How is it possible that we've already been home for four weeks? It seems, in some ways, like we just stepped off the plane a few days ago—the memories of the trip home are still so fresh in our minds—and yet our time in China seems like it belongs in another time-stream altogether. We were there for three weeks and were able to set up something of a normal life in each city we were in, but now that feels like a lifetime ago, even though it hasn't even been two months since we left! I think that part of the reason for this sense of disorientation is due to the fact that God had us jump back into our regular life with both feet almost as soon as our feet landed back in Cincinnati. The first week home was pretty restful, but the past three have gone at a nearly break-neck pace. That has made us feel like we never left, and in some ways, that has been good for us and for our kids. We've seen with them (and, indeed, with us) that the more routines we can maintain in daily life, the better everyone does. Day-to-day life isn't always predictable or consistent, but there are a few weekly rituals that we do that help to keep us somewhat grounded (e.g., church on Sunday mornings, pizza and TV all together for dinner on Friday). Most of those weekly mainstays are back to where they were before we left, and that feels inexpressibly good.
I want to say, too, that we wouldn't have survived this past month without our church. A few days before we returned home, a close friend of ours came over to the house with a couple of Kristie's sisters to clean our house and get things ready for us. But she didn't stop there. She cut our grass and then decorated our front and back porches with paper streamers and balloons, which brought both of us to tears when we saw them. Then, our church—small but growing church plant though it is—has blessed us with three meals a week for the past four weeks, and with all of the things that we have had going on, there is no way that we can properly thank everyone for this. We still have some meals in our refrigerator and freezer, which will carry us through this coming week. This has been unbelievable, and we are deeply grateful for their care, support, and friendship all throughout our adoption journey.
|Hallie having fun at home|
|Isabelle coloring at our celebration dinner|
|Watching Beauty and the Beast|
|Gabriela's 4th birthday party|