Our family has not one, not two, not three, but four addresses right now: there’s the post office box in Vermont where we receive our mail, our street address here in Quebec, our financial support address at MAF’s headquarters, and a permanent address at my husband’s parents’ house.
To complicate matters, soon we will replace the first two addresses with two new ones: a mailing address in Florida and a street address in Port-au-Prince.
Having grown up as a missionary kid myself, this isn’t strange to me; I’ve always had my life split into different addresses, different places I called home. But for my children, this is still a new idea.
I’ve been reflecting recently on how to help the kids transition from one place to another as we prepare for our upcoming move from Canada back to the US (briefly) and then on to Haiti. How do I help them navigate not just the changes in address, but of their idea of where home is?
Idaho will always be their birthplace, where their grandparents and cousins live, and where our organization is headquartered. Quebec is where Benjamin learned to walk and where Jacob first went to school, as well as, where we all learned French. But soon, they will live on an impoverished island in the Caribbean!
They know the city we will live in, but not who their friends will be. They know where Daddy will work, but not where they will go to school. They know we are going where God has asked our family to go, but not how long it will take before it feels like home.
I finally reasoned with myself that these ideas are perhaps too lofty for two kids under age six, so I keep it simple when I talk to them. This week, we focused on the photos we received via email of our future house in Haiti. Jacob’s only requirement of his new life? His bedroom should have a blue stripe on the walls. Now that, I can do, regardless of our address!
Visit maf.org/schandorff, to learn more about the Schandorff family and their service with Mission Aviation Fellowship. You can follow the Schandorff’s blog and get up-to-date news on how they’re preparing for their new address.