Today marks two weeks that we've been back on U.S. soil. In so many respects, it feels like two months. It feels as though she's always been here greeting us with sleepy morning smiles.
Been a few days for us, so let's back-track a bit to Sunday. Ella, dressed in her Sunday best, really went home. We crossed the threshold of our church. Her people gathered her in. It was "all that and a bag of chips" (to borrow a quote from our friend Brynn). What moved me way beyond tears, certainly beyond words, was the youth group, and dare I say my youth group.
This blog is Ella's - her journey. But it is impossible to separate some parts of our worlds. This would be one of them. While we were in China, some of the teens attended a spiritual retreat in Cincinnati. On Sunday morning, they got up in front of God and everyone else, shared their joy in Ella's journey home and presented a video (pictures of our journey in China) with a particular song they had heard at the retreat. The song moved them and directed their hearts to Ella. The video ended with their written words of love and joy and thanksgiving.
Years of planting seeds with these teens, and it all grew in front of my eyes, our eyes. So there we were, a family of three...finally, these precious teens all grown up and all the puzzle pieces fit together. It isn't often you get to feel so sure of something. Boy, did I.
And Ella's week hasn't really slowed down. She has met so many of her cheerleaders!! We've been laying low the last two days to let her adjust a bit more. We hope to get back into the swing of things this weekend. I'll leave you with some photos of her and her extended, huge, wonderful family.
A very curious Ava and Ella..
Ella and two pretty smitten men, Daddy and Uncle Jeffie...
The chicks came over for food and adult beverages this week. Ella was sworn to secrecy by all that she heard. Auntie Cara...