A Minnesota woman who fought for more than seven years to adopt three girls from Guatemala has won her battle to bring them home.
"I am so grateful," Suann Hibbs, a Delta flight attendant from Edina, Minn., told CBS Minnesota. "I still feel like this is so surreal. I mean, I just have to pinch myself. When they come in, in the morning and crawl in bed with me. I just have goose bumps thinking about it."
Hibbs' attempts to adopt the children — twin 8-year-olds Savanna and Sophia and their 7-year-old sister Sydney — were rebuffed by the Guatemalan government, which had limited international adoptions in an attempt to curb child trafficking.
"It's an indescribable roller coaster," Hibbs told KMSP-TV. "There were times the girls were missing. We had to hire a private investigator. They were in five orphanages. But to be completely abandoned by people you trusted that were supposed to be helping with this adoption — in my opinion it feels so unfair that this should happen to these little girls."
It took more more than 30 trips to Guatemala, but Hibbs would not give up. "I just fell in love with them as soon as I saw them," she said. "I just thought, morally, I just can't let them go."
She took her case to U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who then met with the Guatemalan ambassador to press for approval of the adoption.
"They can't just keep going to five different orphanages," Klobuchar said. "They needed a permanent home."
They arrived in Minnesota last week.
"It took a little time, but [Guatemalan officials] got to the right place and allowed these children to be adopted," Klobuchar added. "Human stories matter still. Even in Washington, D.C."
The girls, who have not had any formal schooling and are just beginning to learn English, will start school next month, Hibbs said.
"My last breath of air I would fight for them," she told KSTP-TV.
Hibbs is not alone. According to Klobuchar, 43 families with pending adoptions in Guatemala are in the same boat.
"It is an example of when parents get caught up in bureaucratic red tape — whether it's in our country or internationally," Klobuchar said. "I was honored to help."
- Amy Klobuchar