Viaje de Amor en Ingles

(A Journey of Love)

Friday, March 31, 2017

Soap and Water

I wasn't going to post anything tonight, because there was no progress with the adoption, but we had a great day around the apartment, so I figured I would share some pictures.  After the kids were such a big help with cleaning yesterday, we decided to try a short "chore" list for the morning, so that the children knew what was expected and could cross off the tasks as they accomplished them.  This worked well.  We only had one expression of perceived violation of personal rights by a minor (aka: tantrum) from Ashton.  He went to his bed and pulled it all apart, throwing the sheets and pillow on the floor, which he had made that morning because it had been on his list.  After his ten minutes were over, we wrote "make your bed" on his list again...and after a few minutes of brooding, he went and remade his bed.  In the afternoon, Alicia brought out the bottles of bubbles (aka: cleverly packaged and marketed bottle of soap), and the kids enjoyed blowing and popping bubbles...

...which turned into playing with the soap on the top of the porch wall...which turned into washing the top of the Alicia brought a small bowl of water, and they washed off the soap and more...eventually, this led to a small water fight between the kids, and they had fun getting each other and themselves...and me...soaked.

We finished the night by watching the movie Tarzan on Netflix in Spanish.  It was a good day, and it has been great to see each day a small step further developing our relationship.


Thank you for your prayers!  We asked you to pray for our lawyer as she traveled to the city of our children's birth to get new birth certificates.  We asked you to pray that they had the paper, ink and other supplies needed to print the birth certificates.  Our lawyer left Tegucigalpa early this morning and found the office in a small village in the northern part of the country around 10am.  The good news was that there was electricity, but she had to wait for someone to arrive at the office.  By the end of the day, someone had arrived and they had the necessary supplies.  She now has the new birth certificates, and she said that we will go to the immigration office on Monday, which is different from what she told us yesterday.  The change in our timing resulted from the fact that the people in the little town had never done this before so they had to call into Tegucigalpa to find out what to do, so now we are already in the system and can go earlier than expected.  We will have a quiet weekend in Santa Lucia, and then we begin a whirlwind of activity on Monday.

Today, was a day of cleaning the apartment.  We found that the kids are great workers.  I was cleaning the bathroom while the kids were playing, and I had stepped out for some reason, when I came back in, there was Alia with the toilet brush scrubbing the toilet, which I had just finished.  Then, they both wanted to help with banging the dirt out of the carpets and sweeping and mopping the floors.  This filled our morning and early afternoon.  Then, we all rested...

Tonight, we went with a mission team from the US that Carlos is connected with to Picacho, the statue of Jesus that overlooks the city of Tegucigalpa.  We had the opportunity to go here during the day last July, but this gave us the chance to see it at night.  It was awesome for the kids to see all of the lights of the city from that vantage point.  It was a great day, and we are encouraged to see how the children continue to grow in their trust of us.  At the same time, we see that there is a sense of confusion and trying to figure things out.  We need to remind ourselves to be patient, and that this is a marathon - not a sprint.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

A Roller Coaster

I love riding a roller coaster.  The feeling of exhilaration as you climb the first big hill, then your stomach remains at the pinnacle while your body is in the first valley.  Usually, sometime by the end of the ride you're all in one piece again.  I especially like the ones that drop you fast, and twist you around then run you into a loop before turning you around backward and somehow bringing you back to where you began...that is fun at the amusement park...not so much in life.  We knew that the process of an adoption would be filled with ups and downs.  We knew that working in a foreign country with a much different culture would be downright infuriating.  We knew when we left earlier in March that there was a possibility that we would not be home before Easter, but we booked our return flights and hoped for the best...well, today was a roller coaster of a day.

We had arranged for Carlos to pick us up this morning and take us into Tegucigalpa for a morning at Chiminike (a children's play museum that we had visited back in July).  When Carlos arrived, he told us that our lawyer had received word that the adoption was officially registered in Tegucigalpa and she wanted to meet with us so that she could plan for the next step which is her traveling to the birth town of the children.  The meeting was planned for 5:30 in the the roller coaster was climbing with anticipation...

