Thursday, March 7, 2013

Tuesday, March 5th: the day that never ends... and Wednesday, March 6th: homecoming!

Tuesday lasted 36 hours.  Really, it did!  Because of the time change in travel, it seemed like Tuesday would never end!  We were so glad when it became Wednesday.
We slept in a little, ate breakfast downstairs, and started packing Tuesday morning.  Anna Faith slept so well the night before, but as soon as she saw the suitcases come out, she lost it.  She knew we were traveling again, and to a toddler who has yet to know what stability and home is, she lost it.  Kris and I said to each other "She probably thinks that her home is a hotel room and it keeps changing!".  We got packed just in time to meet our group downstairs for one final shopping trip.  We went to a touristy part of the city, Shamain island, to get some last minute gifts.  Kris got to share his faith with some more shop keepers, one of which was really interested in knowing more about Jesus.  We left her with a tract.    What a joy to be able to share with so many while adopting our daughter!  Anna Faith fought sleep while we shopped but eventually caught a nap in the stroller.  When we got back to the hotel, a bell hop was already waiting by our door to take out our luggage.  We had set up a 4:00 pick up time, and he was there at 3:55!  So we hurriedly packed our shopping purchases and got everything collected to travel.  We checked out, and as promised, our guide arrived with Anna Faith's visa to go to the USA!  We loaded up, said goodbye (and unfortunately we couldn't say bye to most of our group for lack of time), and headed off to the airport.  To our amazement, we once again were given bulk head seating, this time with an extra seat next to us (the entire plane was almost filled up).  God is so good!  We had two other families traveling with us who had adopted, one with our group and another one we saw at the US consulate on Monday.  I got to talking with them and discovered they are the next door neighbors to my dad's cousin, in Holland Michigan where I was born!  What a small world once again! Our flight went much better than expected.  I have never slept so much on a trans-pacific flight before.  Anna Faith slept about 7 of the 12 hours, and I slept about 5 or 6, which is really good considering the uncomfortable seats.  Kris slept less so he could get over jet lag quicker.  When we got to LA she was processed at immigration as a "new immigrant".  It only took about 10 minutes, and she was good to go as a new United States Citizen!  We had a 5 hour layover in the airport, got some pizza, talked to our moms, and Anna Faith caught a good nap.  Then it was time to board our last flight, lasting 4 hours, to Nashville.  She didn't sleep well this time.  When she woke up near the end of the flight, I could tell something was wrong.  She didn't want to be held by me but lay really still holding on to Kris and refused her bottle.  We had quite a bit of turbulence trying to land.  Then just before landing, she threw up on Kris.  Fortunately we had extra clothes and quickly changed her.  Then after we landed, she threw up on me too!  I had one more outfit for her, so changed her again.  I had to change in the restroom at the baggage claim, but we all still smelt of vomit.  Uggg.  Poor girl, she must get motion sick easily!
We got our car out of parking and headed home at 5:30 a.m., stopping at Chicfila on the way for breakfast.  What a welcome sight!
It was finally Wednesday!  Anna Faith had to ride in a car seat for the first time, and hated it.  She didn't sleep much on the ride home, but cried a lot.  When we pulled up to the house, Kris went in first to love on the boys, then turned on the video camera.  I came in with Anna Faith, but saw Kris' mom in the garage first.  She smiled at her, but then noticed Bear, our St. Bernard.  She giggled and got really excited!  I'm so glad she loves dogs!  After we went in, she saw the boys with big smiles and each one approached her to great her.  She smiled so big.  I think she was glad to be around little people and saw how much they loved her and immediately responded.  Skyping with them several times probably helped too, because she recognized their faces and voices.  She immediately took to Nathanael, because he is closest to her size and has darker hair we figured.  She followed him around and he spoke sweetly to her and put his arm around her.  Then they all wanted to pick her up.  Everyone succeeded but Nathanael.  She actually liked it!  The day went so well.  They played together while we unpacked.  I didn't realize how big my boys are until Anna Faith joined them.  It is like this every time we add a baby: the older siblings look so grown up.  This time it was no different.  Nathanael seems like a boy, not my baby anymore.  He acted so mature and grown up around her it was shocking to me.
Before lunch Kris' grandmother came over from next door to meet her.  She smiled big and let her hold her briefly before going back to me.  Kris' mom got to hold her for a moment at this point too.  She is timid when she first meets people but after a few minutes will let them hold her for a second before going back to me, if they are smiling and talk sweetly to her.  If someone doesn't smile at her or speaks in a louder tone of voice around her, she is scared of them.  We came home to no water since the electric company was working on the power on the farm.  So no clean up, no showers after almost 2 days.  We had to wait until almost dinner time.  Little Lady got a great nap after lunch without a fight, but it was so hard to wake her up because of jet lag.  She got grumpy, especially since the boys were about to leave with Kris for church.  Kris' brother and his family came over from next door for a minute to drop off their son Kinzie to come to church with our boys for a special event with Josiah's RA class (racing wooden cars they had made) and got to see her.  After everyone left, she got sad.  She went to the back door after a while and cried.  I think she really missed Kris and the boys!  I tried to keep her happy and held her a lot while unpacking, but it didn't cheer her up.  When they came back, she was smiling from ear to ear again and followed them everywhere.  This showed me she has really bonded to her brothers in such a short time!  What a blessing!
We had a bedtime ritual and got everyone a bath (she really wanted to take a bath with Nathanael), and she went right to sleep.  Unfortunately, jet lag kicked in and she woke up a lot between 2 and 4 a.m.  We figured it would happen and are prepared for some restless nights.  After Benadryl and laying next to her in her room, she went back to sleep again.
Eating breakfast at the hotel.  She has learned how to pick up her own food now, which saves us lots of time at meals!

Loving cereal, just like Mommy!
First photo taken as a U.S. citizen!

Miko and Grace, our two guides in Guangzhou

Playing with Hannah Grace Collins, who was with our group and flew out with us
Big Brother Josiah!  He got his birthday wish!

Big Brother Micah!
Overall, our first day home was wonderful!  The boys love her, she likes her Dixon Grandparents and Great-Grandmother Dixon, and she is getting used to a huge space (compared to the tiny room in the orphanage) to play and interact with us.  We are so blessed!


  1. The best story I have read in awhile! It is great to read & enjoy God's goodness.

  2. Welcome home!! We have been following your trip via facebook, your blog and your very proud family. Wish I could have seen Mrs Susie meeting her!! We became a family in Shangrao on Father's day 2005. We live in Fulton and go yo church with hour family in Clinton. Hope there be a chance to meet our new Chinese sister! Ashley can get you my number if I can be any help to you. Those first few weeks can be something! Leanna Wilkerson