Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Brazil Sponsor Tour 2012: Part 4, The day I met Isadora

Where my story left off I had finished my first full day in Fortaleza, had met a plethora of really cute kids, saw an example of the work Compassion does, and saw first hand what poverty is like in Brazil. Where we pick up the story is on my second full day in Fortaleza, the big day. The day I met my Brazilian sister, Isadora.

The previous night our trip leader talked to us about what this day would entail and tried to bring us all down to earth a little. As much as we all wanted a movie moment where we see our kid and they see us and we run to each other in slow motion and we hug and fireworks erupt in the sky and sparkles rain down on us and rainbows shoot across the sky, it just might not happen. Many of the kids had to travel pretty far to come see us. It may be their first time on a plane, first time leaving their town or village, first time being away from home, stuff like that so they could be very shy or scared. She stressed that it's great to be excited, but to try and give our children grace and ourselves grace.

The meeting took place in a park called EcoPoint and we took a bus there. For our short drive I clutched my backpack of gifts for Isadora and prayed that she wouldn't be too shy and that we would have a fun day together. Our bus pulled up and my heart was racing.
I could see some of the kids assembling inside and we all walked in at our own pace. The kids were lined up with signs saying our names for ease of finding each other, with our individual interpreters and the family member or teacher that came with the child.

I walked in, grinning, anxious, and so so so excited. My eyes scanned the line of kids and I picked out Isadora. I walked towards her and she saw me. Her face lit up and she ran to me and gave me a huge hug. For real. There were no fireworks, sparkles, or rainbows, but it felt like a movie moment to me.
Isadora came with her grandmother and a teacher from her project. My interpreter for the day was the fantastic Lorenna (who I continue to talk to because she is a lovely person).
After the introductions we created a plan for the day. The park had a zoo, horseback riding, soccer, volleyball, swimming, face painting, and plenty of space to walk around and play. Naturally we did everything. All day long I could not stop thanking God for Isadora and how prefect she is. I could not have asked for a better day.

This is what it looks like when your dreams come true:

We had the best day I could have ever asked for in a million years times a million. We had so much fun together and got the opportunity to talk to each other and ask questions. She was able to use some of the English she knows and I was able to use some of the Portuguese I know and we even taught each other some new words throughout the day!

About a half hour before it was time to leave I gave her a new backpack full of gifts.
I put things in each pocket so she would have lots to look for. She was pretty excited :)

In addition to the new backpack for school, I gave her a big notebook for school/journaling, a binder with page protectors so she has a safe place to put her letters from me, a photo album with pictures of my family in it which she can add to with the pictures I send her (so she feels like she's a part of my family), a recorder with a fingering chart (because I'm a musician and those things ruled when I was  a kid), some of my old Barbies (because she loves them!), a stuffed animal that I knit myself, a Simpson College t-shirt (gotta represent!), a new brush, stuff for her hair, necklaces, toothbrushes for her and her family, and other fun things to play with.

She gave me gifts too. She wrote a letter for me expressing how excited she was to be able to meet me (which Lorenna helped translate). Even though I told her in her birthday card that I was going to come meet her, she was not notified about it until about a week before. They do this in case something happens with the sponsor and the sponsor ends up not being able to come and because the kids often become so excited that they don't eat or sleep. Isadora told me that she had trouble sleeping the night before because she was so excited. (I was in the same boat).

Saying goodbye at the end of the day was extremely hard. I knew it would be, but she started to get upset when she realized that it was time to part ways which made me sad. She asked when I was going to come back and Lorenna and I agreed that, God-willing, I will return before she graduates which made her happy.

I'm not going to lie though, I had to hold back the tears when we said our final goodbye because I didn't want to make her upset but I cried on my way back to the bus and when I had to say goodbye to Lorenna. It was somewhat comforting in my heart to know that I will return, hopefully sooner rather than later and that God-wiling, I will find a way to get there again.

Facebook status that night: Perfect day with Isadora, my beautiful Brazilian sister. She is so so so precious and beautiful. Wow what a day. Hugs and smiles and pictures and swimming and horseback riding and soccer and volleyball and the zoo and face painting and gifts and learning languages. Everything I have ever dreamed of and so much more :)

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