|My sponsor child - Taeng - and me, outside her home|
G-d, if there ever comes a child across my table who shares my birthday, I'll sponsor him or her.And then I continued my habits. I can't tell you the number of April 22nds and April 24ths that crossed my table, entered my hands, almost had my name on them, but then I'd think of my bank account and my deal with G-d, and I'd wait.
Then, once day, it happened - the packet was there. Terrified, I put the packet on the table, and prayed a new prayer:
G-d, if this is what you want, confirm it for me: don't let anyone sponsor her.
|A copy of the first letter I ever sent Natthida, |
which was found in a binder, holding copies of all
of our communications.
|Me and Taeng|
Saying goodbye was definitely the hardest part of the trip - having to release this beautiful girl (who's already sick) back into the care of people who, although well meaning, cannot provide all the medical treatment/advice she needs. She cannot get all the religious encouragement I would want for her. By no means do I think I could provide a better home for her, but I'm so used to being the kid who takes over the project when I feel like it's not being done to the absolute best of it's potential. I'm a micro-manager, and I can't micro-manage this. I have to trust G-d. I CANNOT be in control on this one, and that's so scary for me.
Feeding the MASSIVE fish in the lake near the zoo
Next, we made a quick trip Natthida's grandmother's house, where Natthida helps to make these delicious, deep-fried pancakes and walks around selling them. She wanted to make some for me, a request to which my taste buds were more than obliging.
Natthida's little sister kept trying to sneak into pictures, so we just welcomed her in. I never figured out how the boys were related, but I'm assuming they're cousins.
with Natthida and her mom
Exploring the pagoda
One thing I will always take with me, though, is the memory of the sound of this sweet child's voice as she called out her classroom window to me, halting my progression to my ride back to the hotel. I looked up, and there she was, leaning out the window for a third goodbye. Maybe she didn't specifically mouth the words, "I love you, too, and I want you to be safe, too," but I feel like they were implied.