I'll start by saying that I'm gonna be completely honest in these posts - not that I usually lie, ha! But I just don't want to candy-coat things. I hope it doesn't offend anyone, but I just feel like it's important to tell you exactly how I've felt throughout this first week home. I don't see how it does anyone any good if I say, "Oh, this has been a breeze." So, here it is in all it's glory.
Brian, Gatlin, Bennet, Kaleb and Kali flew in on Saturday, the 19th, at 2:45. My Mom, her husband, Jim, my sister, Debbi, and her daughter, Makenzi, had come into town from Oklahoma to welcome them home. It was so wonderful having family here! We got passes from United to go to the gate so that we could spend the first few minutes with them alone. The kids were so sweet when they came off the plane. Lots of hugs were given out and it was a wonderful time.
After those initial hellos and hugs, we headed out to the greeting area and about 50 friends were at the airport to welcome them home. It was such a sweet time for the kids as they saw these awesome new friends holding up, "Welcome Home" signs for them. There were balloons, too, which were a big hit. One little guy in the group was my friend, Gina's, son, Mamo, who was in the same orphanage with them. It was precious when Bennet went running to him and gave him a great big hug. Sweet stuff!!
After the airport we headed home. The kids were so excited to see their new house - especially their bedrooms. They were actually pretty quiet on the way home and I was a little surprised by that. I guess I kinda thought they'd be more chatty about all the new things they were seeing, I mean, it is quite different here than it is in Ethiopia. But, they just really didn't seem to be taken in by it at all, they just chilled in the car.
When we walked into the house they immediately wanted to know where their rooms were. Bennet was especially excited to see hers and when she did see it, she fell to the floor in excitement. She was so happy and very giddy about the new room that she loved. Kaleb and Kali loved their room, too, and I was very glad that they were happy with what we had chosen for them. Whew!
Meeting the dogs for the first time was so funny. I had the three of them sit on the couch and then let the dogs back in (we put them out while the kids first looked around). The dogs immediately ran to the kids and all three of the kids were squealing (ok, screaming - ha!). They'd kick their feet up in the air and just squeal. Kali almost started crying, but then she'd just squeal and hide her head, and then quickly turn right back around to the dogs. So funny. The dogs aren't allowed on the couch so this process actually worked out very well. Within a few minutes the kids had calmed down and were petting the dogs (Solomon and Simon are both small Japanese Chins - they bark when strangers come over, but are super friendly). The dogs haven't been a problem at all and, thankfully, all three kids really love them. YAY!!
We hung out at the house for a little bit and then everyone was hungry. We had decided to get pizza and Gatlin was really craving Nick's pizza, and since she had just spent a week in Ethiopia (and sick three of those days) we decided to go with what she wanted. We got in the car and headed to Nicks, but very quickly the kids fell asleep. So, there we were, waking up sleeping kids to go into the pizza place to eat. That was the first bad idea we had. LOL The first moment of, "Oh, this might be really hard" happened at Nick's when the kids were very vocal about what they would and wouldn't eat and a bit impatient waiting for their food. Realizing they were VERY tired, we did the best we could to keep everyone happy. Kaleb slept the whole time and never ate. We headed home.
We put everyone to bed as soon as we walked in the door...I think it was around 8:00. When I got into bed my stomach was a nervous wreck. I was tired, too, because I'd been staying up late getting things ready here and then Brian would call early in the mornings to talk from Ethiopia. I wasn't getting as much sleep as normal so I chalked the knotted stomach up to that. Brian slept hard and actually got up at 6:00am to be in the worship band (craziness!). The kids got up a little after Brian - oh my GOSH. I was hoping they'd be a little more exhausted than that. LOL I hadn't slept well at all. It was like when you have a newborn and you are on uber alert listening for every little thing. That's how I was. I heard every little turn in their beds. I was SO tired when it was time to get up.
Gatlin also got up early cause her clock was off - so she changed her mind about staying home and just going to the 11:00 service, and got ready and had our neighbor pick her up so she could go to her 9:15 youth group. She left me. ha!! Thankfully, Cooper stayed home to help me. I fed everyone oatmeal for breakfast and then started getting ready for church. Nothing too exciting - the only hard part was that shoes didn't fit great so we were scrounging a bit to find shoes that would work with outfits. We headed to church around 10:40. Church was great and the kids were so well-behaved during the service. We were introduced and I walked the kids up front so that our church family could see the kiddos they've been praying for. I was very proud of them and how well they did. They loved seeing their daddy on the stage singing and playing the accordion.
During the service, our pastor showed a picture of a 4-year-old little boy who had died in Africa that week and it reinforced in me that we made the right decision adopting our children. I hate to think of what would have happened to them if they were left there. A child can only be in the orphanage for so long.
After church we headed to lunch. This is when overwhelmed began for me.
To be continued....