An Amazing Story

I know this title is bland. But it’s the only way I can think of to characterize the story that I’m about to tell.

March 2007

I travel to Africa for the first time. I meet Jon. Jon takes a photo of me in a Tanzanian orphanage, with a baby named Praygod.

Heather and Praygod

Praygod and me at the Nkoaranga Orphanage in March 2007. (Photo: Jon Hrusa)

I never return to Tanzania. I don’t forget about Praygod but he becomes a distant memory.

My trip to Tanzania sparks a chain of events, which eventually lead me to move to South Africa and start a life with Jon in August 2010.

Jon dies in December 2011. (Obviously I’m skipping over a lot of the story. But for the sake of brevity I’m only hitting the major events.)

January 2012

On the one-month anniversary of Jon’s death, I publish a blog post with several photos that Jon took of me in Tanzania. Below the photo of Praygod, I write: “…taken at the Nkoaranga Orphanage. I love this baby. His name is Praygod. I often wonder where he is today.”

July 2012

I receive a comment on my blog from an American woman named Amy. The comment begins like this: “Hi, I just stumbled upon your website. I wanted to update you on baby PrayGod in your photo. Amazingly enough, that is the exact outfit I dressed him in the first day I met him in June 2007, although he had less hair…”

I can hardly believe my eyes as I read Amy’s comment. Amy is in the midst of adopting Praygod, who is now called Pray, and the two of them are living together in Tanzania.

Amy google-searched “Praygod Nkoaranga Orphanage Tanzania” one evening, and came upon my blog. That’s how she found this stunning photo of her son, shot three months before she met him. (Here’s a page from Amy’s blog with a photo of Amy and Pray on the day they met. Pray is indeed wearing the same onesie. This page also tells much of Amy and Pray’s story if you want to know more.)

I am blown away, not only by the fact that Amy was able to find this photo on my blog, but also by all of the similar turns that our lives have taken. Amy and I have never met and we are probably nothing alike. And yet somehow we’re the same.

Amy and I become Facebook friends and marvel together over this Amazing Story. I intend to write a post about it on my blog, but somehow I never do.

April 2013

Amy and Pray (who is now nearly seven years old) move from Tanzania to the United States. Pray becomes an American citizen. I follow the story on Facebook, and see photos of Pray playing football and doing other fun things that kids do in America.

By now I have forgotten how I ever learned about Amy and Pray. The Amazing Story is hidden somewhere in my subconscious.

November 2013

Amy’s mother, Diane, comments on a Facebook post that Amy made back in July 2012, when Amy first found Jon’s photo. Diane’s comment pops up in my Facebook notifications. The comment says: “This remains my all time favorite photo of baby Pray. The shine in his eyes is still there. We are so grateful for this pic.”

I finally decide to write a blog post about the Amazing Story.

Amy and Pray2

Amy and Pray. I hope to meet them someday. (Photo courtesy of Amy Summers.)

The end. Or is it the beginning?

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45 Comments

  • Reply joanfrankham November 9, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    what a very happy ending for this little boy.

    • Reply 2summers November 9, 2013 at 2:55 pm

      Indeed. An ending and a beginning.

  • Reply mvschulze November 9, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    An Awesome story. M

  • Reply Jennifer Rikkers November 9, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    Omg… That is my first response, not original, but true. This is beautiful in so many ways. I love that you have this connection to Pray, with Jon’s photography. I imagine how this would make him feel. I certainly see how it makes you feel! I am In awe

    • Reply 2summers November 9, 2013 at 2:54 pm

      Thanks Jennifer. Yeah, Jon loved things like this. I’m sure that he knows about it, somehow 🙂

  • Reply Caroline November 9, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    Paying attention to the small, yet miraculous moments is what makes our lives truly and fully rich. Thank you for sharing the story and pics. (is Amy’s surname really Summers??? You two are destined to meet some day, no?)

    • Reply 2summers November 9, 2013 at 2:53 pm

      I know Caroline, the Summers thing is another amazing part of the story. Amy’s mom just pointed out that the name of my blog is exactly what Amy and Pray are: 2 Summers. So cool.

  • Reply Jennifer Leigh November 9, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    Wow! And Amy’s last name is Summers? You two are 2 Summers. I love these connections. They show us that the world is not as big as it sometimes seems.

    • Reply 2summers November 9, 2013 at 3:07 pm

      I know. My life over the last few years has shown me again and again how small the world is. Hope you’re doing well, Jenny!

  • Reply bwcarey November 9, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    i saw you holding the little boy, and it is so wonderful to see the little one child, you have the heart of gold, as that boy looks like he is in heaven’s arms, great story, you give me hope

    • Reply 2summers November 9, 2013 at 7:00 pm

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post!

