These are just few of the emotions I have felt over the past 16+ months on our journey to Jenna, but especially these two weeks here in China. As I sit here one last night on the 13th floor of the beautiful Garden Hotel in the bustling city of Guangzhou, China, my heart is feeling all of these emotions BIG TIME!
JOY, THANKSGIVING, and EXCITEMENT over all that has happened these past two weeks and over all that lies ahead as we prepare to bring Jenna home tomorrow. My mind is so tired right now that it's hard to put into words all that is in my heart, but what I do know is that when I look into my new daughter's deep brown eyes and when I hear her infectious laugh and when I watch her reach her arms up so I can scoop her into my arms and when I cuddle with her throughout the night, I am overcome with joy, thanksgiving and excitement. God has been so faithful throughout this entire journey, and why should I expect anything less? He is the God of miracles! I can truly say I've witnessed a miracle these two weeks!
I am also so very, very THANKFUL for the precious new friends I've made while here in China. Seeing 10 other orphans be united with their forever families is miraculous! I feel eternally bonded to these families and I pray God blesses them in amazing ways!
In like manner, I've never felt more THANKFUL for Lifeline Children's Services. From day one of our adoption journey until now, they have walked patiently and gracefully with us. Miko and Lily have been THE VERY BEST guides...I love them and thank God for them!
SADNESS also fill my heart tonight. Just keepin' it real, because as joyful as adoption can be, it is also wrought with grief, loss, and deep sadness. When I look into my new daughter's deep brown eyes, I feel sadness over all the loss she's experienced in her two short years of life. When I watch her reach her arms up for me to hold her, I'm saddened to think of how little she was probably held or cuddled in the orphanage (even though I firmly believe her nannies loved her). When I hear Jenna's sweet laughter, I can't help but wonder about the pain her birthmother must have gone through to leave her baby girl on that cold February night in 2011. And as excited as I am to be headed HOME to America and my awesome husband and amazing sons, I am sad to be leaving the country where Jenna was born, for these two weeks have been a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
FEAR and WORRY also fill my heart tonight. There are so many unknowns with adoption. I am concerned about Jenna's health, the known skin condition but also the unknowns. Although I have seen improvement in her skin condition even this week, I am worried about what it may be like for her in the future. I have fear and worry over how to respond to the questions and stares we're bound to get from complete strangers, questions and stares that may be hurtful.
I also have fear and worry about how the next HUGE transition will be for Jenna and our family as a whole. Right now, our sweet girl thinks Room 1344 of The Garden Hotel is her new home. But in a matter of hours, she'll be brought into a 105 year old house in the middle of historic Newnan, Georgia. Everything will be totally new and probably scary for a while. I have no idea how she'll respond to our sweet yellow lab, Sipsey. I have no idea how she'll adjust to her new bedroom and the beautiful twin bed that awaits her. I have no idea how she'll adjust to sitting in a carseat. I have no idea how she'll react to her amazing daddy when she sees him again. I have no idea how she'll feel about her big brothers that she's never met but has only seen in pictures or on the computer screen. And I have no idea how the dynamics of our family life of "five" will change now that we're the Preston Party of Six.
So many unknowns, so many concerns. But even as I sit her typing this (when I should be sleeping since I have to be up at 5:15 AM), I am reminded of my favorite verse that has carried me through other times in my life:
"May the God of hope will you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13
My God is THE God of hope and I know that He will give me ALL joy, peace, hope and power as I trust in Him to be the mom that Nathan, Shelby, Andrew, and Jenna need me to be. I am truly blessed...and I am very tired. Good night from Guangzhou, China...part of my heart will always be here!