Heaven knows that as a family we hardly need an excuse to go on an adventure, but this fall break's trip to Arizona was something extra special - this trip was 10 years in the making!
9 years ago, we got a confusing, exciting, perplexing email from a young woman in Spain telling us that she had sponsored our daughter through an orphanage nutrition program. We were completing our final preparations to travel to China and meet WanYing, and once we finally understood what Laura was telling us, we were filled with joy and gratitude for this astounding blessing of a girl who used her allowance to make sure our daughter had the food she needed to grow strong.
Over the years we have stayed in contact through Christmas cards and occasional emails. This summer, Laura emailed that she and her boyfriend Pao were coming to the US for a west-coast driving trip! We simply couldn't miss out on the chance to meet in person, and drove down to Arizona to meet them along the way.
It was a fantastic trip all-around. We camped in the desert, we saw the Grand Canyon, we made a million dam jokes at Hoover Dam, we were stunned by the beauty of Antelope Canyon. But getting to give Laura a hug and thank her for caring for caring for our daughter before we even knew her name - that was what made the whole adventure worthwhile.
When you sponsor a kid, that person is somebody's child, somebody's future parent, the love of somebody's life. One doesn't usually get to thank them in person for the love they showed a stranger and the sacrifice they made to care for somebody they would likely never meet. We were just one of the lucky few who got to express our gratitude in person.