My Awefull Life » A Pilgrimage of Wonder

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Okay, so no shocker here, life with three is taking some adjusting. At moments it is a melt-your-face-off kind of shock to our system of crazy we had actually grown to love around here. Now, it’s straight up pandemonium. My apologies, I tend to get dramatic when over tired. But you have to admit, what’s a blog post without the word “pandemonium?”  Seeing as we are covered in kiddos from sunrise to some days well past sun’s set. Finding time to blog and write and actually take photos with my CAMERA instead of my iphone, well, I’m not there yet. So while I don’t have many words to share with you – or more accurately the energy to type them all out- we have accumulated quite a few snapshots and videos from our first month home with Lulu. She really is doing well – even our biggest challenges are incredibly minor all things considered in the world of adoption. One month home already – gracious, time can fly when you aren’t fighting State Departments and broke down systems trying to get your baby back in your arms. Oh, just typing that sentence gets me all fired up – yes, more story there, but first – I need a nap.



Some of our first adventures and everyday moments as FIVE:

I found this on my phone one day after Emma and Fasi Lu had been hanging out. I love it.

The latest footage of our busy girl – one month in Tennessee and she has already gone country:

Friday marked three weeks forever united, two weeks home in Tennessee. How life changes in mere flashes, nearly escaping our very consciousness until we look up and see very little of today resembles anything of the life prior.

Our first days home as a family of five have held every emotion, joy and challenge one would predict. Stepping off of that final plane with our girls, reuniting with Asher, seeing our faithful friends there beaming, knowing a hot shower and my very own pillow awaited my weary head…It all had me screaming “I LOVE MY LIFE!!!” from the rooftop of my soul. My initial high from sheer relief to have feet firmly planted on earth of course met swift doses of reality by way of lingering illness, exhaustion and that tiny detail of a new 13-month-old in the house. That said, there still is nothing quite like being home.

Lulu is transitioning amazingly well so far- checking off boxes left and right on all of the attachment and bonding timelines. Many of her health concerns we had in-country have dissipated since we have arrived home. Her runny nose and congestion are completely cleared up now. She sleeps incredibly well at night- 10-12 hours. I feel guilty even saying that as I read daily accounts of other adoptive families and their intense sleep struggles, so I will once again trade guilt for gratitude and say, “Thank you God for good sleepers.” Lu’s eating is improving daily, and we are broadening her palate slowly. She does have quite a personality- full of opinions, zest, humor and flashes of a royal temper. All in all, I believe Fasi Lu is transitioning to this new life probably the best and easiest in the family, followed by a very close second with big sister. I am daily humbled as I watch Emma’s pure unconditional joy over her baby sister. A room away, I heard her playing with Lulu yesterday and simply unable to contain her love. She picked her up mid-play and just kept saying, “I just love you SO much girl!” I pray their bond only grows until they are the deepest of friends, linked together for all of their days. We also continue to pray for the bond between big brother and baby sis to take root and begin to bloom. Our sweet Asher is having the hardest time of us all, and while it is neither surprising nor overly concerning, it is hard to watch and has added more tension to the air than we had hoped for. In his world, our family grew overnight while simultaneously debunking his status as “baby” and it will really just take some time. There is progress being made ever so slowly, as he will now at least acknowledge Lulu and at times even speak to her. 🙂 Although, much of his communication sounds pretty much like this,: “Hi. Lulu. No No,” or “Hi. Lulu. Don’t touch that.” As we continue to spend time loving him and reaffirming his status as our favorite boy to ever walk the earth, we can see in humor how in many ways he and Lulu have very similar personalities. Our fear is once they do bond, they will join forces of mischief and take over the world (or at least our house).

The big minis have been on spring break so while we have stuck close to home for the most, must admit champion cocooners we are not. It has been an attempted balance (key word: ATTEMPT) to hibernate with the new baby while still engaging in full springtime life that accompanies a 7 and 3-year-old. We ventured out for our first family-of-five picnic in our favorite space. And then there was that trip to the social security office that truly did warrant lunch at the local tex-mex dive afterward. Nothing says “forget those government employees and their ridiculous processes” quite like chips, queso and blaring classic rock. Honest. If you have ever been subjected to visit the social security office, you understand completely. And then who would have guessed- it just happened to be free cone day at Ben & Jerry’s next door, and well…yeah, we’ve been staying close to home…ish. Once Lulu got over her initial disdain for the car seat, she has come to embrace rides in the car and seems to now rather enjoy watching the world she saw so little of for the first year of her life from the window as she sings along to whatever music is playing. Today, Resurrection Sunday, we returned for the first time as five to our beloved church community- reunited with those who cried and prayed for our baby girl right alongside us for months and months. There, with the babe bearing the name meaning “Easter” in our arms, celebrating the finish of death and the resurrected Life? We scare could take it in.

