1 Samuel 1:27 For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him



Our Adoption Story

Levi was born on April 21, 2007 in Chinautla, Guatemala, a small town known for pottery. He weighed 6.7 pounds and was 19.7 inches long. He was in private foster care in Guatemala City where he lived for 10 1/2 months with his foster mom, her son and daughter and Isaac, his foster brother. Throughout our difficult adoption journey, Isaac's mom, Nancy and I became very good friends. God placed our boys together and had the perfect plan in place long before we ever realized it. When I was undecided on an adoption agency, I joined an online forum where Nancy provided me with information about her agency and recommended them to us. We decided to sign with the same agency and I emailed Nancy back to let her know. Over a few months we emailed back and forth to learn we were both from TN and lived only 30 minutes apart... we thought wow, it's a small world. Little did we know a few months later we'd both get referrals, earlier than we expected, of 2 beautiful Guatemalan angels. When they turned 2 months old our agency called and decided it was time to tell us that they were in the same foster home together and had been since they were 1 day old. We were amazed they were together. Even more so, God amazed us once again when we learned shortly after that they were born on the same day and were from the same town... no longer a coincidence that was for sure. We were being told by the foster mom how attached they were and acted like brothers. But, Nancy and I got the chance in January '08 to go to visit them and see it for ourselves. It was an amazing time of bonding with our boys that we will never forget. After that trip it seemed when one of us would reach a roadblock in the crazy process of international adoption the other would be delayed with something else. We stayed right together until the very day we picked them both up. We had our US Embassy appts the same day and we flew home through Atlanta on the same flight on March 11, 2008 when they both entered the US as citizens! It was an awesome time for us in the Atlanta Airport when we rec'd the congrats they were official! We've made friends for life with Nancy, Eric, and with Isaac's extended families. We look forward to many years of watching them both grow up so close together. Over the past year, as we went through battle after battle to bring our boys home, Nancy and I both would never think of one without the other in our endless prayers to keep them safe, happy and healthy until they could be home with their forever families. We're finally parents and it's what we've both waited for, for so many years.. our families are finally complete!!!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Finally officially Levi..

Hey, just wanted to post that we had our readoption hearing yesterday and the judge finally signed off on the paperwork to obtain a new Tennessee birth certificate for Levi and change his name officially to Levi. There were a few road blocks for us in that we had other issues like the fact Steve had signed some of the paperwork before he passed away but, then wasn't here to appear for the hearing and unable to sign the final decree. We had to write and rewrite our documents 4 times until we got it like the judge thought was best on Levi's behalf to indicate we still wanted Steve listed as his father, etc.. and about his passing unexpectedly before we got this done. Which... was my fault for putting it off. Steve reminded me daily we needed to change his name "before something happened", just another confirmation that he was getting things in order for me in the end.
Levi came home Juan Jose which was his birth name although he had our last name changed before we brought him home. Steve and I had decided to follow his heritage of having 4 names like they do in Guatemala and add Elias into his name. Elias was his foster mom's son there and Levi was very attached to him before we brought him home as was Elias to Levi. Readoption was not something we HAD to do but that we chose to do. He came home a US citizen already but we wanted him to enter school and play sports, etc.. with a TN birth certificate like everyone else has. We were already listed as his parents on the Guatemalan one. It was for sure a day we're glad is behind us and can't wait to get the new birth certificate from Nashville so we can get him his passport. Until next time.. Blessings from our family to yours!- Tracy (aka Levi's momma)

Friday, March 6, 2009

Happy 'Gotcha Day' to Levi and Isaac!!

Hey all- just wanted to post and say it's been a year today that Levi was officially handed over to us in Guatemala and we didn't have to give him back.. ever! Nancy and Eric arrived one day before us (thanks to me booking the wrong flight number) in Guatemala so Isaac's 'gotcha day' was yesterday. Nancy and Isaac spent it with Levi and I in Pigeon Forge and I cannot thank her enough for being with me on our 1st and sacrificing time with Eric, not spending their day as a family. Today has been a bittersweet day for me without Steve. I wish he were here to celebrate with us but, I know he'd want more than anything for me to show Levi a great time of fun and just make sure he's happy on "his day". I decided we would spend our 1st gotcha day in Pigeon Forge because Steve loved it here. He would rather come here than the beach for a week.. he just always loved it here. As I sit and watched Levi and Isaac running and playing today and holding hands, happy as can be it makes all we went through to get them home so worth it... of course it's worth it any day but, today is just special for them and they don't even know the impact yet. I pray they will have a life long friendship and feel as blessed being our sons as we are to be their moms. They are certainly like family to us and always will be. God knew what he was doing when he placed them together in Guatemala and close to each other in the US.. it's just awesome every time you think about it...what a story they have. Levi is my pride and joy and the reason I get out of bed everyday. I couldn't make it without him and God knew way before I did that it would all work out like it did. God knew losing Steve I would need Levi to lean on and he is my strength everyday! He even worked out the details and made Levi love music just like Steve and shoes just like me! haha! All joking aside he does things all the time that remind me of Steve and I know that may sound crazy but, it's so true. Steve's family even says they feel closer to Steve through Levi even though he's adopted, that maybe it's the love they knew he had for his son from day 1. Anyway, we took the boys to the indoor water park this morning and they loved it. We got them out for a snack and decided to come back to the room to feed them since they were dry. After they watched the Alvin and the Chipmunks movie and ate, they wrestled and played together (at times a little too rough..they both all boy that's for sure!) they crashed for a now 3 hr nap!!! Levi just 2 and a half. He will never sleep again tonight. I tried everything to get to sleep just for a few minutes and just couldn't, I had too much on my mind I guess. So, here I sit waiting for the sleeping beauties to get up and probably head back to the indoor water park again before we call it a day. Tomorrow, I think Nancy and I are going to shop for the boys some summer clothes and I would imagine there will be a to me from me gift in there somewhere for myself haha! We'll head home tomorrow afternoon in time to get the boys settled for church on Sunday morning. It's been a nice few days to relax and just enjoy them that is for sure. What better way to relax? Free coffee, a housekeeper who empties the trash and brings in fresh towels everyday and 2 boys entertaining each other running wild! haha! Until next time... we are blessed and Praise the Lord for our 2 beautiful Guatemalan boys on their special day!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Hard to believe it's almost been a year!

