adoption

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.

Could this be an answered prayer?

Monday morning. Another battle through the week. I began praying and asking God to reveal to us His heart for us about adoption. I really don’t know how to pray about this other than the simple question. I guess if He says “YES” then the prayers can become more and more specific. Today’s LJ reading struck my heart from the 1st reading out of the 4.

Jeremiah 33: 3
“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”

I highlighted that verse with the quickness and latched on for the rest of the day. Today the ladies in BUILD to prayed for us and asked God alongside with us. So here’s today’s log of this journey.

This morning after BUILD prayed in our Kakao chat, I received an email from JP. He cc’d me onto an email he sent to a former Pathway member, Kevin. I was surprised again at how JP initiated to contact Kevin.

Hey, 
I heard from Jennard that your family will be adopting a Korean child! Congrats! 
Judy and I are looking into adopting and when I heard that you are already in the process I wanted to get some information/tip/advice from you. There are so much info out there on internet but I am just so at lost I don’t even know how to go about taking that first step. 
If you could let me know process logistics and how you went about it, that would be awesome. 
Thanks Kevin! 

Sent 12:34am Monday.

Kevin was so excited and eager to speak with us about adoption. The family actually planned to visit San Jose early in September so we’re hoping to meet with them over dinner to talk more in person.

Thank you Lord.

Later in the morning  another sister from church offered to introduce us to another couple who adopted as well. It wasn’t until then that I  appreciated (even more) the email and connection that God provided. My husband and I are very opposite which isn’t a bad thing IMO. We’re just wired differently and approach people/life/circumstances differently. As his girlfriend to wife for the past 6-7 years, I have grown to understand that JP likes to do his homework/research on anything he needs to make an important decision on. Laptops, used cars, our new home, credit cards etc. He’s very meticulous and makes an informed decision every single time which I really appreciate and admire about him. But, I think it’s one thing when you research online and get information from a machine and it’s an entirely different experience to get that information from humans.

I can see God knew that all along and provided that lead to Kevin for JP.

  • To provide a connection already established with us-It would make it easier for JP (and I) to share and talk about our struggles and so-far thought process.
  • They are still in the process – They just finished submitting their preliminary papers and are waiting for their match. Still currently involved but a few steps ahead of the journey.
  • They’re scheduled to visit San Jose in a few weeks– Instead of emails and phone calls we can meet in person and pray in person as well.

He knows and He is mindful. What a loving and good God.

And so it begins…

Last night was an evening of partial weeping and partial curiosity. Curiosity and weeping are two very different emotions/actions to have going on in your heart and head.

South Bay Church’s “Breathe” event was not what I expected. Their 2nd event’s theme: “The Warrior Within”. Perhaps I had different expectations from what their purpose was or maybe I had high expectations but I sat there in the first hour thinking, “Oh God….was this a mistake? A mistake to bring the CG to an event like this?” I couldn’t tell if I was in a club or not. Walked into the front lobby and music I would never imagine being played in a church gathering (not building) was blasting with the DJ in the corner, temporary tattoo stations, a snack bar and photo booth with backdrops made it feel like I walked into a Sephora makeup expo.

I felt tremendously uncomfortable and unsure of what to expect if I went further into the building.

Further into the building–into the area of worship they had these huge drums to fit their tribal/warrior theme. Their opening felt like some kind of opening to an entertainment show you’d find maybe in Vegas or New York. Lots of distractions. No prayer. They kept referring to this “inner strength”, “The warrior within us” which I later realized—they were referring to the Holy Spirit. So my question was, “Why not call it as He is?” I’ve never heard of the HOly Spirit named a “warrior”. I started to thinking, “Oh man…should I go into full regret mode of having these ladies come out to an event like this?”

The first speaker came and did a tabletalk with the “MC”. She shared her story on their family’s 3 year journey to bring home a young girl from India. Of course, my ears perked but my heart remained still. JP and I have talked many times about adoption and the topic has been popping up randomly and more often than before. Deep in my heart I feel a sense of willingness to try. Maybe it’s the optimistic -glass half full perspective I have. But JP has been more on the opposite end of the spectrum. His concerns for the cost of adoption is always hovering his head as the provider of our family. Of course having school loans and future school costs with moving plans doesn’t really make adoption an “attractive” path to walk into.

Her story was interesting. 3 years filled with ups and life rocking downs. Rejection after rejection after rejection. The MC chimed in. “For those who cannot relate, being rejected is similar to the feeling of a miscarriage. You anticipate and hope for this child to become yours and all of the sudden, when it doesn’t happen, it’s absolutely heartbreaking.”

My heart winced at the thought.

“Would it be that painful? Would I respond like that? I mean…if it’ snot meant to be then it’s not meant to be right?” (Moving on..)

When Lisa Chan came to the stage, I felt like I was breathing a huge gulp of fresh pure oxygen. It wasn’t one of those real “woah” moments where you felt like the message was custom tailored by God just for your heart and your life’s current circumstances. Her prayer for us that night was Ephesians 3:14-19

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of this glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith-that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

She brought it back to the basic of who God is and His promises for us. I loved how she shared her love for the good ole days when weddings had the fruit punch fountain at the reception. It would continue to overflow and overflow. Take your cup, place it under the flowing stream, fill your cup and take it back with you. If the cup goes dry then you just need to go back and refill. That fear is not of God. Fear is what misleads us away from experiencing the promises of God, the power of God, the love of God…

True.

