I hate this. I hate saying goodbye to the kids. I hate leaving.
But the painful goodbyes don’t make the moments together any less sweet.
Today we had the privilege of taking the seven oldest “babies” to the children’s museum and to lunch at Chuck E. Cheese. And when I say “we,” I don’t just mean the five of us who are physically present. All of eXchange treated the kids to this special day, because all of eXchange pitched in to help get us the money we needed to take these kids out.
Juan Pablo: is a ball of endless energy. But he showed tremendous patience when he waited with Scot for the rock climbing wall. He waited for almost an hour without complaining.
Cristel: is in love with my husband. No, really. She is. Every once in awhile I’d try to play with her by myself, but if she lost sight of Nate, she’d frantically cry, “Net? Net! Net!” She wanted to hold him. She pushed him in a corner to try and keep him from leaving. She wanted to sit on his lap. She wanted him to come take a nap with her in her room.
Jose: made it to the top of the rock climbing wall. (Shawn put the video on his blog.) No surprise. He’s so smart and talented, but his hearing problems frustrate him and those around him. At the children’s museum, there is an electricity demonstration. At the last minute Jody remembered that we needed to take out his hearing aids lest we destroy them and his ears with the (small) shock that was going to shoot through his body. Jose didn’t understand what we were trying to tell him when we asked him to take it out. Finally, we had to have Estuardo come over and translate for us into sign language. Jose was still upset, but I think the joy he got from getting to participate may have made up for it.
Chabelita (Isabel): communicates mostly through grunts and shoves. I think Jody accidentally got a punch in the face from her a time or two today. She was absolutely terrified of Chuck E. Cheese.
Daniel: showed wisdom far beyond his years today. When Estuardo started crying when we were leaving, Danni very calmly told him not to be sad, because we would be back soon. When Juan Pablo asked us if we had more gifts to give them, Danni told him that we had already given them a lot already. We didn’t need to give them anything more.
Estuardo: and Danni spent about 45 minutes running up and rolling down a grassy hill at the museum. We were having so much fun that another random boy decided to join our posse. At one point, Estuardo got hungry, but I only had one package of pretzels and cheese in my pocket. I brought the package out, and Estuardo quickly offered to share with not just Danni, but also the random boy who was playing with us.
It hurt Estuardo for us to leave this afternoon, and he expressed his pain though tears and gigantic hugs. Since he’s getting ready to go live with Edwin, I thought he wouldn’t be so sad when we left this time. But I now realize that it must seem to Estuardo that the people he loves are always leaving him.
Alejandra: is so precious. I could listen to her giggle and watch her smile all day. Today she put her head in my lap and let me play with her hair and tickle her neck. She danced with me at Chuck E. Cheese’s. She sang with me in the car. She doesn’t talk very clearly though. Even the Guatemalans who listen to her have a hard time understanding what she says. This is due, at least in part, to the abuse she’s had to suffer through. Her speech has been very slow to develop. However, there was one thing today that came through loud and clear. When we were getting ready to walk out the door, Ale came up to me, gave me a big hug, and said, “Quiero ir contigo”–I want to come with you. I wish you could, sweet girl. I’d do just about anything to take you home. Since that’s impossible, I will pray for you. I will pray that God brings you a family who will show you love and treasure you in the way that you deserve.