Tuesday, October 30, 2007

New pictures of Lucia October

I was so excited to see this e-mail in my inbox this morning. I really really needed a Lucia fix. She looks so big and so Happy! I can't get enough of those dimples. We should get her doctors appointment report and pictures this week also.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Happy 4-month Birthday today!!! - more foster mom pics

More pictures from Lucia's life with her foster family. She looks so happy.
Sleeping with her family book and voice recorder.

Dear Sweet Lucia,
I miss you so much today. You are 4 months old and I would love to celebrate with you. Some days it is so hard to be away from you and watch you grow through pictures. I hope you had a wonderful day laughing, cuddling, and sleeping. I wonder how much you weigh now?
I cannot wait until we get that phone call that you are a officially our daughter. I day dream about the plane ride home and flying into Spokane with you on our lap. I cannot wait for you to meet our friends and family. There are so many people praying for you. You will capture their hearts just like you have captured ours. We are coming to see you three weeks from tomorrow.
I love you so much.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Fall at the McMurrays. . . 3 weeks into PGN!

Keep praying for Lucia. We have made it to 3 weeks in PGN today. Last week 6 families exited PGN at 7 weeks. And, 4 families got a previo (kicked out to fix the error and re-enter at week 0 again) at 4 weeks. Thanks for all your support and prayers. We can't wait to have this joyful little girl home with us.
We all love this picture. Look at that face. We have our flights books for the week of Thanksgiving. Our whole family is going to be with Lucia and spend Thanksgiving in Guatemala. We have so many pictures like this of her just crackin up. She is a laugher. Please God bring her home soon. . . .

Keagan and Kinkade dressed Mom up like a Mummy at there Pre-school Harvest celebration.
The boys in the leaves with visiting bear from pre-school.

Jumping in the leaves with Cinnamon!

Our great friends the Gilberts always throw a huge Fall party called the Hootenanny. Here are the boys and good friend Eli Armstrong at the Hootenanny. Favorite pose the muscle shot. I think we have 3 million pics just like this.
More Hootenanny. . .
Since I am staying home this year to bring Lucy home I get to go on all the field trips. We visited the pumpkin patch. This is a picture from the hay ride through the orchards with new friend Kyler.
We had a wonderful weekend last weekend enjoying the Fall. It has always been our favorite season since we were dating.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Pictures from Foster Mom

I gave Lucia's Foster Mom three disposable cameras to take pictures of Lucia's everyday life at her house. It is so wonderful to see Lucia so happy and content in her home. I love seeing her in all the outfits I gave to her Foster mom.
The famous Lucy dimples!

We used to always set the boys in the corner of the couch to sit up.

I loved being able to see where she sleeps. Now I can picture her there.

My favorite picture. She is wearing Keagan and Kinkades first Christmas outfit when they were one month old.

Uncle Damian gave this little onesie to Keagan and Kinkade when they were born.

Wearing Anna's hand-me-downs and of course smiling!

There were two precious pictures that gave me so much comfort. Both pictures had her Foster Mother cuddling with her playing the MP3 player we gave to her to play for Lucia every day. So she will hear our voices every single day. Aaron sings to her. I read many nursery ryhmes and the boys talk, sing and laugh. Lucia has a huge smile and is reaching out to touch the MP3 player. I love to see her smiling hopefully in recognition of our voices. There is also an adorable picture of her Foster mother reading her the book of our family with Lucia smiling. There are also cute pictures of her with each of her foster sisters. They are nine, fourteen, and 17 years old. Keep praying four her file to sail through PGN. We are so thankful for your prayers.

Friday, October 19, 2007


Lucia was 4 weeks old in this picture. It caught my eye this morning as I was missing her and praying for her.
Another 4 week old picture on our first trip to meet her. Her smile makes my smile!