      • Reply bwcarey November 9, 2013 at 7:20 pm

        children move hearts when they smile

  • Reply Sushant Mukherjee November 9, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    Such a beautiful story, Heather! Made me tear up. 🙂

    • Reply 2summers November 9, 2013 at 7:00 pm

      Thanks Sushant. Hope you’re doing well!

  • Reply Catherine November 9, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    beautiful…

  • Reply Jenna November 9, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    This is so amazing Heather… I’ve got to think that it is more than just coincidence. And the fact that Jon shot the photo… I hope you get to meet Amy and Pray in person one day too 🙂

    • Reply 2summers November 9, 2013 at 7:00 pm

      Thanks for the comment Jenna. I don’t believe anything is coincidence anymore.

  • Reply darlenekasten November 9, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    Little miracles.

  • Reply Becky Hartman November 9, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    I have always been convinced of the magic of children and your experience only fortifies that belief. Pray’s spirit reached out to you and his eventual Amy with quite a powerful love. Thank you for sharing. It raise smy spirit as well.

  • Reply john sneed November 9, 2013 at 8:16 pm

    Lovely story Heather, and such a lovely outcome for Pray, a loving family and opportunities that all children should have.

    • Reply 2summers November 9, 2013 at 11:01 pm

      John Doe, I love the old-school profile pic!

  • Reply amelie88 November 9, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    What a great story! To think that a mother found her child through your blog. I hope you get to meet both someday.

  • Reply SusanB November 10, 2013 at 2:32 am

    Yes, an amazingly, wonderfully, uplifting story.

  • Reply kelseyjohn November 10, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    Beautiful!

  • Reply Sine November 10, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    That is indeed an amazing story. I often marvel how small the world is and how I’m connected to different people who then turn out knowing each other through some previous connection. But this one is definitely special, thank you so much for sharing! (and, I believe, you can give yourself special credit for always doing due diligence on your photos – I love the way you always ask everyone what their name is and include it in your stories, I’m often too “lazy” to do that. Without the name, his grandmother never would have found the photo!)

    • Reply 2summers November 10, 2013 at 8:30 pm

      Fortunately Praygod is a very memorable name 🙂

  • Reply Questen November 11, 2013 at 5:12 am

    Pray will have a cool story to tell about his adoption, in addition to a unique name!

    • Reply 2summers November 11, 2013 at 4:58 pm

      He certainly will (or does already).

  • Reply Stephen November 11, 2013 at 6:24 am

    but let’s not forget the sad reality for Pray’s extended family in Tanzania. Trying to balance the needs of the child against that of the biological and adoptive family is always difficult. I wish we had the answers.

    • Reply 2summers November 11, 2013 at 6:29 am

      I don’t think this is really the time and place to get into that. But if you read Amy’s blog you will see the incredible lengths she went to to make sure that Pray’s extended family was at peace with this adoption. Also Amy lived with Pray in Tanzania for 4 years before coming back to America.

      • Reply Stephen November 11, 2013 at 6:59 am

        I completely agree. Amy’s journey is truly remarkable and inspirational.

  • Reply colin November 11, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    It is a beautiful story. You touched each other’s lives.

    • Reply 2summers November 12, 2013 at 8:51 pm

      Thanks Colin, you’re quite right.

  • Reply Brian Unsted November 11, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    What an amazing feel-good story!

  • Reply Kathryn McCullough November 11, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    I don’t even know where to begin commenting on this. It truly is an AMAZING story. These kinds of miracles are what make life worth living! I’m stunned. Thank you for sharing this AMAZING story!

    Hugs from Ecuador,
    Kathy

    • Reply 2summers November 12, 2013 at 8:50 pm

      Thanks Kathy, I totally agree. I can’t believe it took me so long to write about this. I think when it first happened I was just a little too overwhelmed.

  • Reply Sam November 12, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    Heather, this story is truly amazing. I have goosebumps just reading it. I’ve never commented on your blog before but I read it religiously and your posts get me through my daily commute. I spent 3 months in South Africa working in schools in Northern Limpopo and reading your blog just reminds me what an amazing country SA is.

    Sam

    • Reply 2summers November 12, 2013 at 8:49 pm

      Aw, thanks so much Sam. I really appreciate the comment. I’m glad you enjoy my blog.

  • Reply Deano November 16, 2013 at 10:09 pm

    Heather,
    I’m a little behind on your blogs but this is an mazing story! Really!
    Deano

  • Reply Rebecca December 7, 2013 at 4:43 am

    This truly is an Amazing Story! Goes to show just how small the world is – and the power of your blogging. Thanks so much for sharing.

    • Reply 2summers December 7, 2013 at 5:30 pm

      I know, I can still hardly believe it.

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