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