Introduce your family.
We are Isaac and Katie from Wheaton, Illinois.
What led you to adoption and international adoption?
Isaac: I grew up in an immediate and extended family that contained several adopted children. All three of my siblings are adopted, two of which are international. Because of the experience of growing up in a multiracial family I have always had a desire to adopt. After we got married, the Lord put in Katie the desire to adopt as well.
What country did you choose to adopt from and why did you choose that country?
Both of us were Spanish majors in college and had spent time doing mission work in Latin America so we both had a heart for that part of the world. When we decided we were going to pursue adoptions we began to research different options for adopting from Latin America. It just so happened that the Nicaragua program at MLJ Adoptions combined the area of the world, type of agency we wanted to work with, and prospective length to referral (seemingly shorter than other programs out there) all into one program so it just made sense.
Why did you choose to work with MLJ Adoptions through your international adoption process?
Largely because of the program available and our impressions of MLJ Adoptions and Lydia when we first spoke. From speaking with Lydia we got a sense that she loved the Lord and loved her work.
How long did the adoption take you?
From the time we applied until the time we came home with our daughter it was a total of about 20 months. We were with our daughter starting in month 14, so while there were ups and downs and uncertainties that made the 14 months seem long, we were very blessed and fortunate to get a relatively quick referral.
How has international adoption been different than you expected?
I wouldn’t say it has been different, I would just say it is much more of a roller coaster than you can prepare for. There is a ton of paperwork, there are program changes that are possible that are out of your control, travel times can vary and that can affect your work and home life, etc. That all is daunting and is difficult, but once you reach the end it is all worth it!
How has international adoption impacted your family?
Isaac: While my family has been impacted positively for years by adoption, adoption was almost completely new to Katie’s family. For Katie’s family it really brought to life the beauty of the gospel in a clearer way than before. Much how we all fell in love with our daughter from day one and she was immediately part of our family, we all have been shown a similar love (albeit greater) through our adoption into God’s family as a child of God through Jesus Christ and His death and resurrection.
What was adjustment like for your family?
For us, we were always expecting a child closer to two to three years old, so when we got called for our daughter and she was only 14 days old we were rushing to learn everything we could about caring for newborns. Katie read the entire “How to Care for a Baby” book on the flight down! We also needed to live in Nicaragua for about five months so needless to say that was a bit of an adjustment. Even though we had both lived abroad before, life in Nicaragua was unlike anything we had experienced.
What do you wish you could tell other families that are adopting or considering international adoption?
I would say that don’t enter into the process without fervent prayer and counsel from others because it is an extremely trying process. That said, there are few things more beautiful than adoption and as hard as our process felt at times, it was the best thing we have ever done.
Is there a special story about your adoption that you would like to share?
There are so many special things to share but one of the most unique parts of ours was that when we were called down we were told that our child was a boy. After getting there the day we were supposed to get him our attorney called us and had us meet her. She told us she didn’t know how to tell us this (at this point we were fearing the adoption had fallen through) but then she continued and said your baby is not a boy, it is a girl. I am so sorry for the mistake. Katie and I busted out laughing because it was the least of our concerns! We would have been overjoyed with any child, but we had always referred to the child during the process as a she, so we thought that was funny. Our chosen name Manny quickly changed to Maya.