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Maya Campbell has lived in Hastings for seven weeks now. For more than 13 months, Josh and Jodi Campbell endured all kinds of red tape to adopt her from Guatemala.

Family endures long fight to adopt daughter

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Hastings Star Gazette
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Family endures long fight to adopt daughter
Hastings Minnesota 745 Spiral Boulevard 55033

Sometime during the year 2002, Josh and Jodi Campbell decided they were ready for kids. They wanted two. Preferably, a boy and a girl. Their home out on 80th Street in south Washington County would be perfect for a nice little family of four.

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Six tragedy-filled years later, and tens of thousands of dollars later, they finally have that foursome.

The story begins in, of all places, Omaha, Neb. While on a road trip as a gymnastics coach in '02, Jodi fell ill. She just didn't feel right, and ended up taking a pregnancy test. It was positive. She was elated, and went to a hospital there for the basic work-up. She couldn't wait to tell Josh.

Then she got the bad news: "Honey," said a nurse. "Your baby is growing in the wrong place."

So began the journey.

The Campbells lost another baby before trying in vitro fertilization. That eventually worked, and a blonde-haired little boy named Jayden was brought in the world.

After losing another baby, and enduring a number of in vitro cycles, the Campbells decided on adoption. They signed up and were approved. Great. Things were moving ahead. By now, it was January 2007.

And then Jodi found out she was pregnant. Again, the pregnancy didn't work out.

One week later, Josh went out with friends and was driving home when he got pulled over. He ended up getting a DWI. The Campbells were on the phone right away, checking with their agency to see how this would impact their pending adoption. They went through classes, got letters of recommendation, attended chemical evaluations, had psychological evaluations completed, and professionals observed them as parents.

Eventually, the professionals unanimously agreed - the Campbells were fit to be adoptive parents.

Fast forward to July 12, 2007. Jodi got the call and literally fell to her knees. They had a baby. A little girl from Guatemala. Curly black hair. They saw photos and everything.

Finally. Their family of four was right around the corner.

Or so they thought.

One day, the mailbox held a cruel surprise. Deep from within the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services office in Bloomington, someone with a big rubber stamp had deemed the Campbells unfit as parents. The letter said the Campbells would be denied the opportunity to adopt a child.

"We had given up everything just to have kids," Jodi Campbell said. "Here they were, telling us we were unfit to be parents. You couldn't have done anything crueler to us."

But if you get to know the Campbells, you learn they don't go quietly. Especially not when it comes to that little girl in Guatemala, whom they had already named Maya and whom they had seen grow over three months.

They put together a rebuttal through their agency. They were assured things would be OK. They weren't. A month later, another sad letter arrived in the mail.

The Campbells tried politicians. They hired a lawyer. Their entire life was consumed with getting that little girl named Maya back to Hastings so she could meet her big brother and play with the furry family dog.

But all that work got them nowhere.

By Christmas 2007, the Campbells were at a loss. On Christmas Day, Jodi's mother called. A Hopkins family, the Ransavages, were profiled in a Star Tribune newspaper article. They were going through the exact same thing with their pending adoption of a girl in China.

Jodi called the writer of that story, Jon Tevlin, the next day. He called United States Senator Amy Klobuchar's office, which had been helping the Ransavages call attention to the matter.

Eventually, Klobuchar, Norm Coleman and John Kline all signed a letter asking United States immigration to speed up their appeal.

Apparently, that letter worked.

Just days later, they were given approval. Finally.

"It was like being told you were pregnant," Jodi Campbell said.

Of course, by that time, the political upheaval in Guatemala had taken place and everything was up in the air. That didn't slow the Campbells down, though. They got on an airplane on Aug. 12, 2008, with Jayden and got their baby girl. By 3:15 that afternoon, they were holding Maya, who had spent 13 months with a foster parent.

Seven weeks ago, they returned to Hastings with her.

"I couldn't give up on this child, and we didn't," Jodi said. "And, now, she's sleeping upstairs."

The four times that the couple lost a child prepared them, Jodi said, for the adoption.

"The adoption was the hardest," she said.

The past seven weeks have not been filled with struggle, as the previous six years were. Rather, they've been filled with chasing after a speedy little girl and looking at Jayden's artwork of planets.

"It's like we have a sense of peace," Jodi said. "We've been in a waiting mode here. It was like waiting for test results from a doctor. You have that unknown, icky feeling. You just want to know."

What's next?

Maya is here. Jayden is healthy. Josh is working. Jodi is working. So, what's next for the Campbells?

Sit down with Jodi, and it won't take long to learn she has a passion for adoption. She was quick to point out that thousands of adoptions go well for people all over the United States. Her case is the exception. But what she saw, what with all the red tape and the bureaucracy, has her troubled.

Yes, she understands that there must be due diligence. We're talking about little people here. But she'd love to see the adoptions move along a bit quicker.

"There are children that need families, and so many families that need children," she said. "All of the B- S- that gets in the way is just ridiculous."

For their efforts, and for their decision to help other families seeking international adoptions, the Campbells were recently honored by Klobuchar as "Angels in Adoption."

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Chad Richardson
Chad Richardson is the publisher and editor at the Hastings Star Gazette. He was the general manager of the Farmington Independent and Rosemount Town Pages from 2000 to 2007. He previously worked at the Star Gazette from 1996 to 2000 as a photographer and reporter. He also worked as a photographer and writer at the Pope County Tribune in Glenwood.
(651) 319-4500
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