Wednesday, February 25, 2015


It's been three months since we left China. Most of that time we've stayed to ourselves. There is a term used for an adjustment process when you bring adopted children home called "cocooning." Well, we were cocooning our family. I can't express how important it became to have our oldest daughter, Chelsea, there with her baby girl. And to have our son-in-law, Matt, join us later for Christmas. Maren, Jacob, Brandon, and I smiled much more often and bigger because of those three tootles.

Going out was hard. Putting on "normal" faces was hard. Friends were good and sweet to us. But we didn't attend too many things. When something like that happens, a loss, avoiding things that hurt or require effort is a survival tool. But we did venture out every once in a while. It was still hard. I didn't go anywhere by myself, and if Brandon was gone too long at work, I'd find myself curled in a ball on the bed, clutching my cell phone and waiting for him to return my texts.

Brandon went back to work, even though his boss said stay home. Work is his thing. So I let him work. He always came home and always held me tight.

Carly is the goofiest, talkiest, jamminest grandbaby there ever was. I may be biased. But it was super. I'd put her on the counter while I did my makeup in the morning and she would tell me everything. And then I'd have her on my hip while I stirred or sauteed or flipped in the kitchen, and she'd watch and listen to me tell her why we add blueberries to pancakes. And she began to stir the toy pot with the toy spoon in the toy kitchen and tell us why we add green peas to mac-n-cheese. And then there was the dancing. We boogied. We danced like everyone was watching.

None of Carly's words are English. She doesn't seem to care. She shrugs, throws her hands out, nods her head, gestures with pointing motions, and laughs heartily at the jokes. All in gibberish. Loud, confident gibberish. It was very healing for all of us.

When they left after New Year's we kind of had to start all over again. It was sad.

But we've come through deep sadness, bewilderment, anger, and doubt. We've considered a bigger picture, and gratitude, and "What now?" We are each healing at our own pace, and yet as a whole our home feels good. It no longer feels broken.

I hope Xinqin will find her way in life. She is very strong-willed, and frightened, but shrewd. I think she might be okay. I have to believe something like that or it starts to eat at me.

Maren is having the most difficult time of all of us. She lost a sister. It was like this whole big, huge, important life that she'd hoped and worked for...died. She blamed herself until I convinced her otherwise. Her usual happy, chipper, "Where's the party?" self had given way to cynicism and doubt. She gave me permission to post this. Last night she tearfully told me her friends tell her she's such a downer, and they no longer greet her in the halls or reach out to her. I had to tell her that they don't know. They just don't know how hard it's been at home. We never know how hard it is for anyone at home. But it was also a chance for her to look at the things she says and does, and to vow to make an effort to look up, to cheer others, and to come to me about anything. But mostly that it's okay that she's sad for a time, and it will get better. I think she trusts me about this.

We are beginning to go do things, and participate more. We're looking outside ourselves and hoping again. There is a different energy in our home.

Throughout all of this, though, we've been so blessed with immeasurable support from friends and family. I've received such kind emails, notes in the mail and dropped at our house. I treasure these. Somebody made a prayer page for us on Facebook, and honestly, at first I was mortified. But then I saw all of the people who joined so quickly. The outpouring of love and compassion has strengthened us and taught us that when people give, they do give unconditionally. Thank you.

We've drawn closer together as a family. We are changed. But I think things that become different can also become better.


Ditto Family said...

Yep, you are loved!

Jenny Moore said...

I love the crap out of you, my wonderful friend.

Kimberly VanderHorst said...

I wish I could hug you right now (you'll be at Storymakers, right?). Thank you for sharing this beautiful, soul-deep post. I think when we share our hard things, it gives others permission to accept and share theirs too. So glad you're all finding healing and your new normal. <3

Leah Berry said...

No matter how far apart we are, I think of you often and love you always.

Julie said...

I know you know I love you, but wanted to say it again in case you forgot or something. I'm glad you're healing. You have a marvelous family filled with so much love. And your grandbaby is as cute as can be. And you're right. Outsiders can't know what goes on inside our homes and hearts. That is why it is extra important to be kind to people, because we just don't know.

Tracie Carter said...

I am so glad you posted this. I thought and prayed for your family's healing. I'm so glad Carly came to work her magic :) Bless you all.