Saturday, August 2, 2014

Never too old to learn....

We are halfway through our hosting commitment to V. What have we learned? Well, for one, that we are NEVER to old to learn :) Parenting two totally different kids we mistakenly thought we had all the tools we needed to parent a third for the summer. However, this special boy comes with some very unique challenges. He comes from a world with no "I'm sorry's". Humility and weakness are the WORST things you can display in an orphanage. You will be a huge target. So, thousands and thousands of children grow up not knowing how to resolve conflicts (even small ones). They only know how to escalate situations. These kids only know how to withdraw, fight and distance themselves from the one thing they want the most, LOVE!! We have been struggling, for the past 4 weeks with V with conflict resolution. The slightest disappointment would set him off and he would sulk, pout, refuse to eat, hide in the bushes etc..... for HOURS. He is a pretty dedicated pouter :) Now my inner parent knows just how to take care of such things from my typically raised younguns' but alas some things are not allowed for host kids. So, we sought God like never before. We were exhausted from his meltdowns, he was exhausted and so were our kids. God is so good and faithful! My heart was tapped out. I was ready to be done. BUT GOD. He put a new song in our hearts and set our feet on solid ground. God showed us that emotionally V is like a 2 yr. old. Once we started addressing the behavior like you would a 2 yr. old things started to change. He had no word for "I'm sorry". So, we practiced, he did it and he was amazed the incidents were over and didn't end in hiding under the bed for hours or midnight calls to his translators. We are practicing breathing techniques to calm down. We talk about what the roles of men and women are (NO CLUE). He is very teachable which helps. Amazingly, God brought me the "feelings" I wanted to have to get through the next 4 weeks. I know we will have setbacks, but he has gone 6 days with no major instances and that is huge. Our prayer is that he will take these lessons back with him and grow in the Lord. He has a hunger for God's word and we know God will not leave his children.

One last thing, yesterday, V asked me for a baby doll. He has never asked me to buy him anything at the store but cherries but he wanted a baby doll. He is 12, and a boy. But, it further proved to us just how emotionally stunted these kids are. He has loved on, fed, kissed and rocked that baby. He named it after his father who passed away last year. He has learned that when it cries, you don't just walk out of the room and shut the door but rock it and give it a bottle. Things he would have never learned in his orphanage, we have the privilege to teach him, hopefully helping to end the cycle of orphans having orphans. We are so thankful for a God who answers a prayer for wisdom and gives us stamina to do what is right when we are empty. We are so glad we didn't give up when it got bad. We appreciate your prayers for the rest of the hosting. We can't wait to see how much more he will grow and learn and how much more we will grow and learn.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Hosting V.

Hosting has been an extremely emotional experience for me. We prepared a lot physically for this little visitor who would be in our home for 11 weeks but probably not as much emotionally. Or maybe there is no preparing for seeing a child recoil in horror as you try to touch them or cry because they are so overwhelmed, even with good things. "V" has come so far in just 2 weeks. When we picked him up from the airport it was one of those stories you read about.....and I do NOT mean the good kind. He was airsick, completely exhausted (to the point of almost collapsing), overwhelmed and overstimulated. He did not want to come with us but he obediently did. He did not want to eat or drink even though he had been traveling nonstop for 2 days but fell into a 12 hr. sleep. The next morning was much better. I am actually thankful this was our experience so we can use it to help others. 
From what we have seen and understand, "V" has a wonderful missionary friend who takes him to church and visits him. WHAT AN AMAZING BLESSING!! He really takes his beliefs in God seriously, never missing an opportunity to pray or talk about the Lord. However, this does not erase the hard things he sees and lives everyday that weigh on him. They are his story so I will not share them here but living in an orphanage is not a cheery life.

One week here we saw the typical reaction a hurting child displays when they are feeling too comfortable, lashing out, anger and fear. While we wanted to handle these behaviors like we would our other kids we could not. They have to be navigated with the understanding of what is going on inside the child that is making them do this. I am telling you, my head wanted to call it quits but my heart, the part we knew God had called us to this particular boy for the summer, screamed keep loving and pushing through. PRAISE GOD he answered in a big way. We have seen no more of the behaviour, even though we aren't expecting a kid to be perfect ;)

"V" loves the trampoline, swimming, playing soccer and eating. Did I mention he LOVES to eat!! Oh and 30 min. showers are the norm but who's counting :) We are so blessed to have seen him go from a quiet, stoic boy to a funny, silly, little boy who is enjoying a safe place. Healing is a process, but one that the end result is so worth it.

Monday, May 26, 2014

The Magic of Childhood


MORE COUSINS!! Cousins are the best!

Eliza's Birthday Party

It's times like this that I truly believe the camera is one of the most genius inventions of man ever.
Life can go by in such a blur....especially with young children. Each day can lapse into the next and one can slip into the feeling of monotony, but for the invention of the camera. I have to remind myself that these little people entrusted to me will not be little for long. Whoever said "The days are so long but the years are so short" knew what it was like raising children. So, I have made a conscious effort to grab my camera during these sweet moments sandwiched in between feedings, laundry, schoolwork, housecleaning, time outs etc... These pictures show the Magic of Childhood. Why do we adults forget what it is like? When does that happen? I am so thankful for these snapshots that help us remember.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Kindergarten Graduation!!


She was not happy about wearing the hat :)

Her WONDERFUL teacher!!

Laurel graduated Kindergarten in her Co Op today!! I can hardly believe it! She is such a miracle kid. We were so blessed to find a great Co Op that had a wonderful teacher and a small class (she had about 6 kids in her class-a few weren't here).
Noah had his State testing this week for First Grade and Rocked it! I am so proud of him. He didn't get nervous and tested at grade level to very advanced in everything. Smart Boy! It is such a relief to this Homeschooling Mama to know we are on the right track! Blessed!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Noah getting his Tiger Cub Badge

Reading a bedtime book with of the NFL football books Daddy used to read when he was a boy

Coolest thing EVER! Vet school open house (Fistulated Steer)

Granny's Wisteria

Laure'l's Bad Bicycle accident. She ended up in the ER with 6 stitches and never cried!

Floating boats in "Crocodile Forest" Best day ever!

Spring and Fall are my favorite season's! Spring is so beautiful around here so as soon as it gets warm enough to be out without our jackets we slip our mudboots on and float our boats down the creek! Mud is so therapeutic!
We took the kids to the Vet school Open House and had a nice time. It was SUPER crowded and rainy but by all accounts the Fistulated Cow (cow with the plug in it) was the favorite!! I remember seeing it when I was back in college and they did a demo today for everyone. So gross and cool!!  
Laurel fell on the first hill of our first bike ride this spring. She never used her breaks going down a huge hill and went face first into gravel. 6 stitches later she looks bad but never cried. Ukraine tough I tell you!
The Wisteria and Azaleas are in full bloom and I am in heaven. Laurel says she wants Wisteria for bouquet when she gets married. A true Southern girl! :)