Help Me Grow Help Me Heal

Yesterday was our last Adoption Training Session. It’s a great feeling to get the training out of the way although we still have a few more appointments with our Social Worker and our autobiography still to get through.

The training was titled “Pre-Adoptive and Pre-Foster Parent CORE Training” The Agenda was probably the most engaging and eye opening out of all four trainings we were required to take.

The Agenda looked like this:

Adoption Basics•Typical Child Development•Seven Core issues in Adoption & Foster Care•Birth Family Dynamics•Overview & Discussion of Child Abuse & Neglect•Prenatal Substance Exposure•Understanding Childhood Trauma•Attachment•Child Advocacy & Support System.

The Blue font is the topic where I got caught in. Seven Core issues in Adoption & Foster. Those 7 are: Loss, Rejection, Guilt/Shame, Grief, Identity, Intimacy, Control. Heavy topics. The room was definitely unsure how to respond -how is anybody enthusiastic to share your thoughts on any of those topics?

The first exercise they did was a visualization exercise. They asked us to close our eyes and focus where their questions were leading us.

  1. Think of a time to lost something or somebody very important or precious to you.
  2. Where are you?
  3. Who is around you?
  4. How did you feel when you found out that you lost this something or someone?
  5. How did you respond and why did you respond like that?

My memory took me to the loss of my mother. That series of events is something I know I’ve buried deep down and nobody really has walked with me back into that dark corner of my memory.

Memories are very interesting. They can take place at a very specific moment of your life and depending on how you process it, it has the power to remain there- just as powerful and real as if you’re still stuck there.

I don’t recall when the ambulance arrived but I remember talking to a paramedic. He asked what my mom had the night before. “Lima bean soup and a 7-up”

(Memory goes black)

I don’t think there was an adult supervising me because I recall standing outside of the house watching them wheel my mom away. That was the last time I saw her alive.

(Memory goes black)

I recall standing on the sidewalk facing the street, back toward my home. I grabbed my tote bag which was sewn by my mom. She ran an alteration shop in Castro Valley so her hands were nimble and experienced in sewing. It was made with navy blue fabric that was patterned with these tiny flowers. Two straps and a small pocket in the front. I grabbed a favorite book, maybe 2 and my favorite Teddy Bear which I thought was from the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic but after researching today, the Teddy Bear was from the 1980 Moscow Olympics!!

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I don’t know how long I stood out there but nobody came to find me except Lisa Yi, my best friend at the time. I don’t even recall when she came over but she lived with her grandma in San Francisco so I guess they rushed down after hearing the news. We had this really brief conversation (?) exchange of words-.

Lisa: “What are you doing here?”

I don’t know what I answered and I don’t think I knew why I stood out there but knowing me, it was probably because I thought I had to find a new home. All I knew was that my mom was not in the house anymore. I had no idea who was inside our home. I somehow quietly packed my belongings and stood out front hoping somebody would take me ….somewhere?

Judy: “Can I live with you and your grandma, Lisa?”

Lisa: “Okay, I can ask my grandma.”

The 38 year old Judy looks at the 7? 8? year old Judy and wishes she could give her a hug. “What a brave young girl. I wonder if she thought to grab her items because of the influence she had reading those children’s book. I wonder which book she grabbed off her shelf. Who was she waiting for?”

The instructor asked if a brave individual would like to share their memory. It’s been over 30 years since this all happened, so I raised my hand. The moment I opened my mouth, I could feel an unstable quiver in my voice and my vocal chords were tightening.

“No.. Judy. Focus. You’re not going to cry. You can share this memory without any hiccups.”

It wasn’t going away and when I came to utter “I stood on the sidewalk”, I stopped. I looked at the carpet, away from the eyes of those in the classroom, focusing on regaining control of my emotions and these darn tears that were welling up in my eyes.

I could tell everybody was staring at me and I needed to respond to their stares. I quickly looked up at the instructors and apologized.

“I’m sorry.. I just..”

“No ..no that’s okay. Take your time.”

I could hear a mini tissue packet being opened from behind me and JP tapped my arm to hand me a tissue. Even then I refused to use the tissue. I didn’t want to accept the fact that I was still emotional after all these years and unable to tell the story without being moved by emotions.

“Thank you for sharing, Judy. Could you share how your dad or your family helped your process this loss?”

“My dad never asked me. Nobody talked about it in our family. It was like it was taboo to speak about her. I guess I was also just very busy trying to adjust to being reunited with my brother and dad, making new friends and trying to figure out what is going on. Being resilient as a child and just moving on..”

But she wasn’t taboo to me. She was my mom. She cared for me. She raised me. She loved me and I loved her. Everybody spoke about her as if she doesn’t exist which may be true to a certain extent but she exists in me.. in my memories and in my heart. To see that memories of my mom was denied verbal and mental attention in my family was probably very confusing and conflicting with what I know and remember my mom as. I don’t know why nobody wanted to talk about her. Since I didn’t know why, I just went with the flow and rarely talked about her or the memories I have with her.

