Denny always seemed more sluggish at our afternoon visits, and once again he was carried out to us and we made our way to the playroom. We needed to give him about 10 minutes to wake up, so we sat together and I sang, bounced him on my knees, and played peek-a-boo until he was a little more alert. He was eating up the attention and affection, and was really leaning in for kisses. He would giggle every time my lips smacked his cheeks!
Scott held Denny a bit, and they took in the view from the window. (Denny prefers women, understandably so, since the only two men we saw at the orphanage never spoke to us or acknowledged the children, so he didn't want much to do with Scott until this visit.) And we quickly discovered that Denny can almost run with the right motivation! If Scott held Denny's hands, and I walked backwards on my knees, calling to him, Denny would do his best to run to get to me! We were moving now!
He had endless energy with this game, so we put the stairs to the test with our new game. Scott helped him walk up the stairs, and I stood ready on the other side, to help him bend his leg and step down. He needed a LOT of help, but when he made the first step down and I cheered "Bravo!!!!" his whole face lit up. It made my heart so happy to see him love the praise so much.
Those were the fastest 2.5 hours of our trip, and we got our 10 minute notice from a caretaker. Denny was doing so well this visit, and I wasn't ready to leave. But leave we must, so I carried Denny back through the corridors that twisted to where the littles ate and slept. The caretaker who just popped in to tell us we had 10 minutes was nowhere in sight, and another worker was walking up the stairs, and said she would take him.
I pulled Denny's arms from around my neck to pass him to the worker, and as I did, he started screaming and twisting to get back to me. I fought every maternal instinct to pull him back to me, and the worker tried to shush him as she walked away, but I could hear him crying as we walked away, tears streaming down my face. That was the first time he preferred me over someone else, and having to leave him right then was gut-wrenching.
The whole drive back to the hotel, I rode with my sunglasses on, trying to push back the tears, and quietly failing. I thought about leaving Sadie in the NICU on my discharge date, and how similar the feeling was, even though one was carried in my womb for seven months, and the other in my heart for only three months.
Scott's words that evening mirrored my feelings, when he told me that he didn't care what it took, we had to get them home fast.