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It was time. After two years, it was finally time.
He ran through the dense crowd, carefully moving people out of his way as he searched desperately for the two people who meant the world to him. Hundreds of other people massed around him, but he had eyes for none of them. He watched only the third gate, waiting for them to emerge. Any minute now.
The process had been extremely long and even more complicated, involving a three-month visit to Vietnam. But now the process was finished and it was time for their every dream to be achieved at long last.
She came through the gate then, and he smiled automatically upon seeing his wife for the first time in the week that she had been gone. His smile grew even wider when he set his eyes on the little girl on her hip.
Celia. His new daughter, adopted from Vietnam since his wife couldn’t conceive after almost four years of trying. She was just five years old. And she didn’t speak a bit of English beyond the words “mommy” and “daddy.” But he loved her all the same.
His wife locked eyes with him and she set the rolling suitcase upright for a short second to nudge the child and point him out. Celia’s eyes lit up when she recognized him and he saw her mouth move to form Vietnamese words that he couldn’t hear over the rumble of voices in the airport terminal.
He was trapped by the glass barrier between them and she was still standing at a halt while she tried to understand what the girl was saying. He waved his arms above his head impatiently when she happened to glance in his direction, anxiously waiting to hold Celia and know she was theirs to love until they died.
His wife grabbed the handle of the suitcase again and started walking quickly to reach him.
And then they were finally close enough to touch.
“Bá»‘!” Celia cried happily, reaching out for him. “Daddy!”
He took her into his arms and hugged her tightly, spinning around in a circle once to make her laugh happily as his wife smiled.
The little girl pushed herself away from him so she could speak in the flowing language they were getting better at understanding.
“ChÃºng tÃ´i cÃ³ thá»ƒ vá» nhÃ ?” she asked uncertainly. “H-hum?”
“Home?” he asked for verification. “You want to go home?”
She nodded excitedly and he smiled.
“Yes, we can go home, baby girl,” he told her quietly.
He grabbed his wife’s small hand with his free one and they set off for the parking lot and then their home, where they would be a family together and she would be his spoiled baby girl.