Angel and Ellen just returned from Liberia last week, and I was able to talk with Angel this morning to get an update on Kelvin and Hawa. The kids have been moved into a foster home because the orphanage cannot care for so many kids anymore, according to the new laws that Liberia has passed. They have to become a boarding school instead, which allows them to provide care, food, and education for the majority of the year to the almost 400 children who desperately need it. There will be a monthly fee for their care in this foster home, which will go toward school costs, food including fresh fruits and meats, clothing, medical costs, and toiletries.
I found out that Kelvin and Hawa are in the home of the adoption director in Liberia, who is over the adoptions that happen from our christian orphanage! She is a wonderful woman who deeply cares for all of these kids, and she specifically requested to have the younger kids in her home. 2 other children who are matched with families in the US are staying there as well. This woman has 3 kids of her own, so I can imagine she will have a very full household until we are allowed to go and pick the kids up. We should be able to e-mail them a letter every month.
Angel said that Kelvin & Hawa are the first kids to come running to her when she visits, and they are all smiles, though quiet. She describes them as being very dear to her. :) They looked to her to be healthy, although things like malaria are not easily detected until symptoms show themselves. Apparently, Hawa is very tiny. She is the size of a 2-3 year old Liberian child, so much, much smaller than her American counterparts. Angel believes she is most likely 4 (indicated by her speaking ability), and not 5 as the paperwork stated. Angel is hopeful that having fresh fruits and meats available, instead of just rice, in the foster home will enable her to gain some weight and begin to grow in a healthy manner. Kelvin will attend school with the director's children in Monrovia once fall comes, and even Hawa may go to what they call an "abc program" for young children.
The not-so-fun news is that adoption law has not moved forward in the Liberian government structure at all. Angel does not see it doing so in the near future for several reasons. The main reason is that there is just a serious culture of misinformation there regarding adoption. Many still think that adoption is child trafficking as has been reported to them by Save the Children and UNICEF, instead of the reality of it being a way to provide children with families and homes and joy and love. The barriers to the truth seem very big and high right now, and I fight discouragement because of that. The people in charge of what happens with adoptions in Liberia are not really in favor of adoption at all... so you can see that they have no motivation to get things moving.
We will once again be doing anything we can on the US side of things to get attention for this issue. If any of you have contacts within our Representatives or government, please let us know. Typically, families like ours who have been matched with children are grandfathered in to be able to finish their adoptions, even if the rest of adoptions have been halted... so we're going top be asking for that specifically. One precious child already died of malaria as a result of not being able to be home with their American family where they could have received the medical care they needed. It is heartbreaking for us all.
I will not stop doing whatever I can to get my children home, and yet I realise that this is all MUCH bigger than I am. I have no power here, but God does. I have no authority to be heard, but God does. I have no way to scream the truth so that people understand, but with a whisper to a heart, God can change everything. I acknowledge that we desperately need God to accomplish this, and that we are nothing without him.
On a personal note, we are OK. Not much is any different than it has been all these months. We have had little "good news" all along, and so we trudge on... trusting God to hold Kelvin & Hawa, and us. But I deeply feel the loss of the time that keeps slipping away. I feel like I'm mourning the time that they cannot know the love our family has for them, or the time that we are not able to hold them and help them to heal, or the time that I cannot be their Mama. That is heavy on my heart, but I am holding on to the hope that God is gracious to give me.
Please pray for the kids... for protection, health, love and joy and the ability to adjust and endure changes. Pray for us... for continued patience, wisdom, hope, joy, and endurance. Pray for Angel... she had worked tirelessly, but this work is emotionally draining, especially when all her efforts seem fruitless at times. Pray that God refreshes her and redeems the time she has with her husband and kids. Pray for the Liberian government, and the US government... that God would open eyes and hearts and cause them to MOVE on behalf of all the children of Liberia.
To read more about what Angel did in Liberia, see pictures, and get her take on things, read her blog at www.rutledge6.blogspot.com