How about joining our family on a trip to Maryland? Yes, I know it’s a long haul, especially with five little ones, but you won’t get bored, and each part of the adventure will be quite eventful. When the idea first came up, I thought I couldn’t do it, but then, when God opens doors, who am I to say no?
OK, some time ago we came in contact with a non-Amish family who has 13 children with eight of them being adopted. With us being foster parents pursuing adoption, we immediately felt drawn to them. We ordered some books they had written, which proved to be a blessing, giving us some helpful insights on that of caring for children with traumatic backgrounds.
Long story short, they invited us to join their family for a couple of days. “We do it all the time,” Tami, the lady of the house assured us, “We are happy to host families with adopted children and for those who are working on adoption, then we’re happy to answer any questions you may have and work on whatever areas needed.”
Daniel was optimistic right off the bat and said that he thinks we should make plans to hire a driver and make the 11-hour trip; after all, why not learn from those with more experience and have come out on top through thick and thin. Yes, this family has adopted children who had suffered extreme neglect and abuse, all of which are now physically and emotionally healthy.
“We’ll travel through the night so the children won’t get as bored,” Daniel and I decided. On Thursday at 6:30 p.m., we were on our way with the eight-passenger minivan packed full of children, anticipation, plenty of clothes and other activities for along the way. I was in my glory, everyone was clean and bathed; in fact, the four children wore pajamas since I knew we’d be traveling all night. It was such a joy to see everyone happy and ready for the miles ahead; as you can imagine we did have some challenging moments during the night as the youngest ones were in and out of their sleep all night. I felt blessed knowing that God will provide in spite of our lack of sleep. We arrived at 6:30 a.m. the next morning. Entering their house, we could feel the warmth of their family atmosphere. These unknown friends would soon feel more like family than strangers.
Soon, we sat at their table enjoying a breakfast of omelets, toast and melon cubes. After breakfast when I asked if I could do the dishes, Tami kindly told me to not worry about it and just go spend time with the children. “We’ll then also get started with our day, then after a while we’ll come and chat with you and answer any questions you may have. In the meanwhile, we will observe your interaction with the children, and you may note our lives as well.” I accepted her gracious offer and settled down in the family room with Lincoln logs and blocks. A couple years ago I would most likely have freaked out over having someone in my presence just to watch our interaction with our children, but now I just felt deeply blessed to have others with more experience there to give us any pointers that may be helpful. After building towers and houses for a while, Tami and her husband came and took seats close to where we were playing with the children. Soon we were asking them all sorts of questions, step by step they explained what has been the most helpful for them in dealing with challenging behavior from those who have been abused and neglected or have had a traumatic past. It was a blessing to be able to share some of the challenges we have faced with our foster children then hear how God has brought them through all they have faced with their family. And listen to this: last fall they had been pursuing to adopt another sibling group of five, but in the end, just before finalization, it all fell through. I asked Tami how they do it with hosting families a lot of the time and having 13 children ages 7 through 24 to care for. “A moment at a time, by God’s grace,” she said simply.
I was amazed, indeed; only God could transform such traumatic situations into a home so full of love and joy.
Our children just loved their children. Together they looked at books, played games, licked Popsicles and the likes.
After having spent two days with them, it was hard to leave, but it was time to be on the road again. This time we left at bedtime, heading for Danville, Ohio, to spend Sunday with Daniel’s family. Arriving at their house at 3 a.m., we crashed out, grateful for a couple hours of sleep before daybreak.
The following day was fantastic. We saw lots of friends at church, caught up on news with family and told them of our visit with the Razvi family and some things we gleaned there. By bedtime, we were on the road once more, this time headed for home sweet home. By 3 a.m., I was tucking the children into their own beds. Next, we quickly unloaded everything so the driver could be on his way. Thankfully we had a driver who does well with driving at night.
Before slipping into bed, I picked a cucumber from the garden and crunched it down, savoring the crisp goodness of a fresh garden goodie at home.
We were intrigued by the Razvi families’ super-healthy diet, including all-natural Popsicles. There is no right, or wrong way of making them. Simply use what strikes your fancy. Here are some fruits that will work well, or if you want super simple pops, just use fruit juice instead.
SUMMER’S BOUNTY POPSICLES
Blend any fruits together until smooth. Pour into popsicle trays, or if you don’t have any, simply use small paper or plastic cups, pour in your fruit mixture then stick in a plastic spoon. When ready to serve remove the cup and enjoy an all-natural popsicle!