[Inside joke. He's definitely not our last, Lord willing. Its a reference to the time that I was out with the three brothers and baby girl A and someone saw her and told me that now that I have a girl I can stop having children.]
Second big announcement: We are moving to Indiana in mid-December!!
This second announcement may seem very out-of-the blue to some of you, but its been in the works for a while. We didn't know exactly when it would happen, but the pieces are coming together and we now know the timing is right.
The story really starts five years ago, before we even moved to California. When we got married, we expected to work on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ (now called Cru) for a year, then Alex would go to seminary. We knew that seminary was the vital step towards going overseas for mission work, which has always been our main plan. Alex applied to two different seminaries, both of which seemed great. He was accepted to one, and wait-listed (and later accepted) to the other. But for reasons we can't quite explain, we really felt like God wasn't leading us to either option. We were confused and floundering a bit for a few weeks, until we were offered the opportunity to move to California and lead a Destino team here (the Latino ministry of Cru). Everything about this seemed perfect, and we jumped on the opportunity.
And then our world came crashing down. A few weeks after moving here, we found out some major differences we had with the ministry (that we didn't know about in our combined 10+ years experience with the ministry) and a couple months later Alex stepped down as the Destino team leader, and left staff.
This was three months after we had packed up our entire life and moved across country to a place where we had no family and no friends. We had only just settled on a church a few weeks before leaving Cru. The day after we left Cru, we flew back to Ohio for Christmas, a bit beaten up and dejected.
And we loved our time in the Midwest with family, friends, and the familiar. It left us asking, should we move back? Why are we in California? There is nothing for us there.
But there was something for us in California. You see, in mid-November we had applied to be foster parents, and were scheduled to start classes at the beginning of January to be certified. And we knew that the need for foster parents in southern California was huge, and that our chances of getting an adoptable child was pretty good.
So we decided to stay in Cali. Just long enough to finalize an adoption. Then we would proceed with Alex's seminary education (by then we had settled on one of the original two seminaries he had applied to). We were looking at a year or two tops, and then we could move back.
Well, it took us longer than we thought to get certified. But soon afterward our certification we got our first placement, two (then four, when their older siblings joined us) beautiful kiddos. And we were head over heels. We thought they would be ours forever. But it was not to be, they were soon on a path towards reunification with their birth mom. But in the midst of that, God was gracious and chose that as the timing for me to become pregnant with Esther. When the four kids left, we were once again faced with a decision to move back to the Midwest. But we decided to stay, because we were told that we could try for adoption again when Esther was six months old.
And once again, it took longer than we thought. Esther was actually close to a year old when everything worked out to get another foster baby. Baby girl J came to us at three days old and under 6 pounds of weight. She quickly grew big, strong, and beautiful. And she too was soon on a path to reunification with her mother.
This August, after spending almost her first full year of life with us, baby girl J was reunited with her mom. Once again, we were faced with the choice: move or try again for adoption? We had already decided months before that if we tried again, it would be our last shot. We couldn't keep chasing the dream of adoption and putting off our next major life steps. And when we found out that I was pregnant, we thought the decision had been made for us: we didn't think our agency would place while I was pregnant. But it turned out that they would, and so we decided to give it one last try.
But we didn't think it would go this quickly. When baby boy R was with us for just a week we found out that he had a family member who might take custody of him. It took weeks, then months, for the paperwork to go through, but eventually we found out that the replacement was all but certain.
|Esther and baby boy R at the park a few weeks ago|
So, many different factors came together to make it clear that we should move. But more than anything, moving finally just felt right. All the other times, it felt like God wanted us to continue to live by faith and stay in California. Now it seems clear that the best thing for our lives and our walk with God is to move.
So how am I feeling? Happy. Sad. Relieved. Overwhelmed. There are many emotions.
Please pray for us. Pray for the logistics of moving to come together in the next five weeks. Pray that we would finish out our time here in California well. Pray that God will grow and bless us through our move and time in Indiana.