Time to Reflect: As Charrissa told you, we were awake at 3am and we had decided that we would grind it out. We wanted to stay up until it was time to go to bed in the evening hoping that this would get our bodies back on track. There was a 24 hour grocery down the road so my oldest son Isaac and I decided to go grocery shopping at about 4:30am. Why not? So down we went into the dark cold but amazingly beautiful sky, star filled and wonderful. We chatted about how great it was to be in this country, to have an opportunity to REDEEM, or give life to those little ones that are put aside at birth (given over to the state - terminating parental interest). Interestingly, Niko (our driver and translator extraordinair) told us that children, like our youngest son Justus - with Down syndrome, are called Sunny Children. Sunny Children. This seemed to perfectly capture the essence of people with Ds, cheerful, joyful, sunny. Yet their outlook in this country, their standing, is nothing near sunny. We kind of liked the phrase Niko shared with us, so we have gone to giving poor Justus another nickname...."Sunny Boy".
Other Sunny Families: We had the opportunity to meet up with other families that are in the capital city awaiting medical checkups and visas so that they can take their wonderful blessings home. It was beautiful to see their joy and peace that they had with their precious little ones. Everyones children are precious and yet none of them without struggles physically. How beautiful it was to see them all. However, there was also another aspect to the parents demeanor...a strong desire to be home, one that went beyond the natural longing to be in their own home, but one that had a wound with it. As we talked and got to know these families more, we discovered that there have been many hardships, or hurts from others in this society who, plainly, have a hard time accepting those with disabilities. The questions would come to them of why they would adopt THESE children. Other families who had people see their disabled child, scoff and walk off. As we wandered all over the beautiful city, we would occasionally comment that, "I think I just got a Sunny Boy look." This was before we knew the stories of these families. Oh, Lord open the eyes of these people. Oh Lord open the eyes of the people in the United States, where termination rates of pregnancies of children diagnosed with Ds are over 80%.
Amazing Day: Today we wandered around the capital city full of history. Niko says as we were driving the other day, "oh no that isn't old, it is only 300 years old." Oh, ok. We enjoyed taking in all of the history, and the crepe stands (however they don't beat Luba's). Though all of this history was wonderful, it was not the most amazing thing that happened today. We were at the center of the capital city, depicted by a monument with a world on its top and lines on the ground that came out of the center. Each line had at it's end a name of a city within this country and how many kilometers away from this point the city was. We wanted a picture of the city that we would be adopting from so I was determined to, somehow, ask someone which line represented the city we would be going to. As I looked for an unsuspecting victim of my only english speaking self, I heard someone speaking english. I said, "Where is ****?" They pointed to a young man by the name of Anton who said, "oh it would be really close to the center...here it is." We began a wonderful conversation with a group of young people from the United States and Anton, who they said OWNED the city.
These young people were from a church in the United States and they make an annual trip to work in the orphanages in this area. They shared with us that one of the orphanages is shutting down because as the orphanage was once full of children, it is now nearly empty because of all of the adoptions. Praise the Lord! One of the young peoples parents are beginning the adoption process right now. Praise the Lord! Anton also said that local orphanages would be open to allowing people to come and give the children bible studies. That would be AMAZING! How wonderful it is to see how THE LORD coordinates things and brings people together in an amazing way! We were unable to get in contact with a local missionary, my fault, so we will be attending church with Anton tomorrow and we will see what the Lord has for us.