When I came to SCH in May of 2015 I made a one year commitment to be a house parent but in my heart I knew it would be a two year commitment. While this May is the end of my two year commitment. In the fall I started applying to graduate schools for my Masters of Social Work, a career path sparked by my time in India and a desire to see all children in families and not institutions. This spring the decision letters started coming in and I was paralyzed with indecision. I felt like I either needed to leave in May or make a significantly longer commitment to SCH. I prayed but it was half-hearted, I didn’t really want to know where God was leading me because either way the answer scared me. I stopped blogging and spent most nights trying to avoid thinking about my next steps.
About three weeks ago the thought of deferring graduate school crossed my mind. I brushed it off at first because I felt like I needed to either leave or stay much longer than another year but it kept nagging at me. Finally I made time to really pray and discern what my next steps where and I felt peace about deferring graduate school until Fall of 2018 and staying in India for another 9 months to wrap some things up here and leave well. As hard as I tried I could not see myself or the children transitioning out well come this May and it’s so important to me that I leave them in a good place and finish out some things that I started. One of the main things I feel is so unfinished is Katherine’s cochlear implant. Katherine was the first child I fell in love with at SCH and I feel so strongly that a cochlear implant would improve her quality of life in the long run. We’ve had quite the struggle with it this past year but we’re pursuing a scheme that could pay for the implant and hospital fees and either way I plan on making it happen before I leave as I feel that it’s a huge part of why God called me to India.
So what does that mean for the next year? I come home in May for a month break after being away for a whole year. A time to see my brother graduate, attend a friend’s wedding, and hopefully reconnect with people. Then I will head back to India in July and work on being fully present and transitioning out. Come March I will leave a bit of my heart behind and head back home to take some time to process these past couple of years, find a job to make some money, and head to the University of Texas to start my Masters of Social Work program. (Hook ’em? Swore I would never be a longhorn but here I come) Leaving behind the kids and India will be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. The decision to come to India was easy but the decision to leave is not. I spent many nights crying about this decision and I’m tearing up even writing this blog post. If I could I would stay forever but it’s not what I’m being called to do, which can be a hard pill to swallow. But ultimately I know that these children were only given to me for a season and that God will take care of them. They are in good hands at SCH and I will now get to play a different role in their life by advocating for them from the States and continuing to pray for them and share their stories.
However a big part of my decision to commit to another 9 months at SCH is finances. It’t been a huge blessing for me to be able to live off my savings and the occasional gift from generous donors but my bank account is running low and living off my savings is no longer an option. I’ve hit the point of needing to actively fundraise for my last 9 months here. I need funds to cover my plane tickets, living expenses, room, and board. I don’t get a salary from SCH because truly every penny goes towards the kids. If you’ve been following my time here in India would you please pray about supporting me so I can finish out my work here well? As I’ve said all along it takes a village to raise these children and now I need a village to help me finish out strong in my time here in India. The link below is a tax deductible way to donate towards my remaining 9 months here in India. I need around $6500 to finish out my time here and would love to chat with anyone interested in one time or monthly reoccurring donations to help me out.
Link to Donate to Colleen (scroll to the bottom to see me!)
Also will you join me in praying for some specific intentions?
- For families to step forward for some of the children. There are several children in particular that I will have a hard time leaving and knowing that there are families coming for them would make leaving them so much easier.
- For Katherine’s cochlear implant surgery. This deserves a while blog post but we’re applying for some government funding for her implant. My hope is to get the surgery done in the fall so we can start getting her back into the routine of wearing them and making some progress.
- For Caden to walk. Caden has played a huge role in my time here in India. He’s a very special child to me and he has overcome so much in his short life. I would love to see him independently walking before I leave. He’s getting there and I firmly believe that it’s possible!
- For more local staff to come alongside our home that I can train to take over some of the duties I do. Specifically a teacher to help continue on our morning preschool and a nurse to learn how to do Caden’s daily care well.
- For wisdom and patience as I figure out how to transition out of my roles here at SCH well and for understanding for the children.
Thanks to everyone who has come and followed along with my time here. Thanks for everyone who has bought items off our wishlist, become a child sponsor, donated to a surgery or one time need, prayed for us, encouraged us, or shared these stories. Your support has meant so much to me and the children and adults of SCH. Thank you.