Monday, October 14, 2013

Family of Four!

Tomorrow marks two weeks since bringing Jonah home. We are doing okay, lots of challenges but definitely some great moments mixed in.

I will try to write more soon. Joshua no longer naps so it is not as easy to find time to blog.

Here is our first family photo at the airport after John and Joshua met us there and one of me with my two boys.

We are so grateful to God for these two boys. There was a time when John and I wondered if we would ever be parents and now we have two sons!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

In my arms...

...after almost 21 months of waiting. Jonah has been with me for about four hours now, so far it is going amazingly well!!! We had our custody meeting in a small meeting room at our agency's cafe and since they have Wifi, we were able to FaceTime with John not long after his foster mom left. Jonah knew exactly who he was and kept saying "Appa, Appa (daddy in Korean). He also calls me omma and seems to recognize me. So far no tears from him, we will see how he does when he wakes up from his nap. He is so amazing, he runs everywhere, he is very curious, and such a sweetheart. Visa interview also went really well, so the last official part of the process here in Korea is complete! Please keep praying for my little boy's heart and also for his foster family, they loved him so much.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Korea Trip #2

I am sitting at LAX right now, next stop Seoul!!! I take custody of Jonah on Friday at 11am (7pm Thursday Arizona time, 10 pm on the east coast). His Visa interview is scheduled for Monday and we fly home Tuesday night. Prayers for a smooth transition are so greatly appreciated!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


At 6:58 this morning my phone rang... I let out a shriek as I ran to pick it up. It was the call we have been waiting for- FINAL APPROVAL!!! We are now officially and legally the parents of Jonah RiYoon! There was a time when John and I thought we would never be parents and now we have two sons. I can't stop crying - so overwhelmed with joy and relief.

"The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy." Psalm126:3

I am so sorry to all those who have followed our journey and to my family and friends that keep up with us through this blog for having to take down blog posts and for not being able to post updates from Korea. Just prior to our first meeting with Jonah, we heard that officials may be monitoring social media and would not look favorably upon posting pictures or details about our adoption process so I needed to be cautious. Now that we are legally his parents I hope to be able to post some pictures and details about our trip.

Overall, we had a great trip. Joshua is a fabulous traveler. He did so well on both plane rides and touring around Korea. He also handled the meeting with his foster mom really well.

Our court date went great. We had the nicest judge. He told us we had approval at the end and that he thought we would be great parents for Jonah (almost made me cry). We still had to wait for the written preliminary approval, but it was such a relief to know we had approval. We are living proof that you can still get approval with a somewhat disruptive, not perfectly behaved child. Joshua only got a 20 minute nap and the court was running late, so by the time we got in there, he was not at his best! As soon as we got in, he loudly pronounced that he was hungry, wouldn't sit still, kept talking, etc, but the judge didn't even blink an eye over it.

The most difficult part was the meetings with Jonah. Our first meeting with Jonah was especially difficult; he was very shy with me and wouldn't interact with me at all. It was way beyond normal two year old stranger anxiety. It was obvious he knew something was up and he wanted no part of it whatsoever! Who could blame him. He was much more receptive to John though, which makes complete sense because he is closest to his foster mom. He and Joshua also did not get along very well. Our social worker visited him last February and we know from her description that the way he was acting was very out of character. It makes me sad that we didn't get to see his real personality prior to his world being completely turned upside down.

Our second meeting with Jonah was much better. He still overwhelmingly preferred John, but I did have a great moment with him taking turns blowing bubbles, I would blow some air, make a face, and he would just crack up. Made me so happy! I was just so grateful for this; he actually gave me eye contact and it just made me feel like eventually everything will be okay. The most challenging part was the two boys, they did not get along well at all. Let's just say that we are calling it a win, since there was no blood. In all seriousness though this will be one of the most challenging aspects of bringing Jonah home; the level of violence was way beyond brothers fighting as brothers do, so PLEASE don't tell me they are just fighting like brothers. Brothers may fight, but they still share love and a bond which Joshua and Jonah do not yet have. We would so appreciate your prayers for their relationship.

