Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Honduras - 1 last time (fingers crossed)

WIth just a little bit of luck, this will be the last time I blog from Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Today is my 37th day in this country, and on Friday - 3 sleeps from now - I believe my new family of 5 will board a plane and head for our beloved homeland.

At least 4 of us will. To the 5th and newest member of our family, he will be saying goodbye to everything he has ever known. I would give a healthy sum of money to read his mind. Sadly, youth and a language barrier leave much of that as a giant mystery as to what he thinks about everything that has happened to him in the last 5 weeks or maybe 5 years.

Yesterday, we threw him a birthday party. Trouble was, his birthday, according to all records is actually on June 6. However, for the last month, it has become clear that he thinks he is 4 years old. But, the paper work verifies he is actually 5 years old. This led us to a couple of destinations.

1) - That now we have a greater appreciation for people from this part of the world who have some uncertainty as to their age or birthday. Personally, when there is a ball player scandal regarding a player's age, I had always assumed it was some devious plot to mislead franchises or leagues to secure larger sums of money. In some cases, I suppose that is true. But, a large amount of the time, there is just no way to truly know how old a person is. Especially an orphan. But, not only orphans. My wife's father didn't know his true birthday either. He had a large family and they didn't use hospitals for births. When it was time to turn in his records at city hall or wherever a few years later, the belief now is that the mother confused two of her sons birth-dates. Anyway, something that I had never imagined was a scenario where our boy would be older than he thinks he is. Possibly because nobody told him it was his birthday back in June when he was waiting for us to come get him.

2) - That we have to catch him up! There is never a time where a child shouldn't celebrate their birthday. Even if it is 4 months later, we thought we could catch him up before we go home to the USA and then celebrate his birthday next year on time and he won't think anything odd of the proceedings.

So, we went to Pizza Hut (yep), bought him a bunch of gifts, found a cake at a bakery, and had a party. He seemed quite delighted and now he recognizes his age as "cinco".

Anyway, we fly on Friday assuming the US Embassy doesn't jam us up on Thursday. It might be risky to assume that it will all go smoothly, but I think 40 days is so symmetrical that it just has to happen.

This trip has been simply amazing in so many ways. It has been so long and so involved that I almost can't remember the start of it all. If there is one thing to be learned it is that the international adoption is way more complex than it needs to be. I understand red tape, but it should not take 34 months to match a willing family and a needy child. It may not be a priority for the government these days, but with millions of orphans and many families blessed with so much, if only this process were made easier, how many children could have a chance in life?

I know this anecdote has been used by many causes, but I remember the first time i heard it and in my mind equated it to helping just 1 human have a better life:

A small boy and his grandfather were walking on the beach and thousands of starfish had been tossed onto the sand by the waves and, as the sun began to beat down on them, they were about to meet the end of their existence. The grandfather picked up individual starfish and threw them into the ocean to save them.

His grandson, seeing huge numbers of starfish before them said: "Grandpa, there are thousands of them! Why are you bothering to throw any back in the ocean? We can't possible make a difference.

Grandpa smiled, picked up one starfish, waved it in front of his grandson's nose and threw it into the ocean saying: "It made a difference to that one".

Anyway, I believe our work here is done. Now life really begins back in Texas. And my work continues at the radio station. I believe Monday at noon. I really owe a debt of gratitude to all management, staff, and listeners of the Ticket. Thanks for putting up with this absence. Can't wait to get back to the job. See you then.


Irishbrewed said...

Wish you and your family the best in the years ahead and may peace be with you sturminator. How you return to the futile world of trivial entertainment after such a life changing endeavor should be a real challenge.

ddo said...

you might have to just cut him in half and count the rings. whatever you do make sure he makes it past that birthday cutoff for little league fall ball.

in all seriousness, you are a great father and great family. i wish you all the best and safe travels home.

Drew Anselmo said...

Best of luck to you and your family, both getting back safely, and in the years ahead. I look forward to hearing you on the radio again. Dan and Donnie are great, but nothing compares to Sports Sturm!
Your bigest P1 and biggest BaD radio fan! Best show on the ticket. No offense Norm, Hardline and Musers.

Jermjerm said...

In our best Bart Scott cadence, "Can't wait"

djrob777 said...

I couldn't agree with you more regarding the complication of adoptions (that's true in the US, moreso overseas). It's crazy how hard it is for people that want to provide a home to a child that needs one!
I've been by that Pizza Hut in Tegucigalpa. Didn't eat there though.

vee gee said...

I hope and pray all goes well this week and the ENTIRE Sturm family makes it back on Friday. Thank you for sharing the story with us. We adopted in the US and were very fortunate that the adoption process was smooth. We have friends that have adopted internationally from different countries and the experience is very similar to yours. So I agree that this process needs to be fixed for the children. Can't wait for you to be back on the radio - Dan and Donnie need you!

Anonymous said...

I wish you all the best with your new child. It's too bad adoptions cannot be done quickly and without all the hassle, both internationally and in the U.S. We have adopted nine children and have experienced both, and it gets frustrating. It is well worth it though, as you already know. God bless you and your family.

Scott Bolitho

Kad and Peaches said...

I've come across your blog recently. I'm so happy for you and your family in completing your adoption! I wasn't sure how to contact you. We are also interested in adopting from Honduras thru Dillon/Bucker & didn't know if you had any words of advice? Would recommend it now? Etc. Again, congrats to your family!
Thanks, LM

Sandra Cruz said...

I just came across your blog and have been reading all about your adoption from Honduras. I am so happy for you and your family and what a blessing for this little boy who has joined your family.

I was writing in hopes that you can give me some suggestions. We are on a somewhat similar journey. We will be visiting Honduras very soon to pick up our little girl who is 3. We are awaiting a visa interview in Tegucagalpa. We are hoping that it will be next month (Feb.) One of my main concerns with traveling to Honduras is safety. I've read too many stories (should have stayed off the internet.) Anyway, I was wondering if you could give me some ideas as far as where to stay. We are hoping to only be there for about a week but after reading thru your blog i'm getting kind of nervous. Our case is a little different because we are going to get my stepdaughter and my husbands biological child so we dont have to go through the adoption stuff but we still have to go through the approval of a visa and at this point anything could happen. Anyway, i have been looking into hotels and "safe" areas and just wanted advise from someone who has been there and seen this first hand. Anyhting you can offer is much appreciated.


If you are interested i have also been keeping a blog of our journey: prayingandbelieving.blogspot.com

Please if you read this you do not have to publish comment. I was really just looking for help and not an audience :) I can be emailed at sjholers@gmail.com