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If you showed up to our camp facility, and took a peek at the backside of the kitchen door, you’d see an integral part to our camp days.  Chances are, you aren’t going to show up and check it out yourself so I decided to post it here 🙂


Have you ever looked at yourself in mirror, while others are telling you encouraging things?

“You’re beautiful.”

“Your smile lights up a room.”

“I love your hair.”

“You have matured so much.”

“You laughter is so beautiful.”

“I love you very much.”

Sometimes hearing compliments, or encouragements, like these is difficult in general.  (Anyone, anyone?)  But to stare at yourself in a mirror, eye to eye with yourself, and listen to all of these compliments?  Well, that was the activity to close group time for the girl group this past week.  The mirror was passed around the circle to each of the girls from the orphanage.  Each took a turn staring at themselves while everyone else stated everything they liked/loved about that girl.  Some were successful in looking almost the entire time.  Others, as soon as they heard a compliment, started blushing – smiling and quickly looked in another direction.  One, couldn’t even look at herself repeating over and over how “ugly” she was and didn’t want to see herself.

I was thinking to myself, off and on during the activity, “Would I be able to do what most of these girls are doing now?”  Honestly, I’m not sure I could.  Makes me so proud of them, so hopeful for where God will take them in life – if they are willing to let Him lead.

Many tears as this group of teenagers left, shared by both the team from Colorado and the teens themselves.

On a funny note, Madelen and I were notified that 2 of the older boys were trying to steal their Puma swimming shorts that they had been lent earlier in the week.  Before confronting them we tried to see if we could catch a glimpse of the shorts above their jeans that they had on.  No luck.  What to do now?  March them into the bathroom and demand them back :), or let them get away with it and deal with their bragging about it over the next month?  But what if they didn’t have any?  Then we just look stupid.  What to do?  What to do?  Madelen made a decision – “Kelsey, you take “C” and I’ll take “T.  Let’s split them up and see if we can get the shorts back.”  Alright, so we’re going on a gut instinct that they indeed have shoved the bathing suits, somehow, under their jeans in such a way that we can’t see them all.  I put on my best poker face and went up to “C”, “Can I talk to you please inside?”  He follows me inside, mind you he is much taller than me and pretty built so I’m trying my best to not cower 🙂  “Just be honest, do you have the Puma shorts?”  He answers, “Eh.”  (That means yes, they use it all the time.)  “Please give them back – there’s the bathroom – thank you very much!”

Yes!  SCORE!  The gut feeling was right – goooo Madelen!  I got the shorts and then went out to Madelen.  Poor her, “Kelsey, “T” swears he doesn’t have the shorts on.  He promised me.  He said he left them upstairs and just sent “R” up to get them and “R” returned with a pair of shorts.  Here they are.”  But, they aren’t Puma.  So either “T” doesn’t have them or he has super duper lied in her face.  Alright, here we go with tough boy #2, my poker face worked the 1st time maybe it’ll work now, too.  I pulled “T” inside and didn’t even give him a choice.  With a smile on my face I said “There’s the bathroom, please go in, take off the Puma shorts and give them to me.  Thank you!”  He did exactly as I asked and we got both pairs of shorts back – yahoo!  Madelen, though, was still trying to figure out how the heck he had lied so well to her beforehand.  Sometimes these kids….they just make you smile, even when they are stealing from under your nose!

Change of subject from camp…

Alex has started visits with the family he will move to in September.  We’ve been talking about it, I should have been prepared and, I thought I was – really!  I walked in the door, after camp, one night this week to return the food dishes from lunch and immediately I’m told he’s on his first visit with the family.

It’s so hard to let go.  I mean, I love this family.  All of us have PRAYED and deliberated over this decision for so long now.  We all believe this is the best for Alex.

But how do you let go?  I love him.  I love him as a son.  Caleb loves him as a brother.  There’s 94.89% of me that still wants to grab him, run to Child Protection, and say that I’m adopting him, too!  But see, it’s not just “not being sure” that keeps me from doing that.  It’s that the remaining 5.11% is 100% from God saying that this is not His plan for me, not His plan for Alex.  But still, the bond is there – the love is there – the history is there – the relationship is there – the routines are there – the knowledge is there – the delight is there – the tucking in at night is there…  I’m just not good at this letting go stuff.  Not sure how to lead Caleb through it, either.  And yes, I understand I’m not the only one having to let him go.  There are 2 other amazing Mamas here who so dearly love him, too, and have been a part of his weekly life and care for many years now as well.

Am really praying for the family he will move to…that Jesus will fill them with a desire to know Alex and that they will be open to learning to love him.  And for Alex, that his heart and mind will be held in the hands of his Heavenly Father as this transition period begins.  Small changes in a day can set him off track.  And this, is no small change.  We really need to pray for him to be filled with peace and trust in all of this.




Adoption update!  A law is now being enforced that says that all adoption/foster care cases MUST be judged (after requesting a court date) within TWO WEEKS.  This means, according to my social workers, that I WILL GO TO COURT IN AUGUST!  Oh me, oh my!  My 90 days of court appointed foster care (for the purpose of adoption) will be up the 2nd of August.  We are hoping by the 5th of August that all of my papers will be ready to go and we can apply immediately for a court date.  So…praying for an August court date…oh please, Jesus.

My little man came hopping into the living room this morning, in his pillowcase.  I about died laughing; it was awesome!  And then, he completely shoved himself inside of the pillowcase!

Where’s Caleb?

Yup, there he is!


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