I have had many amazing dreams in my life, but one that kind of stands out is one I had back in 2003 where my wife and I had adopted a little Hispanic boy, named Jose, who was 2 or 3 years old at the time of adoption. That was pretty much all of the details I remembered from the dream. It was actually kind of strange because not once had we ever considered adoption, nor talked about it. We didn’t need to. Our kids seemed to come pretty regularly. First Rachel, then Jane, then Allison and then Wendy. But it was one of those kinds of dreams that left a strong impression, however, at the time, there was no way we could have considered it, so we dismissed the thought from our minds.
A year later, our situation had changed and I was working for another company and I heard that the company had an adoption program. When I found out, I remembered the dream and started thinking more about it. I told my sister and she said that I should check out Adoption.com. So, I did a search at this website looking for a “Jose” who was 2 or 3 years old. Surprisingly enough, there was one. I looked at the picture and showed my wife and asked her what she thought and if adopting this little boy was something that she would even consider. Well, she was open to the idea, so we started moving forward in that direction and figuring out what needed to be done. We found out that Jose was located in Guatemala and that the average cost would be around $24,000. We didn’t have that amount of money in the bank, so in reality, we just started down the path of adoption without really knowing how we were going to do it.
We had to get an assessment from a family counselor to show that we would be good parents for an adoptive child. Then, there were numerous forms and tests that needed to be done, which had to be submitted to the U.S. government. We had to have 3 different types of background checks, including ones on a local, state and federal levels. After we finally received the approval from the U.S. side, then we had to do more things to get the approval from the Guatemalan side. I think the total time was approximately 18 months, from start to finish, although we probably could have done things quicker.
In the beginning, I thought I would try and go directly to the orphanage. I figured I’d probably be able to shave off several thousand that way. The crazy thing is that I did manage to find the exact orphanage in Guatemala where Jose was at and the director was willing to deal directly with me. The problem, though, was that he wasn’t willing to assign the boy to us, until we had the approval from the U.S., which we were still working on. So, that “Jose” was reassigned to another family. We were really disappointed, but we proceeded forward and found out that there was another Jose in that same orphanage. It turns out, he was also 2 at the time. My wife and I looked at the picture and felt like we could adopt this other Jose. Well, time ticked on and we still didn’t have the U.S. approval. We did eventually get it, but, unfortunately, the other Jose had been reassigned as well. We didn’t know what to do. We asked about other children at the orphanage, but all of them were pretty much less than 1 year old. We wanted one that was a little older because we were expecting a baby (Wendy) at the time and we didn’t want 2 babies at the same time. So, we told the orphanage director that we would go with a one-year old named Edgar. We figured that maybe the “dream” was just to get us to adopt and perhaps the name and age didn’t really matter. We also figured that if this wasn’t the right boy, then something would happen to prevent that. Well, the next morning, we received an email from the director stating that “Edgar” was no longer available. He had some heart conditions and was going to need surgery.
At this point, we were dumbfounded and didn’t know what to do. However, the following morning, I received an email from a lady in Florida that I had contacted previously. She recommended that I check out a different website that had pictures of lots of Guatemalan children. I had not seen that website before, so I checked it out and immediately found 3 different boys that I felt like could be possibilities. The problem was that they were all with an adoption agency, Commonwealth Adoptions. The reason it was a problem was because it was going to cost $7000 more than going directly to the orphanage. But after getting the runaround with the orphanage director in Guatemala and also due to making a decision on one of the boys (whose name was Jose and was 2 1/2, we finally decided that we should do it anyway).
Going with the Adoption Agency was a smart move. They showed us everything we needed to do in the order it needed to be done. I couldn’t have asked for a better agency and Susana, the lady who helped us, was simply a pleasure to work with.
We know we were led to this particular boy. When his foster mother brought him to the hotel in Guatemala City, he came right to me and gave me a big hug. It was such a special moment. That night, in the hotel, I let him sleep in bed with me and he was so happy and kept giving me hugs. Tears streamed as I realized that God was using me to bless this little boy’s life with something that he didn’t have, a family. Every child deserves a family and the feeling I experienced in that moment was simply wonderful.
On Thanksgiving Day of 2005, I flew home with my newly adopted Jose. It seemed kind of symbolic that it was at Thanksgiving time. Jose was such a hug giver. He would literally hug every person he saw who was within reaching distance. So, everyone at the restaurants and airport all got hugs… It was pretty cute, but at the same time, it was kind of sad. He didn’t know who he belonged to. His birth mother had dropped him off at an orphanage at 9 months, then he was in at least 3 different sets of foster homes, including one where he really got very little to eat, mostly just formula. His teeth were in bad shape and we ended up having 6 of them pulled. We were waiting outside at the airport as my wife pulled up and Jose reached up for her while she was still driving. My 4 little girls were all very interested in their new little brother and were practicing “hola” over and over. Within 1/2 hour of Jose arriving at home, my girls had him all dressed up with purses, bracelets and necklaces. I had to explain that boys were a little different, but Jose didn’t seem to mind, he loved the attention.