We are having an amazing time here in Bogota. Each day has been jam-packed with so much activity, sight-seeing, meeting new people, reconnecting with old friends that we met last year, getting to know Julian's life here, etc., etc., etc. We haven't had internet access in the apartment yet (thus the reason that I haven't been posting any blog entries or responding to much e-mail), but they are working on getting that taken care of for us hopefully today. It will be nice to be able to get online on our computers rather than taking our phones across the street to the wifi zone and trying to type on the little keypads.
Julian had gotten the keys to our apartment while we were still on our flight here, so that made for a wonderful reunion with him as soon as we arrived. We stayed up late unpacking and getting adjusted in our quite spacious apartment (compared to last year). We are really liking it. It has two floors, and both boys have their own room. David was sleeping in a sleeping bag, but lastnight we were lent a mattress for him to sleep on. I have a nice little patio to sit out on in the mornings with a beautiful view. We have plenty of closet space so that we each have our own closet with shelves and hanging space, there are hall closets for all the bathroom stuff, and we even have a little office.
Our first day, we met the lady that Julian has been living with, as well as the lady who has been discipling him on a weekly basis (who is friends with the neighbor). What a blessing to me to see how she is just pouring the Word of God into him, and it was also a blessing to see how much she has just loved and adored him. I also got to attend a prayer meeting with him on Friday night, where I got to meet the whole group that has just embraced him and that he has been committed to. It has been such a blessing to me to see how our prayers for his spiritual growth have been answered.
We've made some amazing friends with the other teachers who are here for summer school. One of the teachers, Stacy, and I apparently look alike, so people have been asking if we are sisters. We just decided that we'll be sisters for these three weeks that we're together. There's another guy, Andrew, who is a college student from Chicago. We've kind-of adopted him, and he's been great. David really likes hanging out with him.
Sunday we spent the whole day with a neighbor family from the apartments, who also work at the school. They took us to church, then we met up in the afternoon to go to a nearby town called Chia. They have a nine year old daughter, so she and David have had fun together. When we got back, he stayed and played Wii at her apartment, and then we ended the evening watching a movie with them.
Monday we went to the school to check things out and prepare a little, then we went to a fundraiser activity at another Baptist Church that is raising money for construction of the church. We witnessed God arrange one of those divine appointments again when Julian recognized a lady there. It just happened to be the very lady that led him to Christ as a child, took him to church, prayer meetings, etc. She was like a mother to him, and she adored all 3 siblings. He had told me about her before, and I always wished I could meet her. But he said she had moved to the States years ago, and he didn't even know her last name. Well, apparently she wasn't in the States, because there she was, right in front of us. They hadn't seen each other in nearly ten years, but it was so obvious that she loved him dearly. Now we have her address, e-mail, and contact information to get together sometime while we're here.
Monday night we met another one of Julian's neighbors who just happened to have adopted three older siblings from the same orphanage as Julian. We went over to their house and had a really nice time talking with them. The man is from Austria, so he spoke English, so Mike was right at home.
Tuesday morning school started. We didn't have a thing ready, but we got there an hour early, scrambled around to get everything ready, and at 8:30, the kids came in. I have 19 4-6 year olds on my list, but so far I've only had 13. I still have the biggest group of kids, though. My aid has been a wonderful help, and the kids are adorable. This week we're studying the zoo, so we've been doing a lot of animal activities. I feel right at home, back in the ESL/Bilingual school setting.
Mike met the director of operations, and so far he's been painting. He said there's several other things that he might be doing, too. The custodial ladies couldn't believe how quickly he could paint a room, and they asked me to tell him they wished he could give lessons to the other painters on how to do it so quickly and efficiently. :)
David met the P.E. Coach on Monday, and we let him know David would love to help out with the sports program for summer school. So Tuesday morning, the Coach recruited him, and he's having a blast. Actually, our friend Andrew is here as the P.E. Assistant, but David is now Andrew's assistant--the assistant to the assistant. He sure feels important now, though. Julian helped me out to get some materials ready yesterday, but he won't be coming every day because he has other appointments throughout the week. He also works on Saturdays for the orphanage, so those are our family days for just the three of us. Since we're trying to model cooking and budgeting to Julian, we save Saturdays for the times to eat out. (Not that we don't want to enjoy it with him, too, just that it's not really a reality for him and we want to help him learn how to eat healthy on a small amount of income.)
