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Adopting (no, we are not)

December 8, 2012

For clarification and emphasis: WE ARE NOT ADOPTING.  That isn’t a theological statement, a philosophical statement, or even a statement that will remain true past publishing this post, however, I know how quickly internet rumors catch on, so let’s avoid this one for the moment, shall we?

For me, Lisa, the number one question I was asked during deputation (the period of time raising support in the states) was “And what will you be doing there?”  My answer generally followed the guidelines about how I have two small children and would probably find enough to do to keep me busy.  And this is true.  But, as always, people tend to hone in on certain things God has mapped out for them where He has placed them.

I wasn’t too concerned with making sure I was doing something specific and obviously God-glorifying.  Not that I was sitting around eating chocolate while my children fanned me (mostly, because they wouldn’t cooperate), but rather that I kept busy.

I recently signed up to be the bulk food buyer for our MAF team in Kinshasa.  I will make my first trip next week.  It should be exciting.  Pepe will be my guide, so I should be good to go.

I also recently wrote about all of the people in and out of our gate that keep me busy.  At one point this week, I had three separate people come within thirty minutes who all required my attention.

But, beyond that and keeping my home and family content, my children fed, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and myself rested and healthy, I have found a new niche.  Adoptions.

Adoptions here in DR Congo have only been open for less than two years, and since we have been here, it has boomed.  We are at the point now where there are literally two or three American families coming each week to start the process in country.  Some stay for just a few days, some stay for over a month.

I know very little about the adoption process, and it seems that there is not just one way to do it.  I might learn more as I go, but I am so grateful for the ladies and their families that sacrifice so much to bring these kiddos into their forever families.  And, since I’m here, I am someone who understands their culture and has learned a little about this one, I want to be available to help.  I can answer questions (most common one: do we really have to wear long skirts?  Short answer: no.).  I can be one of the few English speakers outside the US Embassy walls.  I don’t have any connections at the Embassy itself, and I have no idea how to help the process, but I have found that sometimes, these ladies just need a day out, a chance to step out of what they are here to do, with their new kiddos, and take them shopping and sometimes even bring them here to relax outside of their hotel.  And Pepe is so good with kids, he always seems to bring them out of their discomfort!

I did this for two families, one with whom we became connected in St. Louis on our epic road trip at the beginning of this year, in July.  It was so fun!  Then, Jocelyn and I were connected with another mom, from another agency, because she lives near MAF HQ and goes to church with someone who works for MAF.  So, I connected and reconnected and connected yet again, thanks to the power of facebook.

Earlier this week, I became part of a Congo adoption group on facebook.  So, I thought, “hey, I’ll post a brief little statement about how I can answer any questions about culture and offer to take someone visiting to go souvenir shopping.”  I didn’t do my research to see how many people were part of this group, or how hungry they are for a local connection.  I thought I would get a few questions here and there, a few more cool connections, and that was it.

Oh. My. Goodness.  Wrong.  But, hey, I now have over 40 new facebook friends and I have spent the last several days answering tons of messages, and emails, about this and that.  It is fun, but sometimes it’s a bit overwhelming!  I think they’re all in on the joke, though, because nearly every message starts out with some variation of “I’m sure you didn’t realize how many of us would respond, but I have a question for you…”

This past Wednesday, I went to the hotel where most of the adopting families stay, which is directly across the street from the Embassy.  I met at least five ladies and their new babies (a few months to a few years old) in the lobby, and took two of them with me.  We had a blast getting fabric, and going to two different shops for souvenirs.  We had an awesome Congolese lunch, outside of a booth made from old wood, corrugated tin, and tarps – super tasty.  Then, I chatted with a bunch of ladies back at the hotel before coming home way too late.

So, I’ll hone my skills, perfect the coordination of our outings, and, my favorite part, get to know all the vendors!  I already know a few and they now know to expect me on Wednesdays.  I will bargain hard for “le bon prix” (the best price) and we will have fun.  I will get to meet these kids who are at such a confusing point in their lives, but it’s the beginning of the best thing for them.  I will get to practice more French and Lingala.  And, hopefully, I will provide a needed service, and make it a ministry, into the lives of these growing families.

But, for now, my kids and I have a chocolate and fanning session to get to…

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Tally in Congo permalink
    December 8, 2012 0829

    Love this post. We got to meet and host a couple of newly adopting parents and their precious kids. It was so fun to be able to be a help to them. I’m sure you’re a great encouragement to them.

  2. December 11, 2012 0829

    Yes, you had no idea how many of us would respond and would appreciate you SO very much. You also had no idea how much of a blessing you have been and will be to us adoptive mommas who have half of our hearts on the other side of the world as we wait to bring our babies home!! You are a huge blessing to us waiting and knowing that when the day comes when we can FINALLY go get our loves, you will be there as a familiar face {does it count that you are familiar through the internet?!:-)} welcoming us and helping us feel comfortable in this new place. Thank you for reaching out and know that you are a light to us adoptive mommas. You truly are the hands and feet of Jesus. LOVE this post, by the way. Now, go, carry on with your chocolate and fanning…:-)


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