It's been quite a ride and I wasn't sure when I'd have a moment to sit and write again. We obviously made it home. It wasn't an easy 27 hour journey but God delivered us home safely. All praise to Him who called us, carried us, and brought Samuel into His fold!
Jet lag is a beast. I've traveled to Europe and ended up a little sleepy for a week. But this is more like an illness. Samuel and I are trying to adjust with lots of water, sunshine, and big kids who keep us awake during the day. I'm exhausted but just so grateful to be home with plenty of time to heal, rest, and love on my people. We're not getting back to school work until next week at the earliest so we have a little time to just "be".
Samuel and I are both being tested this week for parasites. I didn't realize this until yesterday but about 80% of children who come home from China have Giardia. Ugh! We've both exhibited symptoms but they come and go so it's hard to know if we're infected or just suffering the effects of a virus or jet lag.
Suzi is adjusting well to being home. She's glad to be back with her "girls" (dogs) and seems to be resting well. We are so grateful that she could come with me to China. Suzi has so much energy, which was helpful in running for food and anything else we needed. She is a prayer warrior and was faithful in that during our trip. I'm sure those prayers, and yours, carried us through!
As far as attachment and bonding, Samuel is adjusting amazingly well. Until about a week ago, he was terrified of strangers. I consider it a complete miracle that he attached to me within minutes. This was absolutely an answer to prayer. He was afraid of Suzi, however, and anyone else who came within a few feet of him. This was very difficult because he spent hours just screaming in the hotel room where the 3 of us lived together. As a result of his fear, I chose to forego many of the sightseeing opportunities and build a safe environment for him in our hotel room. He made great progress with Suzi when we got to Guangzhou and I was thankful for that peace. He doesn't seem to be as afraid of strangers anymore. Praise God for progress!
He adores his daddy. It took him about a day to really warm up but after some bottles and hugs, he claimed Seamus as his favorite. Melts my heart. He's very playful and has learned quickly how to keep up with his 4 older siblings. We will continue to shelter him at home until our bond is solidified and he seems certain that we will meet all his needs. He has come a long way in a short time. I am so thankful that he's beginning to feel safe. He's definitely learning that we are his family and will not leave him with anyone else. This is a process, of course, and he'll grow stronger in his security every day.
We are overwhelmed by the amount of support we have received throughout our adoption journey and now, as we've returned home. I could seriously write a thousand thank you notes if I had the time or energy. For now, THANK YOU. You know who you are. The airport welcome, photography, cards, texts and FB comments, errands, donations, prayers, babysitting. The meals, oh my goodness, the meals. Is there a greater blessing on earth for a daddy with 4 kids on his own and a mama who comes home with no energy and 7 mouths to feed?
When God called us to another adoption, I had no idea how it would happen. We didn't have the money, the energy, the resources to go through this long and hard process again. We did hear His promise whispered over and over again, "I. Will. Provide." He is so faithful, y'all. He never leaves a single detail unaccounted for when He calls us to something. He provided everything we needed through YOU, His hands and feet. I can't stress enough that each and every one of you are the reason that Samuel is home with his forever family.
Orphan care is a ministry we embraced by going to China, according to His plan. Orphan care is a ministry YOU embraced by serving us with your gifts. I honestly know that many more people would adopt internationally if they were sure they might receive the same support we have. I know this for a fact. I know it because I've talked to so many people who say, "We can't because...We would but...". I ask that whatever gift you used to bless us, please continue to use that to encourage other families who want to adopt. Please hear this again. Every card we received, every meal, every hug... it's orphan care. You cared for the least of these, just as God calls us all to do. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.
We would be grateful if you would continue to keep us in your prayers as we navigate these hard days ahead. I believe the worst is behind us and I have no doubt God will continue to provide. He has taken us on an incredible journey of kingdom work and we are humbled to be lived in and through. It's exciting to think about where He may lead us next. For now... I need a nap.