Today we're on day 2 at school, and so far it's going well. When we get home, we're getting together with our wonderful friend that we met last year who is only here for the day. We are really looking forward to seeing her. She is mentioned on the dedication page of my book, so she has been anxiously awaiting a signed copy of it. :)
My break is about over, so I think I'll get off now. Thanks for all of the prayers.
- I am a wife, daughter, mother, bilingual teacher, poet, author, women's Bible study teacher, world traveler, orphan advocate, and an adoptive mother. Our adoption journey has been filled with a lot of hurt and loss, along with even more hope, grace, and healing. Through it we have experienced more of God than we ever bargained for and have watched Him miraculously redeem our story when we surrendered all the broken pieces to Him.
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Sunday, June 3, 2012
Have you ever felt like change was just right around the corner, and whether you're ready or not, it's coming, anyway? Some days it leaves you feeling incredibly anxious, other days excited, while other days it leaves you feeling void of all emotion completely? I guess I've been going through all of that in the last few days. I went through it last year, too. It was only days before we left that we even knew we were going to be able to see Julian. I was so excited and yet scared to death, and then the final day or two before we left, I found myself completely numb. I didn't feel a thing. I guess that's where I am right now. I was so excited to get back to Colombia, yet nervous about attempting to arrange all of the details. What's interesting is that Mike and David are the ones that seem so eager to get there and confident that we're doing exactly what God has called us to do, and I'm the one that's getting more nervous every day. However, every little doubt or fear I've had, God has turned around and answered with precise clarity about dates, flights, pet arrangements, home and lawn care arrangements, extra supplies, specific contacts that needed to be made, provisions for Julian in the meantime, and especially with finances. Since we've taken on supporting Julian for absolutely everything he needs, we've learned what God has meant by moving beyond just giving your ten percent and giving sacrificially. We've learned what it means to give "until it hurts". Yet at the same time, we've learned how much we spend on things that we really don't need, and we've been able to teach our son about the realities of the orphans in this world who literally have nothing. As we've collected items from people at church to take to a missionary, we've been able to teach David about how God provides for the needs of those who are serving Him and living by faith rather than on their own understanding or logistics. We've also been able to show him how God blesses when you give. There are so many things I need to be teaching my son, but being able to teach him and show him firsthand that all we have is God's and that He will bless us in even greater ways when we give is the greatest lesson I can imagine teaching him right now. God has really shown us what He meant when he said in Malachi 3:10, "Test me in this...and see if I will not open the floodgates of Heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it." God has more than provided for Julian's needs since he's been on his own, and He has more than provided for ours as we stepped out in faith to provide for him and now return to him. In fact, we've received so much to take to Colombia with us for the missionary renting a room out to him that we literally are running out of room.....
I hadn't a clue a year ago how our lives were going to change by a simple 15 day trip to Colombia. We've been blessed beyond measure, and we will never be the same. Yet I have this overwhelming feeling that this summer is going to be even more life-changing than last year. I know from experience that living abroad just changes you. Whether we're ready or not, it's coming. I've been fighting those same feelings of anxiety over the last week as I did a year ago, but today, rather than feeling so numb, I just felt at peace. Peace that everything is happening just as it should be, just as it was always planned, and that God will be with us to guide our every step. He's already there, way ahead of us. Rather than trying to anticipate what could be around the corner, rather than setting up expectations that may never come to be and leave us disappointed, my only expectation is to see God just be God and do things that only He can do. I'm ready to experience more of Him than I ever have before.
We will be arriving in Bogota very late on Tuesday evening. The school is sending a van to pick us up at the airport and take us to our apartment, where Julian will already be waiting for us. The tears just well up in my eyes as I think about what a reunion that will be. His words that he typed to me many months ago keep ringing in my ears, "What would have become of me if God had never given me you?" Yet the truth is, the question is reciprocal. "What would have become of us if God had never given us you?"
So much awaits us, just at the tip of South America. We can hardly wait to get there. Just a few more last minute details, a few more phonecalls, a few more arrangements, and we'll be on our way.