I am asked all the time what is going on with all the political adoption "STUFF" in Guatemala. I have to admit it is difficult for me to talk about, because I am insecure about talking politics and it is so scary for me. Trying to understand it all is a daily challenge. Our agency has a forum to support, ask questions, update, post pictures for everyone adopting in process or anyone who is already home with an adopted child. On the forum a mom posted a letter that she has sent to all her friends and family explaining the situation. I asked if I could use it on my blog because she did an amazing job explaining the situation in a nutshell. So I am going to copy paste the letter below if you are interested. Keep praying for Lucia to exit PGN without any previos. I saw on the forum yesterday that 3 babies files exited PGN in 7 weeks, the average has been 8-9 weeks. Maybe it is speeding up:)

Dear Friends and Family,

Please, I know this is long, but please take a few minutes today to read it Due to the increasing sensationalistic and inflammatory recent media reports on international adoption and in particular, Guatemalan adoption, I felt a need to educate those of you who I know love and care about our baby girl and us. It deeply pains me that the media's inaccurate reporting of the situation with Guatemalan adoptions lends people to view international adoptions with a skeptical eye, and what that does to the self esteem of internationally adopted children kills me. If the public truly understood the REAL issues going on in Guatemala, and what has happened in the past with other countries and adoptions, they would be shocked and enraged at the injustice.

After living in Guatemala for 2 months, meeting many adopting families, adoption professionals, and speaking to advocates for children and Mayan families in Guatemala about the politics of adoption, I think I have a real understanding for things. We are also lucky enough to work with our adoption agency, For This Child, run by Traci and Chip Orr, who work with Focus on Adoption, in conjunction with the US State Department to help keep international adoption a viable option for children in need, done in a ethical way with the children's best interest- at heart. Why all the media attention and controversy lately concerning Guatemalan adoptions?

1. A Pending Crisis- a Misguided President, in a election year Guatemalan President Oscar Berger has announced plans to effectively suspend all adoptions into the United States as of January 1, 2008. This leaves the lives of more than 5,000 children who have already been matched to adoptive parents in limbo. The birth parents for these children have already relinquished their parental rights and as a result, these children currently have no family home. The effective suspension destroys the prospect for the placement of these children in a permanent, safe and loving family. More so, the Guatemalan government currently does not have the finances or facilities to provide housing for these 5,000 children. For these reasons, Joint Council urges you to support the Guatemala 5000 Initiative. If the president really cared about the poor and the children of Guatemala, his administration would be focused on improving their lives in Guatemala rather than stamp out adoption- a viable legal right that birth families and children are entitled to have. And MILLIONS in financial gain from of all places- UNICEF.

2.UNICEF- A Misguided Aid Organization, UNICEF does some very positive things for children around the world, but their misguided radical position on intercountry adoption is extremely detrimental to the children of Guatemala and other countries. UNICEF has reportedly pledged over $24 Million dollars to President Berger political party ( and you thought the $$ was going to the children!) UNICEF's Stance on Intercountry Adoption Jeopardizes Children The policies and rhetoric of UNICEF ignore the social, ethnic, and economic realities of many countries and advocate for reactionary legal reforms that restrict intercountry adoption to a point where children are forced to live in underfunded institutions rather than joining families abroad. Clearly, international adoption deserves rigorous oversight. And in a perfect world, it might make more sense to place orphans with relatives or neighbors in their home country. But in a perfect world, there would be no orphans in the first place. Guatemala today is a country that simply cannot support all its orphans. It is a country that needs inter-country adoption to provide a better life to at least a small percentage of the tens of thousands of children living in dire poverty. By UNICEFS own statistics, 67% of the children there suffer from malnutrition. They need to recognize that change takes time and that hastily introduced reforms can do more harm than good.

3. THE HAGUE TREATY is being implemented by the US-good in theory, a disaster in reality. For children the treaty was supposed to protect, the results have been catastrophic.PLEASE read the following link, especially the first few pages. Written by Focus on Adoption it provides an excellent summary of the issues.

THANK YOU for reading this. It means a lot to us.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

guatemala adoption update and editorial petition

Here is a quick current update on the Guatemalan adoptions.

GRANDFATHERING (This is the amendment that would allow in-process cases like ours to be grandfathered in as of Dec. 31st ) - Good News: GuatAdopt is reporting that "a number of good sources" believe the Guatemalan President, Berger, will come out in favor of a grandfather clause. We have heard that this amendment to the bill, that was passed will be voted on in early November. If this grandfathering amendment does not pass than 5000 babies that are in the process of being adopted will be without homes. These in process babies are all currently in foster care. Guatemala does not have the infrastructure or funding to find homes for these babies.

