Edges terrify and intrigue me.

Though my mom might have been afraid, she never told me to back away. She’d let me get close and peer over… only calling me back when I truly passed the line of danger. Something about standing on the edge made me feel braver than I actually was. A winding creek in the valley below – it’s roar a whisper from where I stood. The trees singing the song of the wind blowing through. It was a curious view from up so high, and it felt a little as if I’d been let in on some delicious secret by making it to that place and to that view. My bravado grew as I watched pebbles disappear over the edge. But so did my fear.

I don’t know why I’ve been thinking about this today. Maybe because I’m on another edge. It has been a long and difficult climb to the top. And the view from here is sometimes curious and even bizarre. But it is time to go back down. I’m intrigued by what might be down there, but for some reason the pathway we need to follow looks a bit like jumping off the cliff from this point of view.

Over a year of prayer and months of tears and we have decided. We are going home. But my heart does wonder what that really means, because as I sit in my living room on a sunny Sunday morning with my favorite candle burning and my dog sleeping in the windowsill, I do feel in some ways that I’m already there. The irony of this is not lost on me. Many of you have journeyed with me as I’ve bemoaned cabinet heights and dusty villages and absent shower stalls. How did this place start to feel like mine? We came for 3 months and have stayed for 3 years, and we always knew leaving would be harder than coming.

But it is time. The reasons are many… Jacob needs and wants to return to his electrical engineering career. I am transitioning to motherhood and need to make a “clean break” so that can be a priority. We want to be closer to our families. We have watched people stay too long in this place… the rough edges of the culture grower more grating when one stays too long. Bitterness and cynicism replace grace and mercy, and we see more seeds of that in our own hearts now than ever before.

But it is hard. Our community here is a blessing that defies description. I have an opportunity to be involved in work that makes my heart sing. We enjoy a slower-paced life and more time together as a couple. It finally feels like the aftershocks of the earthquake in our lives have subsided, and I’m not ready for another earthquake, though I feel like that’s what’s in store.

The pebbles on the edge are many and I don’t really want them to fall… since each one is connected deeply to my heart, not knowing where they might land makes me feel vulnerable and shaky.

  • Jacob has no job to return to, and he has been out of the industry for 3 years. God has provided for us these last three years, but it still seems easier to set up my tent in the land of doubt rather than the land of trust. 
  • We have no idea where we will make our home. We have had many offers of places to live and stay initially, but my heart wants to know where home will be. 
  • We are leaving behind an incredible community for the individualistic west, and I know I will feel lonely. 
  • I am leaving the work that has defined me for a very long season of my life… trading it for diapers and rocking and late nights. I don’t really know who I’m going to be.

Any one of these transitions would be big. And we’re kicking all the pebbles off the cliff at once. I’m terrified and intrigued.


I know that this post might have come as a complete shock to some of you.  I’ve wanted to share for a while, but the time hasn’t been right and we’ve been so busy… I realize there are many questions it raises, and I will be writing more about it in the coming weeks.  To answer the first question – when?  Probably in February sometime.  After the baby is born and we have (a little) chance to adjust.

26 thoughts on “Edges

  1. Wow…Carrie. I could kinda see it coming. It seemed for awhile the Lord was moving and changing. It's easy to fight His direction and often scary to go with it.

    You are pretty much living the dream I always had as a little girl….to be a nurse working with orphans. The Lord had other plans, just as He does for you & Jacob.

    3 months turned into 3 years?! Praise the Lord! What a mark you have left on all those around you, not to mention the hundreds and hundreds of children you have cared for, loved on and helped through the the formula program.

    I'm excited at the changes in store for you, and excited how the Lord will provide for New Day!


  2. Carrie,
    I admire you so much for taking such an amazing leap of faith (for three whole years, no less!) in such a BIG and miraculous way!!

    Change is always hard and often scary… but Molly's right– the Lord has “new” plans for you.

    What a legacy of love you are leaving! Thank you! (You are going to write a book about your experiences, right? Because I'll be first in line to get my copy! 😉

    And I cannot wait to see you with your sweet baby! (my guess is a boy!) Motherhood will be a whole new, beautiful adventure!


  3. A wise woman once told me, “Always leave while you're still having a good time,” and I think it's pretty good advice. While I'm a little sad that I won't get to come visit you THERE, I am excited that some day I may get to meet you here (probably more likely to happen here in any event).


  4. I admire you for recognizing the changes in your own hearts, for recognizing the movement of the Holy Spirit in your lives, in your desires, in your fears even. Know that just as He accompanied you as you stepped foot into a foreign land for His Kingdom purposes, He will accompany you back to a “foreign” land as you pursue His Kingdom purposes in a new way. I, for one, look forward to seeing that happen! And, I personally hope you settle around the Philadelphia area because I'd love to embrace you as a new mommy. 🙂


  5. I don't like edges either. Funny how our God continues to push us there in spite of our fears.
    Thankfully we serve a faithful God who will continue to bless you for your obedience. I trust the next chapter of your adventures in following Him will continue to be a page turner. (I love Gwen's book idea)!
    You can count on this … I will be there before Feb to give you an official send off.
    What a difference you have made in the lives of so many!
    Love & Blessings from Hong Kong,


  6. Dear Carrie,

    I will be praying for your family during your transition. I can feel your uneasiness, and will pray for our AWESOME God to give you peacefulness.

