Sunday, September 30, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me!

About a month ago we celebrated my 23rd birthday. It was during the time that I was taking care of our seven boys all by myself. I didn't expect much at all in the way of a celebration. But in the end what I thought would just be pizza with me and my boys turned into a sweet surprise party complete with cake and decorations!

I felt so loved by my friends even after a day that was completely focused on seven crazy children. My boys of course loved the chance to eat pizza and cake.

But I think the most joy for them came the moment they got to smash my face into my cake.

It's a Mexican tradition that after singing the happy birthday song, the birthday person is then to take a "bite" of their cake which always ends with a push on the back of the head and a face in the cake.

14 little hands equaled a lot of cake on my face... and a lot of laughs. It was a great day :)

Monday, September 24, 2012

One Year Later

On September 10th I celebrated my one year anniversary of living in Mexico. Throughout the day I had a running list in my head of all the ways life is different after just one year. 

One year later and I can confidently conquer the roads here.

One year later and I can now talk on the phone, order at a drive through and teach kids to read... in spanish.

One year later and I am a mama to 7 boys with at least 10 others that I would claim in a heartbeat.

But of all of these new developments and all the ways God has worked and been faithful this past year the one that stood out the most to me is Jose.

This time last year Jose wasn't reading... if we were lucky... and i mean very lucky... he might have been able to read two words in a minute... at best. Well, on September 11, 2012 Jose sat down with me to read... just 366 days after I moved here. And do you know how many words a minute he can read now... 63!!!! I almost fell over in my chair.

But even better than his improved reading skills is the fact that one year later, Jose lives with his mom. About 9 months ago she came to live and work at the children's home and since then Jose and his three brothers have lived with her. They read together and do homework together and he has the safety, security and predictability of a family. In talking to his mom the other day she told me that the director of his school was complementing him on his improved behavior. He doesn't run down the street to the SevenEleven anymore. Nor does he just run laps around the classroom. Instead he sits and listens and does what he is told.

 I looked at Jose and jokingly said "Who are you????" To which he smiled and replied... "I'm a different kid!"

So take it from him... one year later.... and Jose is a different kid :)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

22 days

It's been 22 days ... 22 days since I became the primary caregiver to 7 boys. It's my day off and I finally have a chance to breathe, so I figured I'd catch you all up on the past 22 days.

About a week before I was set to return to Mexico I got the news that several caregivers had left Casa Hogar Douglas. Two of those caregivers were one of the couples that Caroline and I had regularly been giving a day off for the past year. The children's home was left with a huge gap... there was no one to take care of my boys. So the choice was obvious. We would do it.

However... Caroline didn't come back to Mexico until a week after I did... therefore I was alone for week one... their first week of school... first week with new caregivers... their first week with new rules and a bed time... and by the grace of God, we made it through :)

Now that Caroline is back we are able to tag team and it has definitely lightened the load. I feel like it's such a crazy and unexpected situation that we've ended up in. I turned 23 two weeks ago and I celebrated with my 7 kids. That's not normal. But isn't that how God seems to work? I can't help but feel like we're being swept up into a plan that's been a long time coming.

It's been a super busy and a times really difficult 22 days. We're getting the natural friction that comes from a new set of rules and boundaries, getting new caregivers and grieving the ones that have left. My favorite quote so far has been "You're a big fat hippopotamus and I hope you die" in reference to me... because I asked one of them to please get in the shower... he wasn't having it.... clearly. It's moments like that when I'm pushed to my absolute limits of patience but I have to keep reminding myself it's a season of adjusting and transition for all of us.

Even so, the truth is, before I moved in I was so in love with these boys and now I get to be with them all day everyday... I get to tuck them in and pray with them not once a week but every single night... it's like I won the lottery.