Family Picture

Family Picture

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Rest of the Days in the DRC

After an exciting and crazy gotcha day, we moved on to Sunday.  Sunday we went swimming with our new friends, the Brown's.  We traveled to the guest house where the other adoptive families were staying.  It was a great time to bond with the boys.  They loved the pool!!  When we got back to our hotel it was supper time so we went downstairs to eat in the hotel restaurant.  And then.....commence the puking!!!!  Yah.....where is the manual that says I know you love your kids and want to bond with them through food but they have tiny stomachs and haven't eaten much each day so don't shove so much food down their throat you stupid idiot!!!!  That was us, the stupid idiots!!  HA!!  After peanuts and fruit snacks and cheese and crackers and M&M's all day long that was all their sweet little stomachs could take.  And then commence the angry housekeeper who has to clean up puke all night long and wants to know why we are making these kids puke.  Just dumb, dumb Americans ma'am!!  So if you are an adoptive parent and you are reading this, DO NOT give your kids a ton of processed food to bond because they have tiny tummies and it needs to be a gradual thing!  Who knew?!!  On to the next day, they boys were feeling great, we were taking it easy on the food and all was well!!  Because Matt and I did not know French we had little confidence to go anywhere in  the DRC unless we were with others, so we spent much of the week in the hotel room just bonding with the boys.  Monday and Tuesday we spent in the room.  Wednesday we got to go to the market with a local missionary.  This was a great experience!!  So thankful for the sweet missionary who really is Jesus in disguise to adoptive parents who SO need an outing!!  The market was awesome!  We picked up some art, jewelry, toys and dolls.  The bargaining was right up Matt's alley and I dare say he had a blast bargaining with the merchants.  There were so many bright and beautiful crafts to choose from.  It was a bit overwhelming as you had every merchant yelling Mama, Mama come buy this, come buy that.  But who can blame them.....this is how they make their living.  Some days I wish for a do over and I would just buy a little bit from each vendor.  We have SO much and they have SO little in the DRC.  It was an amazing experience to get out and see the city.  We ate schwarma's (spelling?) at a Lebanese restaurant and then had to head back to the hotel because Matt was sick.  He was then sick for the rest of the trip.  :(     
Thursday we did not do much either, just stayed in the hotel room praying for our exit letter so we could leave.  Spending many days in the hotel with three boys is difficult.  But man the boys were truly angels and adapted SO well!!  They truly are super well behaved (for the most part) :) 
We watched all of our friends leave on Thursday as they had received their exit letters.  This was tough because we were really ready to go home.  But God wasn't done yet!  We were told for sure we would have our exit letter on Friday and hopefully by noon.  But this is the DRC people, a very different, much slower paced culture, where timelines do not matter much.  Somedays it would be nice to have that here in the U.S.  My boys are teaching me much about slowing down and enjoying the moments!!  So no surprise that at noon we still did not have an exit letter.  But we had booked our plane tickets to leave that night so we had to get it! God is amazing people and he showed up in SO many ways on our trip.  Especially at the end here.  It was the eleventh hour but God showed up and our exit letter was ready at 4:30!  There was much rejoicing from Matt and I and much praising God!!  We got ready and we were in the lobby of the hotel waiting to leave when Matt tells me he doesn't think we can leave because he doesn't feel good.  I said YOU ARE GETTING ON THAT PLANE!!!  Thankfully, the hotel owner gave him some good advice as to how to perk up and it worked.  We were picked up and taken to the airport.  Our airport experience was crazy!  Our in country staff walked us through every crazy step and we go to our lounge and we were waiting for the plane.  After an hour and a half of waiting it seemed that the plane was delayed.  Yup, delayed because of weather.  For 5 hours!!!!!!!!!!!!  And we were SO close to it being cancelled and SO scared because we couldn't speak French and couldn't call anyone for help because it was 2am.  But our God is amazing and he shows up!!!!  Pretty sure we met the owner of the Lebanese restaurant we went to in Kinshasa 2 days prior.  He spoke English and helped us understand what was happening with the plane and why we were waiting for Sooooooooo long.  And then of course our great God answered our prayers and our plane showed up.  What a great feeling it was to be on that plane and going home!!  Our time in the DRC was incredible, we got to pick up our kids and experience a culture unlike anything we had EVER experienced!!  God is continually pressing on my heart to never forget.  I am super excited to watch our lives unfold as we hold our arms wide open and say God whatever you want from us, we will do, wherever you want us to go, however you want us to serve, we are ALL IN!!!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

I Don't Want to Forget

So this post should be Day 3 of our time in the DRC.  I hope to get to that soon but I need to interrupt because I feel God pressing on my heart to share about the things that I don't want to forget, the things that I saw that changed my life. 

