Saturday, March 2, 2013 was the longest day of my life – literally. For us, this one day was 38 hours long. Here are some other numbers to describe our day that, I hope, will give you a sense of what it was like!
Hours in the day – 38
Hours spent traveling (consecutive) – 29.5
Hours slept in said 38 hour day – 7.5 (maybe?)
Number of flights – 3
Miles flown – 8,239
Number of times I held a barf bag for my daughter whose body deals with jetlag by throwing up – 5
Poopy diapers changed on airplane seats – 2
Number of diapers that leaked onto me – 1 (luckily just pee that time!)
Number of times MCQ was happy as we strapped her into an airplane seat for take-offs and landings – 0
Number of suckers consumed by MCQ during take-offs and landings – 18 (or something like that)
Hours spent reading the books I made sure I had downloaded onto my Kindle for my “downtime” – 0
Number of times I was grateful that my mom traveled with us – innumerable
Number of friends whose help along this entire process but particularly as we traveled home has been invaluable – also innumerable
Number of times I cried during our travels – 2 – the first at the Detroit airport when I was so tired and so hungry and, within the space of about 20 minutes, Miranda was telling us she didn’t feel good and we were wondering whether she was going to start throwing up again, Madeleine CaiQun became an American citizen, and we had to say a quick goodbye to my mom, whose help had been so incredibly important through our whole trip; the second when we walked out of the secured area at the St. Louis airport and saw our friend Maureen standing there already waiting for us and holding a strawberry banana smoothie that she’d picked up for me on the way
I have never been happier to walk into my home than I was last night when Maureen dropped us off around 11:15. We carried the girls upstairs and quickly changed them into new diapers and pajamas and tucked them into our bed; both Matt and I took showers (and brushed our teeth! with tap water! I can’t even describe how wonderful that felt); and we sat on the couch downstairs and spent a few minutes relaxing and debriefing. I enjoyed a cup of hot tea and a small snack. We finally climbed into bed around 1:00 a.m., and the night actually went better than we expected. CaiQun slept all the way through until 9:00 a.m., when we woke her. Miranda slept until around 4:00, and then I was up with her until around 6:30, and then she slept again until around 9:00 a.m., and we had to wake her, too. Both girls are napping now, and hopefully they’ll wake without too much trouble this afternoon, and we’ll be well on our way to getting onto US time!
We’ve been home for less than 24 hours and already I am feeling overwhelmed by all that our friends have done and are doing to help us as we transition into this time at home as a family of four, in addition to all the other ways they’ve already blessed us. As I mentioned, one friend picked us up at the airport and drove us home. Another had stocked our refrigerator with essentials like milk and juice. Another coordinated with our neighbor regarding several packages that arrived while we were away. Another finished up the dishes I hadn’t had time to do before we left and checked on our house while we were gone. We came home to a largely clean house because another friend came over the night before we left and actually cleaned our bathrooms and did some random other cleaning tasks that I hadn’t managed to get to yet. Another friend (or friends?) shoveled our driveway for us before we got home yesterday. Some friends are bringing over a meal for us for dinner tonight, and another friend is coordinating some meals for us for the next several weeks. Another is going to drop off some fruit and other produce in the next couple days. And I’m sure there are even more things that my jet-lagged friend is just not thinking of right now!
We ventured out this morning to go to the first part of our church’s worship gathering. We thought staying through the entire gathering would probably be too ambitious, but it would be good for us to get out to help combat jetlag, and we’d enjoy worshipping as a family and seeing our church family. I cried there, too, in awe of the God who has orchestrated this beautiful process of bringing Madeleine CaiQun into our family and has blessed us with such a wonderful transition so far, and so thankful for our church body who has surrounded us with love and support through this whole process, many of them making significant sacrifices of time and money in order to help us complete her adoption.
There is of course trauma and pain involved in adoption, and there are parts of it that are hard for everyone involved, and yet there is so much beauty, too. Just look at my little CaiQun settling right into playing in her new room this morning. She’s been making herself right at home here, and it’s so wonderful and beautiful to watch – we are home again, and she too is finally home.
We are exhausted, but we’re doing well 🙂 We’ve started unpacking (one suitcase down!) and have gotten a start on the mountains of laundry, and Matt and I have managed to stay awake until now (almost 4:00 p.m.), and while we’re so tired, we’re hanging in there. And Miranda and CaiQun have been enjoying playing and are doing really well together. It feels so right to be a family of 4 now. I’ll share more details about how we’re doing settling in and how we feel like bonding and attachment are going soon, but I think I’m too tired right now to be particularly thoughtful, so I’ll leave that for another day and for now will just say that everything is going remarkably well, better than we ever hoped it would. Tomorrow morning we’ll take CaiQun in to see our pediatrician, and we hope and pray that all will go well with that visit. We’ll keep you posted 🙂