Four years ago this month, Toby and I were just getting settled in after making a once-in-a-lifetime journey to Guatemala City, where we had picked up our infant son, Zachary. He turned 5 months old in June not long after we got home. My parents and our older three children had traveled with us and we had a precious experience there together. (note: the flights home did not fall into the "precious" category, but that's a tale for another day...just know that you should never, ever, EVER fly from a foreign country with four children, one of whom you barely know, and purchase only two reserved seats, ahem.)
Prior to that time, Zachary had spent his infancy in a sweet, sweet place called Hannah's Hope, Guatemala City. Waiting months to bring our son home was an incredibly hard thing (especially after meeting him shortly after his birth) but I can't tell you what comfort it brought us to know that he was in this uniquely loving "home" during his wait. Hannah's Hope was built and is directed and maintained by All God's Children International out of Portland, OR. These are the people who held our hands as we walked through the often difficult and frightening process of adoption, and finally introduced us to our son and rejoiced with us as we brought him home. They are the best of the best, as far as we are concerned, because we cannot fathom anyone caring more than they did about us and about Zachary.
Hannah's Hope was at that time filled with children waiting to be united with their "forever families" as well as children who had been abandoned but were not yet available for adoption. Their futures were uncertain, but AGCI was determined to be their family unless/until God might move in another direction. The children have real beds, beautifully decorated bedrooms with their photos framed on the walls. The babies are loved, cherished, held, walked, MASSAGED (hello, how could I follow that act?). I could not contain my tears both times we visited, seeing the effort that goes into providing the most loving, home-like environment for the little ones who have no Mommy or Daddy.
Anyway, I could go on and on about the whole journey of bringing our son home and the ups and downs of the months that followed. But really I want to introduce you to AGCI. The thing that is breaking my heart is that with adoptions being closed down for the time being in Guatemala, the children and AGCI are facing a really difficult challenge...the children want to be there, and AGCI staff want more than anything to continue to take in orphaned children and give them the love they gave Zachary. But adoptions were the major source of funding for the home, and without that income, they have to find a new way to feed and clothe the children. Where does the money come from to pay "Special Mothers" who give their hearts and time to the children? AGCI was a family endeavor and Heather Radu has been in it firmly from the beginning. It was her passion to care for the "fatherless" and nothing breaks her heart more than to have to close the doors to new children or even worse, to return children to the care of the state after having them at Hannah's Hope.
So. It's a hard position in which they find themselves. BUT! Help is on the way. God is providing. People who have been touched by their work are uniting to help them carry on. And obviously, I'm letting you know about it because I don't know who will be used to meet that need. Maybe it's you. I know, it's one little puddle of need in the mammoth ocean of global suffering. But consider the splash your very own pair of feet can make in a puddle! :) This is an intimate and tangible way to touch someone in need. Donate, sponsor or just pass it on to others. Interested in adoption? Check out their website in my links to the right. Pray for these caregivers. Pray for the boys and girls and babies and their Special Mothers.
Thanks for letting me talk about this, for sticking around to read it. You've got a stack of mail in your mailbox right now with lots of unsolicited requests for money or help. But it always helps to have a personal connection to the cause. For me, the connection is a little boy who was not my flesh and blood, but is now my heart and soul.
love and peace,