It Is Well With My Soul

Today was my due date for baby #2. It’s a day marked with sadness, as our second pregnancy ended in a miscarriage last fall. It’s been a whirlwind since then as life has changed dramatically in a multitude of ways and has ushered in a new chapter. But we still mourn the loss of our little one. The following words were written in the midst of processing our grief, yet the courage to post wasn’t present. We’ve been encouraged by so, so many who have shared this grief and want be present on this journey alongside others, so we share today.

October 16, 2015

Yesterday was National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. Over the last two days, I joined the millions of women who mourn every day for the babies they never held. I became a face to the statistic of every one in four women experiencing the loss of life too soon.

Two weeks ago, I was eight weeks pregnant and counting down the days to May 9, 2016 when Karlos and I would be holding our new precious babe in our arms. Sofie would be ecstatic with joy at the thought of finally becoming the big sister she’s meant to be (these leadership skills are purposeful!) But with heavy hearts, we heard the news “I’m sorry to tell you that there isn’t a heartbeat.”

Those who knew about our pregnancy ushered us into mourning with great love and care. They’ve called, they’ve texted, they’ve cried, they’ve prayed. Many of them, too, have experienced the searing loss of a little one. Some haven’t, but still bravely enter the journey with us. Either way, none have forgotten the life that once lived and grew inside of me. Thank you, dear ones. Your love sees us through to stronger days.

Our hearts will forever mourn this baby who we never met beyond an early ultrasound. We will also wonder who you were meant to be, sweet one. And we can’t wait for our entire family to be united one day in heaven. We long for that day when “He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”

We live in Hope.

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Home.

So, it’s been kinda quiet over here on My Gringa Life – sorry! My Real Life has been a bit insane this fall. The biggest news being that, as of this morning, we officially closed on our first home! We are thrilled and terrified – the normal mix of emotions for most first time homebuyers 😉

I am beyond excited for what this means for our ministry as a family. Ever since our wedding, we’ve cramped youth groups and small groups and families visiting into our tiny apartments. We recognize that the Lord provided this house and our desire is that He would be glorified with ministry that will happen within it’s walls.

I stumbled upon a beautiful blessing and couldn’t resist sharing. May this be our heart’s desire each day we are gifted with this home:

Dios mío bendice mi casa, para que sea un hogar de amor y de la paz.

Bendice la puerta abierta como dos brazos extendidos que dan la bienvenida.

Bendice las ventanas que dejan entrar el sol cada mañana y por donde se asoman las estrellas que son luces de esperanza.

Bendice los muros que nos defienden del viento, del frío y que son nuestros amigos en las horas que pasan.

Bendice nuestra mesa y los sitios de trabajo para que nos ayudes y el lugar de reposo para que nos guardes.

Bendice el techo que cobija los afanes de hoy y los sueños de mañana y que guarda para siempre entre los vivos la memoria sagrada de los que se han ido.

Bendice los sentimientos, las ternuras, los anhelos que florecerán en nuestras vidas.

Bendice nuestros pensamientos para que sean puros, las palabras para que sean rectas, nuestros actos para que nos conduzcan hacia Tí.

Bendice nuestras horas de paz y de silencio, para que fortalezcamos juntos nuestro espíritu.

Bendice nuestros dolores y alegrías porque son el corazón de la familia.

Señor quédate con nosotros 

en tu morada

en nuestra casa….

Amén.

 

Lord, bless our house, that it may be a home full of love and peace.

Bless the open door, may it be as two welcoming arms opened wide.

Bless the windows that let the sun in each morning and let the stars that are bright with hope peek in.

Bless the walls that defend us from the wind, the cold and are our friends in the hours that pass.

Bless our table and help us in the places where we work and protect us in the places we rest.

Bless the roof that blankets the cares of today and the dreams of tomorrow. That it may always protect the holy memory of the lives that have gone.

Bless the feelings, the tenderness, the longings that will flourish in our lives.

Bless the thoughts that we have, may they be pure. The words that we use, that they may be correct and that our actions would lead us to You.

Bless our hours of peace and silence, that they would strengthen our spirits. 

Bless our hurts and our joys because they are the heart of the family.

Lord, stay with us

in your dwelling

in our house…

Amen.

Our Immigration Journey


immigration

We’re engaged!! That’s it – right? He asked and I said “¡Si!” 

The rest was meant to be “happily ever after” (or at least just overwhelming guest lists and cake flavor choices). But alas, for us, and any couple that come from different countries, engagement sets in motion the big questions of WHERE do we live and HOW do we make that possible?

Though we met in Mexico and love that country, we knew that starting our life in the United States (and tackling our immigration journey head on) would open up more doors later on in terms of giving us a choice in where we could live. The short-term sacrifices would lead to more long-term opportunities.

Most folks are taken aback when they learn that marriage ≠ automatic citizenship.

For us, the journey to citizenship lasted nearly six years – from submitting our first application to receiving his naturalization paperwork. Even just typing that one sentence makes it feel like a nice and neat process.

What we learned in those six years of mess, anguish, fear, and countless prayers made us grow up quicker – and closer. Here’s what it looked like:

  1. Fiance visa – 1 year wait (If you are engaged and plan to live in the United States, this visa allows your novio(a) to cross the border and then you have 90 days to get married #reallife90dayfiance)
  2. Temporary permanent residency – approx. 6 month wait (SUPER fast in immigration standards – BUT during that waiting period Karlos wasn’t allowed to drive, work, or leave the country. It was the most stressful step of the process!)
  3. Permanent residency – 2 year wait (If you become a a resident based on marriage, your first step is “temporary permanent residency”. You have to reapply after 2 years to have that temporary status removed and prove that you’re happily, legitimately married.)
  4. Citizenship – 1 year wait (If you became a resident based on marriage, you can apply for citizenship after 3 years of being a permanent resident. So you basically pay for the non-conditional permanent residency and then immediately pay for the citizenship process to begin).

Total cost: $2,680*

*That’s just the total to file the correct paperwork. It does not include any lawyer fees, travel costs to get the in-person interviews, required medical exams, loss of income during “wait times”, etc.

We could not have made it through those first six years without nuestra comunidad. The folks that…

…cheered us on and double checked our paperwork

…moved all our earthly possessions and filled our fridge when we were on our honeymoon

…hired Karlitos when he was finally able to work, but still just learning English

…let us sleep on their living room floor when we moved across the country

…(parents that understood that) we did not want to start a family until Karlos received his citizenship for the very real fear of deportation that so many families face on a daily basis

…church families and our CSM family that prayed over us for years – speaking truth, calming fears, and giving encouragement along the way

So many prayers, tears and cashier's checks went into the making of this photo!

So many prayers, tears and cashier’s checks went into the making of this photo!

From the moment we submitted our first round of paperwork to the moment Karlos received his US passport, three things have become glaringly clear – we are grateful that mi amor had a “line to wait in”, our current immigration system is broken, and we pray for reform of that system.

Throughout this journey, our paths have crossed with some amazing families, each having their own unique immigration story – whether having come to this country this generation or a few back.

What’s your family’s story?