Family adopts Korean child

The Garouttes with Madeleines Korean foster parents. The Garouttes said it was a good trip to learn more about their new daughters origins.

Special to the Chart

The Garouttes with Madeleine’s Korean foster parents. The Garouttes said it was a good trip to learn more about their new daughter’s origins.

Adoption can be a special time in a couple’s life.

This proved true in the case of Dr. Michael and Susan Garoutte.

Michael, associate professor of chemistry, met Susan at Missouri Southern in 1987. They married in 1991.

“We’ve known ever since we’ve been married that we would adopt,” Michael said.

The couple decided to adopt a child from Korea.

“I have wanted to adopt for a long time,” Susan said. “I myself was adopted.”

Susan said her parents had adopted her from Korea and thought it was good to carry on the tradition. Her sister also has adopted two children from Thailand and her other sister adopted a child from Romania.

“There was no doubt we would adopt from Korea,” Susan said.

The couple already has a biological child, Audrey.

“We intended to have a biological child first,” Michael said. “It’s just something that’s been in our minds for so long.”

He and Susan wanted to wait a couple of years with Audrey before they began the adoption process.

In order to start the process, the couple went through Holt International. The program involves a year’s worth of paperwork, legal fees and foreign-exchange documents.

“Some parents agonize over the fact,” Michael said. “We pretty much accepted it and however long it would take.”

The couple started the process in September 2004 and had to wait for a child to be chosen for them based on the information they provided. They believed God would help bring them a child in due time.

The couple would wait for more than a year before receiving any further news.

On Dec. 30, 2005, the Institution called and gave them the news their daughter had been chosen for them.

Michael and Susan then had two weeks to prepare their plane tickets and travel arrangements in order to pick up their new child, Madeleine.

The couple could have chosen to have Madeleine escorted to the United States, but they chose to pick her up instead.

“It was more Michael’s idea,” Susan said. “We got to meet the foster family.”

The couple flew 18 hours to Seoul and found themselves there on a Friday night.

“We were supposed to have a driver – we didn’t,” Michael said. “We didn’t know any Korean. It was kind of scary, but it turned out okay.”

A taxi driver asked them if they needed help and offered them a ride to their destination.

The Institution provided a guest house for the couple, but the house was empty of furnishings when the couple arrived.

The couple spent a few days in Seoul and said it helped them better understand the culture of their new daughter. They returned to the United States before the end of winter break.

Michael said he had to write his syllabus through e-mail and prepare for classes while in Korea.

He said the Koreans are friendly with the children of other people and Madeleine had several people come up to her and say, “hello,” on the subway rides. Madeleine enjoyed the attention, but it also helped her on the plane ride.

“She has a very beautiful voice,” Susan said. “She’s been here seven weeks and already adjusted to our time.”

The couple said their experience was worth the time.

“We would highly recommend adopting,” Susan said. “It’s all the benefits without the pain [of childbirth].”

The couple still has to go through a few legal processes and some paperwork before the adoption process is finalized. It should take around six months, but the couple is looking forward to it.

“It takes a lot of patience,” Susan said. “We just let the process take the course. She fits right into our family wonderfully.”