My good mood came to a screeching halt when Michael wet his pants in the long immigration and customs line because he had refused to go to the bathroom on the plane. Luckily, we had to pick up our luggage at customs and recheck it for the flight to Salt Lake, so we were able to get some clean clothes out. We cleaned him up and then waited in the immigration office for a very long time for an officer to come process Michael’s paperwork. Everything was in order and we will be receiving his Certificate of Citizenship in the next couple of weeks.
When we landed in Salt Lake, it was strange to realize that the long travel experience that we had prepared for for over a year was really over. Our trip had gone smoothly, Michael was home and our children had been safe and healthy in our absence. What a relief!
Unfortunately, however, when we arrived at the Salt Lake airport jet lag hit us all hard and heavy. I started to become very concerned that Michael was just too exhausted and overwhelmed to have a pleasant reunion with his siblings. I knew that they were all excited to have him come home and would be sad if it was not the "Hallmark moment" that they had expected.
The kids were waiting for us outside when we turned onto our street. They had painted the windows of the Suburban, written on the driveway with sidewalk chalk, painted the front door, and hung "welcome home" posters all over the garage door. We pulled into the driveway and they all ran to the car. It felt so good to hug them. I really do not like being away from our children.
Michael was sitting in the back of the car and the kids opened the door to greet him. As we have had Michael’s pictures up in our home all year and watched video of him, Jacob definitely remembered Michael and immediately climbed in the car on top of Michael to give him a big hug. After 16 months apart, my two little boys were finally back together again.
We took a few minutes to introduce Michael to his siblings outside and then moved our reunion inside where we were not being blown away by the wind. As soon as we got inside, Michael opened his backpack and pulled out the photo album that we had sent him with everyone’s pictures. He knew! He knew that he was home and that the six new faces surrounding him were the same people in the photos. He matched each photo with that of his siblings and then began to tour the house. After showing him the house we all went into Jacob’s room to show Michael all of his new toys.
Michael quickly settled into life at the Grover house and within a couple of hours was running around with his brothers playing with Nerf guns. A spontaneous dance party took place in mom and dad’s room after bath time and our little performer thought that was awesome. The best part of the whole day was watching Jacob and Michael remember each other and their previous relationship. By bedtime, they were hugging each other constantly. They were dancing, playing "duck duck goose", pushing each other on the little tractor, and sitting on their little couch relaxing together. It was absolutely precious.
It has been a long journey to get to today and it has been completely and totally worth it! I can’t describe to you how wonderful it is to have Michael home, with Jacob and all of his brothers and sisters. It is truly what this life is all about. Families are forever.
We can’t thank all of you (our family and friends) enough for the love, support and help that you have given us throughout the past couple of years. You have helped us bring our boys home and we cannot express how thankful we are for your prayers, emotional support and financial assistance. We are so blessed to have you in our lives and will be eternally grateful for all that you have done for us.