March 25, 2009

1 year ago...

On March 26, 2008, we stepped off the plane at the Grand Rapids, MI airport and were finally HOME! It had been a wicked 28 hours of travel. Josie had screamed and cried during most of our very long painful flight. In her rages, she would grab her face and scratch herself. Right before we boarded our final plane she scratched herself so bad, it looked like she had kitty whiskers on her cheeks. We are convinced that her unrepaired heart condition and the pressure of the plane made her uncomfortable and very miserable. She had been a beast on all our other short plane travels while we were in China. I had always assumed we'd have the fairytale return home like the other adoptive families I had followed. Nope. Josie had other ideas.

In Beijing we had upgraded our flight to business class and little did those businessmen know what they were in for. By the time we got off the plane in Chicago to go through Immigration, we are convinced they were cursing at us in Chinese.

At that point in our journey, Josie would not let Chris hold or comfort her and I was exhausted. She maybe slept a total of one hour the entire time we were on the plane and only in short bursts before she'd wake up screaming. I had Josie strapped to me most of those 28 hours (including potty breaks in the plane and various airport terminals). I'll never forget Emma asking me in Chicago (as we were waiting in the Immigration line) if I had any makeup in my purse because I looked awful. I honestly felt as awful as I looked. It was a good thing we had discouraged friends and our Detroit family members from meeting us at the GR airport because it was not a pleasant homecoming.

Praise GOD that's all a distant memory. Josie can still be a strong-willed child, but she's NOW HEALTHY, well adjusted and for the most part, very very happy. I'm so glad all her invasive medical procedures are behind us now.

I'll always look fondly at our time in China and I can't wait to take Josie back someday. What an amazing year we've had together.

I still can't believe Josie has been on U.S. soil for a year now. Welcome home, Josie Kenward. Welcome home...


sheri said...

Just another wonderful story of inspiration for us. Thank you Kim and happy ANNIVERSARY!

Anonymous said...

Happy Anniversary,Kenward Family of 4!
The Marshes

Steffie B. said...

Just lovely is hard to believe it has already been a year....


Truly Blessed! said...

One Year!!! That is such a huge milestone.

It just goes to show you, 'what doesn't kill you makes you stronger"

Shanna said...

Y'all did have a rough beginning ! I love your honesty about those first difficult weeks. We also had a very similar [miserable] experience with our Kai. I still have a scar on my arm where he scratched me on the airplane!! During those most difficult moments, if ONLY we could see one year into the future!
Josie is an amazing girl! I am so glad she has found her perfect place in your family. Today starts her second year home..... what an awesome year it will be!!

Nicole said...

Woohoo, Josie!!!! One whole year as a US citizen! Congrats, Kim (and all) on an amazing year. I'm so glad we were able to find each other so we can continue to share things about our girls and find times to reunite them with their fellow Ji'an brothers and sisters!

Buffi said...

Happy Anniversary guys!! It is TRULY hard to believe, isn't it?!?! Time flies by SO FAST!! Josie is so adorable and amazing!!! It's awesome to see how she's grown!! what a blessing it has been for us to get to know your family through our adoptions. We will always have that "thin red thread" connecting our families!!! So glad of that!! Hope you have a wonderful week!!

Kay Bratt said...

Happy Anniversary! I had to chuckle at the 'make-up comment' from Emma. I have been in that situation in airports [but not with a child] where the travel and stress have kicked my butt and I can't bear to look in the mirror. I remember our first home trip back after living in China one year, my dad took one look at my ravaged, exhausted face and declared, "Where the h#%! you been living, a concentration camp?" He didn't/doesn't understand jet lag or the stress of flying half way round the world! So glad you are honest about your "gotcha trip" is important for other new parents to realize that is might not be all butterflies and roses... love ya, K

Shay Ankerich said...

Dear Kim,

I came to you from Kimberley's blog today and read your post. Tomorrow is EllaKate Day for us- we have had her for 3 years now. Where does the time go? We had a very similar experience coming home as well. EllaKate screamed and cried most of the time too- when we finally got back to Atlanta, we took her to the doctor and she had a double ear infection- no wonder she cried. Loved reading your post and hope you have a wonderful day!!!


Nikki said...

Poor little thing. I wonder what was going on with her. She had to have been just miserable.
That's all over and done with (and you'll never see those business men again!) and now Josie's home, healthy and so very happy. It was all worth it.
(we had to adjust our 'fairy tale visions' of the adoption process too....)
Happy One Year Anniversary!!
Can't wait to see what the NEXT year brings :)

Mike and Barb said...

Hmmm, I thought I already commented here... I guess not :-))
Congratulations on your one year home anniversary. This has not been an easy year, and I wish you with all of my heart that this second year will be much smoother, and filled with more sleep, and less medical stuff - less crying, and more grins and giggles....
Thanks for sharing this year with us!
Love, BArb

Robin Miller said...

I am in tears as I read about all of the ups and downs you guys have conquered over the last year. The thoughts of her feeling so miserable on that plane just breaks my heart! Glory to God for a very healthy and happy Josie now! I can't believe it's been a year since I first began following your family. Here's to a fabulous second year together!

Christel, Jerry, Alex and Anthony said...

Kim, Thank you so much for always leaving a comment on my blog... Sometimes, i am never sure who really cares to look at it... Then every time i post there you are faithfully leaving me a little note! Thank you so much!

yes, yes... i think a couple of little boy Kazakhs would look good in your family! heehee!

Congratulations to you guys too... It is amazing how fast the time seems to go... Anthony's now been with us longer than he has been without us!!! Yay!!!

Happy Spring to y'all and i hope that we can play together sometime soon! :)

Oatsvall Team said...

she is truly beaming now !! thank you Lord for all your healing over the past year !!!

love ya