Davao City, to be more precise. We arrived on Wednesday, the 14th. We got good sleep on all but the last leg of the trip, when it was, unfortunately, quite impossible to sleep at all from about 10 pm until 4 a.m when we finally got on the next plane and were able to doze while others boarded (because of our daughter's disabilities we were boarded first, and that gave us almost an entire extra half hour or so to snooze).
My husband and I love it. Our son is homesick, but he is also going out and doing some amazing things not many other 18 year olds can do and he's made a lot of friends while being a Mall Rat because he really sticks out like crazy.
He sticks out so much that last week a Filipino member of the church was looking for us, and he just took a jeepney over to our neighborhood and walked around, and when he spotted the 6 plus footer at the door of a coffee shop where we were (we had no idea he was looking for us), he came inside and asked if we were the family he was looking for.
There's like, a million people in this town. Also, today my husband and son were at the mall, and my husband went into a store to try on some shorts while the boy was in another part of the mall. Later he came looking, and just poked his head in the door to ask "is my dad here?" and at that store, the clerk asked my husband, "I think your son is looking for you."
It's not that we *never* see caucasions. We do see two or three every time we are out. But so far, we have never yet seen anybody as tall as my kid, not even close. I've heard that there are one or two folks at school almost his height.
The food is delicious.
The church is wonderfully kind and good to us, although they are determined that I shall learn Visaya/Bisaya (they also tell me this is totally different from Cebuano, even though everywhere I look online says they are the same. I am so sunk).
Greetings, home-bodies. It's Christmas Eve here, so Merry Christmas.
The above title is apropos of nothing much, except that I'm posting all around the place here, randomly catching y'all pleo people up on things as they come to me.
Except now, nothing is coming to me. Total blank. Ehhrm.
Okay, the Unicornian Boys- They returned to Ukraine, and it looked like there was a serious glitch which would make it impossible for our friends who want to be their forever family to even try to adopt them, but then suddenly, the glitch was not there anymore and they are pursuing their efforts. They are also bringing the boys back over for Christmas, and their fund-raising for that is already done, with plenty to spare.
We are super stoked about that, but also sad that we likely won't be here.
We still ARE here, however, aren't we? Our fund raising is going- we are 64% funding for the full 2 years, and if we can get around four or five thousand dollars in a donation or from selling our cars, we have more than enough to buy our tickets move over and set up house in Davao City.
My son decided to be done with public school so he can work more hours at Burger King and save up money as much as possible (our two ideas about what means 'as much as possible' are not really compatible.
He also said he'd be homeschooled again. Our two ideas about what that means are also not compatible.
He took the SAT test and asked for help studying for it. Our two ideas about what that meant were not really compatible. I don't know how he did yet.
You may be noticing a trend here. Otoh, he did tell me I was his favourite Mom, and he's always been my favourite son, so there's that.
I went to New York with Daughter Five and her adorable baby to see Daughter Four and her adorable baby and the adorableness was sweet indeed.
I went with friends to Canada and spoke at a homeschooling conference. My topic was folk music. I sang, even. Of course, I made everybody else sing with me. I heard wonderful, affirming, kind words about the curriculum project I've worked on for nearly 17 years, and so did my galpals who have worked on that with me. I heard from a woman, through her tears, telling us that our emergency homeschool plan got her through two emergencies- her husband dying when their second child was a newborn, and the news that her mama was going to die of newly diagnosed cancer within the week (she didn't, she lived seven months). she homeschooled her little family in her mama's hospital room, and talks about what a blessing it was (ten years later). I heard from a woman who uses our free curriculum in Indonesia or Malaysia- with a co-op that includes Muslim families, and the Muslim children read the books in their language and her children read in English and the children narrate to each other, freely mixing languages as they go. It was amazing. The opening talk was given by a young lady who just graduated. She has autism, is high functioning, but when her mother started, in grade school, she could hardly talk. And she gave a speech and had everybody eating out of her hand. Afterward, her Mama came up to me and said that those of us who put together this curriculum deserved as much credit as she did, that she felt we were her partners in this education which helped her struggling daughter thrive and grow and really achieve things that at one time had been totally beyond imagining for her (she is in college now).
We had company, and more company, and company all around these events.
Fun stuff the boy has said:
Motherhood stuff nobody warns you about:
Me to son: Smell that? I think something died in the closet.
Son: Oh,sorry. It's just my socks.
Teen son: "I hate it when dumb people know how to do 1 thing at work & aren't even amazing at it try telling me my job."
I am still having myself a private giggle on a daily basis over that one.
Because we were planning on being in the Philippines this month, Bill is only working part-time- sometimes at the grocery store, and sometimes substituting. He could probably work all the hours he wanted at the grocery store, and it pays better than the substituting, but you know his heart is in working with the kids who need him, and his body is not really holding up to the harder, physical parts of working in a grocery store. Unloading trucks is a younger dude's game.
He's working on fund raising most of the time in between.
Oh, and this was adorable. Summer begged me to please, please, try very, very hard when I move overseas to another country, not to forget how to speak Indiana-ish.
Here's the FB page with more info, if you're curious: https://www.facebook.com/SpecialEdDavaoCity/
We're still standing. Our internet was outrageously unreliable for the last week. I had the flu. We had the nebraska relatives here and gave them the flu and they gave it back.
