Juan David has officially been in the United States for a solid month today, and our plate seems to be getting fuller each day. Welcome to reality. We've had a nice, quiet sort of month, keeping everything low-key and just focusing on adjusting to our new life as a family. Getting to know each other. Figuring each other out within all this newness. Struggling through the changes in family dynamics. Enforcing the rules (or better said, values) that we live by within our home. Creating a home base where everyone feels safe. Not a lot of interaction outside the home besides with church and church people (and family that happens to live in Texas). They said this time would be essential in order to establish property authority and boundaries in Juan David's life. Again I'm amazed at how God seemed to work that timing out rather well, having us return from Colombia with still a month left of summer vacation.
However, now the test will come as we venture into the realities of life. We're a pretty simple family, but we're very purposeful in the activities we're involved in. This last week, I went back to work. A day of training for new PreK teachers and a day of district wide training on changes within the school and scheduling. The other three days I worked in my classroom early. Some could call that being an overachiever--I call it being an introvert, knowing that I think and prepare best when it's quiet and no one is around. I took the boys with me two days, while leaving them home to play Wii together the third day. So far I've been able to come home and have lunch with them every day. This week I'll do the same most days while I'm at staff development.
A week from Monday, though, reality will be in full swing with school starting. I'll be in a whole new grade level at school with a new room and a new teammate. David will be starting middle school with a whole new schedule, routine, and workload (he's going to an academy for Gifted students). Juan David will be attending a school here in a brand new country, learning in a language that he's only beginning to pick up on, riding a bus and learning some independence. (He's going to be in a Newcomer program at an alternative high school, starting the year out in a sheltered environment with one teacher and about twenty students who are brand new to the country). Newness for everyone. Even Mike has a new manager at work, so his "normal" has changed quite a bit, too.
Soccer officially started for David yesterday as his team recongregated to play a little practice scrimmage against another returning team. Juan David is still waiting to be placed on a team, but he's already registered and paid. Soccer is his element, so he's quiet excited to get started. I look forward to watching him play and being his cheerleader, and I look forward to taking him to David's games so we can cheer for David together.
With David starting middle school, that also meant that he graduated into the youth group (aka "student ministry") at church. Both boys are in the same class on Saturday evenings at church now, and they'll be attending The Net (youth group) on Wednesday evenings. This last week David went to his introductory night activity as a middle schooler, while Juan David went to a different introductory night as a high schooler. They both had a great time and are looking forward to the Wednesday night youth program. Juan David is excited because they play soccer during the last part. David is excited because they play video games during that last part. Mike and I are excited because church is a safe and happy place for both of them.
Three weeks after The Net starts up, so does Ladies' Bible study. I haven't taught a study since last fall, so I am very anxious to get back into teaching what I'm most passionate about. To me, there's nothing cooler than watching women's lives change as they dig deep into Scripture with other women. Relationships form. Walls come down. People get vulnerable. We support each other in whatever stage of life we're in. We love on each other. We pray with and for each other. And we all grow closer to Christ personally as His Word starts to plaster itself all over our hearts, minds, and lives. I love it, and I love being part of it. This semester I'm teaching a study by Jennifer Rothschild called Missing Pieces. It's a study all about how God specifically allows missing pieces in our lives to draw us closer to Him. When we surrender those questions and missing pieces to Him, He Himself fills them, leaving us to see that He is the missing piece, not the answer that we're searching for.
On top of all of that, I am also part of the launch team for Mary DeMuth's new book called Wall Around Your Heart. She is one of the main "leaders" of my writer's group, having written about thirty books already. She is a gifted speaker, an encourager, and an incredible mentor to new writers. I learn so much from her advice as a writer, which has helped me as I continue to work on my second book. I've read the first three chapters of her new book so far and am amazed at how candidly honest she is as she writes, and I'm so drawn to how real she is about her relationship with Christ. This particular book teaches us how Jesus modeled prayer and shows how praying The Lord's Prayer, phrase by phrase, can help us not only break down the wall around our heart, but prevent us from grabbing the next brick to start building yet another wall. Amazingly written. I will continue to share as I read through it. I believe the book will be out in October.
A full plate is definitely coming. Life will be busy, but it's all very intentional and purposeful busyness that we don't take lightly. Pray for us as we begin these stages of life together as a new family. Pray that we will keep our home a safe place for everyone. Pray that we will stay united as parents raising our two sons through all of this newness. Pray that Christ will be the Rock and foundation of our home as we figure out life and guide Juan David (and David) through all of these life changes. Pray that we would be patient with him and understanding of the places he came from and the perspectives he has learned to take on life. Pray most of all that God will draw his heart to Himself. He obviously has great purpose for bringing him here, specifically to our family. We know the road ahead will be filled with incredible challenge and covet each and every prayer for us.
- 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.