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Guatemala Adoption

Adopting babies from Guatemala.

Hope, Anticipation, Wonder.

There is a new “scrappy chick” in Landrum and she traveled a long way to get here.

Marly Humphries traveled to Landrum from Guatemala with her new adoptive parents, Scott and Dana, owners of “One Scrappy Chick” in Landrum.

The Humphries, who say they began thinking about international adoption in 2004, began the process in October of that year.Marly, now eight months old, joined their family nearly a year later, in September of 2005.

The Humphries are not unique in the area in having built their family through international adoption.

Another local couple, Ken and Karen Rossen of Tryon, adopted two children from Guatemala several years ago. They adopted their son, Joaquin, at eight months old and their daughter, Alita, at five months old. Joaquin is now eight and Alita will be four in April.

What exactly makes international adoption more appealing in some cases than domestic adoption?

This is a question that the Rossens and Humphries can answer with some experience now. “The availability of very young children was an important consideration in our original decision to consider international adoption,” Karen Rossen said.

“The cultural connection to the kids’ birth country is like some sort of bonus on top of the joy of having them,” Ken Rossen said. “We have a connection to another country that we would never have had otherwise.”

That connection is something the Humphries are going to keep. While in Guatemala, they picked up different clothes, fabrics, and took pictures that they can share with Marly as she grows up.

Adopting babies from Guatemala is a growing trend in the United States. The country has supplanted South Korea as the third largest country for international adoption. The only countries with higher numbers of children adopted by U.S. citizens are China and Russia.

“It was amazing when we started this process the number of people we came in contact with that were doing this,” Dana Humphries said.

According to the website adoption.com, 2,328 children were adopted from Guatemala in the United States in 2003.
The growth of adoptions from Guatemala is due in part to the country’s system of foster homes. Each adoptable child is placed in a foster home. The government monitors the care each child receives and is involved in the adoption process.

During their wait to be able to pick up Marly, the Humphries received a picture of her every month and were kept up to date on her doctor visits. The Guatemalan adoption process takes about as long as the pregnancy and birth process, according to Karen Rossen. It took less than a year for the Rossens to adopt both Joaquin and Alita.

The Humphries switched adoption agencies early in the process, which extended their wait a little longer.
“ It is a long process filled with paperwork,” Dana Humphries said. “They will kick you out of the system at the end if you don’t have every ‘I’ dotted and every ‘T’ crossed.”

Luckily for the Humphries and the Rossens, they both had good agencies that understood the process clearly and helped them through it. Both families agree that the wait is the hardest part of the process.

“ It is an emotional roller coaster,” Dana Humphries said.

“ The wait is about the same as waiting for any child – biological or adopted – to make his or her appearance,” Karen Rossen said. “Sometimes frustrating, sometimes exhilarating, sometimes worrying, but always a great sense of hope and anticipation.”

Ken went to Guatemala to pick up both of the Rossen children. Dana and Scott traveled to the country to pick up Marly.
“ When we got back to the room (with Marly) and shut the door, it felt real because it was just the three of us,” Scott Humphries said.

The transition has been great for all the children. Marly came into the Humphries’ lives just as they were moving Dana’s store, so it was a little chaotic at first, she said. The children may be from somewhere far away from Landrum and Polk County, but they have touched the hearts of friends and family members close to home in the Rossens’ and Humphries’ lives.

According to both families, the children have adjusted well to their new lives and new families and in the case of the Rossens’ children, to each other.

“It’s hard to explain my wonder that these beautiful children were brought into our lives by this amazing confluence of events,” Ken Rossen said. “Every day they find another way to surprise me, and their connection to each other is awe-inspiring.”

This article was written by Joey Millwood for the Tryon Daily Bulletin.
January 17, 2006

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