Article by the Santa Cruz Sentinel:Contact the Organizer
One year ago I came to Guatemala for the first time with a study abroad program. With the help of my home stay family and the program coordinator from my program, we successfully located my birth mother’s family in Santiago Sacatepequez. Unfortunately, we also found out that she had died a few years earlier. I'd never felt so let down. Finding and meeting my birth mother had been my deepest personal goal for as long as I could remember.
Shortly after, my birth mother’s family organized a reunion to introduce me to my other uncles, aunts, and cousins. I learned that I had two younger siblings, Marvin, 15, and Veronica, 21. I immediately set out to find them. With the help of my uncle in law, I found my little brother, who is living with my mother’s last boss before she died, Doña Isabel, a tortilla maker, in Guatemala City. As I recentley learned, she took him in when my mother's family and Marvin's father's family couldn't. He lives with her and 14 of her extended family members.
I met my younger sister Veronica and her children later in the summer when I returned a second time to study Kaqchikel. She lives with her husband in another part of Guatemala.
This past July, I came for a third time to visit Marvin, now 17. I spent three weeks with him and Doña Isabel's family in the capital. Marvin works Monday through Saturday at a mechanics and goes to school Sundays after he helps Doña Isabel bring her tortillas to the market in another part of the capital.
I told my brother I wasn't sure when I'd be back, that I had signed up for a bike tour that literally started the next day, but that I'd be in touch as much as possible. He told me he didn't want to keep in contact, that it'd be easier to just forget about each other. When I called him out on that being a lie, he started to cry. That was when I should have told him the truth, that I was planning to surprise him in two weeks by moving to Guatemala, but I didn't, and it only took two days for him to lose all confidence in me.
The past month has been the beginning of making up for that mistake. I found a beautiful apartment on the same street as Marvin, just two blocks away from his house. I've learned that he can’t make the jump to visit me in a nicer or more central part of the city, in either time or resources, and I want him to get used to me being here so he can rely on me in case of emergency (and just in general!).
Nothing has made me happier than meeting my little brother. I couldn't tell you how he feels about me being here, but knowing him has taught me that the best example I can show him is to live my life well, pursuing my passions and encouraging him to do the same. He has so much potential, and I'm here to be his cheerleader and support him towards a bright future.
This fundraiser is to help us both through my first year here. I did not come as prepared in Spanish as I ought have, so getting back into the Guatemalan system, applying for my ID card so I can work, and following all the steps and filing all the paperwork to apply for work has been one adventure after another.
I've successfully obtained my DPI (Guatemalan ID card) and I'm currently applying left and right for work. The budget I’ve arranged is to sustain us (Marvin’s school fees, when he finally allows me to pay them) for one year in the event of emergency and while I look for work.
Please feel free to contact me about anything adoption and post reuninon related!