Friday, January 27, 2012

Sleep, Sleep, & Still Not Enough Sleep

Well, just to post this was nearly an act of congress. So here goes..... After a night of no sleep before our long, long, long, flight to Beijing we just can't seem to catch up. I don't know what we would have done without all of those who had helped pre-family of 4 to get us ready for China. I can't thank them enough...David's Parents have done so much that down to us being here as a family wouldn't be possible without their gracious gift of financial support. There will never be any words worthy enough of our gratitude to them for helping us bring home Jadyn. They have been such a blessing to our family and our daughters. Without them this journey at this point, would have been much more difficult, if even possible at all. So, Mom & Dad ~ thank you for loving us so much. For loving our Gracyn the way you do, and for loving us so much you would help us make a family of four. For them, I hope the love that will soon be doubled from two little girls brings them more, love and joy than they ever thought imaginable. Thank you to those who contributed financially ~ Aunt Bonnie, Bryna & JR, The Evangelista's, The Green Family, Pam Hjort & Family, and all of those who previously purchased dresses, aprons & Pillowcases when it was Nancy and I who were to go, for Nancy's iron will to get just one more dress sold. Thank you Annette for your contribution of the Cleft Lip & Palate bottles for the orphanage. Thank you Bryna for coming over and spending the day keeping my head on straight, painting Jadyn's letters, taking Gracyn to the movies the night before cause she had a blast with Addy. Thank you for the clothes, oh my the clothes & Toys that her & JR bought for our so sweet, and I cannot thank Bryna and JR enough for the gift of pure cuteness for the girls ~ I hope they will like one another cause they will be dressed just alike. Thank you Amy for helping the night before with some of the packing and for moral support. Thanks to Pam for Taking Gracyn while I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off just days before we were leaving. Thank you Kathy Donovan for buying my girls clothes, blankets, and books. Thank you Kelly & Dale for Gracyn's travel neck pillow and her writing pad & stickers. Thank you Penny and the entire Sharp Family for your countless gifts such as diapers, cups, silverware, plates, backpacks, power converters, toiletries, games for the girls and so much more. Penny your Adoption expertise has been a blessing to our family. Thank you Risherrah & the Teti family for all the clothes and blankets, and shoes for Jadyn we had so few items for her, it was so generous of your family and we appreciate your generosity. Thank you Chad for setting up our VPN so we even have the ability to post to this blog. Thank you Tina for all the hours you could have been spending doing something else, but instead you spent days packing and organizing and re-packing and re-organizing, you've got some serious packing and organizational skills. You were there even for the final pack and clean up of the terrible mess I made:). Tina I could not have done it all without you because what had to be done seemed too overwhelming for just me, you are such a hidden treasure I want to keep you all to myself. Thanks to everyone I did not mention who have blessed our family....Most of all Thanks to all who have and continue to pour prayers of protection & love out for our family during our journey. To all of you, our family is so grateful. Had to start this post out right.... with every ounce of thanksgiving.... Who would have thought that a three year old could do so well on an airplane. Gracyn and David got the most sleep (of course). Gracyn slept more than half the flight, but today still remains very jet lagged. We got off the airplane and were in awe of how big the airport was. There were very few people surprisingly. Getting through customs was a cinch, and couldn't believe how simple. No bag searches, no body searches, just passport and Visa check. Cindy our local area guide and rep from CCAI picked us up along with another family who is from Tennessee. We entered the hotel around 4:15pm Beijing time exhausted and in desperate need of a shower. The three of us were so out of synch that Gracyn would wake up every couple of hours and ask if it was morning yet, and say she was hungry. We finally couldn't sleep anymore after 4am Beijing time, so we all got ready to do what was planned for the day. We ate breakfast and met all the other families in the lobby at 8:30 am. Headed on the bus to the city to ride on the rickshaws. Our rickshaw driver nearly died pulling the three of us.....we were the last in the group and could barely see the rest of them, but eventually made it back to the rest of the group. We got to see an old living quarters of a family and courtyard that has remained in their family for generations. Then we went to the silk factories... Amazing.. Gracyn did well right up until lunch, then she started to squirm a bit. She was still so jet lagged, her and I had to leave the tour to the Forbidden City to head back to the hotel. I Could not wake her up for NOTHING. she was catching up on her lost sleep, so I did as well. David went with the group and was nearly a popsicle when he got back around 4:30. The time the date, a mess for me ~ I don't know up from down right now. David is sleeping, or trying with Gracyn watching a movie on the DVD player. No pictures because i can't seem to upload them...Until tomorrow...or soon. Love to all goodnight...

