Michelle's Front Page

3 years ago today…

April 12th, 2010

I’m never sure what day to officially call our family day – the day I went down to foster Sabrina, the day we got out of PGN and our adoption was legal in Guatemala, the day Steve arrived for our embassy appointment so our family was together again for good, the day Sabrina arrived in the US with us and became a citizen?  I have mostly settled on April 12th.  April 12th is the day that we flew to Guatemala and picked up Sabrina for the very last time.  She never left my care again after that.

I’ll never forget that period of time before I moved to Guatemala.  I was so excited and so terrified.  I didn’t know if I would be there for weeks or months or years.  I just knew that I couldn’t let our daughter get any older without us (she was 7 months old).  I didn’t want her leaving her foster family to be any more traumatic than it already would be.  I didn’t want to struggle with attachment issues if I could avoid it.  I didn’t want to spend another day knowing my daughter was in another country and I couldn’t hold her.  In the weeks leading up to my departure, I couldn’t get the REM song “Its the End of the World as we know it” out of my head.  I was quitting my job and moving away from my family and husband to live in a place that I barely spoke the language.

antiguahouseAnd it was hard.  It was very hard adjusting to another culture and becoming a single mom in 1 day.  I was terrified of doing the wrong thing as a mom and as a gringo in Antigua.  But at the end of each day we found ourselves safely locked behind our walls together.  Sabrina didn’t have nearly the trouble with the transition that many babies did but it was enough that I bought a pack of cigarettes at the little tienda down the street and would smoke a cigarette outside each night after I wrestled her to sleep.  (I had quit a couple of months before moving to Guatemala.)  I cried in the shower every day.  I missed my husband.  I was struggling to figure out how to be a mom alone.  It did get easier with time.  And I had family visit so I wasn’t all alone.  And the support system of other adopting moms in Antigua was nothing short of amazing.  I never would have survived without them.  Heck, I never would have gone without their encouragement.

EDITED TO ADD: I guess sometimes I think it goes without saying but I should say it since I don’t know everyone who visits my blog – it was hard but it was the most amazing experience moving to Guatemala.  Living there even for a short time was unforgettable and something I will never regret.

Here I sit, 3 years later.  I am still awed by Sabrina’s beauty and wonderful disposition.  And I am still worried about being a good enough mother and hoping I don’t do the wrong things.  I am blessed with an amazing little family.  It all started 3 years ago today in Antigua and Sabrina who made me a mom.

April 2007

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April 2008

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April 2009

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April 2010

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This entry was posted on Monday, April 12th, 2010 at 4:44 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

23 Responses to “3 years ago today…”

  1. Julie P Says:

    Wow – 3 years ago. It seems so much longer and yet not that long at all. Thanks for sharing, the REM song is so the way it felt. I am always in awe at how you and so many other moms fostered solo. I’m forever grateful that we were able to bring Ally home at 7 months. Sabrina is just a beautiful now as she was 3 years ago. Its nice to know she is as happy as she looks! Since and heartfelt congratulations on 3 years as a mom. (and dad for Steve).

  2. Alleen Says:

    I still remember you blogging about deciding to do it!!! Wow, 3 years.

    She has blossomed into a gorgeous little girl!

    Miss G has that outfit she is wearing in the last pic. All I can say is good thing it wasn’t expensive since I sent her to school in it right before Spring Break and it got permanently stained the first time it was put on. Sigh…….

  3. Anne-Marie Says:

    I read your blog daily to watch your progression. As a single mom I couldn’t go to Guatemala to foster and the wait was horrible. Visits to be with Gabriela and reading blogs such as yours with other adoptive Guat moms got be through. Thanks for sharing your story. You may not know it, but you really helped other moms like me. My 3 month delay after a PGN kick out was interminable and the last 3 years have just sped by. Funny how that works out!

  4. Angie Says:

    She is such a cutie!!! Happy Anniversary!

  5. Ani Says:

    I remember reading the news about Sabrina’s referral, following along on your journey to Guatemala and reading about the adventures of Ms S (and now also Ms T!) in the years since…
    Time sure flies by.
    What a beautiful baby she was… What a lovely little girl she is :-)

  6. Sonia in MO (FTC) Says:

    I think I also started reading your blog during that endless, agonizing wait you had for your referral. And I remember thinking how BRAVE you were to move to Guatemala – I was totally in awe of you. My daughter was born in September a year before Sabrina and things were much different with the adoption process then – PGN waits were considered long if you were in for 2-3 weeks, but when you went down there a lot of families had been in for MONTHS. Not knowing when you were coming home – and living in such a strange country, with different customs and language… I’m not sure I could have been so brave! But what an amazing experience you had with Sabrina – one you can share with her forever :)

    Congrats on your family day – and echoing everyone else – you do have the most beautiful family!!!

  7. kelkamp Says:

    oh so very incredibly sweet. Congratulations!!

  8. Ashley J Says:

    Just amazing!

