I was seventeen when I found out I was pregnant with my now four-year-old son, Adriel. At the time, I had been planning to participate in a three-week-long excursion to Honduras in which a group of ten or twenty would be working to improve the water system in a small village. This was to be my first service trip outside of the United States and I couldn't have been more excited. Needless to say, I was devastated when I realized I was no longer one, but two. My initial reaction was to withdraw from the trip and focus on my pregnancy, assuming I couldn't do one without impeding the other.
However, with some prodding from my trip leader, I decided to continue with my plans and travel to Honduras with the group as arranged. I reasoned I could manage both my pregnancy, travel and work, as many women had done so before me.
I couldn't have known the impact this decision would have on my life. I learned more about being a woman and a mother in those seventeen days than I could have learned from a thousand parenting books, and also found a deep passion in my heart for in overseas service work and decided to study social work. The women I met are some of the strongest, most determined women I have ever met, with an uncanny ability to manage both their work and their families.
Six months after my son was born, I returned overseas, this time to Afghanistan to teach English to women and children. Witnessing the strength of the human spirit amidst such oppression is an unforgettable, life-changing experience. It was also in Afghanistan where I was introduced to photography, which rapidly became a very important part of my life.
Upon my return from Afghanistan, I enrolled in Brescia University's online program and am studying for my degree in social work, while pursuing my photographic education locally, in addition to working full time as a receptionist. Currently, I have a 4.0 GPA, a fledgling photography business, a full time job, and a beautiful son whom I adore.
While I won't be able serve overseas long term until my son is grown, that's okay. I will continue to do short term service trips, and am planning on traveling to Africa next year to help with the building of a school. In the end, I could probably travel the whole world over and never see a face as beautiful as my son's. I suppose I'll just have to take him with me.