In our pre-departure orientation at Christar, I teach a workshop on change, specifically the changes one needs to expect when choosing the cross-cultural life. I begin the session by creating a timeline on a large white board. I add initials to the timeline as I recount the comings and goings of my overseas team. Over the span of ten years, our team experienced fifteen team changes, not including the normal ebb and flow of home assignment (which is difficult enough on its own). In our upcoming book, I have identified some common reactions felt by those who say goodbye to exiting teammates. I offer them here as a sneak peak.
One year during home assignment, we put our sons in a private Christian school. We thought the environment would be less of a shock to our MKs used to life in Indonesia, but that proved not to be the case. How hard it was to watch both of them struggle—adjust to culture, make friends, understand idioms, wait for invitations, figure out this new life. I grieved for my boys. I wanted to take away their hurt and pain. I just wanted them to be happy.