By the end of 30 minutes, Sam still lays with his head in her lap, and 5-6 children have congregated around the couch.
"Mommy, look at this."
"Mommy, so and so said..."
"I'm going to sew something." Proceeds to sit down on the floor in front of the couch to do this.
It's all so beautifully normal, and home like and mundane.
Almost all these kids are foster kids, placed in this home from other orphanages around Thailand. These boys, all in the same 3 year age range, came to live with Cindy and Adam when they were 3 or 4. Asia, their little girl who is seeing impaired, severely, lived in an institution for the first few years of her life. All she could do when she first came to live with them was lay on the floor and scream. Now she picks up Legos, speaks English, and Thai, in full sentences, and takes time outs without complaining.
|Asia, when she was still learning to communicate.|
This is family made by love and intent.
These are my friends who thought they were moving to Thailand to start an orphanage until they realized that what children need is a family instead.
There is an official certificate on the wall, stating that they operate a "children's home" under the supervision and with the permission of the Thai government. But this isn't an institution.
This is a family, with movie nights and game nights, pancake breakfast on Saturdays, home made cakes on birthdays, chores, a meal schedule, and help with homework. These are kids who call the people who take care of them mom and dad, and know that they will always have a home, even if it does take 5 years or more, each, to finally adopt each one of them.
|Sam's turn to clean the bathroom|
|school pick up|
|packed into the back after church (Some of these pictures are so old.)|
|Cindy's cakes are amazing|
|Adam has a really cool job as a game designer, that he somehow gets done surrounded by children. He also writes books.|
This, my friends, is what children need, and I am in awe of my friends and how well they are providing it for the 10 kids in their care.
I told them one day I would embarrass them by writing a blog post about them. It's taken a long time to find the words.
I wanted to tell you about the day I found Cindy crying and asked how I could pray, and she answered, "Just pray for my kids."
I wanted to tell you how hard it is to parent children with deep attachment disorders because of mothers who abandoned them, and then picked them up, and then abandoned them again, over and over, before the age of 2.
I wanted to tell you about Adam's quiet persistence in loving the teenage daughter who hates that she can't live with her own mother in the village, for very serious reasons, and takes it out on him.
I wanted to tell you about the trials, and failures, how steep the learning curve is, parenting teenagers while having your first baby.
But I couldn't put it into words, though I tried many times, until I realized that what I want to show you is how beautifully normal, and messy, and absolutely extraordinary this little slice of family life on a lazy Saturday afternoon is. In a few hours, we all went swimming together at a nearby pool, and after Cindy played water games with them until the kids were worn out, Adam managed a few minutes reading his kindle poolside before he got dragged in again by his youngest child, we all went home. It was Lu's turn to make dinner, the kids played outside in the yard, and then it was time to go in for chores, and showers, and then bedtime.
How very, beautifully, ordinary.
If you want to know more about the Heines here is their blog. Adam has a blog too, he mostly talks about writing, and the cool game he's on the design team for, and other geeky stuff. Which is pretty fun.