Let me start by saying I don’t want to discourage anyone from adopting. I think our story is the exception and not the rule. There are many happy endings that come from adoption, it just didn’t work out for us.
Adoption to us wasn’t a last resort. Guillermo’s dad was adopted at three when his biological parents passed away and we both have cousins who were adopted internationally. We have friends who are adopted and friends who adopted their children.
We started looking into adoption agencies after the first failed IUI. I hated the clomid, didn’t have much confidence in our local OBGYN, and we really wanted to start a family. We had been trying at this point for about two years. The agencies sent information and we looked through it but didn’t actually dive in until I got an email from an agency saying Nepal just opened for international adoption. This was in November just after my third failed IUI and Guillermo and I had just traveled to Nepal with my mom and sister in May. We absolutely loved it there, and loved the people. We had actually met an orphanage director there because my sister and her friend had been volunteering at an orphanage in India and wanted to meet up with the woman in charge of the same program in Nepal. We went out to dinner and I asked her if Nepal was open for international adoption and at the time it wasn’t. So, when I got the email I showed Guillermo and we really felt like it was meant to be. Adoption was the way to start our family!
There were only one or two agencies in our state that were chosen for the program and only 10 spots per agency so we thought we were so lucky to get a spot.
Then the hard work began.
The list of everything we had to get together was crazy. We had to order several original copies of our birth certificates from the state we were born in, get several original copies of our marriage license, get fingerprinted by the local and federal government, go to the doctor and get tested for HIV and hepatitis, talk to a psychologist and have him write a letter that we are mentally fit to parent, have a social worker come to our house and make sure it is ok for a child, write an essay about our lives and why we want to adopt, take pictures of our house, hours and hours of classes, provide copies of all of our bank account and 401k balances, get passport size photos, provide proof of life insurance, ask three friends to write letters of reference for us, and deal with the citizenship office to assure our child can come home. Oh, and everything had to be notarized. It was such a whirlwind, trying to work during the busy ski season and get everything done.
It also cost a lot of money. We paid the adoption agency thousands of dollars, every time we got fingerprinted cost money, every government office we talked to cost money, the social worker who came to our house was expensive and we had to pay her mileage since we live far away from the city, the psychologist cost a lot. That winter was quite overwhelming.
We finally got everything done and our dossier was submitted to Nepal the middle of April 2009. We heard back from our agency at the end of April that our dossier was registered with the ministry in Nepal and we were given the queue number 207. Supposedly the ministry in Nepal was going to match families with their child following the queue numbers. We heard from our agency in late June that they had already matched 80 children to their families. Things really seemed to be moving! Then in November we heard that 180 children had been matched and families were traveling to pick up their child.
Around the same time we started hearing of major political issues and unstable government in Nepal and the progress of referrals slowed down considerably. We went through the whole winter without really knowing what was going on. Then in March of 2010 the program started to move again and our agency got their first referral. We heard that they appointed someone new in Nepal in charge of matching and that referrals would speed up. In June we had a conference call with our agency and they told us that they were expecting 3 more referrals that week. We had been the 4th family to submit our dossier with our agency so we really thought we were close at this point.
Then it all came crashing down with this email from our adoption agency:
I truly regret to inform you that it has officially just been announced by the Department of State that the U.S. is suspending as of today, all new adoption cases in Nepal based on abandonment. DOS will continue processing approximately 80 adoptions for those children referred to an American citizen prior to August 6, 2010. I know that this is hugely disappointing and devastating, especially for those families hoping to adopt from Nepal, and all of the orphan children of Nepal who are waiting for their families. I am in process of calling each family individually, so please expect a call from me today. I wanted to let everyone know as soon as possible.
It was a beautiful summer day and we were camping with Guillermo’s entire extended family at his annual family reunion. I can still remember like it was yesterday going in to the tent to check my phone and getting this email. I found Guillermo and held him and couldn’t stop crying. It was just awful. Guillermo’s mom and grandma were very supportive and comforting but it was so hard to get such devastating news in the midst of a family reunion.
I got a call from the agency contact a week or two later and she informed me that none of our paperwork would transfer over to another country and we would have to start over from scratch. She then proceeded to ask me “so, which country do you want to go with next” and I told her not to call me again, that I would call her if I ever thought about starting this process over again. We were just so disgusted with the time and money that we wasted.
I religiously followed blogs during the two years we were going through the adoption process. There were so many families who were effected by the Nepal adoption program closing. Most of those bloggers did start over and move on to other countries and many of them are now parents. I do sometimes regret giving up and walking away from adoption, especially after going through IVF and still not having success. It’s just so hard to decide how to proceed when things don’t go as planned.
I often think about that little boy or girl and how different all of our lives would be now if we would have been able to take them home.