After nine years of trying to bring a new life into our family, we wanted a child so much that we adopted.  And Jeremiah is simply the greatest gift that we have EVER been given.  I’ve always understood that children are precious, but waiting nine years for Jeremiah only amplified that sentiment.

Today in the Guatemalan World Vision base I met Federico.  He’s slightly older than Jeremiah, which is why I sponsored him.  That age connection with Jeremiah coupled with the intense love I have for my son and the perspective that nine years of infertility have given me was a concoction for emotional wreckage.  I knew that meeting a child Jeremiah’s age who is disadvantaged and impoverished would move me to tears.  I knew that today would be intense … that my love for Jeremiah would somehow and in someway pour out to Federico.

I came to this three hour meeting prepared for the emotional roller coaster.  I had plenty of deodorant (cause I tend to get body odor when I’m emotional), breath mints (cause I’ve been drinking and drinking all this wonderful Guatemalan coffee) AND I brought a soccer ball, tennis ball sized bouncy ball and an authentic Mexican cowboy hat as gifts … just because I’m cool like that.

All ten of us “World Vision Bloggers” arrived at the World Vision base to find it decorated with balloons and our sponsored kids waiting in anticipation to meet their “godparents” (all the Guatemalan children call their sponsors “godparents”).  To my surprise, Federico’s brother Christian also came with him, so I divided up my gifts.  I gave Christian the sombrero and the bouncy ball, but I gave the best present – the soccer ball – to Federico.

Me giving my gifts to Federico and Christian :: Photo credit Laura Reinhardt

Federico :: Photo Credit Laura Reinhardt

Christian :: Photo Credit Laura Reinhardt

Putting my sunglasses on Federico :: Photo Credit Matthew Paul Turner

Photo Credit Matthew Paul Turner

From left to right: Me, Christian, Federico and their mother :: Photo Credit Matthew Paul Turner

Photo Credit Laura Reinhardt

At first I followed Federico around to the metal swing set, then we kicked his soccer ball back and forth and — to the delight of everyone — I let Federico and Christian tackle me.  Just like Jeremiah, they jumped on top of me and I lifted them up, making them fly as they giggled and laughed with such a genuine laughter that it seemed they were having the time of their lives.  These children are just like Jeremiah.  Just like your children their belly laughter has the endearing ability to make you believe that the world is full of goodness.  And that you — THAT YOU — at this very moment are the source of all the goodness.  For a second, for a moment, their laughter helps us believe again.

It helps us believe that there’s more than darkness and pain.  That love and goodness and faith exist. That there is life before death and that it’s okay to smile and love and forgive.  It seems that all those things that have been buried by the dirt of pain, bitterness, selfishness and hate are all uncovered at the very sound of a child’s laughter … as though their laughter is the very language of God.

As I write this and remember Federico and Christian’s laughter, I do believe.  I do.  Through the holistic approach of World Vision and my sponsorship, both Federico and Christian’s laughter will not end with our game of airplane.  They will have the opportunity that I will give to my son.  They will have the opportunity to believe and dream for stability and health.  They can break the cycle of generational poverty.  They can raise a family, play airplane with their children and let the sounds of laughter wash away the terrors of the world.

After three hours, I was no longer following Federico around.  He was following me.  I, his friend … his godparent.  And I will do my part to keep him laughing.  To fly.  To believe.  To dream.  Together.

Photo Credit Laura Reinhardt

PLEASE join me in saving the laughter of these children.  Join me by sponsoring a child through World Vision.  Please, click here. 

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