I had just become a real life example of what kind of loss and grief an adopted child may bring when they are introduced to a new family. I became an example in the middle of the classroom-of what happens when parents don’t talk or try to understand the child’s perspective even if they are in non-verbal stages of growing. Every loss and grief freezes and stays frozen. It’s never embraced and just remains. If it was embraced, I wonder how different I would be today. Would I still be choking up sharing these few snippets of my childhood with a group of strangers?

I kept tearing up all the way to lunch. I felt embarrassed. I felt like a distraction to the entire class but all the slides and everything the instructor was saying made me wish in my heart,

“I wish Dad talked to me. I wish somebody talked to me before I grew older in age and before new memories covered what I wanted to recall and hold onto.”

So now I think about Benaiah. He too will have some sort of trauma, loss and or grief to deal with. The challenge is that because he will be in non-verbal stages of life, JP and I won’t know which behavior is stemmed from the grieving of loss or just the temperament of the child.

“What can adoptive and foster parents do to help children grieve?”

  • Help the child understand the reasons for their adoption placement.
  • Assist the child with adjusting to a new environment
  • Be open and approachable so the child can rely on you for help in dealing with his/her loss.
  • Assist the child in maintaining relationships with his/her family of origin.
  • Help the child find a sense of safety and security
  • Don’t be quick to dismiss losses in adoption and move quickly to gains.

Even now, I trust that God has a reason. A reason as to why the loss of my mom was never embraced or resolved. Maybe I’ll grieve bit by bit until I die. Who knows. But the strange yet mysterious part of this grieving process while learning about Benaiah’s issues is that I know God can use this grief and loss to draw me into Benaiah’s heart so much more. It’s something JP has not experienced (I asked what his memory was and he said he couldn’t think of one during the exercise) so I’m grateful that as parents to be, we’re not oblivious and inexperienced with grief and loss.

Even though as a grown adult, I feel weak and ashamed to still grieve, but exploiting this weakness of mine for the glory of Christ helps the power of Christ to rest upon me. God willing, if Benaiah comes home and God willing if he lives to turn 6, 7 or 8 years old, my heart will once again grive and tear to see him wrestle with life and the losses in life he has had to endure. Until then, I want to remember these weaknesses and exploit them again when I struggle to understand his tantrums or behaviors so that the power of Christ will rest upon me during those tough parenting moments. Exploit them to Benaiah when he is at an age where he can and wants to verbalize his feelings and thoughts.

God, thank you for revealing this weakness in me. As a mom, I feel inadequate and incomplete with my own grief and loss–to even address and help Benaiah resolve his. But God, your strength is made perfect in weaknesses not strengths. I believe that to be true and cast these feelings of shame, embarrassment and weakness at the Cross and ask that the power of Christ would rest upon me in my brokenness and humility before you and others. I don’t know how Lord, but I know you will redeem this during this adoption journey. You’re the only one who can in every life. So work through these moments and let them not be memories or weaknesses in vain so that you may be exalted and glorified even after the fact that it has been 30 years since. Make JP and I sensitive to the grief, loss, and trauma that Benaiah may be facing or have already faced. Make us effective instruments of your love and grace that will shape Benaiah and all during that time, would you help us in growing Benaiah. Help us heal Benaiah and let it also grow and heal us as individuals and as parents to be. Lord, without you we can do nothing so we ask all these things and ask for your help in Jesus’ name.

Amen.

2 Corinthians 12: 9-10

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

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A 2 year pulse check

Yesterday marked the day. Saturday, August 19th, 2017 was Wednesday, August 19th, two years ago.

South Bay’s 2nd Annual “Breathe” Event for Women. I went because I wanted to worship and hear what Lisa Chan had to say. What she shared to the ladies in the room was one of those talks that made you go “Hmm.” They gentle but piercing reminders for the heart. Usually those reminders linger for a few days but God had other plans and He propelled those reminders into faith stepping actions that has led JP and I to where we are now.

You can watch Lisa Chan’s talk. Start at 54:00

https://livestream.com/southbay/breathe/videos/96748668

I sit here recalling the moment I asked JP to pray about Adoption. Can we just start by asking God, “God, are you asking us to adopt?” That conversation did not go so well. You can read briefly about that lovely situation here. As I type this I can visualize our old living room in Santa Clara. I hear the tone in my voice and JP’s voice. I cried a lot..no, I wept. Sobbed. Sitting on the bed with the lights off, I remember crying, tears falling on my calves -almost questioning my own convictions and feeling betrayed by God when I had so much confidence that this was a God seeking, God magnifying action to take–but it led to me a place of tears and brokenness.

