Monday, February 18, 2008

Home Update - Finally!

People keep asking me, “so when are you going to update Selah’s website?”. Well, I guess that answer would be – “now!”

We arrived home on December 1st right when the first Chicago snow was starting to fall. It turned into a blizzard that challenged Tony’s already exhausted eyes on the drive home. Every plane after ours had landed was either delayed or rerouted to another airport. Praise God for letting us land!!!!

When we saw the boys we realized more completely how much we truly missed them.

The Careys were there to greet us and gave Selah a “Welcome Home” gift with a balloon attached. The balloon was her favorite part!

My parents were there with the boys, but they came in separate cars so that we could go home immediately from the airport and try to unwind a bit. This was the most exhausting trip physically, emotionally, mentally and all while we were sleep deprived. It was quite an experience!

Once outside the terminal we realized how much Selah hates wind and snow and cold. She can’t even stand a stray puff wind in her face. The poor girl is going to be miserable for the next few months! Thank God we had a coat with a large hood she can pull down over her face (and neck and nearly down to her belly button!)

Life at home was much harder and more complicated than in China. In China she had a regular sleeping schedule and I could type while she slept. At home, she would only sleep for two hours at a time and then be up for eight. There was no schedule, no consistency, and no quantity to her sleeping. I can never completely convey my gratitude to those who took the time to bring over meals for my family those first two weeks. I was barely surviving as it was and those meals really kept my head above water!

Then came Christmas! What an experience for her!

The first gift she received was at Tony’s parent’s house and she wasn’t even sure what to do with it.
But then we exchanged gifts at home the next day and went to my parents’ house after that. By the third time around, she definitely had the hang of things and was enjoying ripping paper off of all the presents – whether they were hers or not!

On Christmas night she slept for 7 hours straight and – I’m sorry everyone – but that was the best present of all! I hate to minimize all the thoughtful gifts I received, but I hope you all understand. That was the first stretch of sleep for us that lasted more than 2 or 3 hours since we arrived home.

During our struggles for a night’s sleep, we discovered that she had no interest in sleeping in her beautifully decorated bedroom that I killed myself to get ready for her before we left (together with Jill Nichols).
(photo of her bedroom)
I guess I should have assumed that after sleeping for two years in a room full of kids she wouldn’t be interested in being in a room alone. So, we tried letting her sleep in her brothers’ room. She’s madly in love with her brothers and always wants to be with them whenever they’re home. Now their room has become the only place she will sleep.
(Photo of her sleeping with boys)
Naptime, however, is always in mom’s bed. At first she hated blankets, but once she realized how cold it is around here at night, she was happy to bundle up!

Initially, she was terrified of our dog Dixie for at least three weeks. That was horrible. I had to carry her AT ALL TIMES because she was sure if I put her down that Dixie would appear and eat her. Every day she’d tolerate a little more until one day when we came home from dropping the boys at school and she called out her named, very concerned that Dixie had not come to meet us at the door. She’s gotten very good at yelling “no” when Dixie tries to lick her...

and she will even give her gentle pat every once in awhile.

Until Christmas we noticed we had a problem - we had no “girl” toys! But she soon had no problem playing with the boys’ things!

Now life is finally settling down to normal. We have a nice daily schedule – which she really needs. She loves to be able to predict what comes next. She jumps up each morning and starts yelling at Nick to wake up (he’s on the top bunk and she can’t see him until he’s up – her yelling wakes up anyone who’s still resting). Then she runs to the potty and exits to the kitchen saying, “saw-seh? (sausage – means she wants eggs and sausage for breakfast). Every afternoon when she finishes up lunch, she jumps down from her chair and says, “nigh, nigh time?” and quickly climbs the stairs to the bedroom for her naptime. At night when she gets her pajamas on, she begins to make the rounds giving hugs and kisses and saying, “nigh, nigh. Luv oo”. She even lets me walk out of the bedroom now and do a little work while she falls asleep. I don’t have to sit with her until she’s fully asleep anymore.

I can hardly believe we’ve only been home for 2 months (less actually!) with how much she has progressed. She is a very independent girl and loves to learn and explore and works so hard to speak new words. She’ll stare at my mouth and try and try and try to repeat a word over and over until she gets it right. She’s very determined!

Thank you so much to all of you who prayed and supported us in so many ways. Please, don’t stop now! We’ll need your love and support now more than ever! We are so blessed to have so many great friends and family members. I can’t wait to share with you each step of our journey over each and every year!

God Bless you All!!
Andi (and family!)

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