The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 11, 1997 · Page 18
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 18

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Salina, Kansas
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Sunday, May 11, 1997
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Page 18
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BB_SUNDAY,jyiXV^11, 1997 LIFE THE SALINA JOURNAL Wish / God prepared them for this FROM PAGE B1 "We'll take them," the woman replied. It was Rose Malavolti speaking. " 'I said, 'You haven't even spoken to your husband!'," Teran recalls. "She said. "From the time my husband and I got married, God has been preparing us for this.' " Journey to Laredo In January, the Malavoltis, accompanied by their two youngest children, arrived in Laredo to meet the Blanca's three sons and six daughters, including 19-year- old Erica, a new mother herself, who had temporarily left her husband in Wisconsin to help out. The couple was immediately touched by what they witnessed that first day. They saw Edgar, 7, impish with his gap-toothed smile, scurry to pick up smaller siblings who had tumbled down the stairs. They saw Juan Pablo, 5, unwrap a lollipop but hand it over to a sister who enviously eyed it. And they saw Jacqueline, 3, tenderly pat little Kenya as she cried. Only the eldest two — 17-year- old Eric and 14-year-old Wendy — were told that day why Rose and Al were there. The Malavoltis carried a photo album to Blanca's hospital room, where they paged through it, showing her Christmas and vacation snapshots featuring their three sons and daughter. Her mind clouded by morphine, she nodded in and out, but told Teran, who was translating, "They seem like nice people." Blanca Enriquez, an illegal alien, had no money or job, but she had a legacy: her children. And with so little, she had done so much to instill in them love for one another. "They were normal, healthy, happy kids. I knew what would happen in that situation if they had to split up," Al says. "I knew how much more we had to offer them than that." But blood ties stirred some powerful emotions the next day. Two of the children's fathers were known, and neither had provided support or expressed interest in taking them. But some of Blanca's brothers and sisters wanted the children to remain in Texas, though no one could afford to care for the entire brood. Anna Laura Cavazos Ramirez, an attorney who provided legal help, sat in Blanca's hospital room for four hours as she ar- gued — in person and by phone — with oldest son Eric, who couldn't decide about the move, and with her siblings and in-laws. "She kept saying, 'These are MY children. This is MY decision. You are not going to provide for them the life I'd like them to have,' " Cavazos Ramirez remembers. "She was crying through the whole thing. I had to step out. It was just the saddest thing I've ever seen." Finally, with Blanca unwavering, her family acquiesced. Then Cavazos Ramirez presented Blanca papers to relinquish custody of her children, carefully explaining the documents, word by word. By then, 17 people — family, friends, hospital workers and the Malavoltis — had packed the room. All were in tears, including the notary public. With pen in hand, Blanca paused to ask a question. A nervous Teran translated for the Malavoltis, eager to capture every nuance of a moment that signaled the end of one family and the beginning of another. "Vas a querer a mis hijos?" Blanca asked. Teran repeated in English: "Will you love my children?" "They're all I've ever had in my life," she said. "They're all that matters to me." "I bent down and held her hand," Rose recalls. "I said, 'All children are precious in God's eyes and we will do our best to love them. Children are precious to us as well.' " Then, sobbing, saying goodbye to her children with every stroke of the pen, Blanca scrawled her signature. She died a month later, on Feb. 12. One month after that, Cavazos Ramirez went to court, seeking permission for the Malavoltis to take the children to Illinois, pending formal adoption. A judge visited with Eric and Wendy, asked the attorney questions, then gave his approval. On the children's last day in Texas, Wendy visit ed her mother's grave. There, she grabbed a clump of dirt with a pebble in it and stuffed it in her pocket. "The little ones really didn't understand," Esther says. "The older ones, they looked relieved. It was like, 'OK, mom. We're do- ing what