I am well-aware that it has been WAY too long since I last posted in The Carr Ride, but I was still shocked to see it was actually December 2014!!! I've written many, many posts since that time…in my mind. Lot of good that does you, but my good intentions were just that…good intentions! Maybe someday soon we can get back to spending more time together. I'd like that. I'll have my people get with your people. For now, I'll just update you on the latest news because I don't have any choice! :)
For those of you that are among our SE Iowa buddies, you'll see that we have a new little man hanging out with our crazy crew, effective immediately. His name is Jin Yu Lin, and he is 7 yrs old…a year older than big Z. (He speaks very good English. So that's awesome!) This brings our count back to 6…who's up for a dinner invite?!?
Deep breath. Grab a seat. I know…I know…ok, here we go…(better grab your DP and peanut butter…it's a doozie!)
There are so many places to start in this story (and so many different perspectives) so I'll just try to cover the highlights.
A couple months ago, we received an email from a friend of a friend, telling us about a Chinese family that had moved to the area from Illinois. They spoke very little English and might need some help enrolling their little man in school. Their jobs at the local restaurant had been lost, for whatever reason, so they moved to Burlington to work at the Family Buffet. We also found out that Jin Yu had even been living with an older American couple in Illinois for 18 months. "Grandpa Erik" asked if we could offer some assistance in getting him enrolled in school. We were happy to help when needed.
Unfortunately, after 3 weeks of Jin Yu just hanging out at the restaurant, his parents contacted that same couple to see if Jin Yu could move back to live with them again. We got word and went in immediately to try out and help with any school information so they wouldn't feel the need to send him so far away.
Jin Yu's dad is a cook, and his mom is a waitress. They put us in a back section by ourselves, brought him over to our table to chat with us, and they went back to work! He is such a sweet little guy and…busy…oh so loud and busy...and seemed to love chatting with us. Let's just put it this way: Zane couldn't get a word in edge-wise! For the love.
A couple days later, we went back again to help answer any questions and offer to have him come play with Zane sometime. Through an interpreter (every conversation has to go through multiple layers of interpretation), they asked if he could just come live with us. You have to understand the culture to truly grasp the education/work priorities, but they are basically willing to do anything at all, in order for their son to get the best education possible, while they work as much as possible. It's much like sending their son to boarding school. Definitely NOT wanting to simply abandon their child. Just such a different culture!
Regardless, we were dumb-founded and told them we'd need much consideration.
We bounced back and forth about the best thing for Jin Yu and the other kiddos. We wanted to help so he would be closer to his parents and maybe eventually get him back to living with them, yet we recognized the need to be sensitive to the needs of our own kiddos. Life sure is messy sometimes..but always a gift.
Honestly, Chris and I couldn't imagine adding even a single thing to our overflowing plates. Chris is coming off the end of his 6-week sabbatical with a full-throttle fall schedule. I am coaching Varsity Cheerleading at Danville, working my Jamberry business more than ever before, and getting ready to direct the church choir again in the fall. Of course, we also have the schedules of our 5 kids to hurdle and church activities. Adding another person into that chaos, especially in this situation, seemed almost foolish. However, similar to how we felt initially when we first started the adoption process, to simply do nothing didn't seem right. God clearly continues to bring these children-in-need to our doorstep…muddy circumstances seem to be a part of the package.
After much discussion, we came up with the initial plan. He will stay with us throughout the week. They will come pick him up on Sunday afternoons, and he will stay with them until Monday evening @ bedtime. He'll also go to the restaurant on some Friday nights so Chris can devote some time to solely watching Bryce play football. (This was an issue since I'll be coaching the cheerleaders.) This was a HUGE adjustment on their part since they wouldn't have seen him for months-on-end if they'd have sent him away so we were very happy to have them agree to spending time with him on a weekly basis. This was great news! :) Our desire would be to work through the cultural/societal issues (with baby steps) so that someday soon, he could go back home to live with his parents yet stay in school. For now, he will be living with us full-time, with the exception of Sunday nights.
Welp…my peanut butter is gone…how about yours?!? :)
UPDATE: we all met up at the school last Monday to get Jin Yu registered for school. Please just enjoy that visual. My 5 kids, myself, Jin Yu, his parents, and a JH Chinese boy who came to help interpret…filling out school registration papers…you know the ones…where you fill in your address and personal information on no less than 20 forms. HAHA. Yea…yuck it up.
He's been living with us ever since! He and Zane have had a great deal of "growing pains." They're both determined to be the top dog at the Carr Castle…not remembering that the true answer is NEITHER ONE! :) But it gets a little better every day.
I've had some ups and downs in getting the room ready because I had to clear out some drawer and closet space for Jin Yu…Zoe's space. God keeps forcing me to deal with these issues of his better plan. At some point, I might just give in…hope that happens soon before it kills me.
We've had some *heavy sigh* moments when he grabbed my hand the first night and said, "Well, I guess you're my new mom now!" We worked through that and then had to come up with what he could call Chris and I. I suggested Aunt Eva, Momma Carr, etc, and then as a joke, I added Momma E. He loved it. Great. (Now even Zane is calling me that.) The funniest part was when Landry added, "…and dad could be Daddy G!!!" Bwahahaha…forget the fact that it sounds like a rapper name…HAHA…it stuck! :) So there ya have it…Momma E and Daddy G. I wouldn't suggest you call Chris that name around town. Take my word for it. :)
Speaking of names, after getting the clearance from his mom, Jin Yu will go by Kai at school/church. Kai Lin. He's really excited about it! He is such a sweet and loving boy, and we look forward to introducing him to you all. Please join us in praying for his sweet parents as well and for our ability to show Christ to them. It's only through His grace that this endeavor will succeed. We don't have this whole thing mapped out but are just willing to let it play out, at God's leading.
We also covet your prayers for our family as we continue to adjust to life without Zoe…and that we would be able to open our hearts once again to one of His children.