Catching Up….

Well, our homecoming did not go EXACTLY as I had planned! Hence, the lack of blog and social media updates….

I was hoping to sit down tonight with my trusty laptop and blog but alas, I am on my cell phone blogging instead. I did not want to run the risk of waking up these six kiddos while I searched for my laptop in the black hole that is our common living space right now.

Wait a minute…it’s not really THAT bad…just feels like it to this tired momma who is longing for things to be NORMAL again.

Bear with me at the likely length of this post….if you can hang on til the end, there won’t be a special prize but you will be caught up on the Parris family and what more reward could you need?!?! 😉

Thursday morning, Bryan and the little girls picked us up from the airport. The airplane ride was ROUGH for Ellie and I and we both walked off that plane pretty sick and vowing not to get back on an aircraft anytime soon!

We headed to Cracker Barrel, because everyone NEEDS some good southern comfort food when you come home from the land of noodles and rice.

The whole time we ate, I still felt nauseous….my ears would NOT pop from the plane ride so my head was killing me. Fun times.

I managed to catch a few winks on the car ride home but rest eluded us pretty much the rest of the night. We had been home a short time when Ruby Kate started to throw up. Then came MinLan and Neely.

  

What a welcome home! GACK!!!

It was all hands on deck all night! Washing laundry, cleaning up little girls, changing messy diapers and outfits…they just kept coming.

We made it through Friday, just nursing and loving on our babies and sleeping A LOT.

On Saturday morning we woke up with no one actively sick so we went ahead with plans to celebrate our precious MinLan’s FOURTH birthday!!!! I can’t believe she is four!!! We are so grateful for her!

   
   

By Saturday evening, Ethan and I knew sickness was coming for us….

It was BAD. Like really bad. Like I was ready for Jesus to call me home. Not that I am ever super tough in the face of a stomach bug, but adding it on top of jet lag was about more than I could take.

Sunday, came and Ellie and John Preston were sick. This whole time my mom has been here caring for us and probably wishing she had stayed FAR away….

So here we are on Monday night/Tuesday early morning. We are feeling better, though I would say Roo is probably the only one back to 100%. Keep praying for our sweet Neely, especially, if she crosses your mind. She always ends up with the brunt of any illness in our house and she will just break your heart when she is sick.

We have local friends that have been bringing meals and they have been such a blessing. None of us have felt up to cooking for sure. We are doing good to keep a few dishes washed each day and occasionally get up off the couch and wash a load of laundry. 

Now on to John Preston….he has definitely not had the homecoming I envisioned either. I feel like we have been in “stomach bug survival mode” and we will just take a do over next week. Normally the cocooning phase is of the utmost importance to us. But with us being sick, you just do what you gotta’ do. My mom has helped care for and provide for John Preston and even gotten a few hugs from him. Since she lives about three hours away, I am not overly concerned with him forming a fierce attachment that derails our bonding. I’m just happy to have my mom here helping!!!!!

There hasn’t been a lot of fun activity going on here….I bet the kids have watched more mindless hours of television than I would even want to admit. But we are surviving. And today that is the name of the game. Everything else will come. 

John Preston, I can tell, already is bonding well with Ellie. He really likes her. Ethan and John Preston I think will need a little more time. Suddenly Ethan has to share a bedroom, toys and attention. The love will come but today they are cohabiting without any major injuries.

He and Roo are fast friends. I think they are going to have a special little bond.

John Preston is really intrigued by MinLan and Neely. He wants to hold them and reach out and touch them but if they touch HIM it’s like they are made of acid. He draws back and is beside himself at the contact. They are not quite sure what to think about him either. I am guessing they have wondered quite a few times when he is going home.

  

MinLan is tough and has hit John Preston a few times when he has encroached on her personal space. Trust me….you do NOT want to mess with MinLan. She will knock the fire out of you. 😳 They are getting better though. 

Neely doesn’t have a lot of interest in John Preston yet but I think the time will come, when everyone is feeling better and is able to play more.

