Friday, May 22, 2009

In late 2002, Guatemala acceded to the Hague Convention, a set of rules governing international adoption. This, in effect, shut down adoptions between the U.S. and Guatemala. The rules of the convention state that adoptions can only take place between countries that have implemented the Hague Convention. The U.S. had ratified the Hague but had not implemented it. Why? Not exactly sure, but some of it was funding. Now, if the U.S. cannot fund the directives of the Hague, how could Guatemala?

Anyway, adoptions shut down. Attorneys on the Guatemalan side argued the case before their Supreme Court, saying that the implementation of the Hague had been done unconstitutionally. In the meantime, no children, even children who were "in process" were being allowed to have their adoptions completed.

Such were the circumstances when we made contact with Marielle's birthmom. The searcher had located her and we were told to call the searcher on the appointed day and time and we would be able to speak with her. Neither Ralph nor I speak spanish, so the searcher became the translator as well. We had a nice talk, well, it was mostly me asking questions but I was glad to know that the birthmom was happy that we had made contact.

She told us that she had twice gone back to the attorney's office to see if there were any news about Marielle and was told there was not. We had, however, emailed both updates and pictures to the attorney. See, in Guatemala, well, it's a lot like the U.S. in maybe the 1930's....the prevailing idea is that you give up the baby and then forget about it and go on with your life. As if a mother could ever forget about her baby.

It was shortly after this conversation that we were notified by the searcher that Marielle's birthmom was pregnant again. She wanted us to adopt the baby or find another couple that lived close by to adopt the baby, so that the children would be able to see each other as they grew up.

Oh my God, this was not something we expected at all. We only ever expected to adopt one child. We had agreed that we'd only have one child. What should we do? I could not fathom saying no, I could not wrap my mind around the idea that a birth sibling of Marielle's so close in age would be "out there" somewhere growing up.

On the other hand there were lots of considerations. International adoption is not cheap. You are paying fees to 2 governments, an adoption agency here in the U.S., an attorney in Guatemala to oversee the adoption, fees associated with DNA testing (which is done to assure that it is the birthmom relinquishing the baby) and on and on.

So, here was the situation....if we filed documents and chose to try and adopt the baby, we might never be able to complete the adoption, because of the Hague. We would have to go through a new homestudy, all the paperwork for 2 governments, find an attorney who would handle the adoption (most attorneys were not even allowing adoptions to begin under the circumstances) pay for foster care ourselves, since we had no idea how long the foster care might go on and put out a big chunk of money and hope.

After much consideration, it boiled down to this....this was Marielle's sibling. And because it was not just "some baby", it was her sibling, we would go ahead and begin the process. We filed our paperwork, started the homestudy and laid out $10,000. (just part of the fee). My feeling was this....if it was meant to be, it would happen. If not, well, then we would never be able to bring Marielle's sibling into our home.

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