Monday, January 26, 2009

Across All Borders

For as long as I can remember, my heart’s desire has been to adopt children from around the world and to work with orphans and families at risk of leaving their children as orphans.

In March 2007, one of those desires was placed in my arms while I sat in a room off of the lobby of a hotel in Guatemala. He was tiny and wrapped in a blue blanket. My heart, that had been hardened by years of heartache, melted as I became his mom. As the months passed while we waited for him to come home, I went through the ups and downs that every adoption process brings. I was thrilled to finally have a child, but hurt that he was not yet able to be home. I had no doubt that he was meant to be our son, but feared the possibility of his birth mother changing her mind or adoptions in Guatemala being stopped before our case was final. In August of that year, I moved to Antigua, Guatemala to foster our son and wait out the rest of his process. What was supposed to be a less than 2 week trip became a journey that lasted 2 months. During that time, I struggled with the love I had grown to have for Guatemala and the desperation to leave our son’s birth country. While I was happy to be spending such precious time with the child of my dreams, all I wanted to do was go home. I was home sick, in culture shock and physically ill….nothing would make me happy other than the call to say we would soon be going home. For 2 weeks I cried myself to sleep every night. I complained to anyone that would listen. I was convinced that my prayers were going unheard and that I had been abandoned. On a beautiful September morning, I sat on the roof top terrace staring at the most beautiful view I had ever seen. The sky was clear and even though Volcano Agua was far away, it seemed close enough to touch. As I sat there I realized how foolish I had been. My time in Antigua wasn’t about me or what I wanted. It was about Him and what He wanted. I had never doubted that I would one day spend my life doing humanitarian work in countries around the world and throughout Tommy’s adoption I knew that we would one day work in Guatemala, but until that moment I had not even considered the possibility of there being a greater purpose for my being there other than to spend time with our son to make his adjustment easier once he was allowed to come home. In an instant, I realized that I was there not only to spend time with our son, but to begin living the purpose of my life. Before starting to work in Guatemala, I had to see it, truly experience it. I had to feel the pain that so many people there suffer with each day. I had to hear the stories of how they fight survive. I had to see with my own eyes people living in extreme poverty, malnourished children, kids living on the streets. I had to cry tears not for myself, but for others that were suffering far more than I ever would. I couldn’t leave until my love for Guatemala became a burning passion so intense that it could never be distinguished. From that day on, for the remainder of my short 6 weeks there, I didn’t try to hide. Instead, I opened myself up to allowing whatever was meant to happen while I was there to happen. I saw, I heard, I felt and my love for Guatemala grew to a love that is greater than I ever imagined it could be. Of course, I still wanted permission to be able to go home and continued to make that perfectly clear, but as the days passed, I longed to be able to stay in Guatemala for as long as possible and ended up never wanting to leave. Some people at home began to think I was crazy. How could I love Guatemala so much? Why would I want to live there without being able to have the luxuries of home? Why would I want to spend the rest of my life, living among people suffering with untreated diseases and in extreme poverty? Had I lost my mind?

In October 2007, as I boarded a plane with our son bound for the U.S., I cried tears of joy and sorrow. It was the most bittersweet moment I have ever experienced. I couldn’t have been happier that his adoption was final and he was able to come home. I couldn’t wait to see my husband again and was excited about being reunited with the family and friends that had given us never ending support throughout the adoption. But I didn’t want to leave Guatemala. While my heart had been filled with the love I had for my child, a huge piece of me was left in Guatemala. As I watched the country that I loved with every thing in me fade into the distance, I knew that I would be back and what was happening was only the beginning of the rest of my life.

I’ve spent more than a year talking about Guatemala to anyone that will listen and knowing all along what it is I am supposed to be doing there. It took a little longer than expected, but today, my other heart’s desire and life’s dream becomes my reality. Across All Borders is that dream and desire. We are committed to spending the rest of our lives reaching out to those most in need in Guatemala and other countries around the world. Until my last breath, I will remain an advocate for orphans and families at risk of leaving their children as orphans and will continue to do every thing I possibly can to give them hope, a future, a better life. Some people still call me crazy and many others will in the future, but I am not accountable to those that do not believe in or support this work. I am only accountable to the One that created me for this purpose. Those that feel this is something we shouldn’t do have no idea of what the true meaning of life is. We are all called to help widows and orphans in their distress. We are all called to reach out to those in need. Whether or not we choose to follow that call is a decision we each have to make individually. For us, it was a decision that was easy to make.

Today is the beginning of lives being changed, lives being renewed, lives being transformed. We would love for you to join us, support us and be involved in any way you can. Visit our website to learn more about what we are doing and ways you can help. Check back often, both here and our website for frequent updates about what is going on and how Across All Borders’ work is progressing.

OUR ADOPTIVE FAMILIES COOKBOOKS ARE NOW ON SALE FOR A LIMITED TIME!! Please make sure to order your copy and copies for your family and friends today! For more information, visit Across All Borders and click on the blue cookbook fundraiser box at the top of any page. You may order online or by mail. AND, you can even use the Paypal link below to place an order!

Number of Cookbooks

We would like to thank every person that contributed recipes for the cookbook, those that have been instrumental in helping us launch Across All Borders and those that have already let us know that they are willing to do any thing they can to help. We owe so much to these individuals that are just as committed to Guatemala as we are and we are sincerely grateful for their support and encouragement.


Bobbi said...

A beautiful, moving post!! I can't wait to see where this lead us all.

Congratulations,and it is gorgeous!!

jajbs said...

What a great post! This is so exciting and I am so thankful you asked me to be a part of it. I can't wait to see what He has in store for us and the wonderful people of Guatemala!


Steph said...

How beautiful! You spoke to so much that is in my heart. I studied abroad in Guatemala in college and I always felt like I left a HUGE piece of my heart there. Through the years, I never, ever, ever forgot about Guatemala and I always knew I would go back. Of course, I had no idea at the time that my heart and soul, my son, would be born in Guatemala and that my journey back would open my heart in ways I never could have imagined.

I am so excited to see how your organization evolves. Your committment and compassion are inspiring!