Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Finally Home and Settling In!!!

After an long, stressful, yet wonderful adoption journey, our new daughter was safe in our arms, tucked into her crib (that we had to put together and set up as soon as we got home, as we found she was WAY too small for the twin bed we had decked out so beautifully), surrounded by the dearest, most sincere family/community we have ever known. God delivered her from poverty and abandonment back into a family, no longer alone in this big world; now wanted and loved and welcomed with great fervor.

The End ………Not!!

We have been home a little over one month now, and our new life as a family of FIVE is glorious and blessed beyond measure, but the first 2 weeks home were …….hard ….to say the least.  We were exhausted beyond measure ….hence no update on our joyous homecoming until now. 

Let me catch you up ….

We left our hotel room in Guangzhou on 8/31 at 6 am, and arrived home in North Carolina 28 hours later, with Joey and I getting absolutely no sleep.  It was excruciating, physically exhausting, but our kids did so well on the journey.  The boys and Ava slept for a good part of the trip (except when the seatbelt sign came on and the strict stewardess told us to pick her up out of her comfy, cozy cradle she was sleeping in and hold her).  When we stepped onto the ground in RDU and saw our parents, it was the happiest moment of my life!!   I cried tears of joy and pride for our new daughter as I saw their faces see her for the 1st time, it was indescribable …..  We told our friends and extended family not to come to the airport, as we weren’t sure how Ava Grace would do, seeing so many faces, and not sure if we could take it after 28 hours of travel, but looking back if we could do it over, I’d have everyone there!  We missed everyone so terribly ….

For the first week, we were jetlagged terribly, and Ava Grace, who had been sleeping through the night in China, had a fever for 5 days and was up and fussy a lot.  When visitors came, which we wanted because we missed everyone so, she was terrified.  You could palpate her fear, her trembling, as she clung to Joey or me.  She was the happiest little thing with just us, but as soon as someone came by, which was often, she would cling to us and often cry.  This was difficult, but I understood her fear.  We had just taken her from all she ever knew, a place of security, from a room of babies and nannies and strict routines, where she was left either in her crib all day, or in a walker, to a strange house with lots of places to roam around and get lost, with “western” people coming over and trying to pick her up, and most likely wondering who was going to take her away next.

 I had the dreaded “mommy guilt” for my 2 boys, which was totally not necessary, as their worlds’ were blessed beyond measure as they always wanted a lil sis.  Not mention they have lacked for nothing in their lives!!  But yet, it still came ….. I cried some, was sad a lot when they were at school, and thought often, “what have I done to them and their world as they knew it”??  Well I tell you what we did.  We exposed them to something they could not comprehend before seeing it firsthand ….poverty, needs beyond comprehension, heartbreak, orphans, special needs children, other families following God’s call in the adoption community, a HUGE history lesson on China with all of our siteseeing, and most importantly, taught them God’s love for orphans and people in need, and how we must listen to Him and be obedient to what He asks us to do.

But if I may, let me tell you something: If you are intrigued by the “idea” of adoption, with the crescendo storyline and happy airport pictures and the sigh-inducing family portrait with the different skin colors and the feely-feel good parts of the narrative, please find another way to see God's kingdom come.  You cannot just be into Adopting, you must be into parenting.  This is what it’s all about, parenting a new child, one who you have not nurtured for the 1st few years, one who may be damaged, abused, neglected …..And you must parent them, and Love them, no matter what.

I recently read this from a fellow adoptive family on the subject of adoption….
“It is hard, hard, intentional, laborious work. Children who have been abused, abandoned, neglected, given away, given up, and left alone are shaken so deeply, so intrinsically, they absolutely require parents who are willing to wholly invest in their healing; through the screaming, the fits, the anger, the shame, the entitlement, the bed-wetting, the spitting, the rejection, the bone-chilling fear. Parents who are willing to become the safe place, the Forever these children hope for but are too terrified to believe in just yet. But "yet" is a powerful word in the context of faith, if we are indeed to believe in the unseen and hope for what has not materialized.”

I thought this described the “work” of the first few weeks, or possibly months, following an adoption, so very well.  Thankfully, our life is wonderful now.  Ava Grace is no longer fearful of being taken away from us or of us leaving, and her “adjustment” period seems to be over.  We love her so very much, every day the love grows more. 

So let me tell you about her!  She is so full of personality!  She makes the funniest faces, mimics everything we do (which her brothers LOVE), laughs wonderfully, has learned that you dance when you hear music, that we have to brush her teeth J, has learned what bath water feels like (yes, she’d never been submerged in a bathtub of water- we video taped her 1st bath as it was soooo sweet to see her face), loved to walk her brothers into their school and wave at ALL the kids, loves playing in our church nursery with kids her own age, and really likes to “show off” for new people!  It has been wonderful. 

I know this post was long, and I will try to post new pics!  But time has been hard to come by with a new little one who likes to get into alot of new things, haha!!
All dressed up for church!!  She loves accessories!  yay!

We get this moody look often, she is something!! 

We have to take new pics, as her hair has grown and she has gained 2 lbs!!!