Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Little Engine that Couldn't

I don't know if I can do it. I don't know if I can go back to work tomorrow. In the past I've usually come back from Romania and gone straight to work the very next day. I didn't have to time to think about anything, just jump right back in. It was exhausting but in some ways I think it's better. This time I had the whole weekend to "adjust." But really all I've done is sit around and think about the storm that is waiting me when I walk tomorrow:

- The only other co-worker I had in my department gave her two weeks notice the day before I left. Her last day was Friday. Once again I will find myself alone managing all the new intakes, all the insurance reauthorizations, and my own caseload of clients. It's a place I have been to several times over the past year but not a place that I willingly return to. It is a very tough place to be and I dread the next few months as stress and demands wear away at me. I pray that this time it will be different but I was recently given more authority over my department which essentially equals more administrative duties. Good thing (?) I only have to answer to myself...

- I update all the new authorizations in a huge database. Not sure this got done while I was gone. Which means two weeks of authorizations to add and manage.

- We recently implemented a plan to do 6 month reauthorizations on all clients. This increases my workload two fold as the kids are now coming in twice as frequently.

- I have to schedule times to see all my clients. Thankfully I only have 4 right now but I still have to manage to fit them into my schedule.

- I have a meeting with an insurance company rep at 11:00 on Monday morning. Hoo-rah (please note sarcasim).

I know I should be more positive. I really do enjoy my job. And I love my co-workers. And my birthday is this week ( that a positive or a negative...). I know that God will give me strength and all that other Christianese we spout that is supposed to make me feel better (thanks for the cliches but not today). I know I will get over it...eventually. But right now I'm not looking forward to smiling and saying, "Glad to be back!" (lies...kind's complicated...) and dealing with "issues" that people think are important but really and truly are not.

Right now my heart is too busy breaking.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

I Think They Know in Their Hearts

I'm always amazed each time I go to Romania which kids end up being drawn to me and me to them. Sometimes I end up spending time with kids I have known for a long time but who drift in and out of their interest in being with me. Sometimes I spend time with kids I hardly know at all. And, of course, there are some kids I always spend time with.

Of all the places we visit I'm always most interested to see how my time at Voluntari will go. The orphanage is full of younger kids so they are less likely to remember me from visit to visit. This time I ended up being with one little boy, Alberto, quite a bit, especially during our second week.

I actually knew Alberto from the time he first arrived at the orphanage. I distinctly remember him because he was one of the only kids there who was still in diapers. He was such a little cutie with his big eyes and chubby little cheeks!

Making crafts (Summer 2012)

At the pool party (Summer 2012)

Swinging (Summer 2012)
Alberto was around the other times that I went (though I seem to lack much photographic evidence of such) and I'm sure that I spent a little time with him here and there but, overall, we haven't had a whole lot of interactions. Little Alberto got integrated into the 30 plus "grădiniță" (preschool and kindergarten aged kids) at Voluntari.
Getting Christmas presents (Winter 2012/2013)

Sitting with Ms. Cherri (Winter 2013/2014)

Front and center (in the blue stripes) to show off his snowflake craft (Winter 2013/2014)
I hate to say that Alberto got lost in the crowd but as a very quiet and very well behaved (relative to all his peers of course) little boy he sometimes got overlooked for the kids who were running in circles, climbing on the tables, and yelling at the top of their lungs. But this time around, he picked me.

I spent one day playing a little on the playground with him (I think I took an interest in his trucks or something like that) and from then on he would find me. He'd stick out his little hand and I'd take it and we'd be on our way.
At outdoor worship time the day we decided to be best buds.
I can't explain why some kids decide after all the years, after all the visits, after all the time why they are ready to let you into their little world.
The Day of 100 Selfies (literally...he took over 120 pictures sitting on my lap one afternoon).
I don't know if Alberto really remembered me from all the visits before. I don't know if any of the little kids do. But I do believe that God helps them remember in their hearts if not in their heads.


For the last 2 weeks I have been in Romania (as you might remember me mentioning). I had initially gone with every intention of blogging while I was there. But I really couldn't put to words what I was feeling. Now that I'm home, the real processing will start. Over the next few weeks I'm going to try and share what was on my heart and my mind while I was away. The stories will likely not go in the order that they occurred but I don't think that will matter in the long run. I will also post some of these stories on the Walking With Orphans page as well (which you should check out...I've started a new campaign for future trips and you can buy a shirt to help support me...there's even a video, with music!). I hope that you will enjoy hearing about my time in Romania and my heart for those kiddos.