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Foreign Creatures


A New Perspective on Our Adoption Journey

adoption, thoughtsJessica6 Comments
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Just recently did I see our adoption journey in a new light. For the past month there has been a lot of events, commitment, and changes going on in our life. I started a new part-time job as a Visual Communications and Designer at our church (which I love), styled 2 birthday parties, interior designing a friends' house, and serving at another church doing children's music. And this has been only 1 month! I am so grateful for these blessings and the time and opportunity to do these things. The best thing is that I LOVE doing all of this. We are so busy and our calendar has no empty time slots but even so, I'm not stressed, our marriage is going well, and we're constantly looking for new opportunities to host events and do more. God is definitely providing for us and giving us the energy and heart to serve.

I use to see us doing things as an in between before we have a child - "while we wait, let's own a poke and boba shop", "before we have a kid, let's host more parties and invite people over". There was this time to "kill" while we waited to be parents. My mentality was that we needed to stay busy to help us with the waiting period - we just need to ride it out. BUT now there's a new perspective - we get to do all these things BECAUSE we are adopting. It took me over 2 years to figure out all these blessings in life is because we want to adopt.

 Instruments we prepared for for the children's church retreat we served at.

Instruments we prepared for for the children's church retreat we served at.

If we didn't go on this adoption journey and tried to have kids biologically, maybe we wouldn't have gotten all these opportunities. Our time would have been much more limited. Maybe I wouldn't have gotten to be a staff at church. I would probably be too busy planning my own kids' birthday parties to help plan other kids' birthday parties. Even helping my friend design her house...I was the one who asked her because I thought it was fun. I'm so happy she said yes and that she trusts me! Interior designing is just a hobby of mine and when I saw this opportunity to JUST DO IT FOR FUN, I jumped on it. I have time so why not do things I won't normally be able to do.

God knows the plans He has for us. He knew our desire and passion for arts, to stay creative, and to do things we love while we waited to adopt. He knows our longing to be parents but these past 2 years have been so incredible without a kid too!

When God calls us to have a kid (and I hope it's thru adoption), I know that these past 2+ years of these blessings in life is BECAUSE of this baby. We have a lot to be thankful for for this one baby we have been waiting for. Adoption isn't easy but sometimes God reveals and grants us peace and patience in no other way.

My 2 Month Sabbatical

 Photo by:  Musicgoon

Photo by: Musicgoon

In 1 week my sabbatical will be over! I wanted to protect my 2 months after Snociety by resting, refreshing, and refocusing. I went to Chicago with my friends, Disney World with Aaron and had a ton of spontaneous fun with my friends. I was able to rest and refresh but not refocus quite yet. These past 2 months were filled with so much home projects and fun stuff that I haven't been able to do art for myself - that would be the refocusing part. Ideally I would like 1 more month of saying "no" to things like freelance work and serving at church but I can't justify another month without feeling guilty and selfish. 2 months is already a long time to recuperate from 1.5 years of Snociety stress.

During my sabbatical I said I would only commit to working at my part-time job and designing Sunday church announcement slides which is only once a week. But it's hard to narrow my workload when I love to work and do stuff. I cheated my promise to myself 3x already but I have no regrets. They were opportunities I wanted to do and I didn't want to pass up. More to share on that later!

Sabbatical is a time to rest but I obviously define my sabbatical by doing more projects. Here are the things I had planned to do and the things I've accomplished in 1.5 months.

  • clean every inch of the house (but really...i have 3 more boxes to clear out)
  • container boxes for every room
  • get a nightstand
  • take cake decorating class
  • make car emergency kits
  • set up skin routine

Things I still need to do. It may not be done by next week but I will get it done somehow, sometime.

  • organize all photos
  • Hawaii trip video
  • SF trip Video
  • Kirstie bachelorette video
  • Chicago trip video
  • HK trip video
  • Shanghai trip video
  • add wedding photos to portfolio
  • DIY kitchen set
  • make a baby rattle
  • learn to do the splits
  • learn Korean
  • sell shoes
  • learn about US history
  • play piano
  • update portfolio
  • make a video portfolio
  • make game boards
  • make iPad stand
  • make yarn hanging artwork
  • prep baby stuff
  • take dance class
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    Waiting for a Year

    thoughts, adoptionJessicaComment

    Last March we were officially a waiting family for adopting. It feels so long that we've been waiting and I can't believe it's been a year. We just completed our recertification and we had our social worker come to our home to inspect and to talk to us about how things are going.