There is still so much stirring in me from our trip and those final days in the wilderness before our deliverance from the great wait. Words and emotions are strong, and I hope to find pockets of time to share and explain my heart that all at once is full, torn, broken while healing. This experience has opened eyes to so much more than I ever anticipated, and to be completely honest, some of what we have seen is quite simply devastating. And still I know it is in this witness of the ugly reality of a fallen world, where we identity closer and more acutely with Jesus – our Redeemer who walked among us and aches over the brokenness I have just had a taste of. As much as a large part of me would like to say, the story is coming to a conclusion – we are home and together with our fought-for-daughter after all, I sense this is just a fork and the road continues on for us and the fight for the orphaned. The fact that anyone (besides our moms) shares precious moments of time reading this blog, praying for us, encouraging us in comments and notes continues to not only shock, but humble me. My prayer is to bring some of our experiences to you in honesty, compassion and with hope, a spark of divine inspiration. Thank you for your continued friendship along this pilgrimage.

All our Love,

The Richmond Five

  • carmella white - i love your videos most everthing you put on i look foward to something everyday that is the first thing i do when i get up love you guys carmellaReplyCancel

  • Deena Maley - Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. It really gives the waiting families the hope we need to continue this long, hard journey. Your family is living proof that there will be a beautiful ending. Your family is beautiful and radiant with love! Please keep updating!ReplyCancel

  • Mike Ansel - How very touching of a story well told. Or should I say the beginning of a story. Robbie (can I still call you that?)you have certainly grown into a fine handsome man of God. Truthfully you had a few of us doubters worried, but obviously God wasn’t finished with you. Sara has no doubt been a steady rock during all these years. How blessed you are to have parents who love God with all their hearts, and have been to the throne room countless times. Your family is so very beautiful, and Lorna and I wish you an abundance of Gods pure joy and blessings in the coming months and years. Thanks for sharing your journey with others.

    Mike anselReplyCancel

  • Stephanie Wiederhold - Hello, Sarah. I so very much enjoy reading the updates you have posted throughout this journey. Thank you for sharing so much with us. I really look forward to reading your posts. I’m SO glad that your Fasi Lu is home and safe with your family. She’s beautiful. Love, StephanieReplyCancel

  • Meaghan - I have loved following your story on your beautifully-written blog! So glad the transition time is going so well! You have adorable kiddos…all three!ReplyCancel

Hi all – We are still here, just in the fog of transition. We’ll emerge soon! In case you missed the incredible post from Jen & Chris, our friends who photographed the final leg of our journey to Lulu, we wanted to again share the links here. They have given so much of their talent and time to our family, we cannot express the depth of our gratitude. Talk to you all here soon!

Love to you,

-Sarah, Rob, Emma, Asher & Lulu

We made it back to the US. Fasika is now an official US Citizen! She celebrated by having an explosive diaper in the security check area. So if you happened to see a delirious tall white woman carrying a black baby all while crying, covered in baby poo, racing through the Detroit airport about an hour ago, chances are it was us. I will skip the photo for this post- I think you’ll appreciate that.
Our plane is scheduled to leave here in about 45min. We are so close to being home- we are soooooo ready!

  • Cora Cluver - Wish we could meet you at the airport! We’ve got friends arriving from Chicago for dinner on their way to Florida and we’ll be entertaining. When we pray for dinner, we’ll pray a special blessing over your arrival and the coming together of your whole precious family. Love you!ReplyCancel

  • Brooke - I didn’t see or smell any poo on you when I hugged you…and I may have still hugged you even if I had read this before I left for the airport. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Carrie - So wish we had known you’d be at DTW. We would have driven up to see the beautiful Lulu and her lucky family! We couldn’t be happier for all of you.

    Sarah, I just had this discussion with my best friend who has a three week old. Isn’t it crazy that you come to a point in life where being covered in poop and physically exhausted is ok? Sure it stinks, literally, but you would never trade it for the world.ReplyCancel