lunes, 12 de mayo de 2014

This Boy...

Junior in yellow and Enelbi (boys' home resident) in white doing the sack race at Field Day!

I have been wanting to write this post for awhile but have not been sure where to start. First, to get a bit of a background, go here. That is a long post about many things, but read what I wrote about Junior. He is now 14 and in seventh grade. No one has any contact with his biological mother and it sounds as though she has likely passed away, as she was sick with the same illness that killed her husband, and had avoided treatment before she left, but we can't actually know.

So, since today I feel quite anxious about the matter, I felt like it was time to write a post. It has been an emotional Mom week for me and I can't express the love that I have for my kids. I really just don't know what to say without sounding incredibly corny, and I'm sure that other parents know the feeling. I think I'm extra strung out because I am so busy with law school and this upcoming exam, (First Year Bar Exam - required because my program is online) so I am extra sensitive and the time I am spending away from them preparing for this exam is getting to me.

So I mentioned adoption in that post linked above. We are nowhere near that. We have spent this entire year working on their birth certificates. Did I mention that they have no documentation whatsoever? We've had to go several times to get their vaccines as they have no records. Their birth certificates has been a matter of running around to social services, the hospital, the court for children and adolescents, the office of the civil state, and then eventually a lawyer who says she can get the job done, but I'm still waiting. I know how much an adoption would cost, and we are nowhere near that either. I also mentioned possibly going to the US in that post, and it looks like we are nowhere near that either.
No! You just did the sack race. Let someone else have a chance!

So Junior... let me just say that he is not easy. I could tell hundreds of stories of the days we have surrounded him in the yard to force him to go to school, punished him for coming in late, and fought with him over homework assignments. But he also is smart, interested in animals, and helps out a lot with the younger kids. I could tell maybe 20 stories of times where God brought the right person into the scene when I was struggling with him. For example, one day we stopped the taxi on the side of the road where he was as we were heading to an activity in Padre Granero and he refused to get in. I got out of the taxi and started telling him to get in. Would I have to physically force him in the van or run after him down the street? These embarrassing potential scenarios enter into my mind but I have no choice. I can't just let him do whatever he wants. As I stepped out and started my attempt, around 10 Haitian men across the street observed his disobedience and all started yelling at him to get in the car. A few came over and helped me push him in. They saw it as someone with a chance (someone who loves him and wants the best for him who can also at least somewhat provide for him) and not respecting as he should. They shouted this at him and he stubbornly had no choice but to obey. The fact that this same scenario happened so many times and each time it was a different person or situation that forced him or led him to obey amazes me and proves God's hand over the situation to me.

Let me cut to the chase. I need help. I feel so scared for him. And I am scared for our family in general, but mostly for him and the track he will go down if I can't send him to a good school next year. I want him to go to a bilingual school that runs from 7:45am to 3pm. I want Yenilove to go there as well, and I want Ilayas and Maraya to go to a Montessori school. Public schools here.. .well... I'll just say that I tutored an eighth grader who didn't know which was land and which was water on a map or her times tables. I tutored a sixth grader who didn't know all of the letters of the alphabet. I taught at a bilingual school and those kids were sharp compared to public school kids. I tutored Montessori kids and they seemed like smart US students.

The school that I want him to go to, true, is not on the same path that he was on before entering into our lives. The bateyes in Muñoz are full of free boys who go to school when they want, play in the river, make toy cars, and as they get older, they quit school and many get into some criminal activity. Of course, the more freedom they have growing up, the more likely they are to get into criminal activity and this varies among the families there. 

When we took him in, he was 12 and he had apparently decided that he was done with school. We first took in his baby sister after volunteers found her in a horrible health state being cared for by their 9-year-old sister. Mom had gone to Haiti, and that's when their father/stepfather died. Mom came back, was widowed, and had huge debt. She couldn't care for the baby, so we kept her, and she then asked for help with Junior. She couldn't get him to go to school. But he was earning 100 pesos a day with a water truck and he was proud to be earning some income. 