I will be heading back to Korea next week!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Blog posts

I made many of my prior blog posts drafts and will republish them when/if we receive court approval. I needed to take them down because they contained pictures of Jonah and could possibly be seen by officials in Korea.  I am sorry.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

19 Months of Waiting....

...has almost come to an end! We leave VERY soon for Korea. We will meet Jonah on August 23rd in Korea (9pm Eastern, 6pm AZ time on August 22nd in the U.S.). Immediately following our meeting with Jonah, we will meet with Joshua's foster mother and possibly foster father. I am hoping he will be there; Joshua was very close to him and even though it may be difficult, I think it may be good for Joshua to see him.

Whether to visit with Joshua's foster family was a difficult decision. Many kids from Korea seem to enjoy looking at pictures of their foster family, but Joshua completely shutdown after coming home and did not want to look at them. He went through a period around 16 months home where he would finally look at their pictures and even hung them on the refrigerator, but that didn't last long. When I would ask Joshua if he wanted to visit them, he would tell me no. We have been praying about this and asking others to pray. We have seen God move in answer to prayer. Joshua has been talking about going to Korea, even telling his teacher he was going on "two airplanes" when she asked if he was going on an airplane to Korea. And when I asked him who we were going to visit, he told me, "Mrs. Choi" and seemed completely at peace about it.

We have also seen God moving in preparing Joshua's heart for having a brother. Prior to very recently, Joshua would answer no when asked if he wanted a brother. Now whenever we read a story that has a mommy animal and two babies, he says, "That's me, that's Jonah, and that's you." :-)

After our meetings, we will sight-see and hopefully have at least one other meeting with Jonah. We go to court on August 28th at 2:30pm (1:30 am Eastern, 10:30 pm AZ time). So pray for us before you go to bed on August 27th!

We would appreciate your prayers so much. We have already seen how God is working in answer to them. Please pray for:
  • Safe, smooth travel and for Joshua to do well on the long flights
  • Meetings with Jonah and his foster mom go well, able to ask questions and get answers that will help tell his story of his life in Korea
  • Meeting with Joshua's foster family go well, no anxiety for Joshua, and for him to be open to them
  • Fun time as a family in Korea seeing the sights
  • Court appearance go well and that we would be able to satisfactorily answer the judges questions and receive quick approval
  • Joshua be well behaved in Court!!!
I can't believe we will finally be in Korea meeting Jonah! Here he is receiving his 2nd birthday care package - love his little smile. Can't wait to meet my sweet boy!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

We Have a Court Date!!!!!

We finally have a court date for Jonah. After EP approval, our paperwork was submitted immediately to the court. It only took them two weeks to assign us a court date. It is much further away than we had hoped, but at this point we are just happy to be moving forward.

We go to court on August 28th!!! That means we will fly to Korea some time the week prior because we need to be there 4-5 business days ahead of our court date to meet Jonah and give the Korean agency time to file some paperwork with the court.

We are finally going to get to meet our son!!!!!!

 By the time we meet him, we will have waited 19 months from the time that our acceptance paperwork was sent to Korea. Since both John and I need to appear in court, all three of us will travel to Korea for the first trip. Then we will all come home and I will go back 3-5 weeks later to bring Jonah home.

We applied for Joshua's passport a little later than we should have, though with enough time given the projected processing times. We were waiting because we were hoping to receive his certificate of citizenship in time to send it in with the application. We are still waiting on it, so in June we realized we needed to go ahead and apply for the passport without it since it is not technically required (just makes it easier). Please pray we quickly receive Joshua's passport with no delays.

Also, please be praying that God prepares all of our hearts for Jonah and his heart for us. Jonah will have lived with his foster family for two years by the time we get to bring him home. Pray also that Joshua's heart is ready to be in Korea again and visit his foster family.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

EP Approved!!!

