I'm hearing lots of questions from all of you, and while I LOVE talking about Mbo and how she's doing, I'm exhausted! So I'm taking a moment to post a few of our most asked questions, before I crash into bed. The biggest question so far is:
How is Mbo adjusting?
I feel that Mbo and I have established the beginnings of a great bond. There isn't a huge level of surface affection (hugging, kissing, I love you's) on Mbo's part, but frankly, we've known each other a month. It's totally ok with me if she takes her time. But she does seem to love me, almost as much as I love her! She looks to me for help, for answers, for permission. It's amazing, actually, how quickly she decided that I was her mama. Amazing. Sure wish I could take credit for it. I know we might just be in the honeymoon phase, but she's a fantastic kiddo. Don't get me wrong, there are typical 5 year old behaviors that we've had to figure out together, but she's doing so well!
How did Mbo like the plane ride home?
I was super nervous about this one, myself. 36ish hours travelling for the first time on four separate planes... Doesn't sound like the best scenario for a 5 year old, honestly. But Mbo was sooo excited about the airplanes. She loved them! When landing, she'd hide her eyes in my arm, while clutching my hand with both of hers, but it reminded me of riding a roller coaster for the first time. Scared but excited all at the same time. Tummy rolling over. Mbo was a trooper! She (and her mommy) got cranky at times, but for the most part, we couldn't have asked for better travel. Mbo watched Brave probably 5 times total in two days. I offered other movies, but she LOVED it!
The airport was great. Mbo was genuinely excited to meet her family. It felt so good to finally have my whole family together after 9 months of working to that end. Due to snow, we didn't have as many people come as had planned, but it was just the right amount, honestly. So, so good to finally hug my family!
How was the first day back?
Let me tell ya, we couldn't have asked for a better 24 hours. Mbo was so very excited to see everyone, just as they were excited to see her. She was friendly and outgoing (as much as Mbo is outgoing-she's fairly quiet) and generally happy with everything. We had a great nights' sleep, as all three of my children slept until 8:30 this morning. Wow, is that a Christmas gift for these tired parents!
Robby and Ella spontaneously decided that we needed a welcome home party this morning. So they set up the living room with flowers and sea shell for decorations and finally invited us all in. Robby even insisted on a (terrible) family picture that he wanted us to frame and put on the wall. Probably not gonna happen, Buddy.
The kids spent the day running around the house, using their God-given lungs to the best of their abilities! Mbo seems happy and well-adjusted today, thoroughly enjoying her new siblings. Those kids crack me up! Who cares about the language barrier?!
Robby spent a good deal of time today, patiently explaining things to his new sister. He was so proud of her that she could count to 20 in English, so he decided to help her learn up to 30! And then, he wrote our the numbers, so she could see what they looked like. Love his heart. There's no one in this world like my Robby.
Mbo and Ryan had a hard time bonding in Congo, while he was there. It's typical for kids to bond with one parent first, but it's difficult to be on the other side of that. So it's been so amazing for us that she is so excited to be around Ryan. Again, there's the reminder that this is all new, and we have a VERY long road ahead of us, but we're off to a better start than I could have imagined. :)
All that said, I know we have a long road ahead, but it feels like we're a family. A dream come true. Welcome Home, Mbo Alexis Hanson!