Wow.. it's hard to believe that this time last year we were so excited packing and getting ready for our pick up trip to go bring our boy home forever. This coming week will be what us adoptive parents call 'gotcha day'. It's the day we go him and knew we never had to give him back.. when it was official we could bring him home to the US. Thinking back we've been through so much this past year but, at times it seems like it was yesterday we were there seeing his country and trying to capture as many pictures for him as we could in such a short time. Bringing him home to meet our family after nearly a year of waiting for him was priceless. Usually, for 'gotcha day' the adoptive parent lets the child decide what to do for the day and it's just "their day" every year. When he's older and can choose himself he will but, this year.. I chose. Nancy, being the great friend she is, is taking her time away from being with her family on this day to spend it with me and Levi. She knows (I'm sure) that it'll be a bittersweet day for me. I'll be missing Steve more I'm sure because he can't be here to share it with us..Levi's 1st Gotcha Day! But, it's his day and I'll go out of my way to be sure he has a special day. Nancy and I are taking the boys to Pigeon Forge to a new indoor water park that aunt Becky tells us is awesome. We're getting away for 2 nights just to spend time with the boys with no distractions...just time with them. I cannot thank Nancy enough for going with us and missing her own family time just to be with us. We all came home on the same day so of course it's Isaac's gotcha day too!! The boys have brought us more joy than we ever dreamed of and being their moms has been what we waited for, for so long! I love everything about it from the time outs, the kisses every morning (which by the way is the best!) the good and the bad... I wouldn't trade it for the world! Until our trip... we will try and get over colds so we will have a better time!- Levi's mommy

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Recap of 2008

Well, since I have not kept this blog up and not posted since Levi was off the bottle in July... here goes. Since July, he learned to walk on his own in late August after months of holding on and not wanting to try it on his own. He's got a mouth full of teeth which he still uses to bite but, nowhere near like when he came home. He "forgets" sometimes when he's excited playing and will bite a quick chunk out of you and knows immediately it was a bad choice. Steve stayed sick most of the summer and was in and out of the hospital with the E-Coli continuing to come back and he had the skin grafts that were done in the early summer that were doing great on his arm and leg. Went went for our followup home study visit in mid August in Pigeon Forge which was supposed to be a short first family trip together. Our first night there, Steve fell and busted his knee open at the Apple Barn Restaurant on their uneven sidewalk and had to be taken to UT Trauma Center. Prior to that he was doing so well and off the walker and just enjoying being away from home with his son. The fall was a major set back and things were downhill from there with him. He ended up in the hospital in Oct again and this time never made it back home to us. We miss him more than words could ever say and our lives have been literally turned upside down without him. As for me, Steve was all I knew and I am lost without him. Levi had a hard time initially and things have settled for him now. Although people told me he would never remember him after a few weeks of being without him thankfully, that wasn't true. He was still hollering for him after/during his bath until about a month ago. He still talks to "dad" on his play phone pretending and says his name when he sees his pictures. I am now carrying Steve's cell phone and he even knows it was his when you ask him who it belongs to. I know he will never remember specific memories of him over time and when he is older he will say he never got to know him but, it does my heart good every time I hear him say "dad" to know he still has some memories if only temporary. I promised Steve I would raise Levi just as we had discussed we would and I am so thankful that we had these in depth conversations to know what he would have wanted for his son and what his long term goals were for him so that I can carry that through. Levi was dedicated at our church the week of Christmas and it was a special day for him. His 1st Christmas, although depressing without Steve here with us to share it, was a good one for him and he got tons of new clothes and toys from everybody. Coming up for us in 2009... I am starting to think about Levi's 2nd birthday and what/when that'll be. We are still attending the Guatemalan group that have lots of nice outings planned (mainly in the summer). We have "gotcha day" which is in March for Levi. That is what people who have adopted call the day we got them in our arms as our own and everything was official. You make it your adopted child's special day and do something that is fun and all about them for the day. When he's old enough we were going to let him pick what we did for the day. For now, I hope to take him somewhere fun and maybe get away since it'll be another hard "1st" for me without Steve. We're going to the Sesame Street Live show in a few weeks with Isaac so I know that'll be a big hit with him too. Isaac and Nancy spent the night last night and the boys had a blast chasing each other and playing together as usual. I will try to keep my posts more up to date in case there is anyone out there who actually still reads our blog. Have a blessed New Year and keep us in your prayers.- Tracy and Levi

Sunday, October 5, 2008