My heart is often with them and the children they care for daily. Because, though I am filled up and overflowing with love and hope for the two little girls we hope to call our own, I am also filled with a passion to come alongside these amazing people and join them in their struggles to help these children. This isn't about adoption at the moment for me, but it is about helping those who "look after orphans and widows in their distress". It is about all those kids up at Kaziba, the ones in the home and the 82 kids in foster homes that need school fees that are over age 6. And it is even more about the rest. It is about the 300 kids that a woman helps through the association she started after the war 5 years ago. It is about the 100 kids that Nazarenes help two days a week. It is about the 55 kids the Lutherans help and foster. It is about the 75 children that another association that I haven't even visited, helps. It is about the 84 children that the mama I met last week takes care of in an insecure remote location. And so many I know nothing about. All these kids are under the radar. They aren't helped by any big ngos or aid groups. They are helped by Congolese men and women who take them in and do what they can.
Here is one story. One day a woman and her sister were walking along the road. They saw a bag in the ditch wiggling with what they thought were kittens. It was a newborn baby boy, thrown away. Now, this happens everywhere, as we know. Babies are abandoned in trash cans in the US, too. However in the US we have an intact social services department which overseas the care of the abandoned and rejected children. Here, there isn't such a thing. This little boy has been raised by the sister for the last four years. He appears to be blind in one eye from cataracts which I assume is secondary to malnutrition (vit. A def.). He doesn't go to regular school, most of these children don't. I'm guessing that 99% of the orphaned and vulnerable children in Congo will not be adopted (nor should they all be adopted), but will need support in-country by loving and carrying congolese men and women who open their homes to care for them. There is a big need for attitudes to change as well. For orphans to be treated equally and given equal rights as other children, for access to school and health care. This is NOT the case here, and it is wrong. A lot of orphans move from house to house. Most orphans are treated as second class citizens and become house help. There are some families, however, who truly love orphaned children here and make sure they are clothed fed, and sent to school. I feel overwhelmed by the needs, not knowing the best ways to help, not knowing how or where or when.
Today, I start with Kaziba, and pray about tomorrow.