you said you want us to do.' They didn't cry- There was a smile behind the sadness. It was like, 'This is for you.' " Swing on the porch In this far northern Illinois city, a quaint Dutch colonial sign at the end of a cul-de-sac announces the house Al Malavolti built with his own hands. It's an inviting place: A white swing sways on the front porch, a stuffed bear reading a magazine rocks on a hallway chair, and a trampoline sits out back. The Malavoltis have the old- shoe comfort of a couple who soon will celebrate their 24th anniversary: They know each other's foibles, they tickle each other's funny bones. At 46, Al, an engineer, is soft- spoken and wiry with an unflappable demeanor, an easy smile that widens beneath aviator eyeglasses and a flannel-shirted, outdoorsy look that befits a man with a forestry degree and a carpenter's skills. At 43, Rose, with her pixie cut and tiny pearl earrings, is sentimental but self-deprecating, a born storyteller who does some public speaking about faith, and animatedly quotes everyone from Albert Schweitzer to Mother Teresa, tossing out adages that seem destined to be needlepointed. Rose, who now teaches religion at Boylan Catholic High School in Rockford, insists she knew she'd adopt ever since her fourth- grade teacher told the class poignant stories about her days in an orphanage. As a principal, teacher and "They're all I've ever had in my life. They're all that counselor ' she matters to me." Blanca Enriquez speaking of her nine children before her death " SOMETHING FOR' EVERYONE! , and Ifit ("LASS QUALITY olu-ai/t, and. .. Jutttfor FUN! DAY TRIPS: STATION-K.C....June 21...$15/83. Yesin We have "Day Trips"... Call us! FORT RANDALL: (May dates "sold-oun NOW BOOKING: JUNE 19-20 or JUNE 28-29 Just 2/ $56.95! (Triples/Quads less) has seen too many children in trouble. "You go home and think, 'That is the neatest kid. I wish I could take her home and give her a shot at life,' " she says. They've done just that as foster parents. And they've spent $14,000 and five years on the ongoing process of trying to adopt the three Mexican siblings. Then came Blanca's children. Friends and family counseled against taking them. Rose and Al have two sons in college, after all, and tuition isn't cheap. And folks told the fortysomething couple it was their time to be selfish. "Some people say, 'I'm done raising my children — it's my turn,' " Rose says. "For what?" This is a couple, after all, who once welcomed 100 kids to a party at their four-bedroom home. "Some people think we're crazy and they jokingly say it, but halfheartedly mean it," Al says. "People can't see how we do it." It just takes a lot of patience, you see. And organization. CRIPPLE CREEK, CO! (2 Buses) May 20-22...JUSt $129.50/ppdO * 5 Meals and MUCH MORE! »Mso Booking: June 8-10 « COMING IN OCT.! NASHVILLE - (Oct. Fest) .MEMPHIS • and morel. Call for flyer "COMBO" TRIP (June 11-13) 3/days. 2/nlghts JUSt $69.95 ppdOl Awesome meal/incentives JUNE FEATURES Popular ST. JO, MO! it June 14-15 (Just $99.50 ppdo) •Ice House Dinner Tfteatre • Historical Tour w/Gulde I3> great meals.. .& morel Join MeMn & Settle Dick ; S&S Tours PO Box 496 Salina, KS 67401 * 913-827-2223 lor) 800-222-0157 " lePlushe Trpnsp. Specialize in Croup Charters 913-827-2223 800-222-0157 GETTING BACK TO NATURE REQUIRES A REMARKABLY SHORT DRIVE. Natural beauty. Breathtaking scenery. Outdoor recreation, exciting attractions, casinos and much, much more. The wonders of Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region will thrill everyone in your family... start planning your fun, unforgettable trip today! COLORADO SPRINGS CONVENTION 4 VISITORS BUREAU CALL 1 BOO DO VISIT FOR A mil VISITOR CHIDE AND ACCOMMODATION!. CRIPPLB CHKKK CALL 1 800 526 »777 FOR MORE INFORMATION. Hillsboro Sunflower \ JOURS^ t\ 588 '698 M.7B5 '1,485 Awesome Niagra Falls plus Tulips May 4-12 (9 days) Black Hills/Badlands ...... June 2-7 (6 days) '381 Heart of Alaska I4 ... June 10-July 4 (25 days).... 1,880 Wisconsin/Dells MacKlnac Island May 28-June 7 (11 days).. Alaska/26 Glacier Cruise July 16-24 (9 days) Newfoundland August 1-21 (21 days) British Columbia/ Canadian Rockies September 2-16 (15 days) Nova Scotla/PEI/Quebec September 18-October 5 .