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A Hidden Treasure

We were so fortunate to find Maria’s two day a week charter school.  At 10 years old, they put her in a second grade class no problem.  Her teachers, her principal; great.  Plus, we had so much extra time with her at home to work on life skills; getting dressed, brushing her hair, teeth.  We worked on attachment and nurtured her as she grew in family.   She could still take a nap a few hours a day as her little body and life were in recoup, perfect.

As the months passed, our goals for her changed.  Her English, her abilities in school, they were all flourishing.  She was able to get herself ready in the morning and eat breakfast on her own in a good amount of time, so we started asking about friends.  No friends at school, her best friend was her teacher.

Sometimes, after school, we would walk down to the local public school to play on the equipment.  We were approached by the sweetest little kids wanting to play with us too.  I saw a girl playing all by herself and after asking her name, I asked Maria to ask her to swing.  Maria shook her head no, as she clung to me, eyes on the ground.  “Rosio, do you want to play on the swings with Maria?”  “Yes,” she said, and they ran off together, Maria shooting me a shy, yet hesitantly excited look over her shoulder.

The little girls would ask me a bunch of questions about Maria as they played, “She doesn’t speak English, we didn’t either when we started school, where is she from?” and when we would leave to go home, they would beg us to stay.  “Our parents don’t come till dark,” they told us.

IN LOVE with the little boys, the feeling is mutual

Andrew and I started tossing around the idea of having her go to the public school for the last few months of the year, but the biggest problem was that she would start as a fifth grader, where her age is, then go to middle school next year.  Second grade to middle school was a big leap, we knew she wouldn’t be ready.  They told us, “We could test her, and move her after she starts in a fifth grade class….”  We said no, that seemed so cruel and unnecessary.

We sought out our advocate to see how they could help, and Andrew told me he was feeling pretty discouraged about the whole thing, it seemed like it just couldn’t happen.  We prayed, but told ourselves it was ok, we liked her charter school, but as summer came, and she still didn’t have friends, we were feeling sad.  Then one day, when I asked her which school she had more friends at, and she said the public school, even though we had only been there a handful of times, we knew we wanted to make the change, but our hands were tied, and there was nothing more we could do after calling many, many people.

Fast forward to the weekend of service, when we spent all morning cleaning up this precious school with 100 other people from our church.  We went home after lunch so the kids could nap, Andrew stayed and served, and worked some more.  Of course, because that’s just Andrew, wanting to use his efforts to help and serve, always.   We came back after they woke, and played on the play ground while I snapped this pic.

“Did you see the guy helping me lay the grass seed?” Andrew asked later.

“Oh, yeah,” I said, “Was he from North Coast too?”

“No, that was the principal, I worked with him all afternoon.”

“Oh cool,” I said.

“Yeah, he set up a meeting with me this week to talk about Maria.”

“Oh yeah?” I said, thinking that was weird.  I had already given up on the idea of that school weeks ago.

“Yeah, he said he could help us get her into whichever grade we wanted, whichever we think is best, he’s going to meet with the district about it…”


Fast forward to her taking the placement test that week, and starting, in fourth grade the following day.

Each morning after breakfast, we walk as a family through the early morning air, eating wild loquat along the way to school, I get to use my Spanish with all the little mommies, we’ve set up play dates, and I even got to meet Rosio’s mamita.

“Mom, they are all learning English too, just like me.”  In a week, she’s learned a dance that she performed at the international fair over the weekend, she and I have so much to talk about when she gets home, her teacher is working with her each day, she has lots of friends who wave and welcome her, even when she’s shy, especially Paula.  “Mama, she was born in Mexico, and lives here now, she so nice to me.”

Dancing at the festival with her class…of peers, her friends

An awesome guy from our church has his kids there, and we see him almost every day, bringing doughnuts, helping with the jog-a-thon, on PTA, and he and Andrew exchanged numbers so Andrew can join the PTA too.  He’s stoked.

Andrew playing tag with about 15 kids at back to school night, they always rope him into their games 😉

Well….we are stoked.  This is her second week of the school, she is loving it.  Loving it.  We have met the nicest people, all who live near us.  Maria, well, all of us are so happy.  Oh God, you are so good.

Freaking good thing we decided to serve God that day, and not do our own thing…

‘ God’s kingdom is like a treasure hidden in a field for years and then accidentally found by a trespasser. The finder is ecstatic—what a find!—and proceeds to sell everything he owns to raise money and buy that field.‘  
Matt 13:44

It always seems what we need most is hidden, hidden in what God is already asking us to do, serve others.  And when we do, he’s like, don’t you worry about it, I got all that stuff you think is big right here for you…

If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.   Matt/6:33

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  • Kym May 21, 2013, 9:36 pm

    So glad to here that Maria has a school that she feels comfortable at, and that you feel comfortable with! I love that God puts us in the right place at the right time- always. From grass to grace… Freaking good thing 😉

  • Patty May 21, 2013, 10:42 pm

    Beautiful story! I love how God is in the details! Isn’t it amazing how when we trust Him and serve His people (love one another) just like He asks, things happen that we’d never expect? Your family is living proof of that truth… and I’m so proud to be part of your family! <3

  • Carla May 22, 2013, 2:21 am

    The kids sound so sweet, and Maria sounds so happy. How cool is it, that she’s now going to the same school she helped to work at? Oh the palm trees and little black haired kids make me miss Baja! We drive down that way about once a year, a road trip from Canada to Mexico…mostly to go play with some kids we love. We’ll wave when we drive through your neck of the woods next time 😉

  • Amy May 22, 2013, 4:30 am

    It sounds like the school I teach at! Low on money big on heart. My kiddos are amazing. Have several Spanish speakers, and two Russian/Ukrainian speakers in my class. Maria would love our Russian brain break http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXMJdxjFPsw even my Spanish speakers sing along!

  • Mindo May 22, 2013, 1:53 pm

    I’m so happy that Maria is making friends, and being educated with children around her own age. I love reading your blog and always look forward to updates on sweet Maria. You have a lovely family, and are doing such a good job by your children.

  • Kate Deals May 22, 2013, 9:10 pm

    It feels as though God is being faithful to you. Another heart warming blog post.

  • blessedbylife May 23, 2013, 3:04 am

    Your family is such a blessing. Maria’s joy for life seems so contagious and I am personally so moved by your adoption journey. Your kids…all of them…are so blessed to have you as parents.

  • Rachel Shepherd May 24, 2013, 1:56 am

    Thank you so much for letting a total stranger….me… bask in Maria’s smile. I absolutely LOVE her smile. She radiates joy! Thank you!

  • Candice May 24, 2013, 4:34 am

    Oh this makes me smile so big for so many reasons!!

  • Amanda May 27, 2013, 9:42 pm

    How awesome! It is amazing how God works the details out for us.