Tuesday, August 5, 2008
The trip started with meeting Michael in LA. I have been to LA before but never under such exciting circumstances. Traveling to Australia was actually so much easier than I thought it would be. The flight was at night so we were able to sleep most of the way. Getting through the terminals went pretty smooth and we were all psyched with anticipation after we collected our luggage and headed into the taxi towards Michael's family's temporary Brisbane residence. My heart was pounding with nervousness as we pulled up the driveway, unloaded our luggage and waited for the moment when Michael would finally realize the purpose of this odyssey.
When the gate finally opened and Michael's family members came rushing out to greet him with hugs and tears, I choked up and couldn't help but feel a sense of accomplishment in helping this dream come true. His mom was crying and trembling as she held onto Michael as though she never wanted him to leave her again. One by one, each sibling came toward us and hugged us and then finally Michael's weeping mom hugged me tightly. I tried the best that I could to capture some of the moments on film but it was one of those times where the goosebumps just took over.
The experience of reuniting Michael with his mother has been an incredible journey. From the moment I met him at our home for dinner, I knew there was something special about this young man. When my son, Josh, suggested that maybe there was the possibility to begin a campaign to raise money and awareness about bringing Michael and his mom together after all these years, at first I thought it was a stretch. Now, after being there to witness the event, I see how thoughts like these can become a reality!
My thoughts now are about how rewarding it is to do something good to help people and how in this small way my giving back can repay some of the favors that people did to help my ancestors when they came to America. Michael is going to be someone great some day. I am happy to participate in helping him get closer to his goals. I am looking forward to returning to Brisbane on the last leg of our adventure to hear how his week has turned out with his newfound family. He has already texted us and told us that he has many stories to share.