I sit here, two years later feeling like I have circled back to that same place. I’m grateful to God that it is not because of JP this time. (whew) 

God has graciously and amazingly provided a home for us to have, to live, to share and to raise this child in. (You can catch up on that God amazing journey here) JP and I both have wonderful jobs with wonderful benefits-benefits we didn’t have while we were in California.We have fun coworkers and a great culture. We’re not lavishing living the life up here in MN but we’re undeniably  blessed. Richer than most in the entire world.  We have 4 distinct seasons and lots of nature to be in awe of our God. Yet, we’re missing a huge chunk in our lives. People and not just people but friends. Friends provide that support, encouragement and feedback.  Without it, you don’t get much.

I’ve probably never felt this alone in my entire 38 years of living life. Not even a bad breakup felt like this because I knew I had a group of folks that were a hop skip away or I was choosing to isolate to reflect but the moment I stepped out, they–whoever they are–were there. Soliciting help is hard out here. Maybe that Minnesotan Nice expires after the first handshake. You invite hoping to build something but you find yourself the only building. Where did meet me halfway go? FB isn’t the greatest communicator but at times that is all I have to work with. It just feels like you’re reaching and grasping for something with all your might but you turn up empty handed or with significantly less that what you hoped for. You go through a few of those at one or back to back, the heart becomes weary, losing hope and motivation.

It’s hard out here. I’m serving in areas that I can. Where I know I have experience and even a little contribution would help out.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect that same act or amount of help to boomerang back. Sadly, I think my experience out here has squashed that desire-which can be a good thing. I can’t pinpoint what I’m exactly longing for but these seem to create a spark in my heart even if I’m just imagining it in my head:

Is there anything I can do to help? vs “Let me know how I/we can help.”

“What’s been your biggest challenge in adopting?” vs “How’s adoption coming along?”

Intentional. Genuine. There’s just enough hint of substance that the former question really wants to know versus the latter that comes across as “I’m asking the simple question b/c I want the simple answer.” I can’t give that simple answer. I would lie if I said it was “fine” or “good”. But the question doesn’t allow me to say much beyond that.

Last week, I had one of those awful rabbit trail moments with all my discouragement and disappointments. I entertained the thought of giving up with MN fundraisers. If trying to build relationships is this hard in my personal life, how am I going to connect with people I have never met to participate in this fundraiser? All sorts of negative and useless thoughts. Phooey. Then to top it off, the guilt I had towards Benaiah for even thinking about giving up in any part of this journey–sucked.

This is one part of MN and Adoption I didn’t expect. I thought the paperwork would drain me out but I guess being the extrovert/social/relational person in this family- it’s the relationships, lack of relationships, unfruitful relationship building process that has worn me down. I know this will pass. It’s a part of the journey God is doing work whether I enjoy it or not. It’s taking the “knows” to “believe”. From head to heart.

Sitting on the bed with the lights off, I remember crying, tears falling on my calves -almost questioning my own convictions and feeling betrayed by God when I had so much confidence that this was a God seeking, God magnifying action to take–but it led to me a place of tears and brokenness.

I sit here, two years later feeling like I have circled back to that same place.

My 2 year pulse check:

PicMonkey Image

Making friends in Minnesota is hard. I’m looking for friends not friendliness. Having the same “introduction” conversation is like digging a new hole, in a new place-every..single..time. You invite, meet up and then that’s it. Other transplants in MN tell me they don’t get an invitation ever and it’s just them inviting and inviting. Then I’m searching for a new place to dig.  I would like to go deeper and build upon it but I guess in due time…maybe next year I’ll find somebody to do that.  I’m praying for God’s help to persevere these discouraging and disappointing moments. To find rest and comfort in Him alone.

 

 

We’re Officially Homeowners

If you were to ask us 1 or 2 years ago if we thought there could be a chance we would be homeowners, the answer would be no. If you asked us 3-4 years ago, the answer would be “How? We can’t afford it.”

After 5 years of marriage, we packed what little we had and drove to Minnesota to start a new life. Nothing was fully developed or written in details. We had jobs, a shelter and a few plans- that’s it.

Almost one year since moving to MN, we’re moving again. This time to a home that we own by the grace and benevolent hand of God.

This is our story, this is our song.

November 26, 2016- Surrendering over coffee
Exactly 8 months after arriving in MN, JP invited me to meet a realtor that specializes in Bloomington. My heart wasn’t fully on board to purchase a house because it meant our finances that were saved for adoption, were being redirected. It felt as if we were aborting the plans of Minnesota for another, and that, was where my feet were unwilling to move.

I wasn’t sure what to expect and being the first time for us, we didn’t fully know what questions to ask. It seemed quite daunting to be here alone in MN. I thought to myself, “If we were still in CA, we would know who to email or call.. but here, we don’t know anybody.” It was at this meeting that I realized where JP was coming from with purchasing the house. The interest rate was favorable for us to purchase with a forecast that it would increase in the near future. I thought,

“Ok, Lord. I’m not on board with this but if You’re leading us to buy a home, then make it clear and lead the way.” 

We sat over coffee talking about what we’re looking for and what kind of timeline we should prepare since it was the holiday season which means the market is “hibernating”. Our rental lease would end right before April so we had to be on time.We decided on house hunting the first week of December.

December 4, 2016- Round 1
We saw a few houses and the more we viewed we began to formulate an idea of what this ideal home should look like. Having an experienced realtor in the area we were interested in, was a provision from God. Questions were answered and stuff we never considered important- she helped us understand why they were important. Some houses looked great but there was always something missing, an important factor, important enough to not set aside. We didn’t want to feel rushed or pressured but I knew my heart felt rushed which led me to approach this like a chore. A hassle, hard and laborious so I found myself mentally negotiating on negotiables and wanting to settle on a house-just to get the process over with.

December 23,2016-Round 2

After having some much needed CA friends over for the coldest winter day of 2016, we were back at it again. Of the house we viewed that day, one caught our eyes.

  • The Master bedroom and 2nd room were both located on the same floor and right next to each other. (This was for Benaiah)
  • The 3rd bedroom was located on the lower level. (For guests or future housemates)
  • The living room and kitchen had an open feel.
  • Two car garage
  • Driveway parking was a “U” or half circle so guests/housemates could park.
  • The backyard & view: So serene and relaxing.

This home was being sold by a Chiropractic school located across the street and was used to house speakers or hold meetings. It was fully furnished and was being sold as is. This was appealing to us Californians who lived spaces that were 700 sqft or less- we wouldn’t be able to purchase all the furniture (bed frames, couches, dining table, etc) to fill the house. Another provisional blessing from God.

We both had a good feeling about the house and the question was:

“Do we want to put in an offer?”

PROS:

  • Not much competition since the market was still in “hibernation”
  • We like the house a lot more than the ones we’ve seen prior.
  • If it works out, we can rest assure that we’re done.

CONS:

  • What if we put in an offer and a better home shows up?
  • It’s a bit early in the timeline given that we are avoiding double payments and our lease is up in end of March.

We decided it was semi early enough to put an offer in and depending on the seller’s response, we can continue searching without losing too much time. We met back at 3pm to sign some documents and we were done. We put an offer on a house. We went slightly lower than what was listed and specifically asked for a closing date in the middle of March.  Now we entered the waiting room. The tricky part was that Christmas was right around the corner so who knew when we would hear back from the school.

I remember JP and I both being in this “numb” phase. We didn’t wake up determined to put an offer in today. We expected a few more rounds but everything happened so quickly. I even had thoughts that this offer wouldn’t work and we would be back on the market looking for the next potential home.

Christmas passed peacefully in the Park family

December 26, 2016- The Counter

We received an email we were not expecting. The Board was interested and countered our offer. Closing in March wasn’t an issue. (Karissa, our realtor shared that the seller’s agent even asked if we wanted to put a date that far out–it was not common nor beneficial for the seller) We decided to move forward and sign on the counter. At this point, it had not occurred that we were buying a house. It just felt like another lease being signed. While others were excited for us to sign, something wasn’t clicking in me.

” Are you not excited? We’re buying a home…”

I felt bad towards JP because as his wife, I wasn’t on the same page to celebrate and I couldn’t figure out why. I just felt numb towards the entire process. I would ask God,

“What’s wrong with me, God? Is there something not right in my heart? Why am I not excited for this house?”

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(This is my rough draft of understanding the why: my heart was hardened with a straight/narrow plan that had no room to take any turns whatsoever in Minnesota. Our goal and purpose of leaving everything behind in California was school and adoption. To buy a house was not on the plan and I took it as:

“We’re not on track. We’re losing focus. I didn’t leave family and friends to sidetrack. If I’m going to be lonely out here, then at least we should do what we were supposed to do.”

Loneliness had a vice grip on my heart. Here’s how He showed me: Back in January, when I was still at VStar, I finally started opening up about our house plans. What triggered excitement was when I struck a conversation with a few other homeowners, moms, and wives. Seeing their excitement and hearing their feedback helped me realize that buying a house WAS a big deal. Mental knowledge wasn’t enough for me. I was a creature of emotions and interactions and the very lack of that caused this desensitizing inability to gauge big things like this. Not having people to run ideas and just do life with in Minnesota aka not having friends/fellowship/community, was “killing” my senses. 

I drove back home that day having a fresh awareness of this huge milestone in life. It wasn’t as near as JP’s excitement but something was planted and growing. I still believe that I’m the type that won’t celebrate during the process and will go all out to celebrate when it’s all said and done. 

