Friday, July 27, 2012

Go Team Rwanda!! **UPDATED at end!

Well, the Olympics are about to begin and I have to say, as the member of a swimming family (my older brother even swam in the trials in 2000), I am beyond excited. I love it all, the stories, the events, the is just magical. Anyway, so this year, I decided to do a little research and figure out who was on Team Rwanda and follow how they do! I have had the worst time finding a roster for the team, but will share with you what I have found. Let me know if you know of any others!

Alphonsine Agahozo:
Swimming...Women's 50M Free

Robert Kajuga:
Track & Field...Men's 10000M

Claudette Mukasakindi:
Track & Field...Women's Marathon

Jean Pierre Mvuyekure:
Track & Field...Men's Marathon

Jackson Niyomugabo:
Swimming...Men's 50M Free

Adrien Niyonshuti:
Cycling...Men's Mountain Bike

Fred Yannick Uwase:
Judo...Men's Lightweight

Rwanda first competed in the olympics in 1984 and have never won a medal. Maybe this will be the year!  Let's go Team Rwanda!!!

**UPDATE!! Okay, so no medals exactly, but that doesn't mean that we didn't swell with pride with each glimpse of these athletes!! The best showing (and only one that we actually saw compete) came from Robert Kajuga, who competed in the men's 10,000m. He placed 14th over all and it was a fun race to watch because it is the one that Britain's Mo Farah first one. Here is a video of the race...Kajuga is the one in the bright yellow shirt and blue shorts.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Part of the Problem?

Today I read an article, written in Rwanda, about the concern surrounding Rwandese children adopted out of the country and how they are being raised to view their Rwandese heritage. The idea was that the new commission that is in charge of the welfare of the children hasn't really been informed on this. And I hate to admit it, but I think our family is a part of the problem. But we don't want to be...oh how we don't want to be.

You have to understand, when we adopted Nathan, there was very little information out there as to what was expected from us as adoptive parents.  Even what was to be included in the dossier was undefined.  We gathered what all information we could and leaned heavily on our contacts.  We never used an agency except for our homestudy, but as soon as that was done, we really never talked to them again.  They never said anything about doing post-placement reports and so we didn't know to do one.  We were simply clueless.  We did what we thought we were supposed to and when we got home with Nathan, we just thanked God that he was finally here with us and moved on with our life as a family of six.

It wasn't until he had been home for a couple of years (last spring) when we started hearing about post-placements.  We felt embarrassed that we had never sent one and did one immediately, sending it off to Rwanda with hopes and prayers that they were glad to receive it.  Then last summer, when I was in Rwanda, I went to the Ministry that was then in charge of things and gave one of the ladies that worked there some pictures of our family and Nathan.  And that is all we have done.

So, then I read this article today and I feel like we haven't even begun to do enough.  There is simply no way that the Commission knows how important Nathan's Rwandese heritage is to us.  I'm sure the post-placement won't have provided them with that and who knows whether or not they know that I was there last summer and saw the pictures that I brought.

And the thing is that it is SO important to us.  We want Nate to be proud of being Rwandese.  We talk about it a lot.  As a family we have embraced Rwanda as part of our family heritage.  We have taught the girls to love Rwanda...and they do, they really do.  Nate is only four, but he understands that that is where he came from and our intention is to help him learn more about it as he gets older.  We talk about going to Rwanda as a family all the time.  It is so important to us.  We treasure ever moment that we have had with of our sweetest connections to those hills.  We have stayed connected with her and what she is doing in Rwanda, especially with New Hope Homes.  It is a huge priority for us as a family.

And we have dreams that include Rwanda.  Thoughts about spending extensive time there as a family.  Ways that we can come alongside the people with the gifts that God has given us. Hopes for really learning about the country by spending time in those hills and with those beautiful people.  We have hopes for speaking the language...

I want to let the Commission know all of this.  I wish I could sit down with them and tell them all of these things.  I wish they could hear our hearts and see our kids...I wish they could hear our 8 year old, Adele, talk about how she wants to go there.

We are looking into ways to communicate with them.  We want them to feel encouraged.  We want them to know that at least one of the 361 children that have been adopted abroad (according to the article) is being brought up in a home that is teaching him to be proud of where he comes from.  We don't want the silence to cause them to regret allowing some of their children to find homes in other countries.  We want them to have hope...and we want that hope to translate into better lives for the orphans of Rwanda.

So I guess that I am writing all of this to ask for you to join us in prayer. Prayer not only for our family as we navigate this, but for the Commission, that they may hear from enough of us to feel encouraged. And please, please, pray for the children. Pray for those children that are without a home in those hills. Pray that the confusion between a bunch of adults doesn't keep them from being blessed with families...either in Rwanda or abroad. Please, just pray...

Monday, July 9, 2012

From the US Dept. of State...

NOTICE: The Hague Adoption Convention Enters into Force for Rwanda

On July 1, 2012 the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-Operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Convention) entered into force for Rwanda. However, the Government of Rwanda has notified the U.S. Embassy in Kigali that the current suspension on intercountry adoptions will remain in effect until the country has a fully functional Convention process in place. The Government of Rwanda believes implementation will take several months.

We caution adoption service providers and prospective adoptive parents that important steps to ensure intercountry adoptions from Rwanda comply with the Convention must take place before intercountry adoptions between the United States and Rwanda resume. Adoption service providers should neither initiate nor claim to initiate adoption programs in Rwanda until the Department of State notifies them that the Government of Rwanda has lifted its suspension on intercountry adoptions and that Rwanda’s procedures meet the requirements of the Convention.

They did it. Still not sure what this will mean for our family, but we are at least one step closer to finding out. Still praying...

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th!

Tonight we are going to eat some barbecue (because we are good Kansans) and then take all the kids to see some fireworks.  It is the 4th of July after all.  But today isn't just a day of celebration in America, Rwanda has something to celebrate too...

July 4th isn't Rwanda's Independence Day.  Actually July 1st is...and this year marked 50 years since Rwanda gained its independence from Belgium rule.  That is certainly a date worth noting, although what followed that independence in the massacres of the 1960s and 1994, makes it a tough one too.

What July 4th does mark in Rwanda is its liberation.  The 4th is the day that RPF (Rwandan Patriotic Front) overtook Kigali, marking the end of the genocide.  (Although I am sure that there are many in those hills who feel that it went on much longer than that.)  It's a day of remembrance for what happened and how far they have come...just as it is for us here in the US.

My hope is that as Nate grows older, he will feel pride as both an American and Rwandan on this day.  It's a strange thing to straddle two histories, but an honor none the less.