GRANDFATHERING - Bad News: The US Dept of Homeland Security has issued a new statement that, in addition to limiting the number of new cases being accepted, also appears to add a new requirement for any case completed after Dec 31, presumably including grandfathered cases. The additional requirement is to get approval from the new, yet-to-be-established, Guatemalan Central Authority for adoptions.
That could mean that a case completed on Jan 1st which is all ready to apply for a passport home, would have to sit for who-knows-how-many more months while the Central Authority is being established!

UNICEF - Bad News UNICEF headquarters has been responding to calls, emails, faxes in support of allowing in-process cases to be completed, by giving a very ambiguous statement. They are saying "We support the amendment to the law that will guarantee due process is given to these outstanding cases."
They say it in such a positive and upbeat way that many believe it to mean UNICEF is supporting the grandfather clause -- but that IS NOT what their statement means, in a legal sense. The phrase "due process" can, and very likely does, mean that UNICEF supports in-process cases ending on Dec 31st and then starting all over again under the new Hague-compliant system that won't be up and running for months, possibly years!
That is utterly contrary to a meaningful grandfather clause which would allow cases to be completed under whichever system they originated under.

Here is a link to a well written editorial written by our agency and an on-line petition to sign in support of it. Aaron and I have already signed.

Please keep praying for Lucia to come home soon. We are two weeks in PGN tomorrow (October 18.) I have been praying for a miracle that she gets out of PGN in 6 weeks. The norm is 8-9 weeks. Our biggest prayer is that her file does not get a "previo" and we have to start over in PGN. If this happens we could fall under the new laws and then who knows what would happen to Lucia and our adoption. If she exits PGN in a timely manner than we are safe and she will come home!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am trying with all my heart to trust God in His timing and plan. We will keep updating you and we should receive new pictures in the next couple of days.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Three month doctor's appointment

Apparently she slept through her 3 month doctor's appointment. Of course she is dressed from head to toe in fleece:)

She weighs 10lbs 11 oz now. Still in 0-3 month clothing.
Surprise visit pictures at her Foster Mother's house. It looks like they woke her up. Again dressed from head to toe in a fleece outfit:) If it is pink and fleece it is on Lucia's body in Guatemala.

A little smile from our baby girl.
All of these pictures were taken the same day September 27th. Three days after we left Guatemala. She must of had her doctor's appointment and surprise visit on the same day. We had an hour long conference call with our agency last night. It was very mixed with what is currently happening in Guatemala with adoptions. The best news we heard was when the question was asked, "When is our adoption safe?" They replied, when you exit PGN, everything after PGN is through immigration in the US. So, if the amendment ( called the "grandfather clause") to the Ortega law does not pass for in process adoptions to continue after December 31st then we are still OK because PGN is almost never longer than 8-9 weeks. We just cannot receive a dreaded "previo" or we have to start over in PGN.
So please continue to pray that Lucia's file does not get a previo during it's PGN stay (our last post explains PGN.) We are almost one week in to PGN. I pray at least every 10 minutes for this situation and that our file flies through PGN and we get that long awaited phone call that she is legally our daughter and we have exited PGN. We love her so much.
This last few weeks have been really hard with all that is going on with Guatemalan adoptions. I have had a really hard time sleeping and I just feel deflated. Aaron and I both feel the stress of it all weighing down on us. There are so many moving variables to the laws, decisions, and amendments to the law. . . that it changes every day. I have been trying to keep informed, write, fax, call our senators, DOS, and UNICEF, but most of all I just pray God has a plan for Lucia and our family.
I have copied and pasted below Lucia's three month doctor's report if you are interested.
morning, I had the opportunity to review little Angela Daniela who has now, as you know, reached 3 months of age and continues to show a steady growth both in her size and also on her abilities, she is very alert and interested in all that goes on around her will turn her head when she hears sounds, and especially when she ears voices, she is vocal herself and will make some cooing noises of her own as well as now smiles socially, she shows voluntary control of her arms and legs and will alternate opening and shutting her hands as well as kicks and pushes with her feet, when on her stomach she will now, briefly, lift her head from the bed. The care giver shares with me that this little one takes well her formula and is also receiving her ordered vitamin supplement. Upon evaluation today I found her in good health with no obvious physical or neurological abnormalities, her weight is 10 lbs 11 oz, length of 52.6 cms and head circumference of 37.6cms.
Please find some pictures attached.
Best Regards

