New Kids on the Block

New Kids on the Block

From Chicken Soup for the Canadian Soul

New Kids on the Block

After Brad and Nancy were married a few years they moved to their dream home in the country. An essential part of their shared vision of a life together was having a family. They could just see their young children running and playing on the lawn. But time went by and there were no babies. No reason could be found, and the doctors encouraged them to keep trying. More time passed, however, and still there were no babies.

For the next few years, Brad and Nancy explored many options, trying to have a child together. But after several years and a great deal of money, they agreed they were ready to consider adoption.

They decided upon international adoption, and finally Costa Rica specifically. They filled out forms, asked lots of questions and attended many seminars.

Then, on Christmas Eve, a neighbour came to the door. He handed Nancy a flyer from an adoption agency that had gone to his house in error. On the cover was a picture of three small children—two sisters and their baby brother. They were born in Costa Rica and available for adoption as a family. Nancy caught her breath, thinking, These could be our kids! Not wanting to influence Brad, she left it on the table, saying nothing. A short while later, he picked it up. Time—and Brad’s heart—stopped for a few moments as he gazed at the picture of the three children. In an instant he recognized them as the children that he and Nancy were going to adopt and raise as their own. There was no question in his mind. It was a miracle.

Although it was Christmas Eve, on a whim Brad called the adoption agency in a small town two hours away. A recorded message announced a general information meeting on December 27. They figured it would be like all the other meetings—reams of forms to fill out and process before they would even be considered. But they changed their plans and fit in a trip to attend the meeting.

The couple that owned the agency had just returned from Costa Rica and had personally photographed the children Brad and Nancy wanted to adopt.

“Yes, those children are still available. Do you want them?” inquired the agent.

Nancy and Brad were totally stunned! It was all happening so fast! Brad said, “Yes! Let’s go for it!”

Nancy was a little frightened. Three children all at once! Could she do it? But the story of how the mother’s circumstances had changed, and how she had had to give up her babies broke Nancy’s heart. She and Brad decided that between them they had enough love to share with these abandoned children. Before they left that day, agreements were signed, a lawyer was contacted and the financial commitment was made. Nancy joked that it took longer to decide on their new car! But they were sure and made immediate plans to go to Costa Rica to meet their kids!

Excitement and anxiety began to build. Would they all like each other? How would six-year-old Maria react to her new mother? How would three-year-old Katrine react to the tall man with the yellow beard and blue eyes? Would tiny one-year-old Emilio find comfort in a new set of arms? How would they all communicate? Brad and Nancy enrolled in Spanish lessons right away.

A host of concerns from well-meaning friends and family followed their impulsive decision. But, undeterred and with love filling their hearts, they moved steadily forward toward their goal.

In February, Brad and Nancy travelled to Costa Rica. They had just settled into their hotel room when there was a knock on the door, and the three children entered to meet their new mama and papa. Baby Emilio was carried by the foster mother, and along for the ride was the Costa Rican lawyer, a doctor, a translator and the director of the Canadian adoption agency who just happened to be in Costa Rica! Here was an entire team committed to successfully bringing this family together. Another miracle!

At first shy, the naturally happy and trusting children were soon giggling, laughing and chasing each other around. Baby Emilio, thin and tiny for his age, quickly attached himself to Brad. To their surprise and great pleasure, it did not take long for the two girls to connect with Nancy. Soon, they heard themselves addressed for the very first time as “Mama” and “Papa.” Overwhelmed, Brad and Nancy’s eyes filled with tears. This was their family. There was no going back now.

They were told it would take another four months for the paperwork to navigate both the Canadian and Costa Rican bureaucracies, but if all went well, they’d be able to return in June for their children. Nancy and Brad left with reluctance— Who knew how long it would really take? Either government might decide to block the adoption for some reason. Or the birth mother, when confronted with signing the papers, might reconsider.

Weeks passed. Brad and Nancy reorganized the house, bought clothing and assembled backyard toys. Months passed. Their Spanish improved and a school was chosen. Finally, it was June. The adoption had made it through the Canadian bureaucracy, but was now stuck in some department in Costa Rica. Then it was mid-July. Dubious friends and relatives suggested it might be several months more. But waiting for months was not part of their vision. Anxious and eager for their new life to start, the couple made a quick decision. They wanted their kids!

With great urgency, Brad booked two round-trip tickets to Costa Rica and three one-way tickets back to Canada. They were determined to return in ten days with their children. Brad told the Canadian agent of their plans, and the agent informed the Costa Rican team that they were coming for their kids and would not consider returning to Canada without them. The couple flew to Costa Rica, and everyone at home held their breath.

The three children had an ecstatic reunion with their new mama and papa. Baby Emilio had gained a little weight and reattached himself to Brad immediately. Everyone was healthy, and communication was a little easier after six months of Spanish classes.

Then another miracle occurred. Instead of the resistance the couple were expecting toward their “gringo” attempts to expedite the process, everyone bent over backwards to help. The lawyer put all her cases on hold and walked papers from one government office to the next. Documents were signed, stamped and passed on to the next department. Entire lines of waiting people were bypassed as miracle after miracle continued to follow this family’s coming together. One by one the hurdles fell, and then the grandparents waiting at home got a phone call. Brad and Nancy were coming home, as planned, on time—with the kids! They had done it!

Now they had to fly home to Canada, passing through first U.S. and then Canadian immigration. Would they be hassled?

Airline agents greeted them with open arms and amazing assistance as they began their journey. They were escorted through all the checkpoints with ease, smiles and best wishes. More miracles! They arrived in Canada to the waiting arms of two sets of grandparents, seven new aunts and uncles, and many new cousins.

The fiesta held to celebrate the arrival of the children was a huge success. Brad and Nancy saw the most important part of their vision for their life together unfold that day—their own children, laughing and playing on the lawn, winning everyone’s hearts. With love, patience and endless support, the new family began to form.

The love story of Brad and Nancy is now twenty-five years old, but the love story that is their children continues to unfold with each passing day. When Nancy and Brad think of how their family miraculously came together, in their hearts they believe something like this may have occurred:

At another time, in another place, two women sat quietly talking. The first woman said, “I will not be able to conceive children next time, and I very much want to be a mother. Can you help me?”

The other woman said, “I will bear three children next time, but my role is not to live out that life as a mother. Will you love and take care of my babies?”

And the first woman replied: “How will I find you, how will I recognize the children?”

And the man standing quietly nearby said: “Don’t worry, I will know.”

Janet Matthews
Richmond Hill, Ontario

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