As mentioned Buddy stayed in El Salvador with their daughter while working. So it was up to Barbara to complete the 26 documents needed to get her home. All of the paperwork was sent to Barbara in Spanish. Not speaking Spanish, Barbara solicited the help of Jeff’s (her oldest son) teacher in Plano who translated all of the documents for her. Things had to be sent to the US government, the El Salvadorian government, home studies had to be done, new birth certificates obtained, background checks, etc, etc.
As most adoptive families will tell you… the paperwork.. oh the paperwork… but once you have met that child.. you stay focused on the end result and it seems less daunting. It was a very long month for Barbara but she finalized the paperwork- she had obtained a green card for Kelly and it was time to bring her home.
(Barbara said that none of this would have happened had it not been for Texas Instruments. When TI learned what the Bentley’s were doing– they helped a great deal with the beaucracy and financially throughout the entire process.)
It was June 14, 1974 Buddy brought their daughter, yes their daughter.. Kelly home. Kelly was now 4 months old.
So Barbara waited… as Buddy got off the plane with Kelly, Barbara stood there with her 2 boys and watched and waited. WFAA Channel 8 was there to capture the moment for the addition to this family. (wish we had a picture of this but we do not.)
The boys instantly took to Kelly and she was called ” Sis”- because there was never a doubt, that is who she is.
It took about 6 months for Kelly’s head to return to normal. They held her every chance they got– wanted her to know how much she was loved. There were family and friends who took such a special interest in this “chosen child”- loving and supporting her unconditionally.
As a condition within the first 30 days of an adoption– an ad was placed in the McKinney Courier Gazette (local newspaper) that if anyone knew Kelly or knew her biological parents then they had 30 days to come forward and claim her. Thirty days came and went… it was once again official… she was a Bentley!
It took 2 years to finalize the adoption in the US and 4 years to become a citizen. Barbara wished she had hung onto that green card but she was forced to give it back to get her citizenship certificate. A very happy and proud moment for the Bentley’s as well as their friends and family as Kelly was now a United States citizen.
There can be some oddities with international adoption and back in 1974 was no different. The Bentley’s were required to send a family photo back to Dr. Camacho in El Salvador to prove that they had not sold Kelly. (Such a foreign concept to so many of us- but I guess a reality in some parts of the world.)
A beautiful journey for the Bentley family…..
Up Next: Words from Barbara and Kelly