Sunday, March 28, 2010

Photos from our second visit to Save the Children orphanage, two weeks ago

The kids sitting on the floor getting fed are all between 2-3 yeas old, most can't walk.  the girl in the dress in the front, is 3 and can't walk.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A song that spoke to me tonight during praise and worship

Blessed be your name in the land that is plentiful
Where your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be your name
And blessed be your name
When I’m found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed be your name

Every blessing you pour out I’ll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord, still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your name
Blessed be the Name of the Lord
Blessed be your glorious name

Verse 2:
Blessed be your name,
When the sun’s shining down on me
And the world’s all as it should be
Blessed be your name
And blessed be your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there’s pain in the offering
Blessed be your name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Blessed be your name

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Yes, they are twins!

For us, it is a long story. We went up on the first visit having heard there were two infant boys ages 4 months and 6 months. We were excited about hearing this, but we were also feeling (already) that our hearts were open to how God would lead us, we really felt (because we have the unique role of going to visit the children before being "matched") that we wanted to have God lead us to the child that would be ours. So, we went up there and saw SO many babies. We didn't ask to know which were the 4 and 6 month old boys, we just spent time with them all. Very surprisingly, independent of each other, we both felt very strongly led to 4 month old twin girls!! We both felt a lot of assurance and confidence that God was directing us to these little girls, that they were supposed to be our girls. We then went into a meeting with the director and before we stated what was on our hearts we asked to know the stories of all infants. Well, surprisingly (or not so much so) there weren't any infants under age 9 months (they all looked to be under 6 months!) and the youngest healthy boy was 12 months old! So, we even felt more confirmation. We have sat with this for a few weeks now, so that last week, we felt even more peace and assurance about how we have felt God leading us. We realize that life will be very crazy for a few years with so many little ones, but we feel very strongly that God is leading us in this and our hearts are already filled with so much love and hope for these little girls. We absolutely know it is the right decision for us and for our family.
They weren't given names at birth, so we are working on this part. I will post a picture of them here. Please pray that there won't be any obstacles that arise that will prevent us from bringing them home soon (we are hoping within 4-6 weeks), and that they will stay healthy at the orphanage. In the end, I wonder really, who chose whom? I feel confident that God chose these girls for us with great love and care. We are grateful and humbled.

Our Family Adoptions

So, I've taken on the role of the OFA ("Our Family Adoptions") manager in Bukavu for the Kaziba orphanage. This is a volunteer position and one I am SO thrilled to have as I have been praying for about 3 years now that God would lead me to a way to serve while living here. We are in the initial steps of it all right now, and it is all a bit overwhelming and confusing, but as I said, I'm thrilled, excited, humbled, and grateful! What I am most excited about is this will be a way through which funds can be raised to support the orphanage and the kids up there. Not only the 36 kids that live there, but also the 80 plus that are age 6 and older and live in foster families and need sponsorships for school fees. I am also so excited because the director, Flavian, has a wonderful compassionate heart and is really motivated by kindness and love to help these kids however he can. It is SO different than the other experience I had here with an orphanage and the director. He hopes we can do nutrition classes for the mamas there as well as development play therapy! Wow!

A good visit at the Save the Children orphanage

We had a very good visit to the Kaziba orphanage on Wednesday. We went with Sara, Mike's sister and Jen Davis. The weather was beautiful. It only rained on the last 20 minutes of the drive, thankfully. Actually, that ended up being the hairiest part of the drive as it was in this area called Essence which is extremely crowded (people, huge trucks,shops, goats, etc.) on a very narrow muddy road. I wish I could have taken a video of that part of the drive. At one point it was pouring rain sideways, some women were trying to cover their tomatoes and raw meat they were selling right on the ground on the road edge, while we are as close to them as you could possibly get in our land cruiser because a HUGE double long truck was trying to pass! Meanwhile there are 100s of people and animals squishing through it all. Wild. Thanks for praying!

The visit went well. The kids that could walk, were running around and so excited to see us. Of course, the memory of the big cookies we gave them last time was probably a big motivation. We also brought balls this time too. (And formula!). Again, we saw how loved the kids are by the caregivers there. That is really nice. I really think the biggest issues are lack of resources (not enough food, formula, staff) and stimulation (related to too few staff members). These are areas where they really need ongoing assistance. You can really see the affects of lack of stimulation. There are 3 year olds there who cannot walk yet and scoot wherever they want to go. There are 12 month olds who cannot sit yet. They are doing the best they can, but 3-4 women to care for 35 kids under age 5 doesn't encourage a lot of time to play and stimulate individual kids. These women also have to wash all the clothes and cloth diapers! (There are probably 12 in diapers, the rest just pee on the floor through their clothes-or on whomever is holding them). I think that some of the kids who are perhaps more resilient are doing better than the ones who are perhaps more vulnerable. The resilient ones are walking at age 2 and playful and smiling. The vulnerable ones cry when you touch them and rock to self stimulate. The resilient babies cry when you put them down and cry to be held. The vulnerable ones don't cry, or perhaps they whimper and then look away, they rock in their cribs or are apathetic, they get fed last or forgotten. I think the age of 10-18 months were the hardest ones to see. They had sad looks in their eyes and they seemed to really want to be held and loved on the most. I didn't see any smiling in this age group. There is one baby that is quite sick with severe failure to thrive. We keep praying for a way to help him. There is a little 8 month old girl who all she does is smile and coo and stick her tongue out. Very cute. And all the running rowdy older kids where a joy to watch. They were climbing all over Sara, laughing and poking her. And the loving mothers where trying to be everywhere all at once. They all get fed 3 times a day with whatever food they have. When we were there it was plain rice. The 12 month old group had porridge out of a communal pot. Babies seem to be fed three times a day as well (though this may be more often).

I'll try to post some pictures in a separate post.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A few more pictures...

We are heading up to Kaziba on Wednesday for an important meeting regarding our potential adoption there. Please pray for this meeting and for safe travels for us, as it has been raining hard the last few days and it will be quite muddy and difficult getting up there. Mike, Sara (Mike's sister who is visiting from the states), Jen Davis, perhaps the mwamikazi, and I will be traveling up there, along with an experienced driver behind the wheel. We are bringing 12 cans of formula (they are small cans, unfortunately) from the local store here, which are very needed to feed the babies. I wanted to post a few more pictures from our last (and only) trip up there.