Thursday, April 21, 2011
He is home.
Here we are, folks. All of us. At last.
It has been an emotional couple of days knowing that the journey was all about to be over, yet really, the journey was all about to begin -- all in the same moment. Josh was emotional when they handed him Vlad's visa yesterday -- the LAST document needed to enter into a new life as a family of four. I was emotional last night when I was putting Syrus to bed -- the LAST moment as an only child and a goodbye to our old life as a family of three.
And then today. We waited and waited for Josh, his sister Rebecca, and little Vlad to finally arrive and for it to be official. An orphan no more. A Burick forever. They came through the doors from customs, Vlad proudly swinging his arms and walking into his new life wearing a Puma tracksuit and his hat off to one side, looking like he owned the place and was waiting for his hip hop album to be released. Perfect. I bent down to see him -- a sweet reunion after nearly three weeks -- wondering if he would remember me. I called his name, "Vladi" and he immediately turned to me. Then I said, "Mama" and he gasped. Then smiled. Done. That was all it took.
Then there were hugs and kisses and tears all around as Josh and I began to push TWO strollers out of the airport, holding hands, looking at each other and knowing life had changed. So fun. We put the boys in their carseats and off we went. Syrus and Vlad just kept staring at each other as though they were unsure if they were looking in a mirror. They shared a banana, signing "more" over and over, watching each other eat and modifying some of their own routines to try the other's strategy. I gave them each a baby wipe. Vlad immediately began to wipe down his face, his hands, his mouth, behind the ears. You know the routine. Syrus ate his wipe. Love it. My boys.
Once we pulled into our driveway, we "traded" boys to make the big entrance into our house. Josh took Syrus and they were laughing and chatting away, with Syrus giving one of his emphatic gibberish speeches. I took Vlad. He grabbed me tightly and I said to him, "You are home. You are home." And he laid his head on my shoulder and snuggled into me.
And I completely lost it.
Josh turned around and saw me doing "the ugly cry" and came back, and the four of us stood there for a moment in the driveway, taking it all in before stepping into our home. All the paperwork. The headaches. The fundraising. The worries. The prayers. The appointments. The apostilles. The signatures. The time zones. The frustration. The expectation. The moments we had said, "I just want him to be home." And there he was. In our driveway. About to enter our home. HIS home. This little boy's life has totally changed.
And now so has ours! We went inside and two toddler boys went off exploring together. They jumped on their beds. They played in the ballpit. They fought over Tickle Me Elmo. They ate cake. They tried on clothes. They played basketball. They gave high-fives. And most of all they laughed and cried and babbled to each other. Just like brothers do.
And now I am the only one who is awake. For all my boys have completely crashed for the first time under one roof and I keep walking around the house, checking on them all to see if it is real. Is it? I'm not sure yet. It is indescribable when you have spent almost 9 months chasing a photograph of a child that you BELIEVE is yours, and then that child from the photograph is INDEED yours, and sleeping peacefully in the next room. I mean, seriously? And yet, there he is. THERE HE IS! My little Vladi. He is home.