As I write this post, I have tears streaming down my face. Tonight is our last night here in China (we leave for Hong Kong tomorrow afternoon, and will board our first of three flights around midnight). Stephen and I have really been missing the boys and home over the past few days. We have been longing to have all three of our children in our arms at once. I've dreamed about our reunion with them, as well as, our friends and family over and over again. I cry every time I think about it. As thrilled as we are to be heading home, we also will be returning home forever changed.
The Norris and Hammond Families
Lifeline families getting ready to go on the Pear River dinner cruise
Preparing to come home, we ask that you pray for Allie Ruth....although we are still calling her Shu Shu. :) For the first 2.5 years of her life, she has had no mom or dad. Every female caregiver was her "mama". She loves people...what we would consider to be a personality that is the "life of the party". However, she has no fear of strangers-she will go with anyone/and sit in anyone's lap. Orphans often have so many caretakers that they, as a survival mechanism, become overly charming toward all adults. A child struggling to learn to attach may exhibit indiscriminate affection with people outside of their family unit. It may appear harmless and as if they are "very friendly", but this is actually something that isn't good for the child.
Although she seems to enjoy our company and has made HUGE strides over the past nine days, she has not experienced God's design for a family while in an orphanage setting. Children from orphanage settings are prone to attach too easily to anyone and everyone-which hinders the important, primary relationship with parents. That being said- please understand that we want nothing more than to have Allie Ruth hugged, cuddled, and cherished by ALL of you. But, until she has a firm understanding of her family and primary attachments, we would be so grateful if you direct her to us if you see that she is seeking out food, affection, or comfort.
We may break the "adoption rules" at the airport a little. Afterwards, we will be laying low with her for a period until we know that she is ready to branch out. We're very excited for her to get to know all of the wonderful people that already love her dearly. We are about to explore a "new normal" for the Sanders family!
Let me end this extremely long post by giving a huge, heartfelt thank you to so many! We are so grateful for our family and friends who have kept the boys very entertained while we've been away...whether it was a sleep over, beach trip, play date at Chick-fil-a, or just that friendly face at VBS this week...we can't thank you enough! You all have been a huge blessing to our family. God has truly blessed us with an incredible support system and we are thankful!