Hola From Guatemala!

June 19, 2007

I smell like baby powder and diapers and mango and teething biscuits and drool, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. It is wild being here in Guatemala with Noe, knowing that this time we’ll be coming home with her. It keeps hitting us little by little; we’ll think, “man, I’m so bummed we’re going to just miss her first tooth,” and then realize that from here on, we won’t miss anything.Noe

It’s also a bit surreal being at the Guatemala Marriott. Our old friend, Ben Villegas, is the General Manager here, so it’s fantastic to be able to see him. But this hotel is knownH as “baby central,” and one lap around the lobby will tell you why. Dozens of families each day meet their baby’s foster families and get the hand-off of their kids (as we did yesterday . . . a tearful affair for everyone but Noe), or rendez-vous with facilitators to be shuttled to the embassy for their final meeting (as we did today) or to pick up their baby’s visas (as we will tomorrow).

Every one of those families has been through an unbelievable amount of paper work, gruelling months of waiting and jumping into the wild unknown, and I respect each and every one for doing so. Yet some are more sensitve to what all parties are feeling than others (someone turned to us in the elevator last night with excited eyes and said, “I’m getting one tomorrow,” as if she were expecting delivery of a cocker spaniel or a dozen tomato seedlings. We didn’t quite know how to respond.)

Here are a few highlights from the past couple of days:

* Noe’s teething and we’ve got an arsenal of toys with all kinds of chewy surfaces, yet what does she just love gumming most? The tags.

* Noe has taken to the sling again. This time, though, we’re better prepared. Christopher and I actually watched the video accompanying the Maya Wrap before we packed up this time (it was hysterical, both of us standing at attention in front of our television the night before leaving, dutifully tightening and loosening our slings in practice). Now she just slips right in and either perches on my hip and watches the world go by or cocoons up against my stomach and pretends the world’s not there at all.

* We decided to brave the fine dining restaurant last night (Noe was cocooned) for a quick dinner and, of course, by the time the salads came, Noe was up and about. We panicked at first, but she laughed all through dinner and ate (well, gummed) all of the tomatoes from my salad and would have gone for more had there been any. Garden . . . here we come!

* What seemed like an hour after dinner—and in real sleep time probably was—we got up for our early morning appointment at the embassy. By the time we got up to the window, almost two hours after arriving, Noe was totally cocooned against me (I love that!), having no idea that the man before her held his fate in her hands. The guy (nice guy) ended up being from Oakland and we spent the bulk of the interview talking about wine country. He opened with the comment that Noe’s a lucky girl to be going home with us to Healdsburg, and I, in my enthusiasm, vowed to bring her up on good wine. Christopher chimed in quickly with, “and good food too!” noe and christopher

* After receiving the final stamp of approval (what a feeling it was when we heard the clunk of that stamp!) the three of us went to breakfast and Noe downed several spoonfuls of refried beans, wore a few hunks of watermelon and gnawed on a plantain (hence, the bath bit below). The girl eats, I tell you.

* This afternoon, Christopher and I gave Noe a bath after breakfast and a nap and got her sparkling clean (quite frankly, after that breakfast, she stunk). Then we decided to give her some mango in a little mesh pouch (thank you Kris Haugen!) to gnaw on by the pool. She ate it up, and then smeared it all over herself in between bites. Next, we thought it would be wise to give her a teething biscuit which, at one point, we caught her smearing in between her toes. When I thought about what we must have looked like as we walked back to the room, it occurred to me that we could have just drizzled maple syrup all over her and rolled her around in Ritz crackers and gotten the same effect. I think we’ll be having another bath today :-). 

All in all, I’m thrilled to report that there have been many more smiles and giggles than cries, and what cries there are are quickly quieted by Mama’s arms (or Papa’s!). We’ve got our little girl, and now we’re coming home!

 

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13 Responses to “Hola From Guatemala!”

  1. Miche Says:

    Oh Lia, she is absolutely gorgeous! Congratulations; enjoy every precious moment with her.

  2. Judy Says:

    What a beautiful post, Lia, and such gorgeous photos of Noe. Congratulations on your new names – Mama and Papa! Enjoy her at every stage of her baby- and childhood – she’ll be a teenager before you know it.

  3. Kris Says:

    Darn is she cute. After wiping away the tears, I just smiled for you both. I can’t wait to meet her and see you all together. Hugs from AZ.

  4. Michelle Says:

    oh my goodness….she is perfectly adorable. Wow! Very happy for the 3 of you. Michelle

  5. lia Says:

    Thank you all! We are having the time of our lives . . . unbelievable a little 14 pound peanut–albeit an adorable peanut–can change our lives so dramatically!

  6. Richard Says:

    There are tears in my eyes after reading about the final stages of Noe coming home. What a beautiful gift from God she will be to you and Chris, and you two to her as well. Thanks for sharing the journey with us. Can’t wait to meet the little darling.

  7. Debbie Says:

    Lia, she is absolutely gorgeous!!!!!

    The look on your husband’s face sums up the whole experience I think. Stunned, amazed, ecstatic, in love….

    How wonderful to have your baby in your arms.

  8. Julie Says:

    Lia and Chris, she is absolutely beautiful! As is your description of the experience! I can’t wait to see photos of her at home in Healdsburg! Wow. We’ve been waiting for this day, haven’t we! Blessings upon you my dears!

  9. barbara Says:

    Congratulations. She is a gorgeous little girl. Have fun being parents. And they are just as much fun to be around when they are grown up too.

  10. lia Says:

    Thank you all!

  11. Laura Says:

    Today, I went shopping with my little peanut to get her ready for college; the time goes sooooooo fast. Enjoy your little one, she is absolutely adorable.


  12. […] away from her eight hours instead of the usual five should seem like such a big deal when we waited MONTHS to bring her home. But it […]


  13. […] now, Noe is playing at my feet. She’s enamored with two plastic cups that, when pulled apart, make a […]


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