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Bring Manuel Home - Guatemala

The Adoption Process


I became a police officer in June 1988. At that time I was a single mom raising a 7-year-old daughter and 9-year-old son. In 1995 another son joined my family. These children are the greatest joy in my life, and have turned into such wonderful people. In the course of my current duties as homicide investigator I see children every day that live in homes afflicted with poverty, violence, substance abuse and mental illness. By 2001 I knew I had to make a difference in the lives of those children, so I became a licensed foster parent through Florida Baptist Children’s Home. My first foster child placement was Bladen, a two-month-old baby boy. On August 14, 2003 I had the honor of adopting Bladen. I have enjoyed eight other foster children along the way.

In 2003, before Bladen's adoption was even final, I began to feel that God’s plan for my life is to raise another child of my own. I began to research adoption and learned of the desperate poverty in Guatemala that forces loving mothers to relinquish their children. I was drawn to photos of these beautiful children. I knew God was speaking to me, telling me to adopt from Guatemala.

The Lord has blessed me with a good job, a nice [messy] house, and supportive family and friends. How could I not share these blessings with an orphan? My journey through this Guatemalan adoption hasn't been easy. After taking a second mortgage and depleting my savings, I still didn't have enough money to complete this adoption. I had faith that the Lord would lead me to the help I needed to bring Manuel home and I continued.

At the same time I was starting the adoption process Guatemala was in turmoil. New procedures were announced, and then discarded when the country's accession to the Hague Convention was overturned by legal challenges. For many months, adoptions were closed. Still, I knew my mission was to continue. God is leading the way.

guatemala-manuelIn January, 2004, as I began the final court process in Guatemala, I learned that the developmental delays I have been seeing on videos of Manuel are likely due to Cerebral Palsy. A CAT scan shows he has a brain injury that is affecting his muscle tone. Despite researching Cerebral Palsy for the past two weeks, I still have more questions than answers about what the future holds for Manuel. Will he walk? I don't know.

I do know that Manuel is my son, and I have to bring him home as soon as possible to start physical therapy. (more...)

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