Life, Faith & Running
". . . let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."
(Hebrews 12:1, NIV)
(Hebrews 12:1, NIV)
We are finally all home, together! March 19th, 2017 will always be a memorable day in the 1201 Douglas Street Loween household. On this day all 6 chairs at the dining room table were occupied. On this night all 6 pillows have a head to rest on them. As I write this, the house looks like a tornado hit it because 6 suitcases and their contents are strewn about the living room floor. And I love it!
JeeWoo has been doing awesome! We were able to spend 3 days with him in Korea before leaving, and even though the first day started out a little rough, the following days were full of outings and toddler antics. Nap-time and bedtime are his most intense times of grieving. So we hold him, rock him or pat his back and pray his heart will heal soon.
On the way home, he was an amazing traveler! Seriously, no tears, no accidents, lots of sleeping, eating, and questions. He is an incredibly curious boy, which makes adventuring with him easy and fun. He has not yet mastered any English, so we are incredibly thankful for the fact that God prepared us for this day by planting us in Korea for 7 years. We have not yet struggled with the language barrier: he has been able to let us know what he needs and we have been able to provide instructions and explanations when necessary! This is a huge blessing with a 3-year old who is curious and resolute.
Yet, even in our time of great joy and happiness, we could very likely be on the brink of great struggle as we navigate transitioning to a family of 6. But I am confident, in hope, that in the face of struggle we will find a dependence on God that we have perhaps not felt before. I am praying that I will model that dependence well to my children. That on the hard days, when balancing the needs of all the precious hearts under our roof, I will model dependence on God's grace, a thirst for heaven's perspective and trust so unwavering that my kids will know that through Christ nothing can shake us.
And as we learn what it means to bind together as a family unit that cannot be shaken, and is rooted in the unconditional, never changing, and steady love of God, we may need some space away from our normal, active life...and our awesome family and friends. This will be hard! Especially, because our family and friends have been so involved in praying for and encouraging us, as well as financially supporting us in bringing JeeWoo home. And to them we are so incredibly grateful. And we want to share our joy and our son with all of you.
But we trust that our adoption agency's advice and research on attachment are important and need to be a part of our binding together process. JeeWoo is going through a time of separation and grieving for the loss of the people and the life he knew for 3 years. He may not be able to put words to his grief, but it is real and traumatic nonetheless. During this tender time, we are practicing the recommended months of “cocooning” (<-- click on the link to read more about it) to build attachment. This means no visitors at home, so he learns that we are the ones who meet all of his physical and emotional needs. You may see us out and about during the months of March and April, but likely not at church or other places where there will be a lot of people who will want to say hi to him. If you see us on outings, we welcome friendly interaction with JeeWoo, but please leave any physical comforting or feeding to us. High fives, smiles, and silly faces are great! And remember he doesn't know English, yet. Thanks for your understanding.
Some of you have also been wondering if we would be keeping JeeWoo's name the same or not. We have chosen his legal name to be, Nathan JeeWoo Loween. But it is our desire that he not transition to being called Nathan until it is his choice. So, you may not hear it come up for a few years. The name Nathan is in honor of Mike's dear friend who gave his life to save the lives of others. Also, in Hebrew, Nathan means, "He gave." And we truly believe God has given JeeWoo to us as a precious "arrow in our quiver." JeeWoo's birth mom gave him his name in the hopes that he would live into it's meaning: having an affluent life of great fortune. It is our prayer that her hope would come to fruition here with us and that her heart would be filled with peace whenever she thinks of his name.
We are rookies at this ya'll. So we won't get this all right and we will be confused at times. But we have seen God be big over the last 18 months, and we know his faithfulness will never end. We walk by faith, trusting that his sovereignty and grace will sustain us. And in the not so distant future JeeWoo will be happily adjusted to life as a Loween.
Her family and friends know her as, Jaci. She is the wife of a pastor, a mom of four, writing and communications education instructor, a visionary and an avid runner. As a firm believer in the power and effectiveness of the body of Christ united together to live out the Great Commission, she holds fast to this verse, "Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19). Of equal importance to her are these words, "...let us run with endurance the race that is set before us" (Hebrews 12:1).
Posts in the Run for Your Life, series: