Still searching: An Ochoa kids update

Originally posted on October 20, 2012

One week from yesterday was when the five Ochoa children (Rosie, Dayana, Jonatan, Arol and Pamela) were placed in IHNFA, the Honduran family services system. It has been a roller coaster of a week since then that has seemingly left us with more questions than answers, but we are holding on to the hope that God is working through every rise and fall.

Rosie, Dayana, Jonatan, Escarleth, and Arol at Interamerican Schoo

Rosie, Dayana, Jonatan, Escarleth, and Arol at Interamerican Schoo

As always during times of heartache here in Honduras, we have been incredibly blessed by the overwhelming support of those who know and love our ministry. We cannot say enough about the outflow of love we have received. Thank you to everyone for your prayers, encouragement and offers to help. It means more than you know. Here is what has happened since last Friday:

After the kids were placed in IHNFA, we contacted an IHNFA lawyer we know and who we know is also friends with the judge. He told us to meet him at the children’s home on Monday morning. We arrived but despite calling and waiting, he never came. Rosie and Dayana happened to be running around the grounds at one point, so they ran up to us. We were able to hug them and talk to them for a couple of minutes before an IHNFA worker took them back to their houses. Although we ached to see them for longer, we were comforted that they both looked well, were safe and that we could assure them we loved them. Since it was not a visitation day and our appointment with the lawyer had fallen through, the IHNFA workers told us to come back on Wednesday during regular visiting hours and we would be able to see the kids.

We arrived on Wednesday morning, though, and were told that only family members could enter. Belkis was there and was able to enter to see the kids; however, they told us we would need to have a paper from the judge granting us visitation permission.

We tried to meet with the lawyer again on Thursday at the judge’s office to try to get a visitation paper, but he did not show again. He then called and told us to meet him at the children’s home on Friday morning to discuss visitation. However when we arrived on Friday, he said there was an order saying that we could not enter the children’s home and that we would still need to seek out the judge’s permission to grant visitation. We are still praying about how to best approach the judge.

At this point, we personally have only been able to see Rosie and Dayana for a couple of brief minutes. However, we have been incredibly blessed by the support of both Interamerican and Santa Monica schools. The director and assistant director of Santa Monica (Pamela’s school) were both able to go and see her on Friday. They were able to see that she was doing well, assure her that she will still be able to pass this school year, and let her know that we are trying desperately from the outside to work something out to see them. Five teachers from Interamerican school (Arol, Jonatan and Dayana’s school) were also able to get in for a brief period on Friday. They were only able to see Arol when he passed by for a few minutes, but they were able to reassure him of the same things: that the children are loved and missed, that the kids would all pass the year, and that we are fighting for them every day. All of the teachers confirmed that despite missing us and their friends, the kids are all safe, healthy and doing well.

Pamela and Nayeli being sill

Pamela and Nayeli being sill

We cannot speak enough for how God has worked through these schools in our lives and those of our kids. Nine months ago when we were choosing schools, we could not have imagined how perfectly God had accompanied those decisions. Not only are both of the schools providing a great education to our children, but they love them, fight for them, believe in them, believe in our ministry and are bending over backwards to help. They continue to go above and beyond what is expected of a school/student relationship. We can only describe the teachers and directors as blessings from God that He clearly had worked out ahead of time for us before we ever signed a single enrollment paper, and we are so thankful for them.

We have also been incredibly blessed by friends in Honduras who have connections throughout the Honduran political and child services systems and are willing to help. We have talked to everyone from concerned friends, to children’s home directors, to counselors, to ministry workers, to lawyers and everyone in between. The challenge for us now is allowing God to guide the path that we take in the middle of so many options.

A sentiment that has been carried throughout various conversations is the importance of our relationship with the children’s mother, Belkis, in order to move forward. We pray that God can work through our hearts and that of Belkis to be able to work together in love to do what is best for the children.

In this situation, it’s tough to know when to push and when to pull, when to fight and when to be still. We know that God’s hand is over all that we do, we just need prayers for wisdom to find the avenues He has laid out for us. And prayers that we continue to trust Him even when things don’t work according to our timeline, with the clarity we desire, or with the decision making power to which we are accustomed.

Please continue to join us in prayer for the well-being of our children, the heart and mind of their mother Belkis, the heart and mind of the judge, and our personal wisdom and comfort. God is all-knowing, we are not. And he is working everything out for good.