Tell me the jet lag ends soon. Just lie to me. I think Seamus and Emily have proved to be the most resilient. Brady is a little overtired still. And me? Well, I'm just a pansy, apparently. I'm okay with that, as long as you just let me sleep. I'm sure it doesn't help that I'm sick. I've lost my voice which makes it really hard to yell at my kids. Ack! ;) I started on an antibiotic just to be safe but I'm pretty sure it's viral.
Emily is making incredible progress. She has such a long road ahead but we are incredibly thankful for the daily milestones after only being home a week. First, her health is better. Praise God! After 2 ER visits and a fever that spiked to over 105 degrees, we were ready for her little body to heal. She loves to dance when music comes on. She went for her very first bike ride today. She loves to be outside. She never got to go outside in China because the pollution was so bad. It's a whole new world to her and it's so fun watching her explore everything from a leaf to a car. She is beginning to bond with Anna and Bryce. Brady had that privilege because they were in China together for 2 weeks. Emily was not happy to learn that she shares mama with 3 other kids. She actually hugged Anna today and has been very playful with all of her siblings. There has been some biting and scratching over the past week but we are patiently seeing her through it. At least we know she had a defense when she may have needed it. Girlfriend can put down some food. My goodness. And she loves the bath. Her first bath was pretty traumatic, as I'm sure it was very new to her but now she begs to get in and splashes and laughs the entire time.
On Monday, we have our first post placement visit. China requires a social worker to come in to our home and produce a report at specific intervals (1 month after gotcha day, 3 months, 6 months, one year, 2 years, and 5 years). The social worker who is conducting these visits is the same lady who conducted our home study. We really love her and are looking forward to our time with her.
Emily and I will be driving to Birmingham the week after next and staying overnight. This is where the international adoption pediatrician is located. They will do a complete exam, including appointments with physical and occupational therapists, and a full blood panel, etc. We will also be seeing a pediatric cardiologist soon after to make sure Emily's heart is okay.
One week home and we are definitely not in any sort of routine yet. I keep hearing about this "new normal" but I've yet to discover anything that resembles "normal". As long as Emily is making progress and our other kiddos are adjusting, I can deal with feeling out of sorts for awhile. Bleh.
Tomorrow is Easter Sunday. How cool that we are able to talk about all the redemption and "new life" in Emily on Easter weekend! Easter is a time to reflect on the great sacrifice Christ made for His children. On Friday, He paid the ultimate price to adopt us in to His forever family. The price was high. It was gruesome and sacrificial. It was excruciating for Christ and His Father to be separated. Friday proved that God would do anything in order to be united with us! But the story didn't end there. Nope. He went ahead and sealed the deal by coming alive (FOREVER) 3 days later. What an honor to be able to compare our adoption journey to Christ's journey for us! Sweat, tears, and even blood in order to get to our girl. Of course, our sacrifice is nothing compared to that of Christ. But we are so privileged to live out even a small example of what Christ has done for us. And now we are seeing redemption, new life, a glimpse of the joy that family brings!
Adoption is hard. I've said it before and I stand by that, still. The Easter story itself is proof. It starts with sin at its core. Then there is a great deal of suffering in order to save the lost, to pay for the sin. "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) But the sin and suffering isn't the end of the story. There is resurrection and new life, redemption and joy. If you feel convicted to adopt, please do. But don't adopt because you think it's "cute". Don't adopt thinking the challenges will be the same as those with your bio kids. There's nothing glamorous or easy about adoption. Cute, easy, and glamorous are not what Christ promised us at the beginning of our journey. What He promises is hard. A hard that leads to joy. A hard that leads to life. "For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it." (Mark 8:35) Adopt. Adopt because you are moved by the gospel message. Adopt because you want others to see what Christ has done for you. Adopt because you know this is not your home and the riches you own now will soon flee. But the joy that adoption brings permeates through your soul for eternity. That's something worth chasing after.
One week home. Many hard moments. Many joyful moments. All worth it. Thank you again for the support so many have provided. We are no where near completely adjusted and the extra hands have been very much appreciated! Love y'all to China and back!
Thank you, Holly, for capturing these sweet moments from our airport homecoming...