As the adoptions keep taking place here at Casa de Amor, one after another, ONE adoption has eluded us, one that has been prayed for ardently by a fan club that now extends worldwide, for this child…
Our A, now 8 ½!
To share just a bit of his history, A arrived to Casa de Amor on March 28, 2005, back when we had just one home on the property of a hospital. He was around 1 year old, malnourished, big almond eyed, quiet ,and...sad.
Not knowing his exact birthday, I gave him my Dad’s, August 14, later discovering that his birthday was indeed in August, the 23rd!
When A's mother finally showed up in August of that year, she didn’t even recognize which child was hers and didn’t believe us when we told her. She didn’t visit very frequently, dealing with her own pains in life, and was never affectionate with A. Even though she denied it, it appeared that she was pregnant. She gave birth to fair-skin-and-eyes twins the next year, quickly abandoning both with their grandmother.
Long story short, eventually with the government’s approval and all papers in order, A also went to live with his grandmother. We frequently visited the family and even though the grandmother struck us as a bitter, authoritarian woman, we respected how hard she worked to provide for not only five grandchildren but her own elderly mother. Then came a Sunday morning when I was called home for church because the grandmother was in the Baby Home with A in tow, demanding that we take him back. A was not sleeping at night, crying to come back to our house and wanting to see “Tia Jennifer” (me!). Glaring at me, the grandmother tiredly declared that he must be my son because he only talked of me.
It took months to work A out of this fresh abandonment. Time after time, I carried him to my room to point out my bed and reassure him that, yes, I still lived in the same house as him. I had to sneak out of the house without him seeing me if I couldn’t take him along.
Chatting with a US fan club member ;-)
A moved to Casa de Amor II on December 7, 2007, with several of his best friends. They blossomed in the environment of the “big kids” and began kindergarten together! Then, one by one, each left in adoption or back to family members, and A was left behind. His behavior grew more difficult and resentful, but he was surrounded by the only good family he’d ever known, and understanding the reasons behind his actions gave us more grace.
Finally in 2010, after multiple attempts by birth family members to stop the process (although not a single one wanted to regularly visit or take A home for good), we got some wonderful news! He was finally pre-assigned to a couple in Europe! A’s fan club rejoiced, and yet as the months dragged on, we began to wonder if all was well. Finally in early 2011, the news came: the wife had been diagnosed with advanced cancer and the couple would have to desist from their Bolivian adoption. Why always A?!
Pleading with the court to quickly reassign him to a waiting family, he was matched to a couple from another European country. They arrived in October 2011 and met A, bringing a small little homemade cake that we eventually managed to cut into enough bite-sized pieces to give everyone in Casa de Amor II a taste. As far as the paperwork, the process unfolded as usual, but something wasn’t quite right. The couple was stony cold and silent, the woman often weeping. We tried to brush it off explaining they were tears of joy. Court staff and child social services staff didn’t notice anything amiss, so after the preliminary week of visits and court hearings, A went to live with the couple in their rented house in Cochabamba.
By early November, the cracks were becoming apparent to all and could no longer be hidden. We could hardly believe it, but the adoption was falling through. Without going into details in such a public forum, some really awful things came to light concerning the couple and the agency was being taken to court to explain their selection process and control of the “new families” in Bolivia. We were again horrified—why our A?!
As soon as everyone starting blowing whistles, the end came swiftly for A’s sake. He would NOT be made to suffer more! Almost overnight the couple had presented papers in court desisting from adopting A and had left the country. A actually stayed with the very good people from the agency that had come to love him during the whole ordeal, with the great hope that there would be another couple paper-work ready who would be willing to come immediately and adopt A.
But out of 50 prospective waiting couples, none was a match for our A.
Finally in late January after a round of meetings with my staff, the court ordered for A to come back to live in Casa de Amor II. This was bittersweet—obviously we wanted A back in our Casa de Amor family where he could begin to heal, but it also felt like a death sentence to a potential adoption. When a child is rejected, even if it’s not his or her fault, it leaves an ugly black spot in their file at court and makes it that much harder for another adoption assignment. And in this case, we have an older child which already spells “hard-to-place”.
But everyone around the world kept praying, most fervently those of us who live with and love A....
February 2012 arrived and with it, our first “double adoption”! Two couples at once arrived from Italy to adopt two of our dear little boys at Casa de Amor II:
B with his new parents and big sister
Both families are absolutely beautiful in their relationships and open affection and joy to be with each other. My favorite is B’s happiness to be with his sister and follow her lead in everything from how to play to what to eat….and how to speak Italian!
During the course of their visits, M’s family heard parts of A’s long tangled story. They couldn’t stop thinking and talking about him and…… Asked their agency if they could be allowed to take A home, as well!!! Our hearts skipped a beat for joy!
However, the agency did not give the couple much hope, as in recent history Italy has only approved the joint adoption of non-siblings ONCE! Even so, everyone thought it was worth a try, as maybe the last opportunity for A. We presented the long, updated social and psychological reports for A. Italy took only 2 days to give the unexpected answer: YES!!!!!
So M’s new parents sat him down and said “How would you like to have a brother?” M’s immediate reply was “YES! That’s what I’ve always wanted!” They had him guess who that could be, and interestingly enough, his first two guesses were other children he used to live with at Casa de Amor III before the family in charge began adoption processes and had to transfer the remaining children to our other homes. But when his parents asked if he would like for his brother to be A, he was happy!
Only yesterday this news became official and I am free to tell everyone.
A still needs prayers!!! Today our staff will start to work with him to "prepare the ground" of his heart, so to speak, and next week they will tell him the news. We know our A and that after so many rejections, it's possible that he just says, "No, I don't want to go with them". Please pray that if this is God's ordained family for A, that his heart will be prepared to receive them, and vice versa. Yeah!!!