After 6 hours of driving we pulled up to our final destination. The sun was setting as we drove down a narrow alleyway you could see the dilapidated houses fading away as the sky grew darker. We finally pulled up to a small house tucked away from everything. The was no light coming off the house and we debated if this was our destination. Out of nowhere the brightest orange hair appeared around the corner. I adjusted my eyes to see what looked to be about a 12 year old boy with the biggest beaming smile and the most exaggerated wave, hollering in Latvian and in English, “Hello! Welcome!” We gathered our things and met this sweet boy at the door. He held the door for us and shook our hands exclaiming ‘Welcome!’ Once we were inside he hurried ahead of us to get the next door and then shook our hands. As soon as we were through the door, he yelled, “Wait, watch the dog” and ran to pick up the cutest little weenie dog and showed us into the house. We were then met by his little brother who immediately put out his hand to shake ours and said ‘nice to meet you’ in Latvian. The foster mother greeted our translator with a hug and we were welcomed into the ‘living’ room. This was the sweetest greeting we received the entire trip. Big “E” sat patiently waiting his turn while Little “E” talked excitedly with our translator about everything he could – he even told her he wanted to be Ninja when he grows up. What a little character he was! This house was really what appeared to be 2 and half small rooms, the living room we sat in was also the dining room and the bedroom for one of the boys. Everything was straightened so neat and clean, you could tell how hard they worked to make this room look nice for us. After we all got settled we proceeded to carry on the normal interview process with Big E (little E is too young for hosting), he tried hard to understand some of my English and was eager to answer all of our questions. He maintained his composure but you could tell he was practically jumping out of his skin with excitement that we were there. Every now and again Little E couldn’t contain himself and had to contribute to the conversation and Big E patiently waited his turn. These two were the most precious boys I have ever met.
Their foster mother asked them to leave them room so she could talk to us. She began speaking with our translator and to the point where our translator said she would fill me in after the fact. She talked with so much passion and then all of the sudden the tears came pouring and she continued talking and Big E came out of no where with some pictures that he put in her hands and he disappeared. She showed us photos of previous foster children and some photos of the boys. When the emotions seemed to settle I went into the other room with the boys to play with them for a bit. Little E was so excited to play ball and was just as active as you expect any 4-5 year old, Big E was quietly drawing a map of Latvia on a piece of wood in corner. Little E talked the entire time in Latvia and oh boy he laughed so much! We had a blast!
When we went to leave the foster mother grabbed me and hugged me and held on for what felt like several minutes, I could feel her love for the boys through her embrace. She kept saying the same thing in Latvian “Don’t forget about them, don’t forget about these boys!” We walked out with a similar escort as we received when we came in, except this time we got hugs not handshakes. They all sat in their little waving non stop, until were out of sight. My heart sank – I could have stayed there all night! That’s when our translator begin to fill me on everything the grandmother told her and I saw why the tears came, the boys were in an abusive home and when they came to her they were so behind in just everyday tasks and needs. Big E was 10 years old and he could barely dress himself. They have now come leaps and bounds and I would have never known. This foster mother has worked so hard to get them where they are and when she learned that Big E could spend the summer with an American family she begged for the chance. But now Big E waits… he needs a family to show him real love and he needs a family to give him the chance that he deserves.