What has happened:
I began my adoption of Luis in Guatemala in July of 2007. He has been my son since the first day I held him when he was less than 2 months old. But today he is 12 years old and has needlessly spent these years in 5 different orphanages, even though I have been fighting to complete my adoption every day of the past 12 years.
He needs to come home now, and I need your help to get this done.
My adoption is one of the last ones started before the laws changed in 2008. Luis was voluntarily and legally relinquished for adoption, and I already had preliminary U.S. approval to adopt from Guatemala when I first saw his picture posted on a site for “waiting children" in June of 2007. I felt an immediate connection with him, traveled to Guatemala to meet him for the first time in July, and officially began the adoption process on that trip.
All legal requirements in Guatemala were met and the Guatemalan government accepted my completed application in October of 2007. The U.S. government issued preliminary ("I-600") approval on December 1, 2007, and I have had official permission to bring him into the U.S. as my son and as a U.S. citizen (still "pending") since then. My adoption has been repeatedly investigated and cleared by Guatemalan officials of all irregularities, fraud or crime (starting in 2009).
Luis was securely bonded with me by the time he turned 1 year old.
Returning Luis to his biological family would create officially documented risks of abuse and abandonment for him. Multiple separate attempts have already failed.
And when he was finally granted his right to be heard in 2016, he stated his wishes for me to be his mother and to go with me (“now, in her car!”) as clearly as he possibly could. Yet his words were ignored, and his rights and best interests continue to be violated.
I have worked hard to care for him and maintain our bond by residing in Guatemala for over 8 of the past 12 years (in addition to over 40 round trips from the U.S.). I am the only committed, safe and loving parent he has ever known. He needs me now more than ever and I will never abandon him.
Luis is a smart, funny, affectionate, creative and thoughtful child, capable of mischief and compassion. He loves Legos, fútbol (soccer), and “los Vengadores” (Avengers). He works hard and is doing well in school. He knows the difference between right and wrong, and will happily correct others if they are "confused." He is still a precious and (mostly) innocent child, and I pray for this essential goodness to be preserved as he enters adolescence.
(He is wearing my glasses in the photo below; all photos except the first and third were taken by me.)
But he does not understand why we cannot “just go home,” and it breaks my heart to leave him at the end of every visit. My entire extended family (many of whom have traveled to meet and bond with him), along with a “village” of friends in the U.S. and Guatemala, remain devoted and eager to welcome him home. We are all missing critical years we should be making memories together while he is still relatively young.
Luis is once again at imminent risk. Our situation is urgent and I need your help to continue to protect and fight for him until my adoption can be legally completed and we are safely home.
How you can help:
I continue to run my Dallas-based career consulting and teaching business as best I can. We have been blessed with extraordinary support from family and friends, including many good and courageous Guatemalans who have done their best to care for and advocate for Luis. Many (including my outstanding and ethical attorneys) have refused to charge me "full fare" as this nightmare has dragged on.
But my expenses have already exceeded 10 times the original projected costs for the adoption and continue to rise. I have already refinanced my home three times, and long since "tapped out" every other resource.
Even in the "best-case scenario," I need additional funding to maintain my residence in Guatemala, for legal support, official translations and an endless stream of court documentation and copies, for return trips to the U.S. for work and family obligations, and at least one more trip to Washington to advocate for him. When we are finally able to complete the adoption, he will also need a new birth certificate, medical exam, visa, and final documents from the U.S. Embassy.
This Gofundme profile is the “reincarnation” of a previous Youcaring site. I remain very grateful to everyone who has already helped, and hoped I might not have to ask again. But we are facing a new crisis now and giving up is not an option. I will continue to fight for his safety and his rights no matter what happens.
Even though this process has taken longer than I could have imagined and tested me in every way, Luis remains the best blessing I have ever received. Every day I thank God with a glad heart for the privilege of being his mother.
Your generosity in any amount will help more than you can imagine, and I am truly grateful!
- Fay Fleming