Monday, August 25, 2008

Divine Encounters can be roots that lead you back and help you grow forward

Our divine connection in Guatemala- remembering the roots that began to grow the day we all met: same path, different journey to get there.

We met (then baby) Maria and her parents on our visit to meet Christina for the first time in Guatemala. They were bringing their new daughter home the next day, and we were just preparing to end our visit with Christina - heading home to wait until we were told we could come back and bring her home with us forever.

Christina was just 6 months old, Maria older by a month or so, was also born in 2000. They were happy bouncy babies and they had entered our lives at the same time, in the same hotel..... Little did we know God was about to connect our lives and establish roots that the girls would have as a part of their foundation forever.

After brief well wishes to each other in the hotel hallway earlier that day, we decided to bring the new family we had met a celebration gift. We hesitantly knocked on their door, bringing with us a baby outfit and high hopes of meeting another family with understanding hearts and the happy ending that we too so desperately wanted for our family.

We sat and talked with them for hours in their hotel room as we watched them hold and get to know their new daughter. There was an instant liking and connection between all of us and a bond was formed right then. New roots were beginning to grow.

Perfect strangers with newly exposed hearts, meeting on the same path from different journeys of life to begin our families. In that hotel room, in the late hours of the night, we shared in each other's joy and pain and realization that this was finally really happening. We were finally becoming parents....them on the day we met, and Gus and I soon to join them, about one month later, as new parents of these beautiful "Guatemalan Princesses."

Since that day in the summer of 2001, we have purposed to stay close through emails, letters, Christmas cards, special occasion care packages, and even occasional phone calls as the girls have discovered phones. We decided long ago that it was important to us that the girls know each other and so after many failed attempts to meet for a visit, we finally found a date and time that worked and we all got together again.

That visit was amazing...if it wasn't for how big our girls had gotten, it would have been like no time had passed at all. We re-lived that first night over and over, and then shared story after story-the weaving together that had been occurring within each family since we first became a family. The girls were shy at first but it didn't take long for them to connect. They were thrilled when people asked if they were sisters and they took great pride in telling people they were both born in Guatemala.

Including that first visit, we have met with them 3 times, once in Baltimore to visit the aquarium, once to tour DC and now to just let them play and have fun together at Maria's house. Somehow it is shocking that we could all reconnect so quickly and easily when we have only been together 4 times in the last 7 years, but each time we get together we seem to pick right back up from where we left off, sharing some of the same favorite stories, adding in the new ones and creating even more memories with each visit.

Because it was somehow very important to all of us that we keep the girls connected, both families have made it a priority to to ensure that it happens. It has been worth all of the planning and navigating around life's ups and downs to make sure we stay connected. For us as parents it really allows us to celebrate our beautiful Guatemalan Princesses in a way that we cannot with anyone else. We talk about that day we met in Guatemala. We recall the struggles to get them home and the process of growing as a family. We are amazed at the similarities and appreciate their differences as we watch them grow up so quickly before our eyes. For them, they not only have a friend to grow with over the years, but someone who looks like them and shares the same birthplace and a similar story. They notice the similarities and delight in them. And we realize that as they grow older, their stories and their roots will l matter more and more and that is something they will always be able to share with each other.

These girls share a common start in their forever families as well as common heritage, and we pray they will always be friends and always remember together.

As of this visit they are officially "cousin Friends" and that is a wonderful thing!
As for us parents, we know we will never be the same people we were before that summer when our daughters entered our worlds and our families became forever connected through them.

I thank God for for different journeys that cross on the same paths, for the establishment of foundations and the creation of the roots we grow from...
our heritage, our forever families, our divine encounters that will last a lifetime and keep us connected to some of the roots we never want to forget...

** These photos are from our most recent visit. This last one is my husband and I with the two girls.
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