she developed yesterday. She is very attached to both Kevin and me but is comfortable with all the grandparents and the many friends who have spotted by to see her.

After four days in a row of visits to Children's Lab to get blood drawn, we had success yesterday. The nurses in the outpatient lab were again unsuccessful in getting blood so they called in a specialist. First stick, 5 vials of fresh, red blood! The hospital will run all the appropriate tests and we will get the results next week at Isabella's appointment.

She is sleeping much better through the night in her own crib in her own room. She likes to get a bottle between 10:30-midnight but then sleeps until 9am the next morning. We are hoping that this continues but it may be because she is sick.

Thank you all so much for your wonderful comments and prayers of support. We really enjoy reading them and seeing how many people are watching us as we try to be great parents.

Enjoy the photos!

Mommy loves you! (In hotel in Guatemala City)

First bath time (Guatemala City)

First swimming pool experience with Daddy in Guatemala City (Bikini care of Grandma Kramer)

Crazy Baby Hair

Opening Christmas presents at her new home in Ohio (She loves to eat paper!)

I love my cousin Kelsey!!!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

First doctor's appointment

Isabella's first doctor's appointment was yesterday at the Oak Adoptive Center at Akron Children's Hospital. She meet and played with Dr. Kempf. Isabella was really good for her. She proved to weight less (18.4 lbs vs. 19.5 which we were told) and to be shorter by 1.5 inches but she is still doing well at the 50% percentile for her age. We see her primary pediatrician next Thursday.

When we finished with Dr. Kempf we have to go to the outpatient lab for Isabella's bloodwork. This was awful! The nurse stuck her 4 times but couldn't get the needle in her vein. Isabella was very upset (so was mommy) and was kicking and screaming until she turned tomato red. The nurse stopped and said we'd have to bring her back another time since she was so mad. We are headed there today unfortunately. I'll let you know how it goes.

Enjoy these couple pictures of Isabella's first nap at the Marriott. This was about an hour after we picked her up.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Isabella is still not sleeping well. She feel asleep around 7pm, woke up a 9pm and was up until 3am. I played with her until midnight when Kevin took over. I woke up at 2:30am and came downstairs to check in. She was wide awake, but I got her to sleep about an hour later. Once she's asleep she goes in the crib.

Isabella woke Kevin up about 5am for a bottle and then went back to sleep for about an hour. She gets up every 50-90 minutes to check to see where she is. She woke up at 9am crying uncontrollably until about 11am when she crashed. We think she has a stomach ache because she can't poop. We take her to the doctor tomorrow to see what is going on.

Enjoy these pictures from Guatemala. These were taken right after the foster family left the hotel and we made the first calls home to the grandparents!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Our first family moments

Well, we've made it! We're home! Thanks be to God that we've all made it home safe!

So to begin our journey of bringing Isabella home, I will share photos of our first few mintues together. We are all very emotional but enjoying every second together. Enjoy!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Sickness all around

Leave it to the Kramer clan to get sick so far from home!

Wednesday Isabella was very lethargic and we could not wake her up. We called our in country rep and she sent over a doctor to take a look. He said to give her oil and she would be fine. When we asked what kind of oil he said any kind would work. He did not speak much English so we just figured we would wait until we were home to get advice.

Thursday came and Isabella seemed to be feeling a little bit better but was very cranky, maybe from no sleep. But she later started to run a fever and pull at her ear. I in the meantime developed a nasty cough and a fever. When Veronica, one of our reps, delivered the visa yesterday afternoon she asked how the baby was feeling. I mentioned the fever and she asked how I was. She was taking another family to a doctor office and asked if we would like to go too.

Good thing we did. Isabella has an ear infection. The doctor gave her two medicines, both she hates taking. I have bronchitis and have two new medicines.

Hopefully today's flight goes well!!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Another sleepless night

Well as you can see by the timestamp on today's post, Isabella is again not sleeping. She woke up about 11 pm and has not gone back to sleep yet. She is cutting teeth so we think her mouth is bothering her. I just gave her some Motrin in hopes that her pain stops and I brought her down to the baby lounge to give Kevin some rest.

Keep praying that she adjusts okay to the major changes in our lives and that she is able to comfortably sleep. Hopefully Friday's plane ride is not too much of a challenge.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Rough Night

Oh the joys of parenthood! Isabella didn´t go to sleep until 3 am and then only slept for 30 to 45 minutes until we had to get up at 5:30 am for our Embassy appointment. It has to be so hard for her not understanding us or knowing what is going on.

Unfortunately, I was very sick last night which didn´t help matters. Kevin was wonderful though and took care of both of us.

