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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 21, 2016

Seasons of change

Ready or not, here we go. Tomorrow morning we begin the 2016-17 school year.

As a teacher, I'm ready.

We had an interesting start to the year with much less time to work in the classroom as other years, but with the amazing assistance from my teaching assistant, the classroom feels more than ready to welcome our 44 new little ones (22 in the morning, 22 in the afternoon). Our school district is moving away from the traditional bilingual education model that we've followed for longer than I've been teaching here and will now move into the Dual Language focus. It's a huge shift in thinking about how to help our kids embrace their bilingualism, but I believe it will be seriously beneficial to our kids' futures. I look forward to being able to teach and interact with my littles a bit more in English again for a change. :)

As a mom, I'm not quite sure if I'm ready for this season. I've got a ton of mixed emotions, as do my boys.

My sweet "little" boy, David, is headed to high school. He's much taller than me now and has reached equal height with his older brother. I predict that he'll pass Juan and be the same height as his dad before the year is over. My dad and brothers are both very tall, as well as Mike's dad, so he's obviously inherited the height gene.

We have shifted away from the "GT" school and put him in the closest high school right up the road where a few of his church friends attend (but not where his brother attends--allowing him to keep his individuality was some of the best advice we've followed in this adoption). He's in several honors, Pre-AP and AP classes, and he'll be in Spanish 3 this year, due to having tested out of the first two years of Spanish 3 years ago. He hasn't kept that Spanish practice very current since Juan learned English, so I hope it comes back to him quickly. We told him that it will be hard at first, but he's got a Mom and brother to help him get through the year. He's also taking a leadership class and a Money Matters class, both classes that Juan really benefited from during his freshman year.

He's a bit anxious about getting lost in the hallways the first few days, plus he doesn't like having to find a whole new group of friends. I pray he finds a few church or soccer friends in his classes and lunch period, and I pray that he'll be blessed with several Christian teachers like he had in his middle school.

Yesterday he finished a course to officially become a referee this soccer season. After watching big brother earn quite a bit of money last spring as a referee, he wanted to have the same experience. It will be nice for him to have his own paycheck so he can start saving for the things he wants without having to ask Mom and Dad for them. (That alone might lower my stress-level since money issues can cause me a great deal of anxiety if I let them.) Still, it's a huge change, meaning my little boy is growing up.

As if dealing with David going into high school isn't enough of an emotional rollercoaster for me, watching Juan step into his senior year is kind-of like taking my breath away. He is now working part-time at a local restaurant right around the corner from his school, driving on his own (in my newly restored, repainted Neon), and thinking a lot about college and his future.

He'll turn nineteen in just a few short months, but to me, he's barely three. He's been my son for only three short years. Though our bond started eight years ago, thankfully, our mother/son relationship is only three years old. There's a reason you get 18-19 years to raise a biological child before having to release them into the world of adulthood. Three years is hardly enough time to parent a child and then let them start to "spread their wings and fly". It is a very humbling feeling to know that God chose us as the parents to be the "wind beneath his wings" during this stage of his life. I can only wonder what great things God has in store for him.

On the contrary to David, Juan is starting the year off with confidence now that he can walk the halls as a Senior. Not just a Senior, but a Senior with a car. (Pray for us!). He is excited to play Varsity soccer, to manage a lot more money than just his monthly $20 allowance, to assume more responsibility and freedom, and to take an AP Art class (after his drawing teacher last year noticed his very God-given talent). He's also finally opened up his mind to explore his interests besides just soccer.  For his entire life in Colombia, he had one goal in life--to play professional soccer. Now for the first time ever, he's wondering what other directions his life might go. With no idea of what he's interested in, he's a bit anxious about the future, but excited to begin looking at all the possibilities out there. For some reason, God planted him here for this stage of his life, and I am grateful. After thinking I lost him forever and now having this opportunity to guide him into adulthood, I don't take a single day as his mom for granted. (Check out our story in the Surviving the Valley Series, www.abhbooks.com/books.)

It's a huge season of change in our family and as parents. Looks like there will be a lot of those "letting go" moments that I'm not sure I'm ready for, and a lot more guidance as they learn to make their own decisions for the direction of their lives.

I seemed to have hit a wall as a writer right after my second book released and haven't been able to get past it yet. I think it might be God taking my eyes off the computer, saying, "Don't miss this. It's gonna go by fast."

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