Monday, August 27, 2012

A Week Later

Here is a little update on life here… ok… it is really just a rambling entry of things happening here and feelings I am having… 
Monday we packed up everything and literally threw it into our apartment.
I have been trying my absolute hardest to stay in bed, but… bed rest in a complete disaster of an apartment, with no internet connection, on an air mattress = pretty LAME. But… every time I want to whine… I just kinda laugh… cause… well this is so ridiculous, and yet so full of the Grace of God. What do I really have to complain about?
We’ve started getting a few things put together and unpacked…  a little…
On Saturday, we finally got the hot water hooked up to the shower :)
Oscar traveled to Chiclayo and we finally got our furniture Sunday morning (after literally a week of only having an air mattress to sit on. Yikes) (and the movers, who were supposed to be there at 4 on Saturday afternoon, came at 6:30 in the morning Sunday :)
We’ve bought a fridge. Yay for cold drinks!
I have put together most of a 750 piece puzzle of Stonehenge.
I have not only watched a lot of movies, but I have also alphabetized my DVD’s.
I have decided that season 3 of The Office is my favorite season. 
Oscar took me to get a pedicure. He is the best. (He literally has not stopped working or moving hardly at all. He is amazing in so many ways, and my gratitude for him in my life has multiplied in the last week.)
I found one of Edwin’s bottle caps in my back pocket, and cried for 20 minutes. I also cried for 20 minutes the night Oscar left for Chiclayo… so… I am crying a lot.
It has felt really strange to go from constantly being needed, always having people around, there being constant noise to now being alone most of the time… and laying in bed being what I need to do… and so much quiet. I have a movie or music going constantly, cause the quiet just feels wrong.
I have had some visits from friend here – bringing me starbucks and magazines, or pizza and gifts, or loaning me things we need and don’t have yet. It has been a blessing and encouragement.
The volunteers have told me things in the Tesoros house are rolling along just fine and that they’re all adjusting well to the changes. They said Edwin has opened up even more, and what used to be overwhelmingly focused affection on Oscar and I has now become affection for anyone who will accept it. That makes my heart happy…
I can honestly say that I have peace… there are moments when I am not sure how we’re going to pay for things (hence why we don’t have internet yet)… and moments when I still worry about things in the orphanage – the volunteers, the big decisions, and my babies…  But most of this week has been full of peace.  Knowing God is in control.
And when the worries creep in (especially about the kids) I remind myself “This isn’t a tragedy in their life. Their tragedies are being completely abandoned by their families, watching their mother die, being beaten and abused… Oscar and I leaving them isn’t going to scar them for life. They have survived and been protected through things a million times worse than the padres that lived with them for less than year leaving. … But me worrying or making wrong decisions could be the tragedy in my daughter’s life. She isn’t ready to be born yet, and me choosing not to Trust God and accept His peace to keep me calm… me choosing to do more than I should, could cause damage to her that could scar her forever.” Then I leave whatever box I want to unpack or pile I want to get put away and go lay back down, even when it feels wrong for the right thing to be doing to be laying around doing nothing.
Thank you to all of you who have messages, emailed, written on my wall. Forgive me if it takes me a while to respond. Until we get internet set up at our place, I probably won’t get a chance to respond. I am grateful and encouraged by the love, support, and prayers of all of you.
This song came on my Itunes the other day… it is perfect:

