1. My twin from UF came wednesday to help me - Kristen Marks. she'll be with me for the next several weeks. Praise God.
2. I honestly feel like I'm breaking up less fights everyday with each passing week. They are playing and sharing better. They know that I do not like it when they hit each other or when they take "justice" into their own hands with a swinging fist. Also, they have begun to realize how angry I get when they say hurtful things to each other. We say NICE things in my dorm. Not mean things to each other.
3. My apartment was sprayed for bugs and a guy came to actually measure for new windows because every single one of them is broken and there are no screens or A/C and my apartment is always full of bugs and things that bite me - yay. This might change soon.
4. Back2back has helped this children's home find someone who can do the laundry now several days a week - each day we pay someone else to do it is a day I don't have to do it which is AWESOME.
5. My boys call me by my name. Some try to call me "mommy" and I've tried to explain to them that I'm not their mommy but that I love them and they can call me "tia caroline" which means aunt caroline. A few are a bit difficult with this and insist on calling me "mom." But the bottom line here is this: my boys feel loved. That's the greatest victory on the planet. And this will take a lot of time.
6. I get to put them to bed each night. We give a prize the following morning to the one who was the first to fall asleep. They like this game very much - obviously I do as well. Prizes are one of the following: a hotwheels car, a bag of plastic fake insects, or a bag of candy. They get to pick if they win.
7. Kristen brought with her Ice Age 3 the DVD so we don't have to watch Ice Age 2 anymore. Praise Jesus.
8. We use classical music to put the kids to sleep with my ipod dock each night. This is very helpful.
9. This past week, we had MUCH MORE successful nap times for the little guys.
My moment of the week though.... is a tie between 2 and they were both the same day-- A. I was playing legos with a few in the afternoon while some kids napped, some did homework and some watched a movie. We were having so much fun and laughing and using our imaginations. And I was having so much fun with them and they were playing so well. I could not help but think of how much their parents are missing out on because they are not with their children and can not play with them. Most of my boys have living parents who just don't want them or can't take care of them. My heart broke and I literally just started crying right there in front of them. These boys are so beautiful and so love-able. I wish their parents could enjoy their smiles and imaginations day in and day out like I get to.
B. Some of my boys are so affectionate. Putting one of them to bed this past week almost brought me to tears. I just love him so much. And he just wanted to be close to me as I sat next to his bed as he fell asleep. He'd put his little hands and my leg and pat my leg just like I pat his back so he'll fall asleep. He is a little 3 year old ball of love.
I feel like many of my perceptions and thoughts are changing with the passing weeks. At first, I really felt like I was giving all of myself to these kids - I was laying it all on the line. I moved into an orphanage. I let go to my "summer" desires - I can't enjoy our summer groups or do projects with them or go to worship or hang out with my favorite interns on the whole planet. I have laid down any and all reasonable sleep hours or eating habits. I'm exhausted and I am their primary care giver. But this past week, I realized that I havent really given all of myself to these boys. To give myself completely to these boys would involve something far more sacrificial - and that would be to adopt some of them. To offer of my life to be their parent. They'll never have that. I hate their reality. But I praise God that in this season of their life I can be present and attentive and affectionate and celebrate who they are and who God created them to be. I praise God that he has brought me to a relationship with him and that He used Mexico to change my life. I praise God that he called me to move here 2 years ago which made NO sense to me at all. I praise God that he laid this specific home on my heart and these specific little boys. I praise God that he made it possible for me to protect them, to come to them, to hear them and to begin to lead them out. God's hand has been so incredibly obvious in all the ways He has been at work for quite some time to bring to this exact place, time and service. I'm here, with these 14 boys for such a time as this. God always knows what He is doing.
Please pray for my boys this week. Pray that they would know that someone actually thinks they are awesome. Pray for new permanent workers who would love them and affirm them everyday. Pray for good behavior and less tantrums from my sweet Marcos who is incredibly clingy and thinks he's being abandoned all over again every time I leave the room. Pray for my oldest boys to understand that they set an example with their good or bad behavior for the younger boys.
And pray for my heart especially on Friday because my Meg and my Quin are leaving and honestly I'll just be heart broken. (yeah I literally just started crying and i'm only TYPING that they are leaving... Pray that this week lasts forever) Their month as interns is up and they have to go back to America to do important things like get jobs and go to college and study abroad and continue to grow in Christ as the beautiful, passionate and talented women of God that they are. Our interns sacrifice a lot to be here in the summer so pray for them. Pray that God blesses them and leads them and directs them as they go home and try to not conform to those around them who want to lead them astray.
Week 4 with my 14 begins tomorrow...