Busy. Still sad, but busy, and still hopeful, too. And working on projects I should wrap up before the Philippines.
More here on our Philippines move: http://us13.campaign-archive2.com/?u=15ef91cffd7ae735bd4d7819d&id=4803aa076f
this is hard to write, hard to say, hard to share, hard to understand. A couple days ago, with 2 hours notice, due to the influence of a single individual who hardly spoke to us and without any details- we had to pack the boys' things so they could be moved to a new host family. How this happened is hard and agonizing. Why is bewildering and painful- the bewilderment being part of the pain. I usually deal with pain by writing it out. I get a raging head-ache every time I try, so this is the best I can do at this point.
Some of the following will be cryptic. Some may not be but should. I won't answer any questions, but do covet prayers and kind words.
On the very, very, very good side- we know, love, and trust the Christian family where they are now. They are together. They had already met and connected with this family. They are able to be there because we called them- which we almost did not do, because we were too overwhelmed to think straight.
Yes, it hurts. It hurts so much the mental and emotional agony even causes physical pain, so I am working on distracting myself by other things, some noble, some frivolous (so happy Agents of Shield 3 is out). But we have always told people who tell us they could never orphan host because it hurts too much that our pain was worth it if it helped. This is still true, even if we would have liked some time to prepare.
Our reality is we began a work we knew we would never be able to truly finish. We are moving to the Philippines in November. We are not in any position to adopt. Even in the midst of fundraising for hosting, we asked the facilitators to please let us know if there was anybody even slightly interested in adopting and we would get out of their way and do what we could. We have always known we were merely standing in a gap while praying for somebody else to come finish and fill it.
WE don't appreciate or understand how or why the 3rd party who caused such pain handled it, and that has caused additional and unnecessary pain and stress all around, and made things harder than they needed to be. But what has really happened is that we are still standing in the same gap, but performing a different work in that gap- prayer, support from a distance, some tangible forms of aid, advice to others on ways to help. And some very special people are now standing in a narrowed gap, and may even be able to close it completely, which is what we have been praying avidly for since December.
We could have wished for a better transition to that changing of the guard, but that changing of the guard is one that we were and are actively praying for.
If this all ends as we hope and pray, we could honestly not ask for a better outcome. We couldn't even have imagined it, honestly. It would be the type of ending I have secretly longed for but never allowed myself even to hope for aloud, even in my prayers. So I am focusing on that, and ask you all to join with me in that.
Yesterday the littlest Unicornian kindly deposited a gift of 2 centipedes into my hands. I was expecting maybe a butterfly or fireflies.
A couple fb statuses:
It is not all smooth sailing. But the same little boy who refused to get in the car with me when we left my mother's house and walked home in the rain (okay, so it's next door, but still around 150 yards), stayed up late with me and watched the lightening and was so excited he wanted to use my i-translate to tell me, "Mama! I just saw the world light up!"
So did I, sweet heart of my heart. So did I. But my eyes were on your face.
(you should also know that using itranslate is not for the faint of heart- his first attempt informed me the world is a testicular place. Fortunately, I don't even think he knew what that meant. Unlike the time the teen tried to tell us the chaperone wanted us to call her previous hostess for some additional information and we got 'call the f... b...' but without the censoring. He was embarrassed. it's complicated because they don't actually speak Russian or Ukrainian but a hybrid dialect of its own which is informal, loaded with slang, and not on the translation apps).
My mom came for breakfast, which involved 16 eggs, 10 sausages, half a pound each provolone and ham, a banana each and a couple pounds of orange slices plus half a bottle of ketchup. She thinks we should video tape a typical meal. And she's going to the store to buy more food because the sad and starving children could find no yogurts in the fridge and were forced to have pudding instead. They sneaked the puddings into my shopping cart at the grocery store when they were supposed to be filling the cart with yogurt.
In 24 hours, LOOSELY- they have devoured:
4 pints cherry tomatoes, 7 cucumbers, 10 peaches, 5 apples, bananas and yogurts in numbers impossible to calculate except I know it's more than a dozen yogurts, a dozen eggs, several corn dogs, half a package each andouille sausages and black forest ham, about a five pound bag of salted peanuts in the shell, paleo pancakes, peanut butter spoons (we discovered a celery stick behind a chair, licked clean of peanut butter), a few radishes, a sloppy joe and 2.5 hamburgers each (supper), a 9X13 hearty casserole of Servian beef and potatoes, and very likely a pint of ketchup.
Last Christmas when the oldest and youngest were here, oldest looked at my shopping receipt once and made it clear he was worried about how much he was costing us. Using googletranslate and itranslate app, I conveyed that it was okay. I loved feeding hungry children, it made me happy to make food hungry boys would eat. He seemed relieved.
Perhaps I was too convincing?
They slept in. So they've only been up since 7:00. Yogurt, a banana, trail mix and raspberries, plus three pancakes each.
Also, I have been hand-fed chocolate covered almonds pulled from the pocket of a chubby, sweaty child.
Mostly when people say we're amazing and sacrificial and blah blah blah, I scoff inside, because no, we are not. But this, accepting candy popped in my mouth from the pocket and hand of a small sweaty child? Yeah, I'll totally take credit for that.