Downhere - For the Heartbreak

Monday, August 20, 2012

It is hard to have words to say in certain moments. This is one of those moments.
For those who don’t know, Oscar and I had planned to leave our parental roles here in the orphanage at the end of August. I am 31 weeks pregnant and we felt the assurance that God was leading us on to the next phase or out life as a family. Today, I was diagnosed with preeclampsia. I have been put on complete bed rest for the next two weeks.  Meaning we will be leaving the orphanage 11 days early.
I will be honest and say, there have been a lot of moments when I have been ready to leave. Moments where my exhaustion is just so extreme…  when my patience has been gone for hours and I still have an hour of dealing with the kids left…  when things are last minute and stressful …. or when the tantrums of the kids or the grossness of their bodily functions leave me so overwhelmed and fighting either tears or vomit (or both)… lots of moments when I have said can’t I just leave now. Is it the end of august yet?
But, Here it is… time to leave… and my heart aches so deeply that I can barely see the computer screen through my tears.
I know it is right. I know I must and need to leave this home and move in to my new apartment – where rest is an option… or even a possibility. I know, without a doubt it is what I am to do.
But these kids have been ours for almost 9 months… we have loved them, disciplined them, lost our tempers at them, asked them for forgiveness, hugged them, tucked them in, prayed with them, played with them, done homework with them, cleaned them, fed them, and tried to protect them. And now we have to leave them. This sucks… there is just no other way to say it.
I am not afraid. I have seen throughout my entire life God’s mighty hand of protection and provision. I know the next few weeks will be filled with that same constant love of a Father for me. I have seen it over and over again even in the last week: We found the perfect apartment, in the perfect place for an amazing price. God Provides. We caught the preeclampsia today on the very border… before it got too dangerous. God protects. Oscar had already arranged to have this entire week off (so now he can be home with me) – and is currently signing the papers to get our apartment today. God always provides and protects.
I can honestly say – I have peace in my heart about my health and the health of my daughter. It is in His mighty hands.
Leaving these little ones God gave me for a season… well… that is a little harder for me. Not because God is any less faithful for them, but because I feel like there is more I could do for them, could have done for them, should have done for them…
I will find my comfort, knowing that as much as Oscar and I have loved these children, it is but a small sliver of the love God has for them. He will be faithful to complete the good work He has started in them. He will not leave them. He has plans for their lives. He will provide and protect them.

I would ask for your prayers in the following ways:
1.       My health and that of our baby – that the preeclampsia would not worsen and that she will have all the time necessary to grow before making her debut in the world.
2.       The kids – that God will provide them the best new Tia they could have, that they will understand that our leaving isn’t abandoning, that they will not be hurt by this.
  Especially Yessica and Edwin – who are probably the most attached to us and will have the hardest time understanding what is going on.
3.       Mine and Oscar’s hearts – that the pain and ache we feel as we leave these children will draw us closer to God.
4.       Getting everything else done – that God will give us the ability to get everything we need packed, unpacked, set up, bought ect done while I am laying in bed. (So really pray for Oscar, cause he is only one man and will have the work of quite a few to do…)
5.       The orphanage – Oscar and I are only servants in the Master’s plan, but at the moment seeing who will fill in and take over for us is unclear. Pray God provides for the needs of the orphanage.
Below is an update I wrote this weekend… I didn’t get the chance to finish it… but  it has a little on how each of the kids is doing, so I thought I would go ahead and share.

