Boys start school on Monday!

While we thought I would homeschool longer, we have found great peace in the decision to have the boys begin school on Monday .  The dynamic of a sibling group poses different issues with language acquisition.  It is also a big load for me to maintain care of Ella, the laundry, meals and home, while still trying to prepare lessons for them.  Thankfully, they play really well, so that has been a real blessing. Robenson visited the middle school on Friday and with the aid of a nice 7th grader had a good day.  Apparently he impressed everyone in humble fashion with his soccer skills.  Samson, Jimmy, and Ricardo were able to meet their teachers and visit their classes yesterday as well.  They are all very excited to begin school. Please be praying for them to be able to learn English, make friends and behave well!

Some interesting lessons are learned each day.  I have been able to take the perspective from a book Abi gave me to read that talks of how we act like orphans with God instead of true sons.  So I see some of the things that our sons do and realize that while they are now adopted into our family, sometimes their actions still do not reflect that.  One issue with them is having a great difficulty admitting they are wrong about anything.  If they say something unkind to a sibling, to have to own up to that “sin” is really difficult for them.  In practicing forgiveness, to get them to actually say “Mwen Regretsa” which is “I am sorry” in Creole is no easy task.  But, the reward is great upon understanding how important telling the truth is, and how important it is to not deny our sin.  This becomes an interesting learning lesson for me with God.  Where am I reluctant to tell the truth with Him?  Where am I not willing to see my sin and not own up to it?  The grace of our Lord is abundant and free, he promises if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.  The hard part is owning up to our sin, and often not even seeing ours sins.  The most difficult being sins of omission:  the things we have not done that we should have done.  One day in particular after one of our sons was able to admit his wrong, and say he was sorry, the visible expression on his face was one of relief and peace.  Being a child of God, does not mean not making mistakes, but it does mean trusting in our sonship enough to know we can come to him with any failure or struggle, finding Him ready and willing to forgive us and empower us to have victory.  Furthermore, in this repentance is the true desire to not repeat that sin.

Please continue to pray for our entire family in the adjustments in our home.  Each child in the home needs prayer support for the various changes and dynamics that occur when children are added into a home.  Please pray for Ron and I to have wisdom and guidance in our parenting decisions.  Pray that we will find the right balance of love, discipline and care as we establish healthy boundaries and loving connections.  Pray we would love and exemplify the love of Christ in our actions on a daily basis where no one sees but Him, our audience of One.

Pray we will be graceful with ourselves in this journey.

Love and thanks,

Michelle and family

One Month on the 19th

The nineteenth marks one month that our sons from Haiti have been home.  I will try to give a little summary.

Overall they are doing really well.  Today we vistited Ally’s class and had lunch and recess with her.  We then visited our township library.  They are now asking tonight if they can start school tomorrow! LOL!  I originally thought they would need to be home longer, but for several reasons we will be starting sooner.  First, in talking to other adoptive parents from Haiti , their children have done well and enjoyed school.  Second, they are not learning very much English as they are talking to one another so much.  If they are separated and immersed in English we feel they will progress sooner.  I actually think we are learning more Creole than they are English!  LOL!  Ella said to me one day, “mom , I don’t want to play in the nej today.” Nej is snow in Creole!  We also have the advantage of having the entire summer with Ron and the kids home to continue to bond.  They have been doing well with the schoolwork I can give them, but I just realize that I am limited in knowing what to teach them and how to teach them.  We can tell that they want to be like their siblings and go to school as well.  I realized today when taking them to school that they don’t even realize how many people have been praying for them and rooting for their arrival here!  We have tried to explain this to them.

They have adjusted to eating a variety of foods and love pizza, cereal and pb and j.  So, that helps a ton!  Of course, they still love rice and beans.  And they LOVE eggs!  I can boil one and half dozen eggs for lunch, along with a fruit, sandwich and soup and they eat it all!

Jimmy is our resident comedian keeping us often entertained with his antics.  Samson wants to make sure I know when he made his bed, and did all the things he was asked.  Ricardo is doing the best at learning English because he is willing to repeat things often.  Robenson has been enjoying building lots of lego creations.  They all love legos, playing outside, riding their bikes, and do sit quite well for the school work I have been trying to do with them.

