March 14, 2013

Being HOME!

It's been almost a week since we set foot back in the US and it feels like we're still trying to shake off the jet-lag and establish some sort of "normal" around here.

We came home to our kids, who we missed terribly, and my parents who had been staying with them. Our house was clean and my mom had a fabulous meal just about ready to come out of the oven...HUGE blessing not to have to worry about cooking that night!

Meili was so tired....we ALL were. But we brought her into the living room and she sat on my lap for about two minutes before hopping down and making herself right at home with our other kids. We were worried about how she'd react to them, but it was like she'd known them forever. And of course, they were crazy about her. She marched around here like the Queen of Sheba with her loyal subjects following closely behind.

It didn't take long at all for her to discover the stairs, and oh, what a discovery!! She timed it right - the kids were still 100% thrilled with her and so they happily went up and down the stairs with her at least 30 times that first night.

Our first attempt at a night of sleep went decently, all things considered. A great many adopted kids have pretty significant sleep issues, add a 14 hour time difference on top of that and it could have easily been a nightmare. But she went to sleep easily, woke up at 4:00 and came into bed with us, then got up for the day at 5:30. Not so bad for a first attempt! Since then, most of nights have gone pretty well, and aside from being awakened by her restlessness a couple times a night, we're almost getting a normal amount of sleep.

The kids were eager to play with her again the next day which meant that our entire household was up before 6:00am on a Saturday. Not ideal, but under the circumstances, it wasn't so bad. I was excited to start getting her on the diet that I want her to be on. She is definitely malnourished and I had some serious plans about how to get some weight on this child!

Each day is getting a little better, but her tiny body was used to a liquid diet and not being full, so it is taking some effort. We're adding grass-fed butter, coconut oil and avocado wherever we can and pushing protein. Thankfully, she seems to really like greek yogurt, so that's an easy way to get a good punch of fat and protein in the breakfast meal. We are allowing her to try to eat herself because she seems to really enjoy the attempt, but for right now, the main part of her diet is coming from us feeding her pureed "real food." Once she gains some weight, we'll let her do more of it on her own.

Oh, I keep forgetting - LOTS of people have asked if we know if she received the care package we sent.

She did! Well, at least the orphanage did. We don't know if she ever saw any of it. But we did get the little lamb back! Although in China, she hated the thing! We pulled it out and she would immediately swat it to the floor! If we left it sit on the bed, she would heave it across the room! We have no idea why. Now that we're home, she's grown a little bit more fond of him, but he is definitely not her favorite! I'm just glad we got him back :) The camera was also returned to us but we have not had it developed yet. The photo album was not, but we didn't ask for it to be.

We brought back a few souvenirs, although I'm already wishing we would have purchased more. We weren't sure what would fit in our suitcases and really didn't have a lot of time to shop. And when we did, it was hard to know what items were decent quality and what a good price was. I am glad we managed to get some silks for our girls - I bought one in every size available plus a couple extras so we'll always have one that fits for Chinese New Year celebrations.

Aside from regular running around, we are trying to mostly just stay home. We still have to get Keira to preschool and so Meili has met several of our friends as we go in and out of the church. Of course, she has a smile and a wave for almost everyone. She's also met a few of the friends who have brought us meals. Can I just tell ya'll how AMAZING it is to not have to worry about cooking when you're SO tired!?! It's really been a week of adjusting, with a few crazy days thrown in there (more on that later), and we are so thankful to the people who have helped us out this way. I will admit, it seems funny to accept so much help, especially when this is our fourth child and it feels like we should have everything pretty much figured out by now. But those meals have been an amazing blessing and I truly believe have helped us adjust more quickly. When mom isn't spending half the evening in the kitchen, jet-lagged and overwhelmed, things just go better for everyone. Our friends are awesome. Seriously awesome. Thank you!!

At home, we're still getting used to having a toddler again - baby gates, diapers, toys strewn all over, etc. It's also been interesting for us to realize how much most kids already learn by this age. Lots of basic things we just sort of "assume" a 2.5 year old would know, she doesn't. Like you don't throw books in the bathtub, or stick your arms in the toilet, or throw toys at the windows. She just has a lot to learn. One of the unexpected blessings that has come from this already is that we've been able to see our biological kids care for another child. They were all so close together that the older ones were too small to help with the ones below them. But boy, do they help now!! The older two happily play with her for extended periods of time, help her up and down the stairs and can effectively keep her from hurting herself. This is a learning experience for them, and I believe, a very good one. I'm sure the excitement of it all will wear off, but for now, I'm really appreciating and enjoying their willingness to help.

So, one week down, and things are definitely going better than expected. I can't help but think that it's due in large part to all the prayers that have been lifted on our behalf. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Our only rough spot (aside from normal adjustment stuff) is that our little Keira is having a bit of hard time losing her spot as the "baby." And I will be the first to admit, it has been hard for me too. She has been my little one for five and a half years, and it's hard not to have her as the one in my lap all the time now. She loves Meili and is a good big sister to her, but it's evident she's trying to find her place. Just one more thing to keep praying for :)

Now if we can just shake off the jet lag, we'll be doing good. We've heard you can expect 1 day of adjustment for every hour of time difference and that would make 14 days for us. I thought that was an insane calculation, but I'm beginning to think it may be more accurate than I want to admit. It seems to have hit Jon harder than me, so much so that the kids like to imitate him while he's sleeping ;)

Once we get fully back on schedule, hopefully we'll have time to update more frequently. Until then, if you're the type who likes adoption blogs, I want to point you in the direction of this one:
I follow a few of them myself, and I just have to say, some of these adoptive moms are nothing short of amazing. They follow God's leading and sacrifice their entire lives to care for children that would otherwise waste away without knowing the love of a family and without knowing Jesus.

"Our greatest fear should not be fear of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don't really matter." - Francis Chan


  1. Welcome home! Hope the jet lag is better and great news on your first cardio appointment. Our daughter, Joy, came home at age 6 last fall and it has been SO interesting to watch her walk through all the stage she missed...clogging the toilet, writing on the walls, herself, throwing food, tantrums, etc etc etc. Every week or so she "grows up" just a little more! Looks like your sweetie is fitting right in!

    1. Thanks Jennifer - I hope we'll see the same thing! I think right now she's just so overwhelmed by everything being so new it's hard to see much progress. I'm hoping it will come soon!