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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.

Surviving the Valley Series

Surviving the Valley Series
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Sunday, August 24, 2014

New beginnings again

Tomorrow we begin again, in so many ways.  It's another new year with many changes, though thankfully, not nearly as many changes to adjust to as last year.

No more adjusting to a new son, new big brother, new family. We are complete and have grown much closer as a family, especially over the summer.

No more adjusting to middle school life and school at an academy (for David). He's got the locker thing and switching class thing down. Now we just have to find a way to motivate the little guy a bit more than last year.  (He hinted that money speaks, so we'll see if the bribing will push him to put forth that A effort over the B effort he was content with last year. Hey, it worked for me, so we may have to give it a try.)

No more trying to figure out the mentality and ability level of a four year old. It was a huge shifting of gears for me, but I fell in love with my little munchkins. Knowing I got to be their first teacher really inspired me to find ways to inspire them.  My goal is to get them to love school and to love to learn. I'm armed and ready for the first week of school this year, which should make for an even more successful year than last year. I got to meet 40 of my new little ones on Thursday night, and most of them seemed ready and eager to finally be in school.

No more guessing as to how much more life costs with an extra person, specifically a teenager who eats a lot. I think I've got a budget finally figured out now after a year of trial and error.

No more constant translation at home.  Juan David speaks plenty of English and understands nearly everything. His grammar has quite a few gaps, but I figure those will fill in more quickly now that he'll be surrounded by English-speaking peers.

I've been blessed this summer by watching the boys bond by spending day after day together most of the summer.  I've also enjoyed watching the arrogance Juan David came to us with just melt over the last two months, as he finally let that little boy trapped inside of him come out to play. I will admit to living with a huge level of distrust when he first came home, mostly because I didn't have the chance to raise him and teach him. I just assumed the worst case scenarios. Yes, we struggled with a lot of things, but he's grown so much this year and really wants to be noticed for doing the right thing. We have had a year now to instill our family values in him, and he's had a year of consistently attending church, as well. He's a good kid who just needs constant guidance to make the right decisions. Having had a year to guide him and bond with him has really helped me to step back and trust him more.

The changes this year are mostly on him, Juan David. A brand new school, again. This time, he goes from a small setting of about 100 kids (mostly Spanish-speaking) to a high school of 2100 kids. He won't be with the same group of kids all day, plus he has never had to use a locker or switch classes all over the building multiple times a day. He will be expected to perform in English at a near equivalent level to his peers, and he will take all the same state testing as his peers. Lots of changes await him. The positives here are that he is courageous, he's not insecure, and he makes friends quickly and easily. He knows who he is and what his passions in life are.

In addition to school changes, he's part of the JV Football team.  Not only am I proud of him for sticking it out, but I really admire his courage to go out there and play a sport he's never played before and didn't even know anything about.  It's a culture he's never been a part of and doesn't really fit in to, but he let his coach know that he's there to learn. He wanted to quit after the first week of 5-6 hour daily practices, but he said, "I don't want to give up." The very next week, two coaches really started to notice his efforts and compliment him.  One of the coaches is the soccer coach, so hopefully this will open the door for him to slide right in to the high school soccer team as soon as the football season comes to an end.

I'm looking forward to the year ahead. Praying that we can get a grip on all of our athletic schedules so we can find a sense of routine at home very quickly.

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