Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A little more Guatemala detail

Having given you all some detail of what's to come here in the good old US of A, I figured it might make sense to also discuss how this all will work in Guatemala. Truth be told, some of the reasons we were attracted to this program revolve around the fact that we actually get a lot of info about what's going on there.

Here's what we know - the path that a child takes into being placed for adoption. I won't get into some of the stuff we learned in the class last week - discussing reasons why a child might end up in need of a family. In most cases (like 95%), it starts with a mother making a choice for her unborn child, so we'll go with that scenario. Why she chooses that option would depend on a lot of factors.

1) A Guatemalan woman chooses an adoption plan for her child, either unborn, or newly born. This kind of choice must be very painful, but takes a great deal of reflection to admit that you may not be able to care for the child you carried for 9 months.

2) That woman is referred to Bethany Christian Services, who coordinates all of the legal and social service proceedings in Guatemala. This is different than most international programs, where Bethany maintains a relationship with orphanages and other organizations.

3) Once born, the birth mother and baby both submit blood samples to be processed for DNA match in the US. Once the match is made, the rest of the legal proceedings begin. I don't know all of the details of these proceedings, but just like in the US, I'm sure there's paperwork, profiles, and background checks.

4) Meanwhile, the birth mother has given up her parental rights from a legal point of view in Guatemala. The child is then placed with a Bethany trained foster family.

5) Bethany refers the child to prospective American parents on the waiting list. That would be us - presumably some time this summer:)

6) The Guatemalan foster family continues to provide care for the child with social and financial support from Bethany and the adoptive parents, such as training, formula, and medical care. Updates (including health & development), pictures, and gifts are exchanged between adoptive and foster parents.

7) We would be allowed to visit for 1 week some time after the positive DNA results.

8) All parties continue to wait for the legal process as the appropriate American and Guatemalan agencies exchange information and approve final immigration and adoption. Once everything is approved, we will be able to travel to Guatemala City and pick up our daughter.

Sorry if all of that seems tedious. It's just that most people I talk with have no concept of what actually happens in Guatemala. To those of you who are praying for us, our family, Bethany, and our soon-to-be daughter...

...May I suggest you also pray for her birth-mother, and when the time comes the foster parents?



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