On the last day at the center the children had a going away ceremony planned. We did not, however, see it all. It began with some beautiful songs led by Betty and Sam. There was a procession of girls in grass skirts that danced. There was intent praying for us and our safe travels. There was a time where the kids were able to tell what they were thankful for. One little boy from Shengi got up and told how thankful he was to have a place to sleep and food to eat since his father died in a ferry accident and his mother couldn't feed him. Then he sat down, put his head in his hands and cried. That was the beginning of the end. The next song was one where the kids would sing verses to each of the American women leaving. Sam and Betty's sponsor Lori was on this trip and as the song started Sam sang the verse 'thank you mommy Lori, you gave us hope when all our hope was gone' and all the kids joined in to say 'it is hard to say goodbye to someone like you'. Anyone who has followed TRS and knows the background in this relationship knows that those verses couldn't be more true. The place Sam, Betty, and Fallah came from is the stuff of horror movies and nightmares. A place where any unimaginably horrible thing that could happen-did. So Sam had a hard time getting the words out and I had a hard time holding back sobs. When I looked over at Lori, she couldn't hide the tears behind her sunglasses. Next was Karen who sponsors Fatmata. Fatmata sang, 'thank you auntie Karen, you gave us love when all.....'. She couldn't finish because she was crying. I pulled out a tissue b/c at this point there is no disguising my own tears. During each of these verses I discretely looked at Albert and John. I was trying not to make eye contact knowing the risk I ran of sobbing uncontrollably. To late. Albert was crying. Oh no, oh no. Amy confirms what I just saw and I have to go to him. As the kids sang on I held Albert to me while he cried so hard his body palpatated. No noise, just crying. And I am so far gone. This is breaking my heart. The song ends and the caretakers tell the kids they can go hug the aunties. So every kid swarms the women and there is a time of everyone just crying. Like a funeral. I looked around thinking about what a bizarre event I was witnessing. I looked for John and when I found him he too was crying. I picked him up and held him for a minute rubbing the back of his neck. We all sat down and all I could do was tell them that I was coming back. Uncle Andrew and I were coming back. But they already know. Even thought we will be back it will be many months. As we left I felt so terrible. It was an extremely long set of flights home. My stomach was tense and my throat was strained from holding back the symphony that I didn't want the other passengers to hear. My eyelids are tired not only from the lack of sleep but from holding back an inevitable flood. And at about 3:00pm on Wednesday I was happily reunited with my family at the airport. But as we walk out I can't help but think of a place half way around the world where there are 79 little people who are laying their heads down for the night that have no hope of being reunited with theirs. Make no mistake about what I am saying. They have fantastic caregivers and teachers, and The Raining Season is a really great place. But it is still an orphanage. They can't celebrate every birthday. They don't have parents telling them how proud they are when they learned to dress themselves, when they have great results on report cards or even when they do well on their driving tests. If they fall down there is only time to quickly assess the injuries and brush off when there are 79 kids to care for. You don't get held until you calm down because there's not time for that. As great as the caretakers are they aren't able to ask each child personally how their day was. And so my heart hurts for these kids. They are such beautiful little spirits and deserve so much more than that. This is not the last day I will see them, but it is the last day I will see them for months. All I can do for now is pray that God will give them peace and courage until the very last day when they will have all they dreamed and more. When love will be in abundance and they will never fear if they will eat the next day. And I will be there then, laughing, dancing and singing a different song right alongside them.