When we decided to adopt Daniela, of Mexican heritage and born in the US, in 2004 and Josh, born in Guatemala, in 2006, we had planned to one day take our family to their countries of heritage. We had no idea how impactful the trips would be for all of us, but our eyes were opened when we traveled to Mexico last summer.
Part of our trip was spent volunteering in a Mexican orphanage in Morelia as a family service project. We gave the children living in the orphanage a break from their normal chores by washing the numerous dishes after every meal. The time in the orphanage was enlightening to our children, and they had a chance to converse with the children at the orphanage and use the language skills they’ve been developing at their Spanish immersion school.
After our time in Morelia, we traveled to Mexico City to spend time with Dani’s birth mother, as well as explore historical and cultural sites. It was a great learning experience for all of our children since they study Mexican culture in school and we all speak Spanish. But for Dani it was especially important because we were able to show her how much our whole family values her heritage. This fueled her interest in Mexican culture: since we returned, she has decided to join a Mexican folkloric dancing group, something she had never shown interest in previously.
The time with her birth mother was brief, but sweet. Although she had been a part of our lives in the US for many years, she returned to Mexico about 18 months ago. For the first year after she returned, we didn’t receive responses to our letters. I found out that this was because she was so sad that she would not see her daughter that she couldn’t contact us. When we showed up as a family in her country this summer I think it completely changed her perspective. She realizes now that she can actually meet her daughter again – that Mexico isn’t too far away. She was also able to bring her family to meet us and see how much we love Dani. I think we all left with a great sense of peace and hope for the future – connected and motivated by our love for Dani!
Now we just have to figure out when we can go to Guatemala. Although younger, I know it was hard for Josh not to have the opportunity to meet his birth mother too. After taking this trip it’s apparent how much it can make a difference in our children’s lives and we can’t wait to plan our next trip for Josh.
About the Author: Anna is an adoptive mother through Children’s Home.
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