Word Magazine April 1999 Page 22
A JOURNEY OF SPIRIT AND LOVE
By Nanette Haddad
her. David, myself, Alyssa, four, and Matthew, two, woke up, dressed and went to church. The kids are getting older and more independent. It’s easier to just “pick up and go”, so we do. We were blessed with two healthy, beautiful children, a wonderful family which I have heard described as a rich man’s family. What more could you ask for? Content and comfortable with the life we have been provided from a gracious and loving God, we assumed our family was as it would remain, a happy family of four. Little did we know that a different path had been chosen for us.
Twelve years ago David and I married. We always knew that we wanted children, never contemplating the challenge that having a family would prove to be. After two years of marriage we felt we were then ready for our family. Four years later we were blessed with our precious and most generous gift from God, Alyssa. After two more years we were once again blessed with Matthew. During those difficult years prior to Alyssa, many things were discussed but we knew one way or another we would have a family. Certainly adoption was a consideration, but then along came the kids and on we went with our lives.
In church last February, Father David talked about the orphanage in Guatemala. We were familiar with Hogar Rafael Ayau, as it is a project of the Antiochian Women.
As Father David spoke I was downstairs teaching my Sunday School class and David was in church with Matthew. Later that day, David told me about two siblings at the Hogar, a girl age nine and a boy age five. He said they (the Hogar) were looking for a home for them, a challenge in its own right; being desperate to keep them together certainly added to the task. As we talked the conversations of years past began to creep into our memory. For us, we felt adoption was a wonderful way to expand our family and return in some small way the blessings that we have been so very fortunate to enjoy. The next day we called Father David and he visited us at our place of business and the journey began. Nine months later, after discussions, decisions, paperwork and preparation, we waded our way through the bureaucracy and took off to Guatemala for “our children”. After all of the anxious moments of waiting to hear that the adoption was complete, the actual moment of departure was bittersweet. Leaving Alyssa and Matthew behind was without doubt the most difficult thing that each of us had ever been faced with. Yet the prospect of finally meeting our two new children was exciting and long overdue. Father David sent us on our way with a beautiful blessing and, with the tearful good wishes of the entire congregation, we said good-bye.
Our first night in Guatemala was a sleepless one, filled with excitement and anxiety. We were enthusiastic but frightened. How would our new children respond to us? Would we return safely to our awaiting children? Morning came, the car arrived, and from our window we saw our children step out of the car. Although we had photographs, the reality was extraordinary. When we finally met face to face the feelings were warm and comfortable; the connection was an instant one. Certainly nothing is without its difficult moments and this undertaking was no exception. We soon realized that we adopted two “children”; just like any other children they tell you what they like and they also make it clear what they don’t like. Initially, the communication barrier offered some problems but within a few days it was as if we had been given the ability to comprehend and retain a language that was unfamiliar.
It has been two months since our trip to Guatemala to receive our gifts. In that short time, all of our children have made the transition from housemates to siblings, David and I have made the transition from “the Haddads” to “Mommy and Daddy,” and Angela and Edwin have made the transition from our “two new children” to our son and daughter.
I know we have ALL benefited from this experience and I believe that we have all learned something valuable as well. Alyssa and Matthew learned a true lesson in sharing; they have openly and willingly shared their hearts. Angela and Edwin learned that there is a tomorrow and the future is bright with hope and not bleak with despair as it once was. Finally, David and I learned that God has a plan so we must keep our minds open to his message!
Nanette Haddad and her family are members of St. George Church, Utica, NY