Tuesday, February 24, 2009
As the morning went on, I started feeling better, but then a ton of rocks sat on my stomach. What did this mean? Our facilitator had told us that NO one was going to get their DNA until the money was paid by our agency. I called the agency and they told me that they would send my money to me and I could pay Teo directly. Problem solved, right? Of course not! Teo wouldn't accept my money, he only wanted it from the agency! To this day, I still am not sure why he wouldn't accept my money and why he was so adament on receiving just a check from the agency.
Back to Caroline and her illness...she was still not feeling better. She wasn't getting any worse, but not better. I spoke with Tim and my mom and we all agreed that I would stay a few more days to make sure she was better and to oversee our DNA being taken. I broke the news to Teo and he went crazy. He was very adament about me getting on that airplane and wouldn't take no for an answer. Why? Why would he not let me stay longer? I finally talked him into letting me stay an extra three days, but that was all I could extend my trip. Ummm....something's not adding up... something is wrong, but what?
On Saturday evening, my mom and I were having dinner at the restaurant in the hotel. We were sitting there talking about what we were going to do. Were we going to stay, go with my gut instinct, or were we going to get on that airplane on Tuesday morning? My mom and I prayed for an answer. We needed immediate help.
Our thoughts were interrupted by a local Guatemalan lady. She complimented Caroline on her bunny slippers and was dying to know where we had gotten them. As we began talking, she introduced herself as Susanna. I immediately recognized her name as a well known adoption lawyer. She was so kind and let me ask her a few questions on time frames regarding the length of the 2nd DNA test and who was able to take the child to have it completed. Susanna apologized for interrupting our dinner and left. Suddenly, as if someone had knocked the breath out of me, I told my mom to go and get her information. My mom sprinted out of the restaurant, briefly told her our dilemma and Susanna told her to have me call her first thing on Monday morning.
On Monday morning, I called Susanna and met with her that same morning. She did some investigating and found out that our birth certificate was NOT ready AND HAD NEVER been filed! Teo was lying to us! This would start to explain some of the craziness in his eyes. Susanna went on to explain to me that she never approaches adoptive parents and never eats at the Marriott. As she was eating dinner with her daughter, she felt a strong urge to introduce herself to us. The only way to explain how she came into our lives was by God. God had led Susanna to us. She was my answer for help.
Susanna came up with a plan to help me stay in the country. She knew of a "safe house" in a "remote" village. I wouldn't be able to go there until the next day. After telling her that Teo wouldn't let me stay past Tuesday, she called my lawyer and notary. Teo's arguments had always been that the lawyer and notary didn't want me staying. After one phone call, our notary told Susanna that he could care less if we stayed. So, we were staying. She also found out that the notary had no idea that our birth certificate wasn't submitted and was "apparently appalled" at Teo's negligence. Notice the quotation marks, because the notary who appeared to be so cooperative would later turn into a beast! My mom and I were staying with Caroline. We would get her better and oversee the end of our process, which should only take about two weeks.
I should have started feeling better, but my gut instinct said that it was about to get much worse....
I safely arrived back at the hotel to find Teo pacing back and forth. He wanted to know where I had been and what I was up to. He refused to listen to me and demanded that I get myself on that airplane the next day. He was taking back my daughter in the morning. But, he claimed that since he was so nice, he would let me come back after the DNA was taken, which should be on Friday. WHAT? FRIDAY??? For those of you who don't know, you can't have DNA taken without a birth certificate. There would be no DNA taken! My argument became, "why do I need to leave on Tuesday, if I can come back on Friday?" That made no sense! Also, I demanded to see the alleged birth certifcate. What? You don't have the birth certificate? Oh, it wasn't ready for pick up? Oh, your assistant was in the mountains and couldn't get to it? Oh, you're leaving tomorrow for the mountains and won't be back until Thursday? So, you're not going to be here tomorrow when I have to give my daughter back?
I ran upstairs and my mom and I began to furiously throw our stuff in suitcases. I made arrangements for a taxi service to take us to the safe house the next morning. I called Tim who supported me in whatever I needed to do to get Caroline safe. He also had the feeling that something was terribly wrong! I called Susanna to tell her what happened and we were ready to go.
Tuesday morning came and the phone rang. Susanna wasn't able to take us to the safe house. We would have to leave on Wednesday. My heart sank. What were we going to do? I called my foster mom and told her not to come pick up Caroline. Since we were flying on buddy passes, we could use the excuse that there weren't enough seats on the plane for us. I called Teo to let him know and he WAS furious! We didn't see him on that day because remember, he was going to be in the mountains until Thursday.
