Our life is nothing short of an adventure...

Wind in our hair and screams of delight but also unpredictable turns and unknown outcomes. We are a family of six; Dave, Susie, Nate, Jake, Sam, and Bella.

God has been faithful in our marriage and through the birth and blessings of our boys.

God has been faithful during our adoption journey and united Bella with us in May of 2008. We were privileged to visit with Bella's birth mother; therefore, Bella's family in Guatemala will always be dear to our hearts.

On October 16, 2008, Bella was diagnosed with ALL Leukemia. We are now battling the disease with 2 years and 3 months of treatment. We believe God will continue to be faithful!

Our family is committed to living life to the fullest...even on the hard days. Thank you for checking in and journeying with us!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Our response to Dateline

Many of you will have seen the segment on Guatemalan Adoptions Sunday evening on Dateline. I wanted to post my thoughts with you as well.

Although the segment did a fine job reporting some of the corruption that goes on in International Adoption, they failed to report the whole story, spending only 5 minutes of a 60 minute segment to report that the majority of adoptions are legal and ethical. They forgot to mention that 80% of Guatemala lives in severe poverty and that children used to roam the streets alone, trying to survive, before adoptions. They failed to interview hundreds of legal and moral private agency's, attorney's, facilitators, foster families, birth Mothers and adoptive families. I appreciate their good intension, for the most part they did a good thing, my frustration is that the media almost ALWAYS reports only one side of the story, and many times on speculation, instilling fear, doubt and worry to the general public.

Here's what I want you to know about Guatemala Adoptions through our experience:

YES! Corruption is real in Guatemala. Their are attorneys, facilitators, foster families, etc, that are using a system for their own financial gain. There are also employees within the Guat Government system using their power for their own financial gain....Dateline didn't investigate that, I certainly wish they did for those of us families now who are currently experiencing that form of corruption while in the process to bring our children home. However, the overall adoption program in Guatemala is GOOD! Thousands of children who would be roaming the streets of Guatemala, living in the dumps, dying on roads, are now home with Forever Families in many different parts of the world, the majority do come home to the US. Our daughter will be one of them.

Adoption? Why are we adopting? We have 3 biological boys, why not have your own? This is a question we here a lot, and it always shocks me. Yet I know that they have not had the same calling on their life that we have, God has not laid that on their heart, and so I say to myself "Forgive them Lord, for they know not what they do".

In January of 2006, a seed was planted in my heart to adopt. I don't recall that moment when I thought about it, but I do recall the time spent on researching adoptions, countries, interviewing agencies, etc and the whole time thinking..."What are we doing? We have not done babies in 7 years, my boys are all in school now, I have time now to focus on my career, we can travel more, start over with a baby?" By May 2006, my husband and I attended an informational meeting with our now current adoption agency and on the way home in the car, we decided we were going to adopt a baby girl from Guatemala.

We were very careful in our choice of agencies as we were very well aware of the corruption in Guatemala, baby snatching, paying birth Mom's for their child, etc. and we wanted no part of that. That is directly from the pit of hell and we were not going to go down that road. Yes, we paid a higher price to make sure that did not happen, but its been worth every penny.

What many of you don't know about our agency is that they treat the whole scenario and person. They do not just care for orphans and uniting them with a forever family, but they also treat the Birth Mom. Our agency has a home specifically for the care of the Birth Mothers during their time of pregnancy. They give them a beautiful home with their own bed, feed them, provide for all their medical needs, provide them with counseling before and after the adoption, teach them skills so that they can find jobs when returning home, give them spiritual guidance and bible studies, they treat them with love, dignity and respect. What they do not do is "pay" these woman for their babies, the woman CHOOSE adoption for their child because they have no way to provide for them. All of these Mothers are single, some very young 12.13. 14 years of age. They do not have family support or even a job to care for themselves much less a child. The birth mothers of this program are allowed to choose the family for their child based on a photo album and birth mother letter the adoptive families prepare a head of time. They have a say in their child's life, they are empowered and ultimately at complete peace with their decision for their child.

We had the privilege of meeting our birth mother when visiting our daughter in September and it was absolutely the most humbling experience I have ever had. She is only 20, lives in poverish conditions and she told us that her family will not support her with this baby and that the Dad is only 18 and still lives with his parents. She was afraid and very sad. But by the end of the visit, one hour in length, we were laughing and looking at pictures together, sharing stories of our lives and what this little girl will receive in her life with us. In the end, I held our Birth Mother in my arms and we wept together. Easy....oh no, nothing about leaving this child in our arms was easy for her, but she's a Mother, and she wanted what's best for her daughter....and she just couldn't provide for it. Fortunately for our Birth Mother, our agency offers a program where we can send continuous updates, photos, letters, etc. to our birth mother through the agency. The birth Mother may return to the agency at any time to see if their has been any correspondence from the adoptive family and they will give those items to her. Of course we will be doing that at least once a year, hoping to do so twice. In addition, birth mothers of our agency also receive continuous counseling after the birth of their child and through out their lives should they need it. Our agency's programs also houses the Mothers after they deliver for up to 6 weeks after so that they can recover from the birth. This is one of the GOOD stories I wish dateline would have written on.

My husband, myself and my children can honestly say that we will NEVER be the same again after this experience. We have experienced the absolute center of God's heart. To hold a child in your arms that did not come from your physical womb and feel that same absolute unconditional love you have for your biological children is totally the love of God. I pray every day that God will give me the words to describe this experience, but I still struggle to find them, yet I am living it. And if you ever have the opportunity to talk with us, you will see it in our eye's, our body motions, our smiles. Although sweet Bella is still not physically home with us, she is very much a part of our lives.

We ask you to please pray for all the children and birth mothers of Guatemala. There are hundreds of children still stuck in a corrupted adoption system trying to get home to their forever families, these birth mothers have already re-relinquished their rights. There are also hundreds of babies being born every day, toddlers and young children who will be wandering the streets because their is no new system in place to take on these children. Guatemala does not have Government run programs to provide for the large number of orphaned children. US and Guatemala must become Hague compliant immediately, there are children at stake. We pray daily that the strong hold of corruption will be broken and that God will be victorious!

I posted a picture of one of the many bedrooms provided for the birth mothers of our agency. Every family has the opportunity of visiting this home when traveling to Guatemala to meet their child.

As always, thank you for checking in on us. God Bless!


Stacy said...

What a wonderful post! We wanted to go through H.H. too, but the wait was too long (18 months wait, at that time).

I am praying for you EVERY day!!!


Stacy said...

I PM'd you. : )