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I’m not saying this process was perfect. It wasn’t. Throw in the timing of me starting a new job- it caused a delay in our closing to the end of March. It is the grace of God that helped us not be anxious and trust God’s sovereignty and faithfulness. If He has brought us this far, then how can we doubt?

This morning’s closing went smoothly and as we both returned to our new home, this time with an extra key on our keyring…it slowly sank in. This is ours to use, to live in, to raise a family, to fellowship, to worship, to share with others, to exercise hospitality with, to honor God with. What a huge call. And you know what? He has led us to a schedule of doing just that. Praise God we have a BCS student who will move in with us in May. We have a returning Californian visiting us in May and we’re housing a longtime ministry guest as they’re visiting MN in June.

I told JP today that I think God had plans for us to buy this house and share this house. To purchase it in the state that it was- furnished (like a hotel) and stocked with everything we would need (cleaning supplies, dish sets, brand new blenders, place mats and diningware, plenty of chairs and furnished bedrooms) if we had to house somebody today. There was no excuse for us not to house somebody, today.

With that weighing on our hearts, here’s to Day 1 of being an official homeowner. Our prayer remains the same:

“Thank you Lord for this blessing. Lord, establish and bring order to our steps. Help us in being a good steward of this blessing You’ve given us.”

 

 

 

 

When God’s plan doesn’t make sense..

Too good to not share this morning. (Encourage you to sit down..its THAT long😸)

I still find it hard to take in the fact that I am finally working. Waited almost a month for CA to return my background check. The transition between jobs was not the simple sign and start that I expected/hoped. I was scheduled to start at a NPO in January. I took it because it “made sense” at the time being (better fit for my passions, serve inner city mpls, it was the first job offer & they’re a Christian org) but I struggled with certain aspects that I hoped for-esp benefits of the new job that would align and support our goal to move the adoption process along.I had no idea that God had other plans. He intervened and redirected me to a plan that didn’t make sense in my mind when it came to the timeline.

“I’m boarding the NPO plane, Lord. It’s leaving on time and it will get me to my destination. Checked in and my boarding pass is ready. Thanks for the ticket!”

Can you imagine if you felt God was saying,

“No, Judy…. there’s a plane that lands in a few hours. It will leave the next day..get on that one.”

Doesn’t make sense right?  I have never been pursued by a company that knew my situation yet encouraged me to go through with the interview I kindly declined. I didn’t want to continue this path with regrets of “What if..” and I had some concerns running in the back of my head re: working at a NPO & Adoption so I agreed on a time to meet. The timing to meet with my potential bosses worked far smoother than I could have imagined.  I sat down with them and it felt like I knew them from before. PTL that one is a believer!!! You hear it in the way they speak. You see it in the way they look at you. I remember her offering to walk me out and she asked about Pathway on my resume. (My thoughts: 나를 아는구나.이여자 똑똑하다..확인하는 방법이)

I didn’t want away thinking, “I got this…😏” I walked away so encouraged & grateful to experience the opportunity of sitting down with two amazing people in a company this size.

When I actually got the news that they wanted me, I was floored. Let me tell you one of many reasons why I even applied: closer commute, adoption specific benefits(up to 10k reimbursement), benefits that were flexible to accommodate adoption travel…and they told me, we want you to work here. Flattered. Amazed. Conflicted. I realized that circumstances help reveal the true desires of your heart. My heart wanted to work at Comcast. Absolutely. No doubt. The only struggle was how to tell the NPO that I didn’t want to work for them anymore. My heart felt weak.

So, i had to go back to God asking,

“God, are you asking me to work at Comcast? I want to work there but It’s hard for me to tell the NPO that I am not longer interested in working for them.. Please help me God. Help me do what is your will. My heart is conflicted.”

Weigh. Re-weigh. Process, re-process. Ask for prayer, ask for more prayer. My mind was a mess and my heart was desperate and afraid.

What if working at the NPO (with less pay, less benefits) is God’s way of revealing more of Himself to me?

What if I experience the same issues I did at my old job?

What if corporate culture hurts me again?

Am I being too greedy?

Am I not yielding to God’s plan and making my own course? 

I felt paralyzed and unable to make a decision-too afraid of consequences. Afraid of what the NPO would think of me. Would I be able to “forgive myself” for doing this to a NPO–on top of that a Christian NPO? I finally decided to make the call the NPO and let her know my decision. I was praying, please God, have mercy and help me formulate the right words and not get nervous.

Her voicemail came on. I think I erased and rerecorded at least 5 times. Made sure I left more than one invitation for her to call me back to further discuss or ask any questions. Whew. Now I needed to wait.

It’s hard as a human to want to know the outcome without making a move. I want to know their reaction before I call. I want to know will this work before I take that step…It’s a mystery how God doesn’t always allow us to know and understand, until we step out in faith. Making that call to let the NPO know, revealed more and more confirmations that I was not suppose to work there. I had my concerns on the back burner but they weren’t clear – was it just me overthinking or something that is a normal part of the process that I just wasn’t aware of? Or were these red flags that seemed hazy and unclear to me? Once the call was made, the hazy view of those red flags became more and more clear. If I had not made that call. If I could not take that step of faith- I would have succumbed to my fears and walked down a path that wasn’t God’s plan for me. Thinking about that as I write makes me cringe and shudder.

I am so thankful that JP and close friends, held their tongue and thoughts about the NPO. They encouraged as best as they could and prayed for God to reveal and for me to obey. It wasn’t until after I made the decision, did they share their experience/thoughts with me and I was relieved to hear it but so grateful that they waited -to prevent any unnecessary influence in my process. Their desire for me to hear from God alone was the help that I so needed.

The month-ish delay was nuts and opportunities of uncertainty came knocking at my heart daily. Our home mortgage was needing employment docs that I did not have and didn’t know when I would have. But through this delay, God led me to sweet times of prayer in the morning. I didn’t have any excuse to not wake up early to meet with Him and if there was ever a time that I should take advantage of my baeksu life..it was now. If it wasn’t for those times of prayer, I know my heart would be flying all over the place with emotions. Prayer and time in the Bible really anchored my heart down. I had to surrender and yield these emotions and concerns, every morning, asking God to fill my mind and heart with His truths and peace. I am so grateful for that delay for it taught me how to wait upon the Lord. Not just wait but actively wait.

I had a chance to join hands with Compassion International as their Community Recruitment Chair. I was able to send so many emails and reach a lot of people during that free time. I also had the fun of creating #learnKoreanwithJudy and realize that even my short and sometimes silly lessons, is actually an encouragement to people who are trying to learn the language. Social Media—it’s an odd but powerful creature.

My first day at Comcast was a blur. I was brain mush by 2pm. I will say this: After having lunch with my boss, the believer, I was filled with gratitude. It wasn’t a boss+new hire lunch. It was church ya’ll. We had fellowship and testified to God’s faithfulness and goodness in both our lives and how He led us to Comcast. We shared in small ways -our developing desires for God at Comcast. Shared how we are a good witness at the corporate workplace. How we love and care for others who are struggling. How to pray for our coworkers and the team. It was fellowship-sweet fellowship-filled with confirmation that God placed us both there for a purpose. We needed to encourage, pray and obey. She did share with me good/better news for out adoption process: They increased their 6 weeks maternity leave to 12 weeks!! Thank you Lord!!

For me to survive Day 1 is a blessing but even this morning as I type this, I am amazed that I am actually working. Reflecting on the journey and praying that I don’t forget the deeds and faithfulness of God, even today-no matter how bad today might possibly be…Lord, help my heart to not wander from Thee.

Green Light Green Light Green Light

SHUTTERSTOCK

SHUTTERSTOCK

I can’t believe it’s only been 2 days since our dinner with the Lee family. Last night was a pretty high energy “get stuff done” type of night. We’ve been working on getting the application finalized like finding our tax returns, getting documents ready to get notarized etc etc. Our 1st phone conference call with our social worker Ann, was scheduled for 10AM today.

As I walked to my car this morning I just kept asking God, “What should I ask God? Please fill our minds with wisdom and understanding of all the information that will be presented to us.” Even though my mind was focused this morning, as soon as I walked into the office it was chaotic. I came in and before I knew it, it was 9:53am.

Oh man! Get this document finalized.

9:58am. Double check the conference call line and access code.Quickly jotted it down on a post it note and notified the office that I’ll be away for an hour. I thought my heart was going to burst from nervousness. We were finally connected and I kept thinking,

“I can’t believe we’re having this phone call. I cannot believe this is actually happening”

Ann gave a brief outline of what to expect for our homestudy and what to expect after the homestudy. Sounded great. $2,900.00 …no big deal. 6 months to prepare the paperwork? Let’s do it. I was on cloud 9- Sold to the future of adoption. Never took notes this enthusiastically since….FIRST time I took notes this enthusiastically. Ann: “Any questions so far?”

JP: ” So we’re planning on moving to Minnesota in May. Will that cause any issues in our process to adopt?”

Ann: “Oh,  no you, you can’t adopt if you’re moving to Minnesota. Holt Korea doesn’t work with adoptions in non-branch states.”

I couldn’t believe what I just heard. “You can’t adopt.” ” You can’t adopt.” “YOU CAN’T ADOPT” It took me a few seconds to figure out what just happened. I could hear JP give a soft ” really…hmm” I mean what else could we say that to that? But on the website it was clear on Korea’s requirements that they would allow adoption in Holt Branch states which included CA as well as non-Holt branch states which listed MN. In their FAQ they even mentioned that Holt Korea would be open to allowing Korean-American couples to adopt in non-Holt branch states.