    Thank you for letting us share in your adventure, how I have laughed and cried “with” you in this window to the beautiful children there. We pray for each and every one of the children each and every day.

    Thank you for loving the children of God and for caring for them so tenderly and with all your heart.

    Love and blessings to you always,



  7. You are not going back the same people that left the USA. You have given the China poeple and the orphans you have cared for a great gift…and they in turn have given you gifts that surpassed all of your expectations. You will bring those gifts home to your family and friends and they in turn will never be the same. Any change is scary but remember “HE has your back!!!”


  8. One of my very favorite quotes is this:
    “When you're walking with the Lord, change is ALWAYS in your favor.”
    No idea who said it.

    Oh you are entering a new season, but with our same Faithful One. It will all fall into place, you'll see. My momma always says “He's never let me down!” I am sure you can say those same words too!

    Bless you, Carrie! We will continue to pray for you and Jacob and sweet baby. May you see those open doors that He wants to take you through.




  9. Carrie, I am not totally surpised and I am so thankful that you both are on the same page when it comes to this big transition. I will be praying as you step forward into the unknown. I'm so glad that Someone knows and is with you all though.

    I can never thank you enough for your brief tour last November. It unquestionable changed the course of our lives and Samuel's. Your willingness to show us around even when you were just on the mend from a cold and Jacob was still ill touched our hearts and then once we stepped inside we couldn't believe just how deeply we would be moved. Only He can do that. And I'm so thankful that you were a part of that. 🙂


  10. Carrie,

    I am very happy for you and Jacob. I think the Lord will lead you to where “home” will be. I know it will be hard to leave the children and work at New Day, but the Lord has someone in mind that will fill your shoes. I have so enjoyed reading your blogs and posts on the New Day site and your own blog. My mother and I also enjoyed meeting you in January when we visited Victoria and Liam.

    You will be in our thoughts and prayers as you prepare to leave China!!


    Carey Vaughn
    X Marks the Spot in China


  11. Carrie,

    We will pray for you both in these big changes ahead. I can only imagine what a difficult decision it was to make and how it will hurt to leave those you love. I am confident the Lord will continue to use your family wherever home happens to be. I am sad we will not get to meet you next year, and that you won't get to meet my daughter whom your hard work benefitted greatly, but we are excited for you to start a new chapter of God's plan…and pray you will continue to let Him guide you to another group of people that needs your kind and gracious hearts among them.


  12. Well, I (a lurker) am not surprised, though I don't mean that in a bad way at All, just that the news doesn't come as a surprise.

    It seems like you've done a tremendous amount of help there, and I commend you for that. It's absolutely wonderful that you've taken those years to help others, and I know that they appreciate it greatly.

    One thing that annoyed me after coming back to the U.S. (after awhile abroad) is that the insensitive comments tend to grate on you….”oh, those people where you were, they [insert stereotype here].” This is probably not the *best* way to respond, but I usually toss in a stereotype about the U.S. to counteract it….Ex. “oh those people, they don't know how to drive” Response: “I dunno, I just about got side-swiped at the grocery store back here, I would say poor driving is a worldwide phenomenon.” My hope is that people will see that…people are People, though some cultural differences, we are **more alike than we are different.** That was a tangent but as just FYI, that was what got to me the most upon returning home.

    Anyway – congratulations on your years of service, you really are to be commended for them, and I hope your return transition is smooth.


  13. Working as an engineer can also impact lives and in many cases save lives. After Jacob gets back and employed, have him check out Engineers Without Borders where ever you living. (Or contact me.) Good Luck during your transition.


  14. Carrie,

    You are an inspiration to me! I stumbled upon your blog and New Day as I began researching international adoption and became hooked. I usually only read, pray, and admire from afar, but wanted you to know today how much I have learned and grown from reading and following your experiences and those around you in China. The Lord has and is doing great work through you and Jacob and I know that will continue no matter where you find your new home. I do hope you continue to write in a way for others to enjoy, learn, and grow from because you have a refreshing and thoughtful way that speaks to my heart. You have planted many seeds that will continue to grow good work for the Lord. God's blessings for you, Jacob, and baby as you all begin your new adventure!


  15. How did I miss this post? So glad I found it, albeit a bit late 🙂
    I am sure it is scary to think of all the big changes ahead, but it's SO exciting to think that God is at work, walking ahead of you to protect you and clear the path before you!!
    P.S. You are gonna make one awesome mama!!


  16. Carrie-
    We will be praying for your transition. I am so disappointed we will not be able to meet you face to face next year when we get Reagan! You have truly touched and changed the lives of the children of New Day. I will forever hold close to my heart your post from June 21, 2010 of our Reagan. Your words touched my heart more than you could ever know.


