Some of you have left wonderfully kind comments saying that I must be some kind of supermom to host a Kidsave child when I have so many little ones already. After I picked myself up off the floor from the shock of someone perceiving me as one of those moms who has it all together (my real-life friends just laughed out loud at that one), I felt like I should remind everyone that I have a lot of help:
As I said in this post, we’ve worked hard to set up our lives so that we have an extensive support network. My mom lives less than two miles away and is here almost every day; my mother-in-law comes for a week every couple of months, and during those times I don’t have to lift a finger in terms of house work; we have a friend from church as a regular babysitter who helps me out in the mornings two or three days a week; we have wonderful friends who are always ready to lend a hand in a pinch; and my husband is extremely supportive and helpful around the house.
So please don’t perceive me as some superwoman! Without all these wonderful people in my life, it would very difficult for me to take on something like this in this phase of life.
Some things I found interesting about our local Kidave group:
- All of the other families have two parents working; we are the only family with an at-home parent.
- One is a single parent.
- Two of the host families are people who adopted through Kidsave in previous years and had such good experiences that they’re now hosting.
- The families are all getting to know each other well since we’re all at the same weekend activities, help each other out with events during the week, etc. Having these new friends has been an unexpected bonus!
- These kids are so great. I knew that Kidsave tends to look for kids who are generally well behaved and well adjusted, but they’ve surpassed my expectations. These are some of the most friendly, gregarious, polite children I’ve ever encountered.
One of the more interesting developments has been that the children’s chaperone, a psychologist/social worker from Colombia, has been staying with us a lot. (I’ll call her “Maria” here on the blog.) Typically the chaperone stays with each family for one week, but since I’m the only at-home parent in our Kidsave community, she’s been spending a lot of time at our house during the days as well.
As I said on Twitter, if the homestudy was an exercise in humility, having a social worker living with us has been a Ph.D. course. Although I admit that the fact that not only has she not contacted the local authorities but even seems to enjoy our company has given me some confidence in the parenting department.
One of the most pleasant surprises of the Kidsave experience is how well I get along with Maria. She’s about my age and is a ton of fun, and we’ve become good friends. I expect that we’ll keep in touch long after she returns to Colombia.
Wednesday I had a taste of the community life I’ve always longed for, and it was just as great as I thought it would be. Maria (the chaperone) spend hours in the kitchen cooking up a Colombian feast to have for dinner, while Rita, our babysitter friend and I all helped out as the kids ran around underfoot. There were eight people in the house all chatting and laughing, and the smells of rich Colombian food mingled in the air with the sound of a Gipsy Kings album playing on my laptop.
I mentioned back here that I’ve heard that it’s a good idea to set a book aside for a while after you finish it; the goal is to forget about it as much as possible so that when you revise it a final time you’ll have a fresh set of eyes. It’s funny that I was worried about being able to do that. I finished the first draft right after the baby was born and right before Rita arrived, and ever since then I have been so focused on other things that I almost never think about it. In fact, someone asked me how the book was going last week, and my first reaction was, “What book?” For a moment I seriously had no idea what she was talking about. Mission accomplished.
Yesterday I was going to drop Rita off to hang out at another host family’s house with some of the other girls from Kidsave, and as an afterthought I grabbed a few extra party favors I had leftover from the baby’s baptism (provided by her very generous godparents). They were little packages containing a children’s picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe and an inexpensive but pretty rosary. When I got there and started handing them out, I felt like Oprah in that episode where she gave away the cars — they were all so thrilled, bombarding me with big hugs and kisses on the cheek. I was blown away by how excited and grateful they were.
As I said above, this past week has been one of the most intense weeks of my life, and not just because of all the running around we’ve been doing; I have been challenged spiritually as much as I have been physically. Hosting a Kidsave child has been harder than I thought it would be, but it’s also been better than I thought it would be. There’s a lot going on around here right now. Please keep us in your prayers.
I look forward to reading your posts!