CHAPTER I ~ Adoption [EXCERPT]
that there were one hundred infants abandoned in that city each year. But it doesn’t necessarily mean they are available for adoption. Lissette reiterates for the benefit of this couple that most of the children one sees in Honduran orphanages are not adoptable. One either can’t locate the mothers to sign off, or the families intend to return someday to reclaim their children.

For us, only one more hurdle remained—getting Nelson into the United States. He still needed his Honduran passport. The various offices we visited over the next forty-eight hours became a blur. We first found a place to get his photo taken. Nelson looked rather sheepishly at the camera; there would be no smile for the authorities. I remember that I had to make an appointment for a medical exam from an approved list of pediatricians. For some reason Dr. Tomé was not listed. Magda was out, and it was the first time I had to speak Spanish on the phone. I had my little speech all written down and hoped the person at the other end would be able to see us at the time I specified. If someone started asking me questions, I would be sunk. Luckily, I succeeded in making the appointment.

The medical exam was perfunctory. We were just glad to have the required piece of paper. I recall an interminable wait the same afternoon at the U.S. Consulate. “When you get to Miami you’ll submit this whole packet,” the clerk said as he finally handed me a large envelope; it contained copies of all the documents concerning our adoption with translations into English. “They’ll place a stamp in his passport and give him an alien registration number. Then when you get back to Boston you have to submit the form sent to you earlier.” Now we just needed a flight out.

Thursday, June 23rd. Everything seems to be falling almost

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miraculously into place. In the morning we first stop by the travel agency, but they can’t say whether we can get on the Tan-Sasha flight on Saturday morning. We need to be on that early flight because we have to allow extra time in Miami to take Nelson through immigration. After going with Magda to get a tire for her van (she needs three, but the inventory is so low they aren’t allowed to sell her more than one), we go back to the travel agency around 1:30 p.m. They have been able to confirm us. It hardly seems possible; we’ll be leaving exactly a month after our arrival! Thanks to Tom’s persistence— calling Lissette nearly every day—our adoption may have set some records for speed.

We were out doing some shopping the next day, our last in Tegucigalpa, when a phone call came for us from Lissette—something about wanting to see Nelson before we left. I wondered why, since she had just seen him the day before. When Magda got home, the maid was able to explain the full gist of the message—it was the judge who wanted to see him one more time. Our hearts sank for a moment. Was there some last-minute snag? We called Lissette right away, but she said it was already too late; Judge Pineda had left her chambers for the day. “She is requiring that you send me a letter every six months with a progress report and pictures of Nelson that I can pass on to her.” We promised to do so.

Carl and Magda took us to the airport the next morning. We are so anxious to go. Nelson seems to sense that something important is happening when he sees us load up all the suitcases. I packed most of his things last night while he was asleep. Our tearful good-byes to this family we have come to think of as our own is tempered by the fact that we know we’ll see them again. Magda is bringing Gretchen to Boston in the fall. We’ve recommended a boarding school


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