Catania’s Forest ~ Part One

I always said while I was writing Catania’s Forest that it would turn out to be the best thing I’d ever written, or the greatest fail in the history of my pen-and-inking.  I believe it has turned out to be neither.  I like to think it’s rather a nice story, but it’s definitely not my favorite thing I’ve written–and most of the characters did something that made me broiling mad at them, sometime during the process.  But here I am, with a fully written and somewhat edited story. 😉

Picking favorites of my writings aside, I’m quite happy.  And I’m quite excited to have a new story to post!

This story is more intense than most things I usually write, so younger readers should probably discuss it with their parents before reading it.  If parents would like to read about the content, they can click on the link below.  It does include some spoilers, but not very big ones.

Parents, Click Here for Overview

Why do I always end up rambling on and on like this, when I start posting a story?  Well, without further ado, here it is.  I’ll be including two maps I drew at the end of all the posts, if you get confused.  Click on them to see them bigger.

Catania’s Forest: The Little Drummer-boy in Narnia ~ Part One


Catania hardly dared to breathe as her brown eyes unblinkingly tracked every move of the unknowing stag. She slowly drew her arrow back to her pointed ear. The stag remained unmoved, listlessly grazing. He was almost invisible in the dim, leaf-choked light of the forest at what must be nearly twenty-five yards. The young elf had never shot a deer at such a distance, but she was afraid to move closer.

Continue reading Catania’s Forest ~ Part One

“Adoption is wonderful and beautiful and the greatest blessing I have ever experienced.  Adoption is also difficult and painful.  Adoption is a beautiful picture of redemption.  It is the Gospel in my living room.  And sometimes, it’s just hard.

As a parent, it’s hard not to know when your daughter took her first steps or what her first word was or what she looked like in kindergarten.  It’s hard not to know where she slept and whose shoulder she cried on and what the scar on her eyebrow is from.  It’s hard to know that for ten years yours was not the shoulder she cried on and you were not the mommy she hugged.

As a child, it’s hard to remember your biological parents’ death, no matter how much you love your new mom.  It’s hard to have your mom be a different color than you because inevitably people are going to ask why.  It’s hard that your mom wasn’t there for all the times you had no dinner and all the times you were sick and all the times you needed help with your homework.  It’s hard when you have to make up a birthday.  It’s hard when you can’t understand the concept of being a family forever yet, because your first family wasn’t forever.

Adoption is a redemptive response to tragedy that happens in this broken world.  And every single day, it is worth it, because adoption is God’s heart.” (72)

Kisses from Katie, by Katie Davis (emphasis mine)


P.S. I would recommend this Thanksgiving post one of my fellow bloggers posted recently, it is beautiful.

Zai Jian, Xi’an

The lights along the runway flew by in the darkness and the engines roared.  Zai jian, Xi’an, I whispered.  I’ll come back someday.  I have only been there two weeks in my entire life, yet leaving still hurt so much.  I have learned to love this city.

Staring out the airplane window and feeling that tug on my heart, I finally realized how much this experience could hurt for the children finding a new family, and a new home.

For the first time I caught a glimpse of what it must be like to feel the rumble of a newly-awakened airplane under your feet and watch the only ground you’d ever walked fall away beneath you.  I watched a city turn to out-lined skyscrapers and lines of slowly-flowing headlights–and wondered what it must feel like to see your home fade into a dark sky filled with stars, far beneath your feet.  I leaned my face against the double pane of glass and let this beautiful city and these beautiful kids tear a piece of my heart away.  I watched the constellations on the ground below me vanish in the distance and give way to pitch-black night, broken only by the flash of lights on my own wings.

I have heard it said that the first transition is like a kind of death for adopted children.  I know I shall never fully understand what this experience is like for them~~but as I watched the gleaming lights of Xi’an vanish into the night beneath me, I felt something inside of me die.


So earlier this week, I finally decided it was time to buckle down and finish Catania’s Forest.

I decided to make up a posting schedule starting next week, hoping that would motivate me to finish writing by the weekend.  And then I figured out I was going to my speech club’s practice tournament tomorrow, and. . . needed to finish my speech.  I decided to go ahead and try to do both, and write myself off a cliff, because I’m just like that sometimes.  I’m happy to say my speech is going fine (and I have the excuse that I just got home from China and am “technically” still jet-lagged, if it goes terribly), and (drum-roll please) Catania’s Forest went to the editors today!!  That sounds awfully official.  It’s really just my parents–but they’re awesome proofreaders.