We went to Chiminike and had a great time.  We didn't do the bike course this time, since we have a bike back at the apartment.  The children had more time to play, and were more interactive with us this time, since they are much more acquainted with us.  They also loved having Carlos' son, Noah with us.  This time, they also had the opportunity to go outside and climb on a huge rope structure.  They are both great climbers.

After Chiminike, we had lunch and some shopping, and then returned to the apartment for a brief rest for a few hours before Carlos returned for our meeting with Jenny.  We told ourselves that we were still probably not going to be home before Easter, but in our hearts the roller coaster seemed to be telling us that we were going to make it.  Jenny showed us the registration, and told us that she was hiring a driver to take her out  to the birth town for the children, which is not La Cieba as we were originally told, but rather about an hour from there.  She will hope to be back in Tegucigalpa by the end of the week. (Please pray that they have all of the paper, ink and supplies to print the new birth certificates).  We were hearing words of immediacy (which is very unusual here), and inwardly, we were growing in anticipation...then, the fast and stomach wrenching drop as she very bluntly told us that the process is going well, but we will not be home before Easter.  Lord willing, we will meet with her on Monday to get the new birth certificates and everything we need to complete the process with the US Embassy, and we will seek to get their Honduran passports, but she told us the process will not move that fast.  Barring a miracle from God... (and I do believe that God can and does do miracles, but His miracles are solely in accord with His will, not mine, and I will not presume that I know the mind of God regarding the timing of our return to the US.  We simply need to trust Him and have peace)...OK...Barring a miracle from God, we will be here a few more weeks.  Please pray especially for Ashton as he has been asking more about going to the US and has in his mind that we will only be here ten more days.  Also, pray for Alicia as the time away from our older daughter has been hard on both of us, but especially on her.  Thank you to those who have taken the time to drop an email or post a comment on the blog, or through Facebook, etc..  We may not always respond, but we have read them all and they are a great encouragement to us.

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Lights Went Out

The Fenn's had told us that there might be days when there would be no power...sometimes these are scheduled and you are warned, and other times...well, it's Honduras.  This morning, shortly after we woke up and got dressed, the lights went out, and didn't come back on.  Our stove is electric, so we had cereal for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch.  We spent most of the day outside playing and did our school time outside, as well.  It is interesting that on a day when the power was out, I have been realizing more and more that I have been depending on my own power in my life and ministry.  As I prepared to go on my sabbatical from the pastoral ministry at Faith BFC, my friend and fellow pastor at the church Mike Walker recommended a book taht he was reading by Paul Tripp entitled, Awe.  I started reading it the other day and have been challenged.  I am only a few chapters in, but the main point is that God created each person to be awe-inspired.  If you think about it, there is something that captures your attention and your desire.  This response is our "awe-response", and this is wired into us by God.  For me it is nature, my family, and success.  The purpose is not that we focus on this object of our awe, rather as we see this item of our passion, it should draw our attention to the Creator.  For example, as I sit on the porch here in Honduras, I can look out at the mountains...when I see God's creation, I am in awe of His power to create.  Where I was struck today is that in many ways my ministry as a pastor has felt powerless over the past few years, which is one reason I asked for a sabbatical.  As the power went out today, I was helpless to do anything about it.  There has been so much about this adoption that is completely out of my control.  My children will each face their own choices and struggles in life, and many times I am powerless to change them or their choices, I can only lead, love and struggle with them.  In ministry, I am powerless to change the lives of those in the church...BUT, I am not without power.  This is where I have fallen into a trap of stealing the awe that God deserves in all of life, and have tried to lift up myself.  God is at work in so many ways if we would only take the time to see His hand at work...Sorry for the "mini" sermon...I will give you an update on us and the kids.

Nothing happened with regard to the process of the adoption.  Please continue to pray for us to have peace with the timing of all of this.  Our desire is to be home before Easter, but we know that with each day, that gets more and more unlikely.

