Monday, February 28, 2011

Soccer for the Freeman's was a disaster!

For about the first year after bringing E home from Guatemala at the ripe age of 13 months we consistently got two questions from people something akin to the following:

Does he speak Spanish, do you speak Spanish to him, or does he understand you when speaking English? To which we began replying, no, do you speak Spanish to your 13 month old?

The second question would typically be, are you going to enroll him in soccer? Again to which we began replying, we don't know, are you or did you decide to enroll your child in soccer at 13 months?

The above responses generally resulted in that quizzical dog like look of head slightly tilted sideways and an expression that said, huh? Of course no one really meant anything by these innocent questions but they were pretty funny given E's age at the time and misplaced, yet somewhat funny, stereotypes.

Given E's inability to throw anything without hurting himself and continued view of anything coming toward his upper body, balls included, must be avoided, we decided to let him attempt futbol. So the first day of soccer for any of the Freeman children finally arrived for child number 4 and as you can see, he was certainly looking the part. This is one of those under 6 leagues where they simply "practice" for about 30 minutes before the real "game" each Sunday afternoon, just our speed. It's also the one sports league in our community where you finally get to see all of our international families show up in one place, it was great! If you want so see how many nationalities are actually in our community, show up for the kids soccer on Sunday, you'll be shocked by all of the countries represented. Anywho... All was well until it was time for E to actually play. He'd already practiced with his new friends and watched from the side as the first wave started off. This means he'd already received some basic instructions, met all of his teammates and the coach, and even watched for a while as to what the "real" action was supposed to look like.

Alright, it's E's turn for his wave of 4 or 5 to sub in. Here we go, watch out, the Guatemalan is on the field and ready... There's a phrase in college sports called the all american bus player, meaning getting off the bus a player looks like an all american but just doesn't produce to the all american level on the field. Well as you can see from E's pic, he was all american bus material! Shortly after (and I mean short, like 1 minute in) the first scrum for the ball enveloped E and quickly dispersed, to which he simply walked over to the sideline where we were standing and burst into tears and stated he wanted to go home. Well there was no way I was going to have drug everyone out there, waited, and watched, to have him stand there and bawl like that, no way! He was going to have to explain himself and get back in there. So when we were home about 10 minutes later (yes, we finally just left because he wouldn't stop crying and wouldn't even stop long enough to tell us what was actually wrong), I began to think how often do we as adults do this with God?

How often does God prepare us, get us ready, spend time training us to be ready for certain things, and then when it's time to come off the sideline we just stand there, lost, and eventually in defiance (and sometimes crying depending on who you are)? I know occasionally I'll just not even speak about why I'm not about to do what I think God has asked of me, just like E was standing there, crying, and not saying a word.

E did apologize to me later that afternoon and we hugged. He still has yet to verbalize what got him so out of whack, but he did say he's ready to go back this Sunday and give it another try. Yes, that's my non Spanish speaking, I can't run in a straight line, soccer playing Guatemalan boy!

What was the last thing you stood there and stared blankly at God about and didn't want to do it?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ambulance, sirens, near broken neck, ALL boy!

So we are at what was supposed to be an all day wrestling tournament this past Saturday when we received an early exit invitation. Now of course I would have rather not gotten home an hour or so before we thought we would be doing so that night with a near broken neck and spinal injury scare, but I at least did get out of sitting on bleachers for almost 12 hours.

Dutch had already wrestled twice and we were nearing the lunch break and awaiting for a few more matches to conclude on his mat. Because D wasn't up anytime soon, i was reading, talking with other parents and what not when I hear crackling over the intercom, "Chris Freeman, please come to the front of the stage". Now mind you they had only used said intercom to pray at the beginning of the day and announce lunch was being served, so needless to say it was a shock to hear my name come screaming over the loudness of the gym. I look over toward the stage and mat area where I last saw D and the other boys hanging around their mat to see a circle of folks huddled over a lump on the floor, oh great!

Once I get over there several other team coaches have him on his back, holding his head still, and asking him if he can feel anything in his hands and feet. Someone is chirping at me that he flipped on his face/head and hasn't moved since crashing over someone while goofing off. Well, you never want to see your child motionless on the ground with others asking him if he can feel his feet and hands and can he move them, yikes! Eventually he does begin to move his extremities but has nearly no strength in his grip and is in excruciating pain, so here come the paramedics. We get to do the whole board and neck brace thing and get him wheeled out of the gym to a round of applause. We've all watched this scene play out at various sporting events, but I can honestly say I've never been the one walking along side the person on the stretcher. We careen through traffic at about 80 miles/hour to get to the hospital where we spent the remainder of the day getting X-rays, CT scans, and eventually an MRI. Thank the Lord nothing turned up on any of them, and as much as a boy as D is, he was about to bounce off the walls by the time we got out of there.

We finally got cleared by the neurosurgeon to go home and have a follow up this next week so he can get his neck brace off. I'm pretty sure we'll be cleared as I'm already having to keep him from jumping off stuff, running, jumping up and down, etc... all to his consternation and cries of, "but Daaaaaaad!" He didn't even complain of a soar neck in the days following. If I roll off the couch, my side aches for a week to come! I can't fathom flipping over my neck with every bone cracking like your knuckles and not having any soreness. Oh to be 9 again! Even D is tired of the attention and telling his story and can't wait until Monday to be cleared for recess, Amen to that!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

When she was 13 she became pregnant...

I have been gathering the necessary paperwork this week to finally get Eli's application for a Social Security number submitted. Yeah, yeah, yeah I see you rolling your eyes, just stop it. I am doing E and F's together, at least that sounds like a good excuse to have waited, right? Anyway, in gathering the needed documents I began reading back through the official translated papers from Guatemala and the narrative...
Personal Information of the minor to be adopted: Lilian states that when she was 13, she became girlfriend of ___ (she ignores his last name), who was 20 years old. He was Lilian's boyfriend for 4 months and after having relations, she became pregnant with her son Eli (note: this is his given name by us). When he found out she was pregnant, he left and she never saw him again. This woman is an unwed mother and underage. She needs to work to provide for herself; working as a housekeeper and earning Q.400 ($51) a month. She provides for herself and lives a difficult situation, it being impossible to raise a child. Due to the above, Lilian, underage, decided to give up her son in adoption... 

Opinion of the Social Worker:  Taking into account the home study of the adoptive parents and the home study of the minor to be adopted, in which the biological mother and maternal grandmother expressly and voluntarily state their consent for the adoption of the minor, the undersigned issued a favorable report for this adoption, considering that the biological mother and grandmother do not have the financial resources necessary to raise the minor. In the same manner, taking into account that the adoptive parents have a warm and adequate home for the minor, being mature, physically, mentally, emotionally and financially stable, offering the minor a home fully of opportunities for his development. The minor has the right to have a family that loves him and cares for him.
Thank you Lord Jesus for Lilian being a surrogate for our son Eli.  Thank you for his foster home who took care of him until you could unite us with him at 13 months of age. Thank you for all of those around us who came along side and aided in prayer, support, and "stuff", in the process of uniting with our wonderful son Eli. Thank you for an amazing 4 years with your blessed child Eli and for gracing our family with his addition and orchestrating the knitting of him into the Freeman family fabric.

I couldn't have said it better than did the Guatemalan social worker; The minor has the right to have a family that loves him and cares for him.

God says taking care of these is pure religion, why then are there so many in need, when there are so many supposed Christians who can take care of them? My heart overflows with joy and sadness tonight. God forgive us...

Friday, February 4, 2011

Sex, drugs, and rock and roll in Vestopia?

Well we've hit that part of parenthood where your kids get influenced by all kinds of things outside the walls of your home and you pray that so many of the things you've discussed and prayed over actually "take". Having two teenagers down to a 4 year old runs the gamut of parenting skills and we can only pray we cover both ends of the spectrum as best we can and mix/match where necessary. In the past week or so, we've covered ground on underage drinking, drugs, and inappropriate sexual overtones here in the land of Vestopia.

Last weekend B went to her first Sadie Hawkins dance at the HS and there was plenty to talk about afterward and the days to follow. Apparently a 9th grader was inebriated or pretending to be or wanted to be or... the stories and explanations ranged all over the place and spanned several families in the community. Regardless of the "real" story it made for some interesting discussion with our teen and tween for several days.

Pot was a hot topic the week prior to the dance as a middle schooler (7th or 8th grader) was tossed from C's school for attempting to sell some to a classmate. Thankfully the shocked and responsible classmate alerted an administrator. As is often the case, C's classmate (who actually had no idea what to do with it) obtained the pot from an older sibling, who probably really didn't know what to do with it either but was attempting to be cool or who knows what. The girls just rolled their eyes and said with that tone and disdain only a teenager can pull off, how stupid. As in, if your gonna do that, you don't bring it to school, duh! Just kidding on that, but their duh and stupid antennas were on stun when discussing the incident.

I get copies of all the girls incoming emails and I occasionally flip through them, especially when I don't recognize the name of the sender. They're not really emailing very much, but they're so stinking active on FB it fires off email notifications in rapid fire. I can always tell when school is over in the afternoon because the FB email notifications from both of the girl's accounts begin to light me up! Anyway, one name caught my eye as unfamiliar and I began to flip through some of the many FB wall postings and comments. While I didn't see anything totally out of bounds, there were a few things Melissa and I would deem inappropriate for a young lady to be reading/discussing. That lead to a discussion on appropriate language and comments with sexual overtones with our soon to be 13 year old. We were able to have a candid discussion with her about this "friend" and our thoughts about it. C befriends all sorts and we certainly encourage her to reach out to those around her and be a good witness. We didn't want her to un-friend this person and dissociate with her, so we worked on some possible solutions and what she might be able to share with her friend about some of her FB activity.

Thankfully we were able to have pretty candid and frank conversations about all of these situations with the girls, and do so from what we believe was a Gospel centered approach. While not always comfortable and sometimes awkward, so far so good in covering these topics relatively openly with the girls and so far it's "taking". I'm thankful for where we live for the most part as other parents in the community approach many of these topics similarly, and their kids will speak up with their parents when they see things out of alignment with the Gospel and how they believe Jesus would have them representing themselves. But even in Vestopia things happen and I pray we'll be able to continue discussing them and working through them with our kids and a correct Christian response to these situations.

What "earthly" situations/incidents have triggered those around the table discussions with your kids lately?