The parents of five children, Isabel Marques Meirelles, 35, and Thiago Meirelles, 36, had various “pregnancies.” The theologian and social work student did not suffer from nausea or cramps and went through various waiting times to receive each of her children in her arms. She and her husband, also a theologian, chose to adopt.
This Wednesday (25th), National Adoption Day, shines a light on the stories of many families, such as that of Isabel, shaped through adoption. In the Meirelles family, the first three children arrived together; Soon, came the fourth daughter, a teenager who was about to leave the orphanage when she turned 18. The fifth member of the family has arrived after undergoing four unsuccessful adoptions.
The first process began in 2017, and the profile chosen was that of a 10-year-old with siblings – which falls under the late adoption process – when applicants select children over 7 years old.
“We handed over the documents on April 3, 2017, to the Betim/MG Childhood Court. That year, the preparatory course was divided into monthly meetings, and there would be a meeting on the following Saturday. We went to the meeting and eventually called the psychologist who was part of the technical team in the area, to better introduce ourselves and say we had submitted our documents. At that moment, she realized that she was surprised by the choice of our profile,” she recalls.
After the meeting, Isabelle and Thiago underwent interviews, which are part of the qualification and work process that, according to her, was faster than expected. According to the National Council of Justice, adoption waiting time varies exclusively by the profile that applicants seek and does not always correspond to children eligible for the National Adoption and Adoption System (SNA). For this reason, in the case of the couple, the first licensing and custody process took just under four months.
In early May, we did individual and pair interviews. We arrived on May 18 for the meeting and there was another person, the psychiatrist, at the shelter. At the time, we already imagined that they would be talking about a child. However, it was not one but three. There were three children who were part of a group of six siblings,” he says.
At first, Isabelle says, making the decision was not so easy. However, she and Thiago received all the support and care from the specialists responsible.
“The psychologists were very wise and did not force us to do anything, but since our hearts were very open, and we agreed to the proposal to go to the shelter, to meet the children. On this trip, the children will not know about our intention, we will only visit. “
After the visit, she and her husband thought a lot and felt the doubts, doubts, and fears of parenthood. Finally, they adopted their first children, Wallace, Andre, and Caitlin – who are now 17, 14 and 12 years old, respectively.
“We are excited to remember that God acted so beautifully and amazingly, and dealt with our fears, insecurities and doubts,” he said.
“What parent isn’t afraid? How many couples do we know freak out about when they get their pregnancy test results! Why would it be any different with us?”
Isabel Meirelles, 35, theologian
“More important than the sparks and communication in the first meeting is to make sure of God’s will,” Isabelle says. “And from there we began to live with the children.”
The arrival of two more children. Flávio, 13, has gone through four comebacks and entered the family in surprising fashion. The young man was a friend of the children at the shelter and at an activity to celebrate the National Day of Adoption with members of the Grupos de Apoio à Adação de Betim (GAABE) approached her and asked to live with the couple. We were having a picnic in the square and at that time the adopted children and teens got involved. On this day, we review Flávio and discover that his last adoption attempt was unsuccessful. So he went back to the shelter. When he saw me in the field, he hugged me tightly and let out this sentence: Aunt adopts me? ‘, he says.
Despite the teenager’s wishes, Isabelle was mature enough to understand that there were many things at stake and that “adoption cannot be considered a gesture of charity.”
“At that time it stopped. But we decided to nurture him with the aim of providing communal coexistence, as expected in the ECA. Of course we were happy with him. A sliver of the desire to adopt him emerged, but at that moment we would not have the slightest emotional and financial condition to have another child.” He continued, “At the end of 2019, he started the process of approaching another family.”
Isabel and Thiago say that after the process of adopting their three children, they continued to work actively on a volunteer basis at Betim shelters, in the Belo Horizonte metropolitan area. During one of the procedures at the shelter, Isabelle learned about the story of Nayara who was about to leave the shelter, where she would be 18 years old.
“When I learned that Nayara was leaving the shelter, I and other volunteers from the shelter started a campaign to help her get the house ready for her. Everyone would donate something and always asked if anyone wanted to take care of it, but no one responded. I went home and spoke to Thiago. He tells that we decided to take the initiative to care.
“The first weekend of our bail period, Nayara came to our house and spent the day with our family. We feel a strong and fast connection with her. When she left, Wallace, my oldest son, commented that she looked like one of our family.”
Isabel says Nayara joined the family in a very charming way and gradually conquered her space, her little corner in everyone’s heart.
“After that first positive result from Wallace, we talked openly about the possibility of adopting it. We both didn’t wake up and decided, it was intense days of maturation. We weighed everything and felt safe to talk to the three of them and then looked for Naiara to make the proposal. Being parents was not enough, she needed to be adopted and be a part of our family. When we made the proposal, she accepted and we were very happy.”
“We can’t say exactly the moment when Nayara became our daughter, but we know she will never cease to exist. Adopting a teen is very different from a child, because it has specific aspects, but it’s wonderful,” he says.
“We can’t deny that her background is much bigger than her time with us, but we are writing a beautiful new chapter filled with love, respect and hugs.”
Isabel Meirelles – 35 years old, Theologian
Isabelle says that at that moment, after adopting Nayara, she thought the family was complete. Adopting another child was not in her and Thiago’s plans, however, she learns that Flavio, the young man who had previously taken care of them, had once again returned to the shelter, after another failed adoption attempt.
“The day we both found out, the desire to adopt him came, but it wasn’t decided in the midst of feelings. Like I once said, adoption is not charity, another child, it’s a big responsibility as it doesn’t just depend on our desire, we needed to listen to our children We talked a lot and took it up to our four kids. They easily wanted to know when he was going to move into our house, but we made it clear that it wasn’t,” he says.
Unlike the process of the other children, Isabel and Thiago were more careful about adopting the boy Flávio. After all, the young man had gone through four failed attempts and they wanted to keep the teenager.
“We looked for both the forum technical team and the host house and expressed our wish. We then agreed to introduce ourselves as godparents and at the same time started the process of enabling adoption. Our aim was for him to be able to express his desire to be adopted by us or not, without the pressures of being present. Already in the family is in the cohabitation stage. We started living with him as godparents, not to mention wanting to adopt him. Altogether, there were 18 weekends until we received custody for adoption purposes,” he says.
Flávio’s adoption process was completed on May 11, and now the family doesn’t only have custody of the boy. He is now the son of Isabel and Thiago legally. “Our family is complete and it is so much more than I could have imagined,” she says emotionally.