Saturday, February 18, 2012

Update on the Sweet Baby.

He really isn't a baby anymore.  But in some ways he is.  He is that wonderful mix of little boy and baby.

He like to hang out with his Baba.

There is lots of pulling up practice these days!

The cat is always good to play with!

He is very enthusiatic about having guest over because, hello!  Potential playmates!

Books are still one of his favorite things.

New fascination with cars and trucks.

We still love our little guy and delight in him.  But taking care of a special needs little guy can be exhausting on many levels.  His future is still uncertain.  Please keep him in your prayers.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Live the questions

Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart

and try to love the questions themselves ...

Don't search for the answers,

which could not be given to you now,

because you would not be able to live them.

And the point is, to live everything.

Live the questions now.

Perhaps then, someday far in the future,

you will gradually, without even noticing it,

live your way into the answer.

Rainier Maria Rilke

We are in a new place in life, my darling daughter. We are at the beginning of endings and the endings of beginnings. Most importantly, we are at beginning of beginnings. Your life is open before you as you finish up your last semester of high school and go off to college. It’s a wonderful and amazing time.

You are in Beijing this weekend, at a seminar for TCK’s (third culture kids). We’ve raised you in an environment that celebrated and embraced other cultures. We wanted you to see the intrinsic value of human beings, made in the image of God. I was raised that way and I married your father who also believed that way. I couldn’t have married anyone who didn’t share that value.

So this weekend, you are talking with other high school Seniors from around China about adapting back to your home culture. I don’t know the specifics but I would imagine that you are discussing practical and more theoretical issues. What happens when you say to someone something like “One time when we were in Beijing…..” or “In Thailand we saw….” and they think you are a snob or pretentious? What happens when you feel out-of- date music or movies? What happens when people can’t relate to you and you feel like an outsider. The internet has changed quite a bit of that but there is still a gap.

The life we have led has been hard for you sometimes. We have moved quite a bit. We haven’t had much money. You have seen your father verbally beaten up by people he has invested in. You have seen him take much criticism. You have often felt that our priority was the work we did, instead of you. You have struggled in deep and personal ways. We hope and pray that those are things you can process well and that you would grow strong in all the broken places.

You are stubborn, my darling girl and strong-willed. You get that from your mother and your father. However, I often feel as though you mirror me in good ways and bad. When you were very young, I read a book that said that strong-willed children don’t need to be broken. Their strong will needs to be redeemed and used for Kingdom purposes. I see that in you and I am glad we didn’t try to “break your will.” Because your will would have won.

We moved to China when you were fifteen, after many years of working in international environments in the US. We knew we were taking a risk. Moving teenagers is a risky business. But you have blossomed and grown here. Your heart has enlarged in amazing way. Your faith has deepened and grown and become truly your own.

You have grown in practical ways here. You have an unusual skill set- getting through customs, hailing a taxi, tackling the subways of Beijing, using a squatty potty. Your favorite foods are Korean, thanks to the influence of Korean classmates. You have an independence that is admirable and courage to try new things. You have seen incredible things here- the Hong Kong Harbor on New Year’s Eve, the Forbidden City, the mountains of Yunnan, Mongolian herders. You have slept in a yurt. You have gone to school with students from many countries and have grown from both the good and bad experiences that has brought you. You have seen China, Hong Kong, Thailand and the Philippines. You have been blessed.

But living here has also brought the hard questions – the questions that have no answers. You have seen poverty and injustice in the Philippines as you volunteered there. You have learned the reality of Psalm 68:6 that God places the lonely in families. You have been amazing as you let a lonely little boy into our family and given up some of your rights and privileges.

The questions are often unanswered. Why are there orphans? Why is it so hard to get them into families? Where the people who will stand up for what are is right? For justice? Why are families broken up? These are the big questions that you have struggle with- the questions that don’t have answers right now.

So my darling girl, I pray that you will live the questions. Never be satisfied with easy answers. Live in the tension of the now and the not yet kingdom. Keep asking the questions. The answers will come some day and on that day, all things will be made right. Keep your passion for what is true and right. Never lose hope.

Written for my friend Sarah's Practices of Parenting carnival.  Click on the Emerging Mummy link on my sidebar to see what other people have written on this topic.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Now is the winter of our discontent....

Yes, I know this quote from Richard the III is taken out of context here....but it is so freaking cold.  I may have mentioned a time or two or three or four......or more how much I hate the cold.  Hate really isn't even a strong enough word.  The cold here makes me want to cry.  It makes me feel upset and miserable and vulnerable.  It makes me not want to go out...ever.
We returned to school last week after five weeks of break.  The school heat had been off for five weeks....oh my!  We have these air conditioner/heater combo things in our classrooms called "kongtiaos."  They are actually pretty effective when the radiator heat goes down.  But after five week of cold, it took some time before the classroom warmed up. 
I have some fun things going on in the international school this semester.  My sixth grader is working on an autobiography project that is fun to watch progress.  My seventh graders are smart and really progressing in their English.  My eighth grader went back to her home country so I don't have an eighth grader. 
I started a charity knitting service project with the middle schoolers.  12 students signed up.  Pray for me next Friday as I try to teach them all to knit.  We will be knitting squares that will  be sewn together for blankets for one of the foster care homes here.  I've taught knitting before so it's a fun project all around.
Things have been relatively quiet hence the lack of blogging.  Elisabeth had an amazing time in the Philippines and wants to go back next summer and work in their teen home.  Our little guy spent some time at his ayi's apartment as we needed a break.  Taking care of a special needs little guy is exhausting. He isn't quite walking yet and still needs to be carried quite a bit.  He is very mobile with crawling and needs to be watched all the time.  Thankfully, he is still sweet and fun and a good sleeper.
Over the break, I read a book of the break on Quaker silence.  It was challenging to me as I feel that my life is full of noise.  Not just the noise of China but other noise- the internet for example. I feel challenged to look for more expectant stillness in my life.
Of course, we still have the unusual stuff in our life.
For example, Paul came home two days ago looking like this.

Yes- fire cupping.  This is about three days after it was done. It's supposed to draw out toxins. Hot glasses are put in the skin and left there for a while.   I asked Paul if he felt healthier and he said no.  At least he was game for one more cross cultural experience!