Monday, January 27, 2014

What a week it has been!

A Lot to Share with You!

So, with so much excitement going having the families here with us, it has made it very difficult to WORK!  Who wants to work when there is so much loving going on! 

But work we must and we are doing so.  As has become customary, when we arrive in country one of our first tasks is to visit the orphanages we are working with.  It is wonderful to be able to see the children who have been matched with many of you.  In addition, we get to see new referrals we have received and any new children to the orphanages. Upon arrival at one of the first orphanages we were greeted by the children singing the song JESUS LOVES US, in ENGLISH!   After the song we were then treated to a display of African dances... and boy can they dance! We couldn't resist joining in! Debra, the Director and a nanny danced with them! We even hooted and hollered with them!  The children are precious and have such wonderful smiles!

We spent the morning going over legal files and getting menus of what the children eat.  Prior to our visits we had asked all centers to supply us with nutrition menus so that we could make sure the children were getting the best they could supply.  We were very lucky that the families brought over alot of formula and pedialyte, so we were able to take alot of that and diapers.  We want to assure you that your children are being well taken care of by the EAC staff.  We told them that we would come back the next day to install a water purification system so that all children and adults could have clean water without fear of getting sick.  They were very excited! Thank you, Chad and Shellie for helping with this mission that is so needed in Congo.  Not only id the donate the systems, but they traveled with us on this trip and Chad has been installing the systems.  He has also been training Patrick!  Every orphanage we have installed systems has been super grateful.  Some had tears in there eyes. as the need is so great.

The next day we went to two more orphanages to see more children and install more water purification systems.  The days for us are very long and extremely hot but we cannot worry
about ourselves, we must move ahead to help the children.

We want to take a quick minute to again thank Margaret for neverending moral and monetary support.  We want you to know she is always there to approve what we need and stands behind us as we make sure all children have good food, and medical  attention.

We were invited to a new center outside of the city.  We had the adventure of a lifetime!  As drove and drove (and drove some more), thousands of people were everywhere.  The road got so bad we thought we were going to rip our car in half!  We finally parked the car and got out of the vehicle (Thankfully, the car was still in one piece!)  We asked Patrick, who was dressed in his suit, "where are we going?" His reply, "up that trail a ways".  We said, "UP THAT TRAIL A WAYS?"  So we walked, and walked, and walked" Finally, at the top of the trail we saw a small center and we were met by a wonderful woman.  We were able to visit her orphanage, meet her staff, and then make arrangement's for her to come to the city.  There is so much need in that center that we wanted to put them all in the car to bring them home and feed them. We are very hopeful that we can improve the lives of those children and staff. When you see people in such despair, with nothing to eat and needing so much. it is very humbling.  We will keep you posted on this development. 

Some of the families have provided their impressions of this trip below.  Also include are some pictures.  A very special thank you to them!

Debra and Robin

"My name is Dave Miller and my wife and I have adopted a boy from the DRC.  He has cleared court and we are now in the investigation phase.  With the uncertainty of exit visas and the thought of a delay in bringing my son home, I took advantage of the opportunity to go and visit the DRC with Robin and Debra from EAC. Nothing could prepare me for what I have experienced.  On the positive side I have been able to spend a week with my son. 

I have also spent a week with 4 other families who are on the same journey.  We started the week, as strangers and we have quickly become a community.  It has been an incredible experience.  I also had the opportunity to visit the orphanage in Kinshasa.  That is the orphanage where my son spent 6 months after he was found abandoned.  I am so thankful for the work of the orphanage and EAC because the alternative for these kids is most likely death.  As the van drove down the garbage and devastation, I could only think about my idea of needs vs. wants.   I put many things in the needs column when there are clearly wants.  On just the one road we drove down I saw so many people that didn't  even have clean water to drink.  I saw little boys 4 or 5 years old carrying large containers  filled with water.  I saw hunger, pain and despair everywhere.  I wish every person alive could Make that trip.  I think if everyone could smell the air and experience the intensity and look into the eyes of these children everyone would be involved with adoption in some capacity.  As part of humanity we have to help the ones who can't help themselves.  If adoption does not fit your family, you should find someone who is adopting and help them anyway you can."
The Miller's son resting after a long day of play!

"Our (long) journey here to Kinshasa and to our little girl has been beyond our expectations. We knew that it would changes our lives and the lives of these little ones but we never expected it would change our lives in such profound ways. The work of our dedicated EAC staff has made such a positive and profound impact on our trip. Having this experience with other families has certainly added to our adventure as we have been fortunate to play together and see the children as they might act in their EAC foster home environments. We are learning every minute about our little one - what makes them happy and what types of activities they like (note: all LOVE the pool). 

Even today, by 11 am we have been in the pool twice - laughing, jumping, and bonding. We are so very thankful to have this time to initiate bonding with our little girl and preparation for our final trip when we can bring her home. With the dedication of the Kinshasa and US EAC staff, we have been able to bond with our children in ways we did not expect possible in the short time here. Todd and I cannot believe we leave tomorrow for home - the time here has flown by - but we leave with anticipation that we will return to Kinshasa shortly and bring home our little girl."

Todd and Erika

"It’s been one week since we met our children.  One amazing, emotional, fun-filled, enlightening week.  It would take pages and pages to explain how we feel about our son and daughter, and even then we’d only be scratching the surface.  We’ll hold off on that for now and try to explain some of the other connections that have touched us so deeply this week.
 You see, we are new parents living in a new place establishing new relationships with our children.  We’ve never looked forward so much to any other event in our lives, and now that we are here—living it—we find ourselves increasingly grateful for the people who have made it all possible.  These are real people with real lives and real passion for children.

As my kiddos nap, I look around our flat and see gifts of food and toys from other adoptive parents who we’ve been blessed (and I don’t use that word lightly) to share time with here.  I think of their helping hands at “le pescine” making sure each little arm had their water wings, taking photos upon photos, even backing mama up on her first official blow-out diaper.  That’s a friend right there.  To Erika, Todd, Dave, Sara, Bobby, Shellie & Chad: Thank you for your support and thoughtfulness!  We are so glad we got to share this life-changing experience with each of you.

 The love certainly doesn’t stop there though, folks.  Over this week I’ve seen the Congolese and American EAC staff come and go from Sunny Day many times.  They are consistently seeking ways to meet the practical and emotional needs of EAC children.  Even better, nearly every time one of the children here sees their smiling faces, they run and leap into their arms with giggles.  This does a mama’s heart good.  Again, real people with real passion for our children.  I’ve witnessed our lawyer console a tearful father.  I’ve seen our social workers and caregivers hug tenderly on our children.  And I’ve watched as staff care for each other, friend to friend.  This picture of humanity working together in such an intimate way for such a beautiful cause is almost too much to take in.  I find great comfort in knowing such loving hearts are caring for our babies while we’re away.  To Patrick and team, Linda, Daniel, Mama Josie, Annie, Jessy, Debra & Robin:  There is no way we’ll ever be able to adequately express our gratitude for you.  Each of you are such an important piece of the bridge connecting us forever to our children and their country.  Can I just say, “We love you!”

  Finally, we want to thank the very gracious and hard-working team at Sunny Day.  To Papa Zavier, Papa Jacke, Patric, Joseph, Carine, Carlos, Thomas, Pablo, Samba and Allen:  You’ve created a little piece of heaven.  We will always, always remember meeting our children here and truly feel at home in your presence. Tikala malamu!"

~Strasbaugh Libota/Family



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