Michelle Smiles

Teaching my children to question authority, except mine.

Carnac the Magnificent


It’s Friday.  It’s raining.  It’s ugly and gray outside (but not cold).  My coffee shop was out of my favorite creamer.  I have 1 week left at work.  I’m feeling a little blah.  Given an hour meeting with 2 different people and a box to pack my crap into and I could walk out of here this afternoon with everything wrapped up.  Yep, next week is going to be boring. 

In adoption world, I’ve got nothing.  I don’t expect to have any news until we get a previo.  I’m waiting for that call. I really thought we would get it this week.  Today marks the end of 3 weeks in PGN.  Still a long way to go.  I talked with my case worker about fostering yesterday.  I’m still having anxiety over housing.  I thought I had something lined up but I can’t get in touch with the person handling the rental so I’m getting the feeling I might have to go back to the drawing board to find somewhere to live.  I’m sad because the place seemed perfect and I could see us living there happily.

After my saying I hoped Hadyn got OUT and then she did an hour later, a reader has requested that I play Carnac the Magnificent (if you are too young to know who that is…just hush up).  I believe Johnny always gave the answer before reading the question.  So the answer is [holding the sealed envelope to my forehead] “Today.”  And the question….ripping open the envelope….”When do I hope that Cheryl and Colleen get out of PGN?”  I’ve never done the Carnac bit before but I aim to please.  (Johnny was much funnier.)  I really do pray you are out soon.

And I might have some fun news to share later today.  Shhhh…it’s a surprise.

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Can you help?


I am posting this on behalf of Erin and Cheri (both in my blogroll if you want to see their original posts).  Please help them if you can.

There is something you can do to help if you so wish. If you are ADOPTING FROM GUATEMALA and you are with an agency or facilitator that is not HAPS or For This Child, PLEASE EMAIL THE FOLLOWING LETTER TO YOUR AGENCY. If you are NOT ADOPTING but you have a blog, please POST THIS REQUEST ON YOUR BLOG.


Dear [agency-name],
If your agency has a case in process that contains a Guatemala City cedula or birth-certificate that is missing the Civil Registry signature (usually the mayor’s signature), we have important information to share.

According to PGN, if your case has not yet received a previo for the missing signature, it will. The letter from the Civil Registry and/or the Mayor of Guatemala City is no longer sufficient to satisfy the previo. The four PGN assessors have made a joint decision that these unsigned documents MUST be signed. However, at this time there is NO ONE in Guatemala City with the authority to sign these documents!

We are Cheri xxxxxx and Erin xxxxxx, in the process of adopting Guatemalan babies through For This Child and HAPS, respectively. After many months working on this issue separately, our agencies are now collaborating to find a solution. They have discussed this with the PGN reviewers, Barrios, and the Mayor of GC directly. The conclusion is that the mayor does NOT have the authority to sign a document issued under another mayor’s tenure. Therefore, we must file an acta with a different branch of PGN that will require the Civil Registry of GC to 1) designate and authorize a person to sign these documents, and 2) order that person to do so.

The PGN reviewer on Erin’s case currently has 12 cases that have been kicked out for this reason. If all 8 reviewers have a similar number of cases, that means 80-100 cases are in this same predicament! We have been advised to find as many of these other cases as possible so that we can ALL file the acta together. We have strength in numbers.

If you have, or know of, a case that contains a Guatemala City cedula or birth-certificate that is missing the Civil Registry signature, please contact:

Karla Ordonez, with HAPS: cell 5555-3610, office 2332-9040
Traci Orr, with For This Child: US #214-370-8436, traci@forthischild.org

Thank you for your time,
Cheri and Erin

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8 days left


First – new surprise photos this morning!


Now with that cuteness out of the way, back to our regularly scheduled post.

Entertaining things to do after you tender your resignation (assuming you don’t need a reference for future jobs):

1. Lob small spit balls over the top of your cubicle wall into the cubicles of your most annoying neighbors.
2. Bring in root beer and ice cream.  At 2:30 Wednesday afternoon, declare it Ice Cream Social Hour and gather everyone in the kitchen area for root beer floats.  They will love you for it!
3. Talk loudly on the phone about the perks of your new job – make up some outlandish ones.  “Bob, you wouldn’t believe it!  We free health insurance that pays for everything and 8 weeks of vacation a year!”  Then spread a rumor that you got a 50% pay increase with the new job.
4. Take a 3 hour, 4 martini lunch.  Return to work and if anyone notices say “What are they going to do?  Fire me?”
5. Fill out an employee performance evaluation for your boss.  Be brutally honest.  Distribute copies to his/her boss and your co-workers.
6. Password protect all of your documents.  Hide clues around the office about what the password is – to be found only after you leave.
7. Switch the coffee to decaf.  After the withdrawal headaches fade for most of the office, switch it back.
8. Tell your co-workers that you put 2 random pens in the toilet and then returned them to the owners’ pencil cups.  Watch what happens.
9. Invite all co-workers to a lunchtime reading and literary discussion of ‘Green Eggs & Ham’.  Require everyone to wear black turtlenecks and berets.
10. Write all memos in Haiku form.
11. Take a stack of file folders filled with scrap paper to the shredder.  Give an evil laugh each time you shred a “document”.

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188 days since our referral**


We’ve officially been in PGN for 12 business days – 15 calendar days. If things are working as they are supposed to in PGN (and who really knows if that is the case), we should be done with our first round reviewer. The first and second reviewer each has 10 business days to review our file and find a reason for a previo (kick out). If they are following that time line, we should either have a previo or be off the second review’s desk and onto Barrios’ desk by holy week. The crazy thing is that I want to get that previo call this week or next. I want it to be something silly like them saying a document is missing when it is already in our file so we can be resubmitted the next day. I am afraid that if we don’t get a previo from the lower level reviews, Barrios will find something, anything after our file has been sitting on his desk for weeks. I fear the result of that might be a really ugly, hard to fix previo that comes after we’ve already been in PGN for 8 or 9 weeks.

