Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A few pictures

Graci with Yisha, our wonderful guide in Zhengzhou:

Sophi likes fruit snacks (and pizza). She will fit in great!

Red couch photos:

Jeremy and Sophi with David. David is a 12-year-old boy who is being adopted by a Chinese-American family from Seattle. He is such a sweet kid.

Graci was always one to shy away from the camera...

Jessica with her new "best friend," Jessica:

Coming home soon...

The last two days have been pretty relaxed. We took the adoption oath yesterday. We went to the zoo today. Other than that, we have pretty much just shopped and hung out at the hotel. Tomorrow will be more shopping and packing to leave.

It is with mixed emotions that we prepare to leave Guangzhou. We have loved being here. The little area of this HUGE city that we are familiar with feels like a small town that caters just to adoptive families. The shops are fun. It is a treasure trove of trinkets and knick knacks. We have been here so many times that there are several shopkeepers that remember us. The weather is (usually) good. Unusually cold, wet weather has made this trip a little less tropical feeling. So overall it is fun to be here!

On the other hand, it is becoming more and more challenging to entertain the children even with two hotel rooms. It is cramped and noisy. We call the room that my dad shares with Jesi and Graci “The room of peace and tranquility.” We call our room “The room of churning human life.” It is pretty crazy with all of the luggage we have, the meals we eat here, the toys that make noise for Lexi, the paperwork from an adoption, two strollers, a crib, the gifts and goodies we have purchased to bring home. So overall we are very excited to get home!

On the other hand, while we are here, we don’t have to face reality. I don’t have to go to work. Christi doesn’t have to get kids to school and sports and dance. We aren’t worried about paying the bills. Christi doesn’t have to fix meals. We don’t have to help kids with homework and science projects and scouts. The house isn’t getting any messier with each passing minute of a 10-person family living in it. In our hotel, we have the “drawer of happiness” (filled with Dove chocolates, red vines and other American methods to cope with stress). So overall, we are loving it here!

On the other hand, we are DYING to get back to our other kids! We miss each of them so much. We miss coaching and helping with homework and science projects and scouts. We miss their smiling faces telling us they love us. I miss reading to Taylor and Parker each night before bed. Also, Sophi and Lexi are really needing more space and more stimulation than the confines here are providing. We already mentioned why we haven’t gone swimming more often. Sophi seems to have a phobia of the children’s playroom here at the hotel. (It may have something to do with the abundance of stuffed animals that make their home there.) So overall, we can’t wait to get back!

On the other hand, we have a 30-hour journey with four small children to endure before we arrive in Herriman. The 12-hour flight from Hong Kong to San Francisco is likely to be a nightmare with the two new ones. I basically can’t sleep on airplanes. Lexi has to go to the bathroom every 30 minutes. Sophi can be a princess who hasn’t yet learned that anyone besides her exists in the world. Once we get home, we’ll have days to weeks of jet lag. The last time we tried to help a child with no visual cues switch her nights to days it literally took months. The new children will have to adjust to the old children and vice versa. So overall, we’re terrified to leave China!!!

On the other hand, there’s no place like home. Despite any difficulties, challenges, tears and trials that may await, Christi and I are so excited to get to the most important part of this journey: bringing Lexi and Sophi into our home and helping them become a comfortable and integrated part of our eternal family. We have both commented on how much the boys will love these two new dollies and how much our dollies will love the boys. We are excited to see this process get started. We are excited for the girls to meet grandmas and grandpas, aunts and uncles and cousins. They will feel the tremendous love that all of these extended family members have for them. We are excited for the girls to meet their church family, of which many members have been anticipating their arrival almost as much as we have. We are grateful for the great support we have there! We are excited for our bed! Chinese beds are as close to sleeping on the floor as you can get while actually lying on a mattress. We are excited for Christmas! Although our Christmas season has been different this year, we still have the Christmas Spirit. Our decorations were up before we left. We still have a week or so to try and enjoy as many of our traditions as possible. Santa Claus is coming to town, and we are ever so grateful to our Father in Heaven for the gift of His son, baby Jesus. So without equivocation, we are looking forward with great anticipation to our arrival home in 3 days!

See you soon☺