Monday, January 16, 2012

I Heart You

Our Travel Countdown
Depart January 25th 2012 CHS - ORD - PEK

                                         Beijing for 3 days....
                                         1/29/12 Beijing - ZhengZhou
                                         1/30/12 Gotcha Day
                                         2/6/12   ZhengZhou - Guangzhou
                                         2/8/12   Consulate Appointment
                                         2/9/12   Guangzhou - Hong Kong
                                         Coming Home February 10th 2012 HKG - ORD - CHS

China Bound

China Map

Henan Province (Jadyn's Province)

Guangzhou Map

Gracyn's Countdown Chain

As you all know we will be traveling in just nine days.  Wow seems hard to believe that our family will soon be a Forever Family of Four.  I know it was just yesterday that we were boarding an airplane to Taiwan to bring home our Gracyn, and that has been nearly three years ago.  It seems incomprehensible that in a little over a week we will be boarding an airplane to China to bring Jadyn home.  Soon the toddler bed that is vacant will be filled with more than just a child.  She will fill our home and our hearts with so much love.  Not that adoption doesn't come with its challenges, ~ but after all the dust settles there is an unrealized beauty.  A beauty few will ever know or experience.  

Jadyn's Bed

Fill Our Hearts

 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.  ~ Psalm 147:3

I have been so emotional during the last several weeks.  Consumed with an excitably charged overload that only adoption can bring.  I find myself already grieving for the loss that Jadyn will soon have to endure.  A loss I saw with my own eyes just as Gracyn once endured.  Gracyn taught me something, which at the time, I didn't understand.  In those weeks after we came home from Taiwan, when all Gracyn could communicate to us was pure grief, I found myself asking God the same question over and over.....Why me?  I questioned everything that brought our family to that point including His plan laid out before us.  I focused on all the wrong things.  I spent countless hours watching her heartbreak and discomfort as it perpetuated a cycle of internal dialogue within me....Why did you chose me???? I'm not supposed to be her mother.....I'm not cut our for this sort of thing..... No one told me it would feel like this.... I didn't know it was supposed to hurt.... Why doesn't she want my affection???? Why won't she smile????  She doesn't even like me..... Why doesn't she want to be held, or cuddled, or touched???  I felt rejection and many other feelings which at the time, I was ashamed to admit.  I repeatedly found myself very alone, because I knew no other adoptive mother could EVER feel the way I did.  I didn't want others to know the heart I was hiding.  I had envisioned something so different that the experience brought me to my knees feeling very lonely, and confused....  It was only when I granted my own heart the permission to remain open to the experience, that I would understand.  When I turned off the "me" part of my heart, I felt the answers through my grieving child who........ will never know her birth family, lost the only home she had ever known, uplifted by the roots of the beloved country of her birth, who must learn a new language to help others meet her basic needs, try to process why the people - who look nothing like her, would want to take her away from the only people she called family, who finds the food and smells different than she was used to, and wonder why she is now far from 'everything' she has ever known.  Now I must be brave enough to remember those same feelings that will help build that bridge to family.  

"Break My Heart for What Breaks Yours," is the phrase I couldn't stop thinking about at that time, and find myself remembering it now.  How can we truly understand and be humbled by the world around us if we never allow ourselves even those short walks in the hearts of others.  I am so thankful for a gift I almost didn't receive through my daughter Gracyn.  The gift and ability I've coined "heart walking."  Few allow themselves this 'freedom,' of  "heart walking."  They deprive themselves of something fundamental to our being, that over time is lost.  It's part of what makes us compassionate beings, and who only God can lead us back to.  So in the days when I see Jadyn at 2 1/2 feel a seemingly boundless grief, I will remember the 'bridge' that brought my unwilling heart to feel hers which will "break."  The heart I know will heal.  

With courage I welcome the "heart walk."  Walk with us.  Experience all you've denied, and deprived yourself of feeling.  Let God "Break Your Heart for What Breaks His."  Because what I've discovered is 'adoption' is part of my own fundamental journey "Home."  Let our adoption, help build your bridge that helps you find your way back home.  

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Travel Approval

Jadyn Willow

Proverbs 25:25 - (NIV)
Like cold water to a weary soul
is good news from a distant land.

After the longest wait in history it seems, our family will be traveling to China to finally bring home our Jadyn.  We started all the preparations.  Gracyn (big sister) is so excited she can hardly stand it.  Everyday she asks the same question...."Mommy, is today the day we get my baby sister?"  Poor little girl at 3 years old this has to seem like an eternity.  
I am overwhelmed with all we have still left to do.  The packing list alone is eight pages long.  I have been in a state of denial that this day would ever come, as we have had our fair share of ups and downs.  Beijing here we come.  We will have a better idea later in the week as to which date we will be leaving, but as of right now looks like we may be leaving as soon at the 25th of January.....That's in 15 days!!! OK gotta go and do the things I should be doing.  Til next time, keep our family in your prayers.