Monday, 23 July 2012

A family at last

Stevan and Elly Whitehead adopted two children – Veronica and Osvaldo – from Guatemala. Here, in an email to their friends back in the UK, they describe the day their family came together for the first time.

Dear friends

Well, here we are in Guatemala having met the two most beautiful kids in the world – and that is now official and irrefutable – we know, we were here!

We waited until just after 5pm this evening to meet them and Silvia, their foster mother, and Guillermo and Diana, our lawyer and his wife. When the moment finally arrived we went off to the lift with our hearts in our mouths. The lift doors opened as we got to the ground floor and there waiting were Veronica and Osvaldo and the rest of the party.

To say we were overwhelmed is an understatement, but being very British we kept a stiff upper lip or two and greeted all the adults and got to work getting to know our kids. We all went back up to our room – a little cramped but at least it gave us some privacy – and got out a few toys and offered coffee, juice and biscuits all round. We then got down to the serious stuff of playing on the floor with some of the presents we had brought.

I fell in love with Osvaldo the very second I saw his photo for the first time, and have always felt a special bond with our little boy. Well, real life is better and hundreds of times stronger. From the first time I picked him up it felt as if we had always been together. Meanwhile Elly and Veronica were hard at it getting to know each other – and it appeared to be pretty much instantaneous as well. Veronica is a much more reserved child than Ossie but Elly soon had her laughing and playing games.

Veronica mellowed into the situation, assisted by the fact that Ossie had fallen asleep and was snoring quietly on one of the beds. She was now the star of the show, receiving undivided attention and playing to the crowd unashamedly. She walked – well, OK, she staggered like a very well oiled sailor – from Elly to me, laughing and smiling all the time. She made a toy out of a piece of hotel notepaper, playing peekaboo, blowing kisses to it and with it, and making hats.

Finally Guillermo and Diana took the children away to sleep and dream happy dreams and come back tomorrow. We went off to a tearful supper, with all the pent up emotions finally coming out, and now just six hours after they arrived and three hours after they left, here we are celebrating and sharing our happiness with our friends.

Have we got any doubts or regrets? None. We are a family at last and forever and words cannot describe how good that feels.

Stevan and Elly
Hotel Marriott El Dorado, Guatemala City

You can read more of Stevan and Elly’s story in Finding our familia

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