I was reminded of the time when JP and I began to talk about the possibilities of adoption. The first statements that came out were:

“Where are we gonna find the money to afford adoption?”

Lisa was encouraging all ladies that when we’re faced with above and beyond circumstances and above and beyond callings—to not ask questions that are based on us and the circumstances/calling but to ask questions that are based on God.

“God, are you asking me..are you asking us to ____________________?”

Little did I know that God planted a seed in my heart. For the rest of the evening, my mind was still distracted by the “show” but my heart felt different. I didn’t share anything with Julie or the ladies in the CG just because 1. I didn’t want to say something prematurely and 2. Cause a ruckus when it was probably nothing ( to me)

But the next morning, I felt this desire to ask JP if we could actively pray and ask God the same question:

“God, are you asking us to adopt?”

(About 1-2 weeks prior to the event, I began praying on my own in the morning. Back in July I met an old friend who had adopted a child from China and our entire time together was just about his journey and process as a family. I stored that conversation away in my heart and didn’t mention it to JP. I couldn’t deny these hints and unexpected “reminders” about adoption. Since I wasn’t sure, I had to pray and ask God to make it clear to me. Nothing fancy or grand. Just praying as I got ready in the morning. “Lord, this desire to adopt is growing in me and I see things in my life that remind me or adoption or point me to adoption. Please, if this is of you God, please bring that confirmation and desire in JP’s heart as well.” )

Of course, I hesitated. Hesitated because I was not sure how JP would respond. Did I want to hear what I assumed JP would say? I know he initiated an email regarding adoption before (to my shock) but if I keep nudging would he feel pressured and push back? Would he get frustrated that I don’t seem to understand the reality of finances? Will it drive him even further away from the idea of adoption?

I sat at my desk contemplating. I opened a browser and typed in “Holt International”. The week of the event, JP and I watched Infinity Challenge and there was a short scene where they visited an adoption agency in Korea. It was an emotional episode so I didn’t see that scene as something worth hiding in my heart to ponder. As I browsed the site, I was encouraged to see that it was a “Christian” organization and historically well established. I clicked on the countries to see how Holt is working in the lives of the children and sadly, I couldn’t find many referrals or profiles available for viewing. Lastly, I clicked on the Cost tab. The costs were being listed and described. 3 digits–“hmm not bad” 4 digits—“hmm okaaaay.” and then at last the big whopper came up. 5 digits. Minimum $15k to $22500K. For some reason, though I knew in my head of these numbers, my heart took a step back.

“Wow…we don’t have this money right now. How is this gonna even work?”

It was fear. Fear creeping up on my heart. I could feel it and before it consumed my emotions and thoughts I quickly closed the browser and grabbed my phone to text JP. I don’t know what got into me but I had to just ask JP about praying. I just wanted to get it over with and get this burden to ask, off my shoulders. I didn’t want fear to be the one that closes the door on me. I wanted God to the one. In some ways, I want to believe God knew that fear would chase me. Chase me back into His arms and look to Him alone for the answers.

The actual conversation..

The actual conversation..

There is no one word to describe the emotion I was feeling. Shock + fear + gratitude + awe + “OMG” goosebumps + that feeling of “I don’t deserve this.”. I teared up trying to figure out what the heck just happened. I never told him I was looking at Holt International. Didn’t mention a thing to JP even after watching Infinity Challenge. Clearly, God was working and doing something in his heart all throughout this time. What a miracle. I had to share with the ladies in BUILD. OH the support and encouragement that flowed. So grateful I have a community to share and pray together with!

I don’t think God was done with just that for that day. During lunch I had scheduled our usual Taka ramen date with Yinyee. She isn’t a believer but her belief in God has grown to curiosity and dependency as she has been asking me to pray with her about certain situations in her life. I had no idea that a simple lunch conversation to share what God did that morning would turn into a tearfest at lunch. I guess I needed to process and “talk out loud”, all these different emotions and thoughts came to mind. I was hopeful, excited, anxious, nervous. The other wave of emotions would be doubt, afraid to get hurt or disappointed, disbelief, insecurity. Tears formed again as I felt so overwhelmed with every good/bad emotion I could feel. I opened up to Yinyee and she was amazed at how God works. She got goosebumps at the very fact that JP and I both were thinking of the same agency though we did not communicate anything about adoption for the past few weeks. I praise God in my heart as she responded to my testimony.

“Lord, even if the answer to our prayer was “No” and there was no confirmation going forward for adoption, if all this happened so I could have this heart to heart talk with Yinyee and she too would be amazed at you God, I would be grateful and content God.”

Our lunch continued with further sharing and though Yinyee may not realize it, she shared her testimony of how God answered our 1st prayer together regarding her family situation. How life would have been so different if it wasn’t for God answering that prayer. Our walk back to the office ended with a time prayer for her family again.

“Thank you Lord for this wonderful and amazing opportunity.”

I really don’t know where God will lead or say to answer our prayers. I don’t know how I will handle whatever answer. I don’t want to get ahead of myself and be disappointed or hurt so one day at a time is what I keep telling myself in the morning. He keeps dropping breadcrumbs for us and that’s about all we can handle until we see the next one.