Michael's coworker P and his wife S came to dinner last Monday. They adopted a little girl from Guatemala over a year ago, and are in the process of adopting their second daughter. (She was born in April; they've already met her and should get to bring her home within the next couple months.) We'd invited them because we wanted to ask them questions about adoption, to hear their story. They brought their daughter with them, and over grilled salmon and wild rice pilaf, they shared their experiences.
We asked why they chose Guatemala and how they liked their agency, and what the process takes and how long the steps are and everything else we could think of, and they answered the questions honestly and thoroughly. But for me the best thing was not hearing their answers, but seeing them together, seeing how much they love their little girl and how she is truly their daughter even though she is not biologically their daughter, and how that doesn't even seem to matter.
She's eighteen months old, with beautiful coffee-colored skin and black curls. She talks a lot, and they've obviously worked hard with her, because she knows, among other things, almost all the letters. (Do most eighteen-month-olds know their letters?) I drank in their interaction with her, loving the way they could anticipate her responses, loving having this beautiful little family in my living room. I imagine that they were once where we are, bruised by infertility and uncertain about the future, and now they are past that. Someday we will be, too.
Things we learned: In Guatemala, you can adopt children when they're very young, which is appealing. The process is more expensive than we had anticipated, at least with this agency and country; P and S said to expect it to cost about $27,000. However, it takes less time than I'd thought, as the time between beginning paperwork and bringing the child home is generally less than a year.
Our current tentative plan is to gather information, save money, and pray hard for guidance. We've got to choose a country and an agency, and we hope to have enough saved that we can start the paperwork by January. I'm somewhat bummed about the delay, but we still have a lot of research to do, and it's necessary for us to save up to be able to pay for the adoption.
Also, I think it might turn out to be good for me. The past year and a half has been really hard, and maybe I need more time to heal. I know in my head that if this is what God is calling us to do, then it is best for us, but my heart needs time to catch up. I certainly don't want to go overseas to get our son or daughter feeling that the way we're getting him/her is second best.
If you're a pray-er, please pray that these next months will be fruitful in their way. When we finally become parents, I want to be as ready as I can possibly be.