Goodbye China, Hello USA

Life back in China feels like a dream.  A foggy one, that I’m already starting to forget.  For me, it hasn’t sunk in yet that we aren’t going back.  It feels like just another trip home.  I think taking care of Cora helps to distract me.  Jacob seemed a little down yesterday, and when I asked him what was wrong he said the finality of our decision was starting to sink in.  I know it will happen for me… will it take a few days? Weeks? Months?  Will it hit me as I’m walking through the grocery store?  Or doing dishes?  I wonder what I’ll do… it’s not going to be easy, I know.

Little things amuse me.  We were in the grocery store and were waiting in line to checkout.  The cashiers were all busy, with one or two people in each line waiting.  My mother-in-law commented on how busy it was – and don’t get me wrong, for our small town, it was busy.  But my mind immediately flashed back to the week before when I stood in line for 45 minutes behind about 10 people to check-out.  Busy-ness redefined.

Or at the airport in Seattle.  The train arrived and as I was waiting to get on, I felt an urge to inch forward to the doors before anyone had even exited the train.  I’m used to elbows and pushing, and suddenly I realized I was the only one preparing to push my way on.

I also find that overhearing others’ conversations, and being able to understand all that they say, is distracting and sometimes surprising.  I’m probably going to become entirely too noisy.  Oh, and commercials on TV.  We never watched Chinese TV, so for the most part, I don’t watch commercials.  (Except when I intentionally went online to watch the Superbowl commercials – my favorite? Darth Vader/VW.)  Suddenly I feel the same old pressure to make my life better, faster, and more indulgent.

So that’s a taste of what coming home has been for me these last few days… but right now I want to record our last week, before it feels even more fuzzy and dream-like.

We spent lots of time with friends… meals, pictures, laughter, conversation.  My favorite moment?  When one of our friends told us that we’d need to bring Cora back in a few years, so she’d understand her “roots.”  That made me smile…

Do you see that red envelope tucked into her blanket?  That’s called “Hong Bao” (literally: red envelope)  It is a traditional gift… you put money in it, and give it to someone on a special occasion – a birth, wedding, Chinese New Year.  Cora got several Hong Bao to celebrate her arrival, and I saved them all…
thought it’d be neat for her to have someday.

We also gave Cora her first haircut.  I know, a little early, right?  I wouldn’t have – if it weren’t for the unfortunate mullet she was born with.  I still might have left it alone, but then I found out about a Chinese tradition where they cut a baby’s hair and make a calligraphy brush from the trimmings.  I thought that seemed like a beautiful way to preserve her baby hair, so the night before we left, Cora got her first haircut.

We spent time at the foster home, too.  Saying last goodbyes to the children.  I promised Ethan that I’d try to see him when he comes to America with his family… if I can figure out where he lives.  I love this picture we took with Vincent.  He loved holding Cora, but sometimes he’d get distracted by something else, and she’d topple off his lap onto the couch.  It made me laugh, but it worried the nannies!  Doesn’t he look as proud as punch to be holding a baby?  Robert had to check my belly one last time to make sure there was no baby still inside… I can’t wait for all those little guys to join their families… I’m thrilled that they are all matched.

The trip home was tiring and long, but at the end waited our families.  Cora meets my parents tonight, but she already got to meet Jacob’s parents (that’s his mom down below).  We know it is good to be home with our families right now… good for all of us.

There are a few more pictures on facebook… but Cora wants to eat now, and there’s no putting off a hungry baby.

8 thoughts on “Goodbye China, Hello USA

  1. Hello Carrie !
    I have been reading your blog for a few weeks. It is very interesting for me as we have different things in common particularly our faith and China. We spent 2 weeks there last summer : firt in Shanghai then in Beijing to discover our child country.
    We live in France and we will travel soon to Guangzhou to adopt our little boy !
    If you like, I could send you an invitation for our private blog.
    Here is my e-mail :


  2. Aw I love seeing Grace in the pics! Sweet Grace, we miss her!

    I was grinning when I read about the “busy-ness” of the grocery store. I imagine that is one of many many events that will be neat to compare to what it was like in China.

    I am so thankful you are still blogging! You brought China alive to so many of us here, and now that you're in the States, you will continue to share that part of you in conjunction with the new parts God is building in your life!

    Praying for you! (oh, and when we go back to ND, if you want us to tote anything for you, don't hesitate to ask! It will be a while…but still I thought I'd offer!)


  3. Thanks for sharing Carrie. I have so loved living vicariously through your stories. The Lord has good plans for you, plans to prosper you….here in America once more.


  4. I already miss China through your heart, eyes and words.
    I knew you would do fine as a Mom.

    I left a comment on 1/2.


  5. I have heard that adjustment back into your own culture is much harder than the adjustment you had in the prior country where you lived. I know some cultural things seem to make more sense here than in the USA already. Except for the driving!!!! ha ha When Greg went home for his grandmothers funeral he was annoyed by all of the slow drivers…lol! Praying for you all Carrie!!


  6. Oh, I'm sure it is so hard to adjust to life here again. May He meet you just where you are and may you know with certainty that He is just as active growing you and pruning you and molding you to be more in His image in the states as He was in China.


  7. Hey there, Carrie~

    It's so good to read your posts again. I can't wait to get over to your FB page this weekend, and peruse through your new photos you mentioned. I think of you often and have kept each of you in my prayers. It's wonderful to see the peace you have and how God has brought you through to this very place in time.

    Your last post really spoke to me. I loved that passage you posted from the book you read. I love the title of the post, too. I know it is rooted back to that book, and it is very profound and meaningful. It reminded me of something a friend gave me when I was about to be married and was looking back on some mistakes I had made in my past with regret. She framed this quote and I often stop and read it yet today, to remind myself that God is in the PRESENT, not in the past, not in the future…in the here and now!

    I will leave you with it here:

    ” “I was regretting the past and fearing the future. Suddenly my Lord was speaking: My name is I Am He paused. I waited. He continued, When you live in the past with its mistakes and regrets, it is hard. I am not there. My name is not I WAS. When you live in the future, with its problems and fears, it is hard. I am not there. My name is not I WILL BE. When you live in this moment, it is not hard. I am here. My name is I AM.”

    Blessings and Hugs!! <>< love,


  8. Welcome back to the good 'ol USA! Enjoying the crazy fun of reverse-culture shock?! I liked your story of the grocery line. I remember being so overwhelmed by the sheer abundance of food choices at the grocery… it almost made me have a panick attack!

    Cora is so precious and beautiful! She has changed so much in the pictures over the past few weeks. I can't believe she didn't cry at all on the trip back. WOW! That is the Lord's mercy. We want to take our 3 little ones to China this year… but honestly, I'm terrified of the trip!

    Hope you get some much needed rest this weekend.


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