We got news yesterday morning that the Korean government has approved Jonah's EP!! Now we just have to wait for our paperwork to be submitted to the court and be assigned a court date. My best guess at this point for a court date is August, which would mean Jonah would be home by September. This will be almost exactly two years after Joshua came home; we celebrate our second Family Day with Joshua on September 2nd.

And then today we got the BEST pictures of Jonah ever. I could die over the cuteness of his sunglasses and popped collar!

So much to be thankful for today!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Submitted for EP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Finally some good news to report on the adoption front! I got an early morning phone call from our agency today to tell me that our paperwork has been submitted to the Korean government for their approval, which is called Emigration Permission (EP). This is a huge step, this is what we have been waiting for for the past 16 months.

We thought we would be submitted last week and when that didn't happen it was very disappointing. I was at that point when you just throw your hands up and say, "okay, God, I can't worry about it anymore." It will happen when it happens. Apparently, small groups are being submitted rather than one huge batch as is usually the case and we just didn't make it into last week's group. For my fellow APs who timeline stalk, our acceptance to Korea (ATK) date was 1/18/2012. But if you are a timeline stalker you seriously need to join the Eastern Facebook group. :)

It's interesting, we were also submitted for Joshua's EP in May. And then we began the long wait through the summer waiting for EP approval which took an unprecedented 13 weeks (at the time). I have no idea how long it will take for Jonah's EP. In addition, to EP there is an additional step now so after EP, our paperwork will be submitted to the Family Court and then we will be given a court date. My best guess at this point for travel is September or October, but really we have no idea. After everything that has happened, I am just praying, "Please God let him come home this year."

We also got some new pictures yesterday. Jonah is getting so tall. He is currently 24 pounds and 34 inches tall. The first three are from March (20 months old), the second three are from April, and the last four are from May (22 months old).

Thursday, May 9, 2013

"Done in"

This is how we are feeling regarding the adoption process right now, completely done in. John and I are both feeling so very weary of this process, to the point that we don't think we can ever do it again. We are tired of the emotional roller coaster, the uncertainty, the waiting, the lack of forward movement (for anyone, not just us). I am tired of the constant search for any shred of information that might shed light on why this process has come to a halt and when it might start moving again. And most of all I am tired of watching our son grow up in pictures, and yet I am can't stop checking my email for new pictures. Jonah turned 22 months old yesterday. With almost one hundred percent certainty we can now say that we will miss his second birthday, something I could not have even fathomed at the beginning of this year.  We have been waiting almost 16 months to bring him home. By comparison, we waited 11 months after referral acceptance for Joshua.

Since my last post, the emotional roller coaster has continued. At the end of March, we found out that Jonah's birth mom was contacted to confirm relinquishment. I wrote about this here. This news was definitely bittersweet. We felt relief that we would be able to move forward with his adoption, but also great sadness because I would never wish or pray for a child to lose their mother. We heard from other adoptive families that a court official was present during the interview to ensure that relinquishment was really what she wanted and that there was no coercion. We were also asked to provide more paperwork at this time and were told we would be submitted for Emigration Permission (EP) soon. The month of April came and went with no EP news and no Family Court approvals. There were several families that were given April court dates, but they were canceled after the court decided we didn't need to appear in court.

Near the end of April, the courts changed their minds and summoned several families to appear in court at the end of May. But there was still no word on EP submission for us. Then on May 1st, we heard that the EP quota for 2013 had finally been released and we were told once again that we would be submitted for EP "soon," supposedly at the beginning of this month. All week I have been hoping to hear the news that our paperwork has been submitted, but it has not come.