“Surely, this can’t be it. It can’t just end here.”

Ann encouraged us to stop the process here because if we paid the homestudy fees and moved to MN, our final report would not be valid because every state has different regulations. She didn’t want to have us just “absorb” the cost. And if Holt Korea won’t work with Minnesota then we might as well cancel our application and start fresh with an agency in Minnesota that works with Korea.

We asked Ann if she could contact Holt Korea and ask them if they would have any affiliated agencies in MN or if they would consider working with us because we are Korean-American. Bless her heart though, she offered to refund our application fee since we wouldn’t be able to proceed. I could care of the money. If anything I kinda wanted them to take it. I wanted to force it and say NO LET US ADOPT. PLEAAASE.

The plan was she would contact Korea and see if there were any options. In the meantime she asked that we talk about it over the weekend and let her know. And right there, the phone call that was suppose to take an hour, ended at 20 minutes.

JP quickly called me after the phone call and we spoke for the remaining hour just sharing our initial thoughts and emotions. JP’s initial thought was to change our plans and move earlier to MN–like THIS YEAR– to restart or continue the adoption process. I heard what he was sharing but my mind kept rejecting all ideas. I really couldn’t believe the door was closed on us that quickly. We barely got our feet wet. We haven’t even gotten matched. It’s not even finances that’s causing the issue.

“Lord, how could this be?!?!”

At this point, questions started forming.

  1. If JP doesn’t get into Bethlehem, then do we still want to move to MN?
  2. What if God is asking us to stay in California and receive the child first and then move?
  3. What if God is asking us to stay in California and go to China?

My mind was going 100mph. This straight path we were on suddenly got wiped clean of all dates and locations. It seemed like the one path we trusted was splitting into 10 different directions and asking us to choose one. Choose one. That seemed so impossible. By the time my 1 hour break ended, I asked JP if we could pray before I went back into the office. There was nothing more that I wanted at the time but to ask God to make things clear. To help our confusion and bring understanding to all of this. To help us to trust Him even when things don’t make sense. To let our emotions or lack of understanding lead us to a place of fear and doubt. Oh my heart was desperate for God.

I think I walked back into the office in a daze. Slowly and carefully. I sat at my desk and opened my email and to my surprise, Ann had replied back. It was 14 minutes ago.

What in the world just happened?

What in the world just happened?

Dumbfounded. I didn’t know what to say or do. Another door opened. Another confirmation. Another prayer answered.

There was so much to process and share between the two of us. JP’s thoughts. My thoughts. What are God’s thoughts. We went out for dinner and our conversation was leading us to daydream about this boy coming home. How could we move this process along? The desire to adopt was growing bigger and bigger as each day passed. There were these comfortable silent moments where I knew we were just trying to process all that had happened today. What a roller coaster ride of emotions and what an awesome experience of seeing God open doors that we thought were closed.

IMG_20150918_183658

Telling his BFF Theo “I”ll TTYL”

IMG_20150918_183738One of the most memorable things JP said that night,

“When I imagine my son running around in an open grass area, it makes me really happy.”

We have some options of moving earlier to MN or moving as scheduled. Praying and seeking God’s direction in all of this. Do we move now before the harsh winter hits and continue the adoption process? Do we wait until the winter passes and then move. It’s 6 months. Seems like such a painfully long period to wait and pass. I think one thing we both agreed upon is the fact that MN would be a better state to raise a child in than CA.

So now, we pray. We look into MN. Pray & watch is our theme for our marriage.

Broken and dazed

**I’m catching up my blogs and backtracking on my dates**

Tonight was one of those night that I will confidently say, “Haven’t cried like this in a while.”

It began in the morning as I read today’s Life Journal chapters. I found one portion that stuck out and convicted me.

Whether it is good or bad, we will obey the voice of the Lord our God to whom we are sending you, that it may be well with us when we obey the voice of the Lord our God.”
Jeremiah 42:6 ESV

Here’s how it spoke to me:

O: Johanan and Jezaniah approached Jeremiah asking him to inquire of God as to which way they should go and what they should do. Jeremiah agrees and promsies to not hold back any detail.

They then gave their oath and asked that God would be true and faithful witness to them if they do not act accordingly to what Jeremiah says. Whether it’s good or bad news they were ready to listen to what the LORD would say. However, once the news came..it didn’t make sense to them. They rejected it and went their own way.

