I had planned to continue to chronicle through all our China experiences, but life is moving along quickly, so maybe all you need to know is that we arrived (after a 26 hour itenerary) home safely.
Throughout this journey I have not been given to too much "expectation" concerning Eli or our adjustment once arriving home. I've had 4 newborns and know quite well what it's like to kick the bottom block out from under your family structure and need to rebuild a daily routine accomodating a new person and temperment. Maturity and perspective are surely working right now and I'm thankful for them. However, with Eli there were so many unknowns. I didn't know how big he actually was, how smart he'd be, how developmentally behind he'd be, how culturally behind he'd be, how jet lagged we'd be, if he'd love the kids or not, if he'd cry alot or not, if he'd like the dogs, if he'd have tenacity to deal with the running arounds of a busy family or if he'd meet new people with fear or laughter. Unknown was the biggest known. So...I just decided that until we'd at least met, having expectations would be hard to figure.
Adjusting in China and re-adjusting upon coming home are different things. Eli has not changed much since we first met him, but his environment has changed many times...my neighbor yesterday said it can only be described as an alien abduction. I can only guess that's it is overwhelming for him. Everything in our home -- EVERYTHING -- is something he's never seen before -- much less going to the grocery store, zoo, neighbor's house, park, etc. He does seem to be tenacious -- and tired.
Right now, I can best describe myself as feeling like my head is "floating in a land of no expectations". It's kind of like having medicine head or vacation head -- but a little different. I'm not getting alot done except for resting, nor do I feel any pressure to get anything done (maturity and perspective). Our home looks as if we'd had a newborn...gifts, clothing, dishes, laundry -- all outta place -- some don't even have a place yet. I've declared the "Beauty of the Lord" over my home -- and moved on. I can't be too bothered by the clutter. My jet lag is worse than I'd hoped and it looks like I'm probably still another week from fully adjusting my sleep (Eli has seemed to have had little problems in this area). The meals on the table each night are being mercifully provided by friends. In general, our world looks different and a month from now it will be different even more...JUST as we expected. Soon however, we will begin rebuilding the blocks of routine and function in the Ramsdell home, but for now, this is all the expecting I have the energy to muster up.....
1. REST - for us, Eli and the kids; I can't function correctly until I've "caught up" on sleep. So catching up becomes functioning correctly. Eli needs lots of sleep to allow for his brain to assimilate all the newness it'sbeing slammed with. Not forgetting that this is something we are doing as a family...Hosanna still has a cast on and is looking towards another surgery and PT, school starting soon, family still in town, etc. -- we all just need rest. Rest is going to take up our time. So, that's what I expect to accomplish in the next week...rest.
2. COMMUNICATION - I'm hoping over the next month Eli can learn and begin to use some English phrases. Right now, he will respond correctly to "Sit Down" "Come Here" and "No". He seems to recognize his name. He ocassionally uses on his own "Bye Bye" and "Thank you" and repeats anything and everything we say including a hearty "Vote Republican". I'm hoping that this next month will bring the use of other identifying words like "Eat" "Potty" and "Mommy." A side note here, Eli will use the Chinese word for "Aunt" to address me from time to time. It is what he called his nanny. Eventually, we want him to realize that Nannies go -- but Mommies stay forever.
3. FAMILY CENTER - Right now, Eli feels like the center of everything -- just as if we'd had a newborn. He's been an orphan for more than 2 years. He's needy. To the kids, he's like a new puppy. I imagine a day where Eli isn't so much the center attractation in the Ramsdell family...a day where the family gets back to business as usual...when Eli is truly A PART of the FAMILY. For this, we also permit time to take it's course.
So...that's it really. My short list of big (or not so much) expectations for the next.......well......while. We've grant ourselves grace and time to accomplish the good work God has planned and I'll let ya know how it goes!