Rafael Araneda and Marcela Vacarezza spoke in a recent interview about the process of adopting their son Benjamin and how family life has changed.
In a conversation with People magazine in Spanish, the couple recalled that the connection with the little one – whom they met when he was 3 months old – was immediate, a feeling they shared with the rest of their children, Martina, Florencia and Vicente.
“He is 4 years old, we celebrated his birthday two weeks ago. It is very moving to be able to do this because the adoption process has been very difficult for us as a family, given his personal history, which is absolutely reserved, because when there is a trial with a minor, it’s private,” Rafael said. .
“In my country, at the level of institutions for abandoned children, they are still loaded with bureaucracy, slowness and visions that do not go with the superior defense of the child. It is not permitted for me or any member of my family to talk about the little we know (of his biological parents)“, he explained.
Asked about the possibility that with Marcela they lose custody of Benjamín, the host of Fall in love with the United States I affirm that there is no “nothing”.
“This is Araneda Vacarezza, with her passport and visa. He was born in Chile, he has the same rights and obligations that all my children have. It happened after two years. When he was 4 months old, he lived with us, but what we couldn’t do was that he had our first and last name,” he said.
“This is a process that is very long and difficult because, basically, every time you go to court you feel like they can take it away from you. And for us it was already and always a fundamental part of home and home. He has always been an Araneda Vacarezza, beyond what his birth certificate could have said, which has already changed and his passport too”, he added.
Araneda recalled that they spent two years like that, “taking him out every Wednesday and sometimes on weekends so they could see him and they still saw the wonderful boy.”
“He cried, we came home and he didn’t smile at us all afternoon (because he was afraid we would abandon him). He always has a topic he doesn’t like to leave alone. He tells us: ‘You stay with me’.revealed.
“(Once) Marcela spoke about her son and the judge said to her: “Not Your Son Yet”. And she replied: ‘Pardon me, the law says one thing, but for me he is my son’. It’s as if he was talking to me about Martina, Florencia or Vicente.
“I said to him, ‘You’re not going to take it away from me, that’s why we’re in this process.’ They couldn’t do it,” Vacarezza added.
Regarding when Benjamin wants to know his origin, Rafael pointed out that “all the information he wants to get, when he turns 18”.
“He can go into a Justice Department drawer where they open the whole thing up for him. In this sense, Chilean law works very well. He is absolutely within his right to know his story. If tomorrow he wants us to accompany him in his reconstruction, I will be there“, assured.
“At 18, he has the opportunity to open the investigation file, and to be able to know his story,” added Marcela.
“Does he say anything to you because he has a different skin color from you and your brothers?” they asked the couple, to which Araneda indicated that Benjamin “realizes this” .
“He already realizes that his color is not that of his brothers. He asks small questions. We were at an airport when we were in Chile for Christmas, and he has an ear very similar to Vicente’s. And I say to him: ‘Look, they have similar ears’ and he says to me: ‘No, dad, because his is yellow and not mine’, he said.
“Clearly he realizes that. We would go out and sometimes he would see children of the same color and say ‘Benji’. We spoke to a psychologist and a psychiatrist. They told us that the word “adoption” should be part of their vocabulary, that we should not hesitate to use it on a daily basis.. ‘Choice, love, difference, gift, research, we choose you’, because tomorrow will come naturally, it can’t be a trauma,” he added.
Marcela elaborated on this subject, pointing out that Benjamín “is still very young, we don’t want to anticipate his questions too much”.
“I think children ask questions when they have doubts, when they are curious. I started telling him that we had chosen him as a son, and he said, ‘Yes, well’, and later he said to me, ‘How?’ I replied: ‘Well, we met you in a house’. His answer was: “Yes”. After a while, he said to me: “And where is this house? He asks,” he explained.
“The subject of color himself kept saying: ‘You are orange or yellow, not like me’, but he goes no further. In the garden, there are Japanese classmates, there is another little girl of the same color too, there is a Hindu boy. He just turned four, so for him it’s not a problem. And as long as it’s not a subject, you don’t have to fill his head with things“, he commented.
Vacarezza and Araneda revealed that they still can’t believe that they succeeded in integrating Benjamin into their family, labeling him as “a miracle”.
“I think we were the chosen ones. We are born for something and Benjamin gave it meaning. It was something that happened unexpectedly, I don’t know if it was fate, but I think that’s what we came for,” Marcela said.
Finally, on advice for someone considering adopting a child, Vacarezza said to go ahead and do it. “There can be a lot of fears. Me, before having Benjamin, I didn’t understand how to love an adopted child, where does love come from to compare it to the love we feel for biological children? He said, “It has to be different, it can’t be the same.” It’s the same love you feel for your biological children, but it’s wonderfully special.”he claimed.
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