Former orphan shows gratitude through service

| May 18, 2017 | 0 Comments

Carlos McMerty-Brummer — Benilde-St. Margaret’s, St. Louis Park
Parents: Matthew and Andrea McMerty-Brummer
Parish: Holy Name of Jesus, Medina
Post-graduation plans: Study Spanish and education at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul
Photo by Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit

Carlos McMerty-Brummer’s memories of his native Honduras are vivid. He remembers the five houses that made up the orphanage he entered as a baby in 1998 and the presence of two American missionaries who would alter the course of his life.

The senior at Benilde-St. Margaret’s in St. Louis Park clearly describes the day he walked across the soccer field at the orphanage as a 6-year-old with one of those American missionaries and told him he was determined to go back to the United States with him and another missionary.

“I told him I was going to go back to the U.S. with them on a boat — because I had no idea there were airplanes — and then he asked me how I’d go to school,” McMerty-Brummer recalled. “I said I’d just take the boat back [to Honduras]. I never knew what the world was like.”

The two missionaries who would become McMerty-Brummer’s adoptive parents first had to get married before his plan could transpire. In 2011, after navigating through the international adoption process, Matthew and Andrea McMerty-Brummer adopted Carlos, as well as his older brother and younger sister, and returned to the U.S.

“I had no idea what was coming,” McMerty-Brummer said of leaving the orphanage. “I was just excited to be with them and explore the world.”

From day one, McMerty-Brummer has attended Benilde-St. Margaret’s, where his father now teaches world languages. Although he was held back a year when he started school as a seventh-grader, he learned English well enough to advance to graduate with his class.

In ninth grade, he went on a mission trip with other BSM students to Honduras, where they served at the orphanage where he spent the first half of his life. He even reconnected with one of his best friends growing up at the orphanage.

McMerty-Brummer believes his BSM classmates left with a renewed sense of gratitude and realized they can improve others’ lives by volunteering and donating.

“One small thing makes a huge impact,” said McMerty-Brummer, a member of the National Honor Society, soccer team and a captain on the track team at BSM. “Spending time with kids and making them smile makes a huge difference.”

Looking back, he says his life experiences show God’s purpose for him, and he’s grateful he was adopted.

“[God] did this out of love, but he did this to make me realize that I should be helping others,” he said.

McMerty-Brummer has held true to that belief. He has volunteered with Feed My Starving Children, and Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners. At his parish, Holy Name of Jesus in Medina, he leads small groups, retreats and vacation Bible school.

He said attending a Catholic school has helped him see others’ needs.

“I shouldn’t just be thinking about me and what people can do for me,” he said. “I struggled with that for a while. It’s what I can do for others. That’s what being Catholic means.”

He plans to continue to serve others when he attends the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul this fall. One day, he said, he’d consider a missionary stint like his parents, and he’d like to adopt a child from a foreign country.

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Category: Graduation