It seems like the things I thought would be hard aren’t hard and the things that I didn’t even know would be hard are.  For me, it is mostly the emotional aspect of the change in dynamics of our family.  Ironically, with a larger family, there are always changing dynamics:  when a child graduates, goes to college, gets married, etc.  I have had to be very graceful with myself, with Ron’s help, to see that I can’t instantly feel super emotional towards each of them in the same way as with our bio children.  I am reading a book entitled, The Post Adoption Blues that is helping me.  For three years you are waiting and praying for this BIG thing to happen and it happens and you realize that there is hardness to it that you thought you were prepared for but can’t really prepare for.  For the most part they are adjusting well to our expectations of behavior, guidelines and routines.  We can’t complain about that!  But, adding FOUR people in any family takes something out of you.  I have to allow the bonding to be little bits each day and not expect instant emotional connection for me or them.

The language barrier is harder than I thought.  It is mostly hard because we can tell them what we need to, but we can’t really “hear” them as much as we would like. We are able to use GOOGLE translate and then have them read or read out loud what we said to them.   I think about in a year asking them what they were thinking in the beginning.img_7299

Continued thanks for your prayers, meals, and just general encouragement!

Love , The Schaffners

New Days

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It is funny how many things are different than I thought they would be once the boys came home.  For one, I thought I would have no time to blog.  I realize though, that I need to blog.  Somehow it helps me to process things in a way different than just journaling. Perhaps because I think the things the Lord shows me may help someone else.  I pray that is so.

The biggest thing that has happened for me personally since ours sons have come home is a great awareness of my capacity to sin.  I am unable to love four people I don’t really know very well in my own strength. I am completely dependent on the Lord to help me to do that.  There is a great sense of my brokenness and an awareness of my limits.  Today’s devotion in Jesus Calling described it very well:

People usually associate victory with success: not falling or stumbling, not making mistakes. But those who are successful in their own strength tend to go their own way, forgetting about Me.  It is through problems and failure, weakness and neediness that you learn to rely on Me.

And one of the verses with it: “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7

The first two weeks have been hard in that we have all taken turns with sickness.  The boys have seem to miss it, except for Ricardo having a fever for a few days.  Thank you all for your prayers re; that.  It is hard to bring them home to cold and sickness!  The fact that Ron was off from school was a great blessing for me to get recovered from traveling and sickness as well as get the routines started off on a good note.

Our sons are tight.  They have been through a lot together and will always be close. The blessing in them staying together is that some of their security is on one another and I think that has made the transition smoother and comforting for them.  They still have one another to talk to in Creole when their brain is tired of hearing English!  We are encouraging them to continue to talk to one another in Creole in hopes of them all keeping their native language.  They have adjusted to eating very well, seeming to like whatever we have and being normal kids in not really wanting veggies!  They are good sleepers once asleep and can play for hours on end.  They mix dollhouse people, Legos, action figures, Fischer price people and animals all together!  The one thing they asked for when they were in Haiti and sent us a letter were remote control cars, which they love!  They also love dart guns, legos, and are able to sit through entire movies with no problem. They absolutely LOVE riding their bikes in freedom at Tate Park on the new trails! They have had several soccer games in our backyard, some with Ron and I too!  They really don’t seem to mind the cold and like the snow.  They loved sledding!  We look forward to having a few outings soon! They have skyped with two different families who have adopted from their same orphanage, which has been nice.  Jimmy and Ricardo like to repeat what you say.  When Ron prays for meals, Ricardo tries to copy everything!  We are trying to do some basic English lessons before they go to school.  They have amazing cursive!

We continue to thank you for your prayers and support.  The meals being brought sure are spoiling me!  They have all been so delicious.  I honestly don’t know how I am going to get thankyous done for all the amazing things others have done for us!

