|Our last breakfast/meal in China|
So many blogs the last two weeks, then nothing for 3 days. Strange since we are finally home right? It really is the ultimate irony. This is our 3rd adoption from China and we have experienced so much, but we also knew to expect the unexpected. We went into this 3rd adoption on large doses of Faith, but also relied on our vast experience, and all the things we've learned "on the job" as parents. Thanks to technology and social media, we have networked with many sources of information in preparation for this 3rd trip to our 2nd home of sorts, China. We've learned to be parents of an 11 month old, in the largest city in China, with no family or friends around to help. We've endured a heart breaking Gotcha Day, lovingly restraining a frightened and hysterical 4 year old until she was too tired to resist our love. On this trip we even had our hearts taken to the edge of what we could bear, knowing that God wouldn't give us more than we could handle. But even through all of this, I think we still overlooked the toughest part... the return home... how ironic. As I look back to Gracie and Gemma's adoption returns to the USA, they bring back memories of extreme stress, fatigue, and difficulties. But those are also the moments we tend to push out of our minds. It is far more exciting to remember the rich experiences, trials, successes, and also friends made on those fantastic journeys. One would think returning home would be a relief, and easy. Wrong.
Before I write another word, let me make a couple things clear. We need all of our loved ones to know that we not only appreciate every expression of congratulations, encouragement, and love, but we relied on them. Our welcoming at the SEA-TAC Airport was an amazing display of unconditional love from our family. We are forever grateful for every person who was able to be there for our arrival, and equally grateful for those who couldn't attend, but sent their love and support! We love and appreciate you all! (send us pictures so we can share/blog them)
But this phase of our journey has been hard... REALLY hard. In case you haven't done it, riding in a plane for a combined 14 hours isn't fun. No amount of onboard entertainment can make it even remotely enjoyable. It pretty much sucks. Have you ever had airline food? OK, add to it the fact that we are now traveling with a new family member, who has been yanked from everything she has known for her entire life and then taken from Hotel, back to her orphanage, back to a hotel, on a plane, to another hotel, driven/walked to a myriad of places, most fun, but still incredibly overwhelming, then loaded back on back to back airplane rides, totaling 14 hours, to a place where nothing looks, smells, feels, or sounds familiar. NOTHING. Oh and for good measure, add another child, that throws up off and on for the trans-pacific flight, followed by more at the airport. It gets better. Now add the other daughter now ceasing up with abdominal cramps, and the dad also falling victim to whatever nasty bug has decided to attack our insides. Oh, and today Amy has come down with a cold/illness that has her unable to stand upright for more than a few minutes. I have always know that Amy is our family MVP, hands down. I'm just a role player. But I am doing my best to keep this transition moving forward. Although Gia Pearl ChunYu is 8 years old, developmentally she is much younger. Throw in her special needs and the language barrier, and she requires the attention of an infant, possibly more. Huge thanks to Rodger, Connie, Ruth, Owen, and Martha for helping me. This is real, ladies and gentlemen.
But what about the time to adjust to the jet lag and relax in Tacoma you ask? Man, what I wouldn't give to just be battling jet lag right now. Remember, please don't read this wrong. Our time here with family is precious and special. My parents have been here, Amy's parents are here, as are other members of Amy's family. This has all helped us tremendously. We wouldn't have it any other way. But This. Is. Hard. Remember Amy's amazing post about Adoption after we visited Gia Pearl ChunYu's orphanage? This process is broken, and therefore there are prices to pay. We are paying some of them now, in large quantities, but we know it is worth it.
Long flights, food poisoning, fatigue, stress, jet lag, all things that make this huge transition hard, but I still haven't gotten to the hardest part. The ailments I have talked about so far are mostly physical. The toughest one by far is what makes up the adjustment and attachment phase. It is excruciating. It will rock you to your core of what you believe. It will cause you to doubt your ability to succeed. It will cause you to question everything you ever believed in. Your faith is tested. It is nearly impossible to not let your worries and worst fears take over your thoughts. It. Is. Hard.
I have seen precious Gia Pearl ChunYu overwhelmed and moved to tears of sadness several times, the most recent here in Tacoma just before bed time yesterday. We know she is at times sad and overwhelmed. It is incredibly hard to watch our new daughter suffer. But it is heart wrenching when we can't communicate to her verbally about how much we love her and are here for her. All we can do is hold her and let her cry it out. Every tear that falls onto her dimpled cheeks is like a knife to the heart. this is real. This. Is Hard.
Oh, and to top it all off, as we rest and recover as much as possible to hopefully embark on our final leg, AKA final pack up and move to yet another location with Gia Pearl ChunYu clinging to what courage she has left, we get to say goodbye to our loved ones over here. I hate goodbyes. The last 2+ weeks has had enough goodbyes to last me a lifetime, seriously. I hate them.
I hope this post hasn't taken the tone of a whiny complaint, for that is not the purpose. My reason for writing it is to help me process these many emotions and share them, because they are very much a part of this journey. We have received so much support, love, and congratulations, of which we are eternally grateful. But we wanted to share everything, because despite all this cost, we still wouldn't have it any other way. Our love for Gia, Gemma, and Gracie is far greater than any of these discomforts and inconveniences.
Very similar to another Love we will always eternally cling to and cherish.