Tuesday, August 3, 2010


coming home.  homecoming.   welcome home.  home sweet homethere's no place like home.  these words and phrases seem to imply home is a place to which we return.  we've been there, left, and now come back.  the prodigal son returned home...dorothy and her dog, toto, returned home...even ET returned home.  these are just a few of the joyful examples of homecoming.  but what if you are not returning...what if you are just coming. coming home for the first time.  can it still be coming home?  absolutely!  after this weekend, i can write with assurance it is just as much a type of homecoming.  and it is certainly just as much a celebration.  on saturday, july 31st 2010, bella grace came home.  there wasn't a parade or a marching band and we didn't slaughter a fatted calf.   ruby slippers weren't involved and neither was a spaceship.  bella's homecoming took one year and 24 days.  it took approximately 4000 pieces of paper and at least 500 approvals.  it took a series of official stamps and a series of official shots.  it required us to uncover every corner of our life and disclose every dollar in our account.  it took about 26 hours of travel on two different airplanes.  but bella grace xue mcnatt did finally come home.  and home has never felt sweeter.  

some friends and our children met us at the airport.  bella's name was spelled out in large letters.  there were balloons.  but it was the faces of my children i will always remember.  i am not sure i've ever seen smiles that big.  we couldn't hug each other tight enough. close enough. long enough.  in the last few days before leaving china i was really struggling.  i was missing them so much it seemed physical.  i longed for them.  i longed to see them with bella. i could feel that longing in my limbs, in my shoulders, in my back.   my hands almost ached for wanting to touch them.  as i write this, i think it sounds kind of weird...but that's just how it felt.  when i was able to finally have them in my arms i couldn't get enough of them.  there was one moment in the airport where i had all three girls in my arms and i felt the ache begin to loosen.  and then began the celebration of their union with bella.  unbelieveable joy. it was hardly containable.  after traveling for more than a day we were heavily draped in exhaustion but there was this crazy exhiliration which kept bubbling up all day as i would watch all five kids together.  it seemed like we were moving through a dream.  i had dreamt many times of this very day and so it was this strange deja vu kind of thing.  i was captivated by all of it.

bella fashion by emily
we came home to find something better than a parade and a marching band...we found a clean house!  the kids and some friends had worked the entire day before cleaning every corner of our home.  emily, our oldest, had made a list and assigned everyone a different chore.  sheets were washed, floors were mopped, cupboards organized, carpets swept and rooms picked up.  it was amazing.  the benefits of going to china for two weeks and adopting are endless!   my sweet friend, michelle, had spoken with emily about a grocery list and she and her husband, randy, had shopped for groceries filling our pantry and refrigerator full of staples.  we had meals in the freezer and flowers on the counter.  the kids had also been busy with a few surprises.  they had shopped for gifts for bella, all of which were precious.  while we were gone they had been working on a special scrapbook.  the two girls who stayed with them, holly and lauren stone, had helped them put together a welcome home scrapbook for bella.  each child had designed their own page and written a note to bella.  what a treasure.  it is absolutely beautiful.  again, i highly recommend traveling to china and adopting.  no telling of what your kids are capable!  emily had also taken the time to sew an outfit for bella.  completely little girl chic.  i would have bought this in a boutique...it is that cute.  anyway, we were blown away by our children and our friends. sorry if i sound like i am bragging about our children, just know this is not typical behavior.  what was most important was not the clean house, but that they wanted to bless us as we came home. we felt loved and encouraged.  it was good to be home.

bella. bella came into our home like she had lived there forever.  she didn't seem shy or overwhelmed.  not even when she met our 150 pound golden retriever.  she was clearly excited by it all.  but not fearful or even hesitant.  she ran from thing to thing...room to room...but she seemed to just be at home with it all.  again, we were amazed.  how could she just plop down in the middle of our life and seem to have always been there.  she was coming home.  this was just further affirmation of the fact that this was exactly where she was meant to be.  not that we needed more convincing.  we kind of knew this back in china.  but what joy it was to see her just fit right in like a tiny puzzle piece that had been missing.  the picture was complete.  and our joy was complete.   she played and laughed and enjoyed everything and everybody. she knew immediately she had the attention of 6 individuals and it was clear she liked it.  i watched as my four children tripped over each other trying to meet her needs or accomodate her wants.  they each wanted her all to themselves.  they each were worried that the other kids had had more time with her.  i quickly realized we were in need of an egg timer and whistle.  it was time to put on my referee jersey...not necessarily my favorite role as mother,   but it was all priceless to be watching.  i didn't even mind the bickering so much...they were all there.  all together.  all home.   at the end of the day i came down the basement to find all 5 of them and rick watching a movie together.  this picture is worth a thousand of my blogging words. bella was home. 


priscilla said...

Oh, Jody. No one else but you and Rick know the complete journey, the behind the scenes work and prayer & angst. It is complete. Praise God. SO thankful for your 5 blessings & that you are home. Loving that Bella will learn about Jesus, the author and finisher of her story, her way to all of our eternal homes.
love to all!

Goodness and Mercy Mom said...

What a perfect description of coming home. I remember too well the thoughts and feelings of being away from my kids at home, then bringing home the 99th sheep for the first time. What a gift to have your house clean and kitchen stocked!

Still rejoicing with you!

Much Love,

andrea said...

what great kiddos you have....welcome home mcnatt family.

love the bella outfit...she should sell those...i'd buy one for emma lael ;)


Valerie said...

It's such a priviledge to read your blog. Thank you for blessing us with your journey and praise to His provision and gifts.