  17. your news hasn't come as a surprise to me, but I'm sad that we haven't been able to get up there and meet you in person! Will be praying for the transition for you all, it is scary, and our biggest struggle returning was that so many people hadn't really changed and expected that we were the same people but after 3 yrs in another country living a completely different life-you are a completely different person!
    Thank you for everything that you have done personally for so many children and via this blog. What a legacy- and I know it won't stop just because you will be back in the US.


  18. Carrie,
    You already know this- wherever you go, HE is there with you. You have such a teachable spirit….wherever He leads you on your journey, you will be soaking in lessons He has for you.
    Trading in the life you've had these past 3 long and now seemingly short years will not be easy. But that is because you embraced your life and the people and the ministry with all your heart. You WILL be different in many ways from the new neighbors the Lord will place around you. But you will also come to love them and your new ministry, Mommy and you will learn much.
    I hope you will continue to share your lessons learned through your blog. The Lord has spoken to many of us as He has taught you firsthand.
    He will supply all of your needs.


  19. wow! I have many contacts in the EE and computer engineering world, and must say my “town” is a GREAT place to live. Let me know via email if you'd like a link to job openings, which seem to be plentiful in this area.

    Change is always scary, but you are wise to know when it is the best time to make that change. I pray that G*d has something huge in store for you.


  20. The Lord always lets us know when He is ready for us to experience a change. If we always remain where we are, He cannot work in us as fully as He would like. Congratulations on this next stage in your life, and thank you so much for your years of service.


  21. Carrie-

    I am so glad I got to meet you while you are still at New Day- what a blessing you are to them, and you were to ME those short few days we were there!

    I know how hard those transitions can be- we moved too just shortly after our first two were born, and one time, Scot had no job, we had no home, and well…..other than that we were not changing continents, it was quite similar to your situation. It's exciting, and VERY scary!

    We will be praying for you, and we will rejoice with you as God reveals each new step He has for you to take!

    Every now and then since we've left Scot will say out of the clear blue sky something like, “I just don't think I could deal with the smog.” or “How cool would it be to live life at a slower pace?” or “Maybe I'd do better outside Guangzhou.”

    And I say “What are you talking about?”

    And, he says, “China- I just don't know if I could live there.”

    Funny…..I haven't mentioned moving to China. But, even as sick and not-himself as he was, he feels like he left part of himself at New Day, and he'll need to go back to retrieve it. I do too. I can't imagine what it would be like leaving after THREE YEARS!

    Of course, NOW, after our latest scare, Scot's saying he'll be hard pressed to ever let me leave the house again- nevermind go back to China! 🙂

    Praying for you!!


  22. Wow Carrie – I am not good at regular blog reading, so I have only just read this. I'm full of things I would love to say to you – I want to thank you for your 3 incredible years with China's children, I am praying for your transition and I am really moved by your wisdom. Bless you both, and your baby as you get to meet face to face soon. What a joyful season you are beginning – how cool that you are entering parenthood at Christmas! Much love to you, Fiona


  23. (okay, so I was commenting on this the other day, when the computer locked up. So I'm back to try again, even though it's a bit late on the post.)

    I have to say, that I definitely seen this coming. I think there were glimpses for some time. But I really 'knew' when you were home last. I could tell from your posts in TX that you were really, really homesick. There was such a peace about your posts from 'home' that I just kinda knew it was probably coming soon.

    I can imagine how torn your hearts are. But I know you did not make this decision with haste, and that it was done very prayerfully. You have to trust that and know that God will lead you where it pleases Him to put you… and for such a time as this.

    You have already proven your obedience in that 3 mos lead to 3 years. THREE YEARS of blessing these children and NewDay with your love and talent and gifts. Three years of following where ever He led you. Of giving up your own lives in exchange for His plan. In serving others. You and Jacob have left your marks, and there is no doubt you will be missed my MANY. But there is wisdom in knowing when to move on, and it's clear you have reached that point.

    I'm very excited to see what God has in store for your future. I will deeply miss seeing your pretty face in the photos at NewDay's website/blog and reading your posts about the chilren. You have an amazing gift of writing, and I will most definitely continue keeping up with you here. I still hope you write that book of your adventures in China, and know I will be standing in line with Gwen to get my copy!!

    My admiration for you runs deep. You are so young, and so wise. You have depth and experiences that people twice your age do not behold. I'm so glad I had the chance to meet you at NewDay when we were there, and I will be eternally grateful for your friendship and support throughout our journey to Khloe.

    Know that you remain in our thoughts and prayers in the weeks (DAYS?!?!) leading up to baby's arrival, and the short months that follow until your return to the states. Praying that His peace envelopes you during your time of transition and that you 'settle' in the place it pleases Him most to put you. I have no doubt that where ever that is, you will continue to be a vessel He works through!

    Love and Hugs,
    ~ Tanya


  24. Carrie,
    Your time in China has touched so many. Just showing the children the love of a husband and wife – that alone is a gift.
    I am so glad that I found your blog so that I could learn through your experiences. That many transitions will not be easy, but it will be good. I'm certain you want to move close to home, but if you decide on the midwest, let me know. I happen to work at an electric utility with many engineers currently retiring- we are always looking for new ones:)


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