|Necklace created by Sara Noll|
Tonight is a very exciting night in our journey to Tucker! Our paperwork was taken to the US Embassy in Guangzhou on August 30th to be processed for 2 weeks. This means that tonight, while we are sleeping, our paperwork should be picked up from the Embassy and sent overnight to Beijing. This means we are officially....drum roll please...waiting for our official Travel Approval (TA)!
On Tuesday at work, it really hit me that we will soon be going to China. I looked at my calendar at work and realized that there are only two more full weeks of work before October 2nd, which is the very earliest we could travel. THAT. IS. BANANAS. I have so many loose ends that I want to accomplish before I'm finished at work. Last year, every case was completed in case we went to China over the summer. I didn't want someone to come in to a big mess. So, I am working hard to finish up my cases again so that the transition is smooth for everyone! I like to finish well, so the next two weeks will be busy, which is good because time will go by quickly.
We've been organizing and collecting items that we want to take to China, so my dining room is quickly filling up. I'm trying to go out to dinner and visit with friends because I know once we get home, we will be on lock down for awhile while we build a relationship with our new son. Noah, Liam, and Tucker will be our #1 priority for awhile - in a more extreme way than usual - so we are trying to get all our affairs in order knowing that when we get home, things will likely feel a bit chaotic, jet-lagged, and overwhelming.
This journey has had a lot of similarities to a pregnancy. I posted about that once before. I remember before Noah was born - probably 2 weeks before - I started getting all sentimental about Ryan's and my time by ourselves being over. It was the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. While I was SO excited to be a mom and have a child, I also grieved the loss of the time Ryan and I had. It didn't last long, but I felt that for sure. Then, I remember when Liam's birth was getting closer, I felt he same way. I was grieving the special 3 years that Ryan, Noah, and I had together. I knew it was the end of an era. I couldn't wait to meet our new son, and I was excited to have a newborn again. The night I was going into labor, I cried when saying goodbye to Noah as he left with Ryan's parents because the chapter had ended.
I felt the same kind of mixture of emotions Tuesday night. I had worked all day and then went out for dinner and pedicures with a couple girlfriends. I hadn't had one since Mother's Day, and I needed a pre-China pedi! :) That night, reality hit that we were really truly going to China. This chapter of our lives - the one with Ryan, Noah, Liam, and me - is about to end. The boys get along amazingly well 95% of the time. Although we have crazy moments and busy occasions, for the most part life is pretty easy together. Just like having a newborn child brings a new dynamic to the family, bringing Tucker home is going to create a new dynamic in our family, as well. He is a little boy who does not know us, who speaks a different language, who has established behavior patterns, and who will be leaving everything that he knows (the people, food, crib, toys, smells, activities, etc.). We are uprooting a little boy from his current life, and although we know in the long run, it is the best situation for him, we know there will be challenges when he comes home...just like there are challenges when you bring a newborn home from the hospital.
When I got home from my girl's night, I went upstairs to try to catch Noah before he fell asleep, but he was out. I laid next to him in bed, put my hand on his heart, and just prayed. I prayed that God would protect him while we are in China. I prayed for God to help me be a good mother to him after we get home. Noah is generally really well behaved, so I don't want to overlook him just because two 2 year olds are higher maintenance. I prayed that God would prepare Noah's heart to love and embrace his new brother. I prayed that God would carry Noah while we are away...that he wouldn't miss us too terribly while we are gone.
|Picture Courtesy of Corporate Apartments International|
Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.' I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
Ryan and I are leaving our 99 to retrieve our 1 lost sheep. We will joyfully put Tucker on our shoulders and bring him home. You, our friends and family, will rejoice with us that our sweet son is home forever! I know there will be rejoicing in heaven for the little boy who will know God, who will have a safe home, and who will be cherished for eternity. So, every time I begin to get emotional about leaving Liam and Noah, I just think about this parable, and peace washes over me.
Life as we know it will change, but let's be honest, life changed on July 19, 2012 when God asked us to take this journey. I know there will be stress, lack of sleep, more conflict, and new issues we haven't experienced before, but if it means there is one less orphan in the world and one more person for me to love, I am ready to go!
Keep praying for our October 8th Gotcha Day!!! The next 18 days will determine whether or not this can happen. If we get Travel Approval in the next two weeks, it might just happen!
You guys, I am going to look in my son's eyes face-to-face soon...very soon. The thought of seeing him moving and breathing and smiling and crying and laughing and playing with his daddy brings tears to my eyes. I cannot wait to hold my lost sheep and bring him home.