Sunday, January 4, 2015

Safe Families Update

I haven't officially posted much about our Safe Families activities lately, so here goes:

From July-August we hosted a sweet 10 month old baby girl who went on to a second Safe Family, and then returned home to her mother and grandparents.  Then in October we had a very interesting hosting for a week.  We had a mother and her three girls (5, 9 and 11), who are originally from Syria.  They had fled violence both in their country and in their family and ended up here alone, with nowhere to go and no way to work.  They stayed with us for a week, before moving on to a place that speaks their language and can help them get all the services that they need.  It was a real cultural experience hosting a Muslim family, and cooking (!yum!) and living together.  It was a tough, but very rewarding week, and we will never forget our Syrian friends, though we will probably never cross paths again. As a side note- Bee recently got a cute Memory game with faces of children from around the world.  When she got to a little girl in a headscarf, she said...that looks like our Syria mama friend!  I love that our children have such a diverse set of friends, and that they can put a face and a name to customs and skin colors that could otherwise seem very foreign.  It is hard to be racist against a group of people when you know them personally.  What a gift this experience has given all of us.

This weekend we said goodbye to our latest Safe Families child, B.  Yes, we seem to get all the kids whose names start with B!  This little guy is nearly 5 and has been with us since November 3rd.  He attended full-time school at the same school where I teach and the girls go to preschool.  He traveled with us to the City Museum down in St. Louis, and up to Lake Geneva twice- for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  He performed in a preschool Christmas program (which we were able to share with his grandma and aunt) and was the cow in the Nativity Pageant at our church.  He was a bit rough around the edges when he came, but we are proud to say that he has really come a long way.  He is a real sweet, loving kid, and he is going to do very well.

We had originally thought that he would be able to return to his mother after several months, but it now looks as though that process will happen much more slowly, if at all.  Luckily, we had a true answer to prayer and a wonderful couple (band teachers no less) have stepped forward to host him and his brothers.  This family doesn't have any other kids, so B and his brothers (also B and B) will get all the attention they need.  Better yet, they are willing to keep them safe and loved until their biological family is ready to have them back, and if that doesn't happen, they are prepared to raise them as their own.  What big hearts and great faith they have to open themselves up to that let themselves fall in love with these kids knowing that they may or may not stay.  I cannot imagine a better outcome for these little sweeties.  Hallelujah!

We will miss him, but it will also be nice to go back to being a family of five for a while.  Every SF placement seems to bring the five of us closer together- each of us has our own role to play with our guests.  Hubby is often the first positive male in their lives, and he is the resident tooth-brusher, rough-houser and fun-maker...he also keeps me sane.  I do a lot of behavior management, reward charts and consequences.  Also laundry.  Our kids all help to shape the children, too.  The power of positive peer pressure is strong.  Lego was born to teach children the alphabet...once he finds out they don't know their letters, he is a man on a mission.  Bee is the sweet little love who cheers for each new accomplishment and puts up with having things explained to her over and over, when we are really explaining them to our new child ( you remember how we always put our clothes into the laundry bin?  Of course she does- she's been doing it since she was tiny.)  Flower has perhaps the most important role...she is always willing to play with our new friend, model good behavior, and uphold the law of the land.  One day our little guy asked what was for dinner and I told him it was macaroni.  He responded with "YOU'RE SH***ING ME."  Without missing a beat, Flower said, "In this family, we say you're KIDDING me, B."  He responded with the correct phrase and she praised him for it.  She is such a natural leader for these kids, we truly couldn't do it without her.  We ask our kids to share their toys, their parents, their house, their space and to squish into the car next to a kid they have never met.  Yet, when we get a call to take a child, they are the ones saying YES and running to prepare the room as Hubby and I wishy-wash about whether to say yes or no.  They rise to the occasion every single time, and we are so proud of them!  

So that's the update for now.  We plan to take a little break from hosting (at least long placements) and enjoy our own little people for a while.  Going from four kids (and SF kids are always very needy) to just our three makes life seem SO easy.  We thoroughly enjoy the honeymoon time we get after each placement ends where we all just breathe easy and regroup.

1 comment:

  1. LOL at the macaroni story! Our first pair of SF kids were 4 (he turned 5 with us) and 7, and we had some language issues, too.