This is a story about going back. Adopted kids going back to their country of origin is a rite of passage – or maybe a right of passage. Our three adopted kids are all from Nicaragua. The oldest, Nelson, lived in an orphanage in San Marcos; the other two, Joe and Jhosy, both lived at Rolando Carazo Children’s Center in Managua. Of the three, only Jhosy has vivid and true memories of living in the orphanage. She was nearly seven when she left; her brothers were toddlers.
She’s sitting there in the red shirt, waiting.
So when we went back to Nicaragua in 2004, we wondered what it would be like for her, returning to a place she knew so well – that she had left just ten years before.
I don’t know how she felt. I just know what I saw. I watched the little girls run up to her and beg to use her chapstick and wear her hat. I watched her walk through the room where she used to live, pointing out what used to be where. I watched her sit on the bench where the infamous ‘how can you resist this orphan’ picture was taken years ago – the one that made us move heaven and earth to get her adoption finalized.
I watched her maybe ‘get it’ for the first time.
How many children there were. And how right it would feel to pick one up and walk right out the door. And figure out the rest later.