Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Could we ever be really ready for what lies before us? As our family has spent time discussing, planning, and praying together, we know that there is no way to fully grasp how our lives are about to completely change. What daily life will actually look like for the soon to be 6 of us in the Pine home. Or what it will be like for CJ to get two new brothers while he is adjusting to college on the other side of the ocean from us.

Today we are plunging into a “new normal,” as a few hours from now we will be bringing our two boys home from the orphanage. And it feels strange to think that soon the life we’ve been living will be our “old lives,” as God begins to write a new and very different chapter on the blank pages we see in front of us.

Last week we worked on preparing our home as well as preparing our hearts, to “make room” for Ding Yi Fan and Hua Ming An.

Jordan finished her latch hook teddy bear for her new brothers
Some of our "old" kids' books got returned and friends gave us new ones
hand-me-down clothes from friends in Tianjin
games cupboard
Jordan set up a crafts table in the living room
On Tuesday afternoon, Charly and I had the opportunity to visit Hua Ming An at the orphanage and to observe his 1 1/2 hour physical therapy session. We got home 30 minutes after our guests that evening had arrived. The J and J Cooking Team had worked together to prepare dinner and to entertain our guests, and it gave me such peace to walk into our apartment knowing that Joshua and Jordan had everything under control.

On Thursday, Charly and I spent most of the day shopping for bunk beds, and arrived home an hour before our dinner guest. The four of us got as much done as we could putting the beds together before he arrived, and then the J and J Cooking Team again made dinner while Charly and I visited with our doctor friend, talking through practical issues of caring for Hua Ming An and his post-encephalitis brain damage.

new bunk beds
Teamwork is so important. And especially for our family right now as we make this huge transition. I marveled on Thursday as the four of us moved pieces of CJ’s old bed out of the boys’ room and brought the bunk bed pieces in. We were stepping over obstacles on the floor, handing bed pieces to each other, passing the pliers and nuts and bolts, taking turns supporting the frame…

It wasn’t perfect. There were brief moments of frustration with each other. But it was a dance, and there was an unspoken rhythm. There were times when someone intuitively knew what another one needed and silent help was given at just the right time. And I prayed, “God, help our transition to these two new boys in our family be like this. Let us continue to work as a strong team together. Give us unbroken unity and an ongoing awareness of each other’s needs.” I remembered the way a friend had recently prayed for our family when we were in Tianjin during China’s October First National Holiday, “God, protect their oneness.” Yes. We so need that.

juggling in the living room
We set up CJ's bed (in the background) for Hua Ming An
On Saturday morning, as I watched Charly, Joshua, and Jordan juggle with each other in the living room, I thought about the juggling act of our lives. How we will continue to try to keep all of our family’s balls in the air. But there will inevitably be times when we drop the balls and will need to pick them up again. We aren’t striving for, or evaluating ourselves by “just how well can we do this.” We are hoping for laughter, joy, and peace to fill our home, but we know there will also be times of tears and frustration and moments of feeling overwhelmed.

But above all, I believe, that with broad brushstrokes over the canvas of our lives, there will be Grace. From God. For each of us, which we can extend to each other. Grace. Which we so desperately need. For us to fall back on and rest in. His mercies— new every morning. Immanuel. God is with us.

As we live one day at a time, we can trust that He will prepare us for each step that we take, together with Him. In faith.

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