Dearest Alethia,

Yesterday I dropped you off back at the babies’ home. It was incredibly hard to leave you there. You were quite the little rockstar though. All the kids love you. You’re basically the queen of that place. 🙂

It was hard to watch you try to figure out what was happening. When the aunties sat you down for dinner, I could see the wheels turning in your head. You knew something was different about this time than in times past when we would visit that place together.

I’m sorry that I didn’t really say goodbye. Maybe in my mind I was just trying to convince myself that this is just a short little visit, so there was no real need for a goodbye. And beyond that, I didn’t want you to see me cry, because that would probably make it harder on you. So, I just had to go while you ate your dinner. I’m sorry.

I dropped off a few of your things with Rebecca and Laura. They have your backpack, your babydoll, and your pillow. I made sure that the picture book of our family was in your backpack so you don’t forget us.

I don’t know how you slept last night. I hope that you were okay since you were among your friends. To be honest, I’ve had a harder time this morning, then last night. I guess it’s just starting to sink in that I have to board that plan tonight without you. Everything reminds me of you—your clothes that I still have—your toys—the papers you colored all over the guest house—so many things.  Last night, I rolled over in bed and for a split second I thought you were there beside me. A little while later, I heard running water coming from outside of our bathroom, and I thought that it was you playing in the sink like you used to do, getting yourself completely soaked and having to change your clothes three times in an hour.

Oh, sweet girl, we are working as hard as we can to bring you home. Please know that we haven’t deserted you. We just have to go away for a little while. We will not leave you as an orphan, but we will come again to you. We’re going away to prepare a place for you—to get the house ready. We have to go so that we can return and get you very soon. I know it doesn’t make sense to any of us now. But one day it will.

Alethia, you are our daughter, and nothing can change that. Your daddy and mommy love you with all their heart. Take heart, sweet girl. We’ll see you soon.

Your loving, returning father