We started our day today by cracking LOTS of eggs. I felt pretty certain eggs are in international breakfast hit–and sure enough…pulled those bad boys out and saw a huge smile and a head shaking up and down. Score! Eggs and chocolate covered strawberries (Thank you Boyce family for surprising us with this package of chocolate covered strawberries! She loved them…and Frankie baby gave us goo-goo eyes which sent those yummy strawberries on the house for all the kiddos. Happy campers indeed!)
8:30am. Now what? Sweet girl motioned she wanted to go swimming. Um. Momma is all about swimming. But NOT before coffee. I called a momma who has hosted a couple of times to ask for translation help–and she reminded me about google translate. She also reminded me that I needed to stick with BLAND foods because this is what is typical in Ukraine. I got off the phone-and we grabbed my computer and we had the FUNNIEST hour playing on google translate. I told her all about us. All about Richard–confirmed that he is not scary (most of these kiddos aren’t too sure about men) and then–in my true crazy fashion I had to make sure laugh saying funny redonkulous things. The girl has a sense of humor. I asked her about the calluses all over her hands–and we finally figured out they are from playing the piano. Hmmmm…now this momma is going to have to find a friend with a piano…wonder what her little fingers can do!
We made it until 10am hanging out and then we hit the pool. SWEET THING dropped her jaw and stood in disbelief when she walked through the gate of our neighborhood pool. Many of these kids go to camps in the summer but they swim in muddy creeks–and they haven’t seen such clean water. She just stood there saying in an accent over and over, “Wow. Wow. Wooow. Wooooooow. Wow.” Thankfully, no one else was there–so we had it all to ourselves as she adjusts to all this newness. Then–SHE JUMPED RIGHT IN! I wasn’t sure if I was about to pull off some Baywatch–I was ready…but by golly–she can swim! Our summer JUST got easier! This momma was confident taking 4 kids to the pool–but 5 was a whole new level…especially if were to have another non-swimmer. We stayed there until 12:30pm, and Laney and Tetyana especially had such fun playing together. They can’t understand a word of each other–but it’s amazing to watch the love of children cross language barriers.
Frank and Isaac STILL don’t understand that she can’t understand a word they say. Isaac will ask her the same question a MILLION times and then follow it up with, “HEY! Hey! You hear me???” And she just laughs–and then we all laugh…and then he starts again. Frank follows T around the house asking questions–and correcting her. “Why do you say TINKYOU–you mean THANK you. You so silly Tetyana” and “Hey Tetyana–don’t you wanna play nerf gun with me. Hey–why aren’t you answering me?? Hey…wanna play?” And this goes on over and over. THEN–I run to google translate and ALL day today I’ve translated for the kids between the kids.
We hit up Barker’s Red Hots for lunch. I know this was totally questionable–but the lady at the store yesterday told me hotdogs and sausage were usually a hit for all–so I took my chances. AND…she LOVED it. Yay! We had the staff there staring at us though as I did charades…and an older couple gawked at us a bit. Momma bear ALMOST came out. If you ever see a mom doing charades and an older child shaking her head–all the while 4 kids are running around them both in circles…instead of giving her the stink eye because she is ruining your hotdog eating moment–give her a hug…she is probably doing the best she can and worn slap out. AND you just might be blessed by it too! When we were done eating—we all had too many french fries to throw away. Momma doesn’t like to waste food–and I was pretty sure it would be hard for her to see me through all that away too…SOOO…we packed it up and made a little fun out of it. I did a charade for “goat” (envision this please–it was awesome sauce)–and we drove around the corner to a goat farm and fed the goats the rest of our fries. SHE LOVED IT…
We hopped out of the van and the HUGE crowd of goats flocked immediately for us. She took off running down the side of the fence–I thought she was scared at first. BUT…I couldn’t help but hold my breath when I saw what she was doing. She had her hands full of fries and she was running to a little goat that was all by herself that had gotten left out of the crowd and wasn’t getting any fries from the children. I stood there smiling…and proud of her—compassion for the least of these. Such a beautiful picture…and for a moment–I melted.
We hoped in the car to come home, and we got out the cross-stitching. I was CERTAIN she was a pro at this since her “bio” online with New Horizons said that she wins awards for her embroidery. Um. She hadn’t touched cross-stitching before–so the next few hours were spent teaching her to cross stitch–and with the help of Google translate (yet again!) I had the joy of explaining what the design with the phrase “With God All Things Are Possible” meant. Not sure if it made sense–but it was still sweet trying to explain it.
