Written by Sarah Neary
International adoptions have doubled, perhaps even tripled in number over the past 11 years as stated by adoptioninstitute.org, with girls dominating. Russia and China top the list of the most chosen hot spots to get a child from, yet one family traveled in the other direction, all the way to the island of Haiti.
Almost half a decade ago, this soon to be adoptee was malnourished at 4 months old when the adoption process started, eating mushy food at an orphanage, and seemed to be fighting to survive. Yet no journey would be complete without bumps along the way.
Unfortunate as it may be, since Haiti was not part of the Hague Convention, adoption processing took a lot longer. That meant that the US had to check and make sure she was not a stolen child. Visiting this tiny girl at a little over a year old in Haiti helped both Michael and Tina Patterson get through the long haul.
After a grueling wait of around two and a half years, she was finally able to come home with the Pattersons. Daniela, their adopted daughter from Haiti is now 5 years old and lives in America. The Pattersons’ daughters, Jess, Emily, and Molly are their biological children but Michael and Tina decided to help one more flower grow.
“They were included in the decision to adopt and were very excited about it. They were all living at home at the time. Now Jess is in college. Emily is a senior in high school and Molly is a junior in high school. They all love Daniela very much,” said Michael Patterson.
The entire family cherishes the time they get to spend with Daniela at their home in Buckley, Washington and hope that life will get easier for her from here on out. As the soft food from early on left her jaws weaker than the average chewer, this has become a hurdle. Dilemmas like these seem like small wars compared to where she was.
Before celebrating the new addition into their home and heart, there was something that led them down this particular path. Michael and his wife had realized they had not been giving to their church, Cedar Community Church which is a non-denominational Christian church, but had the strongest desire to do so.
As Patterson explained though, after the bills were paid it felt like they could not afford to contribute. That’s when they had decided to start sponsoring 2 impoverished children from the Dominican Republic named Yefredy and Yonalda with the help of Compassion International. They have since graduated from the Compassion International sponsorship program which gives them the chance to grow spiritually, physically and mentally.
After having had this experience from their first set of children they were sponsoring, they decided to sponsor more. Ever since 1997, they have been on their journey of support. Currently, they are helping 9 children from the Dominican Republic, Peru, Haiti, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
Read More Stories on International Adoption