It feels great to be home!! It feels great that my girls are now American citizens! As soon as they stepped foot on American soil, they were officially Americans! How cool is that?!?!
I won’t lie. The last four days have been tough. The flight back was not a piece of cake with Elle not sleeping for over 24 hours, delays in Chicago, and MJ and I not sleeping then as well. Once home, the fun had just begun. Elle melted down at the DSM airport. MJ and I had severe jet lag. Mae and Elle were still on China time, and the boys were solid on central time. Elle regressed a little with all of the uncertainties of her new environment and family life. Did I mention she is terrified of dogs? Including our little 4 lbs dog, Frodo. She clung to me like glue, and had several melt downs. The lack of sleep was not working in her favor either. Mae continued to be our social little butterfly through all of this. She wanted to greet everyone with a smile and a two handed wave, which melted everyone’s hearts. On Monday night, Elle, Mae, Griffin (one never to miss the fun!), MJ, and I literally did not sleep. In China, it was day time, and the girls were ready to roll. Somehow MJ and I limped our way through Tuesday shrouded in a dense fog. Needless to say we didn’t see any huge progress in our transitions. I decided on Tuesday that I would have 2 or 3 “big” goals for the day. If I accomplished those or made progress on those goals, it would be a successful day. My goals for Tuesday were to get the girls (and boys) baths, go to the Asian grocery store, and accomplish a trip to Target. By the end of the day, I had accomplished all of those goals, and all of the kiddos were in bed asleep by 9:30. Progress!
On Wednesday morning I decided that my goals were to get my gala dress altered, work on Elle’s fear of Frodo, and work on meshing the kids’ relationships. First thing in the morning Elle let Gabe hold her to read her a book. That was a great first step in the morning. Mae cried and waved when her brothers got on the bus. Ok, that was another good step. When Gabe came home from school, Mae ran up to hug him. Gabe LOVED that! Elle was having a tough afternoon. I couldn’t peel her away from me. However, she was allowing Frodo in the same room….as long as he didn’t move. Not huge progress, but it was a step. I mentioned to my mom that I couldn’t wait to start to see her true personality emerge.
Then tonight happened. Cousins came over to play, which I think started the ball rolling. After the cousins left, it just continued. Before I knew it, Elle, Carsten, and Griffin were running around the house chasing each other and laughing. They were even going to the 2nd floor, so Elle couldn’t even see me. I then was getting ready for bed, and the three amigos come running in my bathroom chasing each other. Elle stops, looks at me, and says, “Hello!” She had a huge smile on her face. I answer back, “Ni Hao!” Her and Griffin then answer back in sync with, “Ni Hao!” It cracked me up. Then Carsten yelled, “Hi Elle!” And all three of them then ran off. It brought pure joy to a momma’s heart to see this! I couldn’t believe what a difference a few hours made. It’s amazing! I hope we keep on this trajectory!
Goals for Thursday? I think I am going to aim to get post adoption paperwork done, continue to work on the Frodo/Elle situation, work on finding a Chinese tutor for Elle (it would be a pity for her to lose all of this Chinese she knows), and play hide and seek with all of the kids after school. Got to keep it fresh!
Here’s to progress, turning points, and having a happy, laughter-filled family! I LOVE this journey as difficult as it sometimes is. The great moments wash out all of the difficult ones, and leave my heart buzzing with joy! Life is good!
PS. Elle is lying in bed without her shoes! This is a first too! Who could have ever thought that a child going to bed without their shoes on would be a moment of celebration?!? I even took a picture of it! Maybe we should celebrate with cake! Carsten will love that! 😉