Almost home….

It is our last night here and we are packed and ready to go. We leave very early tomorrow morning and have a long day of travel for us. Amara is asleep and the room is quiet and calm.

As I sit here reflecting on the trip I am filled with gratitude for all the blessings we have had.

I am thankful for the little girl who has become our daughter. It is almost hard to believe that 10 days ago she was a stranger to us. Today we feel like she was meant for our family.

I am thankful for the orphanage who clearly took such good care of her. She was very lucky to be in a tiny orphanage (only 8 children right now) with a very high nanny-to-child ratio. She shared a nanny with just one other child. Her chubby body and ease with food tell us she was loved there. For 14 months they were her family, and for that we will forever be grateful.

I am thankful for our experience here in China. Though it was rushed and sometimes touristy, it has given us many stories to share with Amara as she gets older. And the food…we are so thankful for the food…it will surprise no one that Mark and I have loved every morsel. This trip has whetted our appetite to visit the country again….I’m sure we’ll be back as soon as the kids are older to introduce them to China.

I am thankful for technology and the connection it kept with our amazing community at home. It brought us stories of adventures we were missing and visits with Sabine. It made the ocean seem just a little bit smaller.

I am most thankful tonight for my wonderful parents. They have given us so many gifts by living with Sabine while we are here. They have given me such peace of mind and serenity in knowing that Sabine has been totally happy and well taken care of while we are gone. In true mommy Schenk fashion (those of you who have received Lucy letters over the years will know what I’m talking about) she has sent us “Bine Machine Updates” daily that fill our hearts with joy (if you’re not sure what a Bine Machine is, ask Samuel). They have given us the gift of having almost 2 weeks to soak up Amara on our own. Although we missed Bine terribly, it has been wonderful to be able to spend so much time with Amara on her own. And finally, they gave their new granddaughter, Amara, the gift of her new parents all to herself for 2 weeks. Never again will she get so much undivided attention from us. Although I know getting to spend so much time with Sabine has been wonderful, and she certainly had a blast with them, no one will ever claim parenting a toddler (and Kuja!) is not exhausting. We can’t begin to imagine how to say thank you enough to them.

So, tonight I leave you with two final pictures….our family in two worlds. 18 hours after we get on the plane tomorrow we will finally be reunited!!




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