    We're still unsure how long we are willing to wait until we try to have kids biologically. It's difficult to be patient especially when our friends around us are pregnant and have kids. We're trying to trust in God's timing and plan for us. I say try because we struggle with the wait and I tend to lean on what I think our future plans look like. I would like to think we'd have 5 kids before Aaron is 40. I would like to believe that we would adopt domestically and internationally for as long as we can and if the funds are there. I would like to believe that God has adoption in our future plans. But we really don't know. There's a burden in my heart for adoption so I wonder why God would allow me to feel this tug if in the end, He doesn't even allow us to adopt. So I try to trust in God's plan for us.

    I think why would God give us a family if it's still difficult to bring two sinners together. Or why would God give us a family when we have so much going on. Bringing a child into our lives right now just doesn't seem like the right time. Aaron and I decided to buy a restaurant to focus our efforts and desire on something besides adoption. But now that we have it and understand how much work is put into it, it seems impossible to have a child right now while we're running a restaurant. So is God waiting for us to have this restaurant thing established and consistent? Or is God building our patience? Maybe God wanted us to go thru adoption just so we can own this shop. Or maybe God's plan for us isn't even about the shop or adoption. So what will He do with our lives?

    We bought a Poke Shop!

    food, thoughtsJessicaComment

    Here's the story of how we bought a poke and boba shop called Snociety Urban Eatery in Little Tokyo and how all of this happened in 3 days! One Friday we found out that our family member was planning to sell the poke shop. They offered it to us but we said no because we had no interest in being restaurant owners nor did we know anything about it. BUT THEN my parents talked to us about how it's a great opportunity and they crunched some numbers for us to see. And on Saturday night, we were like okay maybe we should do this. (Everything also made sense. It wasn't just because my parents that we decided to do this.) Then Sunday we prayed about it and Monday morning we decided YES. We needed to make the decision quick or else the shop would've been sold to someone else. So that Monday I had to tell my boss that that week will have to be my last week with the company.

    Here are 3 reasons why we decided to take on a poke shop and call ourselves restaurant owners!

    1. The opportunity was there - the shop's Yelp reviews were good, people liked the food, everything was set in place. We just had to survive. And will we?
    2. It's been hard waiting to adopt and we needed to do something BIG to keep our minds off of kids. We figured owning a shop will definitely help us with that.
    3. We love poke, boba, Little Tokyo, and Japan. The Saturday my parents talked to us about the shop, was the same day Aaron and I had our Japanese Day Date. On those dates, we would go to Little Tokyo to eat ramen for lunch and then pick up sashimi at the Japanese market and eat it for dinner at home while watching a movie, which ends up being a Marvel movie. Was it meant to be?

    It's been about 3 months since we owned the shop and a lot of things have changed. I'll be posting before and after photos and many many challenges and joys of being a restaurant owner. So many things to share! Aaron and I could not have done it without our parents, family, and friends support. We've had so many visitors and we feel so loved every time a familiar face opens our door. It's been a joy and I am thrilled to serve our family and friends in this way.

    Let's Be Open

    thoughts, adoptionJessicaComment

    This year has been insane. Or maybe that's just the nature of Aaron and me. So let me just let it out and tell you what's going on. I'll explain more in future posts but here's what's been happening since our Paris trip.

    1. Aaron and I are planning to adopt
    2. Aaron and I were almost matched with a child but the adoption plan didn't go through. We we're sad to say the least
    3. I quit my job as a full-time graphic designer at a corporate company, where I've been working at for almost 4 years
    4. Aaron and I opened a poke shop
    5. Our guestroom's custom bookshelf is finally done

    I'm pretty proud of #5 btw. Is this God's plan for us? We shall see.

