Well, it’s been quite a while since we have posted here with an update (last post was back in early September!)
Actually, that was by design since we had to keep things private during the travel period to and from China to bring our daughter home. Many of you joined our private Facebook Group and were able to stay up to date with our journey across the world to bring Adalae-Love home. But whether or not you were following along, we thought it would be appropriate now to update you on all the excitement before, during, and after coming home and settling in…
So – here we go!
Shortly before we found out when we would travel to bring home Adalae-Love, we found out some pretty surprising (and unexpected) news… Not only would we be welcoming in miss A-L, we would also be welcoming another bio addition to our family early next year! Yes, we were quite shocked since we had been taking ‘appropriate measures’ … but – God clearly had a different plan and that was apparent…
Our shock and awe turned to joy and excitement as we imagined our growing family and reflected on how truly blessed we are as a family. We know far too deeply the pain of losing a child, so we consider it pure joy that God chose to bless us with yet another. Overwhelmed? Maybe just a little – but most of all, overwhelmed by God’s grace and provision in our family… we wouldn’t have it any other way.
As much as we all wanted to travel to China as a family, it was too risky for me to travel being pregnant. So that’s the reason why Mike and Conner went on their own.
Stay tuned for updates on our little peanut as his/her arrival gets closer and closer (and nope, we didn’t find out the gender – we want to be surprised this time!)
Journey across the globe
Mike and Conner left for China on a Thursday morning (Oct. 9th) and arrived in China early on Saturday morning (Oct. 11th). It was quite the journey – taking 24 hours from Louisville to Guangzhou, China.
Mike kept a pretty detailed and transparent audio journal during his time in China – you can listen to it on his podcast by clicking here.
Our time in China – welcoming Adalae-Love into our family
As I mentioned – Mike and Conner made the trip to China to bring A-L home. Mike posted quite a bit on our private Facebook Group during their time in China. I decided the best way to capture their time there was to share a few of those posts here.
October 11, 2014:
Well, we’ve been waiting for this day since we turned in our adoption application at Thanksgiving of last year. A lot of ups and downs since then, but one thing has been clear: God never stops pursuing us. And he never stopped pursuing Adalae-Love. Today as we meet her, it is just another chapter of God’s redemption story. I feel blessed to be a small part of His story.
Some thoughts after our first night with Adalae-Love…
It’s the simple things about being a parent that can bring you to your knees when you stop to think about them for a moment.
Simple things like just listening to the sound of your child’s breath – the sound of them sleeping soundly and safely. No cares or worries – just resting in the innocence and safety of being a kid.
If we don’t stop to think about this, it’s easy to take it for granted. I know I certainly have taken it for granted. I’ve stopped to listen and just ‘be’ with all of my kids at some point in their lives – stopped to watch them sleep and listen to the sound of careless safety and security that comes with them knowing mom and dad are near no matter what comes their way. I’ve watched and listened to them as they discover new and exciting – and sometimes risky things – without so much as the slightest hesitation because they know mom and dad are near.
When you stop and think about it, it’s a pretty remarkable phenomenon. But is it really a phenomenon? Or is it simply how God designed us to be? Is it simply God’s plan and perfect design for love, protection, security, and safety that is found in a healthy family? Yes – I’d say that *precisely* what it is.
After observing these tiny wonders (and shedding a few tears of love and joy) in the lives of my own children, I have to confess that I never gave much thought to what life would be like for a child without these basic needs of safety, security, protection, and – most importantly – love. I hadn’t thought much about what life must be like for them. Even when my family began the adoption process to adopt a little girl from across the world.
I just never really seemed to understand or think about what that must be like…
Until last night – when everything changed.
Last night was the first night that my daughter spent with the safety, security, protection, and love of a daddy who would sacrifice anything for her sake. Last night was the first night of the rest of her life with a family who loves her no matter what – a mommy, a daddy, brothers and sister to surround her with that same love.
Last night I stopped to listen – and I heard a sweet, sweet sound that I so readily took for granted – the sound of my sweet daughters breath… in, then out – in, then out… A calm, secure, beautiful sound…
Thank you Jesus for your redeeming love. Thank you for pursuing my heart. Thank you for pursuing Adalae-Love’s heart. And thank you for the unconditional love you show to all of us… it’s *this* love that that is greater than all – love that truly conquers all…
Visited Adalae-Love’s orphanage today. Difficult but worth the trip for a number of reasons. The heartbreaking part of the visit was learning that of the nearly 1,000 kids being cared for here, most will never be adopted – only a handful. There were so many sweet faces with a look in their eyes that seemed to cry out “will you love me?” That broke me, and I can never un-see what I saw. I did the only thing I could do – the thing all of us have the power to do – pray for these sweet kiddos that somehow, some way they would learn about Jesus – that they would learn about a savior who has always, and will always love them…
One big step complete! Visa application done – when we land at LAX in less than 48 hours she will officially become an American citizen!!
October 23, 2014 (Landed back home in America!!)
Miss America has landed! Feeding our brand new US Citizen some Mexican rice and beans at LAX. Almost home…
And yes, she still likes her rice and beans whenever we feed her that 😉
The first 2 months at home…
It’s been a whirlwind for sure. Rather than sugar-coating things and telling you that everything is wonderful (lots of it is wonderful, but lots of challenges as well), I think transparency and honesty would be more appropriate – so allow me to be real with you…
Since Adalae-Love has been at home in our family, we’ve experienced much of the expected challenges that go along with adoption, and some unexpected as well.
She is adjusting and attaching to our family better than we initially expected. But she is still a little more stranger-friendly than we would like. This is very common in adopted kiddos when they first come home as they are used to being friendly with any/all adults that will meet their basic needs (food, shelter, love, etc.)
We are making good progress, and are optimistic about her continued attachment and development in our family. She is starting to learn our routines and pick up on our vocabulary. Just a few days ago she began mimicking us for the first time and repeating short phrases after we would say them. But she clearly does this only on her terms – only when she feels like it. With so little control over her own life, she exercises control whenever she can 😉
The international adoption system in China has changed in the past few years. Now, over 85% of all waiting children have a special need of some sort. We knew going into the process that miss A-L would have some sort of special need we would have to address and get the proper care for. In her case, we had to address one of her challenges sooner than expected – but we were blessed to be able to get her the best care possible here in the U.S. and get everything under control.
We are so grateful and thankful for all of your prayers and support you’ve given us throughout this process. We truly would not have been able to endure this journey without them. Financially speaking, we met and exceeded all of our fundraising goals. And while we should not have been surprised at God’s faithfulness in this area, we were truly blown away by everyone’s generosity and support!!
Thank you so so much!!
Future updates and staying connected…
As I mentioned, we have been so blessed to have you along for the ride on this journey. Whether you’ve connected with us here on this blog, or through our private Facebook Group – we are so glad and honored to keep you all in the loop on miss A-L.
As far as this blog is concerned, we set it up with the sole purpose of documenting our adoption journey. With everything wrapped up, and with miss A-L finally home, this will be the last time we post on this particular blog. Showing up and writing on this blog has been a stretch for me…
And I’ve decided to continue to stretch myself a little more. As you may or may not know, Mike has been blogging ever since Hudson passed away (and podcasting now for the past few months). He’s building a really cool community there and I’ve decided to start posting over there on a regular basis.
I would love for you to continue to join us on this journey! If you already signed up for email updates from us on this blog, you’ll continue to get updates – only they will come from Mike’s blog, not this site anymore.
Thank you again for all your support throughout our adoption journey!! We are excited to continue to bring you along for the journey and share deeply from our hearts!
Blessings & much love from my family to yours!