I am alone in our hotel room. The quiet is quite therapeutic.:) At Christi's suggestion, I made a spa appointment for the three girls, so they are all down getting manicures and pedicures. Ah, the good life. I started packing in earnest this morning. Really thought I could get everything down to three 50-pound suitcases. But no matter how much you squish 170 pounds, you just can't make it weigh less. So, as I have done on at least two other trips to China, I went down and bought another suitcase. If it lives through the journey home, it will have been worth the money I paid for it. ;)
I've missed at least seven of the boys' basketball games while we've been here and it's killing me. Just got a report on Parker's game (Wendesday night local time). Their team scored 15 points the entire first three quarters and were down by 11 with three minutes left. At that point they went on a huge run which ended with a three by Parker to send the game into overtime. They lost by one in OT. Bummer, but those types of games can be great learning experiences and confidence builders. I love watching my boys play ball!
On the way home we have a three-hour layover in Seattle. My parents live in Portland, so they are driving up there to see us at the airport. I'm so glad they'll get a chance to meet Cali right away. I called them a few minutes ago to confirm they were coming and while they were on the phone, my mom spoke with Cali. It was fun to see how excited Cali was and how much she seemed to enjoy talking to nai nai. As they spoke together, Cali's head and mine were very close together so I could hear and do a little interpreting. Once they were done, I took the phone again, but Cali didn't move away. Instead, she wrapped her arms around me, gave me a big hug, and rested her head on my chest. It was the sweetest thing. I think she is feeling very secure with her place in our family.
I know I've said this before, and I'll likely say it again, because it is something that continues to be impressed upon my heart. I am so grateful to Graci and Xander for their patience with me as I was learning to be an adoptive parent. I am so grateful to have a better understanding of how important it is to just be patient and let things slide as this new, wonderful individual discovers what it means to be part of a family, and specifically, part of our family. Harsh words or an impatient voice may result in more immediate action today, but it will only create that much more difficulty in the future for the child to bond and feel loved and safe in their new home. I believe that biological children are sent to families in a specific order, an order that our Father in Heaven knows is best. I've never really thought about adoption order much, but now that we have Cali, I feel that Heavenly Father's hand was very instrumental in the order that we have adopted our kids. I needed to learn many things before I was prepared to have such a sensitive child come into my life! And Heavenly Father knew that some of our other children were resilient enough to endure my shortcomings and make it through intact:).
I am scared. It hasn't been easy here in China, but all we had to focus on was adoption and loving our new child. Going home we will have to worry about work and bills, shoveling snow and mowing lawns, making meals and doing laundry (well, not too much laundry-thank you, thank you, thank you Russ and Candace!), homework, English skills, braille, doctor's appointments, paperwork for another adoption, the list goes on and on and on. I am so grateful for my partner through all of this. Sometimes people will express some degree of amazement at our family and what we do. They often make comments about what good people we must be. I appreciate the things they say and recognize that our family is unique and special. But truly, truly, the catalyst for who we are and what our family is is my sweet wife, Christianne. I am just a regular guy caught up in a special work. Christi is not a regular girl. She is an angel. Her heart is big. Her motives are pure. She strives to do the right thing more than anyone else I know. She is patient. She is strong. she is creative. She is diligent. She is valiant in her testimony of Christ. She loves her children passionately. She is not perfect, but she is close. And somehow, she is mine. Thank you, sweetheart, for going on this journey with me.