|Breakfast right before|
leaving to meet R & E
Here's a snapshot from Monday, the day we finally got to hug each other after seven months of waiting:
Barak and I (along with our rep and two people from the government office) walked up to their house...holding hands, hearts pounding and so, so happy. I'll forever have a clear snapshot in my memory of Ruth running out of the door and straight into my arms. She wrapped her arms around me and buried her head in my chest....we both cried and I kept kissing her and telling her we loved her. I heard Barak say, "Emma!" and looked up to see him all smiles and holding a huge bouquet of flowers. He ran over too, and all four of us hugged together. Ruth held on tight until she turned to Papi (Barak) and latched on just as tight. That part broke me. She simply didn't want to let go. We captured that part on video, and it's precious. We didn't even see her face for at least five full minutes. Their house tios were there along with a few other people, and everyone smiled and cried. Emma gave me this huge hug and said, I love you Mami, and I swear life was absolutely perfect. They took us on a tour of their house, and it was incredible. Emma and B left to play for a bit, and Ruth and I spent about 20 minutes just talking. She showered me with handmade jewlerey (including a bracelet with the initials of all four of us), pictures, a poem, etc. She showed me the album B and I had made her, and I told her some of the special stories behind the pictures. Then Emma appeared in the room and we all started playing...B came...and let's just say we were a normal family with our son hiding under the bed, us trying to tackle him, our daughter as a "spy" sneaking into the room...simply normal and incredibly happy. It truly was like we'd been together forever.
That began an incredible first day together. Emma had a small breakdown when we didn't go to his restaurant of choice (McDonald's)...but we all enjoyed spending lunch together...talking, taking pictures and videos...B and Emma covering a napkin with drawings...just living life together. Then our rep took us back to the apartment to enjoy an afternoon together. We made playdough, danced and sang, watched a few minutes of Barbie in Spanish together, showed them their rooms, etc. We all curled up on the bed together (our living room is actually B's and my bedroom)...started Ruth's scrapbook...did I mention the karaoke in Spanish? :)
Then we went to a photo place to take pics for their visas. Emma refused--for a while--to get his picture taken. It was in this moment that we realized we were truly the parents and will desperately need God to be with us each and every moment. This is all so new to us...learning how to love by setting limits and boundaries...how and when to give the good and the hard consequences. We will take it one day at a time...just one day at a time.
On the way back to their house, Ruth curled up in my lap and tried to fall asleep. Emma grabbed my arm and wrapped it around him. I remember how he put my hand in his and held on tight. These are the moments that make a simple day beyond incredible. Neither one wanted to go back, but we'd already kept them out way past their normal bedtime. Hopefully they'll get to come home with us tomorrow for good.
We experienced the father's love today so purely. We are committed to giving all that we can of him to these precious kids, to loving them in the easy and the hard moments...to asking God to stay with us through every part of the journey.
When B and I got back to our apartment, we fell asleep quickly, happily exhausted...and it was only 9:30!
On Tuesday, we took them for their medical examination, and I held Ruth close during her vaccine. Both of them were extremely brave, and we're grateful for the kind doctor. Then we spent some time at the Consulate, another family adventure complete with a shut down from Emma. I had told him we would be taking them back to the group home afterward, and he asked why we had to leave them there. Heartbreaking...so many moments where we continue to know we absolutely cannot do this without having God with us every minute. Then today was a super tranquilo (relaxed) day, everyone together. All three days have been incredible...a few highlights include Ruth's infectious laugh when she scared me, our family tickling wars, Barak reading with Emma, sharing and praying together, cooking our first meal in the apartment, playing frisbee in the park, lots of hugs, kisses, cuddling, and hand-holding, and an entire lifetime together to look forward to. Oh! And, of course, finding out that tonight is our last night apart. Tomorrow we officially bring them back to the apartment to stay with us permanently. !!!!
Now that is living.