Monday, October 13, 2014

India to America

"BECAUSE WHEN SEEN IN THE LIGHT OF HEAVEN'S GLORY, EVEN THE MOST BROKEN OF BODIES IS BEAUTIFUL"

So another gap of time has passed since I last wrote. In that time, we have packed up our entire lives in India and traveled 30 hours (with three boys under 3 years old) back to Florida. 

We arrived just over a week ago and have been staying with my (Jessica) parents for this week. 

Honestly, it took at least 7 days for us to all get adjusted from the time change and jet lag. Adam was battling a respiratory infection as well which did not help the travel aches.

However, we are now all moved in and situated and so thankful to be rested and with family here.

It was a heart wrenching goodbye to loved ones in India and I am still processing so many thoughts and emotions regarding the goodbye. There are layers of grief and issues with "reverse culture shock" that will slowly be exposed in the months to come. But for now, we turn our eyes on to Jesus and ask for an eternal perspective. And we ask Him to remind us that we are mere pilgrims in this vast expanse of eternity.

(I will share more in the next post about our last few weeks in India)

We are excited and expectant of these next 5 years here. Specifically regarding Adam, we are excited as to what all he will learn in therapies that will help him reach his potential of abilities. He continues to amaze us with his endurance and joy in the midst of so many potential limitations. We adore that boy and think he is pretty awesome.

We plan to be in Florida for at least 3 months. We then plan to move up to Pennsylvania the beginning of 2015.

We are so grateful for your prayers and encouragement. We love you all.

Now that packing is done and we are somewhat situated (smile), I plan to write a bit more on here.

But for now,

Namaste.

Raja, Jessica, Adam, Elliot, and Rohan Paulraj


Friday, September 5, 2014

Regarding San Francisco Globe, Donations, and Such;)

Sometimes, Abba God amazes us in the ways He continues to use Adam and his precious life around this world of ours.

The San Francisco Globe recently ran the story of Adam that was done by CBN last year. The link to the SFG article, run yesterday, can be found here

Adam's life astounds us daily...this picture of God restoring broken things again and again.

Thanks for your support and encouragement on this journey.

I would like to give an update on the Medical Foundation of North Carolina's Baby Adam Fund, which has been the main way to give towards Adam's medical needs in the past.

The Baby Adam Fund, thru the Medical Foundation of North Carolina, is changing to receive donations to be given to children from around the world with craniofacial needs.

As this change in the Fund occurs, donations to the Medical Foundation's Baby Adam Fund will not continue to go towards Adam's specific medical needs. 

We love you all and are so grateful for all the support you have given Adam thus far!

Please email us at adampaulraj@gmail.com if you are interested in knowing more about how to give to Adam specifically;)





Tuesday, September 2, 2014

In Which I Remember I am a Pilgrim

June 2006 marked the advent of my life in India.
What began as simply a 3 month trip to volunteer has stretched into years of a life wrecked, rebuilt, and
ultimately transformed. 
The years have rendered beauty, divinity, and redemption in the last ways I dreamed to see such things.
These days stretched into months and ultimately years that were spent ridding heads of lice and filling my heart with love for 32 children on a Delhi rooftop, riding on trains back and forth across this Mother India, and moving into my first home as a wife, in a bungalow surrounded by tea plantations in the infamously humid state of Assam.  Then our God, He brought to life those words of the prophet Isaiah, 


And that tent was enlarged ... in the numbers of people, not the size of the dwelling
The tent curtains were certainly stretched, in degrees of faith and in the number of beating hearts. 
They were stretched when God brought a little boy to join us in that Assam bungalow, just a month before we moved cross country.


 He filled us with courage and faith and He gave us eyes to see what is unseen 
(because, I tell you what, if we could have seen the road ahead we would have pulled up those tent stakes and peaced the heck out of dodge...if you get my drift; ) ). 
And once we got a taste of the Redemption story He was writing, we wanted nothing less than to "not hold back". 
We kept those cords lengthening and we hammered those stakes in, praying all along that He would strengthen our feeble knees and faint hearts each moment of every day.



Adam joined us and we soon moved from that bungalow to the foothills of the Himalayas in the state of Uttarakhand. 
That tent, it kept enlarging, and we welcomed Elliot Justice in. 
Father God continued to show us displays of splendor only capable by pierced hands, evidence of the pain that was taken in order to create such beauty out of chaos. 
We saw Adam grow and thrive and love. 
We saw Elliot chuckle and learn to teeter then walk and become the wild man he is. 
We traveled back and forth to the US for surgeries and we saw mountains moved as thousands came alongside our journey with Adam's medical care.

Raja continued working tirelessly for us, his family, and for the field of Mental Health in India. We saw the Heavenly Kingdom come down as hundreds came together to commit to labor together to care for those suffering mental illness. 
We saw dreams Raja hadn't even fathomed dreaming come true and it was glorious.

