Thursday, March 31, 2011

Happy Birthday Chantal


"It was Chantal's first birthday on the 28th.  She came just after my first visit to the orphanage over a year ago. The first photo is when she was about 6 weeks old.  Such a cutie!  In that year she has received full strength formula (as much as she needs), she has been held and played with instead of laying in her crib all day, she sits in a bumbo, and she pulls herself to standing in her crib.  And she weights 17 1/2 lbs at one year old!  Thank you to all of you who have helped this little girl over the past year.  It has made a huge difference in the little lives of the children that live at the orphanage.  Chantal is one of those sweet children." 

Newest Baby

"My last trip to the orphanage was on Feb. 28th.  This is the newest baby, Noella.  She was born right after christmas and came to the orphanage after her mother died.  What a sweetie.

I can't post pictures on blogger anymore.  So, my lovely sister-in-law, Shauna will be posting for me."

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

moments of grace

For those of you who have been following Patric's story you will understand when I say that I have had trouble with the head of his orphanage.  You will also know that I have felt led to find a family for Patric.  And that I had some preliminary encouraging signs from the head of the orphanage that I could do so.  I have felt wary, that she would try to block what I was doing (trying to find an adoptive home for him).   Two wonderful things have happened, we may have found a family for Patric AND we just got done talking to the head woman (the mother general) and she not only will support us in any way she can in the adoption, but she wants to do everything to help it happen as quickly as possible (in the past she told me adoptions can take up to 1 1/2 years through her orphanage) so that Patric can live.  She said she wants him to live and be happy.

Some moments, the gratitude I feel towards God, overwhelms me completely, and I feel humbled by His grace.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Bukavu life

We have a very wild electrical system at our house.  It would take a very long post to explain it all.  But here are three interesting details.

One, if you are barefoot in the house and you touch something metal (like a sink faucet or the metal parts of your computer when it is plugged in) you get shocked.

Two, the power should be 220 (not 110 like the states).  We have power a good amount of time these days.  But it is 110!  So, no worries about US appliances that could be fried, we just plug them directly into the sockets these days.  Of course, it also means we can hardly see each other, the light is so dim and that we can't run any of the appliances that we are supposed to be able to run on 220.  Sometimes it even goes to 80 and then we run around unplugging everything.  Of course, you cannot guarantee it will be low, sometimes there are these crazy power surges that fries everything anyway.

Three, we had a live wire down last week that had come apart.  So there were two pieces of live wire laying in the yard.  The electrician came (he works for the local and only electric company).  He got two big rocks, put a big board over them, then proceeded to balance on them (like a surfer) WHILE he fixed the live wires, yelling at everyone around him, "don't touch me, I'm live!".  Ummm...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

peace not strife

Often, living here, I am confronted by the violence that daily can be found in everyday lives.  I am not talking about rape.  This is well documented and written about and it is completely devastating and horrific.  I am talking about the beginning of it all.  I am talking about the violence in my own heart.  The desire for vengeance, to see wrongs undone, especially as they have been done to me, done to my little girls, to see my self justified, to see justice and do it myself, to rage against all the wrong, all the strife, with my fist in the air.  So much of my anger and unrest, isn't it justifiable?  Yet, my anger somehow creates more strife, more resentment.  I am quick to condemn, slow to listen.  My own heart is full of fear instead of love.  Isn't most anger fear in disguise?  Here, I see it so visibly that it quickly reveals the poverty of my heart.  When someone dies, it is because that person was poisoned.  Neighbors are quick to accuse each other, send the other to jail for an assumed wrongdoing.  Some are shot for speaking the truth, being the wrong place at the wrong time.  You put mud on someone's clothes from driving through a puddle too fast, and now "your life is mine!" Guns everywhere.  Suspicion and secrecy.  Mistrust is deep.  Mistrust of each other, of self.  Ask anyone, "how many people would you trust with your life?" Maybe 1 or 2, maybe none.  It is dangerous to trust.  I had a long walk with a good friend one day here, both crying.  We talked about trust, how hard it is to trust anyone.  How we start any relationship with mistrust, it is safer, wiser.  yet...  I cried, my heart broken and undone.  Is this Jesus?  Did he guard his heart where we were concerned?  Did he protect this most vulnerable place?  (And he KNEW they would betray him!) The attitude of my heart, my most treasured and protected place.  Is this how I want to live?  If I stand up for what I see wrong with anger in my heart am I not only part of the wrong?  If I stand up for what I see wrong with love in my heart and peace in my hand, am I instead a part of compassionate humanity, a part of the work of him who walked in sorrow, sacrifice, humility, and love.   Somewhere and somehow, my fist must open and my hand must reach out in peace and forgiveness, with love in my heart, letting go of my anger and rage.  Somehow, I must choose peace and not strife today.  Even as I stand against injustice and for truth.  Even in the midst of the raging sea, I must choose peace and not strife.   It must start somewhere.  It will start with me.

Our adoption update and prayer request

For those of you that are following along and praying for us as we try to finish up our adoption; this post is for you!

We are now at the point of trying to get our U.S. visas.  We leave for the states in 3 months.  We have received special permission to pick up our visa at the Nairobi embassy.  However to get there we have to take an unusual path that involves THREE embassies in three african countries.

We dropped off our I600 one month ago at the Kigali embassy with the girls.  They had to see them in person.  It was a bit of a nightmare getting permission to cross the border with them.  It took us 3 months just to do that.

After dropping off our I600, our file got sent to the Nairobi embassy for a special child abuse background check.  The embassy sends it to a USCIS office in the states to get this child abuse screen done.  We heard today that it was finally done and no problems (one month later!).

Now, it gets sent back to the Kigali embassy!  The Kigali embassy approves our I600 (Lord willing).

Then it gets sent to the Kinshasa embassy with all the orphan documentation.  They then do their investigation and approve the I604.  Then this document goest to Kigali again and gets put with the I600 and all gets sent back to Nairobi!

Then, we get the special permission to leave the country (again!) and go to Nairobi to get their medical exams and visas (with that supporting documentation).

We go back to DRC with our visas in hand.  We then get the official letter from DGM (immigration) to leave the country for the U.S.

AND, all this has to be done in the next three months!

If you are a praying person, perhaps you might pray for us!  Thanks!

(Oh, for those of you that know about the infamous "binders", when I went with my two huge binders to the Kigali embassy for the drop-off, the consulate took one look at them and asked me what I was thinking?!  She then proceeded to take 10 of the 100s of documents I had prepared and said that was that! Supposedly, I did a good job of keeping my cool and trying to convince her that yes, the kinshasa embassy did need these documents that had been gathered and prepared with much blood, sweat, and tears!)

what I believe and hope for

I hope that the vision reflected in the blow post can be a part of Tumaini; changing hearts and minds locally so that children can be reunited with their birth families or adopted by congolese.  Much needs to change about international adoption.  I too agree with this post and would apply it to adoption in DRC as well.

for Patric