These are actually from FB notes me and Jamey wrote the day we visited:
We first went to the Lisanga orphanage. This is where Chad and Ian were for over 2 months. This was my first time seeing an orphanage first hand. No matter how many pictures you see before hand, nothing can prepare you for such a sight. I have no way of describing just how bad it was there. When we left I kept hugging the boys wondering how they ever survived. There were lots of crying babies with no one to hold them. No formula. And it smelled like urine everywhere. We picked up the babies that were crying. But then there were so many toddlers looking up with me with such sad eyes. I sat on a step and I had a lap full. All I could do was love them for that moment and say a prayer for them. It was so impossible to deal with the fact that if I left these babies they would most likely die. But seriously, what could I do? Couldn’t take them all, heck I’d be arrested if I had taken any. That wouldn’t have been good as now 4 of my own kids to take care of. We can leave lots of formula but it will only last so long. As we left all I could do was hold Chad and Ian tightly and Thank God they were alive. Chad had Malaria when he left the orphanage. He was on his death bed. Pastor Loma’s family (foster family) saved his life. Thank you is just not nearly enough.
Later in the day we were blessed to go visit the Loma’s home. I wasn’t for sure if this would be a good thing for Chad. He had just started to come out of his shell. Will he climb back in it after he goes back to his home? My question was answered when we left! But first, let me tell you about our visit. It was so wonderful. The family is so loving and were sooo excited to see the boys! I just can’t explain just how wonderful these people are! They couldn’t stop from loving on them. There are 10 kids 4 grandkids and a few foster children. So the boys had lots of hugs and kisses! Chad (the silent backward one) started cheerfully yelling everyone’s name. He was teasing them. Unfortunately, it was all done in Lingala. Some was translated for us. The rest of his conversations I just enjoyed listening to him interact and everyone laughing at him. How happy he is in this home! As we were leaving, he simply reached for Jamey and yelled BYEYOW (have no idea how to spell, but it sure sounded cute) which means Bye in Lingala to each and every family member. He happily chose to leave with us! It was the most amazing moment! One that will always be remembered!
Today was full of emotional highs and lows. We started the day by going to an Orphanage. This is where Chad and Ian spent about 2 months. We had been warned it was bad. We had even seen some pictures. Pictures nor warning could have prepared us for what we saw. As you drive down a dirt side street there is a big green gate on the left. We stopped in front of it, stepped over the street side latrine and went thru the gate. When we went in there were several kids running around the path leading into the office area. There were no adults until we got to the office. All of the kids were curious to see what these people were doing there We visited with the 2 women who run the orphanage while teenage girls came running to see Chad & Ian. They all wanted to hold them and love on them. There were probably 35-40 kids at the orphanage, 10-12 were under the age of 2. The remaining 65-70 were in school. We walked into the “nursery”, a large room with 10 or so bunk beds. Most of the kids under 2 were either sleeping or sitting in their bed crying. Few were able to walk at this age due to malnutrition. Jilma picked up 2, and I picked up one. Stori already had 3 or 4 on her lap at the doorway. The girl I held stopped crying the minute I touched her. I held her and she snuggled in for a hug. She was probably 12 months and weighed at most 7 lbs. Stori broke away from the mob on her lap to come see some others. She noticed that the little girls I was holding was covered in feces, as was I now. For some reason it did not matter at that point. I gave her to one of the teenage girls who went to clean her up. I went and cleaned myself up and could not believe what I was seeing. How can 2 women, care for 10-12 infants, and 90+ other children? The answer is no one was getting cared for. At age 15-16 the kids are turned out to the street. So if they are lucky enough to survive no care as infants they will be homeless as teenagers. The bad part of this story is this is one of hundreds of orphanages just like this in this part of the world. The images I saw today will haunt me for a very long time. We are to visit 2 more orphanages in the coming days. They are not supposed to be in such desperate shape. In the storage room all they had was rice and a few beans, no formula, no baby food. There was no running water, no toilet, and no shower. The kids carried water from a well a few blocks away. They used the street side latrine as the toilet and I am not sure about showers. It is my opinion that if a child gets sick and stays in this place, they will not live long. We were so blessed that we were able to get Chad and Ian out of this place and into foster care when we did. I still cannot get this place out of my mind.
This afternoon we visited Pastor Loma and his family at his house. This was the highlight of the trip so far. As soon as we pulled up to their home. Kids came running from the house to greet us, or so I thought. They came running to get Chad and Ian. Pastor Loma’s children range from 8-24 years of each. They all held Chad and Ian at some point and loved on them. When we pulled up Chad started in yelling the kids names and a bunch of other stuff I did not understand. He speaks langala. He speaks it very well from what I learned. He would tease and play with the others for the next 2 hours. It was great to see how these people cared for our boys. They gave Chad a sucker and he shared it with everyone, but would also tease everyone with it. After we shared some gifts we had brought for them all, Mama Josephine removed a cloth from a table to reveal a large spread of food that she and the girls had prepared for us. This surprised us all. We fixed ourselves plates and Mama Josephine and Caroline, their oldest, fixed Chad a plate. He had more then I had. Looked like Grandma Helen had fixed the plate. They took his shirt off of him and set him on the table and he dug in! He ate most of it, that boy can sure eat! All night they would give him the photo album we had sent and then try to take it and he would yell in langala, “Give me back my new papa!” He also pointed out his new mama and new older siblings! Watch out Livia and Parker he knows who you are! When he thought it was time to leave, he crawled to me, I picked him up. He proceed to yell everyone’s name and “Bye- O”. I didn’t know it was time to leave , but he did. That was probably the best feeling I have had in a while. He came to me and wanted me to take him and go home. These were the people who had cared for him for the last 4 months. It seemed as thought they had been preparing him for his new Papa, Mama and his new older siblings. The Loma’s are truly beautiful people, inside and out. They are taking care of 5 kids right now because they believe God called them to do this! Words cannot explain how grateful I am to this family for saving my two boys lives when they brought them into their home and out of that orphanage.
It is so hard not to look at my boys and be totally amazed that they are alive. They both had Malaria when Pastor Loma took them out of the orphanage. He saved their lives. They would not have been treated in the orphanage. It makes me cry to think about it. When I hear Chad cry during his nap, I can’t help but be terrified of what he is dreaming of. When, I climb the steps to get to Ian’s crib, I wonder if he thinks he is going to be left there to scream forever.
They have been through so much in their little lives. First, they lost their Mama. Then were in a field for who knows how long. Then to this very poor orphanage. Then the Loma’s saved them and provided a wonderful loving environment. One in which they became very attached. And finally, we took them from everything they have ever known. We brought them to our world. It is full of such different things, smells, sights, sounds, etc.
I sing to the boys every night a little song I made up. It has a lot of Forever and Always in it. I hope they know that we are here forever and always.
There are days that I wish I had not seen these faces that sometimes haunt my dreams.
But these faces remind me when I am sick of diapering and feeding ,that I am so very blessed to have all those diapers and food to clean up after. I am embarrassed at what I used to believe were problems and stresses in my life. Any problem I have now, I can very easily turn into a blessing that I am able to have the problem at all.
And these faces show me that these children still have Hope despite their living conditions. Please help them to continue to have Hope visit Our Family Adoptions and make a donation. Donations are used to provide housing, infrastructure, clothing, infant formula, supplies, educational materials and scholarships to orphans in DRC of all ages.
Please pray for these children. Please pray for humanity. Please pray that we will come together and do something for these 180 million orphans.
P.S. My dear friends Megan and Cami are visiting the Lisanga Orphanage today. I pray that God gives them strength to be strong. Megan has her little baby Miles in her arms! YAY!!! Please keep them all in your thoughts and prayers.