Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Quick update and another FAQ

Just a quick update, then I want to get to explaining some more details. Our referral acceptance documents are on their way to Guatemala! When they get there, the process will really get rolling!

OK, here are a few more answers to the most common questions we've gotten. It's not that we have new information or anything, but some things are better explained after the initial excitement. Hopefully, this won't be too boring considering I posted a similar list a couple weeks ago! Trust me, I've got more detail in this one. If you've actually asked one of these questions, please don't fell like I'm singling you out. In fact, each of these questions has been asked at least 3-4 times, most of them by more than that.

1) Will she ever open her eyes?
OK actually, that's my question. I stare at her picture quite a bit and wonder if maybe her eyes will open. It never happens. We'll have to wait until the next set - hopefully in the next few weeks.

2) Why does it take so long?
This is actually the #1 question, and would take several pages to fully explain. The short answer I usually give is that we have a legal process to go through - not all that different than a domestic adoption legal process. In reality, it is very different, but the point is that it takes time for the courts and agencies there to approve the case. Here's a basic outline

A) Translation and registry of official documents in Guatemala.
*This process for us will start next week, and could take up to 2 months, putting us into July

B) Pre-approval of case by US Embassy, and Guatemala Family court

*Another 2-3 month process, starting in July - putting us into September-October

C) Guatemala Attorney General (PGN) approval process starts after the pre-approvals

*Yet another 3 months - putting us in the December time frame.

D) Final registry in Guatemala and issuance of birth certificate, passport, and visa.

*The time for this can vary depending on what time of year, but it seems to be taking
about 5 weeks right now. Right there, we're into Jan of 2008 under a very good case scenario.

E) Embassy appointment and travel to pick up Carmen!
*OK, here's where it should make sense now that we're saying Jan/Feb of 2008.

3) Do you know anything about her family in Guatemala?
We know a little bit and will probably learn more through the family court process. It'll be up to Carmen when she is older whether to discuss this outside the family. We do know the names of her birth mother and grandparents, as well as her home town, and the name of the hospital in which she born. We will probably get a little more family background information and some additional pictures of Carmen's birth mother, and there's also a chance we will be able to meet her while we're in Guatemala.
I feel a little bad continuing to call her "birth mother" because she is a woman with a name, but we're supposed to be discreet about such things for the time being.
Some people shorten it to BM - I find that distasteful.
Another common term is first mother. That's OK, but I think it's awkward.
Some of you will probably hear us use her actual name in conversation if you have not already.

4) Why did her birth mother relinquish her?
We get this question quite a bit, and I believe it's mostly out of concern for Carmen. It is difficult to imagine why someone would relinquish a child, but she must not be judged in any way by us for doing so. Like I've said before, it's critical that Carmen understand that her birth mother loves her and cares very much about her well being. I think I'll get into explaining this a little more later on.

5) What about that name again?
OK, we've gotten a lot of positive comments on the name Carmen. We just love that name, but to be honest, we chose it way before we knew we were adopting from Latin America. The fact that it's a Spanish name is merely a cooikidink. As I've said, Julia is my late mother's name and we feel this is a good way for the entire family to honor her. López provides a connection to Carmen's birth family. But, after learning a little bit more about her birth name, were thinking about using Maribel - the name she received at birth. Just about everyone that has learned this as her birth name has just loved it as much as we do. But the red-head and I were both thinking about it and are seriously considering using it.
Carmen Julia Maribel? This this might be the way to go, but it's not a decision that need to be final until she arrives home though.

6) I have a friend/relative/co-worker who adopted or was adopted.
To be quite frank - this usually leads to a beautiful story of creating a family or a horror story of red tape or worse. Each individual case is unique, but the general process from country to country is also unique. In Guatemala, adoptions are generally a private arrangement, much like here in the US, with certain government over-sight and safeguards and laws aimed at protecting children and families. As much as this is a family building process, it's also a social service and legal process. There are opportunities for corruption, and I'm sure many of you have seen 20/20 type stories exposing all of that. Yes it still happens, but there are thousands of adoptions that are 100% ethical, as will ours be. That doesn't mean we won't run into problems or red tape, but we hope to minimize that.
As for the positive stories, keep them coming. It's a joy to hear about all the different ways people become a family. Learning from the rest of you, only helps us to become stronger.

7) Are you still planning that Guatemala night?
Yes - not sure exactly when it will take place - probably over the summer. Perhaps it will be a good activity during the dog days of Summer (like August) when folks won't mind spending a couple of hours indoors learning about Guatemala, adoption, and sharing in fellowship. We still need more tamale practice. Stay tuned!

That's it for now folks. We're hoping some more pictures and a video arrive soon. Carmen is now 6 weeks old! I can't wait to see how much she's changed!

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At 10:15 PM, Blogger Melissa said...

And don't forget the favorite one: Are you adopting because you are infertile?

At 10:31 AM, Blogger mel said...

Aww. I've been remiss in reading the updates...lots to catch up. Still a few more posts to go. But I'm so very excited for you both. I love the name Maribel. It seems to flow with the rest of the name.


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