Family Moab

Family Moab
In Arches National Park

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Return to Guatemala

Our electronic photo frame has been rolling through images of our first Guatemala trip, in 2008, where we met Daniel for the first time. Aden was in first grade, William in preschool, Daniel nearly two.  The children stare at the cameras with big eyes, unable to comprehend the enormity of the changes about to befall each of us. Daniel's facial expressions vary from shocked sorrow to frenetic activity to tentative openness toward his siblings, adoration for his dad, suspicion towards me. 

This morning I opened my eyes in disbelief that today we return to Guatemala with a now almost-18-year-old Daniel. The past sixteen years have been full of challenges that we could never have foreseen. Adoption trauma is real. Families can fracture and mend, children and parents may harbor vast ranges of emotions, some apparent and many brewing under the surface. On frequent occasions I struggled to make it through the day, pushing toward some invisible end zone, a ticker-tape barrier that I could burst through and announce a triumphant finish.

As any parent knows, the idea of "finishing" seems laughable now. Parenting knows no end, no definitive marker that allows one to turn off the anxiety, worry and emotion. And yet, this return trip may offer some closure. Daniel's excitement towards the itinerary - hiking the same volcano when he can actually notice and remember the lava, visiting the pyramid in Tikal where Star Wars was filmed, seeing Lake Atitlan where Mayan aristocracy lived - his positivity gratifies me, though I know it covers an understandable nervous hesitancy about going back to the country of his birth, one he only knows through stories.

We leave shortly, feeling positive and ready, unsure of what's to come but strong in the knowledge that we have all come a long, long way.

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