“The love of a family is life’s greatest blessing.” – Eva Burrows
I write this letter today, one month from your ninth birthday, and I can’t believe how fast the years are going by. It seems like just yesterday that our social worker was calling me to let me know that I was going to be a mom to a three-month-old baby boy in Guatemala.
I’ll never forget that day and the following one when she handed Dad and me a photo of a dark-haired, smiling baby with bright brown eyes. I was in love instantly and am forever thankful beyond measure to your birth mother for making the ultimate sacrifice when she decided to place you with us.
I’m truly grateful for your life, how you’ve changed mine in so many amazing ways, and the beautiful country that made me a mother so many years ago. I can’t wait for our return trip together as a family this summer. Get ready for an adventure!
THE JOURNEY TO ADOPTION
It’s hard to believe that I wrote that letter five years ago and that my “baby” is turning 14 and will be going into high school! Wasn’t I just 14 yesterday?
My earliest memory of adoption was meeting my best friend in elementary school. She was one of six children that were adopted both domestically and internationally. Brianna was born in Korea. I was fascinated with her diverse family and loved spending my after-school time and weekend sleepovers at her house getting to try the cultural foods and meals that her mom would prepare. I couldn’t handle the spice like she could, but I sure did give it a try!
During my middle school and high school years, my mom’s youngest sister was in the process of adopting my cousins from Guatemala. I’m not sure if I had heard much about this country before but I’d soon learn and eventually begin to share more and more about my findings. Studying Spanish helped me lend a hand at translating paperwork and updates that my aunt and uncle would receive from their agency. I was the oldest cousin, and I had something special to offer in addition to an invitation to babysit.
I remember gathering at the airport on the days of their homecomings. Our family made posters and had pom-poms in hand to celebrate and welcome my cousins home! I spent lots of time hanging out with them when they were babies and toddlers and volunteered to attend the adoption agency cultural picnic one year. I even recall that I’d ask to read the agency newsletter they’d get in the mail. Every time I had to choose a country to do a school report on or if I was applying to speak at graduation or leadership events and ceremonies, I’d choose Guatemala and adoption.
I feel like somehow the universe was preparing me for my own family’s adoption. I always knew that there would be a chance due to endometriosis and other female surgery-related experiences that I might not be able to carry a child. Years later, when the time came for my husband and I to build a family, we knew Guatemala was the right choice for us.
THE JOURNEY TO GUATEMALA
During our journey to become a family of three, we made three trips to Guatemala. Our first one was to visit when Luis was six months old. My husband and I decided to arrive in Guatemala a couple of days before the foster family would bring Luis to us at the hotel. We spent time taking tours of the old capital city of Antigua, the famous market in ChiChi, and even traveled to Lake Atitlán. It was important for us to get to know, see, smell, and taste everything about the country where our son was born.
When Luis was still not home at a year old, we made another trip to visit him. During this same week, another local family that we had become close with was traveling to Guatemala to bring their daughter home. We thought it was so wild that we’d be in the country at the same time! They helped us celebrate Luis’ first birthday, and we got to witness their pick-up trip experience. The kids played together, and we swam and had family meals with each other. We’re still close today.
Then our final pick-up trip was in October of 2008. During all of our trips, I made sure to purchase handicrafts and souvenirs like worry dolls, brightly woven pieces, jade jewelry, and paintings. We have many of these displayed in our home today and enough Christmas ornaments to fill an entire tree! They bring joy to our home and our lives and are a reminder of Luis’ birth country.
When Luis was nine, we traveled back together to Guatemala with other adoptive families for a 10-day sightseeing trip. It was a magical vacation to explore more, to be with other families that looked like ours, and to be able to show Luis his homeland. The trip left quite an impression on us all. My aunt and cousin happened to be there at the same time for her first trip back since she was a baby! What a coincidence!
It was then that we made a plan to go back with the group they were with so we could experience my “bucket” list item of hosting a service team. So, when Luis was 12, we led Team Homecoming and had fundraised, shopped for supplies, and were able to deliver bunk beds, school supplies, arts and crafts, and hygiene products to identified families in Guatemala. We also had the chance to visit artists, weavers, painters, crafters and culminated the trip with a community barbeque and soccer game with sponsored students. I witnessed so much love during this time.
After eleven days together, everyone made promises to begin planning for the following summer because we couldn’t wait to return–and then Covid-19 hit. A worldwide pandemic forced us to cancel our trip. I was devastated. We all were. I can’t imagine how the families that were looking forward to having our help again felt.
Around this time, while spending more time online dreaming through travel stories and photos on Instagram, I was re-introduced to the Noonday Collection company.
THE JOURNEY TO NOONDAY
I’ve long been a fan of all things Noonday–their B Corp status, the opportunity for world travel, their heart for adoption, the goals of empowering women and families, the sense of sisterhood and community, the beautiful jewelry and home goods, and the founder Jessica’s message of embracing fear.
Ultimately, I became a Noonday Ambassador because I wanted to be able to support Artisans in my son’s birth country of Guatemala. Like I mentioned before, we had to cancel our return visit trip last year, and I miss the beautiful people and the work we did there.
In Guatemala, Noonday partners with a few Artisan Businesses–one of which specializes in hand-beaded jewelry. The owner of the business is Cristobal, who in addition to running the operations of the business is also a talented designer and bead worker in his own right. To design the styles that his Artisans create for Noonday’s customers, Cristobal collaborates with the Design Team at Noonday’s home office to dream up sparkling accessories that harness his unique perspective and the brand’s aesthetic. By fusing modern design and traditional Artisan techniques, Noonday brings people pieces that capture the beauty of partnership.
When I learned even more about Noonday, it seemed like the perfect way to be on a mission from here in the United States by combating poverty with long-term solutions and creating a more flourishing and just world.
Adoption has been in Noonday’s DNA since the very beginning. In fact, Noonday Founder Jessica Honegger held the first Trunk Show in her home as a fundraiser to help her family bring their son, Jack, home from Rwanda. Today, the commitment to helping children find forever families is as strong as ever.
I also get to work from home and have the joy of purposeful work. I love getting to link arms and change the world with other like-minded women all while looking really cute in these handcrafted accessories!
JOIN THE JOURNEY
Thanks so much for reading about my family’s journey. I’m so happy to share that earlier this year we were able to find Luis’ birth mom and connect with her via video chat. While our trip this summer has been postponed as well, I look forward to and hope for a visit as a Noonday Collection Ambassador next year.
If you want to learn more about becoming an Ambassador like me and start making an income with an impact, click here to get started. We are a community of passionate, purposeful women having fun while making a difference in the world. And we’ve got a place just for you.
Meet Kelly Pramberger
Kelly is a multi-passionate fan of women-driven businesses, B Corps, and a lover of coffee until it is time for kombucha. She is living a sparkly and authentic life in Western Massachusetts with her husband of 17 years, their teen son who was adopted from Guatemala, and their mini Goldendoodle. In addition to being a Noonday Ambassador, she loves cheering on women entrepreneurs and helping them find meaningful collaborations. Follow her on Instagram (@kellypramberger).