...finally a family of five. ...looking forward to what lies ahead. ...attempting every minute of every day to focus on our great and gracious God. ...learning more, doing more, serving better, and most importantly, LOVING one another.
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Yep, we made it. And the flight into Nashville landed 45 minutes earlier than the itinerary indicated…so the long anticipated reunion with the babies we left behind commenced sooner than planned and continues as I type. Oh sweet Jesus it feels good to be with our boys again. Shock and awe does not describe how much bigger and older they look than when we left, but their tears, laughs and tight embraces brought back the little boy in a few of us. As for the trip home, we knew the loooong (14 hour) flight to Detroit from Hong Kong would be difficult, but we underestimated upon who most of that difficulty would rest. Little Miss Maggie was remarkable…barely uttered a single whine or whimper that wasn’t caused by our utilization of that dreadful new English word she has learned to comprehend fairly quickly…no…or by our inability to get her meal ready fast enough to satisfy her diva style. Marcie and I joked more than once that we may be the only adoptive couple in recent history (that we know of) that forced their child to cry on the flight home just to make sure she was still capable of that emotion. We, on the other hand, were not as content. God answers many prayers…some he has different plans for other than what we are asking. The aisle seat in our little corner of the back of the plane was occupied…boo. We had prayed hard that we could utilize an empty seat between us for many reasons, but that just didn’t come to fruition. At least he was very nice and extremely accommodating. We felt bad every time one of us had to use the bathroom…or Maggie needed changing…or Maggie needed to eat…or we just needed to walk around a little bit. But he was about my age (a little taller and a little wider too) and has two pre-teen girls at home that he was missing terribly, so we all bonded pretty quickly. I mention the wider part not to judge physical characteristics (even 20 pounds lighter I could stand to lose a few – ha) but to bring your attention to the width of a typical three-seat section of the Boeing 777…18 ½ inches for each seat. So he sits on the aisle (I don’t blame him for booking it), Marcie has to lean a little left to keep from them being all over each other the whole trip, which forces me to lean a little left to avoid she and I being (lovingly) all over each other the whole trip. That’s really not fun for 14 straight hours. Ugh. Lots of stretching and walking around took place on the layover in Detroit. Believe me when I say we were delighted to get off that plane. The other thing I didn’t think about was that this would be a mostly night flight (it left Hong Kong at 10:30 AM for goodness sake). I remembered leaving Seattle on Friday evening on the way over and getting there in the wee hours of Sunday morning and it was dark the ENTIRE trip. That was confusing enough. So we leave HK at 10:30 AM Saturday and a few hours later it’s pitch black outside (got to see a beautiful sunset from 7 miles above the earth…God’s details are so overpowering). We never saw the sun again until somewhere over northeast Montana (about 4 hours prior to landing…10 hours into the flight). And then we landed at about noon on Saturday…yep…noon…and hour and a half after we took off from Hong Kong. Huh? Yeah, I’ve decided to stop thinking about it and just be. Be tired that is. Whew…gonna require some time to shake this fog I’m sure. Maggie slept a grand total of 7 hours on the flights…a four hour nap and a three hour nap…Marcie and I never grabbed a wink.
Marcie and her mom got caught up on the ride home from Nashville, and I was a great traveling companion for her dad as I dozed off every time I wasn’t answering somebody’s question to me. Aside from our immediate family, we were greeted at the house by some wonderful friends who will never know this side of the veil how much they mean to us and how much we appreciate their unfailing love and support of our family. We are undeserving people…and LOVE you all dearly. Repayment seems impossible so we will simply say...just call…anytime…and we are there. The house had been cleaned, the fridge and freezer had been stocked (with good ol’ American meets, veggies and snacks…wahoo!) and gifts were stacked on the counter. What a tremendous blessing.
To all those that poured out their prayers and encouraging words…to those that opened their pocketbooks (still in awe)…to those that showed up and showed off…anyone that has ever even had a positive thought about this journey on our behalf…thank you and we love you. You helped make it possible. (PS – I want to speak to whoever was responsible for providing the meal that rendered me basically useless for the last few days of the trip).
To our families…whose undying, unconditional love and support was a part of the very foundation on which this entire journey was built…words can’t even begin to do our emotions justice. So please just accept our heartfelt thanks and a great big ol’ WE LOVE YOU! Thanks for caring for our boys in our absence…they were well loved…well provided for…obviously well spoiled. Please don’t let this one little paragraph be an indicator of how much each one of you mean to us (I could fill an entire post, but I’m running out of tears with these few words so to get anything posted I need to just leave it at that).
To Teresa…the Chinese foster mother that speaks fluent English and took care of our precious little Cinderella for 12 of her first 16 months. Wow…to meet you and have the opportunity to share a few stolen moments…no words…no words. Just thank you…and we love you.
To an unknown woman on the other side of the world…thank you for being brave. Thank you for working through what must have been an excruciating decision. We pray that somehow, some way, some day you will know in your heart that the little girl you gave birth to and had to leave behind is being loved and cared for in a mighty way. Thank you and we pray for you.
To God…the creator of all things everywhere. Thank You for planting the seed. Thank You for growing the desire in our hearts to do more…to know You better. Thank You for so adamantly and decisively steering us back to the path when we strayed or showed frustration. And thank You for bringing us back home safe and sound. But most of all, as I wrap up the logistical side of this journey and get down to the basics of simply being a family, thank You for perfect, little, beautiful Maggie…and especially the survival instinct You instilled in her little heart the day she was placed, alone, on the south lawn of the Venetian Hotel (no, not the fancy one) in the bustling, polluted, somewhat trash riddled southeast corner of the city of Beijing. Thank You for the care she received in our absence, and thank You for uniting us as the family of five You had designed even before time began. You kept Your promise to us…again…and we are eternally grateful.
Signing off for a little while…gonna go be a family and make up for lost time. We love you all!
John 14:18: I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.