We left Columbus at 6:05 AM on our way to Guatemala.
I can't begin to tell you how excited we were to be on our way.
We had big plans for the day. Jake was supposed to come to us between 2-4 pm. Blake was excited about meeting him and then the possibility of getting Pollo Comprero for supper. Embassy appointment was Monday at 7:15 AM so we were hoping Jake would allow us a good night's sleep.
Our flights were next to perfect. As we came into Guatemala, it felt almost like home. The airport has been redone since we were there in 2006. The smells were the same and seeing all the little children outside was making my arms ache for my little guy.
We made it to the Grand Tikal in good time and had almost 2 hours before Jake would be there.
I took a warm shower to calm my nerves and then a small nap.
At 3:45 you could cut the tension in the room with a knife. At 4:30 I decided to walk the halls. At 5:30 I began to wonder what was wrong and went back to the room to cry. Blake started to look for the agency packet for us to call someone. At 6:00 I was walking the halls again and then I saw him.
He was in a stroller. Two ladies and a little boy pushed the stroller. Even without my glasses and from several floors up there was no doubt that was Jake.
I ran into the room and told Blake. He got out the video camera and took the call. They were coming up to the room!
They came in and Jake was sitting in the stroller. We ushered them into our room and shortly thereafter I got down on my knees to talk face to face with MY son.
Of course I didn't want to scare or overwhelm him so I had decided to take it slow. I said "Hola Darvin" (his given name) and he smiled the biggest smile. He started to kick and get out of the stroller but the belt held him in.
S.undid his stroller while I scooted back to give him room to walk to me.
That's when my world fell apart.
S and M looked at me in a strange way and said, "He doesn't walk."
WHAT????? He is 22 months old. I was told he was "just a little developmentally behind like all Guatemalan kids."
When I stabilized his body, his legs started to move in a strange way, almost as if he was running in place. He locked eyes with me and was smiling at me. He tried to reach for me but did not have the motor skills to touch my face. His upper body was extremely wobbly and I was honestly afraid he would not be able to hold his head up. I wanted to cry for him.
I tried to smile, pay attention to him but I was also pleading with Blake with my eyes to tell me what was going on.
S and M then went on with the bad news. They asked if we knew about his condition. No. We don't know what you are talking about. We were told he was "developmentally delayed" due to health conditions at birth by S and M.
From this point on everything we thought we knew about Jake turned out to be false. S and M had a doctor's report stating he was delayed due to asphyxia at birth or from the "bad blood" that required a blood transfusion at 21 days. Cerebral palsy was a possibility.
As we sat in the hotel room and tried to listen to what history they knew, Blake and I were devastated. We did not have any idea that ANYTHING that was wrong with him.
Finally S and M left after going over his schedule. They seemed to so sad as they left. I later found out they doubted if Jake would go home with us. But I also found out these two wonderful ladies went to the church and asked the Priest to pray for the three of us and lit candles for us.
They didn't know us. They really didn't have to care but they did.
Jake was such a sweetheart. He laughed, never one time cried, went right to his dad and was in general a happy baby.
Blake immediately did a neurologic exam on him which was normal although he was quick to remind me he was not a children's neurologist and it had been a long time since he examined a child, about 26 years.
We were stunned. We were shocked but yet we were in love.
I really don't remember a lot from then on for a few hours. I do know we realized he was probably hungry and went down to the restaurant in the hotel to eat.
Blake wasn't sure if he could swallow very well so we started with very little bites. It didn't take long for him to want bigger bites. It was clear he did not know how to use a spoon or fork. I broke some small pieces of bread and he tried very hard to pick them up.
His grasp was great but it was very hard for him to find the piece of bread due to horrible motor skills. My heart was breaking.
He didn't know how to use a sippy cup or straw. I used the straw to trap tea and he sucked it out. That didn't last long and before the meals arrived he had learned to drink from a straw.
I was in such a state of shock and so was Blake. We didn't talk much. We watched him and tried to eat. I maybe took three bites. Jake on the other hand didn't seem to know anything was up and ate a huge supper. Would he ever walk? What were we facing as far as "life issues"? Would he ever be able to live a normal life?
He was getting restless while we were waiting for our bill and he and I went out to the hall. Once again as I placed him down and grabbed his little hands, I was scared when he went into his "dancing walk". That is what we later called it.
It was clear to me we had a huge problem and at that point I didn't know what to do or where to turn. We were in a foreign country, didn't speak the language and had a little boy to care for we didn't know a thing about. I felt so all alone. I knew we were in need of real help.
As I picked him up he grabbed my neck and held on tight. He placed his little head on my shoulder and I all but melted. It was quite clear what to do.
It was time to pray. We were the only ones in the hall and we walked off away from all the excitement of the restaurant. He still had such a grip on my neck.
One thing I do remember was his grip felt so good. It felt natural. It felt like love. It was pure and trusting. He was making my his mommy forever. He was bonding heart to heart.
I started to whisper a prayer in his ear. As I started to pray two things happened.
He listed to my prayer. I know he didn't understand my English but I know in my heart he understood what I was doing.
As the word's rolled off through my head and quietly off my tongue I prayed a prayer I will never forget.
I prayed for a miracle. I prayed for a miracle of my son. I prayed God would perform His perfect miracle in our lives, all of our lives.
I thanked Him for our good flights. I thanked him for our son. I thanked Him for His stripes for our healing and in specific, Jake's healing.
As I prayed I felt such a warmth fill me. I felt God working in both of us. I wanted so much to shout it from the rooftop but at that point I wasn't sure what there was to shout about. What did God have planned? I didn't know what He was going to do but I knew for sure He was going to do something.
As I stood there and prayed, I rocked my guy in my arms. A peace poured over me. It was that peace that would hold the three of us together over the next 72 hours.
Blake came out and together we walked to the elevator and back to the room in silence. I wanted to tell him what I was feeling but sadly enough I didn't. I was afraid he would think I was nuts.
(To be continued tomorrow)