Monday, August 27, 2012
Monday, August 20, 2012
Sunday, April 15, 2012
And as He stands in victorySin's curse has lost its grip on meFor I am His and He is mineBought with the precious blood of
Sunday, March 25, 2012
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
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
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.
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.