There was great weeping and wailing going on in my dorm on Wednesday and I'm still not sure how I survived it. My head Educator, Eliza Julieta, was very proud of me that I didn't break down and cry when my boys did when they heard what their discipline was - being sent home for an unspecified amount of time.
Directly after Tuesday's incident when they ganged up on a new boy, I told them I would look into taking them home the next morning but I don't think they believed me. But when Eliza Julieta arrived and I told her what happened, she agreed completely.
So, Wednesday was spent taking two of the boys home. Almost. We took one of the boys home with no trouble. His aunt was surprised to see him back so soon - he had only just returned to our center the day he fought with the boy. So he was only back with us overnight before having to go home. His visit went fairly well, he cried a little and the aunt was disappointed but overall he was ok.
The next boy was trickier - he hasn't had any family visit in over five years. Two years ago we tried to find the family and found the family home but no one living in it. So we returned to the same place (getting a little bit lost added an hour walking around in the blazing hot sun!) but again found no one home. We did make telephone contact with the uncle so we hope to make a connection there for the future.
Because this boy has no known family, he has actually said to my Tias, "I'm not afraid, you can't do anything to me because I don't have a home"!" That is a terribly disrespectful attitude! So I had said to him "don't you worry, we'll find a place to send you - perhaps to the center where the new boys came from!" Which is exactly what we did. When we couldn't find any family to leave him with, we went to the center the new boys had come from and asked the Padre if we could leave him there for a bit. The Padre whole-heartedly agreed it was a great idea. This particular boy has been having recurring problems with lying, disrespect and outright defiance, in addition to the hitting incident, so he really needs a wake-up call.
Leaving him was very hard as he as absolutely sobbing. He was very afraid of being in a totally unknown place. He doesn't know for how long it's for but we are planning for a week. One of the hardest parts of his situation for me was coming back to our center and meeting up with his older brother who is 13. He said he understood why we were disciplining him (he himself has often talked with him about his behavior) but he began to cry and that was so hard. He's the only family he has and they're very close and he is naturally so upset his brother is gone. tonight in church, I noticed this brother up at the front praying for a very long time. Afterward he told me he was praying for his brother. I was too.
Today, Thursday, we took the last boy home. (It had gotten too late last night.) This one was particularly difficult because he is SUCH a good boy, absolutely never a problem. His behavior came right out of the blue. But he was hitting with all the rest, and then very disrespectful to the Tio as well. We didn't feel we could impose different disciplines. So we made sure to tell him and his cousin, whom he will stay with, how proud we normally are of him and how we are concerned with this behavior and just want him back on the right track.
I am pretty spent after all this. Definitely heavy-hearted. I didn't sleep too well last night, kept waking up and praying for the boys. They will be moving to the next dorm in two weeks so this is one of the last major interactions we'll have and that makes me so sad. I had looked forward to many fun times these next two weeks! I am praying they will realize what they've done wrong and feel repentant, not become angry and hard-hearted because we've sent them home.
I really believe in consequences and I take to heart the Scripture that says God disciplines those whom he loves." I believe that is true and the only way to raise children as well. It's just the walking out of it that can be a bit tough! But I've seen too many of our older kids get into serious trouble with much greater consequences - this needs to be nipped in the bud now!
Again, please pray for my boys and for me! We want to be led by the Spirit in the ways of God!!