So much has changed here in the Tesoros house. Here is a brief update.
1.       Juan moved into the big guys’ house. He was old enough, and is going through a pretty rough time with his behavior. The decision was made to put him where he couldn’t be such a bad influence on the younger boys. He needs lots of prayer – for a family, for healing, and to learn self control.
2.       Yessica came to live with us the week before Juan left. She is adorable and a source of joy, but it can still be challenging to have a 2 yr old (with all her strong will and potty training issues) mixed in with 8 little boys. Her life is about to go through a lot of changes, please pray she continues to grow and flourish during the coming month.
3.       Alejandro is a one step forward; two steps back kind of kid. Nothing is ever steady and constant with him. Sometimes he goes weeks, even months without a potty issue, then he poops on the living room floor 4 times in one week. With all the abuse and neglect he has suffered in his short life, I am sure there are triggers and causes, but identifying them is almost impossible. Pray he keeps moving forward and progressing, and that the orphanage can learn to love him better – discovering his triggers and helping him overcome the damage done.
4.       Jhon has grown a lot over the past few months. I see him being more of a leader, and being able to do so much more. There are also more smiles than before, and he plays with the other kids much more often and with more interest. But, he has also entered into a fit throwing phase. They aren’t extremely often, maybe one every week or so, but they are loooong. Often they start for no reason, and then I tell him when he is done screaming he can come out of his room – and he just sits and screams for at least an hour. Just screaming. It is miserable, for the whole house. We’ve tried a several different approaches, but none have seemed to work. Prayers for this and his legal status and future are needed.
5.       Jose Luis is Jose Luis. He is my steady one. He still screams and cries just to get attention… and never has a potty issue. He has some exciting things that are about to happen in his life… which I will write more about after they happen and I can. Pray for the changes that are coming for him.
6.       Jorge has proven to be one of the hardest one for me to maintain patience with of all my kids. With all the neglect and malnutrition he has suffered there are gaps in his reasoning and learning skills, but he is also extremely stubborn and throws fits. It is hard for me to know in the moment when the struggle we’re going through is because of the gaps or the stubbornness. I know I am not always, or even often, what he needs. Pray we can help him to fill in the gaps and help him to catch up.
7.       Pedro is good. He is on track with his class at school, if not advanced. He behaves well at home, as much as can be expected of a 7 yr old boy. Pablo may be Pedro’s twin, but they are so different. He is always just a step behind Pedro, in school, in behavior, in speed, in pretty much everything.  They are both such sweet boys that deserve so much more than they’ve got.  Pleas pray that the recent visits of abusive family member don’t cause deeper emotional problems and that the issues their older sisters are struggling through will not trickle down to them.
8.       Paul is having a rough time at school. He is advanced for his class, but does not get along well with his teacher. He has had a few issues with one of the boys in his class as well. There has also been lots of insecurity in his legal situation and future. All this has caused some severe issues in his behavior over the past 2 months. He has some great days, but he has other where it is lie after lie, disobedience after disobedience. It has been an almost daily struggle to know how to handle this situation. Where the line between the need for discipline and the need for grace and mercy falls in a child who has so much inner turmoil and pain and but so rebellious . Every decision and action Oscar and I have taken has been with uncertainty – praying we’re making the right move. We have seen some improvement, with the lies especially, but Paul is still struggling and needs lots of prayer.
9.       Edwin is such a special child. He literally requires so much patience, and if his grin wasn’t so innocent and unaware of how overwhelming he is, it would be impossible to keep cool much more of the time. But when I am just about to lose it and sent him to his room because I need a break, he grins, says “Amo Sam!” and flaps his hands… and I remember the problem is mine, not his. A couple that came down a year ago, and then came back this past month commented that he is like a whole different kid. He has come out of his own world a lot. He still swings and chants to himself… and his chapitas are still his most beloved possessions, but he spends Much Less time sitting alone tapping it on the ground. He interacts with others So Much More than he did before. The other day Paul was standing in my room and was taking his shirt off and Edwin, all by himself with no prompting and out of nowhere attacked him with tickles. It was the first times I’ve ever seen him do something like that. It is exciting to see him grow and awaken to the world around him. Continue praying for a forever family for him.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Would you think less of me if I told you how I feel?

I'm as tired as a willow branches

in the trees in the field

That for so long have had to carry such a load

and fear they may break at the next coming snow

There is love

There is beauty

And then there is pain

and at the moment I can't help but feel

that they are all the same

- Bradley Hathaway

Those are the lyrics to a song that I have listened to over and over again this week. (Listening to it right now, and boy is Oscar Very sick of it.) It is how I feel.

The past 2 weeks here in the orphanage have been hard.

Sometimes I want to think that this ministry is harder than others... Harder than say working in a nice church in the suburbs. I know that isn't true. I know that, as much as I feel our kids are broken and hurt the most, children in any ministry are surrounded by sin, pain, death and heartache.

But, these days the consequences of sin have been heavy upon the orphanage. In reality, each child's very presence in the orphanage is a representation of the consequence of sin. The sins of their parents - causing abandonment, pain and uncertainty in the lives of these precious children.

But it goes much deeper. Many of these children are the product of rape, or have been abused, beated, or mistreated in real and strong ways. Bearing these sins from there parents would have been enough, but these sins do not stop there. There are consequences and reprecussions that these children will pay for their parents' sin for the rest of their lives. The pain and marks left on their lives are deep and long-lasting.

