Our Pit Crew + Welcome Home Video
In the race of life our family has the best pit crew. I cannot even begin to imagine the journey God has taken us on without our support team. I love this picture that was taken the morning Kevin and I left for China. There are three incredible women in this photograph who inspire me daily. All the way on the left is my dear friend Leah (and the 2 extra kids in the picture belong to her). She called me this winter to let me know they wanted to help. She would come and stay with my children while we were in China. She would make it work anytime we needed her. Her next statement showered me with love, "You know we would love to be there when Elie gets off the plane, but this is not about us. It is about what you guys need." Wow. She has been this type of friend to me since the day we met 16 years ago. It was my first night at college and true to my personality, after leaping I was wondering why I had jumped in the first place. I was a puddle of tears when she found me and helped me to find a smile that then turned into a night of hilarious laughter. We were cemented for life. Being her presence always brings peace to my heart. And that is because she overflows Jesus in every word and every action. I have never met anyone else like her. She was the perfect one to be here the days before we left and to stay and take care of my children while I was gone.
The next woman, to the right of Leah, is my mother. She gives and gives and then gives some more. Once Leah left to go back home she passed the baton to my mother who loved on my kids until we returned home and then helped us to transition back the first few days. She gave me the foundation of who I am. She taught me about Jesus. She modeled what it meant to live for Christ. She lived out loving others while I watched on and soaked it in. She encouraged me to chase after my dreams. She has welcomed our girls with arms wide open, always treating them the same as the other biological grandchildren. Even after spending so much time with my kids, there were tears in her eyes as she left to go back home. She taught me how to be a mama.
Last but definitely not least is the amazing woman all the way on the right, Karen. Twelve years ago I sat behind her at church and whispered to Kevin, "I think that girl could be my best friend." Little did I know then the road that God would have us walk together. She has been there every step of the way to encourage and support me. She has played an important role in each of our adoptions with countless cards, emails, phone calls, and texts, and always, always being a listening ear. We have pounded out hundreds of miles together sharing our life and praying for one another. We have celebrated the highs and cried through the lows. She has taught me so much about myself and refined me in so many ways. She has helped me to discover who God made me to be.
Our time in China was in one word, "hard". We were able to see and experience so many beautiful things and meet some amazing people. But overall it was just hard in ways that we are still trying to process through. I started to long for home, for my kids and for the huge support network waiting for us. God allowed me to hold it together until we walked through the final step of immigration. I felt it beginning to build as we landed on U.S. soil. Walking through customs and then immigration my soul began to well up with emotion. (This is a Elie's first picture as an American). We were home, we made it. Now I just wanted to get to my family.
As we walked through those doors our ears were flooded with the sounds of cheering and our eyes saw all our family standing there full of love for us. It was so incredible. Then the dam broke and the tears came. Safe to cry with those who understood and had helped to carry the burden for so long.
My sweet friend, Rachel, made an incredible video documenting our arrival back home. I had no idea she was going to put all of this together. Another amazing gift to our family. We are so very blessed to be loved by so many incredible people!!