In my opinion, there really is no better way to start a trip like this than with a visit to the babies’ home. At the home, we got to see precious Mili (she is a beautiful 3-yr-old who was found in a dumpster when she was just a baby), and Celeste (Celeste is blind in one eye. Her mom took her to a witch doctor because she had an eye infection, and the witch doctor put something in her eye that caused her eye to go blind). And, to our surprise, Jose! The five big kids (Jose (8), Estuardo (7), Juan Pablo (6), Danny (6), and Alejandra (6)) are in school in the mornings, but Jose’s teacher didn’t show up, so he came home. (Don’t you wish that would have happened to you when you were in school?) Not only does Jose not speak English, but he also doesn’t speak Spanish either. He has hearing aids that help him hear, but he communicates primarily through sign language. Not too surprisingly, that didn’t stop Nate. Unlike me, Nate seems to have no problems communicating without words. The two of them looked like they should join a circus with all of their flips and cartwheels and tricks!
I have to admit I was shocked by how the one-on-one attention affected Jose. He was so calm, patient, and easy-going. He didn’t scream or pull on our clothes or jump in our faces trying to get us to take a picture. It makes me wonder what Jose could achieve if he was with his family, a foster family, or some other situation that allowed him to regularly receive that kind of focused attention.
I was thrilled to see Jose, but I missed the other big kids. The Wiggins have taught us a lot about loving the older kids, and I can’t wait to see them later this week and spend more time with them on future trips.
We also got to spend part of the morning at the single moms’ home, because that’s where the toddlers from the babies’ home (namely Isabelle, Crystal, and Marvin) go for daycare. While we were there, I met a lady from Texas named Robin. She and her husband have custody of the girl they are adopting, but the paperwork isn’t finalized, so they aren’t able to take her home! I had heard part of their story from Emily Wiggins, so I introduced myself to Robin and asked her if we could pray for her. It was a bold move for me, and I’m thankful that she sounded like we encouraged her rather than coming across as crazy, weirdo strangers.
Jen and Isabelle at the Single Moms’ Home
Sophie tried to cover me with stickers.
We spent the afternoon at Elisa Martinez. I think Jen described it well when she said that it seemed like there was more peace at the place than there has been in the past. I don’t know if it’s the new facility, the number of boys, or the fact that they have room to burn off their energy, but our time today at EM was truly fun.
Hugo and his elephant
Our lesson for the boys today was about self control. We told the story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife (Genesis 39) and tried to help the boys see that any man who can run away from a naked woman who wants to sleep with him is definitely the kind of guy you want to study if you need some help with self control. To end the lesson, we gave the boys model magic, and they were supposed to mold it into something that reminded them to be self controlled. I was playing with the clay and watching the boys do their thing when Emily (Brown) asked me what I was going to make that would remind me of self control. What? You mean I’m supposed to do this, too? I can’t just teach through words and not by example? Shoot.
Since I was obviously struggling with what to make, one of the other people in our group suggested I make a watch and tell the group how one time I got so mad I threw my metal watch at Nate’s head. Oh great, now not only do I have to lead by example, but my friends are suggesting that I tell an embarrassing story to a group of friends, teenage boys, Buckner staff members, and orphanage workers. Not cool. But, I really do believe that vulnerability brings people closer together and is generally a good thing, so I went ahead and told them how several years ago I threw my watch, Nate ducked, it hit the wall, and my cool Australian watch broke.
At the time, it didn’t seem like the boys were listening. But later I sat down by one of the boys, and he smiled and started acting out the whole watch-throwing scenario. Maybe, just maybe, he’ll remember that story and not follow my example but learn from my mistakes.