I have found this odd peace since we decided I would go down and foster (okay since I quit freaking out about going down to foster). Knowing that regardless of what happens in PGN, I will be with Sabrina in just over 3 weeks and that I never have to hand her back has allowed me to let go of the process to a certain degree (maybe I’m just behaving like a normal person now instead of one who is obsessed). My only fear now is that we get one of those ugly, hard to fix previos and I end up living in Antigua for a long time. Not that I mind the thought of living in Antigua, it would just be hard financially and emotionally (I would miss Steve!) to be away for that long. But that is the chance we are taking because we feel it is best for Sabrina to be with one of us.

Speaking of ugly, hard to fix previos, Erin and Cheri (both on my blogroll) have both received one. After already dealing with this issue for several months, yesterday they received bad news after meeting with PGN on how to fix the problem (both dealing with same issue). PGN was not accommodating. My heart breaks for both of them being away from their husbands that long. Go send them some love.

Hadyn, who previously had an ugly, hard to fix previo, has been back in PGN for over 6 weeks! We are praying she gets that coveted OUT call soon. It’s been a long road for her and her family. **UPDATED** Hadyn got her OUT call about an hour after I wrote this entry. WOOHOO!! Maybe I need to start writing posts like this more often!

And some good news, Sig got her OUT call on Friday evening. She’s going to have Abby in her arms forever a few days before Easter.�

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Finally, Round 3 SBPs have been sent


I sent out all of the secret blog pal matches tonight. If you didn’t receive yours, please email secretblogpals@yahoo.com or comment here. Because I use yahoo mail to send them, some email boxes reject them as spam and I will resend it from my real email if necessary.  We had a big group this time – 40 matches! Have fun everyone!

Today is 2 weeks in PGN


The real-ness of this has hit me.  Our lives are about to change in just about every way imaginable.  Even something as simple as taking a shower is about to become more complicated.  Lazy Sundays as we know them will cease to exist.  Sleeping in?  Ha – kiss that good bye.  Not thinking about dinner until 9pm is a thing of the past. 

I spent the weekend reminding Steve that we only have 3 more weekends alone together.  Only 3 more weeks of being the us we’ve always been.  I have to say it caused a little bit of anxiety for me.  He has a buffer period while I am in Antigua of being a lazy bachelor but this is it for me.  I’m not regretting it – just realizing the enormity of what we are about to take on.  It’s exciting and scary but it also makes me a little nostalgic (yes, already – I’m a sap sometimes, deal with it) for being so blasé about my freedom.  So here is a little list of things you should do before bringing home your baby (author shares no liability if any of these items violate morals, ethics, or laws in the contiguous Unites States):

1.  Party like a rock star one last time.
2.  Go to a movie in the theater.  It will be the last one for awhile.
3.  Buy a designer handbag or shoes that cost more than the rent on your first apartment.
4.  Take a trip somewhere other than the country you are adopting from and enjoy the lack of diapers and bottles.
5.  Spend a Sunday in your underwear, on the couch, watching bad lifetime movies, eating popcorn and ice cream.
6.  Have dinner in several non-child friendly restaurants, drink wine, don’t cut anyone else’s meat.
7.  Wear all of the silk blouses you own.  They are not drool friendly and you won’t be digging them out again for awhile.  Also wear all of your high heels and admire how good they make your legs look – they aren’t comfy when chasing around a little one.  Speaking of legs, shave them. That might not happen again for awhile either.
8.  Get a good haircut.

9.  Do something immature and stupid.  Moon someone.  Toilet paper your boss’s house.  Make out at the movies.  Just get it out of your system.  After your baby is home you have to “set an example”.  Just don’t get caught – your homestudy agency may frown on you making the newspaper in that way.
10.  Have crazy, wild monkey sex in the kitchen.

Feel free to include your own suggestions in the comments.

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I have the matches mostly finished.  I am just waiting to hear back from 2 people (I was tardy in replying to their questions) and then I will send it all out.

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day



This was a tame St. Patty’s Day for me compared to some in my past.  No green beer.  I did have a couple of beers – my mother in law threw a surprise birthday party for my father in law tonight.  We all ate too much and drank a little.  It was fun.  She is taking him on a cruise for his birthday.  She had a photo of the cruise ship made into a puzzle and gave everyone some pieces of the puzzle to put into each birthday card.  He put the puzzle together after opening all of the cards.  It was a fun way to give him his gift.  He was surprised – both by the party and the gift so it was a fun evening.

Steve had fun showing off pictures of Sabrina to everyone and then announcing “Did you hear our big news?  Michelle is moving to Guatemala in a few weeks!”  He thought it was great fun to see the confusion on each person’s face as he made the announcement.

We didn’t have a white Christmas because


I didn’t drive to Ohio that day.  Every time I go to Ohio recently, the weather turns ugly.  Today, the local bar association was holding a memorial service for my dad so of course the day started with freezing rain and sleet then ended with lots of snow.  I made it there and back safely.

Another good thing about fostering?  I bought this to be used in less than a month:

dsc01651.JPGHow cute is that little stars and stripes swimsuit?

When it looks like this here today:


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I haven’t forgotten


I didn’t forget about the Secret Blog Pal match ups.  I just got distracted with the whole fostering issue coming out of left field.  I will get them out this weekend – I promise!

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