Sunday, November 17, 2013

9.1

It's not that I haven't had anything to say... but maybe more so there is just too much to say, too much that God is doing and has done and will do that I just haven't sorted out enough to be able to write it down. So for now we'll fast forward and here we are mid-november and I want to share with you one of my favorite moments from this past week.

"Guess what my grades are!!" he shouted as he swung open the front door and threw his backpack onto the ground. "9.1!!!" He shouted before we could even have a chance at guessing.

An average of 9.1 out of 10!!

These are the grades of a child whose very highest goal for last year was to get an average of 7.5

What's the secret? What's the key to his success? I wish I could say that it his great tutor or all the extra hours of academic work we've put in together. But neither of those are true. He doesn't have a tutor... and despite my college degree as a teacher, I haven't been pouring in hours of academic prep.

Do you want to know why he got a 9.1?

It's because he knows he is precious. He knows he is valuable. He knows he is loved and adored and smart and incredible and important.

He doesn't just know it... he believes it.

And the results are... 9.1... that would have been a 9.7 if he wasn't so chatty in class. Don't worry he has vowed not to speak at all for the next grading period :)

Saturday, May 25, 2013

School.

I guess it was October that the notes and reports started coming home from school.

"he refuses to do his work"

"he was disrespectful"

"he chose to lay on the floor and say curse words for an hour instead of participating"

It wasn't just one... but three, and they were all in the same class.

So the meetings began. And for the past 9 months I have been at the elementary school meeting with the principal and 5th grade teacher at least once a week. Sometimes it feels like a burden... and I can get frustrated with them, myself, the teacher, director and especially with the Mexican school system. However, what has been so cool to see is the way that God has granted me favor within the school. I have spent our meetings teaching and explaining the ways that the trauma my kids have experienced affects their current behavior, how the teacher can best work with them and designing plans for how to help serve them educationally within the context of their school.

School is especially hard for our kids for many, many reasons. The trauma in their lives has left their brains underdeveloped. Years of neglect from busy caregivers has left them unaccustomed to the routine of homework. Other kids call them "the children's home kids" and make fun of them for being dirty poor orphans. School is a tough place for our kids. So the fact that God has allowed me to be so involved to improve their school experience and bring them up to the level of their peers has been an incredible blessing.

One bittersweet experience seems to sum it all up for me.

One day at school a girl taunted one of my kids by saying "you're such a loser, your mom doesn't take care of you and nobody wants to take care of you"

And he defiantly yelled back at her.

"If nobody takes care of me, why is it that I do my homework everyday and you don't?"

It breaks my heart and makes me swell with pride all at the same time. The hours of homework and the hours of meetings are all worth it. They are heard. They are valued. They are worth fighting for.


Saturday, March 2, 2013

Giving Back

 A few weeks ago at church the kids of Casa Hogar Douglas were given the opportunity to give back. During our church service the kids got to learn a little bit about a children's home Back2Back support in Port au Prince, Haiti. They learned about the kids that live thousands of miles away from them and learned that they barely have enough to eat and that their meals never ever include meat. So they were asked the question "what can we offer?". After some time spent debating they decided what they had to offer was themselves. With that in mind they set out for a car wash. It had been arranged with a U.S. donor that for each car the kids washed 15 dollars would be donated to buy meat for the kids in Haiti.
I was so proud of the way the boys worked. They actually got really into it and loved washing the cars. In total they raised around $400 to buy meat for the kids in Haiti.

That night we talked about how great it feels to do something to help someone else.

We prayed for the kids in Haiti and prayed they would enjoy their dinner.
My prayer was that my boys would be filled up by pouring out.

 
A lot of the circumstances in their lives have left them victims and the temptation for them is to believe that is all that they are, the victim. But what I loved about this day is that for once they weren't the ones that needed help. They weren't the poor orphanage kids that had people donating food to them. Instead they had something to offer. They were the ones doing the giving. My prayer is that their car wash sparked something in them. I pray it sparked the desire to give to others and the understanding that they don't have to be the victim. 

They are awesome, incredible, precious, blessed beyond measure and they have something to offer.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

A Day of Adventure

Each week, as a prize for our boys good behavior, we go on a field trip. For quite awhile we've been planning a hiking adventure. It is well known among my boys that I am not the biggest fan of hiking... or the outdoors in general. So they had a wonderful time in the weeks leading up envisioning me whining complaining and crying on my way up the mountain.


We set out early Saturday morning and began the journey to Chipinque. As much as they pictured my being out of place on the mountain, our orphanage raised street kids were just as out of place as I was. We started at the visitor's center and each grabbed a map and together we set out on our hike.


Much to their dismay I didn't cry, complain or whine even once. In fact, it was one of them that said "What!?! We walked all this way just to EAT?? If that is all we were going to do, we should have just eaten back there where we parked the car!"

We walked along enjoying the fresh air and the beautiful views of the city. They had never seen anything like it. We hiked for awhile and then sat together to enjoy a picnic lunch. And as it turns out... we ALL loved it. Me included.


More than anything, I so enjoyed the time it gave us with our boys. We didn't know it at the time, but the following week 2 new boys would join our dinner table. I loved the peace, awe, wonder and joy that we got to experience together. I see it now as precious time with them before the chaos of new arrivals.

At the end of day they rated our adventure as "Very cool" and all agreed we need to go back again very very soon.