I can't say I've ever excelled at saying good-bye. There's always an ache in my heart and the dark thoughts that swirl through my mind about whether or not I will ever see them again.
Saying good-bye to our Latvian kids was all of the above times one hundred. In fact it's taken me a whole week to be able to even blog about it without breaking down and crying while I write. Yes, it hurts that much.
We arrived at the airport at 5:00 a.m. The kids were all blurry-eyed as we drove through the dark morning hours. They dozed all the way to the airport, but sprang into action as soon as we hit the bright lights of the airport. We got them checked in (all under the 50 pound limit) and then joined the other families clustered in little groups at the designated waiting place.
The kids were happy and cheerful while they munched on snacks and played a few games on Andie's IPAD that we borrowed for the occasion. At one point Samanta sat next to me and leaned her head on my shoulder. I patted her cheek and told her she would always be my baby. She smiled softly and said, "Yes."
Liga climbed onto my lap for some more last-minute snuggles. She took my face in her hands and said, "You. Me. Latvia." I shook my head sadly. She thought for a moment, then said. "You. Me. Here." Again I had to shake my head. She sighed and went quiet for a little while, content to just be held for the time being.
And then all to soon, the moment we had all dreaded arrived.
The chaperone called out, "Valerija! Samanta! Liga! Eltons!" And something in my heart just snapped. This was it! After one month of loving and giving and giving and loving, how do you just stop?
Elton stiffened. His head dropped down and his arms hung limply at his sides. His sisters tried to get him to hug us, but he was not able to. I kissed his little cheeks and my tears fell on his face. Valerija did not cry nor did she smile. She had a look in her eyes that told of too much hurt and disappointment. She went through the motions of hugging us and saying good-bye because she is so polite and proper. Samanta also stiffened up. She hugged us, but it was not with the usual warmth or enthusiasm as before. And little Liga, clung to Samanta's hand after her good-bye was over.
Shawn and I joined the other host parents at the railing. You would have thought we were at a funeral. The somber silence that hung over our group was interrupted only by more good-byes as subsequent kids parted from their host parents, the flash of last minute photos, and the muffled sniffs of broken-hearted people wiping their eyes and noses. No, it was not easy.
This week the hosting organization asked us what our intent was regarding these four. That was one of the easiest questions I have EVER answered. What is our intent? To get them back home as fast as possible!!!! This broken-hearted mama is on a mission to get her babies back home to stay home FOREVER!!! So help me, God!