In the meantime, the Family Court in Korea has decided that all families, both husband and wife, must appear in court. So we are right back where we started at the beginning of March. We are happy to appear in court and answer any questions; we just want this process to move forward. While we do still have concerns about how this is going to work out and the unexpected financial costs, the greatest stressor has been been removed because unlike before when both parents would be required to stay in country for 3-4 weeks, it appears that 2 shorter trips will be now be allowed or one parent could leave after the court appearance and the other stay. We do still have concerns about bringing Joshua back, but with the delays he will have been home for about 2 years before we bring Jonah home so I think he will be more ready to go back to Korea for a visit. Logistically, we still don't know how this is all going to work out. The first families (waiting since December 2011) now have court dates ranging from the end of May through mid-June. Hopefully, we will learn more once these families go through the process.

Yes, I know Jonah will be worth the wait. Yes, I know God's timing is perfect, but it doesn't make this process less difficult. It has taken a toll on me emotionally and physically. I have gained weight. I have been overwhelmed and at times even a little depressed. I feel like I haven't been there for some of my friends who are also going through struggles. I feel like I have been a terrible friend, aunt, sister, daughter, terrible in pretty much any other role I have other than my immediate roles as wife and mom.

As always, prayers are so appreciated, for the process, for Jonah, and for us.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Prayers Answered - No Court Appearance!!!

First, I want to say thank you to everyone who joined us in prayer after my last post, whether you left a comment or not, we so appreciate the prayers, blog comments, emails, and Facebook messages. I could literally feel your prayers and the Lord gave me much peace about everything in spite of the circumstances. I could sense He was at work and would work everything out to His glory.

There was supposed to be a meeting the week after my last post (on March 5th) between the Korean adoption agencies and the Family Court. However, we found out on the evening of March 4th (Korea is 16 hours ahead of us), that the meeting was cancelled and two of the three judges were replaced and a fourth judge was added. I went to bed feeling discouraged and defeated. Just a day prior to that, our community group had prayed for us and this meeting. It was one of those Spirit moving, tears being shed times of prayer where you go away just knowing God is at work. I thought that great news would follow after the meeting took place. And then it was cancelled.

The next morning I woke up and was able to have some quiet time with the Lord. Side note here, this was possible because Joshua has been sick and slept until 8am. I don't want to give the impression that I am a super spiritual, super mom who gets up every morning before Joshua wakes up to have my quiet time, though I would love for this to be so. The truth is I have really struggled to have a regular quiet time since becoming a mom. Anyway, I was reading in Exodus and came across these verses:

But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” Exodus 14:13-14

I sensed the Lord telling me that these previous judges were the "Egyptians," that they were not favorably inclined toward international adoption, and that their replacement was an answer to prayer. It was interesting to read the MPAK blog post and see that Steve also felt confident that the issue of the extended stay in Korea would be a "no brainer" for these new judges and that he had a strong sense that the new court would agree to a solution that would require us to be in Korea for only a week.

Well, God has answered!!!!!!!!

We found out today that the new judges have decided that we don't need to appear in Family Court. Our paperwork will go to the court and once we are given approval, we will travel after the VISA is issued just as before, and stay about a week. We weren't told yet whether both parents would be required to travel, but I wouldn't think so since there is no longer a reason it would be necessary. This is a huge answer to prayer!!! I can't imagine having to go to Korea and waiting 14 days before the court decision is final, not knowing whether we will actually bring Jonah home. Plus, John would have had no time at home with Jonah, it would have been incredibly difficult financially, and it would have been potentially very traumatic for Joshua.

I don't believe there has been any change as far as recontacting birth moms, but I have to say that I recently had an opportunity to watch a documentary called "Mercy, Mercy" about adoption from Ethiopia that reframed my thinking on this subject. You can watch it here:, but fair warning it is one of the most horrific things I have ever seen. However, it NEEDS to be watched by everyone in the adoption community. This isn't just an isolated case; this is what all too often happens when potential adoptive parents rush in to adopt from a particular country because with them comes large amounts of money. Too often this leads to corruption and the manufacturing of orphans (it happened in Guatemala and now it's happening in Ethiopia). The children in this documentary didn't get a "better life" by being adopted; they belong with their biological parents. Adoption should be about finding families for children who truly NEED a family, not finding children for families who want them. So I look at this situation with Jonah's birth mom as an opportunity to ensure that adoption is truly what she wants for him; it is an opportunity to make sure that his adoption is ethical.

