Catie Come Home

Our adoption journey to Guatemala

April 13, 2005

The Adoption Connection

One of the benefits of adopting from Guatemala is that we get to meet so many other adoptive families while we are here. And every time we have been here, we have met people who remind us how blessed we have been in all three adoptions. We get so wrapped up in our own lives and perceived troubles that we forget there are others who face more trying circumstances than us.

As I've mentioned before, this adoption has tested our patience because Catie was exactly five months old the day we met her. Elli was only three-and-a-half months old when we went to Guatemala to get her, and Anthony's adoption was simply ideal. Everything went perfect that first time, and we met him when he was only seven weeks old.

We knew that speed was unusual even for our adoption agency. Back in 1999, when adoptions from Guatemala were not quite as popular as they are today, HAPS was able to get some babies home to their families within two to three months, but seven weeks may well have set some kind of record. The experience spoiled us on what to expect in the future.

Other families' experiences should have lowered our expectations. When we adopted Anthony, we met one woman who had been in Guatemala with her baby for the second or third time since her birth but was still unable to finalize the adoption. The baby was six months old then, and there was no end in sight to the delays. The adoptive family across the hotel hall from us on that trip, meanwhile, did not get their child until he was several months old -- and he cried pretty much all day and all night the entire two or three days they were here. On top of that, the mother had an injured arm and could not easily hold her child.

On this trip, we met an Irish couple here to adopt a beautiful girl with as much hair as Anthony has now. Their daughter is only six months old ... but the adoption process took them FIVE YEARS because of the rules set forth in the Hague treaty on international adoption. Just the thought of that horrifies me. That would have meant the adoption process we first began in 1999 would have continued until last year before we brought a baby home. In just a little more than that time, God instead has blessed us with three children.

And the situation in Guatemala is so much better than in many other countries, like Russia and China, where adoptive families often do not get their children until they are much older, where the children tend to have more health problems, or where they are scarred by "attachment disorder" from being placed (and virtually ignored) in orphanages rather than in loving foster homes.

In retrospect, Kimberly and I really have had it easy when in comes to adoption. Sure, we wish we had been there for every single day of Catie's life, as well as Anthony's and Elli's, but in the big picture, we did not miss much. The trials that other people have endured to start or expand their families through adoption, on the other hand, truly are humbling, and I admire them greatly.


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