  9. sara Says:

    Today is our Family Day too! (just a year earlier in 2006.) That is the day we flew home with our son (now age 4) and our lives have never been the same!
    We also followed with a bio daughter (now age 3) and our lives have REALLY never been the same!
    Being a mom – the best but hardest thing I have ever done.
    Happy Day,
    sara

  10. dana Says:

    I remember it well as you were getting ready to travel to live with Sabrina. I wondered what it would be like for you and shortly after I was doing the same thing in Kazakhstan. It was the most wonderful time of my life and something I’ll never forget, like you. It’s amazing how the time flies and how life changes in ways you can imagine. You had a child 2 years after you got home! That was fun to follow along on too. Happy Family Day!

  11. Kathleen Says:

    Wow! Three years!? Amazing. I am so blessed to have been allowed to follow you on this journey. You are such a funny writer and I consider you (err, your blog) a daily break from my own mommydom, and allllllmost like adult conversation for the day. :) I appreciate you letting the world view your life through your blog. Your girls are both gorgeous and spunky and obviously happy. Dont ever worry about doing the “wrong” thing. They will love you no matter what…and how rewarding is that!?
    Hugs! Happy Family Day! (PS I say celebrate them all…12th, 14th, 18th, whatev…drink up! :))

  12. Debra Says:

    Wow 3 years! I remember reading your blog every day since we were on the same journey with the same timelines. I was in awe and jealous of your fostering. Our agency didn’t allow it. I can’t believe how much has happened in the past 3 years but Sabrina is still the same smiley happy child who couldn’t wait to make you & Steve parents. Not to mention a great big sister! Isnt it crazy how much we know about each other lives and children and still have never met. Gotta love technology :)

    We celebrate our Family Day on April 27th!

  13. Bobbi Says:

    I remember that day!! The picture and we are family!! I remember being in awe of how cute she was, and I still am. You are a beautiful family. I cannot imagine going it alone as a first time Mom in a foreign country. I remember wishing I was as strong as you!! But, what was great was your honesty. I don’t sugar coat. I loved that you didn’t make it sound like a tropical paradise! Being a Mom is NOT paradise. It is wonderful, but certainly not a tropical get away!!

    Our babies are growing up

  14. Heather Says:

    Happy Family Day! It’s incredible how fast time goes I think! I can’t imagine how crazy and scary it must have been for you. I still question if I am a good mom to my kids, but especially EJ, and I was already a momma for 4 years by the time she came home! You did (and continue to) good!

    And seriously, could Sabrina be any stinkin’ cuter in her baby pics! I mean she’s cute now, but come on…adorable!!!!

  15. Valerie Says:

    Felicidades! Your post brought back some similar memories…we too didn’t know which day to pick to be our “official” Family Day (we ultimately decided on the day I went down to foster G since that is when he was forever in our care…my one drawback is my hubby wasn’t there that day). I too remember thinking how strange it was to enter motherhood as a single mom in a foreign country. Those were tough days but I wouldn’t trade them for anything…in fact when the twins were born I found myself wishing I could rock them in the swing/hammock while looking at the volcanos of Antigua! Congrats again, and thanks for sharing this milestone with us in blogland!

  16. Andrea Says:

    Wow, three years. That means that our three year Family Day is just around the corner (okay, August, but still). And can I tell you that the April 2009 to April 2010 pic made me a little teary-Sabrina definitely lost her baby face and turned into a downright toddler in just one picture *sigh* Happy Family Day!

  17. mamak Says:

    I remember reading all along!

    Happy Family Day!

  18. KimN Says:

    Quite the beautiful little girl for sure! I can’t believe its been three years, I feel like I was just reading about your time in Guatemala.

    I know its late but Happy Family Day!

  19. Pattie Says:

    Congrats! We have issues on which day(s) to celebrate, too. But, I have to admit that when I started reading your entry tonight, I started out uber-confused….I couldn’t figure out how I possibly have met you in Antigua if this was 3 years of going home, when it is another week and a half till our “homecomings”. (Reading closely, like I remind my students, usually reveals telling detail, lol). I love that every year at this time, I have a good reason to become sentimental of all of the wonderful times I had in Antigua.

  20. Samantha Says:

    I’m crying reading this. So many trials and tribulations for us all during that uncertain time. We celebrate april 24th as the day that Jon got Julian (thank you for mentoring him) and then the day we all came home together. Your family is beautiful, and you always brighten my day, sorry to be so cheesy, as you know it’s not my style, but I feel blessed that Sabrina has brought you into my life. xo

  21. Jessica Says:

    Congratulations to you all! I also fostered in Antigua (in 2003) and am so very grateful for the experience. The great community of other moms really helped get me through. Really enjoy your blog.

  22. Denise :o) Says:

    Sure doesn’t seem like it’s been three years since we became mother’s does it??? I remember reading your stories about your time in Guat. and how jealous I was that you were able to spend that precious time with your daughter AND how amazed I was at your strength for doing it!! Happy Family Day!!! :o)))

  23. Yo-yo Mama Says:

    I SO remember that time, and with that it’s hard to believe it’s been three years!! Sabrina was the cutest baby but she’s an even cuter pre-schooler. Congrats on this time!


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