one week

one week from TODAY we will be flying over siberia - making our way to china (no joshin' here, they actually fly 'over' the globe because that's the shortest route!) even with all the suitcases laying around, it hardly seems real.

we are busy packing, running errands, writing instructions for the kiddos and all the other stuff that has to be done (and if i am honest, i want done) the holiday season has been a huge blessing in the fact that the time has flown by and i cannot believe we are staring at less than a week before we walk out the door for the final time as a family of 6.

which brings me to how i am feeling about this whole adventure. well, let's go back to the final sentence of the last paragraph and play ashleigh. as i type that, i think, "well, i think we will come back as a family of 7. but maybe that is foreshadowing that we are going to die in a fiery plane crash and there will only be left a family of 4. and then they will read this blog and think how incredible it is that i wrote that as part of my final blog entry..."

welcome to my insides.

it's not a secret to those who know me that i have a propensity for thinking about an untimely death. and sweet makiah has not done anything except confirm my (somewhat) irrational fears about an early exit from this world. it does happen. so yes, i am scared out of my mind that we are going down in a plane. i would feel a whole lot better if there had been a major air catastrophe in the last year or so. given that, the odds that there would be a second would be low. however, there hasn't been. so i am stuck with battling serious fear that my kids will grow up without parents.

you think i am kidding. i'm not.

so how am i feeling about this adventure? i think scared is a good word. nervous. anxious. out of my mind petrified.

and it's not just flying. there's a whole lot more to be nervous about. there are so many unknowns with this adoption, more so than even with lydia. and before you tell me that there are always unknowns with children, let me try and describe the difference.

sarahjoy is 2. we have NO IDEA what her first two years of life held. biological children...you know. even most adoptions you have an idea. sarahjoy...has she been held and loved and had proper stimulation or been stuck in a crib for two years? we know she is super tiny, has she gone hungry and is she malnourished? has she been in an abusive environment - physically, emotionally, sexually? has she had proper medical care or do we know only the tip of the iceberg? has she been cold for long lengths of time for lack of clothing and blankets? have they loved her and are sad to see her go, or have they punished her because she is being adopted and has had packages sent from the US? we know she has been in an orphanage, how will that affect her, being institutionalized for those critical first two years of life? there are SO MANY unknowns that you simply take for granted with your biological children.

and then there are the relatively minor unknowns...is she potty trained? what does she eat? does she still take a bottle? does she like a pacifier? what is her bedtime routine? does she take a nap? what makes her smile? do vacuums scare her? does she like to be held close? or maybe she likes to run around? what does she like to play with? and on and on and on and on....

here is how it goes. we take a bus to a government office (think DMVish). someone from the orphanage is there. they hand sarahjoy to us. just sarahjoy. no clothes, no toys, no blankets, no bottles, no nothing. we may have 10 minutes of time to ask questions (which have to be translated so make that about 5 minutes). and then she is ours. that's it. we turn around and begin the adventure of figuring out just who sarahjoy is (without the benefit of language comprehension.)

so how do i feel? i'm scared! i'm nervous! i don't know what in the world the next few weeks/months/years hold (including whether i am going down in a fiery plane crash.) undergirding that fear is the belief that God has led us on this journey. and i know that in the deepest places of my heart. but just because God leads you there doesn't mean it is full of rainbows and a pot of gold. some would say that's pessimistic, i say it's realistic.

am i excited? yes! i can't wait to hold sarahjoy, i can't wait to whisper in her ear 1000 times that i love her so that on the 1001st time she can know what it means. i can't wait to give her a bath and dress her in beautiful clean clothes. i can't wait to unpack the toys we brought and watch her play. i can't wait to give her the dolls and hear her talk to them in chinese. i can't wait to feed her and let her eat as much as her little belly can possibly hold. i can't wait to hold her close and love her, day after day after day until she never remembers what it's like to not be loved. i can't wait! but i am scared too. the unknown.

we will be updating this blog as we journey. my understanding is that 'blogger' is banned in china so we will not be able to actually see what we are uploading to the blog (or read comments on the blog). but we should be able to get text and pictures up there in some way, shape or form. and we hope to upload a video to youtube of when we first get to meet sarahjoy.

we will have access to email so please email us! we would LOVE to hear from you - i can promise being on the other side of the world with no 'outside' contact for 17 days is not for the faint of heart. you can email us at eric(at)vbgrace(dot)com or ashleighsanzone(at)verizon(dot)net.

i don't know that i will make it back on here until we are in the land of the dragons so i leave you with a few specific prayer requests:

1. pray for peace for me especially. i am truly filled with fear about flying together with eric.

2. pray for our reunion with sarahjoy that we would have wisdom on how to love her best. that we would communicate security and peace and comfort through our actions and tone of voice (words are a bit pointless here in the first few days)

3. pray for a special time for eric and me. there is great opportunity to face together the unknowns and there is also great opportunity to take our stress out on one another.

thank you for being a part of sarahjoy's life! we absolutely cannot wait to post pictures for you to see God's miracle in our arms.

for a preview...go here.


Kirsten said...

definitely will be praying for you all! been thinking about you off and on this week. :)

Laraine said...

you, eric and your whole family are so much in my thoughts and prayers - for SAFE travel and a beautiful bonding with Sarahjoy as it occurred with Lydia. Can't wait to meet her and see the smile on her face that comes with being loved.

Claire said...

I will be praying for you! Though not the same fears, I can relate to the fear and anxiety/travel thing right now :) I will pray especially for peace, safety, great communication and support between you and Eric, and an immediate bond with a healthy Sarajoy!

Holly Tried It said...

Your paranoia about the "last days as family of 6" made me laugh. I had the exact same thoughts of you did. All between the period of the line and the beginning of your next paragraph.

So you are not alone in your imaginative flights of paranoid fantasy. Try what I do. Take several deep breaths then imagine the beautiful (and probable) possibilities. Like, the flight attendant will think you two are great and give you extra pretzels!

Carrie said...

We are praying that God will pour a calming balm over your mind and tummy...that YOU will sense all the things you want us to pray that Sarahjoy will sense, and that you will allow yourself to be comforted AND even challenged by Eric---drawing you two even more into oneness.

We are praying, too, for those on the homefront.


Anonymous said...

I'm so excited for you Ashleigh!!! (did I spell your name right?haha) Even pilots face that fear sometimes and rebuke it in the name of Jesus. I pray for fullness of Joy. Remember to help her increase the pressure in her ears as the plane descends for landing...this will probably stop the crying because the ears will equalize to the air around you and not hurt. Just laugh about me during your take offs and landings...after my 1st flight I had all the air stuck in my ears for 4 hrs cause I did not know to hold my nose/mouth and blow, hahahaha! Love you guys, Will