It should have been good news.
The U.S. Embassy called to say the Guatemalan government would begin to authorize adoptions five years after a scandal froze the system that sent as many as 4,000 Guatemalan children a year to the United States.
Ryan "Bubba" Hooker and his wife, Jess, might finally be able to collect the little boy they wanted to adopt and bring him home.
But Hooker wasn't sure. This would be his 36th trip to Guatemala City. The 18-month-old toddler they had met in an orphanage was now a 6-year-old kindergartener. The couple had moved homes, passed up a job, spent untold amounts of money trying to adopt Daniel.
If all went well, they were told, they would be the first U.S. family to adopt under the Central American nation's new adoption laws.
At least, that's what they told him over the phone.
On Aug. 21, an anxious Bubba boarded the plane for Guatemala City. All he had to do was get an adoption certificate, a birth certificate and a passport, meet with the people at the U.S. Embassy yet again, get an adoption visa, and then he and Jess could bring Daniel home.
Maybe this time it would work.
* * *
As the family walked through the doors of the Louisville airport late Saturday night, friends cheered, then joined them in prayer.
"WE'RE HOME!!!!!! We did it! We made it! And we can't believe it!" the family said in an emailed message to friends on Sunday.
"I wish you all could have seen Daniel's face as he ran around our house exploring his new domain. He couldn't believe he had his own room. He gawked at the size of our bathtub ... It was AWESOME!"
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