It's hard to believe that on Friday, my husband and I will be boarding a plane for China to meet our two newest children. Yes, we've done this before--many times--but the excitement is just as real this time as it was back in 2005 during our first trip to China.
As you can imagine, I've been thinking about my new children a lot. What will they be like? How will they transition. I'm expecting tears, or shutting down, or temper tantrums. That's all normal and to be expected. While I'm excited and can't wait to scoop them up and hung them to pieces, they'll likely be terrified of me. I can only imagine them thinking, "Who is this crazy blonde lady and why is she always squeezing me?" Again, normal.
But I'm also thinking about all of the people who have helped us get to this moment. My wonderful in-laws are taking care of my kids here in the states. They're making it possible for us to spend our time in China focusing on our new kids without worrying about our kids at home. My husband comes from a big family and they are all (parents, brothers, sisters) pulling together to help us while we're away. It's a Godsend. You moms out there will understand when I say that my heart will be split while we're in China. Half of it will be with my new kids, but half of it will be back in the states with the four kids I'm leaving behind. Knowing that they are in good hands helps me so much. When Jonathan and Gabrielle come home, they won't just be getting a mom and dad and siblings. They'll be getting grandparents. Aunts, uncles, and cousins who all love them very much.
I'm also thinking about the wonderful friends who are praying for us while we travel, and who have offered to bring us meals when we get home. If you've adopted before, you know how hard that first week home is. The jet lag alone is killer. Add two new kids whose worlds have just been turned upside down and you've got a recipe for disaster. Knowing that I won't always have to cook is wonderful! That's one thing off of my plate!
And then I'm thinking of all of the people who loved and advocated for my newest kiddos before I even knew about them. Jonathan has had a whole community of people around the world supporting him. We first learned about Jonathan because a young man traveled to China to volunteer in Jonathan's orphanage. When he got home, that young man blogged about his experience. In particular, he wrote trying to find Jonathan a family. I read that post and that's how I found out about Jonathan. Then, there are the numerous people around the world who have sponsored Jonathan. They worked so hard to get him transferred out of his original orphanage to a much better facility. And one where he is so, so loved. Still more people from around the world volunteered there and wrote me about him or contacted me through Facebook with stories about Jonathan. Every time I hear from someone who knows him, I'm blown away. These are people from all around the world. The US, Ireland, Australia, and of course China. Everyone worked toward finding a family for this boy. Yes, he is in an orphanage, but He Has Been Loved! I'm so glad that one day I'll be able to tell him that there was a worldwide network of people loving him, praying for him, and working hard to find him a family.
You see, this is what most people don't realize about adoption. Yes, we are the lucky family who gets to raise these children, but we're not doing it alone. In fact, we couldn't do it alone. So many people just see the family who is adopting, but they don't see everyone else behind the scenes working hard to make this happen. They are just as much a part of this journey as we are. And I am truly humbled by the love that everyone has shown us, our current children, and our new children. I don't have as much information about Gabrielle as I do Jonathan, but I know that She Is Also Loved.
And so are all of you. If I haven't been able to tell you directly, let me say it now. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, I love each and every one of you. And I'm in awe of all that has gone in to making this adoption possible.