How are you?

Everyone wants to know how we are doing.  The answer is something like this:  happy, tired, frustrated, scared, confused - and maybe each one of us is one of those things all at the same time.  I cannot even begin to put into words how happy I was to land at Dulles.  Three weeks in China was hard.  I have more to say on that later, but we were more than ready to just be home.  God helped me to keep my emotions together while we were away. A huge answer to pray. But once we crossed through immigration the tears started to fall and then when I saw my other 3 kids the flood opened up.  I missed them so much!  Holding my babies again was the best feeling!  It was incredible to walk into the airport to a huge crowd of our cheering family.  We were the only ones from our agency traveling to China, so many of the days were very lonely.  It is just so great to be back with those who love us and have prayed us through this journey.

Eliana is really doing so well.  Sleeping times in China were a nightmare, but have gone so much better since being home.  Praying this continues.  She loves being in a room with Faith.  Our biggest problem is that they talk to each other instead of going to sleep.  Communication continues to be an obstacle. We can tell she can understand much more than she can speak, like learning any new language.  We do lots of signing and acting out and somehow we are making it work most of the time.  It breaks my heart when she is trying so hard to tell me something and I just can't figure out what she is trying to say.  I long for the day when I can have a conversation with my daughter.  Faith tries to repeat everything Elie says in Mandarin.  Faith also gets frustrated when she cannot understand what her sister is trying to say.    So we are all learning our own way to communicate with each other through some tears.  We have our first doctor's appointment this afternoon.  Thankfully my mother is here to watch the other 3, so Kevin and I can go together and just focus on Elie.  We continue to pray for God's complete healing in her body.

Kody and Tyler are a huge help and very kind and compassionate towards their new sister.  I love this picture of Tyler helping Elie walk in the stream.  Her footing was unsteady on the rocks but she really wanted to join her siblings in the water, so he helped her out so she could participate.  She also seems to really love him and calls for Tyler much of the day.  Faith's emotions have been all over the place.  She is having a hard time sharing her life with a new sister and is jealous of the attention.  We all have some adjusting to do to our new family.  I know it will all take time, but it is still difficult in the day to day moments.

Kevin and I are trying to get back on this time zone and figure out life with 4 kids.  Wow, 4 kids - we often just look at each other and say, "we have 4 kids".  I don't think we really believe it yet.  We love watching the four of them play together, and it definitely seems like she was meant to be a part of our family.  After just looking at a photograph for so long it is crazy to have the real live version sitting at our dinner table.   I love my new daughter even though sometimes it is more of a choose to love.  The bonding has been harder this time around.  There are moments when I feel more like I am babysitting then the fact that she is actually my daughter.  I know this will grow in time and long for when that day will come.  We have five years to catch up on and are just at the beginning of getting to know one another.  It think it will help when we both have more words to communicate.  Having watched so many other families walk through adopting older children, I know this is all normal but it doesn't make it easy.

I don't think that thank you is the right words to say to all of you who have showered us with love the past few months.  Even if we cannot return your email, text or phone call please know that they are so appreciated.  The meals you have provided have been such a blessing as we adjust to our new life.  Thank you for being a part of our family and showing God's love to us in tangible ways.  I pray that we can be the same kind of friend for you as well.

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