As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I belong to the largest women’s organization in the world, called the Relief Society. Members are over 6 million! The Relief Society’s motto is “Charity Never Faileth.” It describes perfectly what the Relief Society is all about. A line from a song often sung in Relief Society is “The errand of angels is given to women, and this is a gift that as sisters we claim.”
Part of being a member of Relief Society is having and being a “visiting teacher.” This is where one “sister” is paired with another, and assigned 2-3 sisters to visit once a month, befriend, and look out for.
Well, lucky me, I happen to currently have the world’s greatest visiting teachers! When we came home from China, we arrived to a clean and organized home, set up meals, and frozen dinners for when times are overwhelming. They even cleaned and organized our garage, put up bike hooks, and obtained a second refrigerator for us (heaven knows we needed that!) This was all done with the help of many people and I want to thank them with all my heart!
Channy, Jan, Julianne, Robyn, Kassidy, Adyson, Mary, Nikki, Jordan, Megan—you are all angels! Thank you for taking time to make our homecoming so much better. It meant the world to us!!! I’m not sure how I would be coping right now if I hadn’t started with a clean home. I say “started” because we’ve managed to do some damage already. (:
I also happen to have the world’s greatest parents, who not only watched four of the kids while we were gone, but took extra time to do all kinds of things around the house before leaving to Ferron. They sacrificed a lot during the last couple of weeks, and I am so grateful to them. My mom is truly an angel.
Not only that, but my in-laws have been AMAZING. I don’t think we have given enough credit to Allen for all of his help in China. It was such a blessing to have an extra adult around, and he was very good to just follow along and do as he was told. LOL. We are so grateful for his sacrifices. And, let’s not forget Rosemary, who spent two weeks without her husband so we could have his help. This would be tough on anyone, but someone with as many health issues as she has had to make huge sacrifices to make this happen. Besides that, she made the effort to fly out to Utah to be there at the airport to welcome us home and spend tome time with us. Most importantly, she brought me lots of new, pretty jewelry. (:
Our trip home was explained well by Jeremy. I want to clarify a couple of things. First of all, he was not exaggerating on the number of trips Lexi took to the bathroom. It was almost funny. Of course, I can say that because I only took her 3-4 times, and Jeremy did the rest. He was truly a hero during that flight. Secondly, his description of the “rude lady” was not an exaggeration either. In fact, if anything, he didn’t do her justice. I have never in my life met someone like her. I think she swore at me at least 10 times, all for the most trivial things. Once, I was bending down to get some wet wipes while holding Sophi so she wouldn’t fuss and I wouldn’t get sworn at. I guess my shoulder “touched” her seat, and she proceeded to reach her hand in back of her and shoo at me, as if I was a fly or something. Awesome. Looking back, I can almost smile, but being stuck with her for 12 hours was not a pleasant thing.
When we arrived in San Francisco and found our flight had been delayed, I was about at the end of my rope. I don’t do well on little sleep (as in 1-2 hours over the past 24.) I don’t really get impatient or angry or anything, I just kind of shut down and become zombie-ish. Allen could tell I had reached this point, and he kindly told me I needed to lay down and rest for awhile and that he would watch the girls. (This is when Jeremy was blogging.) I took him up on his offer and drifted in and out a bit. Jeremy woke me up after awhile, telling me he had just received a phone call that KSL/Deseret News might be at the airport to welcome us home. Had I heard this at a time when I was semi-coherant, I would have likely responded differently, but as it was, I was like,
“You. Have. Got. To. Be. Kidding.” I looked awful. My make-up was somewhere deep in a carry-on. I had sweat through all my clothes, which were grubby to begin with. My hair was a grease bomb. But worst of all, I couldn’t think straight. I didn’t know if I would be interviewed, and DID know that I couldn’t form a coherent sentence. So I convinced myself that “might” meant “probably wouldn’t.”
As I’m sure you’ve gathered by the fact that I’m even telling this story, I was wrong. As we came walking down the aisle of the Salt Lake airport, there with our welcome home crew were the cameras.
I wanted to melt in the ground and disappear. It wasn’t that I was upset they were there—in retrospect, I’m glad that professionals captured some of the sweet moments of our homecoming. It’s just that I could barely walk straight, looked horrible, and all of sudden felt very self-conscious. Perfect ending to the longest day of my life. Perfect way to make my television debut. (;
Luckily, the camera crew is coming back on Tuesday and I’m hoping to redeem myself. (: There is nothing that would make me happier than to share our story and to open someone’s heart to adoption. We ourselves were led to do so by hearing other people’s stories and having them tug at our hearts and send us to our knees.
I must say that possibly my favorite moment of the last several days was climbing into our big old 12 passenger van at the airport and looking back to see all of my 8 darling, beautiful children buckled in. It was the most precious moment. I felt very, very complete. However, that completeness took on a whole new meaning when I went to set the table and realized I needed 10 plates. Oh my! My heart just kind of flip-flopped as I realized how big we have become! It is definitely a bit chaotic around here, but with much sweetness peppered in.
