June 25, 2004 – a big day in our family’s life. A huge day in the lives of our two youngest. That’s the day that they left GLA and flew to America to start their new lives as Vanderwells.

A couple of things that “stick out” in my memory of that day……..

Watching the kids looking out the window as we drove down the mountain to the airport. The look of awe on their faces showed that while they had been out of the orphanage, they hadn’t been out much.

Waiting in line at the airport – white parents with black kids. Our first experience in standing out. Not good, not bad, just standing out.

The looks of the fellow passengers – the older Haitian lady on our plane who looked at us and said, very quietly and sincerely, “Thank you.”

The stares that we got when our daughter screamed the whole flight (double ear infections will do that to you).

The moment when the wheels touched down in Miami and our kids became US Citizens…….

Watching planes take off in Miami and watching my son look at every one of them, point and say, “Gwo” with a sense of awe and wonder. (Gwo is big in Creole).

Coming around the corner of the walkway at the airport to a crowd of people all waiting for us to come home. Sharing that moment with friends and family was truly special.

Walking out of the airport, hand in hand with my 3 1/2 year old son while he insisted on pulling the carryon suitcase.

Carrying Abby and Isaac in the house (sound asleep) watching their homecoming on the local news and then bringing them upstairs and putting them to bed.

In their own bed.

In their new house.

With their new family.