I still remember that day, and I always will; it is seared into my mind and into my heart forever. It is the day I received a glorious treasure.
It was hot, so hot that you could cook an egg on the corroding floor of the old oversized white van I was driving, accompanied by my Honduran friend Ella. We were driving to the market to buy food for the fifty something children that inhabited the children’s home we worked in. It’s a heat that I had never known before coming to Honduras, and why would I?
Sure, Sothern Alabama can feel like a sauna with its heat and its humidity that anyone who has experienced it, would describe it is over the top. But in southern Alabama, where I grew up, going outside to this heat and intense humidity was a thing of choice, and when tired of the heat bearing down upon me, I could easily retire to the gloriously air-conditioned environments of our homes, our work places, stores, coffee shops and many churches. Well, Honduras is not like that. you cannot escape the heat, after a while your body grows costumed to the heat; but this day I am going to tell you about, this glorious day, not even a person accustomed to the heat would be able to withstand it without a great deal of sweating. And sweat we did, by the way did I mention that this glorious white van did not have air conditioning?
The market we were visiting this day is an outdoor market full of vendors, each one selling the vegetables, beans, rice, sugar, and meat of their choosing. Sitting out underneath the scorching sun every day has left these hard-working vendors looking tired and worn, and much older than they most likely are. Each one of them withstanding their circumstances, just hoping that they will sell what they have brought with them and that they are able to return to their families with what will hopefully be enough money to feed them and hopefully pay their bills, like electricity, if they are lucky enough to have this luxury. On this particular trip to the market where we fought our way through the crowds and bartered with vendors to get the best price on the vegetables we would take back to feed our children. The hustle and bustle of this environment was the setting in which I received a phone call, A phone call that would forever change my life and the life of my husband, Edwin.
Edwin and I met working together at a foundation in the mountains of Honduras. Working side by side day after day is the setting where our love ignited, and our fates were sealed. We were married almost exactly two years after our meeting, but that is something we will talk about further along.
On the other end of the line was my boss, A woman with much grace and beauty and a complete and compelling devotion to the work that we did together. She was asking me, a barely-twenty-something-year old, if Edwin and I were willing to take a new baby into our home and care for him. The reason they needed an extra care for him is that there were currently no babies in our children’s home, all of the children were three and older. Now a normal person like myself, not having any prior knowledge or real-life experience taking care of babies, might have said “uh, no thanks, I don’t think I am the right person.” But it just felt right… I know to some people that expression may not sit well with you at all; and you can call it impulsiveness, intuition, or God, but there have been key moments in my life where I knew something was right just because I simply, undoubtedly, jump in with both feet, knew it was right. And this was one of those key moments.
So, after hours of rummaging the markets, and with our corroded van piled from floor to ceiling with crates, and boxes, and mesh bags full of food; with sweat coming from places I didn’t even know sweat could come from, I head decidedly towards the meeting place where I would pick up this baby and take him home to nurture until he was old and well enough to enter the children’s home.
I pull in where I am to pick up this baby, we must have been quite a sight, two sweaty girls getting out of this old rickety van, thankfully I have never been one to care much about what others think. I walk in and I see a pastor friend of mine, his wife and my bosses. My pastor friend lovingly cradling a sleeping baby, barely the length of my forearm, wrapped tightly in a white blanket. as I get closer He holds the baby out to me, shakily I reach my arms out to take him. I look down upon this surprisingly white, beautifully formed sleeping-for lack of a better word- angel. holding him felt right, it felt like when your return to a place that you have always loved, a place of comfort after not having visited this place for a long period of time, like your childhood home years after not visiting. when you walk in you feel a sense of relief, of belonging, of satisfaction; that is what holding this little baby in my arms felt like. we fit. we belong. I went on to learn that his name was Alexander and that he had been left at the hospital and that he was just two months old. We didn’t know anything of his birth mother or of his father. Alexander- such a beautiful baby with such a beautiful name.
We quickly discovered that he had filled our home and our hearts, and we wanted to adopt him as our own son, unfortunately we would have to wait a few years to speak up and do so, due to the corruption in the nation which I could only best describe as an electrified cage sitting heavily over the entire nation, holding down its people and shocking those who dare to try and reach beyond its realm. His adoption was a long journey, a journey that tried, tested, poked, and prodded me in so many ways; it caused me to learn more about myself, about my strengths, my weaknesses, my fears. The fear of loosing him at any given moment in the long process was overwhelming at times, I will tell you the full story of him adoption another day!