Adoption pending: Who's in charge?

MY HUSBAND, John , and I own a fair number of guidebooks on parenting. Some have become real favorites. Not one helped, however, when our daughter Jenna's adoption bogged down in red tape and politics in Paraguay.

The first few months of the adoption process were easy. We treasured pictures of a sweet three-year-old girl, and mailed her photos and small gifts. In turn, we were sent reports about her living conditions and family background. The details were disturbing.

Professionals write reams about how early experiences drive—or deter—later well-being and success. And we were being cautioned to prepare for the worst. As we digested this, the political climate in Paraguay deteriorated, and the flow of adoptions stalled. With thousands of miles and a foreign government between us, we felt powerless to secure Jenna's immediate welfare or guarantee her homecoming.

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