We had a good day today, with only two minor tantrums from Alia, and Ashton was more "trusting" of us as we handled the tantrums.  Ashton found a soda bottle tied to a rope.  First, he hung the bottle from a tree and used it as a pinata.  Then, the bottle became a sled and he pulled Alia around the yard.  Alia tried to pull Ashton...I had to help. 

This lasted until the rope came off the bottle.  Then, we fell back to good old jump rope...This is when you realize just how out of shape you really are.

The electricity came back on around 4:30, so we were able to have a hot dinner and the rest of the evening was like the rest so far.  Thank you for your continued prayers and support.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Day 20

This weekend was a mix of two totally different days.  Yesterday, we spent a good part of the day in Valle de Angeles to shop for souvenirs.  We arranged for our driver Carlos to take us there, which was great for the kids, since they haven't seen Tio Carlos since before we left for the Roatan.  We enjoyed some shopping and walking around the town.  Carlos suggested a great restaurant for lunch that specialized in meats and fish.  Alicia and I really enjoyed the marinated meats, but they were too seasoned for the kids.  The kids really enjoyed their pineapple juice that came in really big glasses.
We returned to the apartment and relaxed and played and laughed a lot.  It was a really good day together.
Whereas, this morning began way too early as the kids woke up around 5:30am and none of us really got any more sleep after that.  We worked with the Fenn family cleaning up the yard for an hour or so in the morning...

...and that went well, but then the day quickly dissolved into one tantrum after another.  It was a really difficult day.  One of those days that you can't wait until the kids are asleep and you fall onto the couch and thank the Lord that the day is over.  The real travesty is that the secret stash of Asher's chocolates for Mami and Papi are almost gone...we had a few extra after today.  I was going to write that yesterday was a few steps forward and today was a bunch of steps backward, yet even in the midst of a really tough day, Ashton demonstrated that our relationship took a step forward.  Right before dinner, Alia went into a kicking and screaming tantrum, which weighs heavy on Ashton's heart, so he began to cry.  I took over the kicking and screaming Alia from Alicia, and she consoled Ashton.  By the time it was all done, we sat down to a now cold dinner, and Ashton asked how long we have been here.  I said today was 20 days.  Then he asked how much longer until we go home to the US.  I said hopefully only 2 more weeks.  He smiled and said hopefully only 10 more days, because he wants to go to our home and start our new life as a family there.  This was a tough day, but a step forward.  Thank you for your continued prayers.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Taking Off the Training Wheels

I had some difficulty uploading pictures last night, so I apologize for the extra large pictures that were over top of the post last night.  I went back and corrected the last post.

When we were here last July, we took the children to a children's museum in Tegucigalpa that had a bicycle course for the children to ride bikes.  This was the first time that the kids had been on bikes.  They didn't know how to steer or brake.  (See our post, The First Round of Tears).  Here at the Fenn's home, there is a bike that Ashton has been using hard since we arrived.  A few days ago, one of the training wheels broke.  He has been getting very confident on the bike, so today, we removed the training wheels and he has done extremely well. 

We had a visit from our small feline friend again today.  Alia is a bit apprehensive about the cat, but Ashton went right to it.  He fed it some pretzel sticks, and the cat enjoyed the meal.

The rest of the day was a normal, difficult day along this journey with one step forward and two steps backward.  We knew we would have these days, but they are still hard to work through.

