Thursday, June 30, 2016

Opening Up

We've had D with us since Sunday and I am beginning to see a new comfort level for him with being at home. I have to remind myself that the stoicism isn't always boredom, but perhaps a combination of processing an environment, working really hard to translate everything, coming from a quieter and more reserved culture and then living with us ;)

On Tuesday night, he told Sam that he would like to do Cross Country with him the next morning. Greg is a shoe nut and didn't feel like the converse type sneakers were going to be a good situation for 3 miles of running. Thankfully, size 10 1/2 running shoes were only a quick text away and a good friend graciously shared a pair with us. This friend lamented the condition she felt they were in, but he hasn't taken them off except to sleep. They're a hit!

I had butterflies on Wednesday morning. Would he like running? Would he be able to keep up since he doesn't run at home? Sam informed me that he couldn't keep up with D until they reached the hills. D was happy when we came home and when I asked if he wanted to go back, it was a confident "Ya" without the usual shrug accompaniment. I often find that if he feels he will require extra effort or fuss, he doesn't give a confident yes, but tries to pass it off like it isn't a big deal. Today it was exciting when I asked his opinion on a clothing item and he actually said, "no".  I'm glad he's starting to feel more comfortable and give his true opinion.

He and Sam are doing well together. They both love playing video games together, throwing water balloons, swimming and riding bikes. Right now he's expressing a desire to just stick close to home and around Charleston and not do big city activities that we had planned, which is fine. I'm interested to see if that will change as the weeks go by or if he will still want to just have a low key stay.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

He's Here

He's here! He's really here! After a long wait at O'Hare, we were able to bring D home with us on Sunday. At that point, he had been awake for 20 hours plus. He was an absolute trooper and incredibly polite, even when exhausted. I know some of this is him trying very hard to put his best foot forward and that we are in a "honeymoon" period with this visit--- but he's a great kid.

Due to privacy, we aren't able to list his country or full name, but I do want to blog about our visit. On the way home from the airport, we stopped at McDonald's (his request) and could see storm cloud that had passed by along the interstate. There was the most eerie pink and purple glow and in the midst of that was a rainbow. The sun was setting, so it didn't make any sense to me that there was enough light left for a rainbow, but there it was all the same. And as hokey as it sounds--- that rainbow meant a lot to me.

As this silent teenager stares with exhausted eyes out his window, I had butterflies. "What if he thinks our family is nuts? What if he hates it here? What if he gets bored?" And there in front of me is that rainbow. It was a moment of God whispering "I'm here and see it. I've got this."

All we need to do is love on D for the next 5 weeks. I had felt pressure to parent a certain way, have my home cleaned a certain way, treat spots on the carpet, make sure the hole in the bathroom wall had been repaired and painted but in the end, he came and slept all night, despite the roughed up patchwork in the bathroom that wasn't repainted yet (and still isn't).

This visit so far is challenging insecurities I have long had about my home, family, dynamic and who I am as a mom, who Greg and I are as a couple. It's good to shake things up and get a shift of perspective.

My biggest fear that D won't enjoy his time was pushed aside when I heard him laugh for the first time today. He's settling in and getting more comfortable and we are too. I won't expect a rainbow every day of his visit, but God's sending a lot of good stuff our way as we spend time together.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Less Than 2 Weeks Away

A few months ago, I happened upon a website for the organization Project 143. The organization specializes in hosting children in the U.S from Eastern Europe. When scrolling through their site the thought was briefly entertained, "Wouldn't it be cool..." and then just as quickly put aside. I spoke to Greg about it briefly and thought that was the end of it. Until he called me one day on his way to work and asked me to make a phone call and begin paperwork. We prayed about it, wrestled with it, weighed out the advantages and scary parts and prayed some more. God was pulling us both in the same direction towards this.

Fast-forward two months later and we find ourselves waiting for a visitor to come and stay with us. Google Translate has been added to our phones, the bed is made, clothes are washed and waiting. This whole experience is something that I wouldn't have predicted even six months ago, but we're excited (and nervous) and ready (or as ready as we can be).

This summer will be different from any other summer we have experienced. Our visitor will be with us just five weeks, arriving in late June and then will return to Eastern Europe in late July. We will learn some of his language, hopefully he gains even more English during his stay and I will be even more thankful than ever for Google and their apps.

For now, June rolls along like status quo-- three kiddos choosing activities and going a variety of directions during the week, but the prediction is that July is going to find us doing daytrips together and some fun repeat activities that will probably feel new again when sharing them with someone: seeing the world's fastest pop machine, ringing the world's largest windchimes, visiting the zoo, staying home, getting bored, swimming, learning how to live with someone new in our house and gaining a new perspective.

I'm enjoying June so very much, but I'm especially excited for what is ahead.