And I also wanted to say that I have posted on here and on our Facebook page some raw emotions and some realities of the journey we are going through.  I just want to make it clear that we are good, that we are enjoying the journey, but Matt and I have agreed that we will not sugar coat it.  Because how will that help anyone and reality is reality. But we are in God's will, right now, we are living out God's will for our lives and there is absolutely no better place to be.  We are loving it!!  He is faithful and amazing! And it is a joy to serve him no matter how challenging it may be.  Man how boring would it be to not say YES to what he asks of us.  I love the adventure!!  So please know that if you ask us how we are doing, we may be having a bad day, we may want to throw the children outside and lock the door, but inside ALL IS WELL WITH OUR SOUL!!!! 

Things I do not want to forget-and again remember this is our first trip overseas, our first encounter with poverty, so our reactions and emotions may be different than those who have seen it all before, but one thing I do think, is how can your life not be changed by the things you see in a 3rd world country.....I know ours is forever changed.....

** I do not want to forget the soccer field, a dirt bottom with garbage everywhere and tons of adults and kids playing soccer on it.  It looked like a garbage dump seriously. 
**I do not want to forget the conditions the people lived in, the dirt floors of their shops, the garbage everywhere, the unsanitary water they washed their hands in.
**I do not want to forget the people sleeping on the street and making their beds on the side of a car.
** I do not want to forget the kindness of the Congolese people, they were so accomodating and helpful, we seriously could not have made it through our week without their help.  Really and truly we were dumb white people in an African culture knowing nothing of their customs or how they care for their children.  It was so humbling to be in a foreign land and to not speak the language and to feel helpless.
** I do not want to forget the canal where the garbage was being burned and then less than a foot away stood the people just hanging out.
** I do not want to forget the man who told us he makes $5 a day working a 12 hour shift at the hotel we paid  $400 a night. $5 a day when here in the USA we legally have to pay $7 an HOUR!
** I do not want to forget the police presence that is so huge in the DRC.  I do not want to forget saluting the guards and how my boys are so influenced by anything related to police.
** I do not want to forget how well the Congolese people did community.  They were always all together, helping each other, hanging out.  We don't hang out together enough here in the USA, I feel like we are always so segregated to our own families.  Which isn't bad but the sense of community and constant help to each other in the DRC was so great to see.  The people there will just come up to you and take care of your kids for you; which shows how much they help each other out and work together.  If we did that in the USA we would probably get sued.  Seriously people!!!  Craziness.  We need to be open to allowing others into our lives, whomever they may be.
** I do not want to forget the raw talent of the Congolese people.  The fabric and the dresses the women wore were amazingly beautiful.  The jewelry they create, the nativities they make, the paintings, everything is beautiful and so carefully made.
** I do not want to forget the doorman who came to the door of the car as we left the hotel and gave a big thumbs up and did airplane motions to the boys because he was so excited the boys were going to the USA.  I do not want to forget the guard at the hotel who waved and smiled and was so excited the boys were going to the USA.
** And I write all these memories down because I especially do not want to forget my selfishness and abundance.  My life is forever changed by those who have so little when we have so much.  God has been pressing on my heart these past couple weeks to keep fighting, to keep serving HIM however he asks, and to do more for these people.  To not get sucked into the American culture of abundance, but to lean into HIM and give it away to those who have need.
** And I NEVER want to forget that this is all about Jesus.  He died on the cross for me when I was yet a sinner.  Did I deserve this?  Absolutely not.  Do I deserve his amazing forgiveness every day when I have messed up? NO!!  So whether or not someone deserves what I give them, no matter what they do with it, I truly feel like we are to give freely of our abundance.  Because that is what Jesus did for us!!