by Brigette Kutschma
December 1, 2006
The floor in the lobby of the Guatemala City Marriott began to show the tracks, a path virtually worn from two sets of feet that paced round and round. In reality, there were many feet pacing the Marriott lobby that day and the years prior—all marching the nervous pacing circuit, awaiting the moment that would change lives forever.
On December 1st, we were only cognizant of the two feet under our own nose. Funny how we could even sense our feet, given the nervous booms coming from our hearts, and the fluttering of a million “mariposas” in our stomach. We paced the lobby circuit, probably still in disbelief that the months and years of waiting, wondering, praying, and longing, would soon be coming to fruition. At any moment, we would meet our three-month old daughter in the Marriott Lobby. The pacing, in whatever small way, helped quash the urge to burst out of the Marriott’s front doors and into the city streets in a frantic “I-can’t-wait-one-single-second-more-to-hold-my–daughter” proclamation. Thankfully, had that happened, few would have understood my crazed English anyways!
I paused from my own circuit, near the main lobby entrance, the nerves and excitement catching up with me instantaneously. Apparently, they had been chasing me the whole time. As I paused, I scanned. I scanned the crowd for any stitch of familiarity, in this land of beautiful, foreign faces. I was looking for the baby girl that we had come to love through pictures and a promise.
The sliding glass doors opened, as they had done one million times that morning, but on this occasion, the Princesita had arrived.
She arrived fast asleep, bundled like a pink burrito. When the foster mother gently–and a bit hesitantly–handed the pink burrito to me, the world stopped. Yes, it is true that you can literally hold your hopes and dreams in the palm of your hand. I gazed, in disbelief and awe. And just like that, the “Sleeping Pink Burrito Princesita” popped open her sweet little eyes, and met her parents for the very first time.
The four-month span from December to April was agonizing and heart-wrenching, as our magical moment on December 1st only represented our ‘visit trip’ to Guatemala. We had to return home, without our precious daughter, and wait for the final approval to take her home forever and ever.
At the time, four months seemed like an eternity to wait after our visit trip; but in retrospect, we now understand that four months was a breeze compared to so many others who traverse their own difficult adoption journeys.
Once finally home with our Princesita in April, we found ourselves very much on a circuit –a different circuit–than the one we paced in the Guatemalan Marriott lobby. Instead of doing the waiting dance, we were now in full new-parent mode, elated and cruising around our home in absolutely no definitive pattern, just trying to find the fastest route to the changing table, the crib, the refrigerator, the toys . . . high on life and baby wipes. Our daughter, Marcella (pronounced Mar-say-a) lit up our home in Lake Geneva with her effervescent smile, happy eyes, and bubbly personality.
A few weeks after we came home with Marcella, I stumbled upon some literature from our adoption agency. It was something that I had read a long time ago, while we were in the waiting process. At the time, I had circled and highlighted the information about a local group called “Latin American Adoptive Families of Wisconsin” (LAAF). I was a new mom–an adoptive new mom at that–and the quick research that I did on the group looked promising and resourceful.
Some decisions we make have profound impact in our lives, which we do not fully realize until later. Thankfully, I was able to see the instant gratification of getting involved with LAAF, but I know that I will still be reaping the LAAF benefit for our lifetimes and then some. My decision to attend a LAAF playgroup with my eight-month old daughter opened many doors, and kindled invaluable friendships and connections. One playgroup led to another, which led to social, educational & cultural events galore, mom’s nights out, online adoption support from other similarly situated families, fun-filled Fiestas—everything an adoptive family could dream of.
We have been involved with LAAF for over five years. The non-profit organization was started in 2003 by caring families that had adopted from Latin American countries. It continues to provide fun and engaging activities for children and their families, while deeming charitable “Giving Back” work as a priority. 2013 is ripe with new events, such as a Three Kings Day event in January, Bowling in February, and the annual Fiesta in late Spring. [http://www.laafwi.org/]
Our family is so grateful for the opportunity to bond with other families that share in this awesome adoption adventure. When our children get together and partake in LAAF activities, it is not just about the ‘fun factor’ (although that is a BIG part of it). There is an underlying thread—far beyond their beautiful dark eyes and hair—that binds the children and their parents together.
October 31, 2012
These days we aren’t pacing with nerves, nor are we chasing around the house looking for baby bottles. Our ‘circuit’ this past week was one of a Halloween march through friendly neighborhoods. One that I painstakingly dreamt about, some six years ago, while we waited for our daughter. And one that makes for sweet dreams these nights…
This Halloween, we marched (or ran, or skipped) along the sidewalk with some of our very best “amigos”, who we met through LAAF five years ago. Dorothy, Cleopatra, and the Swamp Monster, were busy canvassing and collecting candy like nobody’s business. The mamas, also friends united through adoption, both keenly high-on-life as we watched our children grab trick-or-treating by the reins. These same mamas–also intuitively aware of the blessings bestowed upon us through adoption.
About the Blog Author:
Brigette is a former attorney, turned full-time Mamacita to Marcella (six—Guatemala), and Pedro (two—biological). She is married to George, who was born in Peru. The family is eternally grateful for adoption, and for the connection to Latin American Adoptive Families of Wisconsin (LAAF). Brigette currently serves as President of LAAF, and encourages anyone interested in becoming involved with the organization to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or for more information, http://www.laafwi.org.