Friday, November 6, 2009

Who should travel?

Gotcha Ming Ming!!

I really tried hard to be fun! Whew! It was hard work but we had a blast (most of the time).

Katie and I had fun together, too! Sarah took the pic!

Katie and Sarah connected right away!

Gotcha LeYi!! 

She is much happier in this picture!! Dreams really do come true!

I  can't help myself- I like to think ahead and plan for options in the future. We are not close at all to traveling BUT I need your thoughts! 

Eleven months ago Katie and brought Sarah home! Our journey had highs and lows but not bad lows they were learning lows! They were part of the process of getting to know each other learning to trust each other and just plain trying to figure out each other. It was the trip of a lifetime and we came home exhausted and ready for our new daughter/sister to meet the rest of the family. When I read about others in China who are traveling to get their older child so many memories come back and they are good memories! I love that they share their journey with us!

Traveling to get Anna was incredible- it was a first time experience- first adoption, first time in China, first everything! We met the most wonderful family who adopted Anna's friend and they were such a joy to share the experience with! I didn't want it to end but at the same time I was excited to get home and see the rest of the family! 

This time we will go to China in the late spring to meet Emma and Ellie. They are in foster care and leaving their foster Mom/family. This will probably be the hardest thing they will ever have to do. They have already been through a lot. Initially we will not be viewed as their wonderful new parents- they may not even like as at first- we will be the ones that are taking them away from all that is familiar. 

So what do you think? Should Kate and I go again- we worked well together. Sarah loved Kate because she was young and pretty- like some of the nannies. She was good at playing with Sarah. We often modeled mother daughter behavior for Sarah to see. We had fun but it was a business trip- we got our little Sarah home to her new family safe and sound!

Should hubby and I go? Should Babba be there right from the start. He would love to be there but is not sure if he can leave work. There are two of them do we need the presence of a Babba? He is strong and could carry the girls sometimes. It could be a wonderful initial bonding time for the four of us. We could both be there to help the girls go through part of the mourning process. He is also lots of fun! 

Should we bring Sarah and Anna? Will the girls warm up with their sisters there? Will the have more fun with them their or will hubby and I have an extremely difficult time (Sarah will have been home 1.5 years). Will Sarah get nervous and be more of a challenge than a help. Would we be expecting too much out of her? I see some families going and I think it is so wonderful but this is a challenging situation I'm not sure if it will work out the way we hope or plan. We have to be flexible in China because you never know- it could be a smooth or a bumpy road.

Our final decision will depend on many things. Finances, hubbies business situation, Katie's work, we will evaluate how the girls are doing and who may be able to stay with them if they should stay home. I would love to hear from you! What did you do? Would you recommend doing it that way or not? 

Lori made a great point- what about our boys! The oldest Matt would love to go BUT he works (and I am so very grateful for that!). The second son- Billy is graduating from College in May - which might complicate our travel a bit because we want to be at his graduation. (I am hoping we travel in early, early May). He could not travel until June, plus he is spending January in Australia- that is enough travel if you ask me. Son #3 is Mark and he is in school through the first week of June and desperately needs to work this summer. His college tuition is a bit spendy so he can stay home! Son #4- Johnny is a sophomore in High School (not homeschooling this one) he cannot miss school especially since he had H1N1 and has already missed 7 days. He plays on a competitive soccer team and loves it. He has no desire to travel to China or anywhere else (that is okay with us)! It is our hope that all of our children at some point in their lives will be able to go to China but it at this point it is most important to get our girls home! 

Okay... I have to be honest... I really want to travel to China in the front of the plane (when traveling to far, far, far places such as China- and just so you know I have only been in the USA and China)... I'm sorry...I'm a little older and I want to feel good when I meet our new daughters... so given that new and not so pleasant info about ME... and taking into consideration the cost... who do ya think should travel... ( all of us probably won't work unless we strike oil in the back yard)!

We will decide based on our situation at that time but your experiences and wisdom will help us make our decision! We will also pray about it and see where GOD leads us!!

Thank you!!


soontobemomof9 said...

