Homecoming

Other adoptive parents and I talk a lot about all the reasons why a trip back to Guatemala benefits our children. But as I visit places in-country with my friend and fellow adoptive mom, Kallie, I see how much other people benefit as well.

Us, as adoptive parents, for one. Nothing allows someone to process an experience like going back to where it happened. Our children’s caregivers, for another. To see that the babies they cared for and loved have grown up to become healthy, happy children is a powerful and moving experience for each of them.

One of the first things Kallie did with Maya when they arrived in Antigua was visit the hogar where Maya lived as an infant. Like the Guatemala City hotel lobby is for me, the hogar playroom is for Kallie: the first place she held her daughter in her arms. That specific location is a place no mother, or father, is ever likely to forget.

When Olivia and I lived in Antigua, we had a wonderful ninera, or babysitter, who took care of Olivia when I went into the capital to investigate our adoption. After we left, Yoli moved on to take care of Maya during the hours when Kallie worked. Yoli and her kids were like family. They have never forgotten us or our children.

A few days ago, we experienced a marvelous reunion with Yoli and her children, who, six years ago, were around the age Olivia is now. Kallie and I hardly recognized them: One of Yoli’s daughters is married with children, studying to become a chef. Another hopes to become a teacher.  Her son, our girls’ playmate, plans to become an architect. (He is the handsome boy in the photos above and below, now the handsome young man.)

Yoli’s eldest daughter, engaged to be married, brought along nail polish. As we drank coffee and ate cake, she gave manicures to the little girls and to Kallie and me (rainbow with flowers and gold sparkles, respectively).  

Before we said goodbye to our old friends and ended our memorable reunion, Yoli showed us the photos she still carries with her everywhere: pictures of our babies.

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4 Responses to “Homecoming”

  1. christine says:

    tears in my eyes…

  2. Jessica says:

    mine too, often.

  3. Sveta says:

    Aww, Jessica. I am so glad you and Olivia were able to go on this trip. I also have to admit that I am so happy that you can blog and we can enjoy your stories as they are still happening, instead of waiting for you to get home and recall your moments, although I’d love that, too. “Real time” feeling I get from reading your travel blogs gives me a very vivid sense of participation in it all somehow. For a luddite like myself, it is not a small admission. :)

  4. Jessica says:

    You are the last person I’d call a Luddite, my dear. You can retrieve messages on your cell phone, no? Then you’re way ahead of me, here in Guatemala.
    The power of the Internet. How it has changed the world, esp. noticeable in places like this. On one hand, making tortillas the same way for a thousand years. On the other, text messaging your kids as you do so. Blog fodder, maybe?
    Miss you and see you soon. Hugs.

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