Wednesday morning came and this was the day we were leaving the hotel with Caroline. We prayed all night to make us invisible and for no harm to be brought to us. I'm not sure we slept at all. (As I am typing this, my stomach is unnerved and my hands are shaking. I am reliving the scariest time of my life. My legs and feet are even shaking. When I speak of this time, I am still not able to talk about it without crying...)
The telephone rang and I answered it. On the other end of the phone was Teo! He was not in the mountains and was waiting downstairs for me. I became afraid. I told him that we weren't quite ready and would be down in a bit. I called Susanna who immediately left her office to help me. (It was going to be a 30 minute drive) My friends from California were with us and I am forever grateful for their friendship and quick moves. The phone kept ringing and I kept delaying Teo. Scott (my friend's husband) was downstairs in the lobby waiting on Susanna and packed up our VERY EARLY taxi. God was once again showing that He was in control of the situation. He sent my taxi driver 1 hour early to get us!
Susanna arrived and the situation went bad very quickly. Teo and her were in a heated argument, to the point where the security guards began closing in on them. I will not publish what was said, but know that it was strong! The phone rang in my room. It was Teo. I had my mom pretend to be me because my strength was quickly fading. I was too scared. (I am having to pause while typing because my hands are shaking too badly and my eyes are welling up with tears. My heart is beating so fast that it feels like it is going to pop out of my chest.) Teo began yelling at me and telling me, "You have truly messed up now. You have gotten the worst person in the world involved. What do you think Bethany, is Susanna going to save you now? I am going to call your birth mother and she is going to take back your child. She is no longer yours. I PROMISE YOU WILL NEVER SEE HER AGAIN!!"
At this moment, I fell down to the floor. This was the only thing that scared me, the birth mother taking my child back. He hit the only nerve that I hadn't prayed over. My body crumbled into a heap and I hit the floor. My world became black around me and I couldn't function. I never heard Scott come back in the room and say "It's time. Susanna is ready for you." My mother picked me up and slapped me across my face. "Wake up Bethany! Snap out of it. This is YOUR child and you are going to fight for her. Now get up and become the mother that I know you are..."
I snapped out of it and Scott took Caroline from me and we headed to the elevator. We stepped out of the elevator and walked out of the front door. We walked past a pacing Teo and his assistant. We were never seen. God blinded them and made us invisible....
Monday, February 23, 2009
Caroline was so excited to be standing on the ledge!
Bethany: "Of course, it's Philip Fulmer."
Tim: "How much money would it take for you to go up and ask him 'how does it feel to be fired?'"
Bethany: "Are you crazy??? You do it!"
Tim: "I'm not, but I do dare you to go ask to take your picture with him."
Bethany: "Okay, but you have to go with me."
Bethany: "Excuse me Coach...Can we take our picture with you?"
Coach: "Why yes..."
Tim: "Excuse my wife...She's wearing a UK shirt."
Coach: "No problem!" (of course not...we only killed them for 15 straight years!!)
Bethany: "Thank you so much...we are BIG fans!"
Sidenote....WE HATE TENNESSEE!!!! This is why that story is funny! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
Caroline's First Snow Experience
Not impressed with the new frozen tundra!
I had a good shopping trip this past week at Publix. I was able to do another great stockpiling trip and even bought 6 boxes of treats for the local animal shelter. The picture is missing my milk and half & half creamer.
Unfortunately, I don't recall which coupons matched up with the items. The cashier had some difficulty inputting my coupons and then we both got confused, but I am sure that I came out ahead in the long run. I was also able to get overage from the emery boards which helped get the OOP total down. I also used a $5.00/$25.00 Competitor Coupon too.
Total OOP for the week: $18.54
Since we were going out of town, I wasn't needing a ton of produce or milk. But, I did go to Kroger on Thursday night and buy a few more things. I didn't take a picture of it, but here's the rundown:
1- Roast- $4.24
2- Half Gallon Milk- $.99 each!
1- Bread- $.88
1- Cantaloupe- $1.69
1- Red Barron Pizza- $3.00
1- Apple and Cheese Tray- $3.49
So, I ended up using the rest of my $40/week budget on a few more things. I was very proud of myself. I stayed under my alotted amount again this week!
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Upcoming posts....Frugal Friday (great deals at Publix), Gatlinburg Pictures, Caroline's first snow experience AND carsickness! YUCK!
Read you soon!! :)
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Wow! Where do I even begin? Do I begin with the day we found out we couldn't have natural children? Do I begin with the many visits to conferences discussing adoption, together and alone? Do I begin with how we fell in love with this tiny perfect baby dressed in pink sticking out her tongue? Or do I begin with how we found out that our facilitator was infamous (in a really bad way)? Yes, that's where we'll start...