Then we moved out of the foothills and into the majesty of the Himalayas. 
We were a bit nomadic and took up residence in temporary homes as our tent enlarged a bit more, this time to welcome a 3rd little man, Rohan Jude, into the family.
                                      

He has kept us all laughing and watching these 3 boys learn to live and love alongside each other has been nothing short of divine.
                                     
                                        
                                     

From Delhi rooftops to Assam tea plantations; from Himalayan foothills to Himalayan mountain towns...with trips across the sea scattered in between...this has been a full 8 years.

I once dreamed that I would come and be a part of rescuing girls and raising them as my own. Obviously, the story has gone down a bit differently;) I never fathomed having a babe with special needs.  To be honest, I was scared to death of having a child with a disability or any sort of "label". I did not think I could manage it. Now that I have been grafted into that community of families, and I have seen the glory that it holds, I don't want out.

But, to be honest, all along, I was afraid of Adam's needs requiring more care in these critical years of development than could be provided in Himalayan foothills.

And this month, September 2014, marks a transition for our family. 
Sometimes, God not only enlarges your tent.
Sometimes, He straight up uproots it and moves it across oceans and continents.
And, for this mama, the enlarging is easy.
But talk about moving my tent and changing my dreams?
Now that is a tough pill to swallow.
Enlarging may require exhaustion and it may not always be convenient. But, to be honest, the courage that God fused me with...well sometimes feeling courageous is not a hard thing.
Adventurers like me... enjoy needing courage.
I like being given nearly impossible missions that leave me exhausted and spent.
Not only does it feel good, but it fulfills dreams and desires.



But when it comes to God uprooting my stretched out tent, changing my radar, and rewriting my dreams?
That is a different story.

So, all that to say, we are relocating to the US for approximately 5 years. In these years, Adam will gain US citizenship and will finish up major surgeries needed. He will also be able to access therapies and resources that have never been available for us.
We anticipate amazing growth for Adam in so many ways.
Raja will also be able to study further in the field of Psychiatry and Christian Counseling. He will be studying for a Masters of Divinity in Counseling. We cannot wait to see how this bridges divisions currently present in these fields in India. 
We are not guaranteed tomorrow, so it feels vain to talk of all the tomorrows ahead. But of this we know, we move to the US in early October.
We pack up this tent we have been entrusted with and march in a direction we never imagined, on this earth.
We are ecstatic to be near family and friends who have been so far for many years.
But we still ache as we march.

But isn't that the life of a pilgrim?
Let's be honest, it is often easy to feel like a pilgrim when it means leaving the comfort of 1st world and setting up home in exotic 3rd world where the needs throb from the dusty streets.
But a pilgrim is a pilgrim until He reaches home.
And this world is not our home.
So who am I to negate the significance of the pilgrimage, according to the nation I reside in, these temporary dwelling places on earth?
For "the pilgrim of love has no map or chart. I know my road it leadeth to His heart"


We had people warn us, before Adam's adoption, 
"do not adopt Adam..it will take you away from 'the field' "..
Ultimately, they were saying that it would take us away from the way in which we were currently serving. 
But what is "serving", but to look after orphans and widows, despite how it may paint a different picture of your life than before? 
So perhaps those people now want to say "I told you so"...as we are entering this new season. 
But I believe that thru our Adam's life, we have served in deeper and truer ways than we were ever doing before Adam. 
We were dreaming feasibly before. We were working for tangible results that could be predicted and insured. 
When God brought us Adam, we started walking blindly in many ways. Not much made sense and nothing seemed predictable. 
We were robbed of easy, sleep filled nights in the blink of an eye. 
We received looks and glances of shame and questioning that stopped me in my tracks. It felt too hard sometimes. 
But oh how it has been redemptive. 
And oh! How it has turned my gaze to receive praise from God and not from man! 
And oh how it redirected my goals to be for Heaven and not for earth.

So as we march onwards and leave India...
We keep our gaze heavenwards.
We cry a bit, but mostly we dance...because He has done great things for us, and we are FILLED with joy!
We will love, laugh, and grow alongside family and friends, both old and new, in our new home.
We will awkwardly stumble as we learn our way in a new city.
We figure out buying cars and renting houses as a family of 5 in the US of A.
We try to balance the wife working/husband in seminary life...
And though the streets will be clean and the grocery aisles always stocked, we will not be blind.
We will not say that only India is aching.
We will pray for eyes to see eternally and we will love like crazy right where we are.
We will praise Jesus for a nation that values children with disabilities and we will thank each therapist along the way that helps us know how to help Adam.
We will celebrate life with dear relatives and friends.
And we will watch these 3 little men love and learn along the way.



We hope you will continue to be a part of our journey;)

*Amy Carmichael quote picture is from Pintrest, not me;) I hope that is an ok citation/reference;)