Mateo’s Labor of Love Story
It all started Thanksgiving weekend 1999. My husband & I had been married for a little over 2 years, but
we had already survived 3 deaths in the span of 13 months – my father and two babies. My husband & I
had joined my mom and sister at my grandparent’s house to celebrate Thanksgiving. A beacon of
hopefulness found me that weekend. Without knowing that November is National Adoption Month, I
saw 3 stories of adoption that weekend.
I waited until we were home again before saying anything to my husband. That Monday evening, I
asked Brian what he thought of the idea of adopting to bring children into our family. He was open to
the idea, but we both had several questions. We decided to do some research into agencies, costs, and
programs before we told our families. I devoured all the adoption books that the libraries had. At one
point I checked out 13 books all at once. And I had brochures from all the nearby agencies. I then
scheduled us to attend 4 informational meets at adoption agencies. I was disappointed to find out that
not a single agency had a meeting until the middle of January.
Brian & I decided we were most comfortable adding a baby to our family since I loved babies, he wanted
to experience raising children from infancy on & neither of us wanted to miss any more moments than
necessary. Based on our research, this meant that we would need to do a domestic adoption & possibly
advertise ourselves to birthmothers. Would a birthmom choose a 24 & 26 year old couple? I’d have to
worry about that later.
My in-laws were nice enough to have already invited my mom for Christmas Eve. We decided to tell our
parents about our plan. Would they freak out or be supportive? Supportive they were from that first
January brought 3 info meetings at adoption agencies. The 3rd meeting changed our lives. I sat there for
over an hour listening to a mom & dad talk about orphanages where children are bathed daily. There are rooms full of babies crying for attention. There are 3-4 babies for every caregiver.
By mid-June, we had finished the paperwork & were ready to get news about our baby. There was one problem. The founder and president of our orphanage was in Minnesota, visiting our adoption agency! We got to meet her at a reception. She asked us our names and where we were in the process. We told her that our file was on her desk. She promised to match us with our baby as soon as she got back…in 3 weeks.We believed her because she had married a man with the same last name as ours. How could
she forget us?
Our long awaited call came on the afternoon of July 1. Brian had run an errand, so I got to answer the
call, meet our social worker in a grocery store parking lot, see our baby’s first picture & plan a fun way to
share the news with our family. Brian came home to a pair of chocolate baby booties wrapped in blue
foil. We dropped off boxes of chocolate that said, “It’s a boy!” with all the grandparents & quickly named
our baby Mateo.
Two weeks later, we were on a plane to Bogota to pick up our baby boy. On the morning of July 17, 2000
we went to the home of the ophanage’s founder, filled out a ton of paperwork and were tortured by
casual chatter. It was torture because we knew our baby was just in the other room. He was being
changed into a cute outfit that we had bought for this special occasion. Finally, a nurse brought Mateo
out to us. A healthy 16 pound 4 month old boy.
This sweet baby boy is no longer a baby….He’ll be 12 years old this week. Happy Birthday, Mateo