I can tell you that the number of responses we received while we were in China, combined with the requests for updates within the five days we have been home have been heartwarming and overwhelming. Thank you for your love and support during this life changing experience. We woke up every morning in China and would immediately boot up our iPad to see what you all had to say to us while we were sleeping via blog, faceb**k, or email.
Our experience is going to take several (many?) posts to do justice, so while I have your ear (eyes?), I will tell you that I intend to do so. Be patient with me because between my body's (as well as my daughter's) lagging time zone acknowledgement, as well as managing FIVE kids, will require an act of God to get regular blog posts out to you.
Start praying people. Um, I meant now... yeah, take a break and pray. ;-)
So, in characteristic form, this sleep-deprived post will end in pertinent bullet points devoted to the "need-to-know" (or maybe the slightly entertaining): (YES, I LIKE USING PARENTHESES TONIGHT!!!!!)
- We returned to find out that our generous friends from various circles have signed up to bring us dinners every other night until the end of April (and one supply of rockin' frozen banana pancakes to microwave on my many my crazy mornings). My dear friend Deb, who also hosted my awesome toddler shower in January, coordinated it all and we are just in awe. Side note: I am the girl who will NEVER turn down an offer for a dinner I don't have to make myself!!! All we can say is THANK YOU!!!! Such a simple thing helps so tremendously (especially for this non-cook)!!!
- My dear friend Amy, who first introduced me to orphans with my trip to a Russian orphanage in 2006, has offered (okay, agreed to) creating Joya's "Gotcha Video" because she is UBER talented on the video-making-to-drive-you-to-tears-and-cherish-forever stuff. Now, I just have to mail her the jump drive with the 5 GB of photos and video. Put aside your box of tissues now. No, I'm serious. Do it!
- My mom and favorite aunt were here for eight days before we came home (taking over for my only and cherished sister/BFF/soulmate to take care of our boys) and stayed until today. We could not have made it through jet lag and Joya's crying nights without their help during the days. How do you ever say an adequate thank you for such great sacrifices? We are without words. Mom - my husband is thinking of moving you in with us just for more of your sandwiches.
- Joya is doing well considering we have only had her with us for 15 days, counting the 4.5 days here at home. My Beloved made an accurate observation that her "renewed" grief since we've been home is likely because she is so stinkin' smart (save for college or not?) and has pieced together the fact that she is now with the people she has seen in her photo book for months now, and realizes that she is never returning to live with her foster family. She cries out in the night for her foster mom and expresses genuine anxiety and panic when she realizes that it is close to bed time (which we did NOT see at any of our stops in China). Her grief is inconsolable and I am jealous for the newborn experience when I could comfort and nurse a child back to sleep. Not so now. I ride the wave and die to my own desires - purely by asking and receiving from God's grace (my BFF's will tell you that I am NOT a woman who functions well on sleep deprivation). She has been through a pure trauma and I will not traumatize her even more.
- She is having GREAT days though. Awake time is happy time filled with puzzles, playing, eating, and learning. Very fun and we are really enjoying it - every one of us.
- The boys are LOVING it. Kenyon has mentioned that if we didn't have the support of our little men for our new pink addition, he just might have thoughts of regretting the decision. But he doesn't because he is just smitten with her in every way, shape, and form, and so are our men.
- Her attachment to her Daddy has lessened from panic to affection. We both realize that it was really an attachment of safety and security, not of emotional connection. That is okay with us for sure, but we are both looking forward to connecting with her in a GENUINE and growing love for each other. It is growing and changing every day.
- I am so grateful for my in-laws and their willingness to honor my request to come from Pennsylvania for my boys' spring break. These grandparents definitely wanted to meet our new addition, but they are going to be such a help to us while the boys are on break and Joya still needs quite a bit of attention in order to bond with her mommy and daddy. My husband's mom has a special gift for cooking projects, treasure hunts, and group outings. I asked, and they honored. Again, thank you just doesn't cut it.
- I still have so much to say about our trip. I want to tell you about the reality of adoption, the amazing organization "Love Without Boundaries", and the complete dissolving of our "American" impression of the nation and people of China. So, at the very least, count on that from me.
- And pictures..... lots of pictures. (C'mon, you know I love the shock value!!!)