We’ve just returned from an extended trip to America. It was both long and long-awaited: after years of adoption processes, visa stresses, Covid chaos, and just generally being very, very trapped—we were free. And we were let loose in all that “freedom” means in America right now.
There are so many things I want to remember. There were so many firsts. We watched Oak’s English language blossom; we watched him meet grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins, and come to call them all by name. We watched him learn American culture; he became a little American kiddo. We watched him experience snow for the first time and learn to love it—even if that was mostly for the fact it was edible. We watched him experience roller coasters and Thanksgiving and Christmas lights and water fountains and sunroofs.
We were welcomed so warmly. We walked into my college roommate Mallory’s home, where they had created a little AirBnb for us that brought tears to my eyes. We walked into home after home of our family members, where they opened up their tables, toys, clothes to us—anything we needed. We borrowed my parents car for three months!
I never want to forget it: the generosity, the warmth. (And also the cold. Wow. 🥶)
And then—afraid surprise positive Covid tests and changed plans and delayed flights—we finally made it back to Thailand, with a seven day quarantine on the beach. If you’re going to do jet lag + quarantine with a five year old, the beach is a wonderful place for it. It’s beautiful, and open at 5am.
Tomorrow, we make the drive to Mae Sot. Home.
We’ll be greeted by friends and neighbors. Messes and chaos, too. Our house has been well-used for classes and bread and bible studies while we’ve been away. Things have gone missing and drama has unfolded. But there is also growth: another baptism awaits us. Book clubs that moved online will be back in person. Meals will be shared.
We return with open arms: waiting to see what our role is on our little street. Waiting, too, for baby girl to make her way to us, hopefully soon.
In all of these things: there is much to say, and I usually have plenty of words. I also have so many wonderful pictures of our little boy both enjoying America and enjoying our return to Thailand; pictures that part of me wants to share and part of me just wants them not all over the Internet.
But here is my dilemma in this space: I don’t think we need another voice that sounds like mine. I felt this way for a season, but now I feel it more strongly; more permanently, perhaps. I don’t want to simply document my life overseas, my family, my neighborhood from my perspective alone. I’m not sure how to capture Oak’s life and story in a way that loves him well and protects him, in the wide world of the internet. I’m not sure how to share stories of my friends without their capacity to fully read and grasp what is being said. And after visiting, I’m not even sure I can write as an American anymore…but I am not anything else, either.
It seems this space is just calling for a season of silence.
(Which, I suppose it’s been silent for quite some time anyway. Leave it to me to inconclusively, officially establish silence.)
So for now, thank you for this space.
Thank you for both reading the words, and also accepting the silences.
Thank you for accepting the ways I’ve both changed and changed my mind.
Thank you for celebrating and mourning here.
Thank you for hoping with me.