Neah here. So you might be asking, why start with sharing a blog? Why not just tell us the big news first? It’s funny, when I first started this secret blog about 5 years ago, it was meant to be an artistic and creative outlet just for myself to log beautiful stories, music, and art from the most unlikely of sources. Think “Humans of New York” meets “Tiny Desk Concerts” meets “street art.” And secret because I didn’t want the pressure of my perfectionism getting in the way if others would be reading it. I just wanted to write freely. Never did I imagine this blog would be a place where Tai and I would share one of the most difficult seasons of our lives…and with all 250 of you at that! This definitely is a big step for us, especially for my introverted and private husband…but one we both feel is important in order to invite our community, to not only understand what brought us to our present reality, but to join us in where we feel led this next season (aka the BIG news). Since our community is spread out all over the world, and some of you we haven’t seen or talked to in years, inviting you into our story in this way is to hopefully build deeper connections with us as we continue our journey. Though I can’t promise that the writing will be great, it’ll be real and honest….so please stay with us. I promise, at the very least, you will get to know our hearts better at the end of this.
It’s almost ironically prophetic that the title would be so fitting to what these past few years have been…Taken from a quote found in one of my favorite books by Madeleine Engle “Walk on Water”, she goes on to describe all true art as cosmos within chaos…and that the artist’s role is finding the cosmos within the chaos of this world rather than just seeing and reproducing that chaos. It reminds me of the Psalmist when he says
“O taste and see that the Lord is good! Happy are those who take refuge in him. O fear the Lord, you his holy ones, for those who fear him have no want. The young lions suffer want and hunger, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.”
Sometimes seeing chaos in our world seems a lot easier to do than to “taste and see that the Lord is good.” For us, that couldn’t have been more true these past few years while we were taking steps of faith into multiple big life transitions…the pain, confusion, and grief that followed felt pretty chaotic and the mere challenge to see the “cosmos“, the “beauty” of God’s hand in those places, felt so daunting, even impossible at times.
They say hindsight is 20/20 but I’m not sure if I believe that. I think on this side of life we will never have 100% clarity in the whats and whys of life. Instead I think we are given glimpses and pocket moments of beauty…beauty that sometimes isn’t seen or felt right away, but eventually unfolds itself into our hearts and souls shifting the way we see and live life…beauty that doesn’t necessarily make sense of the chaos, but brings greater courage, compassion, and freedom to live and love whole-heartedly through the chaos, trusting that the God of love is working behind it all. And the thing is, no matter who we are, we must all go through the chaos. I think that’s why things like wine, ice-cream, dancing, and puppies exist. Not to mention prayer….Oh and lamentations….laaaaaaaamentations. Real life lamentations.
So on September 1, 2015, this particular chaos started when I woke up from a dream: I was pregnant and Tai and I were elated as we both felt the baby moving around in my belly. You would think after having a dream like that I would wake up with excitement and joy, but instead I woke up feeling anxious and disturbed. You see, although I had always dreamt of being married one day and having children, the thought of being pregnant frightened me. It wasn’t because I didn’t love children or didn’t want them. I remember even as early as elementary school holding other people’s babies at church and taking care of the younger children….Even when I learned about foster care and adoption, I dreamt of creating a big eclectic family of my own that way. I also had plans to become a teacher as I loved being around and working with children. Children weren’t the issue. The process of having them was. At an early age, I learned that my mother’s experience with trying to have children was a long and painful one, including multiple miscarriages and even losing a child 2 weeks after birth. With every pregnancy she endured great physical and emotional pain including pre and post pregnancy, not to mention the grief and disappointment of losing her babies. And as I grew older and my physiological patterns seem to already mimic my mother’s, I knew that I didn’t want to put myself through something similar. I began to believe that my body wasn’t meant for pregnancy and childbirth and motherhood would just have to come another way, if at all. And as I entered my 30s and the prospect of marriage was becoming later and later than I had hoped, I started to resign myself to being ok living life without ever having my own children. There were worse things in life and I could still be perfectly happy being an auntie or a figurative mother to other people’s children. Then I met Tai soon after and when we started talking about our future together, I was relieved to know that not only did he love children and was passionate about foster care and adoption, but that he also didn’t want to start a family based on the pressures of societal timelines and expectations…we would do it when we felt ready to do so. Especially since we had both gone through a lot of transitions within the entire timeline of our relationship, we wanted some time to build roots and feel grounded after all the constant changes we had just been through. And if our life took a different path of not having children of our own, that was ok too. Match made in heaven! So once we got married, though we were considerably “older” than most people just entering married life, we wanted to take a few years building roots in our new married life before taking steps to add to our family…we would trust God with the rest.
