I live in Xela, Guatemala.
I love God; it is precisely that love that has brought me here to walk among the poor, among street youth.
I trust that God is working even when it seems contrary.
I hope for a day when there will be no such thing as street youth in our world.
In the meantime, I love.
Boyfriend came to our house in the rain, “Baby is on the way”.
We got in the car & headed for the hospital -oh how those labor pains came back to me as I looked into girlfriend’s17 year old soon to be mom eyes.
Now in the ER, we are told to wait outside.
I sit by the door that’s open just a crack, giving me permission to keep an eye on girlfriend.
At carefully calculated intervals, I sneak in to be with her ’til I’m discovered and
told to leave.
Soon family members in the waiting room, ask me to check in on their loved ones — I’m the only non-Guatemalan for miles, the only one who dares to enter.
“Who are you?” I’m asked by a white uniform
“She has no family. I am like an Aunt. I am here to be with her,” I reply
A baby boy safely arrives by C-section 3 hours later.
Next day boyfriend, now father, and I go to visit during the only hour for visitors (I tried to sneak in at 8 am, no success).
Girlfriend’s grandmother arrives. I greet her as my insides turn and that still, small voice tells me to not trust this lady.
Mother and child are well.
The following day I arrive to a disturbing turn of events
Girlfriend’s grandmother came, asking for the baby. Girlfriend said no.
Grandma went and told the doctor that boyfriend and mother want to give the child away to “una gringa”(American)…that would be me.
I suddenly feel all eyes on me, and recall that still, small voice that told me not to trust.
Now all medical staff are on alert (sadly, this has happened before); baby is now hostage in the hospital until a judge investigates.
I call my husband. He demands, “Get out of the hospital now! If grandma points you out to medical staff you will find yourself in jail with no exit.”
I hang up the phone as girlfriend informs me that she is going to escape from the hospital and leave with me. Because she is under-age, her mother (who is in jail) or grandmother (who has just turned herself into the enemy) has to sign for her to leave the hospital. I advise her and boyfriend that leaving without proper permission is a huge mistake as it will be seen as abandonment. I turn to girlfriend, begging her to stay and tell her that I will not take part in her plan to escape. I leave them both as I take one last look at baby through the glass; utter a prayer for loving nurses; and shove down my tearful longing to hold him & tell him how precious he is to God, to me, to his parents.
I come home frustrated and angry.
Frustrated that I am unable to help because of a rumor, a lie.
Angry at the system that keeps this baby from his mother’s arms, from her breast.
Frustrated that I cannot walk around the hospital hallways un-noticed because of the color of my skin and height of my German ancestry.
Angry at all the hospital staff that question my intentions. Can’t they see my heart?
Frustrated that this broken couple has been granted a healthy baby boy when just one year ago my 3rd daughter had her life taken from her, from me. at birth.
Angry at my friends who tell me, “This couple is not worth your time, your love. Get out while you can”.
Fast forward 3 weeks…
It’s time to go to court.
Boyfriend and girlfriend are present, accompanied by his Mom (who is visiting from El Salvador), Julio (my husband) and baby with his temporary caregiver (he is now in a children’s home).
Grandma, who turned baby hostage, is nowhere to be found.
Girlfriend is called forward to testify.
She tearfully recalls how her grandmother took her from her mother’s arms as an infant and sent her to a home. “Please don’t let this happen to my son.”
She also admits to abandoning her baby at the hospital, having escaped moments after I left her side.
Boyfriend states his desire to care for his son.
Both deny accusations that they intend to give the baby away, testifying to our friendship.
Julio (my husband) testifies and asks that my name be cleared – we are friends, here to support and encourage.
Baby is in the room….turns out he is at the same home where his Mom was sent as an infant 17 years ago.
The judge pauses to take it all in as he looks around the room, glancing down at the facts written before him. He starts with a list of conditions for boyfriend and girlfriend…
WE WAIT…for DNA results; to see if boyfriend and girlfriend follow through with the judge’s orders;
WE HOPE…for God to break through in the hearts and lives of this family; for the judge to make the best decision for this little life; for boyfriend and girlfriend to hold on & not turn to past addictions; for God to transform our frustration and anger into love;
WE WALK…with boyfriend and girlfriend – sharing pain and joy in the good days and the not so good days;
WE TRUST…in a God who can do much more than we ask or imagine;
WE LOVE…in all moments we love with the extravagant love of God.
That is why we am here – to wait, hope, walk, trust and love.
“Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly.”
1 Cor. 13:13 (The Message)