It is hard to watch these children struggle. suffer. fall into temptation. search for answers. feel the consequesnces deep in their hearts.

No. It isn't hard, it is gut wrenchingly, hearbreakingly, impossible. it is impossible to watch this.

Even on Easter, a day meant to celebrate His victory over sin and their wages, my heart seemed to settle on the overwhelming price He paid for us. I praised Him for His victory, yes, but my heart just counldn't get passed the consequences He bore for me, my children, and the world.

Our chains have been broken. We are not bound to sin or its consequences anymore. But somehow, in the past few weeks, the orphanage has staggered under the weight of chains far to heavy to bear. Chains of exhaustion, disunity, frustration, pain, sexual sin, and the cycle of consequences left on the lives of our children by their parents.

I ask that any who read this lift us up in prayer.

Pray for



energy to fight the good fight

that love, grace, mercy... and justice would abound in these walls.

Pray that every step, every decision, every leader would move, act, speak and be in accordance with God's will, expressing the rich Love of our Father.

And as He stands in victory

Sin's curse has lost its grip on me

For I am His and He is mine

Bought with the precious blood of

Sunday, March 25, 2012

An Update on my Family

So… I think it is about time for a catch up on everything here in the Tesoros House.

The boys – We’ve seen some highs and lows here. Each of the kids have their own battles and baggage. It has been exhausting, but rewarding working day in and day out with them.

Paul – Had the hardest time adjusting to a male authority figure, but now loves Oscar and wants to be in the middle of us anytime we hug. He is doing well in school – star pupil of the class from what I here. He is extremely intelligent. (Last week, he had an assignment for class. He had to list a bunch of personal information – including the names of his parents. He came and asked if he could put Tia Sam and Tio Oscar as his parents. I said yes.) Please pray that God leads and directs His future.

Juan – He quickly adjusted to the idea of us in the house. After only a few weeks in the house we had the following conversation while doing laundry: Juan - “Are you my mommy?” Me - “I am your mommy for right now in the albergue.” Juan - “My mommy said that she was going to leave me here so I would get a new mommy. She said she wasn’t going to be my mommy any more. Will you be my mommy for forever?” Me – speechless. (How can a mother tell her 7 year old “I am not going to be your mom anymore”) He came to the albergue when he was about 7, meaning he missed out on being educated for some very important years. He is currently repeating 1st grade, and struggling. Most importantly, Juan was able to attend a church camp here over the summer. He accepted Christ as his Savior and Lord while there. Please pray that his relationship with the Lord will continue to grow, and that God will help him to fill in all the educational holes he has.

Edwin – he is our lovable little monster (who Oscar calls MegaMind). He is sweet and adorable – quickly attaching himself to the heart of anyone who comes here, but can be extremely naughty. (Hitting, kicking, pinching, throwing things, spitting - not just the other kids… Oscar and I as well.) We’ve really struggled with coming up with effective punishments. His autism makes it difficult for us. He is extremely intelligent, I am convinced of this the more I live with him. His language skills are no representation of his reasoning and understanding. Please pray for wisdom of Oscar and I as we try to train him up, and that he will be given the opportunities to learn, grow and develop to his full potential.

Jorge – He was our fit thrower when we first got in the house, but that seems to have been overcome. He is struggling hard with school. His class seems to be the fastest moving of the 1st grades, and he just can’t keep up. Please pray he will learn and catch up quickly, and for my patience when I try to do homework with him.

Pedro – He was born first, and he likes us to remember that. He has been one of the steadiest in all our time here. He is pretty much the same kid he was when we moved in. He cries anytime he gets punished (even if it only a 5 minute time out), he is loud and rowdy, and when he sings – everything about it is operatic. Pray for his family. There is so much turmoil and pain there.

Pablo – the second born twin. This little guy is much more of a roller coaster than his brother. He goes from quiet and obedient to loud and hyper to rebellious and defiant – sometimes 5 times a day. He rarely is in the middle ground – it is almost always an extreme. Pray that we will help him learn to control his emotions, and for his family.

