I feel silly for posting the last post because I myself was acting like a junior high kid worrying about what other people think and what ignorant people say. Please forgive me for my lack of censorship in how I was feeling, it was a moment of deep hurt, exhaustion, and sensitivity.
We are so blessed by the extreme outpouring of love and support. It is overwhelming, encouraging, and it is what is getting us through this difficult time. Thank you to everyone who has called, come by, fixed food, met us at the airport, prayed for us, watched over our big girls, and sent messages of sincerity to us. Again, we are so blessed.
Our trip home was emotional. Leaving the hotel, driving to the train station, and saying good-bye to Jane was hard. Probably the most difficult part was going through Changzhou City on the train. That is the city where Ethan is. We were traveling 180 miles an hour, so it was hard to see things too clearly. I did see the words "China Post" on a building, which could be the post office where Ethan was found abandoned on December 30, 2010. Tim saw a hospital that could be where he is right now. We were so close, but so far away. It sounds stupid, but it is true. The train took us to Shanghai, where a driver picked us up and took us to the airport, which was about an hour and a half away. Each leg of the journey was sad. Even knowing that we were going to be back to our own comfy beds, normal food, clean water, and loving people, it was so sad to leave without our little boy. We ate lunch at Burger King at the airport and waited for our flight. Ryleigh and Reagan were in pretty good spirits, which help us to not dwell on the hurt and disappointment. By the time we got on the plane to Chicago, we were all so tired and each of us slept most of the way to America. There was a family with an adopted daughter on there and I couldn't make myself talk to them. She was adorable and they were such a cute little family, I wish I would have had my emotions under control enough to talk to them.
By the time we went through customs and security and went to the bathroom in Chicago, it was time to fly to Springfield. Waiting for us at the airport were some of the most special people in the world to us. I know it was hard to see us and be there, but I appreciate the love and support so much. The hugs we got felt so good. It was an amazing show of care and concern.
It was great to see Isabella and Becca and to hear the girls are talking and laughing and sharing the last week's events with us made life seem somewhat normal again. Our friend, Lance, drove us home, as we weren't in any condition to drive. It was nice to talk to him about everything and to know how much he and others care and want to help. We got home to a ton of delicious food and cards and a perfectly clean house. I did have a few tears looking at all of Ethan's pictures on the fridge, but for the most part, we pushed through and enjoyed being back home.
This morning GWCA called with no news. I wish I felt more confident that they were doing everything they could to find out how Ethan is. It seems like making some phone calls would be so much better than emailing. I feel like now that we are home, it's going to be more difficult to get any information and help. I don't think our family is being advocated for and I am disappointed that they don't seem at all concerned about what has happened. Tim very nicely let them know that there are hundreds of people waiting to hear the outcome of how they are going to handle this situation, especially refunding our money and it is a time for GWCA to be the hero or the jerk (my words, not Tim's... he said it much better!). A lot of people have negative things to say about GWCA and this would be a time to do the right thing to earn back some of the respect that they used to have in the adoption community. But maybe they don't even care about that.
So, we sit and we wait. We are boldly praying for the best case scenario... Ethan will get better and we will get regular updates that give us the truth about his health. We want to adopt him and we will continue to have hope that God is going to heal him and the orphanage director will give his permission for him to be adopted. Second, we pray that our referral for Reese will come soon and that we can adopt her at the same time. This will give us the chance to complete our family in one more trip to China.
I believe that God is faithful and I have laid all of this at His feet. I don't want to be filled with worry, anxiety, doubt, and fear. I want to be confident that my Heavenly Father is working out His plan and His plan is perfect. Mine is not. I am thankful that I have my faith to lean on. When we got in the car last night and turned on The Wind, the first words I heard were from the song Mighty to Save, "Savior, he can move the mountains". So comforting and so true. There is a mountain in the way of Ethan's adoption and even Reese's, too, and my God can move that mountain. He is writing our family's story and He will use us in a big way if we let him.
I want to continue to advocate for orphans, now more than ever. I want to be a voice for speeding up the adoption process and for helping families with fundraising. I want to be able to say from experience that adoption is not easy, but when God calls you to it, He will work out the details. I don't want this bump in our journey to be discouraging to others. I want to be an encouragement that even in the darkness, God is light. He is right there and when you perservere, there are blessings waiting. Yes, it stinks right now and I feel sad and hurt, but as my favorite singer Steven Curtis Chapman says "out of these ashes, beauty will rise". There have already been good things happen out of this situation. I will do my best to focus on the good. But I still need your help because this is easier said than done. It was hard to get up today and face unpacking. Opening Ethan's door and going in his room was not easy. Unpacking all the things we so excitedly packed less than 2 weeks ago was depressing. But I did it and I survived. I feel like God is wiping every tear away and giving me reasons to not just lay down and pout. I got all the suitcases emptied and got the laundry done. I sorted the mail. One step at a time, I made it through the day. We were blessed to have dinner brought to us by a dear friend and I was able to share openly with her about how I feel, so awesome to have friends who understand adoption and the whole process. It's comforting to have a pastor who goes out of his way to love on us when we need it the most. All of the people who have asked their friends to pray and shared what has happened are too many to count and say thanks.
I am dreading going out into the real world and facing people. Going back to work will be hard. But I know it's what I need to do. I miss Bright Beginnings and my wonderful co-workers and I am excited to meet all of our new kids, but it will be hard to go back knowing I don't have my little tag-along Ethan with me. Being around all the kids his age will be sad. But I have to do it.
Please keep praying for us. A miracle will heal our baby boy and get him home where he belongs and a miracle will expedite Reese's adoption and will bring her home, too. I believe in miracles. My friends got amazing news today about their adoption and it was a reminder that God is so good. I hope I can share it soon, but I think her news should be announced by her at the right time. The adoption world is too fantastic to ever dwell on the negative for too long. Thank you, Jesus!