Sue and Ray Fumi awakened their first morning in Lima, Peru, to the news that their baby had already arrived.How about that? An open international adoption, with frequent contacts and in-person visits, and the sky didn't fall!
The couple scrambled to get ready to meet the 5-week-old girl they were adopting, eager to begin to love her as their own.
But they met with an unexpected twist: The baby was carried to their meeting in the arms of her birth mother, Candy Quispe Valdez. The Fumis had no idea the pretty young woman would decide to accompany the attorney's aide and personally hand them the baby.
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Madeline Fumi, who is now 18 and has kept in touch with her birth mother through the years following that improbable meeting. Madeline has been visiting Valdez and four biological half-siblings outside Lima in the last week, her second journey to her ancestral homeland since she was adopted.
The confluence of Madeline's biological and adoptive worlds — which would be much more difficult today, as birth mothers' identities are unknown in most international adoptions — has helped her become more secure with being adopted and provided a connection to her heritage.
And with the help of one little clue from Valdez, the Fumis tracked down Madeline's two biological brothers in the Midwest, each with his own intriguing adoption story. The three siblings created an extended family, sharing summer vacations and milestones — as well as devastating events.
While the surprise encounter with Valdez originally made Sue Fumi tremble, she said it became easy to love this woman who relinquished her baby, giving the Fumis the daughter they so desired.
"I knew instantly that I would not forget her and that our family would not be complete without her," she said.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
The story of an OPEN international adoption
The unusual story of an open adoption from Peru, in the Chicago Tribune: