Tuesday, August 10, 2010

grateful for those who love my children

I remember one of the first days here in our new home in Bogota. I was in shock, adapting to a big, Latin American city. The lack of traffic control, the noise, the strong smell of pollution, the crowds of people on the sidewalks, the armed police on the street...

My inclination was to HOLD ON to my children. Physically and emotionally. Aaron would argue that I squelched them. Whenever we walked anywhere, I needed to know where they would be and whose hand would be connected to an adult. I was so scared.

Then came the first day where "the plan" was to separate with the kids. We would go to the office for orientation meetings and they would go "explore" the city with the other MCC kids and one child care provider, Paula. This was a huge step for me, and one I did not want to take. I know that this sounds like I was a controlling, scared Mom, but I can say I was operating under a level of stress that I have never in my life experienced before, and this clouded my abilities to rationally assess the risks involved.

So, I remember watching them go.

They have embraced this city so much more deeply than I have been able to. They have opened themselves up to the possible relationships here, to a broader understanding of this place.

Paula was an MCC volunteer in Canada. She understood what it was like to live in a foreign city. She understood what it felt like not to understand. And with a calm, secure, and sensitive spirit she cared for our children. She continued to do this at MCC retreats, assessing their adaptation to culture and language and responding to their many varied needs. She then agreed to spend time with them this summer so that Aaron and I could work more. She played with them, encouraged them to read, flew kites and rode bikes together, ventured out into additional field trips, and comforted and laughed with them when necessary.

I am reminded that there are people, all over the world who love children. And I am grateful for so much that my own have received.

Thank you, Paula.


  1. You have found some real treasures of people down there. You seem to wherever you go.

    What beautiful, wonderful children!

    Missing you all.

  2. yes, so well said, thank you for Paula and the many people like her...

  3. I am just reading this!! Thanks Jen for letting me spent time with your kids, It was a real blessing to me!

    I miss you all!!!