Maite Gutiérrez: Many yeses that bear abundant fruit

Maite Gutiérrez: 37 years married, 13 children, 8 grandchildren and two on the way. Madrileña, with great confidence in divine providence.

Omnes-March 14, 2018-Reading time: 3 minutes

"Lord, if you ask it of me, I will give it to you."This was Maite's response to the vocation of her first-born daughter, with whom she shares a name. Seventeen years ago, the young woman spoke to her parents and told them of God's call to contemplative religious life. Over the years, her sixth and ninth daughters would also go to the convent. All three are sisters of Iesu CommunioThe religious institute that tries to make its own the cry of Jesus on the cross: ".I'm thirsty.".

Maite and Paco began their marriage 37 years ago. A life marked by an accumulation of yeses: yes to life, yes to adoption and yes to vocations. With generous and courageous openness they have formed a family of thirteen children: ten biological and three adopted. Eight are women and five are boys, the eldest is 36 and the youngest is 15 years old. To this "clan" - as they like to call themselves - they add three sons-in-law and a daughter-in-law, eight grandchildren and two more on the way.

Despite having gone through financial hardship, the couple has experienced how the Lord does not let Himself be outdone in generosity. They have never lacked for anything. "We just had a lot of love to give, two bathrooms, 5 bedrooms and a lot of bunk beds."She is a doctor by profession and has tried to combine her professional work with her family life.

Economists, doctors, military men, engineers, nuns and teachers: her children have made it. When asked if they have been able to meet the emotional needs of each, she nods her head, but does not know how they have done it. They have no doubt that the Lord has done it all.

"Family life has been built on small moments. For example, when frying eggs, they would come up to me, tell me their things and we would also talk about transcendental topics. In a large family, sharing life with many siblings is enriching and teaches us to share, to renounce. In addition, the fact that two of them have some disabilities has meant a constant work of overcoming for all of them. With our failures and limits, I believe that there is something that has been transmitted. Today all we can do is thank God."says Maite.

A joint embrace to adoption

The subject of adoption has been a recurring one for these spouses. Since they were engaged, they had talked about the possibility of adopting, and after the war in Bosnia, they thought about it again, since many children needed to be protected. When they started the adoption process, they had seven children and were waiting for their eighth.

They had several interviews with officials from the Community of Madrid. They were asked if they would be willing to have sick or disabled children, and they always said yes. A biological child they would also accept however he or she came, they assert. "At the last meeting we were offered a 22 month old girl with Down syndrome. It was a very difficult and special moment for both of us. We consulted with our children and accepted her unanimously. That's when you feel all the words of the gospel. One of those phrases that marked us says: It is I, do not be afraid".he says with a broken voice.

After Reyes, the couple had their 10th biological daughter. "We still had the capacity to give affection and we wanted to adopt again. But not before talking it over with our children, they have been the protagonists of all the decisions.". At three months old and with Down syndrome, Marcos came to this clan.

Facing disability is easier when you realize that they are children who need love, they learn at their own pace and without any pretensions. "Reyes and Marcos have evolved a lot. Although we don't expect anything, we prefer to be surprised by their progress.", he says.

Three years later and with twelve children, the idea of adoption came up again. The Community of Madrid gave them the opportunity to take in a child with a small eye problem. Guillermo was three years old when he came to this great family. His biggest dream during the first years was to have the family name and when they were finally able to adopt him legally, they were so happy that they celebrated the news with a party.

"This is our story, this is how my thirteen children have come home. If you see with the eyes of the world what we have done in this family, you will not understand it, but this is not of the world. We have always said yes to what God was asking of us."Maite concludes with a smile.

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