I have no experience in which to offer advice. I am going on trip one with a friend. I would LOVE for my husband to go... he isn't as keen on it :) But our youngest would have to go with us... and given his personality it just wouldn't work well. He would NEVER survive the flight first of all. And I want my focus on the girls, and well, he wants the focus on him. [the youngest of 7, can you blame him? :)]

So my husband is staying home to be with Luke. And I am taking along a friend who has traveled out of the US before. One trip two my oldest, age 16, will go with me to bring the girls home. It is hard to think my husband will not be with me... kind of like going through labor and delivery w/o him. But this is the way our family needs to do it. :(

Personally, I think if it works for your husband to go with just you, that is what I would choose. Because that is what I want to happen for us. But life doesn't always happen like I want darn it! :) What an opportunity that will probably not happen for you and your husband and these girls again...

But I know whatever your family chooses, you will all be so greatly blessed by these girls as they will be by you!

How many trips to China? Is there one or two?

Lizzyf1 said...

what a decision!!!! it's so expensive to take too many but if you can swing it how about you, Kate, hubby and girls all go?? that way you have Sarah acting as the role model to show how to get along with mom and dad (she may LOVE that job) and you have other adults as helpers with all these kids!!!

Just some thoughts. If you want a photographer.....I'll come with!!! I know I couldn't be bonding with your new daughters but would love to take pictures!!! Hmmm....we'll have to work on that one. HEE HEE

so exciting to think about and it's going to come up fast (although I know you want it to come faster than it is!!!!).


Lori said...

Wow...there is so much to think about in this. SO many pro's and con's to each option.

I think it would be GREAT if you, Jim, and all the girls go. Katie would be so much help with Sarah and Anna while you and Jim focused on the new girlies. And also...all the girls together would have a blast! It would be a great bonding time for all of you, while having an extra adult to help as needed.

Did that make any sense??

Do any of your fellas want to go? Maybe make it a BIG family trip!!

Karin said...

I vote for you and your husband to go. :) When we adopted our girls in Jan., it was a lot more challenging than a single adoption. One daughter favored my husband and one favored me. Neither would go to the other parent until the end of the trip. It was pretty tiring. I do think it was very good for the girls to know from day one that we were mommy and daddy.

Whether or not to take your other children is something only you and God can know. :) Are they good travelers? Do they go with the flow, or do they get upset with lots of changes, lack of sleep, etc.? If you think they can handle the trip, it probably would be nice to have them along for friendship and bonding. :)

Janet and Kevin said...

Wow! We just struggled with this one and still feel a little weak in the knees over our plans. We will be going soon - perhaps as early as December or January when the H1N1 flu is still in full swing. Because of Ch*na's quarantine rules, we have decided not to take Philip. My husband's older sister who is currently not working outside the home right now has graciously offered to come and stay with Philip in our home.

Also, if we get to travel in December, our oldest son Ted will be between college semesters and will travel leaving Kevin (Daddy) at home with Philip with Aunt Susie taking care of him during the day while Kevin works. If we travel after the first of the year, Kevin will go with me while Ted stays home to student teach in the day while Aunt Susie is here taking care of Philip. At least one of Philip's immediate family will be here not matter what.

Got it covered, but it feels kinda sickening knowing I have to be separated from Philip for two weeks!

We did get web cameras and hope to use those and skype while gone.

This decision is SOOOOOOOOOOOO HARD and depends upon so many things falling into place! God bless you as you try to decide the best plan for your family.

Janet, Kevin, Ted, Philip, and waiting for Eli

Karen said...

Figuring out who travels was always my least favorite part of our adoptions. I struggled with it big time. For our 1st two adoptions we traveled alone (just hubby and me)then for our 1st (from China) we took our oldest; 2nd time we took our two middle kids; 3rd we took all 5 of our other children (12yrs-3yrs) to adopt our 3 yr old. My husband and I both agree that was our favorite trip. Our son grieved HARD for days (we had already prepared our other children that this may happen), but he watched our other children play and even played with them some. I think it helped him seeing us interact with our other children. That and the fact that all our family was together so dh and I were relaxed and not worried about those at home. I do have to say that all of our kids are great travelers. We knew this when we made the decision to take them all. That is a big factor in deciding whether or not to bring other children. If your child is not a good traveler it can/will put extra stress on an already stressful situation. So, IF you can swing it, IF your girls are good travelers, IF your girls can handle change well I vote for bringing them and Sarah (to help). JMHO, we loved having the whole family together.

