10 days home….





















She is heavenly. I have no other words.
ok, I have more words. 😉
I can’t believe we have been home with her for 10 days. Sometimes it feels like more…sometimes it feels like less.

I feel whole. Being home with her is like rest for my heart. For over a year, half of my heart was in China….it was so torturing knowing my baby was somewhere else being cared for by someone else. I was unable to touch her or hold her. Such an ache that my heart has never known before. But, now I am at peace….my whole heart is at home. That feels so good.

I am so so tired. Its been a bit of a shock to our systems. Kinda like life was when we had our first baby…or even, the shock and stretching of self that happened when you from one child to two children.
Its hard with Tahlia being only attached to me, though. I have to be the solo-caretaker. Sometimes, it feels like I am a single mommy. Unfortunately, she has made me see how selfish my heart really is. I can’t be the “old-me”. That life is gone. Whatever time I had to myself, is gone….for now. Anything I do for me, is on “borrowed time.” I have to realize that my time is not my own anymore. God has entrusted this dear special one to me, and what a gift she is!! And, this “season” is ALL ABOUT HER. She needs to feel secure, and know we are there for her. I am not my own. It is a privilege. I must remind myself. When I find myself complaining, I go back to a certain verse the Lord laid on my heart.

The verse that God has been laying on my heart has been Matt 16:24-26
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. 26 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? 2

I am to lay it down and give it up for the sake of this precious one that needs to know we will not abandon her, we are here….forever….and ever. I need to give every ounce of myself to her, she needs to see that this momma is not leaving her. Life was easy with 4 kids over 6. (sometimes)…well, lets just say, I had “free time.” I could take a shower when I wanted. I could sit and blog or organize photos online or whatever….when I wanted. Now, it’s all about her. Everyone in this house is learning to “lay it down”. We are learning selfless love and compassion. When it’s really stressful, I start to grieve the “old life” a bit. The ease of it. I also grieve being able to put a baby on a schedule…something predictable. I just want her to sleep through the night. I am not in control like I was with my bio-kiddies. I can’t easily control her mind. Oh, how I want to remove that terror from her eyes that she wakes with in the middle of the night. My desire is to take away her fear and anxiety. I am coming in to her life so much later. That makes me sad. My expectations are way too high, I know. but…it’s my selfish heart revealing itself. Its hard to see your baby fearful, I want so much for her to be at peace, with comfort and assured of our permanence. But, with adopted children…this could take a very long time. This is a marathon, not a sprint. God is teaching me gentleness and patience. God is showing me himself….that’s how He loves us, with a gentle and patient heart. I am hidden in Him, my rock and Redeemer. He is my example. He gave His life up for me, that I may have life.

The kids have been a huge help. but, we don’t want them to replace daddy’s responsibilities. We want them to be seen as siblings, not as main care-takers. So, we try and be careful with how many baby-tasks we give them, even though they are willing to take on much!
The girls love to help pick out her clothes and dress her and all the kids love to help bathe her. ANd, they are wonderful playmates and giggle-starters! However, most of the duties have fallen to momma. And, while I adore being able to finally care on, nurture, provide for and give 100% to this baby that I have waited so long for…..this momma is tired! LOL
It is sad to see daddy not able to be 100% involved yet. he is trying..and making slow progress at her pace….but he CRAVES and yearns to love all over her without restraint! So hard. (more on that later)

Let me just say that we have been the recipients of so much blessing through the hands of friends and families. It is humbling to get so loved on, especially when you REALLY REALLY need it. The way they have come around us with their words, prayers and ESPECIALLY meals and help with my chaotic house has been such a HUGE encouragement and gift to us. “Thank you” just isn’t enough….please know how much we appreciate and are grateful for your kindness and love to us.

Tahlia really is amazing. Tonight,when Ashy was crying because he had a tummy ache. I held him on the floor with her next to me and just said phases like, “awwww, poor Ashy….so sad”. She was so sweet….and compassionate. She rubbed his face, she gave him a toy and even brought a pillow to him. My eyes fill with tears as I saw my youngest daughter lovin’ on my youngest son.
Her heart is so gentle and sweet. She has a preciousness to her that melts us like butter. It’s been amazing to see her interact with her siblings. They are lovin’ on her every chance they get…poor thing! 😉
Today I even had to put two of them in time-out because they were fighting over who gets to hold and play with her! LOL (not a bad problem to have) hee-hee

The last 10 days have been an absolute blur. I’d love to tell you that we are doing all things “right” according to the adoption books! With all the holidays, gatherings, craziness…we’ve yet to get her on a schedule or routine. Bed time: what is that? But, for the last couple nights she has been doing well by going to sleep in her crib (if she is tired enough). She will wake a few hours later, then if after a few failed attempts to pat her butt and sing to her and comfort her, I’ll just bring her to bed with me. It’s easier that way. I will try and go back to laying her next to us in the pack-n-play to get back to sleep. We’ll see…each night has been different. Its hard to not be in a routine. (there I go, complaining again!) 😉
It’s so hard to not second-guess everything you do, and every choice you make as if you could be totally messing your new baby up. It’s “new-mommy” syndrome all over again! In the middle of the night I will panic that whatever choice I am making will have some ill, long term effects. Do I pat her butt to try and get her to go back to sleep in her crib??? Do I just easily pick her up and bring her to bed. Do I get a bottle? Is she hungry? But, If I feed her…do I put her back into crib or to my bed. What will be best???!!! AHHHHHHH!!!!!
So, I am praying that God will give me a peace to just figure out how to make the most of each moment, to give her what she needs without the doubts of “am I doing the right thing?” My confidence has not been anywhere near where it was with my bio-babies. That’s ok….it keeps me praying’ and relying on God to get me through….keeps me on my knees, that’s for sure. I have many a conversation and quiet times in the middle of the night while she rests on my shoulder…or while I am patting her bottom to soothe her.