So, all that to say, I’m done writing Cat’s Forest, and it should make it’s appearance on here. . . soon.  We’ll just play it safe, and not say anything more specific than soon. 🙂

The Gospel In My Living Room

In her book Kisses from Katie, Katie Davis wrote, “Adoption is the gospel in my living room.”  I know I have posted that before, but I’m realizing how wrong it feels out of context.  The full quote doesn’t sound as nice, but there’s a reason Katie wrote every word of:

In an effort to be real, I will tell you: It was hard. . .  [Adoption is] the greatest blessing I have ever experienced.  Adoption is also difficult and painful.  Adoption is the gospel in my living room.  And sometimes, it’s just hard. (72)

I haven’t talked about the hard side of adoption here that much, mostly because I want to protect my siblings.  I don’t want others, people who can’t understand how hard their road to family was, to judge them.  Because of that I’m not sharing specifics.  But I’ve been avoiding posting about the grit of adoption, and I feel like I need to face it.

Adoption is like the gospel, but that doesn’t necessarily mean what we want it to.  When we think of the gospel, we like to think of nice things–forgiveness, healing, life.  Crowds of people with enough bread and fish to eat, men raised from the dead, women healed, children sitting happily in Jesus’ lap.

And that’s all very cozy, but there’s more to it than that.  Some parts of the gospel are not so pleasant, and some parts are downright nasty.  The gospel is rough; it is blood, and sweat, and tears.

The gospel is stains, and scars, and grime under my finger nails.  Redemption is my lungs constricted with sobs, and dust clinging to my sweaty palms.  Adoption is jumping ship and walking on the water, and realizing the waves are tall and the wind is strong, and feeling my faith flicker like a candle caught in a draft.

Adoption is not running to the pain–adoption is bringing the pain home with me, into the stronghold that was my only safe place.

It took me so long to fully understand how every adoption has and always will start with tragedy and heart-tearing sacrifice.  I can look into a child’s eyes–wrap my fingers around five smaller ones–and whisper yes, because someone looked into the same wounded face, answered no, and opened her hands.  My joy and my gain is, and must be, tainted by their grief and loss.

Adoption is a kind of warfare; against pain and shame, and injustice and abandonment.

“Adoption is redemption.  It is costly, exhausting, expensive and outrageous.  Buying back lives costs so much. When God set out to redeem us, it killed him.”  –Derek Loux

Adoption will cost you.  It will hurt you.  In a way, it will kill you.

Adoption will leave you on your knees, breathless; staring into Jesus’ face, that shines with radiant light.

throwing dirt

With all of us in China, I remember wondering if I would ever get a turn to hold my new brother.  If he had even noticed me yet.  (It’s really not my fault that big brothers are more interesting.)  Reason told me that we were his family for good, and there would be time.

But in my heart I knew that we only had for ever, and that would never feel like enough.

The rest of our lives never feels like enough.  That’s why I believe in dropping “important stuff” and playing.  That’s why I believe in loving like there’s no tomorrow.

That’s why I said yes when Mom asked me to play with Michael today.  That’s why I said yes when Little Brother suggested we go outside.

So what was going to be a lets-relax-and-read-a-story turned into bundling up and going out, hauling chunks of firewood and breaking up dirt with a metal spade.  We built a mouse-house, with logs and dirt.  We dug a hole in the ground and made a roof over it, and filled it with dill from the herb garden for the mice to eat.  Naturally the game ended with Michael deconstructing it.

Brothers are awesome.

Thank you for playing with me, Michael; and being my baby brother, even though you’re so grown up, and you’re probably smarter than me anyway.  And thank you for teaching me how important it is, once in a while, to pretend there’s no such rules as no throwing dirt and don’t run with sticks.

Image result for the lord of the rings movies well i'm back

Thought I should stop in and let you know we got home safely and on time from our great adventure.

My brain is still indecisive about whether or not it’s going to be functional today, so I won’t try anything more profound.  Except that your comments on my last post gave me all the warm fuzzies!  I love you girls so much!!

P.S. ^ Guess what I watched on the airplane. . . ??