I hope you will visit my ministry website: http://ajourneyoffaith.net .
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
What a Year It Has Been
Today is the day ... it's been a full year now, since we brought the children home ...
... a year since they arrived in America.
... a year since they met all of their brothers and sisters.
... a year since they started homeschooling.
... a year since they began attending our church.
... a year since they started Bible Study Fellowship.
In many ways it's been a fun and exciting year ...
... as we have explored beaches and lakes and Mt. Baker.
... as we have visited the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle,
and Stanley Park in Vancouver, BC.
... as we have gone to Christian Renewal Center
in Oregon, 3 times.
... as they have met special friends,
and discovered special family traditions.
(The Allen Family and their cabin at the Hood Canal,
and George & Shirley and their cabin at Coeur d'Alene.)
... as we have now celebrated all 3 of their
"birthdays in America", along with
Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
... as we have learned how to do Yarn Braids,
and they have shared stories of Life in Ghana.
We've DONE a lot ... we've gone many PLACES ...
we've LEARNED a lot ... and it has been GOOD.
However, I would be remiss if I left out the fact that it has also been a very difficult year ...
... as we realized that we could never meet
the children's expectations of America.
... as we tried to teach them how to "Be Thankful".
... as we tried to blend the lives of six children,
two sibling groups, within a six year age span.
... as we tried to figure out how to make up for all
the "lost" years of schooling. Where do you begin,
with a 12 year old?
... as we tried to teach concepts that our other children
had learned during their preschool years.
... as we tried to explain Scripture to them.
... as we tried to teach them to be obedient,
and not to lie.
... as we tried to build their attachment, while trying
to understand our own attachment issues.
... as we tried to help our older children have healthy
relationships with the "new kids": not to baby them,
but not to expect too much, either.
... as we learned about racism, both the negative,
and the overly positive type.
So, it's been a year. We see growth in many areas. Yet, in many ways we expected to be further along on this journey by now. We know that we should be celebrating ... yet the journey ahead still looks overwhelming in so many ways.
... after weeks and weeks of trying to teach the children to tell time, they just "don't get it". Today, Jacob had a story problem that said, "The party started at 6:30 and ended at 8:30. How long was the party?" Jacob didn't come to ask for help, but Ben found him making tally marks on a piece of scratch paper. He was counting the minute marks on the clock and was going to end up with 120 tally marks, in order to know that the party was 120 minutes long. However, then he would have never known that 120 minutes equaled 2 hours. For the past 3 months, we have focused and focused and focused on "telling time". We have workbooks. We have videos. We have clocks all over the house. Any suggestions???
... sometimes Rachel can do her schoolwork so well. Other times, it seems she hasn't learned anything. (Not only here at home, but in her 2 years of schooling before she got here.) One day last week, Rachel told me, "I don't know minus." The next day, she said, "I don't know plus." Two days later, she said, "I don't know equal." Day after day after day, I teach her these things. We use workbooks. We use manipulatives. We use story problems. We use "every day life". Any suggestions???
... some days the children play so well, and we really feel like they have "made the transition". Other days, they definitely "take sides". The new kids on the block can really set out to make trouble for the old kids on the block. And, the old kids on the block aren't immune from the temptation of retaliation. Then you throw in the big kids ... some always take the sides of the "new kids", others tend to better see the perspective of the "old kids".
Now ... of course ... this is not every day or every week ... but it still happens. We always work through it, and we all learn and grow from it. But ... it is NOT easy. The Lord showed me early on in our transition period, that our situation was very similar to the blending of families when two divorced parents decide to marry. Rather than adopting 1 or 2 younger children into an already existing family ... we brought 2 compete sibling groups together, that were all the same age. As I've said many times, this can be GOOD. But, it can also be TOUGH.
Oh, I hope you hear my heart. I, truly, am not complaining. I count it a privilege that the Lord has given us these dear children to teach, to train, to raise as part of our family. But, somedays ... some weeks ... I'm just tired. And, this past week has certainly been "one of those weeks".
(I've had a very difficult week, in multiple areas of my life ... which brings me to a very melancholy place ... not a place of joyful celebrations. Which, in fact, is why I haven't blogged in a few days. I try to live by the motto: If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. So, I've been REALLY quiet for a few days.)
We continue to "run the marathon" that I have mentioned several times this past year. This week, we are climbing a hill, against the wind ... but, hopefully it won't be long before we are again on a smooth, flat stretch, running with the wind. Either way, we are running this race. We will not quit. We know this is the race the Lord has called us to. We know He is running right alongside us. So, we will ...
"... run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (We will) fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith ..." Hebrews 12:1-2