It has been 13 months since I last posted. I sincerely apologize. When I started blogging about our adoption journey I never intended to leave everyone hanging at the very best part. Before I begin with the details of my trip I would first like to thank everyone that supported us as we waited for our boys, for praying and donating the funds that helped to make it possible for us to bring them home. Words cannot express how grateful we are for y'all.
Now, for those of you who were following along you may remember that when I last posted we had just received travel approval and I was excitedly waiting to travel to China with my sister, Amanda, to bring our sweet boys home. Which of course I did. And it was an amazing, memorable and bittersweet journey that not only gave me the blessing of two more children but also blessed me with a deeper understanding and appreciation for life and family. The trip itself was logistically challenging and filled with hilarious stories of missed flights, culture shock, luggage drama and the challenges of trying to communicate in a foreign language. We also met some wonderful people along the way and were deeply touched by their individual stories/testimonies regarding adoption and how the Lord had led them to China for their children. And of course, the unforgettable experiences of seeing Archer and Abel for the first time! The memory of those two days are gifts that I will always cherish. Sadly, the memory of those days also include sorrow and pain. Our precious Archer had lived with his foster family from the time he was 3 months old. When he bravely took my hand that first day in our hotel lobby in Jinan, he walked away from the only family he had ever known. His first night with me was one filled with a river of tears that threatened to never stop, causing me to ask myself if we were making a huge mistake in taking this grieving boy from everything he had ever known. I held him and comforted him the best I could for over and hour as he cried out for his foster mother and gasped for breath as he tried to handle feelings that were too big for his little heart to contain. I offered to run him a bath, hoping he would be able to relax a little and calm down enough to sleep since we had to catch an early flight to Liuyang to meet Abel the next day. I gave him some little army men that I had brought for him to play with and he stayed in the bath for 3 hours. I would go in every 20 minutes or so to check on him, running more warm water, and letting him share his feelings. We finally climbed into bed very late into the night, his little forehead pressed against mine.
Archer woke up the next morning sleepy eyed but excited about his first airplane flight. I was relieved that he was doing better and hopeful that somehow we would make it after all. My sister and I were hurrying to put some last minute items in our bags when there was a knock on the door. At the exact moment that I opened the door for the bell boy to begin taking our luggage down the phone rang and what happened next changed the dynamic of that day, the rest of our trip and every day that I have woken up to since. It was our youngest sister calling with the tragic news that our father had suffered a massive heart attack and died earlier that day. The despair I felt at hearing this terrible news brought me to my knees as I began to pray that God would somehow change the circumstance. Our beloved daddy was gone and we were half a world away from our loved ones and all that was familiar and a comfort. We needed our families, our children and beloved spouses, but little Abel was waiting for us to come and get him that very day. Even now, a year later, typing these words brings fresh grief. For the past 12 months, I have put off coming here and sharing the events of this day, knowing how difficult it would be. Doing the very difficult work of attaching and grafting our 2 new sons into our family while simultaneously grieving the loss of my dad has been the most exhausting process I have ever been through. I just have not had the energy to spare for blogging. I know you all understand....I will be back soon to share about the rest of our trip.
In His Grip,