We entered into a season unknown about 3 years ago. In this time my heart exploded onto the floor without knowing a clue as to why. All I did know was - TOKYO. Yep, just that one little word. It's crazy, it's half way around the world and WHY? Why that place? I was reeling with internal questions, and I was confused and frustrated. I felt completely moved and overwhelmed in a way I couldn't explain with words. I could, however, explain it in tears laced with mascara. Insert nervous husband - we giggle about the madness in retrospect, but Justin really did handle me with such love and grace.
I felt completely in the dark.
When Sweyzies scared and the lights are off, she wants daddy and clings to him for direction. Like her, I had no choice but to cling to God and the protection and guidance of His word. I had no idea how to make sense of the crazed lunatic that I felt like. All I knew was, I didn't do this to my heart. I didn't fill my own heart with a unexplainable, mysterious love that wasn't there before. God is the author of love and I chose to lean into Him.
In efforts to make sense of this, we explored the idea of adoption from Japan. We quickly realized that it was not even going to be an option. It was very hard to find agencies that worked with japan, and even if they did, their programs were always closed, not taking applications. Not to mention, start to finish the cost leveled out at a whopping $40,000. So, we moved on.
In efforts to make sense of this unexplainable love I felt for this place, I continued to search His heart. Again I petitioned Him, "What are you up to God, and please can I have a sliver of direction?"
I decided to learn as much as I could about this place and it's people. God placed certain individuals in my life at just the right time and there was something to learn from each one of them. Something that moved me greatly was learning that the Japanese are the largest unreached people group for Jesus. Suicide is also incredibly high because there is extreme pressure to fit into a certain mold and measure up. This broke my heart and at that point I was convinced - Justin we need to move to Japan. YIKES - his head was spinning.
Justin is naturally a skeptic, but out of a loving heart for me he agreed to scope it out and explore with me. So we flew across the world in April of 2015 and we absolutely loved TOKYO and the people. I cried many times just being in my hotel room, because after 2 years of longing for this place, I was finally here. It was dreamy and magical and I didn't want to leave for any other reason than to be united with my daughter. If Sweyzie was indeed with us, I might not have come back... It was safe, clean and full of the absolute kindest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.
When we got back, as a step of faith, we started financially preparing for a move to Japan in the year of 2018. Since then we have been squirreling away all the money we could save and any financial blessing we came across went straight into the bank. I even went back to work in order to push toward this financial goal.
Moving there was the plan, or so we thought...
In September of 2016, Justin posed the question again. "What if we are to adopt?" I quickly reminded him that it wasn't an open door, and financially out of reach, but he proceeded to push. I pressed in with a simple prayer, "God, open the doors that need opening."
Very long story short, God opened that impossible door to adoption from Japan. I was shuffled around the country on a string of various calls and inquiries. I finally landed in Tacoma, WA with Faith International and the social worker that helped me was wondering how I knew to call them. Why? Because the Japan program is normally closed and rarely opened. She proceeded to tell me that they just opened the program days earlier to receive 5 new families and hadn't publicized that the program was indeed open. She was puzzled by how I called at just the right time. Keep in mind, my simple prayer.
CRAZY - I know!
So if you haven't already guessed, we are growing our family by way of international adoption -- from Japan. At this point it is appropriate to say that we are 'Paper Pregst'. Gestation period for me will be like that of an elephant, because technically my heart has been full & pregnant for years now. When we get the call, we will go to Tokyo and bring home our 1 month old infant, whom we have nicknamed for the time being, 'BABY PANDA'.
Fun fact : Pandas are indigenous to China. But years ago China gifted Pandas to Japan. Our Baby Panda will also be a gift, and one that we are so very excited to receive and love!
We will update as things change.
While we wait & prepare we would ask that you come alongside us in prayer for the following:
1.) For the birth mother to feel love and peace in the midst of her hard decision ahead.
** The agency that the birth mom will go to in Tokyo helps women choose life over abortion. So Baby Panda, without this agency, would have otherwise been aborted.
2.) Health for both birth mom and Baby Panda
3.) Government approval and smooth document processing
4.) Financial provision as we save, work and fundraise to move our mountain.
In the meantime, we eat lots of ramen & sushi !