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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Yorks continue to wait for adoption results in Guatemala

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Tammy York holds Meilani Angelykotella Anajel while in Guatemala.
Tammy York and her family have been waiting a long time. In November of 2007, she and her husband, Rob, finished the paperwork and got the referral to adopt Meilani Angelykotella Ajanel.

With paperwork filed, the York family expected to receive the new addition to their family within six months.

One month later, however, Guatemala's federal government took control of all outgoing adoption procedures to stem alleged corruption and even kidnapping within the system. The Guatemalan government did, however promise to grandfather the pending adoptions under the old laws. There began the wait.

Weeks became months and more; It became apparent that the Yorks would not have their daughter before her first birthday.

"Well, when we thought it was only going to be a couple of months, we decided we were just going to wait until we got to actually bring her home," said York, "But when we realized that she was going to be over a year before we got her I decided to go see her and I went down for her first birthday."

This visit became the first of many as the months stretched to years.

York, with a large group of hopeful parents in similar situations -- collectively calling themselves the Guate-mala 900 -- have stayed neither silent nor still in their years spent waiting. They have been to Washington, D.C., twice, marching on Capitol Hill and have made powerful allies in Sen. Richard Lugar and Louisiana's Sen. Mary Landrieu. These allies gained in the wake of their marches -- while trying and succeeding to gain awareness for the cause -- have not had as much impact on the situation as many would hope.

"They've done a little," said York, "They've gone over and they've said 'Hey, we want you to finish this,' and Guatemala says 'OK, we will,' and they come back and nothing happens. So right now there are still about 300 of us still trying to get our children home."

Unlike many in their situation, the Yorks have been in contact with the birth mother. The mother has been cooperating throughout the process, voicing her consent and wishes for Meilani to be adopted.

York attended their first hearing in Guatemala in June of 2010. At that hearing, the judge presiding said that they didn't have their whole file and so the hearing was not able to go through with the final ruling.

"And still, no one has been able to tell me why they didn't have my file," said York. "Then there was supposed to be a new hearing in August." That hearing was canceled three days before it was to be held due to a discrepancy over a change in venue and was delayed until April.

At this second, postponed hearing, a judge approved the adoption just for it to be appealed by a higher government organization. Again, the courts gave no indication as to why the appeal took place. They were told to wait for another hearing.

"This is what you do," said York, "This is the process. You wait and then they say 'any day,' And, days turn into weeks that turn into months."

For the time being, Meilani is staying in foster care in between York's visits. When York leaves for Guatemala later this summer it will be her eleventh trip. Meilani is now more than three years old and speaks only Spanish.

"The thing is that nobody knows what the government wants," said York, "Everyone knows the best interest of the child would be to come home at the earliest age."

As she and her family wait for the arrival of their newest member, York says that the support of their family and friends have been paramount in them getting through this far.

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God bless the York Family...

Amazing story & all for the love of a child.

In an age & time where parents are hurting & killing their own children, this story is incredible.

Much love/much respect for Rob & Tammy

-- Posted by ProblemTransmission on Thu, Jul 7, 2011, at 5:26 AM

Heart warming story. I hope and pray that they get their daughter home safely and soon.

-- Posted by dcsaiht on Thu, Jul 7, 2011, at 8:35 AM

You and all the families still waiting on your children to be released from Guatemala are often on my minds and ever in my prayers. Our daughter has been home since August 2007 and has brought incredible joy to our family. Keep the faith!

Many blessings!

-- Posted by afentress on Thu, Jul 7, 2011, at 9:19 AM

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