Saturday, September 26, 2015

Three Months of Ana Sofia

My friend put together an awesome review of the main baby books out there, as well as some of her thoughts on becoming a parent. This is something to have bookmarked to share with new moms. This month I have been thinking and praying about the refugee situation, and what I want my kids to know about your kids. 
Ana Sofia is so much bigger/stronger/interestinger than I thought she would be at three months. The whole "newborn baby" phase only lasts a couple of weeks. You know, the part where you are scared you are going to break them and they look alien-ish and bleh. It seems like every day Ana shows me a little more of her growing personality and funny faces. There is also a lot of drool involved.
(Tongue out--her most common expression)
At two months and one day she rolled over for the first time, now making mom and dad nervous more than ever. 

With Brazilian holidays we were able to go to the beach and have a great time with friends:

I am enjoying this phase of baby-ness a lot, as we take her with us to Living Stones and let her join into our lives. On the days when Ana and I don't join dad at Living Stones, she is a bit fussy, and lets me know she'd rather be out and about. Here she is, helping us teach Portuguese and English. It is the kids (at Living Stones) favorite question: which language does she speak? 

She enjoys talking to herself, talking to us, and complaining. Her laugh has also evolved into the most show-stopping thing at our house. We then go running for the camera, which magically turns off her laugh the instant it turns on. Here is our attempt to capture this joy: 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

I Want my Kids to Know About Your Kids (to parents of refugees)

Every day my husband and I work with a different group of kids in Brazil doing different things, to share Jesus. But today I added one thing: I wanted my kids to know about your kids. So I pushed through tears and told a story:
A little boy, his brother, and parents running away. His father working hard, and paying quite a bit of money to get them on a small boat to somewhere better. The boat breaking, the life jackets not working, one by one—the father watching them drowning. Alan washed up on the shore and into my heart. Over 2,500 other Alans drowning.
Canada denying visas. Other countries denying sanctuary. What can we do? We can pray. We can use our voice to cry out to God, who is everywhere, and to people, who are His hands. We can let them know we care. And one very small way—we can use social media for good. And I said if they wanted to take a picture with me, to add to the sea of hashtags, they could. And they did.

They cried with me. As I stumbled over my Portuguese and whispered the thought I have over and over: “Did you choose to be born here in Brazil? Did I choose to be born in the USA? Did Alan choose to be born in Syria? That could have been me. That could have been you.”

I want my kids to know about your kids because they could have been your kids—I could have been you. And so I am not afraid to shock them with “that picture,” and I am not going to shy away from holding them when they cry for Alan too. I want my kids to know about your kids because I want them to know they can make a difference in the world by caring, by learning and listening and doing.

I want my kids to know about your kids from me—before they hear a derogatory remark about immigrants. I want them to love. I want them to “weep with those who weep.” I want them to grow up and meet your kids and share Jesus with them. I want my kids to know about your kids so one day they will see them in heaven.


If you were born in a different country, or in a different state than you are now in; if you have ever moved from one home to another, you are (or have been) a migrant. Think of birds, migrating—it is simply someone “on the move.”
I have been a migrant for over 10 years. Before that, I was born and raised in the same home. And it was a good life. But I grew…I changed. I made choices that took me far from home. Every migrant has a story of change; reasons why, reasons why not.

I am an immigrant (?)
Immigrant adds “im” which means “in” to migrant. It denotes a more permanent (and out of country) move—a move you have chosen to remain in. I have invested 10 years of my life in Brazil. I love Brazil. I have a Brazilian (anchor) baby. Brazil will always be a part of my life. Will I always live here? I don’t know. My life is not my own, and I haven’t been informed of the future.

My husband is an immigrant from Jamaica. His whole family has the story that my family had a couple generations back. Immigration is what began, formed, and grew America--much to the pain and suffering of those already located here. Let’s not repeat that story—or build a wall.
 (Caid in Jamaica)

I do not have solutions for the current migrant/immigrant situation in the USA. I do not have solutions for the refugee situation in Europe. But I do understand wanting the chance to live in another country. I know each time I applied for a visa I silently begged, “Please give me this opportunity.” Brazil took a chance on me: they let me in.

I welcome refugees
Refugee is the term for someone who cannot return home for fear of serious harm. They are forced to flee. And as time goes on, I am sure more terms will be made for more reasons that people migrate—because for every migration, there is a story. For every story, there are reasons why, and why not.
I welcome refugees, I welcome migrants, I welcome immigrants. I don’t do this because they deserve it or don’t deserve it. I don’t do it because they are good people or bad people. Sometimes I don’t even do it because I want to: I do it because I am a Christian, and I have given my life to Christ, and two rules He gave me are to love Him and to love others.
I am not saying it is my governments’ job to take care of them: I am saying it is my job to love them—to love my neighbor. And my neighbor lives in Syria, In Mexico, in Afghanistan. And I don’t know what “love” will look like tomorrow—I barely know what it looks like right now—but I am looking for it. And I am doing what I know to do.

I am asking my government to welcome refugees, to allow them in. I am asking my friends, my family, my kids to welcome--and to love--their neighbors as they would want to be loved, as God has loved them. Because that is what I believe. Because that is the kind of world I want to live in.