I learn something each day from them, not unlike our bio children.  It is amazing to me how quickly they share with Ella or Ally.  It is so sweet how they hide toys under their mattress and pillow like they did at the orphanage, to make sure they are “safe.”  I have been pleasantly surprised on how they seem to know when they are full from a meal.  They sure are happy they are done with their yucky medicine.

God is faithful.

Love,

Michelle and family

 

One week in

One week in, things are going well overall.  We have had to change some plans for the Holidays to accommodate the Dr’s recommendations, but now all the boys’ bloodwork looks good.  Many of our Bio children and me, Michelle have been pretty sick with what we think may be the flu.  Please pray for Luke, he got hit really hard this time. 😦

Ron has been a rock for me emotionally adjusting to the changes in our family dynamics.  He is seriously my hero right now!  His teaching experience has come in handy in dealing with our new sons!

All four are doing well eating, playing, sleeping and now even taking their yucky  medicine.  They played soccer outside today for two hours!  Anna loved this!  Josh joined in too!  They love riding bikes and don’t even mind the cold.  Tonight they devoured tacos and really don’t like sweets.  It will take some time for them to learn to trust that we will meet their needs.  While the first two weeks are considered a honeymoon period and I have Ron and the kids home to help, we are very thankful for how things have went so far.

We are so humbled by the continued outpouring of love and support from our community, church, other churches, family and friends.  Meals, cards, donations, trips to the store, and especially your continued prayers.

For me my biggest struggle is allowing the enemy to taunt me with fears.  And yet the Lord has commanded us not to fear!  In fact, The most commonly repeated phrase in the whole Bible, in both the Old Testament and the New Testament, is “Have no fear!” or “Do not be afraid“. 

And so we look to Him each day for our daily bread, trusting He will provide us with all the emotional, physical and spiritual needs to make it through each day.

Some huge praises are:

  1.  Neither Ron, myself or Ella got sick while we were in Haiti
  2.  Safe travels and timely flights
  3. Adjustments are going well

We are praying re; schooling as the boys are super anxious to start school.  We have told them that the sooner they learn English the sooner they can start!

I will try to keep you updated as time allows.

Many Blessings to you,

The Schaffner Familyimg_20161217_102327img_20161217_153032img_20161217_102418

 

 

In Haiti

For those of you who do not follow Facebook, we have safely arrived in Haiti. So far things are going well. The boys’ luggage is still at the Haitian airport, we will pick it up on Saturday. Samson puked on my backpack on the three and half hour ride to the resort, and Robenson did shortly after we arrived. They are both doing better now. It is always amazing to me how the Lord provides small signs of his care, I bought swimsuits for the boys at the resort gift shop, they had four boy suits in the exact sizes we needed!  The boys are doing amazingly well. They are so close to one another. One day they are in an orphanage and the next, as Ron pointed out to me, they are given new swimshorts, a new last name, not unlike us as believers…..He has called us children of God, and we are now clothed in white, from no merit of our own. He has not left us as orphans. And God’s word says that the world will know we are His children by our love for one another, and I pray you can each feel deep in your heart and soul the amazing love, care and support we have felt from so many. People from many different churches, many different walks of life have and are helping in a variety of ways that bring me to deep groaning thankfulness.      Of all the hard parts of this journey, the hardest part is each time we are away from one set of the children. In 3 days, that part of the trial will be done. Tonight my little Ella, I look at the moon, knowing you may be too. Like the mama elephant in the story we read, I am missing you so much. I miss each if you, Luke, Abi, Kaiti, Josh, Anna, and Ally, it is just that I know you understand better.                                                    Praise God, so far Ron and I have been healthy.    We realize we are home bodies, ready to come home even though it us cold!  Praying for a good going away party for the boys, we will bake cake and make signs on Sunday. Please pray for safe and timely flights, and thanks mom for holding down our fort! And Luke, Abi, Kaiti and Josh too!

Christmas Letter 2016

May the blessing of His advent be yours this Christmas season!  May you find Jesus sufficient for your deepest needs in light of His mercy, grace and  coming for us!