We are both hoping that Isabella wants to sleep some today so we can catch some sleep, too. But we are enjoying every minute of it! Hopefully, tonight goes better!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

We've got our angel!

Nothing prepared us for how the moment would feel when we finally held our baby girl. No amount of advice, no articles, no books, nothing! The moment we saw our Isabella we were breathless. She is so much more beautiful than all the pictures. She's happy and healthy, everything we've prayed for months for. And the overwhelming love is unbelievable. We can't wait to share this happy lovable baby with everyone.

She is so much bigger than we were expecting. She has 5 teeth, two uppers and three lower. She is crawling and walks if you hold her fingers. And boy does she love Kevin. One of our fears was that she would be afraid of Kevin because he's a big guy, but she has taken to him and is already a daddy's girl.

We have our Embassy appointment in the morning and plan to travel to Antigua on Thursday. When we got home we will have amazing photos to share with all of you.

Thanks so much for your prayers! They have been answered!!!!!!!!!

Monday, March 20, 2006

27 hours and counting....

Well, in less than 27 hours our lives will change forever.

Kevin and I are so nervous that neither of us has slept well since Wednesday and today neither of us can eat because our stomachs are in knots. We want Isabella to feel safe and secure with us but we realize she may struggle to accept us. She has lived with the same family since she was five days old and now we are taking her from the only home she knows. We hopes she will quickly learn to love and trust us because we will try to be the best parents we can be.

Pray for us as we make our trip to Guatemala and transition to a new phase in our family. We can't wait to bring her home so everyone can meet our special little girl.

Watch this blog next weekend because we will post family pictures and exciting information on our trip.

We love you all!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Love of friends and family

As Kevin and I read all of your posts of love and support as we start this new chapter in our lives, we are amazed at all the love and support we are receiving from friends and family. We feel so loved and we know that without each of your daily prays and notes of encouragement this journey would have been so much harder - and longer!

Isabella is so lucky to be joining this family because she was receive unconditional love from so many people. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, best friends, second aunts, second cousin, friends of mom at work, even people we've not meant except through this blog.....the list goes on forever.

Kevin and I just want to say thank you for being there for us. Through the good news and bad, you've been here to be our champions.

We love you all so much!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Travel schedule

Up early again! I just can't sleep through the night (must be sympathy pains for Isabella. Plus, I'm getting practice on fuctioning on little sleep.)

Wanted to update you on our travel schedule.

Depart US 3-21-06 6:30 a.m.
Arrive into Guatemala City 3-21-06 12:57 p.m.
Isabella Arrives!!!!!!! 3-21-06 3 p.m.
Embassy Appointment 3-22-06 7:15 a.m.
Pick up visa 3-23-06 3:30 p.m.
Depart Guatemala 3-24-06 2 p.m.
Arrive in Cleveland 3-24-06 11:59 p.m.

So we've got a pretty busy schedule coming up and some really long travel days. Kevin and I hope that Isabella is able to sleep some on the flight home.

Tomorrow, I'll update you on all the fun, last minute things we have to get done in four days!!!!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Sleepless nights begin

Well, it's 3:30 a.m. and I'm posting to this lovely blog so I guess the sleepless nights begin. No problem falling asleep. I think my body was drained of all its adrenaline and collapsed. But, me being the worry-wort I am, wake straight up out of a dead sleep at 2:50 a.m. with no hope of returning to night-night land. I guess I will have to get used to this for a while since Kevin and I will be helping Isabella adjust to a new timezone, a new daylight schedule and pretty much a new schedule (of everything).

So since I'm up I confirmed our e-tickets and hotel reservations. We fly out of Cleveland on Delta at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday (which means we have to arrive at Hopkins no later than 4:30 a.m. - another sleepless night ahead?! And thanks Mom for volunteering to make the trip with us so we don't have to park the car!) We take a commuter jet from Cleveland to Atlanta. After a 2 hour lay-over we board our fight to Guatemala City which is completely full. We arrive in Guatemala City at 12:57 p.m. their time.

More on the trip later. Maybe some more shut-eye is in the future!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

We're tickled pink!

We received our "pink slip" today! That's the okay from the U.S. Embassy to come pick up Isabella. We have the official appointment date and flights and hotel reservations. And we are so excited -- and shocked that we leave Tuesday. Yes, I didn't make a mistake. Tuesday, March 21. So cross your fingers that Kevin and I have a great last day of work tomorrow and we'll post updates this weekend about travel plans.


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The toy box

Thanks to lifelong friend, Brian Radecky, Isabella has a handmade toy box. Brian spent hours crafting the oak box, painting it in white with gold trim just for this special little girl.