Jhon – He is one of the smartest 4 year olds I have ever met. His speech is so advanced for his age. He wants to know the whys and how’s of EVERYTHING. He has really struggled with the change – he was the most attached to the last madre here. And he has already lost so much at such a young age. Pray for healing in his confused little heart.

Alejandro – He came from such a violent home, and he has brought so much of that with him. He regularly hits with no apparent provocation or cause. He throws wild fits and screams and cries. The transition into school has left him exhausted and in an even worse mood. Pray for his recovery from a life of abuse and pray that Oscar and I will be able to teach, correct and discipline him in ways he can understand, grow and heal from.

Jose Luis – My little guy. He is adorable – and naughty, but still adorable. He is the only one who isn’t in school here. We hoped that by separating him from the 2 older “little guy” he would stop following and copying them, giving him the ability to think for himself better. Pray for the exciting things he has coming to him in the future, and pray the future comes quickly.

Oscar and I

It has been quite an adjustment. Less than a year ago we were not married and on separate continents…. Now we’re married and raising 9 boys. For the most part it has been fun… with a few rough patches along the way.

I am sure some people thought that taking on 9 boys as newlyweds was a crazy, if not stupid, decision. (They’re probably right), but I think our marriage is all the stronger for it. We lean on each other so much. We are making so many important decisions together, on a daily basis. They boys really feel like our family and I we our both so content here.

As some of you may have seen on Facebook, we had a recent disappointment. Oscar and I long for him to get to come to the states and meet so many of my loved ones… But that doesn’t seem to be on the horizon for any time soon. We had been told by a couple friends that getting a tourist visa for a spouse was easy, and since we really only want him to be able to visit, we applied. Oscar was denied because he is married to me. We were told his only option is to get a permanent resident visa… even though we only want him to be able to visit. That visa is very expensive… and there are a lot of parts we don’t understand. We are very sad and confused.

Many people have offered comfort that God has a plan for us. While I appreciate the sentiments, that has never been a question or doubt in our hearts. We know, with certainty, that God has plans for us and is leading and guiding us to his Perfect will. And I know that His plans often, if not always, far surpass my plans. That does not mean this doesn’t hurt. My husband, the man I am sharing my life with, doesn’t know my best friends, my brothers, my cousins or aunts and uncles or my friends. He has never been to my house, much less my town or church. That hurts. That is not ok. Yes, God has a plan and we trust him completely… but this still breaks our hearts.

But with that said – we are still excited about other things God is blessing us with. We are excited about the ministry we are getting to do here in the orphanage. But we are even more excited about the new blessing God has given us. I thought it fair to tell the friends and loved ones who actually take the time to read my blog and pray for us (before announcing it on facebook) that Oscar and I are expecting a baby. The arrival of Little Baby Alday (or Alday Smith… or Alday-Smith… or however we decide to handle the biculturalness of the last name) will be arriving, Lord willing, October (the 21st is my actual due date). The baby will be born here in Peru (as America doesn’t want to let Oscar in). We are both VERY excited!!!

Please pray for both us to have wisdom, patience and strength daily - we need a lot of it. And please pray for our little one – that he/she will grow and develop healthy.

And pray for me – being pregnant and a mother of 9 has been no walk in the park so far. (Everyone says the second trimester is easier, so I am hoping I just have to make it through the next few weeks, and then I will have some relief.) Oscar has been unbelievable amazing and helpful in every way possible. I am more grateful every day for the gift God gave me when He brought Oscar into my life. Please pray I will have the energy to give my boys all they need, and the time to rest and give my baby all he/she needs.

Thank you to everyone who reads these and lifts us up in prayer. And those who comment and let me feel the closeness of their support.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Praise be to God


