A schoolgirl adopted by an Elland woman as a baby is setting off on an emotional journey to Guatemala to meet her birth mother.
Holly Sonia, nine, left the Mayans and mountains in 2004, when she was adopted by Sarah Angus.
Catering manager Sarah, 48, and Holly are now returning to Central America to meet Holly’s birth mother, Eulalai, her half-sister, 14-year-old Martha, and six-year-old brother Edwin.
They will visit the orphanage where Sarah first held Holly, help with a community project and take a tour of the village during their visit next week.
Sarah said: “Holly is young enough to welcome cuddles and attention but now old enough to remember the trip.”
The Mayan family will also visit Sarah and Holly at their hotel for lunch and pool-side fun.
Holly said: “I’m excited about visiting a chocolate museum and playing in the pool with my brother, but when I come to say goodbye I might wonder ‘when will I see them again?’”
Holly’s school, All Saints Primary at Skircoat Green, Halifax, has raised £500 through donations for the Guatemalan community project Pueblo a Pueblo, and Sarah has raised £200 through cake sales.
Sarah said: “I would like to say a big thank you to Holly’s school and to all who bought buns. Every penny will get to the community project.”
After years of longing to be a mother, Sarah and her then husband looked at adoption in the UK but when she was suddenly widowed in 1999, hope of adopting a baby from this country was lost.
She then looked overseas and finally Sarah got the phone call she had been waiting for.
She said: “As soon as I got the call to say there was a baby girl waiting for me I booked my flights.
“I arrived at the orphanage with an empty pram. A woman carrying a baby walked towards me and said ‘here’s your mummy’ and passed Holly into my arms.”
Eulalai, then aged 27, put the baby girl she named Sonia into care after her husband left her.
Sarah said: “I have explained to Holly the financial hardship her birth mother faced; she could not feed her - it was as simple as that.
“If that hadn’t been the case me and Holly wouldn’t have been together. I hope the trip will be happy, not sad.”