Monday, May 27, 2013

We're Home!!

As 5am approaches this Memorial Day morning...I'm reflecting on the last few days that we have been home.  I haven't been able to blog since we've gotten home, so I thought I'd share with you our journey home.

Hind Sight...I am so relieved to be sitting here in the comfort of my own home.  The air conditioning keeping things just comfortable enough!! It's the simple things we missed while in China.  Easy Communication, Comfort Foods, fresh fruits and veggies, ice in our drinks, drinking water from a faucet, brushing your teeth with water from a faucet, Air Conditioning, Fresh Air, Good Smelling clean laundry, a yard to play in, Running room, our family and friends.

We have been so blessed to have spent the last three weeks on our journey in China...but it is SO good to be home.  Thank you so much to all our family and friends for your love and support while we were gone.  Words do not communicate effectively just how much you mean to us.  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all your prayers and encouraging emails while we were gone!! And after coming many of you have been gracious to help us get settled.  You will never know what a blessing it is!!

We left Guangzhou China, Friday morning (5:30am) May 24th to head back to Alabama. Of course, this was Thursday afternoon our time.  It was crazy early to leave and hindsight...we would have rather left Thursday evening because it made for a VERY long trip home!

Our Flight from GZ to Beijing was about 4.5 hours, From Beijing to Seattle - it was about 10.5 hours. We had a 10 hour - Yes TEN HOUR - layover in Seattle, and it was brutal.  We were exhausted.  It gave a whole new meaning to the phrase "Sleepless in Seattle!" was SO GREAT to be back in America where the airport was air conditioned, and we could eat chips and salsa and drink coke with LOTS OF ICE!!! :) (again...the simple things!)

After that long layover...our flight with Alaska Air to Atlanta was a Red Eye flight.  From 10pm to 5:30am Atlanta time.  This was a pretty good flight.  Only about 4.5 hours (time zones make it look longer).  This airline was SO WONDERFUL after using Hainan Air.  Whew.... it was NOT our favorite!! :)

We left Atlanta at 8:15am and arrived home in Huntsville at 8:09am.  (time zone difference).  It was SO GOOD to land home!!! We were all so relieved to know that we made it safely through all 8 flights and while there were some close calls while we were gone...God was SO FAITHFUL to protect us!!

That made for a total of about 41 hours of travel time.  Need less to say...we were all exhausted.  Considering how tough it was...our kids did AMAZING!!! I was so blessed to watch them.  They were troopers and not one time did they complain about the travel...other than the basic...ready to get this over with! It could have been a night mare...but they did so wonderful and Mark and I were so proud of them!!

We saw first hand just how Sophie is truly growing into a wonderful young woman!! She is strong, independent, conviction oriented, loyal, and very thoughtful and sweet hearted!! We saw so many strong qualities in her on this trip!! It's amazing how she has grown since our last trip in 2007.  We are so proud of her!!

Silas was such a joy to have on this trip. While his carefree ways sometimes had us on the edge of our seats....seeing him enjoy the adventure and step up to the plate in certain ways was such a blessing.  Being a boy...maturity comes slower than with girls...but we really saw great strides in him on this trip!! He is SUCH a joy and we are so blessed to have had the opportunity to bring him with us this time around!!! We know that seeds were planted in his heart by the Holy Spirit that would have never been planted had he not gone with us!! He is going to do mighty things for the Lord - We just know it!!! We are so proud of him!! :)

Sadie got to visit her "homeland" as our guide, Michael, from Beijing described it.  How many children adopted from another country get to visit their homeland? Very few do...and we got to witness first hand God stirring things in Sadie's heart that we know will last a lifetime!! This little girl is SO STRONG...and such a trooper! She is very helpful and selfless!! She is tough and can handle so much!! Sadie provided so much help as well on this trip and we are blessed to have been able to see her experience it.

While in Chongqing...she did have a brief moment of sensory overload and broke down crying.  We feel it was a good moment and I got to love on her and just talk things out with her in the hotel room. It would have to be overwhelming experience all the sights, sounds, and smells of another country...especially...a country where you are from. was so good for her!! We are glad to provide her with the opportunity to go!! We look forward to revisiting our trip over the next few days to talk about all that left an impact on us!!

Shep...well...what can I say about  Shepard? This little boy is SO PERFECT for our family.  God truly has a plan and it is a blessing to stand back and just let HIM work it out!! Shepard is a total joy!!! He is very agreeable....light my guess would be to say he is a Sanguine personality.  You can tell he has been given his way a lot. But he is pretty quick to obey and is just a delight to be around.  He makes us all laugh with his contagious laugh!! (Much like Mark's laugh is so contagious!)

Since being home...we have found out he is TERRIFIED of our dog, a Miniature Schnauzer, and our dog is afraid of him. (We will be working on that!) But he has adjusted to his new home and family pretty good.  There are definitely hurdles we will have to overcome in finding our new normal...but we  know God has a very special plan for this little one and we are blessed to be able to help direct and raise him in the direction and ways of the Lord!!

I know this has been a long post.  But I have been so "informational" in most our posts while gone.  I just wanted to share some of my thoughts and feelings!! We are so full with all that God has done and we are excited about the future and what He has planned for our whole family.  Our hearts are open and we have no  plans other than to follow HIS leading and direction.  Our prayer is that somehow God would use us to further His Kingdom on this earth.

If there is anything we'd like our family and friends to take away from following our is that God is a good God.  He really does have a plan for our lives and He is so very faithful to lead and guide you.  We pray that you would listen to your heart and the things that the Lord places in your heart.  Don't be afraid to say YES to things you know He is calling you to do!! Step out in obedience and don't worry about the details.  Just follow his leading through the passion in your heart!! There will be ups and downs...and you may not know how it's all going to play out....but this I will find more fullfillment in following HIS will and plan for your life than doing anything else on your own!! 

It has been our JOY and honor to share our journey with you!! We look forward to watching God work to help close out the rest of this particular chapter.  Thanks for your continued prayers!!! We would never want to do this without our family and friends!! Thanks guys for everything!! We love you all!!!
Mark & Buffi

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