*For those in a hurry, read the underlined text!
It has been a difficult and interesting month with a lot of goodbye's and hello's, and little mercies sprinkled throughout (well, probably dumped throughout if we're honest). We're stateside now, we have received more information on the pregnancy, and have more mixed feelings than ever - read on to learn more!
S U D D E N T R A V E L
First things first - Yes, we're stateside now. Kara had been having some abdominal pain that doctors were keeping an eye on. A few days after sending our May Newsletter, the pain worsened, and our Jamaican and US doctors both strongly encouraged us to head back to Michigan as soon as possible. Within 24 hours of the order, we had negative COVID tests, flights booked, our house packed up and shut for the next 6 months, and we were sitting in a Kingston hotel preparing for our early flight the next morning. Despite the chaos, we were incredibly blessed throughout our travels. Silas was an absolute champion with all of the transition, sleeping on both flights, remaining calm and understanding, and the timing of flights and layovers couldn't have been smoother.
A difficult element of leaving so suddenly was the inability to have good goodbyes with the residents at JDV. We had hoped to be able to see and talk to people before leaving for this time away (and with more of a heads up) but we unfortunately had to suffice with an explanation and goodbye via group text to everyone. People were very understanding and encouraging to us, but we had hopes of what those goodbyes were going to look like, and it just wasn't feasible with the rush.
Another hard piece of this transition was saying goodbye to our Jamaican dog, Rosie. We had discussed the possibility of rehoming her due to how long we would need to be gone for the birth of B2, and we were suddenly faced with that reality with little warning. Fortunately, we have a relationship with a tech at our vet's office who adores Rosie, and was happy to take her to find a new and good home (and actually, later said she may just keep Rosie herself!) This was a really hard goodbye for all of us, especially to start the trip with, but we were grateful for the little mercies like knowing and trusting where Rosie was going. Above is our last family picture all together, and Silas sleeping like a champ with Pat on the flight.
B A B Y U P D A T E
Upon arriving in Michigan, Kara was able to meet with her OB here pretty quickly. To keep it short and sweet(ish), Kara was diagnosed with a UTI that the doctor believes had traveled up to her kidneys. Not good in pregnancy, but relatively easy to treat. Additionally, Kara was diagnosed with pubic symphysis, which is a condition in which the pelvis separates in pregnancy. This is normal in the last few weeks of pregnancy, but began very early in Kara's case at 26 weeks. As a result, Kara is now on low and restricted activity in addition to wearing a brace. All of that being said, baby girl is HEALTHY and WELL which is an enormous answer to prayer, which we in part have you all to thank for! She is moving tons, responding to voices and nudges, and we are getting so excited to meet her! Kara is now 29 weeks along and into her third trimester!
S T A T E S I D E
We made it to West Michigan on May 10, and first bunked in with Kara's parents in Grand Rapids for two weeks. During these first two weeks, we faced more hello's and goodbye's. Some hello's included both sets of our parents, friends, a surprise visit from Kara's sister (above), vaccinations, and many foods we had missed!
We did have a very difficult goodbye during this time - Many of you may remember our dog, Oliver. Kara grew up with him and he was then given to us after we got married. He came to work with us, to youth group, and trunk-or-treat -- He was truly a part of our family. When we moved to Jamaica, we had him move back in with Kara's parents. Well, upon arriving in Michigan, Oliver's health took a sudden and rapid decline, and we ended up needing to say goodbye to Oliver about a week into our stay. Even though this was really painful and felt like we were at the end of our rope, we were also able to see the little mercies once again - That we could be here to spend time with him, to be with family during it, and to give Silas a chance to know him some (as you can see above)
After our time at the Dunn's in Grand Rapids, we moved out to Holland to stay with Pat's parents, where we are currently. We will be moving more permanently into an RCA house in downtown Holland later this week that we will be staying at for the duration of our time in the States. Every day we are reminded how fortunate we are to have such incredible and supportive parents, not just who we can stay with, but who go above and beyond to make us comfortable, feed us, and love to spend time with Silas. This time was unexpected by over a month, but it has been overwhelmingly sweet with our parents.
W O R K I N M I C H I G A N
So now what? While in the States, we will be performing some of our regular island-side duties remotely, while also working closely with the US office in Zeeland. Kara will continue overseeing the Transition Program, and Pat will continue planning and leading virtual teams and providing pastoral care. Pat has also recently undertaken the Short Term Missions program with CCCD, so he now will be coordinating interns and short-term individuals who come down to CCCD. In addition to these responsibilities, there are a number of projects the US office is excited for us to help with in the coming months!
N E W S L E T T E R S
With the decrease in direct contact on the ground in Jamaica, we have decided to forego our monthly newsletters during our time in the States. That being said, we will for sure send one out upon the birth of baby B2, and when there are any major updates along the way. Of course, if you want to get in touch with us in the mean time, please don't hesitate to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com ! We appreciate this community's support more than we can say, and we look forward to seeing you while we are in town!
- PRAISE for smooth travels, medical answers, and a healthy baby girl
- PRAISE for God's mercies in a season of difficulty. He is so, so gracious
- PRAISE for loving and supportive families who welcomed us with open arms with such short notice
- ASK for continued health for baby B2, and decreased or manageable pain for Kara as birth approaches
- ASK for opportunity to be present with the residents at JDV and CCCD as a whole, despite us being far away for the time being
- ASK for continued safety within CCCD as COVID-19 rates continue to be high in Jamaica, with access to vaccines being very limited on-island