Have you ever had to take your baby to the airport and put her on an airplane going half way around the world, knowing she would be gone for six months . . .
When I was eighteen, my sister Joyce gave birth to her last little baby, Alyssa. Despite our 18-year-age-difference Alyssa and I have always enjoyed a close relationship. I guess it grew from a big sister type relationship into a true friendship.
About two years ago, Alyssa decided she was going to make an enormous life change. She was going to quit her job as an account for a University Medical Science Center and devote one year of her life to volunteer work. She began by saving every penny possible and researching organizations including The Peace Corps, Teach for America and Americorps. After much research, she just couldn’t find the right fit.
Back in 1985 when Alyssa was born, I was busy becoming best friends with Marianne, a high school exchange student from South Africa. For the past 30 years, Marianne and I have continued our friendship long distance. December 2010 Marianne returned to the U.S. with her husband and children for a visit. Marianne and her family shared Christmas with me and my extended family.
During her visit, Marianne happened to mention The Door of Hope organization that cares for abandoned babies. With a sly smile, Marianne tempted us, “If any of you like to hold babies, you can come to South Africa as a volunteer.” Little did she know that she was planting a seed that would bloom.
Last week, I drove Joyce and Alyssa to the airport. It was time for us to send Alyssa on her 24 hour journey to Johannesburg, South Africa. We are an extremely close family. And a mega emotional family. I went along as the “strong” one to keep it all together when everyone started crying. Anyone who knows me, knows that’s just ridiculous. But I actually did very good, all things considered.
Our entire family is on this journey with Alyssa as she gives of herself to save the lives of innocent babies.
Communication is difficult but we hope to keep everyone updated on her big huge enormous life change.
Joyce would have written this post, but she would have just cried!
Life with Jeannine and Joyce