how are we?

...and as of Wednesday we will have been a family of seven for one month...

hello north carolina and all my adoring fans...i'm here to stay!
So how are we doing now that we are home?

Talk about your loaded totally depends on which of us you are asking and even among the seven of us, our responses may change from hour to hour.  A friend of mine asked in an email how we were last Friday and my response was, "It has been a good, frustrating, wonderful and terrible week all rolled into one.  I'm learning more and more what causes the crazy outbursts and am starting to figure out how to head them off."

One minute things are humming along so smoothly that I have to stop and remember that we hadn't met Natalie yet a month ago and the very next minute, things are...well, they are not running so smoothly.

It isn't uncommon for us to go from happy-go-lucky to not (and I'll leave it at that) in no time flat.

this was the first day the big kids went back to school, and probably the last time they held hands...lets just say there is a little competition between the youngest two...

We've even had moments when some of the older set has asked...okay, if I'm going to be honest, demanded... that we take her back.  And then not ten minutes later they are quarreling over who gets to sit next to her at dinner.  That discussion is surely one of the only times I'm almost thankful for arguments in our home.

Home.  It's so good to be back.  Our own beds, not having our schedule dictated by the next official appointment, not relying on a translator for basically everything outside our hotel room, knowing the social norms and not worrying about accidentally offending someone because we don't know them.

But as comfortable as home is, there are some aspects of being back that are hard.

Ian and I had both forgotten how exhausting it is to have a new child in the house.  It is a tiring process to establish boundaries that are necessary for safety and harmony in the home for a child not used to them.

There are nearly four years of self learned orphanage behaviors (mostly self sufficient survival skills) that need to be unlearned.  This is not a fast or easy process.  She needs time to see that we can be trusted to meet her needs and that we have her best interest at heart, even when we tell her no.

Home is familiar to six of us and not for the seventh.  While she's doing AMAZINGLY well for meeting her very first Caucasians ~ who just happened to be her family ~ one month ago, sometimes it hurts my heart for her to see her looking around or listening carefully as if she's searching for something familiar to her.

And there is something comforting about being in China with other families who are currently in the trenches. There is an unspoken agreement not to pass judgement for our new children's behaviors and our sometimes seeming lack of intervention.    There's an understanding about being thousands of miles from home in an unfamiliar culture and choosing not to fight some battles.  I miss my new friends that can overlook tantrums from both my new child or from one of the ones that she displaced in some way.

But overall, we are in a good place.  We have our share of fits, our share of frustration, and our share of tears right now.  But as I told another friend the first week we were home, "Overall though we are good. Really, really good.
A little tired. A little overwhelmed. My house looks like a bomb went off even though it was cleaned while we were gone. But there is a little girl sleeping MY house...who wasn't there a few weeks ago. And that is good."

Just as it took the peanut a little while to learn to ride his bike without training wheels, it's going to take all of us a little while to blend harmoniously as a family of seven.  But with God's grace, that day will come...and I'm excited about the journey to get there!


Jennifer Taylor said...

It is a hard process to remove the orphanage behavior and survival issues. We got Lyla at 6 1/2 and it took several months. I know all children are different, but I want you to know that you have prayer warriors on your side that have been there and are still there in many aspects! Loving the pics of your 5 kiddos!

Mama said...

God led you to it and He will see you through it = that's one of my favorite reminds me of His love and grace. He has put your family together and He will mold #7 into His likeness just like He has the others. You are all lifted in prayer often - many are standing in the gap for you.

Laurie said...

Thanks for sharing, Kristi. I know it's not the same as having families close by who understand what you're going through and give you grace, but just know that there are many of us watching from afar who are supporting you all the way- through the "messiness". :)

Traci Cline said...

Praying for you guys Daily!