Rich came home early from work–and we played kickball in the backyard (it’s HOT in Georgia people…this mom REALLY needed a nap–but there’s no nappin’ going on right now for me I’m afraid). Rico bravely cooked tacos–and I was quite certain she wouldn’t eat Mexican–but with google translate I explained what it was and she was game to try it! AND…she loved it! Double YAY! We decided to pack it up and head to PUTT PUTT for a family fun night!
I ran upstairs to freshen up–and sweet Frank came up and asked if Tetyana could stay longer. I explained that she WAS staying ALL summer. Frank asked, “But momma–I want her to stay longer. Can she ask her daddy?” I got on my knees and told him that not everybody has a daddy. And he looked at me and said, “She can borrow mine!” SWEET BOY. I tell you–this stuff isn’t easy…it isn’t easy for our kids…or me…it’s change–and while it is amazing–it is hard–but in the hard–my kids are changed. I am thankful.
Sweet T ran up the stairs about that time and did a jogging motion and did her hands like a question. I THOUGHT she was asking “Are we going now??” So I shook my head YES! Then…she TOOK OFF and ran RIGHT out the door. Oh my glory. I shouted at Richard to chase her and bring her back but she had hopped on my BIKE and had taken off down the street. Richard went after her like he was trying to score a winning touchdown–and THANKFULLY he got her attention BEFORE she left the neighborhood! Oh my. Fully noted that I will not say YES in the future if I’m not 100% sure on the charade. Whew! Close one.
We loaded on up for putt-putt…in 105 degree Georgia weather at this point…not sure what we were thinking to play putt putt on such a HOT night…BUT she had such fun!
And Isaac, as always, entertained us with his own rules of the game…
We got home later–and all my littles are tucked in bed and now sleeping. Tonight was a bit harder…for me. Everyone needs more–a LOT more of mommy–right now. There is really no time for myself…and I’m learning in this time to just die to myself. There were tears shed by some of my loves as I tucked them in as everyone needed to express how they missed the normal attention I am always able to give. I laid down with each of my loves and sang over them…the only song that came to my mind tonight was “Give Me Jesus”…you can have all of this world–but give me Jesus.
There is just NO WAY that there is enough of me–but I am thankful that there is enough of HIM. Our sweet girl will turn 16 at the end of July and she ages out of the system—and we are praying for God’s will over her. Explaining this part to little ones is hard–that we want to pour ourselves out in love and it won’t always be easy. Part of my heart wants to be family for her–but part of my heart knows we must always wait on Him and trust that He has a perfect plan that we can’t see yet. His plans are perfect–and some times our hearts want to know the end before He is ready for us to. If we aren’t THAT family–I’m praying He provides one OR He shows us exactly what His plan is. The program New Horizons is set up to allow these sweet ones to experience a loving family for the summer and know His love—and I have no doubt that this will be accomplished this summer. My heart though…it always wants every child to have MORE. I think I’m going to just keep singing “Give Me Jesus” and pouring His love into these precious children all summer…all 5 of them—and in that I can trust Him to guide. I told Rich how thankful I was to get a clear bill of health last week from Lyme disease–but I think I’m more tired now than I’ve been in awhile. Trusting in His strength and for His will be done.
I was reminded tonight as I read an excerpt from Katie Davis’s book–a precious girl in her 20’s who has given her life toward loving orphans in Uganda: “Sometimes working in a Third World Country makes me feel like I am emptying the ocean with an eyedropper. And just when I have about half a cup full of water it rains:: more orphaned children from the north migrate to where I live, more abandoned and dead babies are found, more people are infected with HIV. It is enough to discourage even the most passionate and enthusiastic person……love is the reason I just keep filling up my little eyedropper, keep filling it up and emptying my ocean one drop at a time. I’m not here to eliminate poverty, to eradicate disease, to put a stop to people abandoning babies. I’m just here to love.” I don’t know what the Lord’s will is…but I do know that I, too, am just here to love. So–that is what I will do. Find my rest in Him–and love.
And in between–I’ll be thankful we have plenty of eggs, hot dogs around the corner and google translate at my fingertips.