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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 December 2007, 15:43 GMT
'I had nothing to give my child'
Rosa-Maria, in Guatemala City
Rosa-Maria had no help from family or partner when her child was born
Rosa-Maria Mendizabal, 34, from Guatemala City, gave up her daughter for adoption seven years ago because she had no means to support her - but prays to see her again one day.

I already had two children when my daughter was born - one was five and the other was one year old.

The one-year-old was having to drink water with sugar [in place of milk], so I just didn't have anything to offer her.

I didn't have a job and I had no help from my family.

When I told the girl's father [also the father of my older boy] I was pregnant he said 'do whatever you want, I don't want anything to do with it'. And he left for the US with another woman.

What could I do with three kids? I didn't have anything to give to the two I already had, so I couldn't provide for a third one.

A lady that I was going to talk to about all my problems, she told me about the adoption process one week before my daughter was born.

That was when I decided to give her for adoption because I didn't have anything ready for her, I had nothing. I wanted her to have a family and somebody to support her.

'A better life'

Now I'm working in the adoption process, so I have a job and I have a way to provide for my other two children. Things are much better and they can go to school.

I know that if I had kept her, she probably would have died

My work involves taking paperwork to the authorities and taking the mothers [who are giving up their children] to sign the papers.

It's easier to know why the mothers are giving up the children because I know what they feel.

I understand that the children can have a better life, they can have a home and they won't have the misfortune to die because of disease or because they don't have anything to eat.

I'd be lying if I told you I didn't regret the fact that I gave my daughter up, because my heart always longs for her. But I know that if I had kept her, she probably would have died.

I signed some papers and then met the adoptive mother, an American, when I went to do the DNA test to prove that I was the mother.

About two months later, I went to the court with a social worker to tell them again that I was willing to give my daughter up for adoption.

At the end I had to sign a paper to give the right to the adoptive parents to get an American visa for the girl. And that was all I had to do.

'It's very hard'

I don't have any idea where she is now. I don't want her back but I would like to see her, a picture of where she is or what she looks like.

But the adoption was done by another lawyer, who no longer works in the adoption process, so it's really difficult...

I pray every day to see her again - even if it's not until she is 15 or 20 years old, I'd like to see her again.

I don't have a partner now, only my children. My parents never knew about the little one. They know about the two boys but this whole thing about the adoption, I kept to myself - it's very hard.

Only the older boy knows about the girl. He asks me why we couldn't have kept her - since they are two boys, he wonders why they couldn't have had a sister.

But he knows all the struggling that we went through and that we didn't have any money to support her, and that that was the reason I gave her up.

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