There's NO Place Like Home

I have never missed home like I did while I was in China.  I missed Steve, my house, my bed, our food, people who spoke English (and/or understood English) and non-smoking places.  The first Sunday I spent in China, I was able to Skype with my Lifegroup.

And I nearly cried.

To see their faces...the people I love so much.  They are family to us.  I have never felt about a group of people like I do the folks in my church. 

So, imagine how it felt to walk towards the airport security exit and see this looking back at me...
My pastor is there on the right side of the picture...the lens just wasn't wide enough.  And this picture doesn't include all of our family that were there.  There were more than 50 people waiting for us at the airport.  Of those pictured above, there are at least 5 other adoptive families.  In a church of about 500, that is PHENOMENAL.  The coolest part?  Our pastor's family is an adoptive family.  You can't tell me that doesn't make a difference.  Don't believe me?  How about this...
That's our adoptive families at church.  Well...most of them.  There are SEVEN families missing.

Anyway, coming home was the best thing EVER.  EVER.  E. V. E. R. 

My sweet, sweet friend, Samantha Byers came to the airport to document our arrival.  Every picture on here is courtesy of her.  If you are local and interested in what Samantha does, click here.  Tell her you found her from my blog.

She took 2 CDs full of pictures but here are just a few of my favorites.
So happy to be home and see all those sweet faces waiting for us!

Not sure what to think, but she's already found the camera, which is a good thing.  :)

I like this one because I love the look on Kylie's face as she looks at her grandfather (Steve's dad)
I'm especially fond of the ones where I'm hugging people.  There was no way to capture all of the hugs I got, but the ones that were captured are so precious to me.  Because each face, each smile, represents a life that joined ours to walk this journey with us.  And that is simply...indescribable.
My friend Elizabeth.  This girl has become so dear to me.  She is adopting as well and waiting on her referral from the Congo.  Check her out here.

My friend Jill.  That's her sweet little girl peeking around the side.  I fell in love with her and now Jill and I are good friends.  Jill (and others) have literally provided me with all things baby from PJs to exersaucers!

If you'd read my blog any length of time, you know this girl.  Rachel.  My long time friend and fellow adoptive mom.  She is also awaiting her referral from Ethiopia.  I'd point you to her blog, but well...um.  Yeah.  Just tune in here for updates.  :)
There were so many others, but this is just a snapshot of a few.  Doesn't Samantha rock?  Oh yes...here are some other faves:
That's Kylie meeting her Aunt Teresa for the first time. 
Us and Nana.  Nana looks happy doesn't she!? :)

These are my Lifegroup girls.  There are a few missing which I'm sad about, but oh how I love these girls!

Here we are...the three muskateers and our girls.  Before traveling to China, we hung out nearly every Friday night together.  Jenna is a great help with the littles...Jill's son, Aaron and Elizabeth's daughter, Wylie, are not pictured.  Not too long ago we actually all had a sleep over.  Yes.  We.  Did.
Several folks brought little gifts to Kylie.  For Kylie, who only saw the same toys every day in the orphanage, everything is a cool, new toy.
A sweet little lamb from our friends, the Fowlers, who, incidentally, are in the early stages of adopting from China (SN)!

A China doll made over at Jiayin Designs, from our friends the Varners and the Strothers (Strothers are also an adoptive family...Nepal).
And I'll wrap this up by leaving you with the last two favorites....
Have I mentioned how much these girls already love each other?

Our very first picture as a family of four.
Thanks to Samantha for providing this wonderful keepsake!  When you have traveled for 24-30 hours straight, it is hard to remember who you saw, what you got, and who you hugged.  If you are interested in seeing the entire group of pictures, click here, go to proofing and enter the password, "Homecoming" (remove quotes, case sensitive).

If you like what you see, spend some time in Samantha's galleries and then contact her to find out when she can turn her lens on you and your family.  :)


Julie said...

You are making me cry! Your homecoming was just the sweetest...it was almost like we were there! Love that you have these pictures.

Vicky said...

What a sweet wonderful blessing to have so many friends and family greet you at the airport!