Fast forward back to Sept 2015, just shy of our 3 year anniversary, and I’m sitting up in my bed in the middle of the night still shaken up by this very realistic dream of feeling a baby roll around and kick in my belly. What was this dream and why was I having it NOW? I was approaching my late 30’s and was pretty sure that ship had sailed for me. Maybe it was figurative? Maybe it was the spicy food I ate that day? I could just ignore it and go back to sleep….But I couldn’t shake the feeling, that familiar feeling that maybe God had something to do with it and that I needed to listen. It wouldn’t be the first time God used a dream to speak to me. So I started to pray, “God, if it’s you speaking, I’m here listening” and then waited. After what felt like a few minutes, I suddenly felt my heart get warm and a deep peace filled me…as I listened intently, I heard this inner voice whisper to me, “Neah I love you. Do you trust me?” I do Lord. “Then why are you afraid?” What do you mean, Lord? “Neah, do you trust me?” I said yes, but more carefully this time. “Then why won’t you trust me with your deepest desires?”
As I sat there in silence pondering on the question, wondering what desire he was talking about, what happened next felt like a cork was being removed from somewhere deep within my heart. The place where I had become an expert at placing the most vulnerable of my emotions buried deep and bottled up, was now resurfacing….and before I knew it, tears one by one starting rolling down my face as I finally mustered enough courage to utter the hidden fear and desire I thought I had locked away long ago….”I want to be a mom. I want to have my own children. And though I’m deathly afraid to even admit it, I want to experience the miracle of carrying my own child. I’m terrified of everything that might entail. But help me to trust you despite my fears.” And though I felt like I had jumped off a cliff declaring those words out loud, I felt peace knowing God also desired this for me and would be with me. So as a step of faith, I picked up my cell phone by my nightstand, opened up the memo app, and began to write a letter to my future child.
….So this is your future mommy saying that I hope you will become reality soon, that I’m finally ready to meet you and to have the opportunity to be the best mommy I can be for you. I am commiting to trust in our loving and faithful God to bring you to us and to prepare us for you. I’m really scared of what may or may not happen. But I know our God already knows you, has dreamt of you before I have, and loves you far more that I or Tai ever will…just as he does for us. And since He’s the one who’s awakened my heart to you…starting tonight I will do my best to prepare my body, soul, and mind for when He chooses to give you to us. I love you.
A few hours later that morning, I shared with Tai what had happened including the letter I had wrote to our future child. Though he was supportive, he of course needed time to process everything that had just happened to be on the same page with me. After a few months of discerning and praying together, he experienced his own awakening to his desires of wanting to be a father and was now ready more than ever to start that journey together. We were both on the same page again. We both felt ready to explore all avenues regardless of the uncertainties that laid ahead and we would take one step at a time trusting God with every step.
Because Tai and I had always wanted to adopt, that was the first place we looked, especially since trying to get pregnant might take some time. Adopting from Korea had been on our hearts, so we began doing some research as well as have multiple conversations with friends who had already adopted internationally, including Korea. That’s when a well experienced mom of 5 korean adoptees advised us that if we had any thoughts on getting pregnant in the next 2-3 years during the adoptions process, we should try getting pregnant first. For those who have gone through international adoption already know that even if you get pregnant unintentionally during the adoption process, the whole entire thing gets annulled. Yikes. And ever since that dream in September, we knew that door wasn’t closed anymore. So since I was heading into my late 30’s and Tai into his 40’s, we heeded the advice and decided to take a detour to try and spend our energy and focus on getting pregnant first.
You know that phrase, “when it rains, it pours?” Well, it’s very appropriate for what would come next in our story.
To be continued…