By Alej Diaz –
When Paul Kvinta and his daughter, Marcela, left Dorie’s Promise last weekend, it wasn’t any ordinary parting. Paul spent the past eight months here as he waited for the adoption to be finalized.
During that time Marcela celebrated her third birthday. They returned to Washington, D.C., where Paul’s wife, Becky, works for the federal government.
“We found ourselves in a weird, long situation that was hard to explain,” Paul says of their wait, which originated with seeing Marcela three weeks after her birth. “As soon as we met her, we wanted to bring her home. Becky feels like we’ve had her for 3½ years; we just haven’t been able to live with her.”
They investigated adoption while living in Atlanta. A friend of Becky’s adopted twins from the home. After checking into the pros and cons, the Kvintas thought an international adoption would be simpler than a domestic one.
Ironically, they got caught up in red tape and controversy that affected numerous families. The situation even prompted a demonstration at the U.S. Capitol nearly two years ago, which generated coverage in The Washington Post.
Now that the case is over, Paul looks forward to taking a break from his career. It has included writing for such publications as National Geographic and Popular Science. Becky also plans to take time off this summer to get better acquainted with their daughter.
“We never knew if we were going to have kids,” says Paul, who had observed many needy children in his journalistic travels. “But when they stick a child in your arms, it’s transforming.”
Paul’s flexible schedule allowed him to come here last November. He set up a daily schedule that included spending time with Marcela from 3 to 7:30 p.m. They enjoyed playtime, crafts, watching videos, dinner together and talking with Becky via video links. After giving their daughter a bath, Paul would put her to bed.
In addition to freelance assignments, Paul wrote some material for the Forever Changed web site and volunteered for other tasks. Naturally, he formed strong relationships with many staff members.
“It’s sad to leave,” he says. “These people were all crucial to this adoption.
“I feel like it’s a big family. I can see Becky and I blowing up photos of the people (taken by Brian Beazley, brother of our founder) and putting them up in our house.”
Paul and Becky plan to return some day, saying it will be interesting to see how much Marcela remembers of her early childhood days.
Although facing challenges familiar to all parents while he was here, Paul expects to remember only the good times.
“I think I’ll look back on this and say, ‘This was the greatest,’” Paul says. “Marcela has been the best part of this.”