This is our last night in China, and I find myself feeling quite ambivalent.
I cannot wait to be home – to sleep in my own bed, to do laundry in a washing machine, to be able to drink the tap water, and to see our friends and begin to settle into what life will be like for us in these coming months. This time in China has been an adventure, and we’ve done some tourist-type activities, but at its heart, this trip has been a mission. We have been here to get CaiQun, officially adopt her, and bring her home, so that we can begin to live our lives together as a family of four. This time was not meant to last forever, and I’m excited that we’re coming to the closing chapter of our travel.
However…it has been amazing. We’ve seen a totally different part of the world. We’ve interacted with different people of different cultures. We’ve eaten different food, seen different homes, worshipped in different ways and in different places. We’ve thought different thoughts. We’ve been enriched. And, of course most importantly, we’ve added a daughter to our family.
And now we prepare to leave the people, the culture, and the country from which she came.
I wonder when she’ll feel like our house is home?
It hit me tonight that there is a great deal of energy consumed by simply living outside of one’s comfort zone. For the past two-and-a-half weeks, we’ve been in a place where we don’t speak the language, are not aware of the cultural norms, and would have an incredibly difficult time functioning without our available-at-all-hours-of-the-day-and-night guides. Today I crashed and napped for 2 hours on my mom’s bed in the “living room” of our suite while Matt and my mom and the girls played all around me. A lot of that had to do with the fact that we haven’t gotten as much sleep the last couple nights, and Miranda was up a lot during the night last night, but I also think that some of it was the wear and tear of living in another place so different from my home for an extended period of time – and not only living there but having a series of tasks to complete, each official and proper and required to be done exactly right in order to adopt our daughter and bring her home.
And I wonder…in the same way that this trip has been full of life outside of our comfort zone – and wonderful experiences, but still strange and different from our normal – for us, how much is CaiQun still experiencing the strain of life outside of her comfort zone? And how much is that sense going to increase as we travel back to the United States? When will our house feel like home to her?
In so many ways, she is coping with all of this change far better than we would. We’re seeing so much laughter and so many smiles. She’s able to communicate with us quite effectively through guestures but has also learned and has started to use several English words. She clearly understands much of what we say to her in English already. She tries new foods and takes new experiences in stride. We’re so thankful for all of that, but I’m sure she still feels the strain of it all. I pray that this next transition would go smoothly for all of us but especially for her.
And I pray that we make it home tomorrow. We’re tired and so ready to be home. Even if all goes as scheduled, we’ll have 28 hours of traveling tomorrow, which feels pretty overwhelming. Hopefully we really will make all of our flights and our girls will sleep well and feel alright and we’ll make it home cheerful and ready to start settling in!
Goodnight from China – for the last time (on this trip at least :)). We’re looking forward to seeing all of you back home soon!