Thursday, November 16, 2006

Guatemala - here we come

Or should I say - aquí venimos Guatemala!!!
OK, I used Babblefish for that, so I have no idea if that came out right.

But low and behold, we have made our decision about which country from which we will adopt our daughter. We have decided on Guatemala!!! I'm hesitant to list too many reasons, because I really don't want to highlight any negatives about China adoption. In actuality, it was a hard decision, and I'm sure we would have found either process rewarding. I don't want to denigrate the China process or system, or cut on anyone who has gone thought that process. But - here is some of our thinking.

The Guatemala process is more predictable right now than it has been. The government has stabilized, and the need is great. This translates to a somewhat faster process as well. I hate how that sounds because it makes it seem like we want to rush, but the bottom line is that there are some changes taking place in the China program and adoptive parents have seen their wait times sliding from 12 to 14 to 16 months.

While any process has its elements of chance - the Guatemala program is currently placing children right around 9 months out. Also, the system in Guatemala uses foster parents trained by Bethany staff. This is a major comfort for us in our first endeavor at adopting and parenting. The referral often comes within weeks of birth, so the adoptive parents can be in touch with the foster parents right away and often times, all parties involved start using the adoptive name from the get go. On top of all that - we just have that sense that our daughter will be born in Guatemala. Hard to explain - but I think you all get the idea.

So a few facts about Guatemala (taken from Wikipedia and InfoPlease) :

Population: 12,293,545 (about the same as PA)
Area: 41,865 sq mi (about the same as PA)
Largest City & Capital: Guatemala City (1,128,800) (a little smaller than Philly)
Languages: Spanish 60%, Amerindian languages 40%
Ethnicity: Mestizo (Ladino)—mixed Amerindian-Spanish ancestry—and European 60%, Indigenous (Mayan) : 40%
Government: Democratic Republic - 1 President, unicameral legislature
President: Oscar Berger (2004)
GDP: $62.97 billion; per capita $5,200. (compared to US - 12.41 trillion; per capita $42,000)

I found a list of famous Guatemalans, but none of them are extremely well known. I did recognize a few of the actors and actresses from fairly recent small parts (like Benito Martinez) , and some of the boxers because I do follow that sport a little bit.

And for the Geography nerds like me - a couple of maps:


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