Hopefully, this process will finally begin to move forward. We would appreciate your continued prayers!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Difficult Adoption News

This past Tuesday we received some very difficult adoption news. The first and more difficult part involves Jonah's legal relinquishment. A new law went into effect in Korea this past August that requires a seven day waiting period after birth before relinquishment papers can be signed. I completely support this, and in fact think an even longer time period for international adoption would be appropriate. Jonah was relinquished prior to this law, but the judges in Korea have decided that all adoptions will be held to the standard of the new law. Therefore, Jonah's birth mom will be contacted to relinquish her parental rights again.

This news has been devastating. I understand why it is necessary given that there was no waiting period after relinquishment under the old law. I am one hundred percent supportive of children remaining with their first parents and I really don't want Jonah's mom to experience the loss of her child. My heart aches at the thought. I have shed many tears thinking about her and Joshua's first mom. But on the other hand, I am so scared of losing the child that I have dreamed of for over a year now. We have loved him, prayed for him, watched him grow up in pictures, checked our email repeatedly after we know he has been in for his monthly check-up, eaten dinner with his picture, told Joshua all about him, and celebrated his first birthday. It is hard to imagine our family without him in it. Losing him would be worse than my miscarriage. Yet we never really had him; he isn't ours in any legal sense. We have no right to him. I get that, I really do. It is just hard to hope and believe he will come home now. Already, I know of two families who have lost the children they thought would be part of their families after their birth moms were contacted. It is unclear as to exactly when in the process birth moms will be contacted. I am praying it is as soon as possible. 

The second part is that both John and I will have to appear in court in Korea. This blog post from MPAK sheds more light on all this were initially told that the family court step would be reviewing our case to make sure that the relinquishment was legal, but now it appears that they will also be checking to make sure that we are suitable parents. There is talk that instead of the three business that are currently required, we may be required to stay for three to four weeks in Korea. The unexpected financial impact of this is huge as Seoul is a very expensive city. After we appear in court and assuming we receive approval, there is a 14 day waiting period in which an appeal could be made. After that the judges ruling would become final. However, it is being reported that Jonah's birth mom would be allowed to step forward to reclaim him during this 14 day waiting period. Honestly, I can't even fathom this. The first families to go to court aren't scheduled to go until April. At this point I couldn't even guess when we will be submitted for EP, and then after approval, go to court. It is now a very real possibility that Jonah will turn two in Korea.

In many ways we are in a better position then most if the travel would be three weeks because the military gives a very generous 21 days for the purpose of adoption. However, it would be very difficult for it to extend beyond that. Plus, John would have zero time to be at home bonding with Jonah.

The  other challenge is that Joshua has only been home for 18 months and is not ready to be left overnight with anyone, especially for such an extended amount of time. Doing so would seriously jeopardize the attachment we have worked very hard to build. We would have no choice but to take him to Korea with us, but we are unsure if he is emotionally ready for that either. And having a three year old in Korea for a month - yikes! We had planned on me traveling and John staying home with Joshua.

I have been feeling completely discouraged, but I received great encouragement today from my mom to press on and believe that Jonah is coming home. We desperately need your prayers over this situation.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Car Seat Advice

I need some car seat advice. We have a Britax Roundabout 55 for Joshua. The specifications say it is good up to 46 inches in height. However, Joshua is now 37 inches and is getting close to the one inch from the top of the car seat limit. I can't see how it will be possible for him to grow another 9 inches and still fit in this car seat (unless he only grows in his legs!). So I am thinking we will use our current car seat for Jonah and get another one for Joshua. Anyone have any recommendations? Has this happened to anyone else with this car seat. I would like to buy one car seat that will work until we can switch to a booster.