Now, you have to realize that you are missing out on several key factors...the LIES! Lies that we were constantly told about where we were in the adoption process and the fact that our social worker/contact person was changed three times.
Okay, enough bitterness and on with the story. On January 20, 2008, our world began to crumble beyond belief. Dateline NBC did a news report on Guatemalan Adoptions and it was brutal. Our beloved facilitator was "acused" of being a baby broker! How can that be true? We had been to Guatemala four times and even celebrated Thanksgiving with him and his family! Weren't we like family?? Wouldn't we know if this was true?
With a shadow of now doubt, even though we refused to believe it, we kept trucking on. I suppose there was more than a "shadow" of doubt. One of our dear friends did some major investigating for us in Guatemala and we knew that there were TONS of lies that were hidden....We ended up getting of the blackhole called PGN on Thursday, February 7th. The end was near! My mom offered to take me to Guatemala in February for a week visit to see our now not so little Caroline.
My mom and I arrived in Guatemala on February 15th, with me being sick with the flu, but on the mend. I had gone to the doctor and received three shots and antibiotics. But, I wasn't the only one sick, poor Caroline was very sick. She had a fever, a deep cough, and was severely constipated. Her foster mother gave us medicine that had been prescribed by a doctor. Now to make a long story a bit shorter, the medicine was prescribed by a doctor that foster moms use when they are short on cash or not given their money from their facilitator or when the doctor refused to see them because of lack of payment.
The following was an excerpt from one of my blog entries in February..."When we got Caroline we were told that she had been to the doctor for a fever and chest congestion. We should give her a certain type of medicine 3 times a day until Tuesday. We also were told that she should get another set of medicine 2 times a day indefinitely for teething. We didn't feel like she was getting any better and she was severely constipated. She managed to get out a rock with some blood on it for us. I was really worried so I tagged along to the doctor's office with another friend. It turns out that Caroline did not go to see the right doctor, but was taken to a "cheapy" clinic down the street. The doctor gave her medicine and such. BUT...the medicine that she was getting for the chest cold turned out to be a bad medicine and they pulled it from the shelf. It's the equivalent of an adult breathing treatment and races their hearts too much. In other words, a heart attack. The teething medicine turned out to be MUCH stronger than adult tylenol or motrin and was also banned. The doctor was so upset with my fostermom and he threw the medicine away. The medicines have bad side effects such as SEVERE constipation, crankiness, fidgety, nervous ticks, etc.... It started make sense as to why she was feeling so rotten! The doctor said that she was overmedicated and still needed to be on antibiotics, but because she had so much in her system, he didn't want her to have anything. We have some herbal medicine that we can start giving to her on Friday morning if needed. Also, if she isn't getting any better, I have to go back in with her. After hearing all of this, I started crying when I got out of the clinic. I was so relieved that she was okay, but so angry that she was taking bad medicine. My heart is torn as to whether to yell at her fostermom or kindly but sternly, remind her of the seriousness of her action."
So, Caroline was extremely sick and could have suffered from a heart attack had we not intervened.
During our visit, we were also experiencing HUGE agency drama. Our agency wouldn't pay our facilitator and our facilitator had refused to proceed with our adoptions. Our adoptions were put on hold. My saving grace was the fact that the owner of our agency would accept my phone calls and I was able to become the messenger between two very greedy men. As Tim has repeatedly said I was in the middle of a "pissing match" between two grown men. On one occasion, I was able to talk the agency into giving our facilitator a very large down payment, to which our facilitator refused. It was all or nothing. I sat helplessly by and watched my child become a pawn. I honestly didn't think I could have prayed so hard in my life, who would have known that prayer would become almost a 24 hour prayer vigil for weeks....
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
You can kind of see it here!
I only have a few pics because they wouldn't allow cameras in the tent. So, it definitely leaves you wanting more! The Atlanta Skyline at dusk
Happy 9th Anniversary!
Monday, February 16, 2009
"Why won't they come see me?""Peaches, I am not going to play ball...I'm trying to get us a new pet!"
The other day, we were hanging out in the backyard when Caroline spotted the geese on the other side of the fence. She was so upset because the geese would not come up to her. She cried and cried. Caroline would stick her hand between the slats and just beg for the geese to come to her. I was secretly praying they would not because these geese are MEAN! Needless to say, Caroline was disappointed in her new pets!
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Here we go...THE RULES:Step 1: respond and rework—answer the questions on your own blog, replace one question that you dislike with a question of your own invention, add one more question of your own.Step 2: tag—eight other untagged people. (or however many...)
Make a list of things you can see without getting up: I'm in the breakfast room, and I see the dirty breakfast dishes on the stove, a shapes puzzle on my lap, my coffee cup on the table, beautiful artwork created by the wonderful Caroline, weeds in the backyard, a peaceful lake with geese swimming, and Caroline's baby dolls wearing diapers.