    My Current Priorities


    February has been a busy month for Aaron and I. Beginning of January I got pretty stressed about all the things I had to do. So Aaron helped me make a list of my priorities. I'm not saying I rather do one than the other but if you gave me a task in each category, I would do it in this order.

    1. Family
      This involves household stuff and spending time with family. Household stuff like cleaning the house and making sure we have lunch and dinner food prep. Seems like this shouldn't be my main priority but keeping a home organized keeps me sane and it's a way that I can serve my husband.
    2. Aaron
      Aaron and I have been Disney Annual Passholders ever since we were dating and Disneyland and Disney California Adventure has been our go to dating spot since. It's a good time for us to be together, stay creative, and have a good break.
    3. Church
      I teach Sunday school every 4 weeks, attend our young adult group on Thursdays, counsel 5th grade girls on Friday nights, have small group once a month on Saturdays, and just go to church to learn about God and to worship with others. I'm committed to our church and I love it. We've been praying if we should stop serving in some of the ministries but as for now we want to keep going.
    4. Work
      This means my actual full-time job as a graphic designer. This might not be considered a priority since it's something I have to do anyway. But I would put it here.
    5. Freelance
      I focus on my paid freelance work first and then I'll do my unpaid ones. I would work on freelance after dinner or go to a coffee shop on the weekend to finish up my work. I love freelance work and wish I could make it a higher priority but that's just not doable right now.
    6. Blogging
      I only blog twice a week and that's still a bit tough for me. I want to create quality content, which takes me about 1 hour to 4 hours to create/write. It's been getting harder to blog twice a week since this blog isn't my main priority. Sounds so negative! But looking at this list it makes sense right?
    7. Designing for church
      We're updating our church since it's been 30 years since we did anything major to it exteriorly, interiorly, and now digitally. I'm excited to design for our church but it has been real slow progress :(

    All of these things are exciting but it's just about balancing my time and being wise on what to take on and to say no to.

    Things are still on the wild side but without God and the support from Aaron, I don't know how I'm beasting through everything right now. And I still got the chance to relax over the weekend and show binge. God has really given us time to just relax in the midst of all this.


    thoughtsJessica2 Comments

    I am very excited for this year! Aaron and I have a lot of fun plans ahead and I look forward to sharing our plans with you all here. Here are my #goals for this year.

    Listen to audio books and podcasts
    Since graduating college, I've been slacking off in all things reading and learning. So I really need to step it up this year. But I'm just going to start off with listening to books. I've never been much of a reader but I'm hoping to get thru listening to the whole Harry Potter series this year. Seems like one of those books everyone needs to read right?

    Aaron is really good at listening to podcasts when he's driving and I want to do the same. I've been listening to NPR on my way to work but I want to include podcasts like The Briefing, Ask Pastor John, Serial, and some other fun podcast during my commute.

    Eat smart
    Towards the end of 2015, Aaron and I have been getting sick. Unfortunately, one of my sickness was due to inhaling too much spray paint. Whatever the case, Aaron and I vowed less consumption of fast food and more acai bowls and salmon. Because they are both really tasty, why not eat something you love?

    Finish furnishing and decorating
    It's time to get control of our home. We've been moving very slowly in our home and we're tired of the slow pace. So we're speeding it up and getting our furnishing and decorating in order.

    We don't need a lot and we're resolving to keep it that way and to live life simple. And a part of that is using the money God has blessed us with for others - whether it is through design and music, service, or monetary giving.

    Since moving in, we've realized how much STUFF we collected. We just have way too much stuff. The good thing about this STUFF is that we can get rid of it with intention. A lot of the things I own are craft supplies that can be used and given away as gifts. You'll see more of those things on the blog.

    Cleaning Up


    After our walk through we cleaned the house everywhere! Just kidding...I wish. We did clean our floors, cabinets, counters, windows, and all our clothes though - which I felt was the biggest accomplishment. It took many loads but it feels so good. I highly recommend washing all your clothes when moving especially since clothes collect a lot of dust. And once you put your dirty clothes up to hang it's game over.

    There were some grout and other dirty stuff on our counters. So to get rid of that we used a razor and slid it across. It's great because it doesn't scratch our granite tops.