The little boy who we thought might be taken at any moment:
Our AWESOME new social worker jumped into fight mode to protect our little ones. They left this morning to travel the hour to the town where the family lives. She visited with the family, talked with them, and took pictures of their home to turn in to the courts.
We had been told by the family and by two aunts, who had traveled here late last week to warn us, that they had been given the new order to take the kids out. After interviewing the family our social worker realized that they did not have any order to take the kids out. They had the order given to them a year ago placing the kids in protective services for exactly one year. The family thought that as the year was up, they could simple take the kids away.
That is not how it works, and we were able to turn in our report of the families inability to care for them before they even tried to talk to the judge about getting them out.
We were also told by the Peruvian social sstem that the kids have actually already been declared abandoned, and that the court just simply forgot to communicate that to the family or the orphanage (ignoring the ridiculousness to focus on the good). That means instead of worrying constantly that they'll go home and be abused and pleading with God for His portection, I (we) can begin praying for a forever family for these three precious children. This means that soon they will be put on the waiting list for adoption... and until the family comes for them, they will be safe and sound here in the orphanage.
This is a beautiful blessing from the Lord. Thank you for your prayers.

The one we were afraid would never have a forever family:
We were able to sit down and talk with the two workers from MIMDES yesterday. After reviewing the file and talking about the characteristics of this sibling set, they concided that there was a possibility they could go positively in adoption. Her exact comment was "I came here decided that there was no way they were going in adoption. I thought they'll just go with the grandpa or stay there forever. Whatever... But you all convinced me there might actually be hope. I think they might actually get to be adopted."
They met with the older two siblings. I wasn't there, but I was told that it went very well. We have two weeks to turn in reports and letters from the kids. Then a final decision will be made.
I am hopefull and positive. I think there is a VERY strong probability they will get put on the list to be made available for adoption.

Now there are six more kids here at our home to pray that a family comes for them....
"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. John 14:18"

I am amazed at the speed in which God the Father worked and answer our petitions. My heart is blessed and encourage, not only by the faithfulness of a God who protects the "least of these," but by the outpouring of love, support and prayer I recieved yesterday after posting.
Thank you to every one of you that lifted my boys and their future up to the Lord.
"Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Mt 18:19-20

Monday, March 19, 2012

Heavy Heart

I have started writting a new blog 3 different times... They're saved, unfinished, on my desktop.

But today, my heart is heavy with concern... and cannot wait to post a well thought out reflection on all that has happened in the last few months.

Instead I will only share my concerns, so that you may join with me in prayer.

Some of these are legal things, and I can't share all the details or names. But here are the situations that have left me overwhelmed by the need for God's intervention today:

I have a boy who is here in the albergue because of abuse. He is young, and was badly abused, along with his two sisters. The home environment has not changed. The mother and uncle (who both live in the home and are supposedly the primary care givers, but in reality the main sources of abuse) are both mentally handicapped. As an attempt to begin receiving child support (money) have appealed to take the children home. The judge granted this appeal – to a mentally handicapped man who is on record for abuse. We, here at the orphanage, are trying to react and stop this, but in reality they could show up ANY minute and take those three home again.

I trust God, but I DO NOT TRUST the Peruvian system to protect these children. I am afraid. Please pray that we can get the judge to reverse his decision and keep these children here – safe.

One of my little guy's has been struggling with what I can only describe as depression. He is only 4, but has already been through so much. His mother is dead, and the night she was shot he spent in the desert in her arms as she died. His father is in prison. His aunt and uncles come to visit, but not regularly. But because of these visits he can not be put up for adoption. He is sad. He needs a family. He needs healing. Please pray we can love him and minister to him effectively. Pray for healing.

Today the Peruvian (irresponsible) agency in charge of deciding kids fate - Do they go in adoption or not – will come to talk with one of my boys. Based on the discussion they make today they will decide whether this child (who has been in the albergue for over 4 years already) will stay here for the next 11 years or have a chance at a forever family. They have already informed us of their desire to remove him (and his brother and sister) from the adoption list and leave them here until they each age out because of past situations in the family. One wrong comment from the kids about loving their mom and they buy themselves 10+ years in an orphanage. Pray that God be in that meeting – guiding the mouths of those children and the hearts of the Peruvian officials to a decision that is actually BEST for the kids, not just easiest.

There are so many other needs and reasons to pray for my boys... and all the kids here

(like the fact that we've had two of our girls test positive for tuberculosis in the past week).

