Jan 29, 2011

Update: An Unimaginative Title for an Unimaginative Post

Time flies.  Cora is almost 4 weeks old, and we're only 2 weeks from departure.  So much has happened these last few weeks... I'm sort of on autopilot.  Our excitement in going home is offset in our sadness over leaving... and we're left feeling a little numb.  Our anticipation about something new is offset by our fear of the unknown... and we're left feeling a little numb.  In spite of the numbness, I sense God giving grace/peace for each and every day.

Motherhood.  Wow.  It's overwhelming to me, in good ways and bad.  Cora's precious and beautiful, and I'm growing to love her deeply.  (I don't think I was one of those moms who bonded the minute I laid eyes on her... But, I know it is growing and those feelings are "overwhelming" in their own way.)  Some days I feel like I have it under control.  And then there are mornings like today, which find me dissolved in tears sitting on my bed staring at a baby I can't get to stop crying.  Jacob came down with a cold, and in an effort to keep Cora and me healthy, he's keeping a bit of distance.  I know it is for the best, but this morning it left me feeling very alone.  That's the other kind of "overwhelming" I feel... an "I can't do this, let's go back to the way it was before, what were we thinking" feelings.  This too shall pass, I know...

One of my fears was that having a baby would so alter Jacob's and my relationship that I wouldn't recognize it.  That hasn't happened, really.  It has been a big change, and we know that right now is the hardest part as we adjust and figure out a new normal (especially in the midst of all the other big changes), but I think now we have something bigger than ourselves to focus on.  We've been patient with each other and worked together as a team.  I know we can do this... and when I see him looking at her like this, my heart melts a little.


We've had to start saying goodbyes... Though we don't leave until Feb. 11, most everyone else has already left.  (At least our Chinese friends.)  They are all going to their hometowns for Chinese New Year.  And so the goodbyes began.  Most of them haven't been quite as hard as I imagine, mostly because I feel very deep down that I am not saying goodbye forever.  We will be back.  Maybe not to live, but certainly to see the people we love.  It's funny, we came for the children, we stayed for many other reasons, and as we leave, what we are most going to miss most are our friends.  Friends who have loved and cared for us in amazing ways... who have taught us the true meaning of "community" and showed us that independence isn't always the best way.

Meeting Alison, our oldest China friend.  (Not in age, but in length of time known...) :)

Alison's kids and their friend peek at Cora in her bag.

Cora meeting Nancy, who came to visit from Inner Mongolia.  Nancy was our Chinese teacher when we first arrived.

We got to have a girl's night before we left... some of my closest China friends.  Grace (foster home Chinese director), Debbie, Ganlu (foster home web designer), me, and the other Grace (foster home medical manager)

Yesterday they had a goodbye party for us at the foster home.  Everyone went around and shared memories, thoughts, and words of encouragement with us.  They had a powerpoint with pictures and video from our last three years in China, and then had a time of prayer and a meal.  It was precious.  The things people shared helped me see that we were able to make some kind of impact -- we'll never really know how big/small, and that's ok -- not only on the kids, but also on the staff and community.  It's funny, the things they said about us reflect the version of ourselves that we always aspire to be.  Compassionate, humble, servant-hearted, friendly and loving... they don't remember the days when we were self-serving, angry, arrogant, and unkind.  (And yes, there were plenty of those days.)  There was once a day I elbowed a pushing lady out of my way on a crowded bus... When she asked in an irritated voice what my problem was, I sarcastically retorted "What's yours?  Why are you pushing?"  (You should know that pushing is TOTALLY acceptable here... I was the only one irritated by it.)  If she'd been at the party, her memory of me wouldn't be the same as the other ones shared... I want to grow to be the kind of person who leaves the "aroma of Christ" in all circumstances and situations.  Not just in the ones where I'm "ON" and in "Christ-like" mode.  I guess I just don't want there to be an ON/OFF switch for that.  (How did I get on that from a general description of the party?  Oh well, blame my bone-tired momma brain.)

Letters and emails and notes and comments continue to pour in from so many of you... telling us that you're praying for us, sending us your love.  Offering help/support in things as diverse as baby supplies to places to live to job leads!  You're writing us words of encouragement and keeping us close to your hearts.  I can't express how much it means.  When I'm overwhelmed, I regularly take a deep breath, close my eyes, imagine all of you praying for us, and try to steady my heart on Him, remembering that those are the ones He keeps in perfect peace.  Thank you for journeying with us.

Every post needs a little icing, so here's Cora in one of her more awake moments.  Really this is for the grandparents, who rarely are able to Skype with us during her most awake times.

7 comments:

Donna said...

Carrie, Jacob, and Cora...

We are praying for you! We love your beautiful spirit!

I know it will be hard to leave everything that you have known for such a long time, but everything is going to be just fine...He will see to it!!!!

We are all lifting you up!!

Blessings,

Donna

The Stiffs said...

We were living overseas when my first and second were born. I totally understand everything you are going through. You are right, this too shall pass. You'll be stronger and an even better Mama to your precious Cora. You're in our prayers as you start your new journey.

Ginny said...

Wow, Carrie, I love your bone-tired mommy brain! "I want to grow to be the kind of person who leaves the "aroma of Christ" in all circumstances and situations. Not just in the ones where I'm "ON" and in "Christ-like" mode. I guess I just don't want there to be an ON/OFF switch for that." This really spoke to me!! Wow.

I'll continue to pray for you all!

Anneli J. said...

Oh Carrie, my heart just aches for you! Know that God will never give us more than we can handle. He will also lead us and guide us in the way we should go. And for you right now, that is back to the US. No, that doesn't make it easy but find peace and comfort in knowing it is right. I read this today as I was going through some anxiety of my own and thought I would share: "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." (John 14:27)

Enjoy the time you still have with your dear friends in China. And know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.


Blessings,
Anneli

sierrasmom said...

Ohhhh! I started crying when I read your post. You see... we used A Helping Hand when we adopted Sierra and Alison was our guide the entire trip. But she also became our friend and I think of her often. She helped to make our China journey an incredible experience. She is amazing!!! I do email her and send her pictures. We also got to meet her husband and children and that was special also. What a small world.

I feel , through your words the pain you are experiencing. It is so hard to leave family, and that is what you are doing. God will provide you with the strength you need to get through these difficult times.
Kathie

Gwen said...

Carrie,
I've been thinking a lot about you and will continue to pray for you!

Motherhood is so overwhelming at times, especially with a newborn. I remember crying when my baby wouldn't stop crying, too! :)

But you're right, this too shall pass. Keep taking those deep breaths, praying, and trusting in Him. Hugs!

Jenna said...

I did mention in that last e-mail I sent you that feeling like you have gone and wrecked your nice little life by having a baby is TOTALLY normal. At least it was for me. And it does eventually pass (but I told you it was easily a year before I ENJOYED it....I kinda like kids that can interact with me!)

Also....don't be surprised if your marriage does at some point go through a rough patch. That's been normal for us- especially with our bio kids (hormones make it worse as does sleep deprivation)- but even to some degree recently with our adoption (thought markedly less so- maybe because we anticipated it and tried actively to prevent it).

I LOVE the word picture you created regarding the on/off switch and how we are so often "on" in certain situations (especially when we are in ministry) and "off" in others. I can relate to that- and need to ask God to change that in me. And, why is it so often home where we REALLY turn OFF and let all the ugly out? Ugh..... I've been focusing on that so much lately.

Hang in there. There truly are so many people praying for you, and while we've endured our hard times I know that's what held me up almost every day.

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