We are home. (insert Hallelujah chorus here)
The end of our journey was fairly smooth, or as smooth as it can be with a 21 month old on a plane for nearly 15 hours. We left from Hong Kong, ever so thankful for our last minute decision to purchase a seat for Lydia and there we sat three ducks in a row. Lars and I so aware of all that was about to change. We would be a family of five. Lydia would be meeting her two brothers, her grandparents, one great-grandmother and dear friend of mommy’s at the airport in a ‘mere’ 🙂 15 hours. Lydia DanQing Stromberg would become an American citizen once her feet touched the ground in 15 hours. So much was about to happen for Lydia and there she sat in between Lars and I totally unaware. Beautiful.
The flight consisted of Lydia looking at a great board book, lengthy games of ‘moving cheerios’ between various cups, fitful sleeping, some tears and one good 1.5 hour nap. It was a LONG flight. On a flight that long, watching the map screen on the seat back in front of you, go from ’15 hours’ to ’12 hours’ to ‘9 hours to destination’ gives no satisfaction. It’s just a long time to be off the ground any way you slice it. Lydia did great. Honestly, she was awesome, and she didn’t even kick the seat in front of her. Wow.
The only hiccup came during the landing, when her stomach got the best of her and she threw-up a couple times. Poor kid. We were prepared with zip-lock bags and came away with no damage to us or her sweet little dress. But she arrived in America exhausted and pale. 🙂 But hey, so did I and I didn’t even puke.
We got off the plane, glided effortlessly through customs. And then it was time to present our ‘sealed brown envelope’ to immigration. This was the final document of the adoption. We stood at the counter, handed the envelope to the officer, he looked at Lydia, said congratulations and Lydia promptly threw-up…in my hands. And there it was, a somehow appropriate response to the events of the day, and a bumpy landing. A long plane-ride, citizenship, meeting your family for the first time. I would throw-up too.
We left immigration and walked through the doors. And there was the crew. Both sets of parents, my Grandma Peterson and dear friend Courtney with baby Joy in-tow, and two sisters on FaceTime. It was wonderful. Lydia, fresh from a sick stomach was a little apprehensive, but did so well meeting her brothers for the first time. Lars and I hugged them first and then they met Lydia.
And there was much rejoicing! And then we got in the car, the five of us, a family. Lydia had never been in a car-seat and cried for part of the way home, and then we came home to this.
An awesome welcome from our church family. All the people who prayed for and supported us through this long journey. Their messages are precious and we felt so loved. Not to mention the boys and Grandma and Boompa had decorated the house for Lydia’s arrival.
The rest of the day was spent letting Lydia explore the house. To think, she had never been in a house. Never climbed stairs. Never seen a fridge, a dishwasher, a fireplace. She walked around, content to look and wander, occasionally making sure Lars and I were close by.
Lydia seemed content and surely tired as she played and explored the house. But truly, it just felt good and even somehow ‘normal’ to see her walking around and playing with blocks and her brothers’ match-box cars. Like, of course, it’s just as it should be. And I know Jesus agrees. After all, this was the story He chose to re-write for her life. This was His idea, not ours. This is His working faithfulness. And He was smiling yesterday. Smiling because all is as it should be. Lydia was rocked to sleep in the ‘blue chair’, she ate dinner with her brothers and grandparents, she has clean clothes and a warm house and toys to play with, she is safe and treasured and so deeply, deeply loved.
And as I think on the last 24 hours, my eyes fill with tears, because Jesus is smiling on little Lydia DanQing Stromberg who is finally and forever home.