Today marks three weeks since we left Guatemala. When asked about our trip, we beam and reply with comments like: It was great, amazing, wonderful, exciting. She is wonderful, such a good baby, we just love her. We feel so blessed to have had that time with our baby girl, to get to know her, to bond with her, to discover what makes her smile that big gorgeous smile and what makes those stunning brown eyes twinkle... it was just an unbelievable experience. When we get into the details, people picture it (almost), and most can imagine the feelings of meeting your child for the first time. It really was a blessed week, and, we have the pictures (just a few!) and video to prove it! I think back on that week and it just fills me with joy. Going to Guatemala to meet Luciana changed everything; it changed us and it changed our family forever. Lucy was this real, living, breathing, smiling, right there in our arms loving us back baby girl... and we were in love! We celebrated every moment with our sweet girl. In that little room at the Westin, we became Luciana's parents, and she was every bit our daughter.
And then, it happened... we gave her back to her Foster Mother... and got on a plane... and came home. Just for now, I know. Still, it happened. And for that reason, I have finally decided to take a stab at sharing what that was like. First though, I will tell you this, I will not really ever be able to tell you what that was like... I do not possess the words to make you feel what we felt, or to create the picture in your mind of what it looked like, or to make your heart feel the depth of the hurt... and for that, I am grateful. I don't want you to feel it.
Magda was in the lobby with one her daughters and another lady. I never did figure out who the other lady was, but she had a nice smile. Keith and I had stayed up the night before using Google Translator to write down some things we wanted to say to Magda about our week, and to thank her for being a wonderful Foster Mom. When we approached her, she reached for Luciana, and over the lump in my throat I managed to say, "Not yet." She didn't know what I said, but she knew. We sat down and Keith tried (oh my) to read the few things we had translated. I know you won't believe me, but it was so absurd, that we were all laughing hysterically! Andrea, Magda's daughter, just reached over and took the notebook from Keith and read it all out loud!! It was honestly the best comic relief we could have wished for in that moment! We gave Magda all of Luciana's clothes and a bunch of other stuff. All this time, baby girl slept in my arms. When the time was becoming obvious that we would have to hand her over, she woke up and started crying. So did I. We took the opportunity to give her one last bottle. Keith and I took turns feeding her; memorizing her. She fell back asleep, we kissed her and told her we loved her, and we handed her to her loving and kind Magda.
I have spent a lot of time in my head thinking thoughts that I don't like to think out loud. I replay the moment that she went with Magda over and over. I hate it. I don't know what I would have done differently, but I wish I could redo it. I was so upset that I didn't watch her leave... I didn't blow kisses and smile to reassure her and tell her, "I love you so much, we will be back as soon as we can. You are our daughter and we are doing everything we can to bring you home... " as she walked down the hall... I just turned away. I keep wondering what she must have been thinking, or how often she looked for us before she realized we were not coming back... it breaks my heart. I haven't shared this very much, I just can't think these thoughts out loud... it hurts so much. Instead, I have these really weird days... I wake up everyday and promise to make positive steps in all sorts of directions... today I will... spend special time with Sam, take a walk, go to the gym, pick up fabric and start sewing again, read a book, read my Bible, have coffee with a friend, start a diet, stay on a diet, drink more water, drink less coffee, do something nice for someone else, get ready for baby girl... etc... but, no two days are the same, and I never end the day feeling like I have done one thing well. I am just totally distracted on the inside and trying to put on a good face on the outside. I think I do an okay job getting through each day, but the truth is, I struggle.... I just miss her so much.
I have to end this by saying, we really are okay. We wake up everyday and get to spend wonderful moments with our charming and silly big boy. We are surrounded by the most loving family and friends... even the ones we don't see regularly, we know they are loving us from afar and routing for Lucy's homecoming. We know how lucky we are that our case is moving. And best of all, through the heartache of our parting, I was given an amazing gift... you guys, I am NOT scared anymore! I am not worried. I am not wringing fingers and losing sleep wondering "IF" Luciana is coming home. I am telling you, I know she is coming home. I know it in every fiber of my being, and it has given me the greatest peace. She will be home, and we will be together forever, and that whole goodbye story will be just that; a story. So, in knowing that she is coming home, we have taken what we refer to as mini-leaps-of-faith! We are socializing with friends, laughing all the time, registering, letting our amazing friends and family plan showers, and PAINTING the nursery this weekend! Let's face it, that angel is coming home, and we need to get ready! So, yes, it was "so hard" and it still hurts, but... well, we are okay, and that is a gift.