As we took a walk with our girls today Tammy mentioned that we had been home from China for one week. Reflecting back on the first week with Renee and Ragan my thoughts were swirling with the many revelations and experiences we have had this week. Out of those thoughts a word came to mind – convergence.
As we walked along our adoption journey we knew to keep our eyes wide open. We were well-trained by our agency and well-coached by friends who had already (and are currently) walking this same path. We anticipated many of the details that have unfolded before us. Just like many life experiences, however, all the understanding and training in the world did not prepare us for the convergence of so many things that mix, mingle and unfold together each day. Things like …
- Parents of four – In a split second on Monday, January 28th we doubled our quiver from two to four children, the newest additions coming after twelve years of empty-nesting.
- Communication – Even though we learned some Mandarin, have a Chinese dictionary in print and in digital format, have two translation programs on our phones and a Kindle Fire, many moments of communication with Renee and Ragan are lost or fumbled due to the language barrier.
- Sleep – Snatching a few hours of sleep at night, catching a 30-minute power nap in the afternoon and nodding off while trying to talk on the phone are still the norm since traveling 12 time zones back home.
- Noise – Our girls come from a city of cacophony. They like sound, a lot of it and at elevated decibels.
- Manners – It seems that neither of our new princesses had any princess training. Their social, table and house mannerisms display the combination of a different culture and worldview coupled with a big lack of nurture and instruction.
- Loss – Considering the incredible losses Renee and Ragan have experienced in life, they are doing considerably well. There are the manifestations of a desire to return to China, uneasiness with the two new strangers in their lives, cautious attempts to please, moments of happiness interrupted by a tirade with one another over things we are mostly clueless about, impatience over a life that at this point seems unpredictable, and a wonder of how this new life is going to unfold.
- Surprises – We have learned many things about our girls while in China and since we’ve been home. Things we did not previously know about their past, their health, and their education. No doubt we will be discovering a lot more! Some surprises are pleasant, some are not so pleasant.
- Normalcy – Since we’ve been home we have not been fully active at our jobs, have only traveled by vehicle twice, have not cooked much (due to the outpouring of love from our family, church family and friends), celebrated Chinese New Year, have a big lack of physical activity and have no sense of routine at this point. Our life will have a new normal one day. We don’t know what that will look like, but ….
- Flock – We sorely miss being with God’s people. Corporate worship, word, fellowship, prayer and such are so precious and meaningful to us. We know that time will come again. We are feeding ourselves the best we can, though the meals are missing some major nutrients.
In the midst of the convergence we are reminded of the grace of God toward us, that He would entrust and empower us to care for Renee and Ragan. He does and will continue to give us the strength to start each day with the assurance of His sovereignty over the details.
No matter how we are affected by our current circumstances, Renee and Ragan are affected much more. They are the ones transferred from their homeland to all things new in the midst of living a life of loss. And at this time they are without a Savior.
We love our new daughters. We are amazed that they are ours. We may be tired, but we are humbled to wake up each day and hear Mandarin chatter emitting from the bedroom above us. We smile sleepily at each other and whisper, “Those are our girls.”