Tuesday, August 21, 2012

our first day of school pictures :)

i have to admit that i started the first day of school with a little guilt.
several of my friends have kids starting kindergarten too and i've heard a lot from them about how sad they are to let their child go and about how their child is processing this new phase of life.

i'm pretty much passed all that i guess. i'm happy for tekoa. she wants to go and i want her to go. i love her so much, but i'm too busy at home to keep her from getting bored. and she REALLY wants to learn to READ!

but also on that first day i was a little distracted.
i don't think tekoa and i even talked much. i'm pretty sure that tyden and shaeya were filling her in on everything she needed to know during the 20 min drive to the school.

and my thoughts were elsewhere. they were on a family i had met the night before. at the salvation army shelter downtown.

on thursday morning i got a call from a friend of mine who works for DCFS. she was looking for someone to help a family. she was wondering if i could help her find someone who could take in 3 kids for awhile while their mom was in the hospital having a baby.
i said "yes."

2 boys (8 and 12) and a girl (7).
dad is in jail, they are living at the salvation army shelter, and mom has no one to take care of the kids when the baby comes.
they were desperate.
they had a social worker trying to find a place and he was coming up with nothing. DCFS couldn't help, children's home said "no," and they were too old for crisis nursery.

so my friend from DCFS called the social worker and gave him my number.
i started racking my brain.
did i know someone who could do this?
or could we do this?

honestly i was hesitant to bring older boys into the house with my little girls.
and school was starting. which meant a lot of driving. and my van only seats 7 people- and i would have 8 kids.

but i couldn't shake the feeling that we were supposed to do it.
and dave said his usual, "sure." :)

so i called the shelter and told them we would. and they were rejoicing!! they had all been so worried and had been praying that they could find someone.
they had the mom- Lakisha- call me that afternoon and i told her i could come meet her that night.

and we have been on an adventure ever since :)

VERY sweet kids :)
Cornell, Cody, and Camrie.
they've been with us since saturday.
and God has been working out every detail.....

and did i mention before that dave and tyden were leaving for wisconsin?
they left saturday morning and got back sunday night.....

so while dave and tyden were doing this-

i was helping the boys do this-
their first time fishing ever!

while Camrie got to know the girls

i was very thankful for shaeya's help with the whole fishing thing...:)

she baited their hooks and helped take fish off the line :)

look at his face!! he had never seen a fish up close before! :) he was kind of afraid of them

cornell is beaming and cody is checking his hand for fish slime :)

getting braver!

cornell never got that brave :) he wanted me to hold all his fish....

cornell is SUCH a GOOD KID. very polite, respectful, and responsible. he loves kids and babies. he speaks very softly.
the first day when i picked them up from the shelter, we were driving from the shelter to the lake. i was asking him lots of questions and straining to hear his answers.
during a lull in the conversation he quietly asked if i had heard about the police trashing their house.
i said, "no."
and he said, "well the police came in and trashed everything. they knocked over the dressers and beds. and my dad was upstairs in the bathroom. he was up there a long time. he was using something.......it was drugs."
i asked if that was the day his dad went to jail.
he said "yes."
we were quiet then.
and after a bit i asked him if he learned anything about drugs from that day.
he said, "yes."
and i said, "don't ever even try it, okay, cornell? promise me?"
and he said "yes."

i have been talking with him a lot about how much God loves him and how God is always there for him and will listen to every prayer. and especially that God knows him so well that he knows the number of hairs on his head.
hopefully some of that can sink in....

first time roasting marshmallows over a fire...

what different lives we lead.
it really breaks my heart!!
i helped them get their showers started that first night and codi said, "you mean i'm supposed to get UNDER that?"
seriously? his first shower? he's 8!
i left him a towel on the bench outside the shower and he thought he was supposed to wash with it. he took the entire towel into the shower with him! :)
and then when he was done he asked if someone would go get 'that woman' to help him :)
that's me. that woman, or rachel, or melissa he CANNOT remember my name! it's been 4 days and he still doesn't know my name....
he is about 50 pounds overweight (wren informed him the first night that his s'more made his tummy big......ooops!), he breathes SO HEAVY all the time, he lets snot run down his face, and his arms and legs are covered with welts and open sores. he won't tell me what they are from.
but oh he is a sweet boy. he makes me laugh all the time.
last night i asked the kids if they wanted to go for a walk and he said, "what's wrong with driving?" :)
and he also said, "melissa, something's wrong with the adopted one. i asked him if he likes to eat grass and he said yes....."
and he made me laugh on the INSIDE this morning when he informed me quietly that school was bull *#!@
i was soooo trying not to smile at the first bull @#!*% this house has ever heard......

here is a picture of our church service on sunday morning :)
so sweet.

feeding the fish with "grandma."

their first time swimming!

and first time touching a snake- or snik as they called it :)

feeling very proud of themselves!!

sweet shaeya was so good at helping them and playing with them.
she had been anticipating their arrival for the few days beforehand. and that first night after playing and swimming and fishing, as we were all sitting around the fire, she came and sat on my lap and whispered, "mom, you never told me they were going to be black kids. it's not a problem, i just didn't know. and anyways i'm used to it now from the mission......"

LOVE her :)

their first day of school!! and looking so HANDSOME in their uniforms and with their new backpacks!

i heard once that having 5 kids is for organized people.
i disagree.
i decided last night that having 8 kids and having 5 of them have their first full day of school is for organized people!!
i wish you all could've seen me running around from one kid to another helping with homework, signing papers, labeling notebooks, reading school supply lists and notes from teachers, emptying lunch boxes, and telling the neighbor kids to wait OUTSIDE til we were done :)

sadly only cornell and codi started school yesterday because camrie cannot go until her mom gets the school a copy of her birth certificate.
they let her go last year but they said this year she HAS to have it.

this is supposed to be her first week of second grade.
i am going to move heaven and earth to help send away for that birth certificate THIS WEEK.
turns out it was the $9 fee that kept Lakisha from getting it this summer.
it absolutely BREAKS MY HEART that this kind of stuff is going on all around us and we are for the most part unaware!
i know hundreds of people who would have GLADLY paid the $9 for camrie to have been able to go to school this first week. so many people who would've been VERY HAPPY to help....

how can we be more aware? how can we get more connected??
show kids how to be kids?!?!?
pay the $9?!?!
show them a better way of life??
show them the love of their FATHER?? the Father who didn't choose drugs over them....

i pray He gives us more opportunities. and the grace to spend and be spent.
and the ability to choose His work over our comfort.....

their baby brother was born on sunday night so now i am just waiting for Lakisha to call and say she is back at the shelter and settled in. probably sometime tomorrow.

and tonight- since part of the bull *!@# about school is that camrie gets to go shopping and to mcdonalds while they are there- kristin and i are going to take the boys out for supper and some shopping :)
should be fun!!!

please say a prayer for this family tonight it you think of it......


  1. praying! thanks for sharing about their lives! I'm sure it was the best weekend ever for them!!!

  2. Michelle, I am SO proud of you. You listen AND obey to what you hear God saying to you :) Thank you for being such an awesome and sincere example of Christ's love!!!! My favorite line was, "The ability to choose His work over our comfort". LOVE YA

  3. Praying for them!!!! And that we can all be more aware and say yes!!!!! Thank you for being such a blessing to them and showing all of us how it should be done!!!!! May God continue to bless others through you!!! Blessed here tonight just reading this!!!!