the return of someone to their own country
One hundred seventy-four days. Our family has been on American soil again for one hundred seventy-four days. Emotions I fully thought would hit back in July are coming in waves. Grief, guilt and more. As much as I wish I could push through this stage clearly and bounce right back, I’ve learned that this is a normal and expected part of returning to your passport country.
Grief happens when you say goodbye to those you love. We loved hard in Thailand. Despite my desire to stay disconnected, knowing we’d be back home in two years (or so I originally thought,) it was impossible to not fall in love with our beneficiaries. Their shy smiles, their teasing of our language attempts, the simple gifts they gave to us that meant so much.
Grief happens when you leave friends who have the same heart-calling as you. The ones who have sold everything they own to move their families to an unknown place, like you. The ones you laugh with and cry with and who become family.
And the guilt. While we spent many months in prayer, seeking to do God’s will, I still doubt that we did the right thing sometimes. Even though we were having increasing struggles with our visas, I wonder. Even though we know our presence in the United States is vital in supporting our girls in Chiang Mai, I wonder. And I believe this is normal feelings of guilt that happen to anyone coming off the mission field. We feel guilt over the fact that we are here and our foster son isn’t. As much as we have tried to overcome the obstacles and bring him here to be with us, it hasn’t happened and we’re not sure it ever can.
Returning to the States also brought about a feeling I wasn’t sure how to describe, but for lack of better words the fear of “selling out” and becoming the same person I used to be before. Wrapped up in my own world, not cognizant of the deep needs of those around me. Maybe thinking that luxuries are normal and expected, rather than good gifts we don’t deserve by our gracious father in heaven. I pray I don’t slip into complacency.
We have much to be thankful for, including new friendships and God’s blessing in ministry. And we’re doing well considering all the emotions. But we’re learning that transitions take a loooong time. When asked about our time overseas, we remember both the good and the bad and it can be overwhelming to talk about. But we do need to talk about it sometimes, because it’s part of the process of coming home.
So thank you to those friends who ask us how we’re adjusting to life here. It means more than we can express to hear that you care. Thanks to those of you who give us permission to just do what we are able to do today, knowing this has been a huge period of transition. Thanks to our supporters who are so faithful; because of you we can “keep on keeping on” with this fight against child sex trafficking! We are so grateful to all of you.