Friday, October 5, 2007


We found out today that our file entered PGN on October 4rth. PGN is the last step until Lucia is legally ours. PGN is basically the equivalent of the Attorney General’s Office. We are so excited as this is the final HUGE step in Lucia’s adoption. The PGN process takes approximately 8-10 weeks...could be shorter...could be longer...only God knows. We do, however, need your prayers more now than ever as this is the most challenging part of the process. And with the uncertainty in Guatemalan adoptions at this point I feel like we are racing the clock. Basically, our case will be assigned an investigator that will go through our 180+ pages in our file with a very fine tooth comb. If for any reason (and it can be a huge number of countless reasons) the investigator decides that they don't like something then we would receive what is called a "previo," which is also known as a "kick out". Our agency warned us to expect at least one previo. At this point, the problem would have to be fixed and then we would be re-submitted to PGN and start the entire 8-10 week waiting process again. Which would mean she would not be home by Christmas or the scary December 31st deadline which has been passed at this point. As you can imagine, we are praying fervently that our case WILL NOT receive a previo. We would be so excited to have our baby girl home for Christmas! We do not want to hear anything from our agency for awhile until we get that blessed phone call that she is out of PGN!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

There is hope. . . responses from the Goverment

The public outcry over the DOS Statement, warning that Guatemalan officials have announced all in-process adoptions will end on December 31st, is making an impact!

Tina Leoni at the DOS Guatemalan Adoption Desk (202-736-9090) has been assuring callers the DOS is "working behind the scenes to protect adoptions in process." She says the warning statement was aimed at families considering starting new adoption cases, not at families with existing cases underway (although a shut down would affect both new and long term cases).

Gerry Fuller (, the DOS person in charge of this situation, is replying to emails with a form letter that says, in part: "The notice has generated public concern, particularly among prospective adoptive parents who already have cases in process. ...We want you to know that, despite what many people believe, we are working hard to protect the interests of American citizens already pursuing an adoption in Guatemala. We are urging the Government of Guatemala as it promulgates legislation to meet Hague standards to include procedures that will allow adoption cases already in progress to proceed to conclusion without additional requirements."

The DOS has amended their Warning Statement (here) to include the following paragraph: "At this time, over 3000 applications for adoption from Guatemala are in process with USCIS or the Guatemala government. The U.S. government is asking the Government of Guatemala to allow such cases, now pending, to proceed to completion without additional requirements."

The JCICS has acknowledged the amended Statement and replied (here) "It is Joint Council's understanding that the U.S. Department of State will continue to advocate for the uninterrupted completion of all transition cases. This public statement of a longstanding USDOS policy is a credit to the early efforts of the Guatemala 5000 Initiative, and we thank the Department of State for their child-centric efforts."

The initial hands-off warning from the DOS about the pending crisis included no discernable advocacy for cases already in-process. Thankfully, they seem to be taking notice of our response -- and what a great response it's been!

After only four days the online petition has nearly 18,000 signatures. Everyone who has reported back after talking with their Congress Members's offices have found them to be well informed about the situation and supportive of continuing in-process adoptions! The word is getting out on online sources as well.

We are hoping and praying that the US DOS will advocate on our behalf. How vigorously they do so, is yet to be seen. But even with their advocacy, don't forget that Guatemala is a sovereign country, so the final decision rests in her hands.

Until the Guatemalan congress passes one of the many competing acts of legislation regarding Hague Compliance, our in-process cases remain at risk. There are some (not all) powerful people in Guatemala who want to end all foreign adoptions -- both new and in-process cases. can no longer see us.

Since we can't do anything on the Guatemalan side, we MUST keep up the pressure on the US side. Our government must do everything possible to protect its citizens who have entered into a legal process with a foreign country, in good faith. If you haven't yet signed the petition or emailed the powers that be, I URGE you to take a few minutes to do so, now. My last post explains how.

Thank you all for your efforts to bring this crisis to the attention of our representatives. The final resolution for our in-process cases will remain up in the air for a while. I'll keep you posted about the important steps along the way.