Saturday, November 10, 2012

A miracle.

Last Friday I witnessed a miracle.

Meet Luis.

Luis is in 4th grade in a regular public school and up until this point in his life, he has never been able to read. He is the second youngest of 5 kids all with a range of cognitive delays. Therefore, he has been pushed to the back of the class and ignored for most of his elementary school career. Last year I began to give Luis homework that revolved around the various letter sounds but we didn't work super consistently and honestly, I felt discouraged that we would ever see progress. Not one of his siblings can read.

On Friday Luis started reading.

Bit by bit, sound by sound... he read.

As we said prayers in his bed that night I thanked God over and over for the day Luis began to read. He was so proud of himself he couldn't wipe the smile off of his face.

His whole life he has been sent the message that he just wouldn't be a kid who reads, he wasn't worth the extra time or the extra effort, or he's just not smart enough for that.

But last Friday... God chose to prove everyone wrong... and Luis learned how to read.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Chart

When I first began this crazy new season of life 2 months ago I think we all had ideas in our heads of how this would go. I expected they would behave similarly to the way they behaved the one day a week I cared for them last year... and I think they thought it would be the beginning of a nonstop party of nintendo 64 and peanut butter sandwiches.

Well needless to say our expectations clashed a bit... or more like smashed into a giant head on collision. After a few weeks of battling over literally EVERY SINGLE thing in their day... we needed a new plan. Therefore, their behavior chart was born. Their charts list out each thing they are required to do in the day and when they complete each activity they receive a point. If they earn enough points during the week they win the chance to go on a Friday field trip. So far we've taken them to 3 of our favorite ice cream shops, the movies, the mall, out to eat and to an all you can eat buffet and arcade. It's a win win win all around. They can now clearly see what is expected of them, they have positive motivation for their behavior each day and they are getting all sorts of life experiences and social development through our field trips.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Connection

With seven kids... seven voices screaming... seven little people potentially in the middle of a meltdown... it's easy for a voice to get lost. It's easy for me to put my head down and just try to make it through the day. Correcting behavior here... scolding there... and never really sitting down to connect. But here's the catch... if I stay in that mode correcting, critiquing, scolding... and never connecting nothing will ever change.

It's the model God has shown us... he's not about behavior... he's about the heart. He wants a relationship with us, and through that deeply connected relationship the behavior follows.

So we've been looking for bridges to connect. Kids who have been abandoned and grown up in a children's home tend to have their hearts locked behind some pretty thick walls. Trusting is too hard and too scary because this person might let you down just like so many before. Therefore our bridges have to be creative... Connect Four, Trouble, 500 piece puzzles and even a WWF wrestling game have been some of the best bridges we've found so far :)


Slowly but surely we're connecting... slowly but surely they are letting me in and I can't wait to see where God takes us from here.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Soccer!

It's official.. our boys are on a soccer team... in a real league... against normal community kids! For a kid from a children's home... this is a BIG DEAL.

I can't even begin to describe how thankful I am that they have been given this opportunity. I could write forever and ever about all the ways that being a part of this team will build into their lives, hearts and souls.

We had our first game on Thursday... and despite kids twice their size.. and a field 3 times larger than the sport court they normally practice on.. they played great! In the end they lost 3-5 but we all went home happy and excited for the next game.

Aren't they adorable in their uniforms!?