Favorite football team: University of Kentucky Wildcats!
What are you wearing now? flannel pajama pants and a Kentucky long sleeved t-shirt
What color is your bedroom? Churchhill Downs Chocolate
What’s the last thing you read/are currently reading? Oh, how I love to read, but just never seem to have the time anymore....the last thing I read was a free Parent's magazine yesterday
Do you nap a lot? I wish!
Who was the last person you hugged? Caroline
What’s your current obsession/addiction? tennis and winning, coupons, and Caroline!
What was the last thing you said aloud? I just read aloud Caroline's new book from Valentine's Day
What Web sites do you always visit when you go online? yahoo mail, my blog, and lots of others
What was the last thing you bought? birthday present at Target
What are you listening to right now? Handy Manny
What is something you wish you could do more? I wish that I could travel more. Before Caroline, we would just pack up and GO, without a thought or care in the world. Now, it's much different...
What gives you hope? Knowing that the sun will rise tomorrow and that God has amazing plans for Caroline
What is your favorite weather, and why? Spring- the new flowers and colors, the world just seems to come alive and I like planting flowers (even though I am no good at it!)
What time do you usually get up? 8:30ish...Caroline most of the time sleeps in until 9:00.
What is your most challenging goal right now? balancing my life...it seems a bit out of wack right now and I feel like I am downward spiraling some days.
Say something to the person who tagged you: Laura Beth, I am glad that our world is so small and we were able to become friends! Who would have thought that a blogging friend lived down the road from you and we would have SO much in common! I can't wait to get to know you guys even better and look forward to Ada and Caroline having a great friendship!
If you could have a house–totally paid for, fully furnished–anywhere in the world, where would you want it to be? I picture my house on a square with a large wrap around porch, probably in Savannah or Charleston. I would love to be near the beach, but not on the beach, because I have to have my "square"! :)
Favorite vacation spot? No place in particular, but it must be on the ocean with a gentle breeze!
What is your favorite children’s book? Goodnight Moon (because I read it on tape for Caroline and sent it to Guatemala. She still recognizes the book!!)
Name one thing you just can’t resist no matter how bad it is for you: Caramel and my mom's chess cake!
If you could meet anyone famous - dead or alive - who would it be? Teddy Roosevelt
Have you ever met anyone famous? If so who? I met President Bill Clinton (not sure if that counts). I met Phil Knight (founder of Nike) and carried on a long conversation with him. Because of my hubby's love of sports, I have also met tons of athletes (basketball, baseball, football) and I had a personal trainer that was a pro-wrestler (Bryan Clark from the Kronic). AND, I taught another wrestler's child in school. I have also met Chris Tucker.
If you could have any job in the world , what would it be? Not really sure what it would be...
Who is your hero? My mom is my hero. She stuck by me in Guatemala and even "slapped" me into reality when the toughest times hit. She never left my side, even when I begged her to go home for her own safety. She never faltered and I only hope to have her motherly strength one day.
Who is the last person you talked to? Caroline
I tag: Kristy, Ruthanne, Jessica, Leah and Kelli
Friday, February 13, 2009
I had an exceptional week of savings at Publix. I didn't need many groceries (thank you stockpile) but was in need of diapers. So, in order to stay under my $40/week budget, I needed to figure out an amazing plan...
1- Huggies Diapers- $21.99 - $5 Publix Baby club Q-$3 Kimberly Clark Q-$2 MQ
1- Huggies Wipes-$2.99 - $2.99 FREE wipes wyb diapers
1- Fresh Pineapple- $1.85
2- Land O'Lakes Butter $.89 each - $.55 Qx2
7- Pillsbury Cake Mixes $.85 - $.40 Q (doubled to $.80)x 7
1- Golden Grahams Cereal $2.00 - $1.00 MQ
1- Frosted Mini Wheats Cereal- $2.10 - $1.00 MQ
2- Yo-Plait Yogurt Plus- $2.00 each - $1.50 MQx2
1- Half & Half Creamer- $1.75
4- Grands Biscuits- $1.00 each - $.40/2- $.40-$.50
2- Cupcake Liners- $.95 each
Used $5.00/$25.00 Competitor Q
Total OOP= $20.10Total Saved= $47.19
PQ- Publix Coupon
I feel like I did a great job, but I totally forgot about the blueberries on sale at Kroger yesterday! I had meant to take some of my extra money and buy several cartons of these and freeze them for smoothies! Oh, well.. next time... I didn't have to buy milk this week because Kroger had the half gallons on sale last week for a special sale. I bought milk then and still managed to stay under budget.
How did you do this week?