Monday, August 27, 2012

Joy in the midst of grief

102 years ago, my sweet Grandma came into this world and never failed to bless every person that crossed her path.  This morning, she went to be with Jesus. She was escorted into heaven with beautiful singing from all of her children. 
Through my tears, I realized that there is nothing more beautiful than celebrating her and the legacy that she left behind for her entire family. She was widowed young and yet still managed to send all 7 of her children to college.  Her love and kindness towards people was a gift. Grandma was determined to live a life that was devoted and committed to God, her family and others. I want to follow after her example.  She was a woman that lived joyfully, never complained and was always the first to consider others before herself. 

I wish she would have been able to meet her 4 great grandchildren from Ghana, but I know she would be proud that during her last days on the hospital bed, our children's I-600s and visas were approved!!

Our children are FINALLY coming home!!

The past few weeks have been an emotional roller coaster for our family.  From receiving the dreaded news of Grandma's massive stroke to celebrating our I-600 approvals and visas.  Nothing could be more emotional than grieving a loss of a loved one and celebrating the birth of 4 children.  As sad and excited as I am, my head hurts just trying to make sense of it all.

At the end of the day, all I can say is "God is good." 
Grandma is with Jesus now, rejoicing and celebrating on our behalf.  As much as I miss her tremendously, I know she wouldn't want me to cry too much.  Like her, she would want me to live joyfully and love well. 

We are thrilled that our children will finally be coming home.  Although some may say the adoption journey just begins when your children come home.... I tend to differ.  Ours began already. We have finally finished off one rough and challenging chapter and we are now embracing a new chapter in our adoption journey.

Psalm 30:11
 "For you turned my griefs into joy; you took off my sackcloth and you clothed me with joy!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

No regrets...Choosing to look ahead

I have finally allowed myself to catch up on emails, journal and actually complete a thought... let alone...just cry.  

Crying is good...tears are healing.  It's good to finally FEEL again.  Throughout the past couple of months, Sol and I have had no choice but to be strong.... as a result, we are exhausted. 
Now God has graciously given us some time to heal, rest and reflect. 

Recently, my reflection has been centered around the question/comment I have received from several peers as to "Why were we so naive in bringing our current children with us to Ghana?"  I finally felt the necessity to speak up and answer this potentially offensive but curious question... because I think it would be speaking on behalf of our children too.

So to start off... we have NO regrets towards bringing Ethan and Isaac with us to Ghana. We would NEVER chose to place our children in any type of dangerous and harmful circumstance! 
Our hearts continue to ache as we watch and listen to our children daily process their fears and frustration. 
But the truth is...
we made a choice as a family to adopt.
It wasn't just Sol and I. 
At a high cost, Ethan and Isaac have chosen to be part of this journey with us.
When we invited them to join us, we didn't paint a perfect picture.... we gave them the real thing and told them how hard it was going to be. Of course they immediately accepted because in their minds they could only imagine the fun of having more siblings! It just showed us that God had already been working in their hearts. 

We felt a strong conviction in bringing Ethan and Isaac with us to Ghana to meet their siblings for the first time. We wanted them to see, smell and taste Ghana to help them understand their siblings' culture and life.

It was priceless and the memories made are so precious.

The first day we met our children at their home, we were warmly embraced by neighborhood friends and extended family. Our oldest boys took Ethan and Isaac by the hands and ran off to chase lizards. There was something SO beautiful about that picture.... It was if they had all been waiting for this moment.

From the second we stepped foot on the beautiful red dirt of Ghana, we never heard a single complaint from any one of our children.... Not even during the long, hot and dusty drive in a taxi to an orphanage to deliver soccer balls/jerseys 
OR walking blindly in the dark after a crazy thunderstorm through thick mud to meet and pray for a lady that was very ill 
OR even waiting 6 hours for our court hearing without an iphone or ipad to entertain them.
Mind you.. - we were speechless.
These are Southern California children I'm talking about!
They had every reason to complain. 
But they chose not to....
BECAUSE
I think they saw something far more precious and valuable. 
(God gave them a different pair of glasses)

When we arrived at one of the orphanages we planned to visit, all 6 of our children immediately gave hugs and high 5s to every single child. Although a storm hit us pretty hard while we were there, our older boys managed to pump all of the soccer balls in the dark.
They weren't afraid of engaging in the messes and being a part of this moment.

God was doing something so beautiful in each one of their hearts.... something so personal.... Just between them and Him. 
It wasn't anything Sol and I could even try to teach or show them. 

You may think I'm biased towards my children... perhaps I am, but really... I was shocked at how Ethan and Isaac embraced the Ghanaian culture and life... let alone allowing themselves to love and have compassion on the less fortunate.
We were SO amazed at how all 6 of our children completely blended together the first night we became a family of 8. There was no separation or difference. 



None of us would have been able to experience these sweet moments if we chose not to bring Ethan and Isaac with us.  It would have still been beautiful... but not complete.

The trauma that we experienced will never be erased from our memory, but the beautiful memories that came before and after continues to bring a smile to our children.

Our prayer for all 6 of them is that in spite of hardship and suffering, God would give them the courage to persevere and not live in fear.

Our prayer for ourselves as parents is that God would continuously give us wisdom to equip, teach and guide our children.

He has a specific journey chosen for each one of them. He loves and cares for them more than we could ever.  Sol and I have been shaped through alot of hardship in our own lives.  Over the years, we have learned to step back and just let God take over. 

We make the choice everyday to look ahead and walk courageously... even when we don't have the answers. I know our journey has raised many eyebrows and rubbed people the wrong way... but we are okay with it because we have full confidence that we have always been exactly where we should be
- in God's hands.