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International Adoption - Guatemala

Guatemalan Adoption: Spensor's Story

On April 9, 2004 we (Jay and Heidi) were expectant parents anxiously pacing the floor in the lobby of the Westin Camino Real hotel in Guatemala City. After months of waiting we were finally going to meet our son! We had confidently contracted with Commonwealth Adoptions International in July of 2003 to help us find our son who we initially thought we would find either in Russia or in Kazakhstan. However, our hearts led us to Commonwealth’s relatively new Guatemala program in early January of 2004. Our adoption journey to our child officially began on January 23, 2004 with the referral of a 12-day old sweet baby boy born in Mixco, Guatemala. We immediately fell in love with his photograph, and with the 2 minute video that we received of our baby, cooing in the arms of his foster mother. Upon learning how easily a visit to meet our future son could be arranged, we swiftly made the preparations for the very easy trip to Guatemala City with a suitcase loaded with baby things. The evening before we were to meet our son, Heidi rushed around the hotel room to unpack and to set up the diaper changing and bottle preparation stations. Meanwhile, Jay relaxed like the expectant father that he was!

guatemala-spencer1We will never forget the moment we first saw our baby boy. He was carried into the hotel by his foster mother, facing out so he could take in all the sights. His huge brown eyes and black hair – sticking straight up – clued us in immediately that he was the baby in the pictures and video that we had received. He was absolutely gorgeous! His foster mother handed him to Heidi, and we both began to cry instantaneously. We had a series of questions to ask the foster mother, but we couldn’t take our eyes off of this perfect little boy; our translator took the list and finished asking the questions for us because we were so enamored of this gorgeous baby boy. After the departure of the foster mother and translator, Heidi wanted to run through the Westin shouting “Look, everyone! Here is our baby!” Jay prudently suggested that we get to know each other in the privacy of our room. We counted his 10 tiny toes in Spanish (“uno, dos, tres . . .”), and watched him nap. Later that afternoon, we asked him a very serious question – what did he think of the name “Spencer Conrad”? This was the name we had settled upon, and decided to keep a secret from everyone until we had discussed it with our future son. Spencer’s reaction was a big smile and a squeal, and he kicked his chubby legs with excitement. Someday we will tell our son that he helped choose his new name!

guatemala-spencer2Our time with Spencer during this visit was magical, although leaving him in Guatemala at the conclusion of our visit was excruciatingly painful. Nearly two and a half months passed while our adoption case continued to be processed. We anxiously awaited any news that would indicate when we could bring our son home. On June 23, 2004 we received the phone call from Susana, our Commonwealth Case Manager, announcing that the adoption was granted by the Guatemalan authorities! Heidi and her mother flew to Guatemala City on July 1, and Spencer was placed into the arms of his new family the next day. He was 5 ½ months old. Heidi spent 2 weeks at the Westin Camino Real in Guatemala City with Spencer while we awaited approval of his visa; the time flew by quickly as Mommy and son played, took stroller rides around the hotel, lounged by the pool, and spent time with the other American families who were visiting their children or finalizing their adoptions. They made some wonderful friends with whom they have kept in touch! Jay joined them in Guatemala City the day before they were to go to the U.S. Embassy for final visa approval on July 14, 2004. Two days later, we were home in Arizona together as a family.

Spencer is a healthy, perpetually happy, busy, inquisitive, extroverted, talkative and affectionate baby. Within days of him coming home (at the age of 6 months) he was eating solid foods with ease, sitting up unassisted, and babbling away. By his first birthday, he was walking everywhere, “helping” Mommy by “putting things away” (and displacing anything that he can get his hands on!), and mimicking our words and sounds. He is a champion raspberry-blower, has a huge appetite, claps and does “high-five”, enjoys playing the lead role in “Peek-a-boo”, and can tell us what sound a dog makes. Spencer graciously accepts the hundreds of kisses we give him every day. We cannot go anywhere in public without someone commenting on how beautiful Spencer is; we proudly tell his admirers that he is adopted from Guatemala.

guatemala-spencer3We do not take for granted the series of events that resulted in Spencer becoming our son. Our experience with the Commonwealth professionals was very positive, and it was apparent to us that Maria and Susana’s work of joining families with their children is well respected in Guatemala. Ironically, in the early months of our adoption process, our I-600A cable was erroneously sent to Guatemala while we were preparing our dossier to adopt a baby from an entirely different country. Now, we laugh about that event and marvel at the suggestion that this was a sign that we were supposed to find our baby Spencer in Guatemala. We can’t imagine our lives without our beautiful baby boy and thank Commonwealth for helping our dreams come true.

 

 

This story has been provided by:

Commonwealth Adoptions International specializes in international adoption to help orphaned children overseas find safe, loving homes, assisting families throughout the world.

Commonwealth Adoptions International, Inc.
www.commonwealthadoption.org
1585 East River Road
STE. 121
Tucson, AZ 85718
Guatemala, Panama, Brazil, India, Kazakhstan, China, Russia, Colombia, Taiwan, Ukraine, Vietnam

 

 


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