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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Guatemala

So, after my trip to Honduras, Mark and I looked into international adoption. The only Spanish country open was Guatemala. When Mark got orders to Iraq, we both thought it would be a good idea for me and Tate to head down to Guatemala and get our feet wet there. I would attend Spanish school and do some research to see which agency was the best, and when Mark got home the plan was to start the adoption process.

You can imagine my surprise when I got down to Guatemala and everything fell apart. I would meet someone and get very excited about the possibility of adoption, they would email me the name of their agency, and when I sent the agency an email, nothing would happen. I would get no response. This happened multiple times. I was so discouraged! Mark would call my cell every morning and we would pray together, and often times I would cry because I was so confused. I really felt like my passion and desire was from the Lord, but why was nothing working out? What was I supposed to be doing? I prayed that if I wasn't supposed to be adopting, that the Lord take the desire away. I fully expected that to be the case. To my surprise, the desire didn't go away, it just got stronger. I didn't know what to do. I felt like everything was unraveling all at once.

During this time, Mark started to do some research on adoption on his own. About a month after I got to Guatemala, Mark called me and shared with me the State Department's statement about Guatemalan adoptions. They were recommending that people stop, and they were going to shut the program down December 31st due to Guatemala not ratifying the Hague Convention. I felt a little bit better about that, because then at least maybe the Lord was trying to save us from heartache, but I still didn't know what to do. Mark then shared what he had read about domestic adoptions. While the wait is typically long for a white infant, if you are open to an infant of a different race, the average wait time (according to the US Census Bureau) is three months. There is a great need for families to adopt these babies because if they aren't adopted, they go into foster care. I was floored! Of course we would be open to another race! We began praying about this option, and felt like the door was being blown open. Mark found an agency in Seattle that is nation wide, and when we emailed them for information, they responded the very same day! They do domestic and international adoptions, so we can go through them for international when we are ready to do so.

The agency we are working with, Bethany, has been great. They work with birth moms to make the right choice for the baby, they aren't trying to talk anyone into adoption. Only about 20% of birth moms decide to adopt, and the rest choose to parent. Bethany works with the moms regardless of their choice. I think that is so awesome. The most important thing isn't that Mark and I are able to adopt: it is that the baby that is being born is raised in a stable, loving home. I have so much respect for the women that come to Bethany, regardless of their decision. The fact that they are trying to do what is best for their baby is so refreshing. In some cases, what is best is that the baby be adopted. Other times, it's best that the mom parent the child herself. Neither choice is better than the other. Both options provide the baby a loving home. Babies change your life, no matter if you parent them yourself or not. I think the women that work with Bethany are making the most educated decision they possibly can, and I admire that.

So, in a nutshell, this is how we got where we are today. We are working on our home study, and I will fill you in on that next time.

Merry Christmas!

Love,
Mark, Jenni and Tate

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