"Have you stopped updating the blog?"
"Where have you been?"
"Is everything ok?"
(First off, I'm sorry for not keeping the blog more updated in the last couple of months. We have been going through a major life change and have not shared it publicly until the past few weeks).
A couple of months ago, a conversation began between Steve and the director of ministries of a church in Parker, Colorado. To make a long, 3 month story short, after many interviews and much prayer, Steve and I decided that we did want to accept the job and move our family across the country. He will be the Family Pastor, which means that he will get to set the vision and course for children from birth through 18. We will be investing in families and partnering with parents and seeing how the church can best support families as we all walk this bumpy road of parenthood together.
As we were flying out to Colorado last week to settle some of the final details, I said to Steve, "Isn't it so ironic that you are the "Family Pastor"? Tears filled my eyes as I laughed to myself. This is a beautiful picture of God's redemption in our lives. 5 years ago, an infertile couple who had all but given up on the thought of being parents, would never dream of being a "Family Pastor". We have no experience to offer about birth stories, breastfeeding vs. formula, sleepless nights with a newborn, how to teach a child to walk...
But here is what experience we can bring:
How do you trust God when you feel like He is not answering prayer the way you want Him to?
What does it look like to be forced into patience (whether you want to be or not)?
What do you do with pain?
How do you rejoice with those who rejoice when you are in your own place of mourning?
How does God's love meet you in deep and personal ways in the face of drowning hopelessness?
What does it mean to marvel in God's goodness when He makes beauty from ashes?
And really aren't those the questions that bring us together anyway? We can talk all day about schooling or diapers, but those aren't the questions that keep us up at night, that keep us on our knees in prayer, that force us to rely on each other for prayer and support and encouragement. I look forward to living life with these new families in Colorado. To share in joy and pain, in the giving and taking away. I believe that God has exciting and great things for our family in the years to come and I can't wait to see what He does!
But, I'm also sad. Sad to leave the deep history of connection here in Akron. After 10 years of living somewhere, roots have been established. We have celebrated marriages, births, graduations of close friends and families we have grown to love. We have grieved loss, miscarriage, sickness, wayward children with friends and families we have grown to love. As I hugged a sweet high school student on the day we announced our leaving, she spoke into my ear, "you walked with me through some of the darkest days...." tears flowed down my face as I looked at the beauty that God had made out of her life.
But I can say the same for myself about so many people, friends who have become like family, in Akron. You have walked with me through some of my darkest days. You have walked with me through infertility and realities that come with a diagnosis that alters the dreams for your life. You have supported us as we made the decision to adopt a child from Russia. You have thrown fundraisers and garage sales and given sacrificially to bring our child home. You have waited with us...and then waited some more. You have prayed us through the times where we were too weary to pray on our own.
And there will never be a day like the day we brought our son home. After close to 20 hours of traveling with a sad, frustrated, fear-filled child that we now call, son, we came down the escalator of the Cleveland airport to be greeted by the sounds of cheers, tears and laughter. A mass of people filling the airport baggage area to show their support and encouragement of how we became "a family". You have given much grace as we have taught our child who only knew 4 walls of an institution what it means to be in a loving family. What it means to go on a playdate. What it means to share. What it means to not have to fight for the snacks on the table. You, Akron family, have lavished us with grace and love...and there are no words to say thank you. This is the history we leave. And we step into a place that calls us "The Garcia Family". Few will know how we got that name.
So we say "goodbye" with much sadness to our Akron Family. And we say "hello" with much excitement and anticipation to our new Parker Family.
-Because of the move, we have put our India adoption on hold.
It is still going to happen, but we will have to update our homestudy once we establish new residency.
-Thankfully, because our New Jersey background check took close to 4 months, we have not lost any money because of our move
-Please pray for our family as we begin this new and exciting chapter in our lives.
-Pray for Dima as this will be a big change for him, and for us as we parent him through this new transition.
-Pray that God would continue to open the door for our adoption to move through even amidst the set-backs.
Until next blog post, love,