Our flight home went amazingly well. Henry was so excited to fly in airplanes to America and with a few catnaps here and there, stayed pretty upbeat and cooperative throughout the trip. Our flight from Guangzhou to Beijing was pretty quick and the four hour wait in Beijing also went pretty quick. Another adoptive family was on the same flight back to Seattle, so that made for good company. Our flight from Beijing to Seattle was about 10 hours, less than the 12 going (nice!), and though we didn't sleep much, it went pretty quickly with movies and interaction with Henry. I didn't eat the meals coming back...I think that after being sick and having so much good Chinese food in China, the airplane meals were not appealing at all. I cannot tell you how wonderful it felt to be back on U.S. soil with familiar procedures, language, customs, etc. I really enjoyed China (except for being sick) but was ready to COME HOME!
Once back, we had to stand in the non-U.S. passport line to get Henry's visa clearance, then wait at another counter for officials to go through all our U.S. consulate paperwork. Henry was a U.S. citizen at that point and will be mailed a Certificate of Citizenship within 45 days. This will help us secure him a U.S. passport and we will be inquiring about a local birth certificate as well to make things easier for him in the future.
When done with immigration, we got our bags and headed for the hotel where our car was parked. We went for lunch at Denny's (good home cooking!) and then back to the airport to wait on the boys flying in from Ft. Worth. They arrived on time and it was truly a sweet reunion. Henry was pretty excited to see them but no one more than Mom and Dad:). Our only glitch on the trip was neither Randy nor I paid good attention to where we parked the car in the airport garage (blame jet lag), so spent about 30 minutes going up and down floors and rows to find it. Alas, we found it and everyone was really happy to head home.
Surprisingly, we slept the first night through and I was thinking perhaps jet lag wouldn't be too bad for us. It really hasn't, but the last couple nights, I've been pretty awake until wee hours of the morning (sometimes unwillingly due to Henry waking), and Randy has been waking pretty early in the morning. I've been doing a bit of unpacking, laundry, cleaning house, tending to Henry, and preparing/shopping for Christmas, so am running on adrenaline right now, not sufficient sleep. I do hope to get back to a good night's sleep at some point, but that also depends on Henry. He slept full nights in China with us in the hotel but here, he is waking and crying a couple times during the night, so we're not sure if it's because it's a new place, the results from abandonment, or if he isn't feeling well. His stomach is obviously adjusting to a diet change and giving him a little trouble, and we've noticed a rash on his arm today. We'll get through Christmas and then need to get him to a pediatrician to get checked out. He'll need vaccinations as soon as possible as well.
Henry is doing amazing already, even with sleep disruptions and so many changes. He is getting so much attention from his big brothers who are enjoying him a lot. They make him laugh and play with him, as well as, help where they can or need to. Henry is already picking up some of their English phrases...it's really cute to hear him say things the way he hears them. In fact, his most common phrase right now is, "Whatcha going?" We have tried to make sure the boys can be just big brothers, not have to play parental roles, and get breaks when needed. I can tell they're starting to get tired and need their own time again. Henry is learning that it is okay if they don't play right away, and that they'll be back eventually.
He has also been exploring the house, whatever he can reach or be lifted up to. He moves (scoots) around so quickly and his upper body strength is quite strong. We're trying to provide things to help him feel more comfortable and independent, like a child's toilet seat, step stool, and toddler bed with railing that he can get in and out of by himself. Time will help a lot in getting him the strength and support he needs to walk instead of crawl to get around, and we really look forward to seeing how he is going to develop and further reach his potential. His first Shriner's appointment in Portland is January 9th.
As for attachment, that is making huge strides. Bedtime and wake up time have been the hardest as Henry really didn't want much to do with me, though the days went pretty well. That has changed as now he wants me to be with him when he falls to sleep and then wants to cuddle with me for awhile in the morning before getting up. It's working for now! It's also been really helpful that I have some Chinese and he has some English. Our conversations are quite comical as we go back and forth between the two languages and amuse each other with our goof ups and attempts to communicate:).
Last night I had to leave for an hour and he was really upset, then waited for me in the bathtub until I came back so I could wash him. Today, I had to go grocery and Christmas shopping, but he pretty much said, "Bye, Mommy!" and did well while I was gone. It is important for him to know that we are here to stay and that temporary absence does not mean permanent absence, and that we will always make sure he is taken care of. To see his growing sense of security, safety, comfort, and happiness is such a blessing to us. He has been through so much already in his short life and has many obstacles to face ahead, but the inner strength he is gaining with lots of love and care will help him through it all. And we know God has a great plan for his life and will be His greatest Source of strength and grace! Our heart is that Henry knows this great Love and experiences the hope, joy, and peace in abundance that results from knowing Him. What a blessing that he already asks us to pray multiple times a day.
There are a hundred other things to mention but I just can't post them all. I will say that we took Henry to some close friends' house of ours today for a short introduction and visit...he was a little overwhelmed but did well considering. He is getting slowly introduced to our surroundings and loves to go see things, though not to necessarily be around large groups of people at this point; we can tell that even just being at home is a bit overstimulating, probably largely due to the high energy activity of his big brothers. This basically means that he has trouble winding down and so may shut down or get defiant. He resists going to sleep even when tired (perhaps he doesn't want to miss anything?), but when he does lay down and relax, he is out fast. I love watching him go to sleep and I love the physical affection he craves and gives when ready. He is so cute and cuddly and wonderfully made...I so love this little guy!!!
He really enjoyed driving around town and looking at Christmas lights tonight. We've just been back three days so our Christmas seems to have abruptly come upon us. We plan to just enjoy our family and home together, open presents, eat some good food, watch some Christmas movies, and focus on the "baby Jesus", as Henry puts it. We hope all of you have a very blessed and Merry Christmas, whomever you have the gift of being with and in whatever you have to do. Enjoy those around you and thank God for being WITH US in His Son, Jesus Christ. We are blessed beyond measure and I can truly say that Henry being with us this Christmas is one of the greatest, most divine Christmas gifts I have ever been given. To know we are God's adopted children like Henry is our son because of the gift of God's own Son is an amazing thing. All of His glorious riches in Christ are ours forever because of adoption! May we never take this for granted. Blessings!