This return/move to the US began as early as July of 2006. While attending the Every Nation International Leadership Conference in LA, I felt a tug in my heart for the land I spent the first eleven years of my life.
I started praying for an opportunity, or a reason, to return. Being a US citizen and having lived in the Philippines for twenty-seven years, it was not an easy feat to uproot from a perfectly comfortable and successful existence to a new place to from scratch. More so as a single parent.
January 2007. The annual corporate prayer and fasting of Victory Christian Fellowship. Not a duty, but a delight to start the year off seeking God. This year, my only desire was simple - more of God in my life.
At Alabang one evening, Pastor Keith Lindsey preached out of Ezekiel of the man who walked into the water until he was fully submerged. This, he said, is what it is to be in the will of God. Untethered and without control. The difference between asking, "God, what is Your will for my life?" from "God, what is Your will?" is removing 'my' from the question.
About ten days after the fast, one of my best friends, Joyce, shared with me about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000: Minors below the age of 18 who are under petition by an American citizen parent automatically become US citizens upon arriving in the US or on US Territory. Kyera turns eighteen on December 28, 2007. I had to start moving if we were to beat the deadline.
And now she's here.
The following have helped us on this journey. To them I owe the deepest gratitude. I would do for them in an instant what they have done for us.
Ron and Joyce. Thank you for convincing me to do this and for encouraging me every step of the way by your example. Because you were one step ahead of us in this, I was braver and surer because you pointed me in the right direction. Your experience and advice has been my beacon every step of the way. My life has been tremendously blessed by our sixteen year friendship.
Len. You already know I love you and treasure you deeply. It's the hardest thing being half a world away from a best friend but I am fully confident that time and space cannot fade what we have found with each other. Being apart from Kyera and knowing she was under your care and loved like your own made a world of difference to me as I struggled many times with missing her. I rested in the knowledge that you kept her safe. I know that our reunion some day will be just as sweet as mine was with Kyera.
Michael and Janet. Thank you for making me an unofficial Turner. I cannot thank you enough for having me stay with you "so you could take care of me". For reassuring me that drink refills are perfectly fine, to letting the whole family wait for me to get my driver's license, I treasure every moment and thank you from the bottom of my heart. Because of your tireless efforts, I got everything I needed in order, swiftly. Kyera is in the US now because you helped me do what I needed to do. You and Zane, Zak and Zephan have a place in my heart and home always.
Filipinos in the US from VCF. G3, May, Carol (Malaysian but Pinay at heart!), Tess, the Duques and the Magpantays were my life support system when I had days that found me at the end of my rope. They truly understood/understand what it's like.
Leah. Knowing we were both in the "same place at the same time" where our daughters were far away from us is an experience I will not soon forget. I can honestly say that the past two months were easier knowing that we shared a unique journey. Our cyber-hugs pulled me through many a dark valley, my friend. And now, we both have our babies back. *hug*
Multiply and Blogspot. It may seem odd to thank a social networking site and a blog, but in this day and age wherein the world is at our fingertips, I cannot not thank the friends both online and in real life, old and new, who stop by to read and leave comments. I have been deeply encouraged. Many a sharp pang of homesickness and loneliness have been averted by the comfort of reading replies and others' posts. Thank you!!
If you haven't ventured out into the water, jump in. It's amazing.