And this was his attitude as a 12-year-old. This is what I have battled against for over two years now. "You are a kid. You need to go to school." And I think he is finally in the groove. Then their mom took off and we eventually took in Yenilove too. Two other siblings are with other families in Muñ with her godmother who swears she will never let anyone else take her. :) First, Junior lived in the boys' home which is a few houses down from ours, and then for various reasons, when Yenilove came to live with us, he moved in too. We threaten to send him back to the boys' home when he doesn't want to go to school and is ornery, and he says he wants to go back when we are nagging him a lot, but the truth is I won't let it happen.

So this private school is not the path he would normally go down, but now I am his mother and I have different standards. I have education standards similar to those I was given in public schools in VA and this private school is what would give him closest to that. I just don't have it in me to let him drop out of school and be surrounded by certain things and I feel that if he goes to the public school, those things are likely. He now goes to public school at night and Project Esperanza's school in Padre Granero in the afternoons. The problem here is that his mornings are free. It makes much more sense for him to get up and go to school in the mornings. The public night school is for adults and just two days a week, so I don't even call that school, and Project Esperanza's school is not yet accredited. He has made it to 7th in the public, Dominican school, which is accredited, so it makes the most sense to continue in the Dominican school system, (whereas our PE school follows the Haitian curriculum more so). But this past year I couldn't get him in any Dominican school during the day, and a lot of it had to do with his documentation.

So he is my biggest worry, mostly because of his past habits/path and the critical age he is at, but again, I also have hopes for the education of all of our kids and am worried as the next school year approaches, what will happen. I have never done a good job of raising personal support. In the church that I went to in college, staff members raised $30,000 a year to support themselves so they could do the church work. I haven't ever focused much on raising personal support because I have had to focus on fundraising for Project Esperanza. The most I have done is put a note at the end of blog posts on this blog. But it apparently isn't enough. I sent out a support letter this January, but it hasn't gotten any response. I have written to different churches and groups that support missionaries in the Dominican Republic with no luck. We live super duper minimally. We don't ever go to the movies (and there wasn't even a working movie theater anywhere around until a few months ago) or go on vacation or do anything but Project Esperanza stuff really. We don't have a vehicle, running water, a working refrigerator, an oven, or even currently any fans or air conditioning in our house... as we approach the hot months here in the Caribbean. Our house rent is $100 US a month and it is about the size of the average American's living room. We are a family of six. I'll stop there. I'm not miserable, and would rather gives my kids a good education and remain in this house than move into a bigger house or buy a vehicle...but would probably be able to save more money with my own vehicle if I send my kids to school in town next year. 

Can anyone help me to raise personal support? If you have experience or ideas, please share them with me. If you are going to tell me that I shouldn't take kids in and should take better care of myself and my biological kids, please don't. :) I can weigh and judge such things through prayer and reflection. 

I keep pushing.... well I'm not supposed to say the name of the company I think because they have restrictions on the ways they let their members advertise, but this online company. I have heard that the founder of Campus Crusades for Christ raised his support by getting people to use the visa card. It's the same as any other visa card, except I get points through it. If someone takes the time and effort, there are lots of ways a registered customer in this company can use it and support me through their use. It's not just their featured products, but they have many partner store as well. I got Project Esperanza's end of year reports printed through their partnership with Office Depot and earned points that way. I got our family support letter printed through vistaprint and got points. Anyone who subscribes to magazines can do so through them to help me earn points. There are many, many possibilities. But people don't seem willing to try it out. It's free to register as my customer. I thought that this would be easier and less intrusive than flat out asking for money, like a lot of people raising support do.

Also, I recently published a book. It is a collection of posts I wrote for La Vida Idealist blog before it shut down a few years ago. I published it through where it is for sale, and it should be distributed to Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, and other sites very soon, (it is now in paperback.. waiting for e-book). I am hoping to earn some passive income this way and would love to publish more work, but need support through reviews and people suggesting others that they read it!

If anyone wants to just flat out send money for Junior's schooling, it looks like it will be around $1,800 for the year, and that includes books, uniform, and transportation. I would have him write to you and send you updates, of course, and can send receipts as well. :) 

So... thanks for reading... and PLEASE HEELLLPP!!! :)