Cristina’s Story

Cristina’s Story

4th Mar 2024

This year at the Altiplano jewelry workshop in Guatemala, our celebration of Mother’s Day (celebrated on May 10th in Guatemala) was the most joyous on record.

For years now, we have downplayed it, quietly wishing each other ‘Feliz Dia de la Madre’, so as to be sensitive to Cristina’s situation. We have been a team for nearly 20 years, working and supporting each other through life’s greatest joys and challenges. For Cristina, not being able to conceive has been her greatest heartache. A Mayan woman steeped in tradition, her sadness came from a deeper place than just the cultural stigma. Cristina and her husband had so much love to share, and wanted desperately to share it with a child.

It has been said over and over, through teary eyes that the greatest gift that Altiplano has ever given our team, was the permission to bring their babies to work. Our fair trade jewelry workshop has been blessed with three babies in the last four years. It has been beautiful to watch the women support each other and the babies flourishing with the attention of four mothers. Cristina has been the most loving and available caretaker, both to her coworkers and to their babies. She has nurtured the business too, by offering extra support to the new mothers on our earring making team. She has done this all with such admirable authenticity and grace.

I ached with her. Careful to respect her culture, and personal space, I mentioned one day that she was not alone, that so many women can’t have children. In addition, I offered, there are so many children in need of loving families. I told her that adoption was very common in the US. In fact, I told her, I know that there are at least two orphanages in our area. Cristina was all ears when I suggested that she visit one of them to check it out. We left it at that. When I returned a few months later, I asked if she thought about it at all. She responded that she had, that she had visited the orphanage with her husband and that they were both open to the idea but felt intimidated by the process. I vowed to do whatever I could to help. Again, we left it at that.

Before my next visit, I was surprised by a call from Telma. She called bubbling over with the exciting news that Cristina had been offered a newborn baby! Our prayers had been answered! Just before Christmas, Jade Ruby was born. Cristina and her husband were given their life’s greatest gift, as was Jade Ruby, to be received by such a loving family. The blessing has touched us all, and our workshop is lit from within! The last generation of babies have grown and moved on, and now, our little Mayan princess brightens our days. I have never seen a more loving and grateful mother, or such a supportive and nurturing team. Jade spends her days with four doting mothers and radiates joy. It has been a beautiful and bonding journey that we have shared.

Knowledge is power, and Cristina is determined to pay it forward. It hasn’t been easy for this Mayan woman, as adoption is not common in her culture. She has been met with curiosity and skepticism by her community. Cristina told me that Jade’s adoption was not only a blessing for her and her family. She went on to explain that the exposure to her story has opened the minds and hearts of so many people in her community, and has given hope to other women in similar circumstance. Mayan culture is traditionally private, but Cristina’s willingness to speak openly about it, she hopes, will create opportunity for other women and children in need.

"We are so proud of the wise, brave and generous mother that she is. This year, in our little fair trade workshop, with teary eyes and full hearts, we exclaim together proudly, 'Feliz Dia de Madre!' as loud as we can."

-Owner Shari Zarin