Home and finally AWAKE!

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There and Back Again!

Hello again world!!!! We arrived home a week ago, Thursday the 12th to the most amazing welcoming committee and house decorated by the dearest friends and then promptly fell asleep for a week!  I have never in my life experienced jet lag this badly.  All of us, except Rob, have just been like zombies around here.  Even the little ones seemed to breath a sigh of relief and need to sleep to recover too.  I think for me, the sleep needed was from the jet lag but also the extreme emotional journey we’ve just been through.  I still feel complete amazement that just three weeks ago we were standing on the Great Wall of Ch*na and today we’re home with two more children and getting back into real life.  The trip is really too fast and yet being away from David and Lilibet that long just about did me in!  When we got to the airport on Thursday we had no idea we would have such a sweet and excited group waiting there for us!!!  Our agency Lifeline was there with a banner surrounded by family and wonderful friends. Rob’s brother and our sister in law drove all the way from Birmingham with their boys to be there for us and that meant the world to us!  My dear friend Laura was there with Lucy, the girls Ch*na sister and the look on Lucy’s face when she saw the girls was unforgettable.  My friend Ashley was there who I have gotten to know and love on this adoption journey, her adoption was not able to be completed through very frustrating and difficult circumstances but she was gracious and encouraging enough to come and be there for me as I hoped to be there for her.  That is real friendship.  Mom and Amy are my heroes and have just gone above and beyond the call of duty for us over this past month!!!  The highlight of coming into that welcoming home was all of the kids running break neck speed towards each other from both sides and crashing into each other in a monster bear hug/ wrestling match.  It was awesome.  And to see Lucy and Hanli run full speed towards each other was enough to make me burst into tears.  To think of that video we got over 9 months ago of the two of them dancing together in Hefei City, Ch*na and then to see them together once more in that airport in Atlanta, Georgia. In fact, that is when the tears really did start to come.  Tears I really never shed while we were in Ch*na, except when we were at the orphanage and then my heart broke… and you have to cry when your heart breaks.  Other than that I stuffed my emotions.  It was just too hard to let them out and look at them.  I had too much to get through everyday and really when you focus on others and what they need, it truly does help in not giving way to your own feelings.  But I finally let my emotions out on coming home.  The dam really burst forth though when we got to our house.  We went to eat with the cousins which was wonderful and then headed home.  As we started heading home this feeling of, well a little bit of fear of “what in the world do we do with them now” crept in but mostly just this feeling of loneliness.  Almost feeling like “okay now we’re here and it will be us alone in this endeavor”… I should have had better faith though.  As soon as we turned the curve to the house we saw HUGE beautiful banners on the side of the house and a fantastic balloon display on the mailbox and as we went inside…oh my word.  Dear precious friends were there to greet us!!  Our house had been decorated top to bottom, inside and out with the most beautiful greenery and Christmas decorations by some of our closest friends!  Our pantry was stocked, we had meals in the freezer and two other dear friends collaborated to bring us even more meals and extremely delicious treats the next day too.  When I saw my friends standing there and then started to take in all they had done, I just melted.  I cried and cried so much that I think Louisa thought I was a little bit nuts.  When they told me about all the people who had been coming in and out the day before to help make this home glow and who had worked so hard on all of the beautiful little decorations that now hung all over, including my absolute favorite~ a string of cut-out dancing ladies on the end of each girl’s bed complete with little fascinators on their heads.  There are no words to describe how encouraged, upheld and honored we felt and continue to feel to be surrounded by this group of people!!!  When you step out onto the water to follow Christ, it can feel very isolating.  But we were never meant to walk this journey alone.  He never meant us to follow His call alone.  I think we have seen a life changing picture of how we should live life with one another, stepping into God’s calling with each other, upholding each other and helping carry each other’s burdens. And maybe too a small glimpse of what the reception will look like for believers in Jesus Christ, who one day will be welcomed home for good. Happy tears, laughter, celebrations and utmost JOY!  Thank you to all of you who carried us over the past few weeks, with your words and prayers and messages while we were gone.  Each day I woke up in another part of the world and felt more connected to my people than I may ever have before.  You kept us going, you helped us face each new challenging day with faith instead of fear.  The Lord has used you, you are a blessing and we are SO overwhelmingly grateful!

20131222-042208.jpg On the plane getting all of her jewels organized!


1463599_10202196717135965_881178376_n The pile of excited kids on the floor in the ATL airport


1465155_10202196167122215_521919295_n Mima won the girls over with all of these huge balloons!!




1460106_10153621088275217_382523179_n One of my favorite pictures, they were so excited to see each other!


549596_10153621087770217_1524891544_n Raised by the same foster mom on the other side of the world.  I’m still amazed!

1461735_10153621085830217_741186262_n Lucy brought two books, the Bible and the Nutcracker to share with the girls.  That’s my kind of greeting!

20131222-042452.jpg I’ve never done anything more difficult in my life than to leave my baby for so long. SO glad to be home!




20131222-043001.jpg Crazy story, our friends Amanda and Beau on the right met this family, on the left, at Starbucks one day in Guangzhou. Turns out Kristi was Beau’s babysitter in Florida once upon a time.  Too funny and a God thing and we loved getting to know them and their sweet girls!


1465260_10153621083850217_641640142_n Adoptive moms share so many ups and downs together!

1467479_10202196162762106_1911267625_n Uncle Shane and the boys.  Our boys about passed out they were so excited to see them!

1476233_10153621083395217_2087435194_n This is one of the fire marshalls that was on duty.  He was so interested in our story, wanted to know all about it and then wanted a picture to be able to share the story of Lucy and Louisa with his friends!




575444_10153621083690217_1552326267_n This is one of the best things about the agency we adopted with.  The community of support that gets built around you. So happy to be welcomed home by this goup.  And in the back right is the only picture I have of my sister in law Mitzi for some reason.  But she deserves a spotlight all of her own!!!  Her support has been unwavering and she has done SO much to be a help, encourager and faithful friend to us in this endeavor.  Love you Mitzi!

China coming home-1 We had double banners to welcome us home!!!

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photo 2 (3) Absolutely beautiful.

20131223-072616.jpg Our tree with Lanier Ivester lights, the best tree lighting we’ve ever had!!!

photo 2 (4) Sweet cards and notes from friends to us and the girls.

20131223-072554.jpg The dancing ladies with fascinators!!  Ohhhhh, love them so much!


photo 1 (3) My dear, wonderful friend Elizabeth who brought us food and this cake that was devoured in two days… Her food is fabulous and you can get some too, here’s her FB site



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Faithful and true. Thank you sweet friends!!


One thought on “Home and finally AWAKE!

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