meeting my O

{Copyright World Vision 2012, photographer Lindsey Minerva}

We sit across from each other exchanging awkward giggles and smiling glances. Odish, her son and my sponsored son is our connecting link, and such a darling one at that. Through a translator I learn that Odish didn’t like taking a pacifier, that he throws his food on the floor, and that he always wants whatever his older brother is playing with. I nod and laugh so much my cheeks hurt. He gets fussy so I pull my hotel room key out of my purse. As it would with OBrother, that does the trick. A little while later, his fussiness returns and his mama nurses him. My eyes water and I ask if I can take a picture.

He pulls at her shirt while nursing and I nod in common experience. His mama says he is a very happy boy and only cries if he gets left alone. My boys like people a lot, too I tell her. I also tell her that I am excited to watch our boys grow up knowing about each other and some day writing to each other. When he is done, I hold him and look into his glassy, playful eyes. On my lap, he giggles and he grabs my nose. His mama is right. He is a fantastically happy little buddy.

Little buddy. I call my boys that.

{photographed by Roxy Weiman}

She asks why we chose Odish. I tell her it is because our name starts with O, because he is close to my youngest son’s age, and because he looked absolutely precious in his picture. Turns out he is 2235039821x more precious in real life. And his smiles! O, the smiles. We connect with giggles and I count that he has four teeth. I ask his mama how teething is going. She says everything goes into his mouth to chew on and the drool, it is constant. I think yep, that sounds about right.

Never in all the realm of possibility did I think that I would be here, sitting in a Sri Lankan village holding my sponsored child.

Then I stop. I stick my feet down into the flow of time and I will it to pause. Pause, darnit! I want to absorb the entirety of this moment and keep it for myself for later and for DanO to recount to him and for you, friends and readers (who are friends I just haven’t met yet) so that I can tell you what the face of a sponsored child – and a mother of a sponsored child – truly looks like, feels like.

It feels like usual, like sitting at a Caribou making small talk with a mama and her baby about teething and drool. But it also feels absolutely surreal, to ask a mama what she hopes for her boy, what her dreams are for him and his older brother, and to know that our family will play a role in that, Lord willing. It feels like mothering across continents and oceans (oceans!), yet so close to home.

Please consider connecting with a child and their parents through the gift of World Vision Child Sponsorship. I have seen it with my own eyes and I truly believe in it.

28 Responses to “meeting my O”

  1. LoveFeast Table

    “I stick my feet down into the flow of time and I will it to pause. Pause, darnit!” What a great line!! Praying for you today to be able to take in the enormity of your experience and yet be able to savor each and every precious moment.

    • AllisonO

      Thank you Kristin! I am stuffing moments into my pocket to take home with me as we speak. ;)

  2. Beth Anne

    My eyes are tearing because oh my, how I wish to meet my little Marcos in Bolivia that has the same birthday as my boy & the same size handprint & I want to talk to his momma about the heart of raising a little boy.

    You are a lucky, lucky momma. & O is so lucky to have you.

    • AllisonO

      That you may have the chance, my friend. What a gift you are giving Marcos’ mama.

    • AllisonO

      I love you, friend. Thank you for traveling with me down a dirt road in Sri Lanka today. xoxo

  3. Kelly @ Love Well

    That picture of you and Odish is O MY GOODNESS.

    I am so glad you were able to meet him and his mother. Even if he doesn’t remember it, he will be told of this day for years.

  4. Kim

    Oh, how wonderful!! This brings happy, happy tears to my eyes, Allison. I’m so very happy you two met. What an amazing gift for both of you.

  5. Karey


    We just got an updated picture and annual progress report from our little 3 year old Anne Marie in Rwanda yesterday. SWOON. She is gorgeous and we are so proud of her! :) I love how our kids feel so connected to her and so invested in her and her well-being. They love her as much as I do and we’ve never met her – God is AMAZING in that way! :)

    Anyway, love all the updates of your trip! Keep them coming!

  6. Jen

    Thank you for this! Our sponsored child is 5 days younger than our boy and I so wish I could hold him too!! Thank you for the gentle nudge I needed a few weeks ago to take the leap of faith and sponsor!

  7. Kara

    This is such a beautiful experience that you are having. Not many of us have the opportunity to visit our sponsor children (mine in through Compassion). This must be truly life-changing for you.

    Prayers and love to you!

  8. DanO

    That is so cool to see. You are doing such a good job bringing to light how easy it is to make a difference. I’m glad we decided to sponsor O.

    P.S. Come home soon, okay?

  9. Caroline

    Thank you Allison for this. I have read all your entries so far concerning child sponsorship and started out cynical if a little curious. Questioning why you visiting Sri Lanka was the way to encourage others to give as generously. I questioned your motives with typical first world scoffing.
    And now I’m wiping the tears from my cheeks and vowing to give what we can. Thanks for not giving up on me, your relentless challenge of my heart paid off!

    Safe journey home

    • AllisonO

      O, Caroline. Thank you for your bold honesty. This comment was encouraging and insightful. From one cynic to another, thank you for sharing your heart.

  10. Elaine

    WOW. I’m so glad you got to meet him!! And he is such a light, I can see it in his eyes and face! I hope to meet the 2 children we sponsor someday. What an amazing experience…


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