Thursday, May 22, 2008

Update.

Well, I was scolded this morning by my lovely sister-in-law for not updating this. So, out of my love for Emily, here's a little update...

It's been hard for me to know what to write the last few weeks. Since right now we are mostly just in a time of waiting there hasn't been much to say. But here are the few things that I've got for you...

First of all, a praise. New Hope Homes is now in a position where we will be able to adopt from them upon our approval. This is such exciting news for us as we fell in love with the homes during our trip. Right now they are working on the adoption of some of their children by another family, so I'll be anxious to here how that all works out.

Now the areas we need prayer...

Right now we are still waiting to hear that the right office has our paperwork. We had turned things into one office (which is where you are supposed to take things) and they are in turn supposed to hand it over to the office that actually makes the decisions. And as of last week, this hand off had still not occured. So, we could use some prayer concerning that.

I think I may have mentioned before that there is a new minister that is in charge of all the adoptions and so there have been little changes in their "policy" that have occured while we have been doing this. It has made things so much more up in the air. We're just not sure how all of this is going to affect us. It makes it a little tough sometimes because there is so much uncertainty, but we are clinging to the fact that God's hand has been upon us through this process so far, and no matter what decision is made, He will continue to be with us. But we do need prayer that we find favor with the right people. We did actually meet the one person who seems like the most important person to have met in the office while we were there, so praise God for that.

Well, so that's really it for now. We are just waiting and praying and hoping and trusting. I'll let you know as things move forward.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Home again...

We are home. I took a few days to just spend with our girls before getting back on this...I'm sure you understand. But today I have put three entries on, so make sure you check out the one on the Burnfields and New Hope Homes too.

So, our trip was truly amazing. But being home feels...like home. It took us 35 hours to get from Brad and Kiki's house to our own and only a few tense minutes in the Ethiopia airport before my luggage was finally located. Thank the Lord!!

I wanted to just take a minute to put a couple more pictures on here and to answer a question that we have been asked a number of times now. The question has been about whether or not we feel torn about adopting from New Hope Homes, an amazing situation, rather than from an orphanage that is a much more difficult situation for the children. This is something that we have really thought a lot about and talked a bunch with each other and so I thought I would share with you all our thoughts...

Going to the orphanage tore at my heart. Even though it seemed as though there were enough workers to care well for the children, you could tell that their true needs weren't being met. They were fed alright, dressed okay, and were changed periodically, but there was an emptiness in these children that you could just see in their sweet little eyes. Contrast that to New Hope Homes where you could just sense that this was a family. It's not just a home to keep a bunch of kids off the street, it is truly a family and you can sense the love put into the care of the children. And while even this isn't ideal, every kid needs to be in a real home, it is truly a good situation.

So, why wouldn't we want to take a child from a more desperate situation...

New Hope Homes has a limited amount of space and right now it is full. So, by adopting one of the children from the home, we open up a spot for another child.

What Chantal is doing is incredible and we want to support her efforts. And to us, adopting from her homes is saying, "We love what she is doing for the children of Rwanda and we trust the care that she is giving them enough to have entrusted her with the care of our son."

You see, to us, we aren't trying to save a child from a bad situation, we are trying to find our son. And just as I would want my girls cared for in the best way possible when they weren't in my care, I want that for my son. It's not a matter of a right or wrong decision to use New Hope Homes, it's just about where God has led our family at this time. And right now our heart is with these homes.

I hope this was helpful. I know that not all of you might agree, but this is what God has laid on our hearts. I will say, though, that we are so amazed by those that do adopt from the orphanages and pray that each of these little ones will be given a chance.

Anyway, so here are the final pics!



This was the orphanage we visited. We weren't allowed to take pictures inside. Notice the glass on the top of the walls, you would see that on the walls surrounding people's homes too.



We visited a genocide museum while we were there. It was really incredible to read the history of it all and see the pictures. This is one of the mass graves on the property.



This is the Hotel Des Mille Collines that is portrayed in the movie Hotel Rwanda.



One more pic of the view. It's truly a beautiful country and surprisingly clean! I wish you all could see it...

the Burnfields


I'm sure some of you have been wondering why we choose Rwanda to adopt from. Well, we've always wanted adoption to be a part of our family story, but the Rwanda connection mostly came through our friends Brad and Kiki Burnfield.

We knew the Burnfields from our first year of marriage when we all worked with Doulos Ministries in Denver, Colorado. After a year, we left for Kansas and a few years after that, Brad and Kiki left with their eyes on Rwanda. They went over there with Youth for Christ and started a private school. (Check out the link to their school under my Rwanda sites.) One of the things that we were really looking forward to doing during our trip was checking out their life there...and I have to say, we were blown away. Their school is incredible and what God has accomplished through them in less then three years is truly amazing. Education can be a real issue in a country like Rwanda and what they are providing, at least to us, seems like a great solution.

So, I just really wanted to take time to include them in this. They are an amazing little family, Oliviana is so sweet, and I truly believe that God has His hand on their work there. And we couldn't do this adoption thing without their help. While I won't have much to say in the next few weeks as we wait to hear from the government, Kiki will be checking in with the office on a weekly basis to make sure things are on track and will be doing a ton of the legwork for us if the acceptance comes through.

Anyway, so, here are a couple pics of their beautiful school that I wanted to include. Seriously take a moment to check out their website.



The Youth for Christ sign outside the school grounds.



They have two buildings for their preschool (which goes up through kindergarten) and three buildings for primary school. Next year they will be adding sixth grade to complete the primary school.



These kiddos are Adele's age.




One of the older classes. All the classes are taught in French, but they also take English while they are there.



I had to include this little one. She did pose for the picture and all.

Monday, May 5, 2008

New Hope Homes

Here are the promised pictures from New Hope Homes...


Here's one of the houses, there are three in all.



This is the kitchen for the oldest house. It's definitely modest, but clean and well-taken care of.



A typical room for the older kids. There are ten kids total per house.



Some of the cribs that the babies sleep in. To go from this to an orphanage is shocking. Crib after crib after crib of babies desperate to just be touched.



Here is our delivery of all the donations...thanks again.



The oldest few kids go off to school, but the younger ones have a teacher that comes onto the property.



Oliviana causes quite the stir where ever she goes. Everyone always wants to touch and hold her.



Anthony and I with two of the babies. They are actually only a couple weeks apart but you would never guess it from the size of them.



A couple of the little ones eating lunch. They're actually blowing us kisses goodbye.



Chantal is an amazing woman and she clearly loves these children deeply. What she is doing in their lives is incredible and as a hopeful mother of a child from one of these homes...words just can't describe how thankful I am for what she is doing.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Giraffes, Zebras, and Baboons...oh my!

Zoos just won't do it for me anymore. The last two days were so much fun...we went to one of the national parks here in Rwanda. We spent about six hours out driving and walking around with giraffes, zebras, baboons...it was really cool.

There isn't much to write, I'd rather attach pictures. Enjoy!


Here we all are. We've really enjoyed being with the Burnfields...they've been so good to us.


Probably my favorite picture.


We saw a lot of giraffes. They are really cool and you can usually get relatively close before they take off.


It's so hard to get a picture of the body of a hippo because they stay under the water all day. We found this one snoozing near the edge of the water and honked until we woke it up. We were pretty excited about it.


James, our guide, was really amazing. He clearly loves what he does and seemed to enjoy our time out there as much as we did. He also took quite a liking to Brad and Kiki's daughter, Oliviana, but if you heard the way she roars you wouldn't be able to resist her either.


Here is a picture of a baboon and an impala. We saw a lot of both, in fact, the baboons liked to hang around the lodge we stayed at. And the impala, we found out, can actually drink from a vessel in their legs...crazy.


This bird was seriously ugly. Notice the white legs? They are white from poop!


Oh, and I couldn't resist including this pic of one of the kids waving at us when we drove by.

So, we saw a lot of other animals too...velvet monkeys, water buffalo, and a bunch of birds (James loves birds), but I figured these pics would give you a taste at least.

Tomorrow we leave to start our journey home. It's just crazy. I will be meeting my luggage at the airport, or so they say...we'll see. When I get back I'll post some pictures from New Hope Homes and maybe a few more from tomorrow morning. Thanks for checking in with us. God has truly blessed our trip and we can't wait to begin posting updates about the adoption moving forward.