Adoption was something I had always been open to-even while in high school and college. I always felt that if I could not become pregnant, I would adopt. I turned 35 on October 8, 2002 . I had a home of my own, a wonderful pug (Simon), a great family and a secure job, but something was missing. I had not yet met "Mr. Right" and I was getting tired of waiting. I decided then that I could sit and wait and maybe have regrets some day, or I could make my desire to become a mother a reality.
On October 22nd, 2002 , I attended my first Wide Horizons meeting. I went into the informational session wanting a girl from China or Korea and came out thinking about Guatemala . I was quickly informed that singles cannot adopt from Korea and that China had a waiting list for singles. All of the countries were presented and I began to learn about Guatemala and its' culture. As a pediatric nurse practitioner, I was already familiar with foreign adoptions, medical issues, etc. and had attended seminars on the topic. I liked the idea of foster care in Guatemala and the short trip appealed to me as well. I was told I could not choose the gender as this was my first child and while my family all hoped for a girl; I was happy and ready to accept a boy or a girl.
The following year was filled with the usual homestudy, paperwork upon paperwork, anxiety and sleepless nights. Then the Guatemala program closed, due to the newly instituted Hague Convention laws. It threw all my plans off and I was unsure if I should stay and wait or be placed on the China waiting list. With much help and through many phone calls to Mary and Marta, I decided to stick it out until the fall. Thankfully, Guatemala reopened in September and on September 22nd, 2003 , I received the call. I had a baby boy and he was just 3 weeks old!!!
His name was Yudel (soon to be changed to Nicholas) and he was healthy and beautiful. I will never forget how I shook from head to toe and sat on my bed while my social worker, Martha, gave me the information. It did not seem real.
Over the next 7 months, I sent Nicholas many packages and disposable cameras and agonized over the wait, which court I was in, DNA testing, etc. One of the things I did that helped me get through this time was create a bedtime prayer for Nicholas: Good night sweet Nicholas, Good night my love, It's time to close your eyes, the moon is shining from above, The day is done and the stars are out, Now rest your little body, For you're tired, there's no doubt, May God watch over you, Nicholas, May the angels sing you to sleep, Good night my little baby, my love, my blessing, my sweet. I said this prayer to his photo every night before going to sleep.
On April 13th, 2004 , my mom, who had not been on a plane in over 30 years, and I left to pick up my son. He was placed in my arms the next day and I have never felt such great joy and happiness as I did that day. The trip in Guatemala was wonderful and my attorney, Rosa Maria, was dedicated and determined. I knew she really cared about Nicholas and tried to make everything run smoothly. Meeting Nicholas's foster family was such an important part of my trip and helped me to understand Nicholas and what he needed to transition into his new home.
Two days later, we arrived home and life has never been the same. I mean that in the most positive way. I knew being a mother would be challenging, rewarding and fun, but I had no idea how much fun it would be. Nicholas is an absolute joy. He has a great sense of humor, delightful smile, is warm and cuddly, and of course, smart. He is my absolute pride and joy and I thank God for him every day. Since I work 4 days a week, I make our time together as enjoyable as I can and watch in amazement as he learns to walk (now run), play and talk. It is difficult to put into words the love a parent has for a child. It is greater than anything I have ever felt before.
I cannot thank Wide Horizons, especially Mary and Marta*, enough for helping us come together and be a family. Nicholas and I have our bedtime routine every night and in that are prayers for his birthmother, foster family and everyone else who are such an important part of our lives. It gives me great pleasure at the end of our day to say my special prayer to him. Good night, sweet Nicholas.
*Mary Morales and Marta Velez are the Guatemala Program Coordinators for WHFC.