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Guatemala Adoption

Local Woman Materializes Adoption Dream.

Lisa Lisiecki spent most of her young adulthood hopping from college campus to college campus to advance her career in student affairs, often working 10 to 14 hour days. Although she wanted to get married and have a family, her passion for work took up most of her time and she never met Mr. Right.

However, when her mom died five years ago, Lisiecki reexamined her life and realized a couple of things about herself: she wanted to move back to Milwaukee to be closer to her family and she wanted a child.

"I've always wanted children and it's a dream I don't want to give up," says Lisiecki, 40.

Adoption, rather than artificial insemination, felt natural to Lisiecki, and as a Milwaukee Public School teacher and Spanish speaker, she felt she would make a great mom to a Guatemalan-born child. The problem, however, is funds.

Lisiecki is working with two adoption agencies, the European Adoption Consultants and Children's Hope Network, and both groups convinced her to move forward even though she is uncertain how she will secure the money needed to adopt a child internationally.

So far, Lisiecki has pulled together the cash for preliminary costs, but still needs more than $30,000 to move to bring home her dream of a daughter. She originally hoped to have her home by her 41st birthday -- on March 25 -- but at this point, is hoping for her next birthday.

Many adopters are able to raise the money by taking out a loan against their homes, but Lisiecki is a renter. As an unmarried public school teacher, she was offered a personal loan of $10,000, and her employer, MPS, does not offer an adoption benefit of any kind.

"It's frustrating to know that a colleague can get pregnant and have thousands of dollars billed to insurance but I am unable to have any kind of benefit," she says.

But Lisiecki is not crying about the situation, she's getting creative. She is brainstorming fundraising ideas with friends and families, and has started a "bottle brigade" to collect change. She has bottles and sippy cups in a variety of public locations, asking people -- via a poem that she wrote -- to donate money towards her dream.

"It is incredibly hard and humbling to ask for money, especially when people question the significant expense," she says.

Lisiecki says she knows adopting domestically is cheaper, but it's difficult for a single woman to get chosen by a birthmother, who is often giving her baby up for adoption because she herself is unwed. And adopting through the foster system is just too much of a risk for Lisiecki.

"Adoption is never a sure thing in foster care and I know my heart would break if I fell in love with a child and had to give it back to its parents time and again before circumstances would allow me to adopt," she says.

Although sometimes downtrodden by the situation, Lisiecki's determination to be a mother keeps her going.

" I've never doubted I would be a mother. The most terrifying thing for me is to think it might not happen because of money," she says.

If you have an idea how Lisa Lisiecki can raise money to bring her daughter home, e-mail her at: lisalisiecki@yahoo.com.

This article was written by Molly Snyder Edler for OnMilwaukee.com. Molly Snyder Edler is a writer and editor for OnMilwaukee.com. She is the mother of a three-year-old son, Kai River, who was adopted from Guatemala.

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