Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Finalization celebration, part 4

They just keep coming.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  We are loving these letters to Victor and to us.  Many tears being shed over here.

"My beautiful baby cousin,

I remember when I found out that you’re parents were considering adopting again. I remember praying from the time I was in Pennsylvania until the time we all found out about you and even to this day. You are a beautiful, miraculous baby. I can’t wait to see you continue to grow.

I remember sitting in the student union at my college, reading Aunt Cindy’s blog post about my new baby cousin who was struggling for his life. I remember sending the link to every one of my prayer warriors to pray for this beautiful child. I remember praying for you to be a part of “team fat baby” (which is what one of the girls in my discipleship group prayed for him). I remember tearing up when I would look back through Aunt Cindy’s blog and see how much you’ve grown since the start of this journey and to see the unconditional love that your brothers and sisters have for you.

This journey taught me a lot, and writing all about everything it taught me would take quite a long time. But the one thing it taught me was how to trust Christ through every circumstance. You would think that I would already know that; but to watch our family give up time with each other, money, and other things to make sure you had a family forever and to know how much value you have, not only to our family, but also the value that you have in Christ. In my time with them, I saw the heart that our family has to genuinely care for the least of these and to take what James 1:27 (“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world”) says to heart. They didn’t care how much money it would cost. They didn’t care how much time it would take you to be strong enough to make the trek from Utah to Pennsylvania. They knew that God was calling them to love you, without condition, and to bring you into a family that is overflowing in love.

I got a care package from you all a few weeks ago, filled with wonderful things that represent people that I miss most and products that I can only find in eastern Pennsylvania. Aunt Cindy wrote me a note telling me to let God shake up my life a bit. Through this process, I’ve seen how God is a God of constant provision. From a baby boy who beat the odds and to a family that has chosen to love unconditionally—whatever that may look like—have shown so many people how God provides time and time again for us.

I love you so much, Victor. I can’t wait to see how you will continue to impact those around you, as you have already done.

Uncle John, Aunt Cindy, and the rest of the “King Zoo”- thank you for showing me how to trust God without hesitation. Thank you for showing me how to love the least of these. Thank you for showing me how to love from the overflow of the love that Christ has for us. Thank you for challenging me to let God shake up my life. Thank you for showing me, multiple times, the beauty that comes from adoption. It holds a special place in my heart due to the beautiful children that are now within our family. I love them. I love you. Thank you for matching your words and your deeds."

"You guys asked for thoughts on Victor. Here are mine.  I probably should have said this a while ago.

When the King family came into my life, I was blessed in ways I didn't fully realize at the time.  Everyone in the family has been wonderful to me, and my interactions with John, Cindy, Andrew, Mariana, Eden, and HopeAnne have been some of the most meaningful and memorable of my last year.  The funny thing is, Victor has also had a major impact on me, though I've only actually seen him in person once.  2013 has been a year of major turmoil in my life.  I won't go into details on why, but this year has been a period of very little to no hope.  I rarely smiled, and often felt more like a zombie than my usual self.  It was, in short, an icky feeling, to use the technical term.  But during that time, I was also following a miraculous story; the tale of Victor and the Kings.  I saw the miraculous answer to prayer that Eden received.  I saw the community come together to help John and Cindy live a life in Utah while living a very full life in PA.  I got to help in a very minor way, and being a part of it meant the world to me.  And I got to see pictures of Victor, smaller than my smallest chihuahua, but growing, learning, and touching the lives of this incredible family.  I got to see his growth and his fighting spirit.  I got to see Mariana take on the role of mom and thrive, where most teens would want more attention and less work.  I got to see pictures of John and Andrew without shirts on...proving that even the best experiences have their negative aspects!   I got to eat pregnant cookies and do it for a good cause!  But more than anything, I got to see a family, community, and little child that was half a country away help me discover hope again.  And it was at a time when I really really needed that.  Eden says that her favorite Bible verse is Matthew 5:14-16, which talks about being a light in the world.  The whole King family is amazingly talented in this area.  And that's what Victor and his story were for me, too.  That's how you know he's a real King.  Before saying a word, he was already being a light in my world.  I thank God for the blessing of the King family, all of them, including Victor.  Because even if he's not officially a part of the family until today, he's been a King since he was born."

