On June 24th, Noel (13 years old) and Astrid (10 years old) returned to our home for nine weeks. In 2006, Noel received life-saving cardiac surgery, and two and half years later Astrid arrived for neurosurgery to correct her “tethered” spinal cord and orthopedic surgery for her “cavus” foot.
Both children were here for their annual check-ups at Tufts Medical Center and Shriners Hospital for Children (Springfield). Adjustments were made to Astrid’s AFO (ankle foot orthosis) which she is required to wear throughout the day. Noel underwent an electrocardiogram, ultrasound and stress test. Doctor’s determined his heart is in worse condition, and he will need another surgery in the near future.
We’re grateful for the free care provided by Dr. David Dvaric and Shriners Hospital, and the token amount paid to Tufts for the services of Dr. Michael deMoore and others. Once again, we received complimentary flights from American Airline’s Miles for Kids in Need program who have helped enable Esperanza to bring many patients from Honduras to Boston.
Although the primary purpose for the visit is medical, it has developed into so much more. Astrid and Noel have become integral parts of our family and we have journeyed with them as they have grown from a toddler and a pre-schooler to a pre-teen and teenager. We have shared our values, goals and traditions, and they have taught us about their beliefs, customs, and the realities of living in the third world. It continues to amaze us how they are able to adjust back and forth between two families, two languages, and two cultures.
Not only do they have the good fortune of coming to the U.S. for medical care, they have been welcomed into the homes of many families. These kind and generous people have afforded them the opportunity to travel to new places, experience different adventures and provide financial assistance for their housing and education. Noel and Astrid certainly are blessed, but with it comes expectations and a sense of obligation to their own families. During the school year, they travel to receive a better education and work long hours to complete their extensive homework. While they are here, they want to earn money to help provide necessities for their families. They have their own inner struggles knowing they have plenty of food to eat, are living in a safer environment and aren’t there to help with chores and their younger siblings.
We enjoy having the chance to shower them with love and attention, encourage them to pursue their dreams, support them through their struggles…and then it’s time to let them go…and return to their other homes.