Moments before KELOLAND News at Ten Thursday night, a South Dakota family was reunited after immigration issues forced their separation.
We sat down with Bertin Flores Solorzano and his wife Andrea as they reflected their ordeal for the last year-and-a-half.
Thursday night could not have come soon enough for Andrea Hargens-Flores, who tries to manage her three small children while waiting for their father Bertin to return from Mexico.
"I just had to take it day by day," Andrea said.
Andrea has faced all the struggles of a single mom as the months dragged by.
Andrea: The kids needed their dad.
Angela Kennecke: And you?
Andrea: And I needed my husband.
But the nightmare that has been this family's reality finally came to an end when Bertin walked through the terminal doors.
Bertin left when two-year-old Lily was just a few months old and to him she's a stranger.
But for the first time, Bertin is able to hold his youngest child.
Andrea: Here you go Bertin, here's your baby you've never seen.
Bertin: Oh Sophia! you're so beautiful.
Even though he's seen the children in video calls, it's not the same as holding them.
"You were so tiny when I left you. You're a big boy," Bertin told four-year-old Xavier.
Bertin tries to make Lily understand who he is.
Andrea: Is that daddy, that's daddy.
Bertin: I love you. I was the guy on the phone! I love you!
A flood of emotions grips Bertin as the family puts the long, forced separation behind them.
"You're shaking," Andrea told Bertin as she hugged him.
There were times while Bertin was waiting for his visa to come through that he nearly lost hope, but he says faith got him through.
"I did cry a lot, but now I'm very happy to be with my family. And thank you very much everyone for the prayers. Thank you very much to everyone in South Dakota," Bertin said.
I asked Bertin what he was going to do first when he gets back to the family's ranch near Miller.
Bertin: I think help Andrea clean the house.
Angela Kennecke: What did you say?
Andrea: Help me clean the house.
Bertin: Help her clean the house.
Andrea: We've got so much work to do. Just trying to even calve with three kids
Bertin: Thank you very much honey, for everything you've done for me. I love you very much.
Andrea: I love you too.
Andrea: It's like a weight has been lifted off; the void is just... we don't have a void anymore. We're whole; we're a whole family now.
Now that he has his visa, Bertin will apply for citizenship. He expects the process to take about three years.
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