Y'all, this will pull your heart strings. This is a picture of Mainor and Jenny, siblings that JUST got officially adopted by an Italian couple last week. It was LONG process. Mainor, at 13, was the oldest kid out of all the kids in the two children's homes here. He and his sister had already been through one failed adoption. But this time, it worked out. Look how happy they look!
I am still learning the details of how international adoptions work in Costa Rica, but the gist is this: PANI (the Costa Rican child protective agency) first has to declare the children officially 'abandoned'. This can take years sometimes - for various reasons. (There are several kids at the two homes that still haven't been declared abandoned. One set of four siblings has been here for four years!).
Once declared abandoned, then they are open for adoption. PANI eventually chooses a family, but then it can take months for them to get here (don't have a clue why)... once the family arrives, there is about a week of outings, where the parents meet the kids face to face and take them out on various outings to bond. But the kids still sleep at the children's home.
Then, after about a week, the kids 'move in' with the parents in whatever hotel they are staying at. They have a period of time, a few weeks, where they hang out together and try to bond as a new family.
Finally there is an appointment with a judge where the kids are interviewed to make sure they are "identifying" with their new parents, etc. And the judge can either say, "yes" and put the official stamp on the adoption, or "no". It's all up to the judge.
In the case of Mainor and Jenny, at the first appointment with the judge, there was a little snafu and misunderstanding when they interviewed Jenny (who is only 8 - she got scared probably and said some things that made the judge think the proper 'bond' wasn't happening), and so thinking they needed more time, the judge told the family "no"... Finally, last week, they went before the judge again, and the adoption is official!
Thank you God! We are praying for a smooth transition for all as they head back to Italy.
And so, with two spots available in the home, PANI just placed two new kids under Gabby and Esteban's care (the house parents) on Thursday. They are siblings, a 4-year old boy, and younger sister, 2.5, who came from an abusive home.
This is what the Abraham Project does, so if you're supporting us, praying for us, encouraging us, you're doing the same for them. The kids. The orphans. The least of these. Thank you.