« *._ (18days) '1,188 Fall/New England A Canada September 22-October 5 .... (14days) 'IN Fall/Smoky Mountains/ Nashville/Branson Oct. 20-27 (8 days) New Zealand plus Australia ._... Nov. 6-24 (19 days) 2,884 Ca/f or writ* lor 1997 Catalog 000 M««dowbrook, tmllnm t-000-028-7710 (913)825-0881 In the MaJavolti house, those 13 and older shower in the morning; the younger ones bathe at night. Bedtimes are staggered. After dinner, some children do dishes, some prepare lunches for the next day. The couple's youngest biological son, 8-year-old Gabriel, already a generous child, has learned to share even more: his toys, his room with two other boys and, perhaps hardest of all, his parents. Rachel, 16, gets up early in the morning and sometime helps dress the little ones. The freshly minted family sits in two full church pews, consumes up to 12 gallons of milk and washes 36 loads of laundry a week, and travels in a 15-seater 1981 Ford van bought from a church at a giveaway price. They've received many donations, too: a hot-water heater from Al's boss at Sundstrand Corp., two freezers, even a side of beef. One adoptive mother with 10 kids sent a $165 check along with some advice: "The one thing I learned with children is pray, pray, pray." Money, though, remains a big concern, so they plan to seek financial adoption assistance from Texas once the legal process is complete, which should happen within less than six months. In the meantime, the new members of this ready-made family continue to adjust. In Texas, Wendy would awake at 5 a.m., check the weather reports and make sure her brothers and sisters were dressed properly. Here, Rose gently told her, she could stop being a mother — and start being a 14-year-old. Some of them also face cultural and legal barriers: Jacqueline, 3, is only now learning English, and Eric and Wendy are illegal aliens who won't become citizens until the adoption is final. But Rose and Al love them, and the children — all eight of them — are together. Every Sunday night, this new family has a prayer service and talk about what they're grateful for. And always, every Sunday, they say a prayer for Blanca, who loved her children enough to entrust them to two bighearted strangers. ^ATTENTION »/ c^ T~" J^PORTS JTANS Kansas City Royals Weekend June 28 & 29 Kansas City Chiefs Weekends 4 Departures We pick up in Salina - call for details. ^5 TraVel Oi\c. 1-8OO-423-3970 The Only Licensed Playgirl Production Is Coming! SALINA! APPEARING AT ROPERS 1540 OLD HWY. 40 WEDNESDAY, MAY 14TH - 8:00 PM Call 1-888-309-7551 for Hckef info between 10:00 am-4:00 pm. Microcosmos "Miraculous" Times: • i 5:00 7:00 Fri. 5:00 7:00 9:00 SuL 2:00 3:30 6:00 7:00 9:00 Sun. 2:00 3:30 6:00 7:00 May 15-21 June 2-17 10-15 26-28 27-29 July 12-20 PRUDENT TOURS Spring in the Smokies Oregon/Calif. Coastlines Chicago Branson Music Extravaganza $269 Texas Outdoor Drama Black Hills/North Dakota/Yellowstone 17-20 Cheyenne Rodeo & the Rockies 19-25 Winnipeg/Minneapolis 24-28 SummerMysteryTour 26-8/5 Great Lakes Circle 28-8/2 Dakota Discovery 31-8/2 Grandparents Tour Single $279 Double p.p. $219 Children 6-12 $149 August 9-25 Pacific Northwest $1,479 11-9/4 Alaska/Yukon $2,379 September 8-14 Scenic Colorado Railroads $679 9-14 Gospel Quartets $479 21-29 Canyonlands $729 23-10/11 Nova Scotia $1,509 25-28 Fall Mystery $329 26-10/4 Northwoods $679 Fall Foliage 27-10/9 New England/Canadian $949 Fall Foliage October 4-7 Mississippi Foliage Cruise $409 9-12 Albuquerque Balloons $309 11-24 Historic East $999 Call for Information 1-800-658-1734 108 N. Main, Hillsboro, KS 316-947-2353 Horizon The Friendly Way To Travel 913-827-2292 1-800-241-6692 1-800-317-4231 <|60S. Santa Fe Salina, KS Sat.(M:30-*4:15)-7:00-9:45 fen fHtMavisL F ^^^fr^lf^Kf •^•^^•1 j^f^Am -IJ^M ^^^Ug*^ ^m^k -. Triplets/Quads are less on most trips. Give us a call for more upcoming trips available! [Sunset ' : inn H' •ruinIT Frl. (M:30)-7:15-9:30 Sun.(*1:45-'4:30)-7:15 ROBIN WILLIAMS • BILIY C Frl. ('4:35)-7:05-9:25 i Sat. C2.-05-'4:35)-7:05-9:25 Sun. (*2:05-'4:35)-7:05 Sat. (*1:45-*4:30)-7:15-9:30 Mon.-Thur8.('S:15}-7:30 ft— 1 THE COAST IS TC^^, VOLCANO Mid-State. TOMMY LEE JONES Fri. C4:30)-7:00-9:i. Sat. ( < 2:00- 1 4.-30)-7.-00-9:20 Sun. (•2:00-'4:30)-7:00 " n.-Thuf«. f'S:00>-7:2n T -« SAINT VAL KILMER [CentralMail- ] Frl. ('4:45)-7:15-8:15 SaI.('2:15-'4:45)-7:15-9:15 Sun.C2:15-'4:45)-7:15 Central Mall ANACONDA 'JENNIFER LOPEZ ass I Central Mall Frl.('4:40)-7:10-9:20 I Sat.C2:10-'4:40)-7:10-9:20 I Sun.(*2:10-'4:40)-7:10 Frl. C4:30>7:00-8:30 SaM'2:06-'4:3oi-7:00-»:30 BgJ Sun .('2:00-*4:30)-7:00 MURDER, _-*Ll600. [Central Mall. J Frl. (*4:35)-7:05-9:25 Sat.('2:05-M:35)-7:05-9:25 Sun. ('2:05-"4:35)-7:05

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