Posted on March 3, 2014 by fosteringfamiliestoday
I’ve never held a child in my arms who didn’t have a loving family to care for him or her. I’ve never looked into a child’s eyes whose only option is to grow up in an orphanage surrounded by other children just like him or her. But that’s about to change. At the end of March, I expect to have my life forever altered when I travel to Guatemala to meet children in an orphanage face-to-face.
For more than 12 years, I have written, read and edited adoption stories, so I have a good understanding of the positive and the negative of adoption, the loss and the heartbreak some adoptees feel and the joys adoptive parents experience when they meet their child for the first time. I know the importance of ethical adoption practices that protect the rights of children, birth parents and adoptive parents. But I’ve never looked a child in the face who doesn’t have any options besides aging out of an orphanage, never feeling completely loved and cared for by a parent. I think at that moment my heart will break and I will want to take them all home with me…who wouldn’t?
I’m preparing myself for that experience and many others I know I can’t even prepare for or even expect on a week-long trip to one of the world’s most impoverished countries. I’m incredibly excited to share the stories of some amazing organizations doing great work and an incredible family formed by adoption that has committed their lives to helping the children of Guatemala in upcoming issues of Adoption Today.
One of the first stops on the trip will be to Saquiya, a village that partners with Behrhorst Partners for Development (http://www.behrhorst.org/). Working to reduce chronic childhood malnutrition in rural Guatemala, BPD has partnered with Mayan communities for more than 40 years to help families access clean water, improve sanitation, and increase food production, among other goals.
Another day will be spent in both primary and basico schools in Guatemala witnessing first-hand the impact of textbook programs, computer centers, scholarships, and teacher training programs through the work of the Cooperative Education (CoEd) program (http://www.coeduc.org/).
A major highlight will be delivering bunk beds through El Amor de Patricia’s Bunk Bed Project (http://www.theloveofpatricia.org/the-bunk-bed-project.html) to a family in need that was paid for by the fundraising efforts of my daughter’s Girl Scout troop. With more than half of the country’s population living in poverty, the need is great in the country of roughly 13 million people. It will be a privilege to deliver this bunk bed on behalf of these girls excited to make a difference and I am eager to share my experience with them when I return.
Finally, the trip will be complete with a visit to the children at Rosa de Amor Orphanage (https://www.facebook.com/DonateRosaDeAmor). Since inter-country adoptions from Guatemala have been closed since 2007, these children have very few options for adoption or returning to their birth families. Most of them will remain in the orphanage until they age-out.
I expect all of these experiences to be unbelievably emotional and I hope to do my best to re-create the journey for others and spread the word about the work of these organizations to help vulnerable and impoverished children. I hope you will join me on this journey to Guatemala by following Adoption Today on Facebook athttps://www.facebook.com/pages/Adoption-Today/109668305724781 and in upcoming issues of Adoption Today at www.adoptinfo.net. It is sure to be an impactful experience for all of us.
We’ll also have updates from Adoption Today publisher’s daughter, Jenna Fischer, who is accompanying me on the trip!
posted by Tamara Hillstrom