Have you ever woken up in the morning with a pit in your stomach like something just isn’t right? Then suddenly as you become fully awake the events of yesterday come rushing back and you remember exactly what caused the pit to be there in the first place.
The last few mornings have been like that for me. May 30th, 2008 will go down as one of the worst days of my life. The events of that day will live with me forever. I woke Friday to gloom. The sky was filled with clouds, fog, and an eerie silence that screamed for you to pull the covers over your head and stay in bed until the dreadful day had passed. However, being “going home day” for me I jumped out of bed prepared for anything….or so I thought. After I got things with Izzy squared away and my bags were finally loaded in the suburban Jen and some of the Tennessee group piled in with 8 of our kiddos. The plan was to drop me off at the airport then head out to eat with the kiddos. When we got about 10 minutes away from the airport Nicole Tindall called to let us know that a Taca plane had missed the run way and had crashed in the middle of Honduras’s capital city. (for more on that story go to http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5j830-0ZlHLNghGjjOB5NFKla9iKQD9104CTO0) I was immediately sick for the families of those that would have died in the crash. Then with a sinking sadness I realized that would surely mean I was not to fly home that day.
However, I would soon realize that God had a reason for keeping me in the country. Only minutes later Karen called to tell us that she had received a call reporting that the mom of the 5 brothers (Yovani, Marvin, Mario, Francisco, and little Antonio) had won custody of them again. We were to have them at the state orphanage by 2 so the mom and dad could take them home. So with very little warning or time to prepare we were expected to hand back over these boys who had nestled a place deep within our hearts. Set on savoring our last few moments with them we went to Church’s Chicken to eat and then Baskin Robbins for ice cream. Somewhere in the midst of that we managed to explain to the boys that they would be going “home” later that same day. The fact was met by a wide spectrum of emotion. Tears were shed, joy was expressed, and confusion set in. By the time 2:00 rolled around I felt certain I had never cried so much in my entire life. We relished our last moments with our boys while we waited on the mom.
When she finally arrived whoever was holding Antonio put him down and encouraged him to go to his “mom.” With the biggest smile he turned and ran to the suburban. Then with arms raised up to me he climbed up onto my lap as if to say “ok I’m with my mom….what now.” Suppressing a sob I held him close for a second before explaining he needed to go to “mommy Maria.” To which he responded with a sound no thanks I’m good right where I’m at. If there was any part of me that had yet to break that moment did it for me. Antonio left his parents when he was 6 months old. We are literally the only “mommas” he has ever known. Knowing I had to let him go I allowed someone to take him to Maria. Then I did one of the hardest things of my entire 22 years…….I said goodbye to 5 little boys who at some point in the last 18 months had stolen my heart. Then I hid my head in Jen’s shoulder and cried my heart out. With no other words to explain it I can honestly tell you that the moment the walked away something inside of me died. I felt as though I was drowning. Nothing made sense anymore and suddenly life felt ever so lonely. For those of you that are mommas imagine the hospital calling, after you’ve had your baby for a 18 months, and telling you they made a mistake with you baby and would be sending someone that day to get your child. The child that you have poured everything into for the past year and a half. The child that they are now telling you isn’t really yours but that your heart loved like your own from the first moment you met him/her. That is how I felt…times 5. It felt like a sick joke.
When we finally got home that night I wandered into the boys’ room, curled up in Yovani’s bed, and mourned like a momma who had just come from her babies funeral. It felt much like that for all of us. It was as though they were gone from our lives forever……and essentially they are. While no words could every truly explain the feeling within me right now ……I know there are some of you who are mourning this loss along side of me. I wish I could be with each of you right now to wrap my arms around your neck and squeeze. For now I will continue to lift all of your hearts up to the one who is holding you close. Please pray for our boys as they learn to adjust back to life with their parents. Pray that this momma heart of mine will find the strength to return to Hondo after my short break at home.