Update: Puzzle Progress Report & Home Study

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A lil update for you:

Puzzle Progress Report: 91%!

I know this is long overdue… but wanted to do a puzzle progress report. I’m sure people have been waiting to see what it looks like, and so here you go…

All in all, we got our puzzle to 86% right before the art auction.  That’s huge.
We also decided that we wanted to honor all the artists that gave towards the auction, so we’ve added 20 pieces with each of their names.

So, that puts us at 455 pieces of our 500 piece puzzle.  That would be 91% 🙂

JUST 45 PIECES LEFT.

IF YOU’D LIKE TO HELP US FINISH IT OFF, AND PURCHASE A PIECE(S), CHECK OUT OUR POST HERE.*
We are planning to finish up this puzzle over Thanksgiving weekend, as a way to remind us and our family how thankful we are for the community God has placed us in and for his great hand of provision in this season.  So, stay tuned for the finished puzzle and a more thorough explanation.

WE TRULY HAVE BEEN BLOWN AWAY THIS YEAR. THANKS FOR HELPING US BRING OUR LITTLE ONE HOME.

*We have had a few unexpected expenses come up (like an extra $2000 for having to change our home study and $1800 for our psychological exam required by SKorea)- not huge, but even finishing off this puzzle would be a great help.

 


Home Study Update:

We have been working hard to get all of our paperwork and physicals finished.  We have also had two out of three of our interviews, so we are just about there!  I’ll be honest, I was hoping the home study process would be a little bit more warm and fuzzy, but it’s been a lot of questions.  Our last two interviews were filled with our caseworker probing us and asking about any “curiosities” that may come up.

Questions like: Have you ever had anxiety?  Do you still struggle with anxiety?  How does this affect you? Have you ever gone to a counselor? Do you two ever disagree about discipline? Tell me about that. How do you feel about…(insert every awkward and intrusive question you can think of here).  Tell me about that. Haha.

(Note: I used to live somewhere where no one spoke my language, in a totally different culture. We went through a lot of culture shock, near burnout, and a time of illness. Plus, when we came back stateside our world was turned upside down (i.e. reverse culture shock and debrie like: how do I drive a car? how do i greet people? how do i make an appointment again? jobs?) Truly our time overseas was amazing and all, but there were definitely things to process through.)

All that said, I had to keep reminding myself that the agency, caseworker, etc. really do want us to adopt.  They just have to check for details to make sure that these sweet children who have already been through so much don’t wind up in a bad situation. There were totally no red flags. Our caseworker was very reassuring and encouraging- so that was helpful.  In fact, we spent a good amount of time after the interview talking about the best places to find Korean food in Madison. Yum!!

So, now our caseworker is writing up our home study. We’ll have one more meeting with her to wrap things up, a psychological exam, and then we should be able to submit everything to the agency in South Korea.

Then we wait. In the ideal world, we would have a referral in 2-3 months and pick up our child by Christmas of next year. (but it could be as late as the middle of 2018- as everything is always flexible with adoption).

The Cost of Giving

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This morning during my devotional I was reminded about sacrificial giving. My lesson came from the very end of 2 Samuel. The story goes that king David was going to offer a sacrifice to God and he needed to do it in a certain place. So the owner of the place (the threshing-floor) was going to give it to David for free along with the oxen. But David replies in 2 Samuel 24:24 “No, I insist on buying it from you at a price. I refuse to offer to Adonai my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” Then David goes on to purchase the threshing floor and oxen for a fair price. David insisted on offering something that had value to him. He wouldn’t offer something to God that cost him nothing. I think there’s a real lesson here, a reminder of how our giving should be.

Jesus tells us a similar story of the poor widow in the temple. She deposits just a mite into the temple treasury (a fraction of a penny) and Jesus declares that she gave MORE that everybody else. She gave sacrificially to God whereas everybody else gave out of their surplus. Like David, her giving cost her something.

I don’t think God wants us to give stoically to him. It should mean something to us. We should feel it. In God’s economy when we give sacrificially to Him the value is greater. Dollar amount doesn’t matter. God counts in what it costs to give. God looks at our heart. I think when we give like this we in turn get closer to His heart.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:3

Always a Language Student

Enjoying our time back in America. We’re in Wisconsin now, and the weather is decidedly a lot cooler than Indiana. We’re adapting. . . slowly but surely to the weather. Again, we thought we wouldn’t be able to cut it- we thought we’d be frozen stiff by now. But thus far it hasn’t been TOO bad. Of course, our bundle of clothes that we pulled out of the basement helps too. We’re up to two layers. Probably by November we’ll have three. And December. . . well who knows!

It’s sort of interesting to think that I’ll be an English teacher next year. Never in my life did I ever think I’d be an English teacher. But I guess that’s what happens when you spend so much time overseas and English is in such high demand. It makes a lot of sense really. It’s a no-nonsense “this completely makes sense” kind of deal. I teach English, get paid a little for it, and we get to live exactly in the heart of our people group. Seems like a no brainer to me. And if teaching English for eight or so hours a week lets us continue our project, then it’s a good trade-off.

To that end, I’ve been cracking away at this online TEFL course (teaching English as a foreign language). The course is sixty hours and I’m about 75% through. It’s more interesting than I thought. I always enjoy learning new things, so a refresher on English grammar, etc. is sort of fun. It’s been what, fifteen years since I studied this? And now that I’ve been a language student myself for the past two years I KNOW the pain of not understanding a language. It’s HARD work to learn a second language. Definitely no joke. So as a teacher I will most definitely be able to relate with the students. I’m still in their shoes, literally. As long as we’re overseas we’ll always be language students. That’s just part of the job description. I know many of the things I’ve struggled through myself as a student will appear in my own classroom again. I want to be a better teacher than the ones who taught me! Yep, they made a lot of mistakes. And I didn’t know how to learn either, so maybe we’re both to blame. It hasn’t all been a smooth ride. Definitely less than organized at times. But somehow I’ve come this far. Somehow I’ve learned this crazy language, and started on number two! Does it ever end!! =)

Comparing Apples to Oranges

One of the hardest parts about living in a foreign country is the language. Of course this seems pretty obvious, but it is a LOT more difficult than I imagined. It’s not just that I can’t talk to people or communicate. The difficult part is being reduced to an infant when trying to communicate what you are feeling. I so badly want to express myself. I wish there were ways for me to effectively pass along what I really want to say. But when I meet people for the first time in this country, I have the perception that the first thing they know about me is, “oh, his language is choppy”. I really don’t like that that is the first thing that people might know about me. First impressions are important, and it’s frustrating knowing how mine are shaped here.

Of course, that just might be my perception. The fact is, I HAVE come a LONG way with the language. When I look back over the past ten months I’m pretty amazed how far I’ve come. I remember really struggling with Spanish in high school. I don’t think language learning is my forte. But considering I’ve never really become anything close to fluent in any other language (besides English), I’m quite encouraged.

Sometimes I make the unfortunate mistake of comparing myself to others- especially single (non-married) people. They have made better progress with language learning for a variety of reasons, but I think the main reason is simply that they have more time to study and hang out with native speakers. Over time that makes a BIG difference, and I’ve seen it happen here. But it’s just not fair to compare apples to oranges. Married people have a totally different set of priorities.

One thing I’m looking forward to is moving to our next location in a few months. I have a vision of sitting in front of my house (or our neighbors house) and just shooting the breeze for a while. I look forward to spending time with locals in our next neighborhood. That is the practice I need coupled with the chance for a local friend. My heart and my language will really race along then.