Wednesday, March 17, 2010

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.


mary said...

I suppose logically I should be drawn to the more "resilient ones" who have a better chance of being "normal" members of our family, but my heart is really drawn toward adopting two of the "vulnerable ones" who may die w/out someone intervening quickly. Praying for God to be the matchmaker. And I'm very interested in learning/brainstorming about fund-raising resources for this home, especially if it's where we end up adopting from. Thanks SO much for your detailed posts giving those of us who can't go a glimpse in. Would it ever be possible for us to visit this area when we come to Kinshasa to do the paperwork, or would it just be too complicated/dangerous to visit both locations in one ten-day trip and still get all the paperwork done in the capital we need to?

Holly said...

I appreciate how your heart is drawn to the stories of the more vulnerable children, mine are also. I am still learning about fundraising, so I will write a post soon trying to summarize areas in more detail about the specific needs. It's very exciting to be able to do this right now and help these children, I'm grateful. Regarding your last question, I don't know at this point if travel here is going to be possible, we will see after the adoptions are complete and the family from the states starts to make plans to visit. It is safe to visit here and at Kazibe, that's not the problem, it's the logistics of trying to get here from Kinshasa, it's quite complicated at this point, but we will see. I sure hope families will be able to come and see where their children were raised for the first part of their lives.

Inga said...

Dear Holly,
Your blog left me teary-eyed. What you are doing is incredible! You are an amazing woman. We are in process of adopting from MLJ and tried to decide whether to get 1 or 2 boy or girl and what age. I really see that between 10-18 m.o. kids need their Mommy more than ever. I have a bio toddler who is my tail. I want to adopt one boy 10-18 month and a girl 3-4 y.o. Is it too old to attach? My husband has not agreed to two kids yet, but I'm trying my best to convince him. From what I've learned the situation is dire there, my heart goes to all these little orphans. I have 2 boys 5 and 1.5, who should I adopt. I need to make a decision quickly.