There have been no huge moments of grief from John Preston yet. I am waiting for it. There have been some short periods where he is upset if I correct him, but not true grief. The first night he went to sleep with no issues, but each of the other nights he has cried. He stops if I go in to sit with him and I usually have to do it multiple times before he actually falls asleep. He is used to sleeping with foster siblings and Ethan is above him on a bunk bed so I’m sure it feels like he is alone in there. Tonight was better than last night, so there is progress.

He wakes up in the middle of the night every night. Even in China. He scares the heebie jeebies out of me because he does not make one sound. You just wake to the feeling of someone staring at you. That’s going to take a while to get used to. I have not started him on a nighttime oil routine yet….again, survival mode over here….but I plan to mix him up a blend for his feet and for the diffuser and see if we can work towards a solid night’s sleep without scaring the fire out of momma.

John Preston, Ellie and I are still waking up super early and sometimes able to go back to sleep. I will be so thankful when our routine gets back on the right track. 

We start back to ballet on Thursday, and because of Bryan’s work commitments, I’ll have to take everyone by myself this first time. My girls are so ready to get back to ballet but I’d be lying if I said going out in public at this stage in the game wasn’t scary. I know we are not ready yet but just this one day I have got to get it done. I am hoping to work out something with Bryan where he can make arrangements to maybe make it home a bit earlier on ballet days starting next week. It is hard to balance the desire to cocoon with John Preston while still encouraging your other children to pursue the things they love. We will figure it out…..it will just take time.

It will be a while before we are ready for church or Awana again. John Preston would happily love on and go home with anyone, if given the chance. It is going to take time for him to begin to feel the bond of child to parent. It will take us a while too. At the stage we are in right now, John Preston feels a bit like a houseguest. It is hard to explain. Being a biological mother AND an adoptive mother gives me a unique perspective, I think. Each is so very different. Each has its benefits and each its struggles. It is a learning process for me. 

God teaches me so much through adoption. When I am weak and struggle, He is there to fill in the gaps. When I doubt my own ability to give my children what they need, I can hear Him whisper that I need to give myself grace as freely as I desire to give it to them.

I am reminded constantly that I can not do this in my own strength. I just can’t. I don’t have all I need to love each of my children the way that God loves them. I never will. I just have to pour out what I do have….God makes up the difference. 

Please continue to pray for us. We have lots of settling in to do. Lots of learning again, how to be a family. Soon, we will begin homeschooling again, my work will pick back up, we will be back at all of our activities…..pray that we can ease ourselves back into the waters….pray that we don’t dive in too quickly and set things in a backwards motion.

Pray for Bryan and I, as a couple, to not get lost. Adoption is hard. It takes work. It often means you put your children and their needs first, over and over. No matter how hard you want to keep your marriage first. 

Pray for our friendships. That friends will continue to love us and lift us up…even if we don’t answer the phone or texts…even if we can’t slip away for dinner or coffee. Pray that they don’t leave us behind. Friendships change with adoption. I saw it with our adoption of MinLan. Some friends left and never came back. New friends came in. It is painful but it is reality. 

Pray for all of our children. That they show kindness to one another….that we are able to give them grace on hard days and recognize their emotions for what they are. Adoption is hard. It’s all fun and games until you close the door and stare at each other across the living room. Then it gets real. And often ugly. Pray that God moves in a supernatural way to wrap them up in one another, just like they have always been together.   

  
We Love You. No, really. You have been our village and each time we have needed you, you have been there. We can never express our gratitude sufficiently. You know who you are. You have helped us ransom two lives. Two lives that had no future in their home country. Two lives that most certainly would have never heard the name of Jesus spoken over them. And now they have that chance. Each of our children has the opportunity to reject the Lord as they walk through life…..we can not make that decision for them. But you have helped us give MinLan and John Preston the chance to have the opportunity to know Him. We are eternally grateful.
Love,

Jenifer

    

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