I am even taking that annoying "prove you are a person" thing off to make it easier to comment. Sorry I will have to put it back on though because I always get all kinds of crazy spam when I don't have it on.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Watch my brother's Bully Free video!

So proud of my brother Robert. He wrote and performed this song, then put the video together with the help of his wife. Check it out!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Adoption Update and New Pictures

The year started off with some excitement on the adoption front when news came that half of the last group from 2012 (they should have actually traveled last year) finally had EP approval and would be submitted for court review under the new law in Korea (prior to this new law we did not have to go through a court review process, only EP). I think we all had high hopes that the court review process would move quickly and that the first group for 2013 would be submitted for EP approval; we anticipate being in this first group. But there has been nothing, no word at all, and no confirmation on what, if any, new paperwork the Korean courts would like. I have heard lots of rumors about this from Holt families, but we have had no confirmation of anything. So just as quickly, hopes have fallen - such is the emotional roller coaster that is international adoption.

Part of the issue appears to be that the Korean courts have never done adoptions before so all of the judges and lawyers need to get up to speed on the process.There has been a suggestion made that Korea allow all of us who accepted a referral prior to the new law going into effect be allowed to skip the court review step, which would allow adoption to continue on without the delay this new step is causing. It is a long shot, but our God is a God of miracles, please be praying with me about this, that somehow this court review step begin to move forward either because it is eliminated (temporarily) or because the courts quickly determine the process and necessary paperwork.

One of the potential new pieces of paperwork that may be required is a Certificate of Citizenship (COC) for Joshua. Technically, he became a U.S. citizen as soon as his adoption was finalized. However, at the federal level he is not listed as a citizen until we pay $550 and file a bunch of paperwork, and 6-12 months later we get a piece of paper. Because of the cost we had been waiting to file for this until some funds came in; we are in the process of doing all the paperwork now, but obviously with the current processing time frames we won't have Joshua's COC before being submitted for court review. We will receive a document that states our paperwork has been received, so please pray that this doesn't cause us any issues and that the Korean government will be satisfied with a receipt notice.

We really need your prayers right now:

1) For the adoption process to move forward

2) For the court review step to be worked out

3) For us to have all the necessary paperwork including the COC issue

4) For Jonah to be able to stay with his current foster family (we haven't had an issue so far, but the longer
the wait, the more likely it is a problem could arise that requires him to change to a new foster family)

5) Prepare our hearts and home for Jonah's homecoming, especially Joshua's who at the mention of his little brother tells me "bye" meaning he wants him to go bye-bye; also for me - part of me can't wait to meet my next son, but part of me is so afraid of going through another difficult adoption transition

6) To prepare Jonah's heart and for God's protection upon it - Jonah is now 18 months old and has lived with his foster family for 16 months; this will be an incredible loss for him

7) For us to rest in God's timing; one of the things I have been praying about is that if Jonah's homecoming could occur during a developmental window that would make the transition easier for him, to let it be at that time 

We have been blessed with new photos of Jonah almost every month (skipped April and August - though we received his first birthday pictures in August). I am so grateful for these photos, whether and how often you receive them depends on your social worker in Korea. Our social worker has been really wonderful, but unfortunately she has recently left the agency. I am hoping our new social worker continues to send photos every month.

Jonah is now 18 months old, he weighs about 23 pounds and is 32 inches tall.

Hard to believe it has now been over a year since we first saw this sweet face and a year and 5 days since our paperwork went to Korea. For comparison, we were in Korea meeting Joshua for the first time exactly one year from when we first saw his picture and 11 months from when our paperwork was sent over. We in all likelihood still have several more months of waiting. I have all but given up hope of traveling in March. At this point, I am hoping for April.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Big News!!!

