WEST MONROE, La. (KNOE) - A West Monroe family is fighting to bring their new daughter home. Terry and Shelley Hamilton first met Selena on a mission trip in 2015. They’ve faced many challenges in adopting her over the past three years.
Courtesy: Shelley Hamilton
Selena's journey home started in a medical clinic in Haiti where Terry Hamilton was volunteering. He treated a six-year-old-girl for a burn, then she was back the next day because of a reaction to the medicine.
"There were hundreds of people in this medical clinic waiting to see a doctor but, for some unknown reason, God led me to open the door and it was Selena in there."
"Terry saw her and he would come back and say 'This girl is remarkable and I just had this bond with her," his wife Shelley recalls.
For two weeks after the trip, the Hamiltons sponsored her by sending money for food, but they knew that wasn't enough.
"We just both started talking and praying and we knew God had other plans and that plan was for us to adopt her," Shelley says.
The only problem: Selena wasn't up for adoption. Selena’s parents abandoned her at a young age, but she was not living in an orphanage. Her parents had to legally waive their parental rights for that to happen. The adoption agency said it was all impossible.
"She said, 'You don't just find a child and adopt them. You decide that you want to adopt internationally and we match you with a child.’ And Terry was like 'You don't understand. This child was put in my life for a reason and it was to adopt her," Shelley recalls.
So the Hamiltons went back to Haiti and managed to track down Selena’s sick father and her mother, who was living in the Dominican Republic.
"She didn't even want to see Selena. She just totally did not want her," Shelley says.
Over the past three years, they've fought the Haitian courts, got Selena into an orphanage, and convinced the adoption agency that Selena was meant to be their daughter. Now, she's ready to come home.
"We just got our adoption decree saying she is Selena Hamilton," the couple proudly announced. All they have left is some paperwork and getting Selena a passport and visa. They're hoping to bring her home in January.
You can donate to help bring Selena home at the family’s Go Fund Me page.