The Oak Life Journal
Jan | Feb 2023
Welcome to Orphan Care:
A Student Perspective
By Ysabel Rodriguez
4 minute read
“I thought I knew how to work in orphan care…how hard could it be?” — Ysabel Rodriguez —
I thought I knew all there was to know about working in orphan care. Can’t be much harder than working with kids who need extra love, right?
The truth is, it requires much more than that. Whether you have dreams of opening an orphanage or working at an orphanage in some capacity…it all requires training and more than just basic knowledge. For me, Oak Life was just the place that I needed to go to be able to receive that training.
Like any new journey, you have your high and low moments. As is the reality of life, not everything will always be as you expect but it can be exciting when you shift your perspective.
One thing I extremely appreciated about Oak Life and the curriculum that they have created is the dedication they have in preparing you for being immersed into a host culture. During class discussions and book readings, we began to learn about why certain cultures and countries have the traditions, customs, and values that they do. The author of Cultures and Organizations, Geert Hofstede, speaks mainly on how our cultures shape the way that we think, feel, act, etc.
Taking in this new understanding was crucial to the way I interacted with the culture around me while also identifying the culture that I was raised in. Recognizing this information allowed compassion to be discovered in me, in a new way. Compassion for this new culture I had recently been fully immersed in. And this compassion, was going to help my mission progress farther than it ever would have without it.
New journeys are bound to come with challenges as well. During my time at Oak Life, what has been challenging for me has been adapting to TBRI (Trust Based Relational Intervention). We use this method of interaction when working with children of trauma. I remember hearing my first, “No,” from a child. It rocked me to my core and the internal battles were coming in at a thousand miles an hour. It felt like rejection, it felt hurtful.
Had God not been by my side in this part of my journey, I never would’ve been able to process it properly. It takes the presence of God, surrender, honesty, and the ability to confront past traumas. But in the end, God takes even our most difficult moments and turns them into something beautiful – with the purpose of it bringing glory to His name.
Overall, my experience at Oak Life has been incredible. It has come with many new learning and growing opportunities for which I am grateful. Being able to have the time and space to be able to go through this guided journey with trusted individuals makes the experience all the more enjoyable.