Nancy said...

You, hubby and girls should go. I don't blame you for wanting to sit at the front of the plane. It's the only to go for really long flights.

From the Erben Gang..... said...

I agree. Anyone and everyone, from your loving family!!!! Never too much love.

PS. You don't get any extra points for sitting in the back of the plane :)

Laura L. said...

I vote for you, Jim, and Katie. :)

You could always take me along as well. I wouldn't take up much space. LOL

Mel, Pete and Clara said...

hmmm, so many things to consider. You know Sarah and Anna best, how they cope with stress, sharing attention, etc. When we adopted Lu (our son who was 2 at the time) we took our daughter Clara, who we adopted at 10 mos. and who was 4 and a half when we traveled. She has had some serious grief about her losses, even at a young age. CHS and our social workers thought it would be really helpful long term for her to go. We fully expected some serious emotional fallout that might be challenging for us at times but knew we owed her the chance to work through those things. It was the BEST decision we could have made! She was able to better process the whole adoption dynamic and see for herself what China was and why/how she came to be our daughter.

We built in some extra time on the front end of our trip just to help her acclimate and adjust, as well as visit her orphanage. Rather than having bouts of sadness, like we thought might happen, she was really happy and content. I think it was because she had a few more missing pieces of her complicated puzzle to put in place. She was amazing with our son and made all the difference in his adjustment to us.

Like I said, you know your kids best, but from the perspective of another adoptive parent, consider bringing Anna and Sarah along with your husband. Your older kids have had you a long time, this could be a great chance for you to really bond as a family with your younger set of kids. Good luck and congrats on the moving along in the process!


Chasity said...

Jean, I have to first say, what a beautiful blessing to know you have so many amazing family to travel with you to bring your girls home. I'm sure everyone would love to travel with you.

I'm with you on the First Class thing. We are really thinking of adopting again and I'm going to travel with my best friend, while Hubby stays home with our 7 yr old son and 4 year old daughter, which for me will be great, I can spend the money on First class since my best friend will buy her own ticket. LOL!!! You are an amazing family and you will know as it gets closer to your trip, God will lead you, he is amazing and. I do agree with Daddy to help carry the kiddos. My husband was awesome in China, our son or daughter was always on his shoulders. God Bless you and guide you in your decision.

mom2eliza-mom2ava said...

Well, you KNEW I was going to have to chime in one this one! LOL Having this fresh in my memory, and having traveled alone, and having traveled for a Guilin (!) girl, I would recommend...DRUM ROLL...

Mom, Dad, big Sis and little sis's. Here's why.

There are 2 of them. Two of them to feed off of EACH other in good and bad; that's a lot of energy. Also, they're leaving foster parents. Likely, they will need to feel that security. (Ava gravitated to all the other dad's while we were in China...and if the other family had both parents, she gravitated to them even more leaving me in the dust.)

Having Katie, they will love looking up to a beautiful, happy, attentive older sister! Having their younger sisters there and knowing they share the common bond of China and watching them interact with you will help them attach.

You could have your husband come just for the first few days in province to help him get around his time off from work. As for Sarah, she will likely do very well and may even be a full circle moment for her reinforcing her bond to you even more.

Lastly, I was soooo tired doing it alone. The constant need for attention; constant having to be on the go w/ an older child who gets bored easily; the constant wanting to be bought every thing. Being able to split some outings w/ your husband and Katie while you could stay back in the hotel with the little's, would be a good balance for you all.

If you can't afford it (and I know how that is), then yes, go again w/ Katie. It will all work out the way that it's meant to. Your new daughters will adjust and hopefully, you won't have to deal with the painful, gut-wrenching grieving and rejection that I did. But then again, you might have to deal with a "dynamic duo" pulling pranks, ranks and the like!! Ohhhh, it's going to be fun. You'll do great. I can't wait to "watch" it all unfold.


Kathy said...

We tossed many ideas around. DH staying
home with our daughter who is 4 yrs. old
and one of my close friends going with me.
My daughter is extremely attached to me.
We have been praying since last spring
and we decided to all go. I have such a
peace about it. We think it will be good
for her new big sister also.
We are wheels up Dec. 3. I just found
out two other 4 yr. old girls
adopted around the same time as
our daughter are going with their
families. :) God is so good!