Archive for December, 2009

Meanwhile. . .

Monday, December 7th, 2009

We had a little adventure around Halloween. The day before Halloween, we received a call from the Division of Family and Child Services saying they needed us for an emergency placement. A woman had been picked up for a minor transgression of the law, but she had given police no help in placing with family or friends the two children accompanying her. Since they had no other option, the children were placed in protective custody and were currently in a temporary holding place (that I won’t disclose on this blog). Unfortunately, the children only spoke Spanish and no one employed at said place could converse with them. So we were basically their only chance to live in a home with someone who could speak with them in Spanish, while their mom sorted out her problems. Of course we offered to take them in. The older was a five year old boy and the younger a three year old girl.

I picked them up that night and I found myself confronted with two very distraught children who had no idea what was happening to them, who I was, nor really where I was taking them. They’d seen their mother taken and handcuffed by police and then spent the night in a strange place unable to ask anyone for explanations. As I loaded them into my car, the little girl began to cry and say over and over, “Quiero con mama. Quiero con mama.” It was very difficult and heartbreaking to hear, especially because I had no idea when they would be reunited for sure. So we drove home and they fell asleep in the car.

I pulled into our driveway and they unfortunately woke up very frightened about being in yet another strange place. I got the little girl out of the car, but the little boy tried to run away. I caught him and dragged them both into the house. Anne had already put our boys to bed, so the two of us tried to comfort our guests, but ultimately had to settle for putting them to bed crying.

The next day went a little better. We had a fun Saturday starting out with cartoons and breakfast and then just playing with toys. I spoke with our little Spanish speakers and they seemed content to be surrounded by toys and other kids. They were both upset about naptime, but they both slept over an hour, so I didn’t feel too bad about it. They had been provided with a Tinkerbell outfit for the little girl and we had Captain Flail’s Optimus Prime outfit from last year for the little boy, so about 5:00 we set out to go trick-or-treating. The little girl got scared by all the dogs and the people answering the door in costume, so after about a half hour we went back home for dinner.

After dinner I set back out with Captain Flail and the little boy, while Anne watched the two younger kids and answered our door. We tricked-or-treated until the boys were exhausted. Our little guest eventually figured out how it worked and started racing Captain Flail from house to house to ring doorbells. We walked a little over two miles and they no longer wanted to knock on doors by about halfway back to the house. I had to carry their bags because they were so heavy, but they’d had a great time. They both fell asleep quickly.

The next day we had church which went okay. Anne is in the primary and they spent all their time practicing for the Primary Program in the chapel. A very nice lady in the ward watched both of them there in the chapel, so they kind of just hung out while the kids sang. I taught my usual Sunday School class for 12 & 13 year olds and then went to Priesthood. After church we had lunch and naptimes and then played for a while before heading out to Uncle Cary’s. They were very shy at first at his house and wanted to stay very close to Anne and me, but they eventually warmed up and started playing with Amanda. Cary was very nice about accommodating us and the kids were sad to go home.

Monday, I had to go back to work and I was praying that everything would go okay for Anne. She had to call or email me a few times about how to say a few things and by the time I got home she was exhausted, but she’d survived her first day alone with them. Tuesday went more smoothly in some ways because the kids were getting used to our routine, but that meant they were also no longer on their best behavior, so Anne was again exhausted, but the kids’ caseworker had called to say they’d be reunited with their mom the next morning. So Wednesday Anne drove them up to the DCFS offices and they went home with their mom. I guess the reunion was a little awkward, but I know the kids are happy to be back with their mom. I got the impression they were a little spoiled at home, so I didn’t feel bad in the least about sending them back.

It’s kind of weird to think I’ll probably never see those kids again, but it was a lot of work to care for four kids who were all aged so similarly. Of course, four kids of any age sounds like a lot of work, but we’re probably not too far off from that being a permanent thing for us. We’ve put in word with our Resource Family Consultant (our representative at DCFS) that we are ready for more kids. So we’ll see what happens.

Brief Update

Monday, December 7th, 2009

I want to give a brief update on our Sister Missionary. She’s still trying to learn Spanish. As I recall, it took me quite a while to get over my bashfulness and to feel comfortable speaking with strangers in Spanish. I did better with my companions (who for the most part were native speakers and didn’t speak English.) Anyway, on top of that, she had this to say:

“This week I have just been landed in the most stressful situation I have ever been in. We had transfers on Friday, and I have a new companion. . .She speaks practically no Spanish whatsoever. She was switched from English the day after she got here from the MTC, which was about 6 weeks ago. And she is really struggling to learn. I have been able to learn pretty quickly, and the Lord has blessed me a lot, but I am still very far from being able to converse openly with people. And we are companions. I can make it through the first lesson okay, and the second and third lessons, if you were grading me, you’d give me a C+, so it’s passing, but it’s really not great.”

She’s also been stressed out about having someone come observe her and critique (hopefully constructively) her teaching methods. I guess her spirits are still pretty high though:

“[My] life is a roller coaster of stress and fun. The Lord really wants to make sure I am faithful or something! It will all work out, I know.”

I’ll miss her phone call home during Christmas this year, but I think she’ll be back with us next year.