Thursday, January 5, 2012

Day Two

I think it's always good to get another perspective of how a day went and how better to do that than to get the Dad's take on the day.

Belize update day two, by David

First thing that we encountered on our second day in Belize... was to blow a fuse in our bungalow and not be able to rectify the situation before we had to leave for an appointment with The Department of Human Services. Evidently the electric two-burner counter top cooker works okay, and the electric water heater under the kitchen sink works okay, and the electric coffee pot works okay... but NOT at the same time. We found a fuse panel and reset all three breakers, but to no avail. There must be a hidden breaker somewhere. Oh well... we split the 1 cup of coffee that came out of the coffee pot before the electricity kicked off and I had a half a cold bagel...

Next we followed the director of the children's home into Belize City for our appointment with DHS. Mind you this is the first time I have had the distinct privilege of driving a car in a "developing nation" (the roads are not as developed as some other parts... ). Well it's a good thing I am relatively fearless behind the wheel, because the director drove like she was an hour late to a fire call and it was all I could do in the diminutive Suzuki something-or-other I had rented from Jibaru Auto Rental just outside the airport to keep up with her. And to say the roads are narrow, bumpy and treacherous would be a gross understatement.

Nevertheless, the appointment with the social worker handling our Fabulous Five seemed to go well. She even rode with us back out to the children home and hung out with us for a couple hours to see how the kids were doing around us.

The boys are all boy! Noise with dirt on 'em as they say. Full of rambunctiousness and energy. They came and went as we visited but the older boy, R, and the girls hung out the whole time as we visited, looked at pictures on the camera, and arm wrestled! That's right, all the kids wanted to arm wrestle Dad starting with the nine year-old boy, S, who weighs all of maybe 55 pounds. Well of course, little Miss B was not going to miss out on the fun, so she arm wrestled dad wit two hands and basically her whole body. Which led miss Z (12 years old) to get in on the act. Then afterwards we played who could slap Dad's hand fast enough before he moved it. In the end of the matter, these two precious girls were most likely just trying to find ways to have some physical contact with the Dad without just coming on over and holding hands.

We have to remember these kids have had very limited contact with any male authority figures in their life and though their Dad apparently is not too far away, he has never come to visit them in the six years they have been in the states care.

We had lunch with the kids at the children's home today and that was fun to see what they ate and how that whole thing works. Little Mr. S even got me a glass of water and took my plate away without being told when I was done eating. We also brought an entire suitcase of clothing donations for all the kids we gave the Fab Five first was chaos and bedlam at first and when they were done there was nothing left over. But fear not after trying on their selections, anything that didn't fit (and most of it didn't as Regina had no clue of their sizes and the boys are MUCH smaller than we had anticipated) was passed off to the other kids that live in the Children's home.

We spent most of the rest of the days with all five looking at pictures on dad's iPad, , and watching them play and interact with each other and the other kids. As the novelty wore off we saw two things. First, they became more comfortable around us, both to call us mom and dad more naturally, but also to be themselves. And secondly we began to observe some of, shall we say, "the real deal." Kids in institutional care have to learn certain survival skills and ways of trying to stay "in control" in a world that had more pain than they should have to deal with.

Thus we ended day two, reminded that the honeymoon phase will soon be given over to reality, and that the hard work of raising and re-training kids that have had a hard road to go on, will be here soon enough. But then again, we knew that day would come over 26 months ago when we started this journey.

This will not be easy, but it will be doable, by Gods grace, and we will get through it... And we know that God has great plans for the family that He assembling. I know that I know our children will have a mighty impact on their generation, much greater than what we have been able to accomplish in ours.

And for that we are humbled, and grateful!

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