Joshua Emilio, born June 3, 2008
We married six years ago in Florida. Early on, we knew that we wanted to participate in some sort of overseas volunteer program and we came into contact with the Columbans through the Internet. After prayerful discernment, we knew where God was leading us and we entered the lay mission formation program in Chicago. We celebrated our 2nd anniversary in Bolivia at language school and by our 3rd anniversary we finally found ourselves inserted into our Chilean mission in the urban city of Santiago, working with youth in a very violent, overpopulated and poverty stricken area called Puente Alto.
After our first few years on mission we realized we were having a difficult time conceiving. It was a very frustrating time period for us; it created stress in our relationship as a couple and was very disappointing each month that we were not successful. The doctor told us not to worry, that it took lots of couples years to conceive and that we should just keep trying. We had other ideas, as we were a little impatient and very interested in adoption. Once the adoption window opened, all the stress flew out the window and we found ourselves much happier in our relationship and with life in general. This was a big sign to us that we were headed on the right path.
Adoption has always been an option for us. Even before we were married we talked about and planned to adopt. We had the idea that we would have biological children first and then afterwards adopt. However, with the slowness of natural conception, we decided to move up our adoption plans and started to look into options. God's hand in all of this became quickly apparent as we learned more about the process. First of all, we were assigned to a new city for our second term. We moved to Alto Hospicio, which is a city in the northern most region of Chile. It just so happens that there are more babies available for adoption here that in any other part of the country. Also, there are very few couples willing to adopt. Where in Santiago we may have been on the waiting list to receive a baby for a year or more, in the north, couples are quickly placed with their children, as early as a week after being approved.
We officially began the process in January of 2008. At our initial meeting with the government adoption agency SENAME, we happily learned that our foreign citizenship would not be a problem, since we have status as legal permanent residents. This ensured that we would be treated just as regular Chileans during the process and that everything would go smoother and easier. Also, the cost would only amount to about $2000 for the entire process, including fees for the lawyer, psychologist and social worker. This was a great blessing considering we had to pay for the adoption from our own personal savings; while all our needs our met with the Columbans, extra money can be hard to come by.
It took about 9 months to get through the process and to finally be approved for adoption. A week later SENAME called us and informed us that it would be wise to "hurry up" through the final steps of the process (legalizing birth and marriage certificates). There was a four month old boy who was available for adoption! This was probably the most difficult step. Thanks to an internationally coordinated effort between both of our families and us, we were able to get all the paperwork completed just in time. Within the week, SENAME called us into the office again and informed us happily that the judge had chosen us to be the parents for this little boy. They told us all about his birth, history and then showed us for the first time pictures of our new son. It was very exciting and extemely emotional.
And now we are here, waiting for a court date where we will finally meet our son in person and bring him home. They tell us that it will take anywhere from two weeks to a month, so we are trying to be patient. We're trying to keep busy by preparing the house and ourselves for the arrival of a new baby. And, we're praying that little Joshua Emilio is being well taken care of in his group home and will be happy in our family.