It became evident that I was making no progress between our agency and our facilitator to reach an agreement. My heart was breaking because I knew we were stuck in the middle. I was going to be leaving my child, once again, and returning home, not knowing when we would bring her home. After much praying for help and answers, we received some news. Good news! The next morning, we found out Caroline's birth certificate was approved and ready for pick up! YAY! I still remember exactly where we were sitting in the Marriott. We were finishing up breakfast at the first table closest to the door. My back was to the breakfast buffet. Teo was sitting across from me and my mom was to my right. I began screaming and crying! We were at the end! Our birth certificate was ready to be picked up that afternoon!
As the morning went on, I started feeling better, but then a ton of rocks sat on my stomach. What did this mean? Our facilitator had told us that NO one was going to get their DNA until the money was paid by our agency. I called the agency and they told me that they would send my money to me and I could pay Teo directly. Problem solved, right? Of course not! Teo wouldn't accept my money, he only wanted it from the agency! To this day, I still am not sure why he wouldn't accept my money and why he was so adament on receiving just a check from the agency.
Back to Caroline and her illness...she was still not feeling better. She wasn't getting any worse, but not better. I spoke with Tim and my mom and we all agreed that I would stay a few more days to make sure she was better and to oversee our DNA being taken. I broke the news to Teo and he went crazy. He was very adament about me getting on that airplane and wouldn't take no for an answer. Why? Why would he not let me stay longer? I finally talked him into letting me stay an extra three days, but that was all I could extend my trip. Ummm....something's not adding up... something is wrong, but what?
On Saturday evening, my mom and I were having dinner at the restaurant in the hotel. We were sitting there talking about what we were going to do. Were we going to stay, go with my gut instinct, or were we going to get on that airplane on Tuesday morning? My mom and I prayed for an answer. We needed immediate help.
Our thoughts were interrupted by a local Guatemalan lady. She complimented Caroline on her bunny slippers and was dying to know where we had gotten them. As we began talking, she introduced herself as Susanna. I immediately recognized her name as a well known adoption lawyer. She was so kind and let me ask her a few questions on time frames regarding the length of the 2nd DNA test and who was able to take the child to have it completed. Susanna apologized for interrupting our dinner and left. Suddenly, as if someone had knocked the breath out of me, I told my mom to go and get her information. My mom sprinted out of the restaurant, briefly told her our dilemma and Susanna told her to have me call her first thing on Monday morning.
On Monday morning, I called Susanna and met with her that same morning. She did some investigating and found out that our birth certificate was NOT ready AND HAD NEVER been filed! Teo was lying to us! This would start to explain some of the craziness in his eyes. Susanna went on to explain to me that she never approaches adoptive parents and never eats at the Marriott. As she was eating dinner with her daughter, she felt a strong urge to introduce herself to us. The only way to explain how she came into our lives was by God. God had led Susanna to us. She was my answer for help.
Susanna came up with a plan to help me stay in the country. She knew of a "safe house" in a "remote" village. I wouldn't be able to go there until the next day. After telling her that Teo wouldn't let me stay past Tuesday, she called my lawyer and notary. Teo's arguments had always been that the lawyer and notary didn't want me staying. After one phone call, our notary told Susanna that he could care less if we stayed. So, we were staying. She also found out that the notary had no idea that our birth certificate wasn't submitted and was "apparently appalled" at Teo's negligence. Notice the quotation marks, because the notary who appeared to be so cooperative would later turn into a beast! My mom and I were staying with Caroline. We would get her better and oversee the end of our process, which should only take about two weeks.
I should have started feeling better, but my gut instinct said that it was about to get much worse....
I safely arrived back at the hotel to find Teo pacing back and forth. He wanted to know where I had been and what I was up to. He refused to listen to me and demanded that I get myself on that airplane the next day. He was taking back my daughter in the morning. But, he claimed that since he was so nice, he would let me come back after the DNA was taken, which should be on Friday. WHAT? FRIDAY??? For those of you who don't know, you can't have DNA taken without a birth certificate. There would be no DNA taken! My argument became, "why do I need to leave on Tuesday, if I can come back on Friday?" That made no sense! Also, I demanded to see the alleged birth certifcate. What? You don't have the birth certificate? Oh, it wasn't ready for pick up? Oh, your assistant was in the mountains and couldn't get to it? Oh, you're leaving tomorrow for the mountains and won't be back until Thursday? So, you're not going to be here tomorrow when I have to give my daughter back?
I ran upstairs and my mom and I began to furiously throw our stuff in suitcases. I made arrangements for a taxi service to take us to the safe house the next morning. I called Tim who supported me in whatever I needed to do to get Caroline safe. He also had the feeling that something was terribly wrong! I called Susanna to tell her what happened and we were ready to go.
Tuesday morning came and the phone rang. Susanna wasn't able to take us to the safe house. We would have to leave on Wednesday. My heart sank. What were we going to do? I called my foster mom and told her not to come pick up Caroline. Since we were flying on buddy passes, we could use the excuse that there weren't enough seats on the plane for us. I called Teo to let him know and he WAS furious! We didn't see him on that day because remember, he was going to be in the mountains until Thursday.
Wednesday morning came and this was the day we were leaving the hotel with Caroline. We prayed all night to make us invisible and for no harm to be brought to us. I'm not sure we slept at all. (As I am typing this, my stomach is unnerved and my hands are shaking. I am reliving the scariest time of my life. My legs and feet are even shaking. When I speak of this time, I am still not able to talk about it without crying...)
The telephone rang and I answered it. On the other end of the phone was Teo! He was not in the mountains and was waiting downstairs for me. I became afraid. I told him that we weren't quite ready and would be down in a bit. I called Susanna who immediately left her office to help me. (It was going to be a 30 minute drive) My friends from California were with us and I am forever grateful for their friendship and quick moves. The phone kept ringing and I kept delaying Teo. Scott (my friend's husband) was downstairs in the lobby waiting on Susanna and packed up our VERY EARLY taxi. God was once again showing that He was in control of the situation. He sent my taxi driver 1 hour early to get us!
Susanna arrived and the situation went bad very quickly. Teo and her were in a heated argument, to the point where the security guards began closing in on them. I will not publish what was said, but know that it was strong! The phone rang in my room. It was Teo. I had my mom pretend to be me because my strength was quickly fading. I was too scared. (I am having to pause while typing because my hands are shaking too badly and my eyes are welling up with tears. My heart is beating so fast that it feels like it is going to pop out of my chest.) Teo began yelling at me and telling me, "You have truly messed up now. You have gotten the worst person in the world involved. What do you think Bethany, is Susanna going to save you now? I am going to call your birth mother and she is going to take back your child. She is no longer yours. I PROMISE YOU WILL NEVER SEE HER AGAIN!!"
At this moment, I fell down to the floor. This was the only thing that scared me, the birth mother taking my child back. He hit the only nerve that I hadn't prayed over. My body crumbled into a heap and I hit the floor. My world became black around me and I couldn't function. I never heard Scott come back in the room and say "It's time. Susanna is ready for you." My mother picked me up and slapped me across my face. "Wake up Bethany! Snap out of it. This is YOUR child and you are going to fight for her. Now get up and become the mother that I know you are..."
I snapped out of it and Scott took Caroline from me and we headed to the elevator. We stepped out of the elevator and walked out of the front door. We walked past a pacing Teo and his assistant. We were never seen. God blinded them and made us invisible....