“What Adoption Means” Post #8 – Even though we are well into December, I’m continuing my posts from fellow adoptive parents on what adoption means to them. I have found that a lot of the messages I have received are ones where people want to tell their stories of adoption. We hear about birth stories. We listen to women who have given birth describe their pregnancies, and their deliveries, so when someone has the opportunity to share his or her adoption story, I think it is worth reading!
“Well to start out… when Mark and I started dating we both expressed interest in adoption. I personally wanted to only adopt but he wanted biological children also, so we started our marriage with the intent to have two biological children, and adopt two children.
On our 3rd wedding anniversary, we decided to start trying to have a baby. Eleven and half months later, I was pregnant with Elijah. My pregnancy went fairly well accept I gained seventy-one pounds!
Delivery was a different story. It was hard. Twenty-one hours after my water broke, I was rushed in for a c-section. Not fun! After that experience, Mark changed his mind about having another bio child.
When Eli was five-months-old, we started talking about adoption. We didn’t want our kids to be very far apart so in April of 2005, we signed paper work with Christian World Adoption. Paper work kept coming for the next two and a half years! It was so hard waiting and waiting. I thought we would never get a referral.
Once all our paperwork was in we had to wait about three months (April to June 12) before we got the phone call that we had a baby! Our daughter was born May 20, 2007. We were so excited!
They e-mailed us a picture and mailed the rest of our paperwork to sign. The first time I saw Elena, I was amazed at how beautiful she was. Her eyes were so piercing. I knew when I saw her that we needed each other.
The Lord placed her in our home.
It was just… right.
For a months everything was going just as we thought it would, and then, the Guatemala program turned. We started hearing bad stories about trips to Guatemala. People were not getting the babies they were planning on. Mix ups with children. Stolen children. The program in Guatemala was shutting down.
When we got our referral we thought that we would have her by Thanksgiving. Nope. Christmas? No, again. We knew that the program was coming to an end, but not even our agency could tell us the deadline date.
We were so nervous. We didn’t know if we would ever get to go to Guatemala. All we knew is that if we got our paper work out of the Guatemalan government by Dec. 31, 2007, then we would have a chance. We asked everyone we knew to pray and fast. (Really, we had been praying all along and had been fasting on Mondays for a couple of months)
There were so many people fasting and praying with us. It really is amazing how people can ban together at difficult times. We decided her name would be Elena Marie.
In December of 2007, we found out that all we had to do was wait for a court date with the Guatemalan embassy. PRAISE GOD!!!!!!! On January 23rd (1 month later), we got word that our court date was set for February 9th! Talked about scrambled eggs. My brain was crazy messed up!
We got to our hotel in Guatemala at 2:00, and Irma (foster-mother) and Elena were supposed to be there at 3:00. We freshened up a bit, and then at 2:40 we went down stairs to wait. My nerves were shot. I was shaking and jiggling my legs so hard. To see the video, it was pretty funny.
At 4:20, they walked through the doors. Elena was asleep. She is so cute when she’s asleep. She looked like an angel. All my nerves were at peace. Irma didn’t speak any English and Mark and I speak very little Spanish.
The first 30 minutes, I just let Irma hold her (she had Elena from the time she was two-days-old until she placed her in our arms).
I felt like I was respecting her by allowing her to place her in our arms in her timing.
After about an hour, we asked Irma if she wanted to have dinner with us. She said, “Yes.” It was so neat getting to know her. I knew that the more I got to know her, the better I would understand Elena. It was so true.
Elena immediately attached to us. That night she cried for me when I went to the rest room. She slept all night and was great. Eli fell in love that day! ( He still is. ) She loved us. WE LOVED HER! ( not like it was a surprise!)
The next night we had dinner with Irma and her husband, Oscar. We hired a translator for the hotel. We received excellent advice and tips for Elena’s habits and personality. It was so fun to sit down and visit with them.
The next day we went to the embassy for our appointment. It really wasn’t anything like I expected. It was really informal! We made plans with Irma and Oscar to go to church with them on Sunday. Our agency told us to not to leave a certain area in Guatemala City but we did.
It was so exciting. They sang the same songs as we do just in Spanish. The Holy Spirit was overwhelmingly strong. I think I cried almost all of the first part of the service. Irma was too!
I didn’t understand anything Pastor Cash Luna was saying, but it seems to be the most important message I have ever heard. After church, Irma and Oscar came back to the hotel with us for one last meal together. We really enjoyed our time with them. When it was time for them to leave, Irma came to hug me goodbye. It was so hard. We just stood there in the middle of the restaurant and cried just embracing each other. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I thought we were both going to fall. I was holding her tiny under 5 ‘ body up. Her head was laying on my chest. I love her so much.
She is a part of my family now. She raised my daughter the first 9 1/2 months of her life. She loves Elena. She will forever.
It is amazing how much you can learn from someone you know nothing about. I still pray for her and think about her all the time. We have sent gifts and pictures and letters , but we get no response. We don’t know if she gets them, or if it is just too hard for her.
Everyone was so excited to see her; especially my Dad, James. Oh yeah, and Mark’s youngest sister Tiffany! Everyone immediately loved her. When she was thirteen-months-old, she started walking and her and her BIG brother were inseparable. They love each other more than most siblings that I have met.
I truly believe every Christian family should make it a priority to adopt.
There are so many children that need us and believe it or not… we need them. Our lives would not be complete with out Elena. I love her as much as I love my biological son Elijah.
Adoption is just another way God blesses us with kids and builds our families. Every child deserves a loving family.”