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We’re home! We’ve been home a week, actually. And, let me tell you, it has been one looooong, drowsy week. I’ve been trying to write about our homecoming – the finale to our traveling adventure. It’s just taken some time!

Way back in our China days, our trek home to the United States started at 5:30am. We did not sleep much the night before, but it didn’t take much to motivate us to get out of bed. Our bags were picked up, and we were off to the airport in no time. Wheels were up in Guangzhou and we headed North to Shanghai where we spent about 6 hours in the airport along with a few other families from our group. This sounds like a long layover, but it was actually too short. Our original itinerary routed us home through Shanghai as well, but it had allowed us to plan for a visit to Shanghai Healing Home where Jeremiah had been cared for. With our newly booked, golden tickets, this was not an option.

Sad was an understatement. I don’t know that we will ever see the bed he slept in, hug the women that cared for him, or take pictures of all of his friends. We settled for stolen glimpses of the city through the airplane windows as we prepared to land in the third largest city in China.

We ate one last meal with friends, chased Jeremiah around for miles, and finally boarded our “big plane” around 6:30pm for a flight over the ocean. J literally grabbed a pillow and laid down almost immediately.

We waved bye-bye to China as we took off – a small, sentimental act that was grossly disproportionate to the actual circumstances. “Goodbye, everything I’ve ever known,” may have been more appropriate, but how do you give that a childlike ring? Things were finite. We were flying away from everything he had ever known and toward everything we missed. Significance noted.

The looooong flight was almost entirely uneventful. We tried to doze, and we watched a lot of movies. J did great. We landed in Chicago in the late afternoon. We left China in the evening, and arrived back in the States that same evening. We watched the sun rise, set, rise, and set all in one day. Flying overseas is so bizarre.

Jeremiah became a US citizen when we touched US soil, and we completed customs and immigration in Chicago. The officer that stamped his passport offered his congratulations, and I got slightly emotional. Was he thinking about all that had happened for J to get to this place and time? I was. J was asleep in the Ergo, so we waited until we were home in Colorado to let his feet physically touch the ground. It felt right.

I cannot think of a family friendly way to describe our flight from Chicago to Denver. It was terrible. There was so. much. crying, and surely a lot of ticked off passengers. We needed a few minutes to compose ourselves in the terminal before making our way toward this beautiful sight. Thank you, my pretty friend Kristen, for making our memory of this blessed event something we can look back at forever.

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Dear children, we missed you so. Meet your brother. You are all so precious.

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We were so happy to see family and friends at the airport! It was no small feat for them to greet us. The clock struck midnight before we hopped in our cars to drive home. Which means that it felt like 2 in the afternoon for the three of us. We were seriously messed up. For days and days.

Vogt BW 68We were so blessed by the community of people that we shared our traveling journey with. They are dear to us, and we miss them. But, there is nothing like returning home to the community of people that we do life with here. We are SO blessed.

IMG_5169There were balloons and bouquets of birthday flowers waiting and yummy cake that we devoured at 2am.

I came home to cabinets THAT ARE WHITE!!! When we left for China this project had been started but untouched for months. There was just too much going on. Many, many people had a hand in this huge surprise! I have pictures to prove it. I am shocked and so grateful. That was no small feat. We have brand new ceiling fans that were purchased and installed in our absence. They are beautiful and amazing. Our yard was missing a lot of weeds, and our grass was cut. People made stuff happen around here while we were gone. We feel so loved.

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Pictures were strung documenting our time away…IMG_5174…and the events that happened while we were gone. We loved catching a glimpse at all the ways people loved us and our children in our absence.IMG_5176IMG_5177There was a vintage birthday sign. This one was actually from 10 years ago, representing a longstanding tradition in my family. IMG_5181J’s room was ready.IMG_5185I don’t know that I can think of a time that I was more happy to be home. Life as a family of 6 is our reality at last. Praise Jesus.

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