Details. You all want Details.November 15, 2006 at 10:48 pm | Posted in AdoptThis!, M'ijo | 48 Comments
Warning, those prone to tears may want tissues close at hand.
At 4pm yesterday, my cell phone rang.
I didn’t recognize the number, so I ignored it.
Then our home phone rang. This time the caller ID showed the name of GAL (Guatemala Agency Lady, for those just tuning in).
My heart crawled to a stop.
In my last email exchange with her, she had told us to hurry up with the documents we had to redo, that the boy list was moving fast.
On Monday, I emailed her a scanned copy of our I-171H (authorization from Homeland Insecurity to adopt from Guatemala).
On Tuesday, the phone rang.
She said she had a referral for us. I squealed, very loudly, rendering her temporarily deaf. She said that he was a cutie, healthy, and a Big Boy. She gave me the relevant details and said that she was emailing me photos. She told me his given name. His first name is the Spanish equivalent to my dad’s name, and his middle name is the Spanish equivalent to Pili’s brother’s name (he will, however, remain Guatebaby on the internet, until I come up with a more clever psuedonym). A shiver went down my spine when I heard the name. I stammered out a few questions and then said I would look at the photos and talk to Pili and call her back.
I got off the phone. The lights flickered. Our power went off. And stayed off.
I was just about to go in search of an internet connection so that I COULD SEE THE DAMN PICTURES ALREADY when it came back on, about an hour later. Or maybe it just felt like an hour. The internet was cranky because the power had gone out and I had to restart my computer. Finally, I downloaded the pictures and stared at them, intensely.
I would be lying if I said it was total love at first sight. I looked at him, trying to feel a connection. I emailed the pictures to my parents, saying “He’s kinda funny looking. But I guess that’s to be expected.” I tried to do some work, but I kept coming back to the pictures. Then all of a sudden, I looked at his little hands, and I could picture them in mine. And something clicked.
I started trying to call Pili. I knew that she was presenting at a really important meeting, and I didn’t want to distract her before that. But afterwards, she was planning to go out to dinner with some friends. I called. And called. And called some more. I called a friend and asked her to drive around to check the restaurants where they might be eating, so that she could tell her to call me, NOW. No luck. In the meantime, I called my parents, and had my mom, who does early intervention work, look at the pictures and measurements. She pronounced him perfect.
(Actually, she said he was a genius, because he already has his hand open in one picture. I allow as how she might be slightly biased, given that she also said she was kissing the computer screen.)
I called Pili again. And again.
I walked around the house a bit and ate some ice cream for dinner. I called Pili. Again.
At 8:15, Pili called. She was driving home from work and wanted to know why I had called eighteen times when her phone was on vibrate (usually this means I am having a meltdown and need hand-holding).
I said, because I want you to come home and see pictures of your son.
What? You mean? Oh my… already?
She came home, and pronounced him beautiful, over and over again.
I fell in love with her even more, watching her fall in love with him.
We called GAL and accepted the referral.
Next Steps, greatly condensed: Pili completes more paperwork. GB and his mom have DNA testing done to make sure that they match. That’s also the second time she signs off that she wants to relinquish him. While our hearts would be broken if she changed her mind, we would also be happy that something had changed to allow her to feel like she was able to parent. It’s pretty unlikely, but it has happened in our agency, and that’s part of why we chose them.
Then the mom is interviewed by a family court social worker. That interview and the DNA results go to the U.S. embassy so that the case can be pre-approved – i.e. the US govt agrees that this is an adoptable child. Then the file goes to PGN (the Guatemalan Attorney General’s Office) where various bureaucrats scrutinize it for typos – I mean, signs of fraud. Depending on what happens – PGN can take from a month to a year or longer (we seriously hope this will not happen).
Once we have a DNA match, we can go visit – the agency has a guest house and the baby comes and stays with us there. In the meantime, we will get monthly photo and pediatrician updates, as well as photos taken by any other parents who are there for a visit/pick-up trip.
So hopefully, we’ll go visit in Jan/Feb, and then pick-up sometime in March/April/May… We can’t wait.
Any further questions?