Emotions in the house can change just about as fast as the weather in
Monday was emotionally charged and ended in a two hour group discussion about
respect. Tuesday was peaceful and calm ended in a night of playing games,
laughing, and watching a movie (sadly, it was Legally Blonde). Then again on Wednesday
we got to experience the biggest meltdown of all time.
Wednesday was hard on everyone emotionally. The director Maria was gone for most of the day which makes things difficult as the volunteers are still trying to gain a sense of authority. Titles and hierarchy are much more important than I would have believed and the girls have had a hard time respecting individuals that are “volunteers”. We started the day with a beautiful round circle discussion. Each person said something that they felt was a negative about themselves and the group would comment, stating “the truth of you is”. My flaw I stated was that I am indecisive, but I had a hard time deciding. This activity actually went amazing and was sadly one of the only positive emotional releases we would experience all day. There were minor catastrophes throughout the day during both study time and exercise time, but the biggest issue came when the girls were told that they could not watch a music video during their descanso “quiet time”. As a group, we came to the decision that music was not allowed, it was a privilege, and they had the option to turn it off themselves without consequence or we could turn it off with future consequences. This was after a very positive talk on Monday where rules were changed to accommodate everyone’s feelings and emotions. Sadly, the girls did not take this very well and a major tantrum ensued.
The big act of rebellion (so painfully high school thinking) was that they marched to the kitchen, grabbed the ice cream (which was a treat from the weekend when a large group of high school volunteers came to work on the house) and took it up to their room in a fit of yelling. Doors were broken, bad words were yelled, and it was not a proud moment for the two girls. After finally calming down we were somehow able to get back on schedule until the director Maria returned home. After hearing all sides of the story, the volunteers were allowed to make the decision on the course of action. Unlike other talks, this ended in strict consequences including, separating of rooms, removing of all bedroom doors, no weekend trip to
Liberia, as well as no TV or music
for the week.
After a halestorm of hate, one of the two girls was asked to pack her bags and was told that she was leaving for the police station tonight. Child protective services were called and bags were placed in the car. Moving from bad cop to good cop, the strict adherence to the rules and the realization that she was making a huge mistake finally caught up to the one girl. We had a very powerful talk and she decided that she wanted to stay and wanted to change. After numerous tears, both girls went to bed early and thought about their situation and what they wanted for their future. Both of these girls are out of options and will not be in the foster program again if they leave our home. The realizations about their true options, especially when finding out how serious we were, allowed everyone to sleep quietly and try to recharge after all the emotions of the day.
Finally, we came to Thursday. Everyone was expecting an easy day after the emotional release the night before. This was true for one but not the other. The one that had almost left the night before knew that she did not want to leave and understood the opportunity that she had at the safe house. After a blow up over lunch, the second girl asked to leave. It was her choice and we allowed it. She was picked up by the police and she was asked to pack her things. Emotions once again were high and myself, the other girl, and several volunteers went on a walk to get some fresh air. After getting back on track, a quiet and productive evening followed. The final stress of the night finished with eleven calls from the newly departed girl asking if she would be allowed to come back at some point in the future. How much she loved us and wanted to keep in touch. After a group meeting, we decided she had the chance to come back within 24 hours if she wanted to return (as a one time to be able to return rule is in the official rules of the house). And as I go to be tonight, I am sad thinking about her future as I am doubtful that she will return.