First, I want to wish everyone a belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

We had a busy and joy-filled holiday season. We spent Thanksgiving with friends, had a visit from my mom in early December, worked on photo book projects for the grandparents, celebrated Christmas at home, and then went to visit John's sister and her family in San Diego over the New Year holiday.

There is a reason this Christmas was especially joyful for our family. It is because we were celebrating the amazing news we received right before Thanksgiving. John's deployment was cancelled!!!!

I was completely shocked when John called to tell me. I kept asking him, "Is this for real?" He already had his orders and flight arranged. He had even been to some of his pre-deployment training and was just days away from leaving for more training. A cancellation at this point is highly unusual. I think it took 2 weeks or more for the news to finally sink in; I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop and for him to be re-tasked. But it didn't and he hasn't been. As of now, John is not scheduled to be deployed again, obviously this can change at any moment in the military, but for now we are rejoicing that he is home with us.

When we received the news back in August, we were absolutely heartbroken. Deploying at this time would mean John would have missed Jonah’s homecoming from Korea and would not meet his second son until after his 2nd birthday. In addition, it would mean that I would have the incredibly difficult task of going through the transition period with Jonah by myself, a time when he will likely be grieving hard and adjusting to such a traumatic change. Due to the need to establish a secure attachment with us first, I wouldn’t have been able to allow anyone else to help care for him during this time. Needless to say, we felt completely overwhelmed and unsure of how we would get through this. All we could do was put it in the Lord’s hands; we felt certain He was at work in our situation and knew we were not to fight this. We desired God’s will and trusted that He would work things out for His glory and see us through this situation. That was our prayer.

In addition, many other people were praying for us, my mom’s church, family members, friends, my friend Wendi’s mom along with her team of intercessors, and pretty much anybody who heard about our situation.

But never in a million years would we have guessed how God would work things out! He answered in the most miraculous way and we are so grateful.

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21

The question I have been asked most often is "why?" The truth is we can't really give any earthly reason as to why; we don't really have an explanation. It is God's grace and mercy. Not only was there Jonah's homecoming, but there was the issue of John's safety. We found out that John was tasked to be a part of team that would be going "outside the wire" as it's often called, which is incredibly dangerous and is how most non-combatants are killed. I honestly feel like God spared John's life. In addition, based on the behavior that we saw from Joshua after John returned from training, we believe that a deployment would have been seriously damaging to John and Joshua's relationship. Joshua was very close to his foster father in Korea and therefore has had a difficult time bonding to John (attachment was difficult for both of us, but more so with John).

There are some who are inclined to think that it is because President Obama was re-elected; I have no idea whether that was an direct or indirect factor or not. But what I can tell you is that God has been moving the hearts of kings and leaders for thousands of years (see Ezra 1:1) in order to accomplish His purposes. What I can also tell you is that 2 more people in John's clinic have been tasked to deploy (not because John's was cancelled) and I know of others who husbands have just recently deployed.

I also want to be clear about something else. I don't believe this happened because we had the right number of people praying, "gave it all up to God," prayed just the right prayer, or anything else. So often you hear people say how they just did ________ and boom, their prayer was answered - they had a miracle pregnancy, got married, found a job, got healed, etc. Having been on the receiving end of this type of statement during our years of waiting for a child, I know how painful it can be to hear this, as if we are the ones in control and if you just do this, your problem will be solved. Sometimes you pray, surrender, ask others to pray with you, give it all up to God, and then God says no. It is not because of anything you did or didn't do, it is because God in His sovereignty said that was not His plan for you, at least right now. I don't know why we received this miracle; we feel completely undeserving of it. We are grateful and humbled by it. It did not happen because we did just the right thing, it was God in His sovereignty working out his plan. If you are facing the deployment of your spouse or family member, please know my heart and my prayers are with you. I don't mean to cause you more pain in sharing our news. I only want to give thanks to God and tell of His "wonderful deeds" because this was all Him.

"I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.” Psalm 9:1