We found out today that our lawyer did not submit our registration of the adoption as early as we had hoped.  We figured it would have been registered the day after we signed, but it turns out the it was not registered until last Thursday.  This means that we are only 7 days into the 10-15 days for this to clear.  We thought we were at the end of that time.  The positive aspect of this is that if she had submitted it when we thought she should have, we would not have had the original birth certificates to get to the Roatan.  We are still hoping that we can be home before Easter.  Please pray that all of our paperwork and meetings land in the hands of the right people to keep things moving along, and that they have all of the necessary supplies.  We are thankful for all that the Lord has provided for us here, but we really want to get home and get started in a more normal routine of life with the kids.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Que Rico

There has not been anything further done today regarding the process of the adoption and finalizing things here in Honduras, and so we had another day around the house.  All in all it was a quiet day of play and hanging out.  The best moment was at dinner.  Alicia planned for hot dogs and she bought some Kraft Mac-n-Cheese.  Our older two girls love mac-n-cheese, so we figured we needed to introduce the "youngers" to this culinary creation.  The first problem is that it is pasta, and the kids do not like before we even sat down to eat, we heard how they did not like it and did not want it.  Eventually, we sat down, Ashton took a hot dog, and I put a small amount of mac-n-cheese on his plate.  He took it with a frown...then he took a bite...his face lit up, and he said loudly, "QUE RICO" other words, "WOW, THAT'S GOOD!".  He ended up eating three hot dogs and one and a half large helpings of mac-n-cheese, and he has claimed the left overs for lunch tomorrow.  Alia tried one bite, and said she did not like it.  Wait till they try Alicia's home made Mac-n-Cheese...
Alia spent most of the day playing with littlest pet shop and other assorted toys that our host family had here in the apartment.  I had showed her the bag of toys when we first arrived, and she hadn't played with it.  I had forgotten it was in the closet, but she remembered and it provided hours of entertainment.

 Ashton and I kicked the soccer ball around a bit today.  It will be fun to play around with the soccer ball at home where we have more yard to play in.
 Alia's gift on "Gotcha Day" was an Elsa doll.  The doll has been sitting next to the TV since we gave it to her, and we wondered if we just "missed" it with that gift...but today, Else was by her side all day.  In fact, when Alia had some fruit snacks in the afternoon, she tried to share them with Elsa...
 I think we maxed out the weight limit on the hammock, but it was worth it.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A Day at "Home"

Our day was spent at our apartment in Santa Lucia, our "home" near Tegucigalpa.  We had a lot of laundry to do, so we all worked together to get it done.  There is a washing machine that we can use, and then it all has to be hung outside to dry.  Today was a great day for hanging out the laundry, and most of it dried quickly.  The kids were a big help.

We had a lot of time to play outside...Ashton was back on the bike, Alia spent time kicking the ball, and both of them took turns jumping off the wall for me to catch them as if we were still in the pool.  Who needs a gym membership?  We were also visited by a friendly neighborhood kitten.
When we returned from the Roatan last evening, we took our host family out for dinner, and then Marcy took Alicia grocery shopping.  Therefore, we had all the supplies we needed to make cookies.  So, the highlight of our afternoon was making a batch of chocolate chip cookies.  We each got to eat one when they were warm and then a second for dessert after dinner.

We are still waiting to hear from our lawyer that she is approved and ready to travel to La Cieba.  We are praying that we hear good news tomorrow!  We miss everyone back home, and hope you are all doing well.  Thanks for the emails and words of encouragement.  We really miss being with Ariana and Alexa, but we have been able to keep in contact with them through Facebook messaging.  Thank the Lord for technology.  Alexa had her High School swim banquet tonight...we were really disappointed to miss that time with her and the rest of our swim family.  Thank you all for your prayers!

More Roatan Pictures

Here an assortment of pictures from our trip to the Roatan.  I am not sure if they are in order, but they will give you a glimpse into some of the moments in our last week.

 First night on the beach.  Discovering the sand and the sea.
 A mother/daughter selfie
 Love these moments!
 Collecting pebbles on the beach.
 Ashton learned the English phrase, "Throw me higher!"
 Watching the sunset
 Ashton loves to wrestle.  Here was an arm wrestling match.
 They wanted me to walk all the way back to our room this way.  I did not make it far!

The following are from our time at Gumbalimba Park

 We had to cross a suspension bridge or walk the "Chicken Way".  The kids weren't too sure of this as the bridge swayed a bit, but enjoyed it anyway.

 A few more pictures from the resort of the children playing