Tahlia loves to play. She loves to sit with you and interact over her toys. She is a ham. She will do silly things to try and get us to laugh at her! Its so cute! She has this crazy little spirit that fits in so well with us….I love all the laughter! I love it when I see the kids get joy out of making her happy….my heart gushes! I especially love it when I see small steps of bonding with daddy…small glimmers of hope!

In fact, we had two small glimpses and breakthroughs with daddy- bonding tonight. Please keep praying that her heart would come to love daddy and trust him. She likes when he plays the guitar…she is almost enamored with it! I love that. Oh, and tonight, she let him pick her up to walk to the door to wave goodbye to papa-Buddy and Aunt Amy and cousin Sophia. That is huge….she was willingly in his arms, not struggling to get down and not sleeping. We’ve come to realize that we have to be VERY proactive about creating bonding moments with daddy. So, starting tonight we are going to have daddy be by my side, and partaking for all the bedtime routine stuff: bath, diaper, lotion massage, bottle feeding,book reading, rocking, praying, and saying goodnight. It’s our hope to gradually merge him in to be the “main one” doing these things. It will be their special time. Tonight, being the first night went well!

We want Tahlia to see that daddy is the main caregiver too, the one who she can depend on, trust and run to! We can’t wait for her to discover her daddy for all that a daddy means. It’s gonna be amazing to see her let her guard down FULLY with him, as it is with me. I yearn for that SO MUCH! Oh happy day that will be!

She is eating a little better. She did lose a little weight at her first doc appt, ( now 18 lbs) so we added in another bottle (more bonding opportunities) and we are trying a whole array of different foods. She loves her congee (thank you Amber!). She loves rice, and turkey with melted cheese and pasta with tomato sauce. She loves nana’s chicken and rice casserole!! (thanks Nana) She devours goldfish and yogurt melts! She doesn’t like fruit or baby food hardly at all…except for yogurt covered raisins, which has helped with the “other end”! LOL
She is better with her hi-chair and will willingly go into it, as long as she is in a good mood. She is picking up English words faster than we can say them! Its crazy how fast she soaks stuff up! She can now sign: “all done”, “more” and “please”. We get this biggest kick out of communicating with her this way!
She is so very observant…and rarely misses a thing. I think that is another reason she is so “cautious and sensitive”. She is just so aware of everything around her. Though, I am noticing her heart is not beating so fast…that makes me so happy. She feels less anxious when I put her down to run around on the floor. She is starting to feel more peaceful and less nervous. So thankful for these reminders that she is trusting us and feeling at “home.”

She loves to walk around outside and will hold your hand and just explore! I can’t wait till spring!
She now LOVES her baths! She knows how to pour and splash…it’s so precious to see her discover the fun of water! She never had baths in her orphanage..it was just a quick shower over her head. Not much fun, and possibly scary! I love seeing her delight in the small joys that we take for granted, and usually get dulled by the business of this life. Splashing water brings her to belly giggles…isn’t that awesome!
Seeing life through her eyes just gives you a better appreciation for all that is mundane and ordinary. Not much is ordinary to her. Most things just bring so much light to her eyes. She is so easily amused. She is teaching us a lot about ourselves, and she is teaching us to be “more in the moment” so, we can see how special life is through her inexperienced, beautiful and soulful brown eyes.

6 thoughts on “10 days home….

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  1. Your observations are so beautiful, and will be such a precious treasure for the future. It sounds like you're doing a fantastic job! The joy on her face is testimony to that, I think. 🙂

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  2. Love all of the pictures. It sounds like she is bonding with you well and is coming around to daddy. When I read about how you can't wait for her to realize all that Daddy means…it made me tear up because it is so much like us realizing JUST HOW MUCH our Heavenly Father loves us! Even when we resist Him, He is still protecting us and loving us. Tahlia is blessed with a beautiful forever family!!

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  3. I read this and can't help but feel this is exactly what I felt coming home with our china doll from Hong Kong. God will give you exactly what you need to get thru each hour or minute of the day. We had a lot of similar struggles with our little one not taking to daddy or her brothers. Thankfully she took to her sisters as well as me because that would give me a much needed break. You feel completely drained and overwhelmed yet full of inexplainable joy and love and it throws our emotions into a tizzy. Add sleep deprivation to it and you've got quite the perfect storm brewing. BUT then the God of the universe who
    called you to be tahlia's momma comes in and gives you everything you need and then some. He's just so awesome like that. Keep trusting, praying,
    leaning and looking upon Him.
    I too homeschool my kiddos and we worked very lightly those first few weeks home. Enjoy this time with your family getting acclimated and adjusting there is always school..one of the many perks to homeschooling;) I would love to
    chat with you if you ever need it. We had sleep issues and I will just say that
    my girl sleeps in her crib all night by herself. We went from co-sleeping(which
    we never did with bios) to pack n play at the bottom of our bed to her crib all
    in 6 mos. God bless you and your beautiful family! I look forward to reading your blog and seeing all that God has in store for your family! It's an amazing ride!!

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  4. Love all the pics! What a beautiful family!!Your post sound alot like went on the first 4 mnths we were home. I was the only one who could hold,comfort,tuck in,get up with at night,give baths,and during my shower I had these big beautiful brown eyes making sure I didn't disappear..haha,tough at times but like you said unfortunatly it shows how we can be selfish with what we call our time and thats when you embrace what the Lord has blessed you with…this precious child!

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