Today, I ask that you please lift these up in Prayer. God is bigger than the Peruvian government... And he has a plan for each of these precious children.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Well we have been parents for 5 and ½ weeks. It has been quite a time. It would be impossible to fully describe the first month. It would be impossible to even fully describe a day. So I will just share what happens sometimes…… and how it makes me feel…

Sometimes the kids misbehave, lie, throw fits, scream, slam doors, hit, bite and kick.

Sometimes we punish them and it seems too harsh. Sometimes we punish them and it doesn’t seem like enough to get the point across. Sometimes we don’t punish them and try to teach the Grace of God…

Sometimes I lose my patience. Sometimes I don’t give them that 10th hug of the day they want cause I am too busy serving lunch. Sometimes instead of using the teachable moments or just playing with them, I am just lazy. Sometimes I feel like I fail.

Sometimes they are so funny. They say the most ridiculous things. They do the most ridculous things. Sometimes they make me laugh so hard.

Sometimes they have questions that I don’t know how to answer. What is the wind, why their mother didn’t come this week, and If I am their mom now. How am I supposed to respond?

Sometimes they tell stories… about their mother not wanting to see them anymore, when the truth is their mother died, and they just don’t understand what that means… Sometimes they tell about their mother saying she isn’t going to come visit, and isn’t going to be their mom anymore, like that is normal. Sometimes they break my heart. Sometimes I cry.

Sometimes I have no clue how to react to the kids or what to do with them. Sometimes I feel lost.

Sometimes, I want to throw a pity party for myself about how hard it is. I want to write home to complain about the hours, the stress, the lack of money, the exhaustion and all the pee I have to deal with. Sometimes I lose my focus, and this becomes a job.

Sometimes I am overwhelmed. I clean something… and in less than an hour it is already dirty again. Sometimes I do more laundry than I knew to be humanly possible. Sometimes I feel like all I really am is a maid. Sometimes I hate it.

Sometimes, I slip away “to hang laundry”, put my headphones in, and find my re-focus. I find my 5 minutes to worship my Father. Sometimes I hide, all by myself, amidst the drying sheets and blankets, and thank Him for His love, mercy, grace, strength, patience, and faithfulness as he parents me. Sometimes I am deeply grateful to get to go hang laundry.

Sometimes I love my boys so much I am not sure I’ll ever be able to leave them.

Sometimes I think that If I can’t find five minutes alone my head is going to explode.

Sometimes I look at them and see the effects of their parents’ poor choices. Sometimes I see their scars, their flat heads… I see how small and short they are. Sometimes I get angry. Angry at “parents” who didn’t/don’t value my treasures. Angry at “parents” that still lie and emotional damage my boys. Angry at “parents” who are selfish and immature.

Sometimes they truly feel like my sons. Sometimes they ask for another hug and kiss good night.. Sometimes they ask me to sleep in their bed with them. Sometimes they yell “Buenas Noches, Papa. Buenas Noches, Mama” and I suddenly don’t want it to be bedtime anymore just so I can spend more time with them.

Sometimes they come running to hug me from across the field. Sometimes they come and hug me, just cause they want to hug me. Sometimes they overwhelm me with their love for me.

Sometimes I am grateful for this opportunity. Grateful to get to love and be loved by these boys. Grateful to teach and learn from these boys. Grateful they’re in my life. Grateful they are my boys.

Always, I am blessed by each and every one of them, by my amazing husband, and by the God I serve.

Prayer Requests:

Jose Luis: Pray for his future and the possibilities of getting a forever family.

Alejandro: He has been throwing a lot of fits lately. Pray for wisdom and patience for Oscar and I as we deal with him, and that his anger will diminish.

Jhon: He can be extremely shy in large groups. He will be starting school this March. Pray for this transition.

Jorge: He can be quite a tattletale, and indian giver. Pray he learns to be a friend.

Pedro and Pablo: Their father is not in a healthy state, and when he visits it causes more pain than joy. Pray for protection.

Juan: Pray for peace in his heart and life as he fights the demons of his past.

Paul: He will possibly be returning home to his mother. Pray God works His will in his life. It has also been a huge struggle for him adjusting to having a male authority in the house.

Edwin: Pray for a forever family for him. He has been waiting so long.