A:
Reminded me of that verse that says, “Let your words be few before God.. Let your yes be yes and your no be no.” Reading this I thought, “foolishness.” It’s like these two guys shot themselves in the foot. Making promises to God that they weren’t able to keep. As if God can be appeased and not see the truth in our hearts. Their outcome was horrible. Going against their own word and on top of that encouraging God to be a faithful witness that He would do keep His word in what He tells these two. WOW. talk about laying the commitment down thick and trying to hold God to it. Currently on my mind are SO many things. Syria, BUILD CG, W2W, Prayer Ministry, REACH, CIC 2015, FFD, Discipleship, Church, Adoption—OMG the list goes on and honestly all I want to know is: “God what are YOU asking me to do?!? What are YOU asking me and JP to do? What are YOU asking me to do with BUILD? with Work? With all these You have entrusted me. I just want to know. But a part of me doubts—if He revealed it to me, would I follow wholeheartedly? Or would I pull off this foolishness because it wasn’t what I expected or wanted. I guess reading about Johanan and Jezaniah is good. I can learn from their mistakes and see where they made wrong choices. I hope and pray that I would not repeat. I honestly don’t know how my heart would react if GOd revealed and answered some of these prayers. I ask for a willing, faithful and obedient heart.

P:
God, You stay true to your word. Nothing about you spells failure or not trustworthy. Thank you for showing me JOhanan and Jezaniah. God, your word says that it is better to trust in You than to trust in man.. to trust in You than to trust in princes. Lord, I come to you jut as I am asking you to make my heart one that will not repeat the actions and decisions that JOhanan and Jezaniah did. I want a heart that will not only say all that they said but a heart that will fearlessly do and follow through. Let my yes be yes and my no be no God. Help me build my credibility with You and with others. Father, BUILD CG, W2W, Prayer Ministry, REACH, CIC 2015, FFD, Adoption, Church, Discipleship, Syria..those are all swirling in my heart and mind. Please remove what is not meant to be there and bring stability in my thoughts. Clear what is not of You and only let remain what You want me to ponder and pray about. I ask for clarity Holy Spirit. I ask for peace that will keep me from swaying or being misled or misinformed. Please tune my heart to hear your voice O God. Only the voice of my shepherd. In Jesus Name I pray amen.

I’ve been bombarded with different thoughts. I could almost call them inspirations from God. Fresh new desires and ideas from God that I was being bombarded with. Reminds of me Psalm 37:4, how if we delight in Him, He will give me desires. With all these new desires, I felt cornered to pray and ask God,

“Are you asking me/us to do this, God?”

Even as I walked home, I felt cornered. Ever feel that? There is nothing else I could do to alleviate this burden other than pray. That was it. So I told JP I wanted to talk to him. I wanted to specifically ask him if we can be intentional as a married couple to pray together- actively and not individually- but together and ask God about some of these ideas and future plans we have. Well, the conversation did not go well. I was grateful that he acknowledged his shortcomings of not leading this marriage spiritually but somehow the conversation turned sour. Wickedly sour. I heard and understood the conversation as ” I don’t have the bandwidth to do some of the things you even mentioned to pray about—so there’s no need to pray about it.” Devastated. I could not process what I was hearing out of his mouth. It didn’t make sense at all.

I went to our room and just wept. I didn’t even need to sob. Tears just kept dropping onto my legs.

“All I want is to experience the Holy Spirit more in our marriage.”

But somehow even in my shock and difficulty understanding the whole conversation–I felt this overwhelming peace. I wasn’t bitter or angry. I felt so broken but I was determined to pray and fight against what I believe was not right and not of God. What a struggle it was. I knelt on the bed with a simple prayer,

“God, help me. I don’t understand why this is happening but I want to trust in You. Please help me to trust you. Only you can work in this marriage.”


Share tears-they’re good for you.

Monday night I played the third-wheeling wife again with JP & MJ’s bromance. We’ve been keeping up with 무한도전 (Infinity Challenge) recently with their Infinity Challenge Deliver Project. They took thousands of applications for the MHDJ team to deliver food to families around the world. Out of all the requests that came through, this story was by far the most emotional and tear-jerking story.

Her biological family was gathered and they mentioned how they wished to meet her adoptive parents. The door knocks..

They’re in for a beautiful and heart-warming surprised. MHDJ writers, I gotta give it to you guys.

thomaskelv

Her dad. (Mom passed away a year ago) Man the tears were flowing hard.

“Dad, these are my biological parents.”

“Thank you. Thank you so much.” Her biological father couldn’t stop thanking him for raising their daughter.

"The day we brought Sunyoung home was the happiest day of my life."

“The day we brought Sunyoung home was the happiest day of my life.”

"Watching her grow up to a beautiful young woman has brought me such joy."

“Watching her grow up to a beautiful young woman has brought me such joy.”

Maybe one day.. One day this may all come true for us.

Can’t imagine a far more difficult task/responsibility than raising a child to maturity. My friends would say that being pregnant and giving birth is scary but then what…raising the child is far more scarier.