Three Weeks as a Family of Six

I’ve had good intentions of posting since we got home, but incredibly, there have been more important things to do. There are a million things I could say about the last 3 weeks, but it would take months to write, and time ill-spent.  So, I’ll say this:

A thousand blessings and answered prayers have covered us the last 3 weeks.  From travel, to bonding, to love and patience–God has faithfully walked beside us while preparing  the way before us at each milestone.  Here is a quick glimpse of the past three weeks in pictures.

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Our first evening, Leo was so tired from all the driving and no nap, that he fell asleep and slept 12 hours. During his sleep, we heard him talking about “Mamo Betane.” We thought he would wake up afraid, but once he finally let us pick him up out of his crib, he was all smiles and ready to play.

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We were fortunate to have a shortened trip, but the short amount of time we were in country was spent like this…..on the floor with blocks and rings.

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Leo made it clear he was not going to take a nap in his pack and play in country, but when we all laid down, he crawled up next to Addy and said “Binka.” (sleep)

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We were shocked at how well Leo did on our LONG flights home. It was almost a 24 hour trip total. He never cried once on the flights, and only got mad when he had to be buckled in on take-off and landing. He played with a few toys, watched movies, and played with Andy’s iPad….and threw a 3 hour nap in the mix.

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Cora patiently waiting to meet her brother at the airport.

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Part of our “welcome home” party in Evansville. (Thanks Kari Kirsch for volunteering your time and talents to taking pictures of our arrival!)

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Finally together as a family of 6……and super exhausted!

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Heading home….together forever!

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He will never lack for attention as the baby of the family, and his 2 big sisters and brother fell right into the role of welcoming Leo into this family with open arms.

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The first few days home Leo ran a fever on and off–probably from sheer exhaustion from travel, but he was sweet to let us comfort him, and with some MAJOR sleeping at night and for naps, he caught up and was back to his happy, healthy self.

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The first few days home were warm enough to go out and play, and introduce Leo to his new animals and yard.

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It was love at first sight when he met Clifford.

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As the days have passed by, life has looked more and more “normal.” Leo has done a great job of being a little brother and playmate to his siblings.

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Cora and Leo are two peas in a pod……two little monkeys. It took him a few days to realize that she wanted to play WITH him and not just steal his toys, but once he figured that out, they were inseparable! They are bound to keep me on my toes the rest of my days.

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Bonnie and Clyde

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We were afraid that bath time might be hard as we were told he has been afraid of water in the past. However, run some water, throw in some bubble bath and Cora or Abe, and he’s a happy, splashing machine!

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This boy knows how cute he is, and he likes to get a good laugh from us.

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Now, three weeks home, Leo wakes up looking for his brother and sisters. If he gets up before them (which is almost unheard of!), he goes searching in their rooms and hollering for them to get up and play with him.

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The best we can tell he’s happy to be a Sutton, and we are beyond blessed to have him home!

Now, I do want to point out that pictures don’t always tell the whole story.  These pictures show the majority of our times together…..happy, laughing, singing, playing.  But adoption is hard stuff, and behind the smiles are sad stories of abandonment, grief, loss, and neglect.  We are thankful that interwoven in Leo’s story, there is also love because part of his story includes a great foster family.  However, it is ultimately sadness and brokenness that brought him to us.

There have been moments that are emotionally, mentally, and physically hard.  Part of those moments are due to initial bonding and adjusting…..some are just a result of “cocooning” and not seeing the outside world or community for so many days on end.  Some were just trying to figure out what “normal” is going to look like after the dust settles, Andy goes back to work, and Addy and Abe start schoolwork again.  And as each day passes, it all feels a little more normal…..and feels a little more like he’s always been here–right where he belongs.

We never imagined the last three weeks would go as smoothly as they have.  God has been so faithful and so near to us.  He has shown grace and patience as we fumble through this.  He has provided the love and support of our families whom have been incredibly patient in meeting Leo as we establish then the bonds he has with us first.  He has surrounded us with church family and friends who have sacrificially loved us…..bringing us meals every day the last three weeks, dropping off donuts on our kitchen table, offering to go shopping for us, offering rides to and from church activities for our older 3, calling and texting with concern and encouragement, sending cards, and filling in the gaps for us as we step back from church involvement for a while.  He has provided me a core group of other adoptive moms–we are 5 strong (and some days we are 5 weak).  Through the beauty of technology, I talk with them daily…..and one hard day in particular, I could not have survived without their love and wisdom.  God also knit my heart together with Zoosy’s foster mom, Alina.  I continue to be in almost daily contact with her which has been an enormous blessing.  She has helped with any language barriers and food questions I have had.  She sent us home with bags of his favorite things–keepsakes and comforts—the only things he will ever have to physically remind him of his life before us.  There has been no place, no situation that hasn’t had the hand of God all over it.  He left no detail to chance and no moment unattended.  We give all glory and honor and praise to His name.

 

 

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