Taylor and Parker are doing SOOOOO well with the new girls. Lexi LOVES her older brothers. Just loves them! It is so cute to watch them interact. Sophi is taking longer to warm up to everyone, so she has been tough. She has a fit every time I hold Elli—she’s so jealous. I know it will wear off, but it’s very hard right now. Tonight gave me much hope, as Parker watched Sophi for over an hour and had her laughing and happy and smiling. YAY!! Elli had a rough night the first night, and was difficult yesterday, but seemed better today. All the noise is tough for her, plus she’s missed her parents and is having to share our attention a bit more. I did find it so heartwarming to walk into the living room last night and find her and Lexi seated next to each other, playing happily with their toys. Xander is feeling a bit overwhelmed I think, and is doing whatever he can to get attention. We’re doing everything we can to give it to him, but we are feeling spread very thin right now. I’m excited to get to the point where there is more balance. Actually, I’m excited to get to the point where I can just see straight! Which leads me to my next point.
Jet lag is kicking my tail. Jer’s not doing so awesome either, but maybe a bit better than me. The girls aren’t doing too bad. Sophi woke up at 2:30 a.m. on the first night, happy as could be and ready to play. Graci and Jessica followed at 3:00 a.m. Lexi was more around 6:00. But after taking naps that day, they all went down that night at a reasonable time and slept semi-decently. I say semi, because Sophi was very restless, and we finally put her in bed with us, where she proceeded to kick us all the night long. After sleeping a total of maybe 1-2 hours, (partly because of Sophi and partly because our “clocks” are off) Jeremy and I finally gave up trying, and got up to share some time together eating breakfast and reading our scriptures. It actually seemed so heavenly just to have the two of us, even though we hadn’t slept and both had headaches. Well, that alone time lasted about 2 minutes, as Graci woke up early again, followed shortly by Xander. Ah, the joys of parenthood.
We’re still trying to figure out sleeping arrangements. Our original plan was Jess and Grace share a room, Taylor and Parker share a room, Elli’s by herself (she has to be) and Xander, Lexi, and Sophi share what used to be the boys room. (We’ve tried to add a bit of pink!) But Lexi needs help going potty in the night, and we didn’t know if we would hear her, so the first night we put Graci in with her and Xander. Sophi wakes up a lot, and we don’t want her waking up the others, so she’s on a little bed on our floor. I’m thinking we need to get a crib set up and then we won’t have to worry about her rolling all over.
All in all, things are going well. We haven’t even begun to unpack yet, laundry is already piling up, and we’ve been working like crazy to get all kinds of homework projects completed, but those things will come together with time. Mealtime is by far the most challenging, as we have many kiddos that need a lot of help. I still haven’t figured out a good system, so right now we’re kind of eating in shifts. Which is fine, being as how we can’t fit around our table anyway—but I do want us all together. I think we’re going to have to end up buying a high chair for Sophi. Right now, she and Elli are taking turns in the booster seat.
Bottom line, we’d like a bigger house. We’d like to fit around the table together, and we’d like to fit in our living room without feeling cramped. We’ll keep on praying for some sort of miracle. But after seeing the caves (literally-caves!) that many Chinese people live in right now, we’ll gratefully take what we have!!
I am so grateful to be home. So grateful for good bathrooms. So grateful for a big, comfortable bed. So grateful for skies that aren’t polluted. So grateful to speak the same language as those around me. So grateful for everyone’s help. So grateful for your comments—it is very therapeutic to feel like other are laughing and crying and praying along with you! So grateful for loving parents and in-laws who did so much to support us over the last couple of weeks. So grateful for a wonderful church family. So grateful for my good husband, who has maintained his sense of humor and goodness during very overwhelming times. So grateful for each one of my beautiful children. So grateful I have so many mouths to feed and lips to kiss and eyes to gaze into and heads to tuck in and souls that light me up.
Most of all, I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father, who gave me this amazing life. For my Savior who made it possible for Lexi and Elli to someday see, for Sophi to hug me with arms, for Xander to run freely and for Graci to do away with the oxygen she so hates to wear. I have the most precious family to spend eternity with, because of Him.
What a perfect time to come home! The Christmas spirit that surrounds us just deepens the love and appreciation that we have for these two beautiful new blessings. As we celebrate Christ’s birth, we celebrate a new birth for Lexi and Sophi into a country and a family that will offer them so much more than what they have known.
PS. We’ve got lots of pictures to share, but not lots of time to share them! I’ll put on a few, and hopefully add many more over the next couple of weeks. (:
PPS. This is Jer. So last night we were trying to sleep, but couldn’t because Sophi is a vicious bed-hog. Sophi has the smelliest diapers you’ve ever experienced, and I’m not talking about when she’s messy. Her little body must have some way of concentrating waste liquids that makes for a very pungent experience if you’re close by;) To help Sophi sleep, we had put her in bed with us. She had about 2/3 of the bed, while Christi and I squished into the other 1/3. Even though Soph was asleep, she would keep moving so she could be close to Christi. And often she would position herself so her little behind was right by Christi’s face. At one point I turned to Christi and lamented with her, “I’m sorry hon—if you turn that way you smell Sophi and if you turn towards me, you get my breath.” “Yeah,” she replied, “but at least you had onions for dinner!” Poor girl☺. A little later Christi commented that she hoped Sophi wasn’t leaking through her diapers. “That would be terrible,” she said. “We would have to change the sheets and it hasn’t been several months yet.” Must admit, sometimes with a crazy family like ours, you can go a little while before the sheets get changed☺.
This is Sophi taking up way more than her share of our bed, along with pics of Christi, Graci and I showing how we felt early this morning when we got up with less than 2 hours of sleep:(