When the gunfire stops a women lays dead face down in the door way. Two men have been shot as well. They lie slumped over rifles by there side. As the police go through the house I’m found crying in my crib. Next to me are two other girls. Social services is called in to deal with us. As I’m being as taken away a news paper photographer stops us to take a picture. One police officer is holding me while the male officer next her tries to get me to smile. It works. My face lights up in a happy little smile completely unaware of what has just happened and what is to come.
I’m taken to a private orphanage in Tegucigalpa Honduras. This will be my home for the next year. I will spend most of my days in a my crib straiting out of the window on the third floor of this clay building. I won’t learn how to walk or speak very well. I won’t eat very well either. But I will be fed.
During this time a notice is put into the paper asking anyone who might be missing a child to come forward and claim me. No one does, so six months after I arrive I am legally put up for adoption. I will wait another six month before I meet my parents.
It’s May 1980 and I have just turned two. My adoptive parents arrived in the country a few weeks earlier. Today we will meet for the first time.
My soon to be dad wakes up early and staring making coffee. My soon to be mom lays in bed a few more minuets for before joining him. They are tired from a long night of nervous sleep.
“What do you think he will looks like?”
“We will know very soon.” My mother replies.
They shower and dress quick anticipating what is to come.
My dad paces nervously waiting for the social worker to arrive. “Why do you think they wouldn’t let any picture be taken of him? Do you think might be something wrong with him that they don’t want us to know about?”
“I don’t know hunny we will see soon enough.”
“Where are they? They should have been here by now.” my dad says anxiously
“They will come try to relax” my mom replies trying to hide her own anxiety.
“I’m going to call to make sure” My dad hurries off to make the call. He return shortly. “She’s not home.” He reports disappointedly
Then the door bell rings. Finally the social worker has come to take them to the orphanage.
As they arrive they are greeted by one of the staff members. Not wasting any time my dad asks. “What is he like?”
“Hes a sweet little boy but he will cry and cry if he is not fed first.” She answers shaking her head
“Oh?” my mom inquires.
“Don’t worry hes really nice” she replies quickly “but he doesn’t talk much. He only knows how to say agua. That means water and he says it when hes hungry or when he needs anything else.”
As they walk through the rooms filled with cribs, some of the children poke their heads up to see the visitors.
“I wonder if we could adopt more than one.” My dad wonders aloud.
“Here we are.” The staff member stops at the last crib on the third floor. “Oh and one more thing…” she says as a smile crosses her face “he really loves Coke.”
This is the moment my had parents been waiting for. As they approach the crib they see me lying down in a cloth diaper and an old t-shirt. I look up with a blank expression on my face not knowing what to expect.
My mom hands me a Paddington bear with a blue raincoat and red hat. I play with it curiously. Its the first stuffed animal I’ve ever had. They pick me up and hold me. I’m not sure what to make of this. They takes turns holding me and playing my with long curly brown hair. But now they must leave to finalize the adoption.
They put me back in the crib and say good bye. They will be back for me tomorrow once it is official. As they drive away I watch from my window, holding my Paddington close, wondering who are these people and if I’ll ever see them again.