A New Home Team

“Alejandro” goes to his first Reading Phillies game

By Alan M. Murray

As the players took their places on the field at First Energy Stadium in Reading, Pa., “Alejandro” stared straight ahead. Wearing the blue and red Phillies cap and gripping the mitt we had bought for him that morning, he looked like he could run out onto the field and throw the first pitch.

It was the day before his 13th birthday and only a week since he had come to our home as part of a special hosting program to give Colombian orphans a chance to experience a new country. It was also an opportunity for prospective adoptive parents to meet him. While we had committed to advocate for him during his stay so he could find a family, we were beginning to realize that we might be that family.

Alejandro cheers as the Reading Phillies play the Trenton Thunder at First Energy Stadium in Reading, Pa. Alejandro loves baseball and one of the things he most wanted to do during his stay with us was to go to a game. (Photo by Alan M. Murray)

Before he arrived, our adoption agency had arranged a brief video call with “Alejandro” so we could get to know the boy who would be staying with us for almost a month. It didn’t take long to figure out that he wanted to see a real baseball game, so we bought tickets to see the Reading Phillies take on the Trenton Thunder.

That night, the Phillies didn’t play well, only scoring two runs in the first inning and finally losing by one run. After a while, most of the fans stopped cheering. Some began leaving the stadium, probably hoping to avoid heavy post-game traffic. But “Alejandro” didn’t care that his newly adopted team was losing the battle, as he raised his arms above his head, cheering almost every play, hoping to catch a foul ball.

But as we left the stadium, he began shivering and asked for his jacket while I brushed my right hand across my forehead, wiping the sweat away. It was 80 degrees Fahrenheit that evening, so I knew something wasn’t right.

Alejandro watches as players warm up just prior to the Reading Phillies’ game against the Trenton Thunder at First Energy Stadium in Reading, Pa. (Photo by Alan M. Murray)

He slept the whole way home and when we checked his temperature it was obvious he had a fever. He crawled into bed complaining that his joints hurt. He asked us to stay in the bedroom with him, so we sat on the floor nearby. Every few minutes he opened his eyes, looked around to make sure we were still there, and then closed them again. Finally, at about 3 a.m. he drifted to sleep.

Something special happened that evening as I sat on the floor, tired, and concerned about a boy I had met just a week earlier. I realized that I had to do whatever I could to make him a part of our family.

We’re still working to bring Alejandro home. We appreciate your encouragement and are especially grateful for so many of you who have shared our story as we continue to raise funds to cover the unexpected, expensive costs of an international adoption.