If you've been following our updates on Facebook then you know that this week hasn't been a walk through the rose garden... unless the rose bushes lost their flowers and all that remained was the thorns. But God is faithful.
There have been things that we didn't foresee dealing with so soon (the addiction to TV and technology), there have been things that we knew we would face (attitudes, anger, push back), and there have been times when we have both felt the urge to flee, but are then reminded that God is still faithful. He still called us to this. He is still writing this story.
There are things we are thankful for, like the way child services in Costa Rica cares for the kids. Ours were in a home that housed just 38 children, which we thought was really great for being so small, until we were told that they are trying to get that down to an average of 12 children per hogar (or children's home, run by the state). They genuinely care about the well-being of the children in their care, making sure they are healthy (our kids are up to date on all of their vaccinations), well fed (they eat 5 times a day!), educated, with some religious exposure through the Catholic church. They offer counseling and psychological help for the kids throughout the adoption process. Bottom Line: we have been very impressed with the care of orphaned and abandoned children, and would definitely recommend Costa Rica as a country to consider adopting from if you are looking.
But with that care and attention comes some of our issues. We were in the mindset of them being in a stricter environment, but instead we find that they are used to watching 3-4 hours of TV every day. This isn't happening at our house... which has caused issues. We are the mean parents. We are the freaks. The good news is that we are also INTJs, and their death stares don't affect us at this point. Plus, we're used to being the TV-less freaks in the U.S. as well, so that's not new for us. We're finding ways to compromise by slowly breaking them out of the habit of using a screen to entertain themselves - offering one TV show a day if they display a good attitude all day. We're blindly feeling our way through this, and praying for wisdom.
Tica #1 and Tica #2 have their own tablets (sans internet access) that they will be bringing with them. This was also not something that we expected to deal with right away, and has caused issues when we have informed them that they will not have internet access with us either. More anger, more pouting, more questions like, "If I can't access the internet [at which point I wanted to say: you are 12 years old... there's nothing you need to do online.] and I can't watch TV, then what do I do in my free time?" My response of "play outside, read books, put a puzzle together or do crafts" didn't go over well, and a bathroom door was slammed and tears were shed.
We expected hard, and we're getting it... the hard stuff is just different than what we were anticipating. And because of the care of the social staff, and the difficulties of the transition, we find ourselves in limbo this morning, waiting to see if Tica #1 and Tica #2 are ready and willing to come live with us 24/7 starting tonight. The youngest 3 are more willing, and Tica #3 has actually been asking us multiple times a day when they are going to come stay with us overnight, and is counting down the days.
And while she might be counting the days to when she gets to come, we have been counting the days until we lose all freedom. People... gut obedience doesn't mean uber-spiritual. We have cried, we have clung to Jesus, we have begged God to end this request... we are fighting our self-serving tendencies, and trying to remember that He who called us is faithful. There have been tears in the middle of the night, and lip biting during the day. I've never appreciated having dishes to wash like I do now, because it gives me a moment to turn my back to them and collect myself.
We know we are being bathed in prayer... we hear it on Facebook, we get it in emails, and even our driver this week informed us that he has been lifting us up before the Father. God is encouraging us, He is holding us, and He is big enough to deal with our little fits of panic and anger over this calling He gave us. We're not giving up, we're hanging on, and we're following where Jesus leads us. We have been sent to raise these children for Him, to share with them the Best News in the world - that Jesus died for them, that He rose for them, that He loves them, far more than we ever will. Pray that we would be faithful in keeping that as our primary focus on the days when we'd really rather catch the 8:30 AM flight back to our pre-children lives.
The adventure is just beginning.