Last week, Love & Hope Children’s Home said “goodbye” to Antonio. After his adoption was made official, there were still a few more things to do before he could take off for the United States. Kelly spent the last few weeks getting Antonio’s passport, visa, and other documentation together in preparation for his big move.
During that time, Antonio and Kelly visited Love & Hope and also invited several of the kids to fun outings. Antonio and the other children have had a lot to say about his adoption. He was happy to recite his new last name and the names of his new cousins to anyone who would listen. When asked what his first words would be to the welcoming party in the Cleveland airport, Antonio joked that he was going to yell, “Pan!”, imitating the bread man who rides his bicycle down our street everyday. Jacobo and Esau greeted Antonio over and over as “gringo” – the nickname used for Americans in El Salvador. Antonio loved it! We were also happy to celebrate one more birthday with Antonio before he left. He turned 10 years old just in time for his big move!
Last Friday, Kelly and Antonio invited us all to the beach for his farewell party. The kids had a great time playing with Antonio in the pool and on the beach. Several of the staff joined us and even our dear Tia Mila came to say goodbye to Antonio (Mila previously worked at Love & Hope and was one of Antonio’s primary caregivers). We enjoyed lunch, dinner, and cake before saying our final goodbyes and praying over Antonio. Afterward, everyone wanted pictures with Antonio and he gladly obliged. Love & Hope gave Antonio a memory book full of well-wishes and photos.
Hugging Antonio goodbye was hard and a little surreal. In just 24 hours he would be in the United States. A couple nights after Antonio left, we were blessed to be able to Skype with him and Kelly!
Adoption can be like climbing a mountain. The path is not as clearly marked as one might expect. You often don’t know how much farther you have to go. At times you can hear everyone cheering you on, and at other times you think everyone has forgotten you’re out there climbing. At times it is so hard you fear you might not make it to the top. We couldn’t be happier for Antonio and Kelly. They reached the summit. We know they are enjoying the beautiful view.
Congratulations to you both! We love you so much.