Here we are…somewhere over Russia I suppose. Six hours into our 14 1/2 hour flight home, I should be taking this opportunity to be sleeping, but my mind is racing with different memories and stories that occurred over the past 3 weeks and visions of our future as a family of 10. I feel so close to being home with our other babies I can almost hear their laughs and squeals. When I close my eyes, I can already see our dinner table with Matt and I and our 8 beautiful, unique, and loving children. I can hear the answers and the pauses going around the table to share what happened best in their day. Their groans of exasperation when I say this moment right now is the best part of my day. Elle prodding me for a different answer. She always wants to hear a story of something she didn’t see. I will promise her a story before bed…that I will make up a good one tonight. Mae giggling excitedly anticipating the story to come. Griffin requesting that I not tell the Gryffon story. Bo and Carsten laughing excitedly. Then there’s usually a chorus of voices requesting Gryffon. I see Eve and Kat at the table taking it all in learning when to add their protests, and when to add to the laughter. Soon enough I know they will find their rhythm in our family.
I think back to three weeks ago as MJ and I headed off for Beijing to adopt Kat. We were terrified. Completely and blindly walking in faith. Our logical brains were screaming at us, “You know you are about to adopt a 14 year old girl?! What’s your plan? Oh yay! I can’t see how this may end badly!” Matt and I would make jokes about the leap of faith we were embarking on. Jokes were our only coping mechanism. Luckily jokes seem to be Kat’s coping mechanism as well….we speak the same language after all! 😉 The hard work here is still very much laid out before us, but with all of our determination, optimism, and a good sense of humor we will make it!
Eve was terrified when she met Matt and I. I found out while on this trip that she was in a Taiwanese foster house the entire time she was under the care of the orphanage. I believe the group that runs that foster home is called Nurturing Hands from Taiwan. On the day we met her she was taken from the home she had ever known by people she did not know. She was then driven to place she did not know by people she did not know and given to Matt and me……again….people she did not know. To say Eve was terrified would be an understatement. The next four days were hard….gut wrenchingly hard. She did not want anything to do with Matt or me. She wondered the hall crying for hours. She did not want us to pick her up, put her to bed, feed her, look at her, acknowledge her, nothing. At one point I thought things were looking up on Wednesday. She wanted to go for a walk. So Eve and I headed out to the streets of Zhengzhou. Everything started out well. She was walking proudly beside me swinging her arm. Then one too many Chinese people took our picture, and she melted down. It was so scary. Here I am trying to hold her. She is riving against me, trying to bite me, throwing my sunglasses into the street. I became surrounded by at least 100 Chinese people staring at us. I really thought the police were going to show up in any moment. Besides fighting to hold on to Eve and not get bit, I had to push my way through the crowd of people that were simply staring at the show. Funny..I didn’t remember selling tickets to the show. That was almost as hard as keeping a hold of Eve. Thank goodness we made it back to the hotel before any police officers arrived. I am positive that at least 12 Chinese people have the show videoed on their iPhone. Who knows how many people have seen it now. By Friday, we seemed to turn a corner. Reflecting back on it, it was the day we let laughter back into our lives. It caught on and seemed contagious amongst most of the other families we were traveling with. When we didn’t really have anything that funny to laugh about we created our own stories. All through our trip to the Zhengzhou aquarium we found approximately 1 million things to laugh about. I mean ab work out laughter. It seemed to be just the answer to what we needed to get through another week of adoption process. There was another monumental step that day. I know this sounds disgusting because it is, but Eve started handing me her boogers. She was trusting me enough to take care of her needs. It was really a turning point. Then I could help her eat, help her clean, help her get dressed, etc. Who knew boogers could be so important in building a trusting relationship.
Once we hit Guangzhou, the sun was just a little sunnier. It’s a whole mix of things that helps lighten the mood. First of all, it is sunnier, there is a lot less pollution, there is a Starbucks in the hotel, you are one week away from heading home, and there is some fun shopping available there. One afternoon the girls and I headed out to do a little souvenir shopping. We ended up doing a fun tea ceremony and talking a lot with one of our guides. We also enjoyed going to the zoo. We were able to hand feed and pet the giraffes….now that is a cool thing to do!
On the way out we spent one free day in Hong Kong. We packed as much as we possibly could into one day. We first went to Disneyland. The girls loved it! Kat had her jaw on the ground through most of it. We hit 9 rides and had lunch before we left to go see the Big Buddha. The Big Buddha is set in the lush green mountains on Lantau island. It is amazingly breathtaking. The Buddha is beautiful and it’s surroundings and views are gorgeous. We then headed into Kowloon to meet friends for dinner. We met the Presley’s on our first adoption trip. It was so good to see them, and good for my soul to talk with them. After a prolonged trip to the hotel due to a ship hitting a bridge, we made it back tired with full hearts.
I can not wait to be home. I can’t wait to find our new normal. Most of all I can’t wait to wrap my arms around 6 little necks. I will squeeze one a little tighter and give her an extra kiss because today is Mae Mae’s 4th birthday! I can’t wait to celebrate you little Miss Mae!