Read this wonderful post by awesome Friends, Sadie and Suraya Whitley!
My daughter and I planned on visiting the DR soon after our first trip to the NPH home in Honduras (July 2011) but, little did we know at that time, that we would have the honor to meet and spend time with Valentina and Anita. A couple of months before our trip, I had asked my friends that signed up to sponsor a child at the Seattle gala in October 2011, if anyone had sponsored a child in the DR so that we could visit their godchild on their behalf. Lucky for us, one of my friends signed up to sponsor Valentina, and now our trip was filled with excitement and joy to be meeting Valentina and her sister. Thanks to Laura Useche who took the time to contact the NPH organizer for the February Trip, I was immediately contacted by Catherine letting me know that she had informed Valentina and Anita that I would be coming on the trip, and she included a current photo of the girls in the email, showing me how excited they were to meet me. So, I signed up for Godparent celebration day with excitement.
I met Anita while she was visiting with her godparents from Italy. She turned around and asked me what my name was, and as soon as I said my name and made introductions, she asked me if I was there to meet Valentina. I don’t know how she knew it was me, but she obviously did and this turned out to be thanks to the staff at NPH (Catherine) for informing the girls that they would have a visitor.
Valentina and I spent as much time together as we could during my visit, and Anita was not far behind us. Anita is a happy young girl who loves to dance. She is quite the hostess as well, as she made sure that my daughter and I were introduced to anyone and everyone we walked by; she always had a smile on her face and was extremely polite. Anita made sure that my daughter Suraya was introduced to all her friends, and at one point, they all disappeared to go play together.
Getting to know Valentina was a sweet surprise. She is a young girl that is happy with hopes and dreams for her future. She is quite the artist and loves to draw Mickey Mouse all the time. Valentina wants to study in college to help kids in her country that have been abandoned by their parents. She said that being a counselor is a gift to help others, and since she has had great mentors at NPH, she wants to be able to help other kids as well. Valentina and I spent a lot of time drawing and coloring together and chatting about girl stuff. I told her all about her godparent, Kathy H. and how much Kathy would have loved to come on this trip to meet her. Valentina was very excited to have received a letter from Kathy and a photo album that I helped put together with photos of the family. She was extremely grateful and thumbed through the album several times with a smile. She said that she was very grateful to have Kathy as her godparent and very grateful that she got to meet my daughter and I.
Valentina became my dance teacher along with her sister Anita. We practiced until I got all the steps correctly and then, Anita gave me her blessing and said I could now dance on my own. Then it was my turn to teach Valentina to roller blade. We laughed, we sang, we danced and we shared our dreams together. I promised Valentina that I would continue to write to her and that god willing, I will return to the DR to visit with her and Anita again.
Once again, I was blown away with my experience at my second NPH home. The work and care they take with all the kids is truly amazing. The environment the kids are growing up in is positive, clean and filled with unconditional love.