Kevin and I have placed the box in the living room so everyone who visits can admire the box and Isabella will have a nice place to store her upstairs toys.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

How the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala works

A dear friend of mine who has adopted two children from Guatemala has updated me on how things are working at the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala right now. These are recent changes to operations which may explain the delays we are experiencing.

According to my friend who is active in the Guatemalan adoption circles:

Here is how submitting for "pink" works:

1. Attorney's facilitator stands in line beginning at 5 a.m. (or earlier) to be able to submit your case (and any other cases they are working on).

2. US Embassy will only allow 40 cases to be dropped off FOR ANYTHING per day (that means DNA authorization, Preapproval drop-off, or submitting for Pink)

3. Once the embassy has 40 cases, the window closes and no more cases are accepted FOR THAT DAY. (This is the famous "Window 8" that you might have heard about)

The whole process starts again the next day. This only occurs M-Th, as the Embassy is closed to the "public" on Friday.

Rumors abound that attorneys pay Guatemalan men & women to stand in line all night and then put their facilitators in their places the next morning.

This process has changed several times since November. When we went through, they were allowing unlimited drop-offs, but only allowing pick-ups of Pink Slips between 3:00 and 3:30 p.m.. Our facilitator tried for almost 2 weeks to get ours, only to be turned away!

And lastly in my dear friend's words "It is very frustrating when it is our own government standing between you and the homecoming of your child." Amen to that!!!!

Friday, March 10, 2006

The wait continues

Hello to everyone who is sitting on pins and needles to hear the latest about our trip to pick up Isabella.

As of 3:30 p.m. today, our paperwork still wasn't submitted to the U.S. Embassy for the travel date. We are waiting for an explanation from our attorney in Guatemala as to why the documents didn't go in Wednesday as stated or Thursday or today.

According to our agency representative, the attorney has assured her that the packet will go in on Monday which means we will not have a travel date until late Wednesday or Thursday. This puts us back to the original schedule given when the PGN case was finished. So we are not any farther away than before, but it's a disappointment to get your hopes up and be let down - something we've learned not to do, but it's hard not to get excited.

We'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


Late yesterday afternoon, I checked my personal email address to see messages that had posted. To my surprise, I had a message from the director of our adoption agency. Short and sweet the message was: KRAMER: tomorrow (march-8) we put the final papers in the American Embassy.

What?!! That was my reaction. Something is happening early?!! If you remember, they told us papers would be submitted no earlier than next Monday.

I immediately called the agency to confirm the news. No answer at the office so I left a message and called our rep's cell phone (something I've never done up to this point). No answer. Left a message. Tried the agency again. No answer. So I gave up and planned to touch base today.

But I got a call. Our rep confirmed the news. The reps in Guatemala picked up the birth certificate on Friday, submitted Monday for a passport, got the passport Monday and had the documents translated to English on Tuesday. So we're going to the Embassy.

The Embassy will hold our file for 48 hours before releasing it with our appointment date. We should know late Friday when to travel. Our rep did say though that if the Embassy releases the file late on Friday we may not receive notification until Monday which will make for a long, nerve-wrecking weekend.

So that's were we are! Kevin and I still cannot believe our baby is coming home and have mentally shut down our excitement until the actual date comes through. We've waited so long for this, we just can't bring ourselves to think it's real yet. But by next week it will happen. For real this time! There's no going back. WE CAN'T WAIT!

Friday, March 03, 2006

Good Friday

No not the Easter Good Friday but day of our agency report! Our attorney was able to track down Isabella's birthmother for her to sign the adoption degree - the final document in our adoption case.

It's done, thank goodness.

Plus we found out that one of the attorney's assistant's is driving the 8 hours to Isabella's birth city to pick up her new birth certificate with Kramer as her last name. The birth certificate will be used on Monday to request Isabella's passport and by Wednesday the translator will have the final paperwork to translate to English.

We hope to hear that the documents were submitted to the US Embassy next Friday for the standard 48 hours processing and then by the following Wednesday we will have the travel date. Our agency rep told us the US Embassy is issuing travel dates just one week after the 48 processing time so we are praying we get the same luck!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

She's getting so big!

Next week Isabella will be 9 months old and boy have we seen her grow.

According to the most recent report from the foster family, Isabella is eating 6 oz. of formula every two hours. That's a lot of formula!!!!!!!!!! She eats rice cereal and chicken with veggies.

She's waking up later, getting her start at 9 a.m., takes a 3 hour nap and gets to sleep around 10 p.m. That's going to be a major change for me since I'm in bed by 8:30 p.m. every night.

She is up to 18 pounds, is wearing 12 month clothes and size 4 shoes.

She's sitting up on her own, crawling and pulling herself up to walk. She's said her first two words: nene (baby in Spanish) and mama. (It makes my heart break!)