Over Halloween weekend hubby and I visited his daughter and granddaughter, who used to live nearby until a year ago--now they're six hours away. We had a delightful time! Hubby's granddaughter, Alexis, turned 3 years old earlier in October, so this was also our chance to celebrate her birthday with her.
Alexis was born in Guatemala and her adoption was finalized when she was almost 8 months old. Since then, she has grown physically, like all kids, but she has also grown to fill our hearts! It's so wonderful when we see her, she's like a little jumping bean! She bounces up, up, UP, UP!--until we catch her in a big hug. She just goes wild when she sees us, which feels incredible, and is even more heartwarming for me, a "step-grandparent."
During this last trip, the entirety of the extended families went to see one nephew play in a college football game not too far away. If you're a follower of this blog, you probably already know I'm not a huge sports fan--although I happen to know the game, in part because my ex was a coach. So, being the most distant "relative" of our player (and not a big fan anyway), I spent nearly the entire game entertaining Alexis while they cheered him on. I taught her how to use my digital camera--with me holding onto it, of course. You would never guess how delighted she was when she realized she could take pictures, and then go back and look through them, stored in the camera. We took the football players (focusing on her cousin), then it was the cheerleaders making a tower, then the play clock and endposts. Then she focused on taking grandpop, mama, mommy, auntie, grandma, grampy...every member of her extended family! She called to each by name, we held the camera, and she snapped the shot. She was fascinated and enthralled as we reviewed her pictures! I think I'm going to make an album for her so she can see her pictures, and later will have something to remember.
Alexis is the reason I'm involved in Kiva (their banner is just above my quick profile, in the margin). Kiva is a micro-lending website clearinghouse. On Kiva, anyone can make a small loan to an individual entrepeneur from the developing world. Kiva aggregates the money (as little as $25 from any individual) to loan moderate amounts (my reading of the website has shown loans are generally $500-1200). Each lender has a repayment schedule, and as long as all goes well, each loan is repaid over about a year. (There are defaults; more in certain locations and market sectors than others.) The repayment is returned to one's Kiva account, when the lender can either withdraw the money or loan it again to another entrepeneur.
Kiva operates in third world countries throughout the world to help alleviate poverty. Guatemala is an impoverished country, and Kiva has an agent there who lends to individuals. Recently, Alexis' mother forwarded a specific loan request she found on Kiva to us--from a young woman trying to establish a local grocery store in the tiny town where Alexis was born. That's when I got involved. Maybe, helping one woman and her family out of poverty in one small town might just give a little boost to our Alexis' original family. I hope so.
In fact, I intend to keep loaning specifically to Guatemalans (on a quarterly basis, I think) as there are 1-2 new requests every few weeks from there. Hopefully, helping to provide small loans to small business persons (many of whom are women) in Guatemala can, in some way, help the people who cared for Alexis and gave us the opportunity to love this wonderful little girl. I hope so.