May 26, 2006 - Ellie Bound...

5 months ago, a screen-saver became my daughter, a surprise-loving husband became my hero (again!), a stranger became a life-long friend, and God... well, He proved, as always, that He delights in doing "immeasurably more than I could ever ask or even imagine"!  And today...  We are headed to China to bring Ellie home!!!

It seemed almost “surreal” today, taking off from Houston. Memories of only a year and a half ago came flooding back. It has been such an emotional week and I keep finding myself on the edge of tears. I looked at Russ last night, standing in my family room in his cap and gown and it washed over me. Then, as Ryan left the house this morning for his last day of seventh grade and I kissed him goodbye for two weeks, it washed over me again. Just unloading the suitcases and checking in for our flight caused yet another wave of emotion. It seems just yesterday we boarded a plane for China to bring Kate home. I had no idea what incredible and wonderful changes that flight would bring to my life. I am now acutely aware of what changes this flight will also bring! Life almost seems to stand still in these moments and I am not sure whether the emotions I feel are incredible joy and peace or sheer panic, as they seem to change without notice. By the time we were only half way through our very long flight across the Pacific, I had my version of an “emotional meltdown”. It seemed that all I wanted to do (or could do) was cry. On board an airplane without a single empty seat, I found it the most “inconvenient” time for such a meltdown. Even when Sarah rubbed my back to express her love, I told her to not even try “being nice to me today!”- that too would make me cry! I marvel at how the emotions of an adoptive mom are so very much like that of a biological mother. It is a gift from the Lord, and though I do not like it at times, I am grateful that the adoption experience is as “deep” and profound as any biological one could be! I can not count the times that I held Kate closely and thanked God that He gave me the courage to step out and follow my heart to China a year and a half ago. I wonder what incredible things He must have in store for me again and I am overwhelmed by the emotions of it all!

Would this be considered packing "light"?
Her faithful friend-"Dog" made the journey with us!
I have asked many friends to pray for us- specifically for this long flight with Kate. She has always been such a wonderful traveler, but this long journey would press the limits for anyone and I was nervous. I am thrilled to report that, of the four travelers in our family today, Kate was the absolute best!!! She literally did not whine, cry, complain or act disagreeable the entire trip! She did not sleep as much as I had hoped, but she was an absolute angel the entire 10 hours that she was awake on the long flight to Japan. Then she happily played for 4 hours in the Tokyo airport before boarding our final flight to Beijing. She promptly fell asleep upon takeoff and I gladly held her close for the entire flight. As I looked out into the Beijing sky, I could not help but remember the night we were approaching Beijing with only a few days until we met her for the first time. What a joy to now hold this precious gift in my arms, while on that same flight to return for another daughter. I am awe-struck that the God who gives such gifts, would again bless me in such an incredible way! We will enjoy Beijing again tomorrow, but my thoughts seem to always be in Changsha where, on Monday, we will finally meet Ellie in person!

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