Sunday, June 9, 2013

Love at First Sight

Oi friends! It's been a while since I felt like I have had anything productive to say...but I'M BACK!! I have been trying for days to encapsulate our trip, and find the right words to describe such a life-changing experience. I don't know that I have been successful but I'll give it a shot!

       The number one question I have been asked (outside of "do you have a baby in your carry on luggage") is "what did you learn from this trip"? Wow. I can't even begin to do this answer justice with words. The one thing I can say that I gained, I was myself shocked about. What I learned from this experience is that I went abroad thinking that I had something that these people needed and wanted. What I learned very quickly is that they don't need and some don't want what "the American dream". I was astounded at how happy and content these people were, with absolutely nothing. That brought me home begging the question "if they are happy with nothing, and we are the most lost, unhappy society on earth, what do THEY have that WE need? I have had a rough few days trying to comprehend how to come home and make this work in my life as I know it. Reverse culture shock...yes.

We didn't have to ask these people to smile. They smile with the most genuine happiness I have ever encountered. They were patient and kind and generally just happy! 

I will tell this story in order to set the record straight since so many people are asking!
        Our first true day on the boat I came downstairs on the boat and was informed that we would not being doing much medical care in the village of Anore, as they had a small hospital already. The other villages we would be going to were under water due to the rainy season and had no help at all. We stopped in this village to do vacation Bible school and meet the pastor there that basically runs the community. As I entered the room, my eyes fell on the most beautiful child I have ever seen in my life! Not only was she physically beautiful, but she dripped sweetness. I immediately took to her, and her to me. I asked her if her mother was with her and was told that she had no mother and no father. I responded dumbly "do you want to go to America and let me be your mother?", to which they all began to laugh. I was told that they were laughing because Vitora (the little girl) had sold them out so quickly and would pack her bags in a heartbeat to leave with me! As this was transpiring, I was frantically looking for Steven to explain her situation and have him meet her. He came around the corner and I experienced the most amazing thing I have ever laid my eyes on. "LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT". I never thought that was really even possible. As cliche as it sounds, it happened right before my eyes. I never got the opportunity to introduce her because his eyes never met mine. He never even looked in my direction. He locked eyes with her, and her with him and I stood stunned (and yes SPEECHLESS) at what I was seeing. I felt paralyzed with fear that I had just found the child of my dreams, and she probably wasn't even adoptable. I'm not sure that I can stand one more ounce of heartbreak, but there was nothing I could do to stop this. Like it or not, it was instantaneous. 

This was 30 seconds after meeting her. her first words in English to me were "apple", pointing at my phone! I knew we were meant to be!!!

       Long story short, we were not even supposed to be on this trip. We were scheduled for the April trip that was cancelled.  I do not believe in coincidence. I don't believe that we just showed up in this tiny town at the exact time we did by happenstance. Whether or not she ever has our last name, we have a bond with this child that would cause me to sell every single thing I own...and go to her. Don't count it out yet. We both are ready and willing to become citizens of Brazil. After talking to two awesome nurses that we met from this village, and our trip coordinator we found out that Vitoras mother is a prostitute in the big city of Manaus. Her father was a client and wanted nothing to do with her. She was dropped off at her grandmothers at birth and left. Her grandmother was an alcoholic and died last year from years of alcohol abuse. She was then taken 5 hours down the Amazon and dropped off at her great grandmothers in the town of Anore. She is nine years old and nobody has ever truly wanted her. The story broke my heart and lit a fire under my know what. I was told that because of her social situation, if there is no intervention, she will likely end up a prostitute or pregnant by age 14. That translated to me was "you have 5 years". We have been encouraged and discouraged from adopting from Brazil. The good news is it seems to be much easier to adopt a child this age, than an infant. The bad news is that every single blood relative of this child must consent to her adoption before they will even consider letting us have her. Not to mention, she's not really up for adoption! But I have a BIG God that specializes in miracles! 

