Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Days Off

Each month house parents get four consecutive days off. At this point our placed kids go to another home on campus to change up their schedule and enjoy getting to know others on campus. For the house parents this is a time to relax; kick back with little to no responsibilities and rejuvenate your mind, body, and spirit. The days leading up to our first “days off” while having kids in our home was filled with weariness, yearning for a little time to nap and just enjoy some quiet time. When the day came we took them to their home away from home and did a little skip back as I realized the freedom I now had. And then it happened. Not an hour into my joyous “days off” I began thinking, “I wonder how they are doing in school? Did he remember to turn his homework in? I hope he remembers his assignment notebook. Oh no, she left her jeans on the drier; someone’s clothes are going to be stinky. Well look, there is a football jersey still hanging up, looks like we will be getting a phone call on Friday. She would be so jealous if she knew we were having cheeseburgers without her!” I could go on and on and on. Needless to say, I thought about our kids all the time and missed them like crazy. They have completely made their way into my heart. Through the good, the bad, and the ugly I have found them to be true sons and daughters of my heart. At the end of the time away I was overjoyed to hear one rush through the door saying, “DAD! YEAH! It feels so good to be home.” And another saying, “Oh look, MY BED! WAHOO!!” Rest is good for everyone's soul. (Melissa)

Monday, September 12, 2011

3 more on the way

A neighboring couple completed their work as houseparents and move out this week. While we are sad to lose our neighbors and the relationships built with them (especially between Kaylee and their children), we are very excited that some of the children formerly living with them will be moving into our home. In about a week we will grow from 4 children to 7! We we are looking forward to experiencing life with them. So now we are really rolling with the growth of our Cookson family. We are humbled by the opportunities that God is presenting to us and how He continues to use us.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Jackson 5… +1

Two “big kids” (as Kaylee calls them) joined our family on August 10th. Out of respect for the children and their family, we won’t share all the details, but will walk you through the intake process for children coming into our home.

We start out with an intake meeting where we meet the family and go over the plan of care for each child. This is to ensure that the needs of each child are being addressed during their time at Cookson Hills. Then their family of origin brought the kids to our home and helped them unload their stuff and move into their room. After the long meeting and move in, we all went to the local Simple Simons gas station/pizza hut to pick up some sodas and pizza.

It would be great to describe the first few days with the children with words like “fantastic” and “wonderful,” but I think the best word to describe them would be awkward. I think it was awkward for everyone at some point those first few days; which is probably normal. If you think about it, it is kind of strange; you meet for a few hours then we are all living together. Some of the awkwardness could be attributed to it being our first placement and these kids had no peers to talk to and learn from in the house. As each day passed, thankfully the tension lessened as we learned about each other. And now it almost seems normal. Kaylee misses them while they are at school and mentions them in prayer every night.

The two kids seem to be adjusting well. They both are participating in sports, which has really helped them meet and form relationships with some other kids on campus. We have had some ups and downs. Melissa and I have learned to be creative with how we teach and enforce the expectations in our home. (Our training in this area has been a great help to us) As we do life together and experience their trials and victories with them they are becoming more and more comfortable with us. We took a family trip to the ballpark the other night and, even though we got rained on, it was fun.

On the 26th we added another teenager to the mix. This transition seemed much less awkward; and I really think already having other kids in the house helped. Our latest family member came in and fits right into our family. We have gotten to spend a lot of time together because we are on a break from school.