"Beautiful Little Conqueror,

A few months before you were born, long before any of us even knew about your precious life, God was orchestrating mine so that I could be a part of your adoption journey. Summer was approaching and that meant I would be going from full time employment to part time. While I knew that I could survive the summer on my part time salary, I began picking up applications seeking a part time job. As I started to fill them out I heard the Lord say, "Not yet." Hmm… Okay. About a month or so later I picked the applications up again and again I heard "Not yet." At this point I'm starting to get frustrated. "Why not!"

A couple days later your Dad signed an email asking me to pray because he believed your family was going to be matched with a baby in Utah, born at 25 weeks. Oh what joy filled my heart! I immediately began praying, not knowing much but knowing that 25 weeks is too early to enter our world.

Days later I read a blog post I'll never forget. "We stepped out of the boat." It took me longer than I'd like to admit to read that post, only because tears were pouring out and I couldn't see the screen to read it. This is the child your family has been praying for. This is the child that I have been praying for. I was so happy to see your beautiful family grow. As someone who wants to adopt someday, I was so inspired that your Mom and Dad and brothers and sisters were saying yes to such a precious life, knowing that it was going to bring much joy to their lives and also much heartache for a time. Through the tears my heart began crying out to God. "Oh Lord… This baby, your child, who is so dearly loved by you, more than what I could ever imagine, is also so dearly loved by many of us who have not even met him. Bring life." More tears began to flow as I began to thinking about your family having to live in separate states for an indefinite time. The Lord ever so gently started to speak to my heart. "This is why. You are to spend your summer serving them."

I remember the beautiful time of prayer the Sunday your Mom and Dad were going to fly out to meet you for the first time. Such love filled that room. This is hope. This is redemption. This is family.

As I continued praying for you, Victor, the word that kept coming to me in prayer was conqueror. Desert Song by Hillsong was constantly running through my mind. "God is my victory and He is here." I found myself constantly lifting your family up in prayer and praying for each member individually, always referring to you as Little Conqueror. My prayer life was growing exponentially.

One Sunday as worship began I saw a picture of you, Little Conqueror, in your bed. There were angels surrounding your bed with their hands upon you and the room was full of angels dancing. I felt the nudge to tell your Dad what I saw before he went up to preach. I very kindly told God no. I was NOT going up there. I let God know that I would tell your Dad after church, I would send him an email or something. As the next song began I clearly heard God saying "Get your butt up there!" So I did. After church that day your Mom posted on Facebook saying that you had a rough night and morning breathing and she was asking people to pray for healing breaths for you. All I could think was that healing breaths were there and I knew that because I had seen them. My heart was so encouraged.

A short time later many members of your family were preparing to head several different directions, including your Dad who was headed to Utah to bring you and your Mom home! I approached your Dad at church and asked if I could pray for him before he left. He let a huge sigh along with an exhausted yes.

Because your family stepped out in faith, it lead to great growth in my prayer life and lead me to start taking smalls, tiny steps as well. I was most certainly not the person who would run up to the front of the church and say "hey guess what God just showed me!" Nor was I the person to approach someone to pray for them. Since that time, I have approached, called, emailed many people to pray for them. I haven't held back from sharing when I've received a nudge from God asking me to share a word or picture with someone.

I'll never forget getting to meet and hold you for the first time. What a beautiful blessing! I couldn't believe that I was holding Little Conqueror in my arms. A beautiful reminder that God does keep his promises. Looking at you I saw hope. Redemption. Family.

When I read the blog post about the diagnosis with your eyes, I wasn't able to read it the whole way through. I was heartbroken. Stepping outside and seeing the beauty around me draws me into a place of worship quicker than anything else. I was crying out to God. "Lord I want that for his life." Jesus said to me, "... I love him and I told you that he is a conqueror. Just you wait and see how he overcomes this." For the rest of that day the song Blessed Assurance was the song on my heart. "Visions of rapture now burst on my sight." May this be so for you, Little Conqueror.

I am so thankful that your family allowed me to walk your adoption journey with them. It's amazing how your tiny life has brought me so much life. I'm looking forward to watching you grow and continue to amaze us, just as our Father said you would.

Love you Little Conqueror!"

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