       We spent a total of 2 hours if that with this child and new immediately that she was the whole reason we were sent around the world. I told Steven "she ruined the remainder of the trip for us"! We cried ourselves to sleep and cried when we woke up. We genuinely missed a child that we knew relatively nothing about. Talk about instant LOVE! In true Jessica fashion got right on my "apple" as soon as I got service and sent her pic to my family with a short version of the story. They all immediately cried and fell in love with her. 
     To finish the story, her life dream was to have a bicycle. I looked at Steven and he looked at me and we agreed to swim parasite and piranha infested water to find her a bike! Luckily we didn't have to go far. We found a small dime store there that had bicycles and spent 160 dollars to buy her a pink bike with a pink basket and a bell! =)


       To my chagrin, her first question to us was "where have you been so far, and am I the only person you bought a gift for?" This precious child didn't care what we bought her or how expensive it was, she only cared that she was the only one special enough to receive our gifts and our attention. I would have bought her a Rolls Royce if she had asked, and all she wanted was our love. How amazingly touching and embarrassing. Americans, myself included are so caught up in having material things, that we have totally lost sight of what true problems really are. What I ultimately took from this trip was a need to change that.  We ended up meeting her grandmother and seeing her home.

       We met her sweet cousins (all three girls), her dog, saw her neighborhood and the random parrot that was eating off of a plate in their living room. Their house was 3 feet under water and yet...they were all so happy and amazed to see that some random "Americans" came and had an interest in them. I asked Steven, "what will we do if they say we can have her, but we have to take them all?" He replied, "guess we will have a full house!" And I knew in my heart we would! 
       We tried to take Vitoria to school but she showed up not long after that saying that "she was too excited to learn". She told the nurse there that "today is the best day of my entire life". This was before she saw the bike! I believe that this feeling was the equivalent of what new parents feel at the first sight of their newborn baby. Steven described this experience as "like when your young and you like a girl and you know that she will be at a certain place where you are going. That giddy with excitement feeling"! 
This is the video of her receiving her bike! 

Without a doubt the best money we have ever spent! 
       So where does this leave us now??? Well, we have no idea. We are using the precious nurses there as a liaison between us. They are communicating with us regularly and are keeping us updated. Every single person we met that was involved in this process has told us "we will do everything in our power to help you get this child". Overwhelmingly people are supportive of this happening. That being said, this is not impossible, but it will require nothing short of a miracle and about 30,000. Thank God I have a rich daddy in heaven. The very thought of the work involved in this makes me nauseated. I have no idea where my breaking point is, and I hope that I don't have to find out through this. Bottom line is that if we can't ever get her here (which I am not convinced is the best thing anyway), we will consider going there. For more than just Vitoria (btw her name means Victory), but for us as well.          
       Steven and I have big dreams! None of those dreams consist of staying in Myrtle Beach doing the same thing we have always done, with the same results. I don't know if Brazil is our answer.  All that I do know is we are saying "here we are God, send us"!! At this point I am almost begging Him to send me! Who would have ever thought I would be begging God to make me a missionary??? WHA??? I don't know what God's plan is or what He is working in us, but I know that I am more excited than I have ever been to find out. All of a sudden, my barrenness is bearable, and that my friends is the greatest miracle of this MISSION TO BRAZIL! 


We already contacted a tutor to teach us Portuguese, just so you know, we aint playin games! 

       There are so many more stories and pictures that I could elaborate on all day long. 16 people gave their lives to Jesus our first night in Anore. So many people saw the love of Christ through is and received medical and dental help that they would have never receieved without us. Aproximately 40 patients a day were given medical and dental care. Everything from abdominal pain, to rashes to contraceptives were addressed. We met our awesome new friends in Brazil and our Erskine babies! We had such an awesome time and it would never be the same without the group we shared it with! We love you guys! 

I'll keep you posted or I'll post a pic of my passport...2 stamps fuller than it used to be! 

Thank you all for your prayers and support in this journey! You have no idea how life changing this really was! 

or baby mamma in Portugese,

p.s. I loved on me some sweet babies!