So I told you I wanted to post about the visit with Sam's foster family while we were in Guatemala... Grab some popcorn this is long, but I don't want to forget.
I was incredible. I did go into with a few expectations. I know that Maritza (FM) and family would be excited to see Sam, but I wasn't sure if he would take to them. We arrived in Guatemala on Thurs and got settled in with baby Joe. I called their house on Fri mid morning and Israel (FB) answered. He translates for us because he speaks spanish and english very well. He said that they would like to see us Saturday and Sunday! We were excited that they would spend so much time with us.
Saturday, they drove to the hotel around dinner time. The hotel was a furry of activity with wedding receptions and 16th birthday parties and catholic confirmation parties - all of which are very important formal events in Guatemala. They came in the front door and couldn't get to us fast enough. Maritza bent down to offer Sam some of the treats she had brought. He went to her right away. We all hugged and enjoyed a few moments catching up. Then we decided to eat together. Sam walked hand in hand with Armando(FF) They picked American food so we had Champions. We sat in a booth + chairs and table. Sam sat between Marcos and Maritza for all of dinner. They played together and drew pictures. We gave Maritza some pics, some Christmas towels, and a picture Sam drew (she loved that!). It was a wonderful dinner. It was so comfortable and felt like family.
We learned that Maritza (FM) is still fostering and loving it. Since Sam there has only been 2 days that there was not a baby in the home! Right now she has a 5mo (boy) and 1 mo (girl)old. She also runs the little market at the front of their house. Armando (FF) has a good job where he travels all over Guatemala and is gone most of the week - he is enjoying the new car (1st family car) that they bought after Sam came home. Isreal(FB) is nearing the end of the studying part of medical school. He will have 4 years residency- then he will be a doctor! We asked him about a girlfriend and he said not one right now?!?! Oscar (FB) is in the Guatemalan service and wants to be a pilot. Marcos (FB) is in the 2nd grade and is a good student.
Then they invited us to come to their house for lunch on Sunday. Armando came to get us and we drove back through the city center (goverment) area of town. There were a lot of people there. They meet here on weekends to see other from their "state" who work in the capital, Guatemala City. We also saw and drove down the middle of what we would call black markets. They had everything you could buy at Walmart. From bikes, to CD's, to clothes (even underwear) all brand name knockoffs. It was pretty wild! Isreal said that they likely would not sell to Americans because many of the items would not be considered legal (early release on Movies,etc.) It was so busy. They come here every once in a while if they need a few clothes, shoes, etc.
We got to their home and again they were excited. We met 2 other of Sam's other caretakers while there as well. Maritza and they had set a table and they went into their store to get us a Sprite. We settled in then we walked to get tortillas for dinner. We went out on the street in front of a little corner cantina (restaurant) and Maritza said "Samuel is here". Many came out to see him and made over how very big he was! We got to the tortilla shop and these ladies we overjoyed to see Sam. They made tortillas for us over an open fire. Yummy. We paid them about .75 for a whole basket of tortillas!
We came back at ate a wonderful stew with chicken, rice, potaotes, and vegetables. We were very full, but then we had dessert, too! Sam played for a while and we took a few photos. We were sad to leave, but oh so glad to see them again.
On the way home, we stopped at a park that had a topographical map of Guatemala. It was really neat and we liked seeing the regions our son's were born in. Sam is from a flat dry region closer to the ocean. Joe is from a region with more mountains/volcanos.
Sam loved our visit and he certainly remembered them, I have no doubt. He went to them, took their hands and interacted with them like they had never been apart. He never once worried about keeping track of mama and dad when they were around. He sensed a comfort that only comes naturally.
We will always hold these people so close to our heart. They gave our son a gift that we can never repay. They loved him from the day he was placed in their home, and still that loves extends today. They are family, simply put.