Sunday, July 14, 2013

Where we are 1 month later...

It has been four weeks today. Four weeks ago when we walked into that hotel lobby in Nanchang, China and saw our little girl for the very first time. I remember how hard my heart was beating and how I gasped as I saw her littleness sitting on that very big couch. How precious she looked and how surreal it was after loving her through a series of pictures for 8 months. And now to be sitting here in my living room in NC while she sleeps in my house just feet away from me.
The biggest feeling I have about the whole thing is THANKFULNESS. I am so thankful. It hasn't been an easy 4 weeks. We've already had our share of ups and downs and there are so many more to come but at the end of it all its so worth it.

So, what can I tell you about life with a toddler after 12+ years out of it? Well, I wish I could take a toddler 101 class. I feel like I need several mom's who are at this stage with me on speed dial. I thought I would have more patience now that I am an "older" mom. Not so much. When she has a temper tantrum, I want to have one too. I am still being way too hard on myself and I need to chill out. I've told B this and several friends: at least when you have a baby you ease into this stage, we have been thrown into it. Not cool and not easy. She is feisty, strong willed and stubborn. Problem is, so am I. And I HAVE to win b/c a) I am a control freak and b) I am a control freak. So the battle of the wills has commenced. Lucky for me I've got some serious experience in this area. Baby 2, who is now 16 was like this. And guess who won. Yup, you got that straight and I've got the battle scars to prove it.
But in all seriousness life really is grand.
However, I need to slow my pace b/c I want everything yesterday for some reason. I am still not sure why I thought life was going to resume to normal once home from China but I did. I'm not all "there" sometimes. So now begins the road to "the new normal" and figuring out what that looks like. Like, how do I clean my house or cook dinner. Oh gosh, I am wigging out about that last one. Thankfully, we have THE Best church family in town and I haven't had to worry about that for the last two weeks we have been home but all that wonderfulness ends this Friday. "I won't have a melt down, I won't have a melt down" This chant will work, I promise.
Again, I need to give myself an ounce of grace and take it one day at a time. Life will slip into a routine, I just want everything to have a microwave setting of add 30 secs. That isn't going to happen and I know if I try and make that happen I will make everyone miserable. So not worth it.

On the whole baby girl is doing amazing. We got to go on our first shopping trip since she is so much smaller than any of the clothes we bought. Nai Nai (my good friend Sandy) went too and she had the most fun. She is the queen of fashion and the reason I look decent at weddings or fun events. She knows how to dress it up. All JG's bottoms are size 12months and her tops are 18months. Tiny, considering she will be 2 in September but I love it.
She is an amazing eater and will try anything at least once and doesn't appear to have a picky bone in her body where food is concerned. Of course in some ways that is bad b/c she would just eat and eat if I let her.
She LOVES her brothers and they love her. It absolutely warms my heart to see her with them. I am sure they will be fierce protectors of her when she is older.
We have an awesome night time routine in place and I am so thankful that she sleeps through the night and has one great nap a day.
I am looking forward to introducing her to more kids her age and getting her in the habit of playing well with others.
She's not talking besides mama, dada, baba, and she says these to anyone in passing. I'm pretty sure she was on her way to beginning to speak Chinese when we scooped her up so now her brain is in limbo and probably pretty confused as she works to shut off the Chinese and pick up the English. I know this b/c she understands us VERY well. When I say its bath time she runs to the bathroom. When we say its time to clean up her toys she starts picking up her toys. This is very encouraging to me. However, I know she also understand Chinese b/c a lady at church today spoke to her and she looked up at her with the most inquisitive little face. We've been asked if we will try and keep that. There is no way. First of all we don't speak it so how would we keep it going at home and secondly, I have no interest in doing that. We will, however, teach her about her culture and bring her up knowing exactly where she is from and all that means.

We already had our first social worker visit this past Monday, those Chinese are on it when it comes to keeping tabs. They will be riding our tail for 5 years. UGH! 
Anyway, she said that although it seems she is adjusting really well and certainly adorable she is most likely in "survival mode" and probably hasn't shown us who she really is yet. I don't know what this is code for and or what this really is or looks like. All I see is an almost 2 year old acting like any other almost 2 year old. It is clear she has no idea what a family unit is and I have no doubt she has a lot of issues with security. B and I plan on doing anything and everything we can to love those issues away but other than that, I don't think adoption is a science. And I know the homestudy people mean well but all those adoption classes did for us was put the fear of God in us giving us every single worst case scenario and advising us to read 5,000 books of which I read none. I guess I am not the greatest rule follower after all. 
See, the truth is all I know to do is love this girl with every ounce I have to give and ask God to lead me thru the rest of it. I don't need anyone sitting there judging me or making me feel anymore guilt than I already try and heap on myself. Oh, and for the record...we LOVE our social worker. She is totally amazing and wonderful and we look forward to seeing her. 

I think I've covered most of what was in my heart to share. I do just want to say one more time how thankful I am. Thankful God led us on this journey. Thankful to my oldest three kids for being open to this and for being amazing throughout. Thankful for an amazing hubby who loves and listens to the Holy Spirit and who was an excellent paper chaser. Thankful for fam and friends who loved us through this. Supported us and prayed for us. Encouraged us when we felt like there was no hope. Just thankful. My heart is overflowing for love for a God who adopted us when we were scum and deserved death. That He would give us Grace and Mercy and a second chance. How can I not serve Him? And even though the very thought of another adoption sends shivers down my spine at the very idea (and not the good kind either) I will have my hand and heart open to Him b/c He sees the end from the beginning and His ways are higher than mine. And also b/c just today we had two people at church come to us and tell us that their faith was re-ignited b/c of Jenna Grace's story. I mean WOW! How incredible. My only prayer has ever been that God would get the glory and He is. Just WOW!!!! I would encourage you to please submit to God, open up your hand and your heart. Go to him on His terms and live your life His way and not your own and I promise you amazing things will happen.