I decided I better get off a Christmas letter before we leave for Haiti or it might not happen!  Many of you who follow us know that we have been in the process of adopting for 4 and ½ years and waiting for these four precious sons for three!  The day has finally arrived that we get to bring them home and what a glorious celebration it is!  This is truly the best gift for Christmas!

Luke is engaged to a wonderful young woman, Paige, and they are to be married on November 4, 2017.  He is currently completing his degree in Mechanical engineering at University of Toledo.  He is also doing some logo design business on the side.  Feel free to check it out at:  http://www.lukeschaffner.com/ideahoop

Abi is finishing up a discipleship course entitled sonship and is nannying for two precious families.  She loves her job, but is most likely going to attend Eastern Michigan in the fall.  She keeps busy helping with the youth at our church and helping tutor the inner city Detroit program as well.

Kaiti is a senior!  Wait, not another graduate!  She is most likely attending Eastern Michigan in the fall to study art and writing.  She had a large multimedia piece of artwork done of Ally that was in the top 18 in the state and is now traveling with the governor.  This encouraged her love of art and desire to pursue this gifting.  She plays soccer and is in NHS, along with being active in her small group at church.

Josh is in 8th grade and is playing basketball and will also do hoopsters.  He is most excited about his brothers soon being home!  He got to go with us this summer on a visit to meet them.  He does very well at school and is growing quickly!  Can’t believe he will be in high school next year!

Robenson is age 14.  He is an amazing big brother to his younger brothers and has a big sensitive heart.  We look forward to getting to know him better.  We do know he loves word searches and soccer!

Anna is in 5th grade and loves soccer.  She really likes school and does a great job of being a big sister, most of the time!  She likes to do cartwheels and flips on  our trampoline.  She also enjoys girls on the run.  Anna excels at school as well.

Samson is 10.  Samson has such a giving soul!  He often asks us if we get to go to church when in “Meeshagan”.  He also wants to know if we will have rice and beans!  He worked so hard to show Ron he could dribble a  basketball  when we visited last summer!  He was very impressed with Ron’s dribbling skills.

Jimmy is 9. Jimmy is always smiling!  He is very creative and a has a mischievous look in his eyes!   He always seemed to be making something when we were there, even finding little scraps at the soccer field and turning it into something.  Jimmy also LOVES legos!

Ally is in first grade and LOVING school!  She is becoming a great reader and loves her friends!  She tried a soccer camp in the summer and wants to play this spring as well.  She is taking after her big siblings in her love of art and drawing!  She got to make a Welcome Home sign at school for her brothers coming home!

Ricardo is seven like Ally!  They have birthdays within two weeks of each other! Ricardo is close to his big brothers. He really liked rough housing with Ron and loves GUM!  Just like all the boys, we look forward to getting to know him better and filling his sweet little life with love and care!

Ella is 3 now and is definitely a strong personality!  She is so sweet when she talks of her brothers coming home.  The other day she saw a picture of them from when we first got our referral and she said “mommy, why do they look so sad?”  She tries to keep up with everyone and is a little nervous about one more trip for mom and dad to Haiti, but she keeps saying, but this time the boys will come home with you!

Ron is teaching his fourth year of 7 hours with no prep.  He arises early each day to bring our family before the throne and I know he is the Spiritual Rock of our family.  Thank  you Lord, for this Godly husband and father.   He will be taking a break from coaching Josh’s hoopsters bball team this year in  light of the boys’ coming home.

I am so very grateful for the privilege and honor to be a mother to eleven.  Never in my wildest dreams could I have written this script for my life.  I surely feel that His grace and mercy are so amazing and I so need them every day.  It seems each day I find something new that I struggle with and am reminded of how very much I need Him.

As we embark on a new chapter of our lives I am reminded of this season, this time of year where we remember the gift God has given in sending His son, Jesus, to come to us, to be with us, to love us as we are and desire more and more to love others as they are.  It is not our holy talk or condemnation that will win others to Christ, it is loving others as they are, where they are and allowing the Spirit to allow them to feel that unconditional love.

We surely covet your prayers as we walk into unknown, but also walk in the Joy of obedience.

Blessings this Christmas,

The Schaffner family

 

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