Friday, May 13, 2011


Speed Limits!  STOP Signs!  Lane Changes!  Caution Signs!  Pit Stops!  Scenic Views!  Detours!  And now, a War Zone?  Knight in Shining Armor has asked me to take the wheel as chief navigator on the "Adoption Highway" during this harrowing spring season in the landscaping business.  Putting in many long hours at work and juggling the demands of a growing commercial customer base, he does not want to risk falling asleep at the wheel.  He acknowledges that we need to devise a battle plan.

Sun was setting on Worley World for another day.

Homework done (CHECK)
Battle plan devised (CHECK)
Dinner ready to be served (CHECK)

The momentary peace was interrupted by a knock at the front door.  That is when Gladys, the Salvadoran wife of our longtime employee Fernando, mother of eight-year-old Kevin, and new mother to Daniel born just three weeks ago entered our world.  I put dinner on the back burner and seated the proud family in the living room.  We celebrated the birth of three employee's babies in the last eight weeks and Daniel was the first to come for a visit.  We ooohed and aaahed and snuggled the bundle while getting to know his polite, bilingual, outspoken third grade brother.  At the first break in the conversation, Gladys asked, "When you go to Honduras?".

Following is the story she shared with me that night:

Gladys is the second oldest of twelve children born to a woman who lives between two rivers in a small Salvadoran farming village.  She informed me that El Salvador was a tiny country bordering Honduras.  She recalls standing on the border between the two countries as a young girl, but she never crossed the line.  She said Honduras is very big and very beautiful with its land and its beaches.  She said we will like it there.  She said life for the poor people of Honduras is just like life for the poor people in her country.  There is hunger and there is unemployment.  People use the river to bathe, to wash clothes, and to gather drinking water.  The days are hot and the small cement houses with something like metal roofs are sweltering.  Women cook the food on an open fire outside of the house.  There is no indoor plumbing.  The nearest tree or hole in the ground serves as a bathroom for everyone.  Chickens roam free and lay eggs that are eaten by the community.  They are plentiful and cheap.  She remembers being a young girl and asking her mother why she kept having babies when the ones she had were already starving.  With tears in her eyes she poignantly says that her mother looked away and never answered her. 

She took Kevin to visit her country three years ago.  It broke her heart to tell me that he wanted to return to America just days after arriving in El Salvador.  She said there is no food, no water, no electricity, no jobs, and no school.  She looked at me joyfully and said that she was so happy we were going to bring some children to our home where they could be loved and their bellies could be filled.  She said the pain of hunger is a biting pain.  She said that no child should be without a mother.  She went on to share some recipes of things that she thought the boys might like to eat during the first few weeks in our home.  First and most importantly, she said, were the corn tortillas that needed to be made fresh everyday.  Then beans simmered in a pot of water and smashed for the babies.  She suggested having plenty of rice and eggs on hand as well as a pot of soup.  The soup is to be made with chicken stock and full of vegetables.  She said to let it simmer and simmer and the babies would love it!  She talked some more about the desperate conditions of the people in her country and the country of Honduras.  Her heart breaks mainly for the children.  She talked with genuine excitement about the idea of these children finding forever homes.  No baby should be without someone to hold it.  She was agreeable to the idea of adoption and more children coming to America if that is where they could be fed and be a part of a family.  She said that she would need to teach me some Spanish words of affection so that I could whisper to them in  the boys' ears and they would know that they were loved. 

Night had fallen.  New baby, Daniel, had been fed and changed.  Kevin was yawning.  They had a long ride home for a school night.  As they were packing up to leave, she so sweetly said to me, "Call me when the babies get here.  I will come to help you on Saturdays and Sundays.  Kevin will come, too.  He can play with the boys and show them that this is a good place.  I will help you with the Spanish and  I will say to the little boys...

'This is your Mami.  And she loves you.'
As they stepped out into the darkness, the motion light came on and Gladys turned one more time to say, "Call me!".

In that moment I know I saw the glimmer of a halo. 


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