Dear Family and Friends, January 25, 2008
Wow! How the time flies by! I have so much to tell you.
My trip home was just wonderful. We have a new baby in the family named Claire Marie. She arrived Nov 2nd and her proud parents are Todd and Amy Shaw. Claire and older sister, Lillian, are both doing very well. The joy of being home for the holidays greatly overshadowed any inconvenience or minor discomfort of the snow, ice, and cold temperatures of the mid-west winters. It had been many years since I had driven on snow and ice but thankfully my schedule was light and it was rare that I needed to be out in it.
Three of our children were adopted this past quarter and left Burkina. Assya is now living in Italy with her parents and 2 older brothers. Mathieu and Mariam are both now French citizens and are living with their respective families in France. We have received news from each of these families and the children are all doing well and are quickly adapting to their new environments. We are thankful to God for these courageous parents who are willing to persevere through the tedious process of international adoption and welcome our children into their homes
Just this week, Stephon, became a US citizen. Stephon went to the States on a medical visa and the family receiving him asked whether he was available for adoption. After a home study was completed here in Burkina, it was documented that his mother had abandoned him when he was about 9 months old and his father was unknown. His case passed through the Burkina courts and he was declared adopted by his American family. Subsequently, on January 24, 2008, Stephon had his day in court in America and was adopted. This is a picture of Stephon and his family.
Last summer we changed our regular routine and hired tutors in French and in math to come to the orphanage and work with the children in secondary school. Everyone really worked very hard. When the children were not in class or doing class exercises, they were working in our fields of millet and peanuts.
Well, the grades are in for the first grading period of this school year and the hard work of last summer is paying off. Several of our children received very high marks, well above average! All but two of them had 10 or above. . . 10 is a passing mark here. . . and the two who are under ten have 9.88 and 9.87. For these two it is very possible for them to work very hard and still get an average for the year of 10 or more.
The children in our primary school continue to prosper. They also did remarkably well in their first grading period accomplishments. The sixth graders are working especially hard this year because they will be taking a standardized test at the end of the year. This is a pass/fail test which will allow them to continue to 7th grade if they pass or force them to re-do 6th grade if they fail. Please pray for this group of students. The pressure is very intense. Please pray also for wisdom for their teacher, Innocent, as he does all that he can to prepare them for this test.
We have received 3 new babies into the orphanage in the past 6 weeks. Céline was born in October, 2007. Her mother and father are cousins, from the same extended family. Because of the shame of this situation, Céline is not welcome in either of her parents’ families. After a thorough home study by Social Action, Céline will most likely be available for adoption. This is little Céline.
Dafimatou and Bassirou are both 4 months old and both of their mothers just recently died. Because there is no one in the families who can care for the infants, we will care for them until they are 12 months old and then they will integrate back into their families.
In mid-December a team from Friends In Action came to Yako and drilled a well for the orphanage. They found water, lots of water, but for the moment there is a problem of a lot of sediment in the water. We are hoping that the sediment will settle and if not, there is a solution of putting small, clean rock down the hole and allowing this rock to serve as a filter for the sediment. The team will be back in mid-March to again test the quality of the water to see if it is safe to drink. We are gathering estimates for a water tower and a tank which we will build when we are sure that the water is good.
Our last but very exciting piece of news is that we have received a very generous contribution which will provide for the construction of a clinic on the orphanage property. We have blueprints and estimates but these are almost 3 years old. The blueprints are still good, but I have been going back to the contractors asking them to review the estimates and see if we can build with these prices. Very favorable estimates are coming in so hopefully we will be starting construction soon on the long awaited clinic.
In preparation for the clinic and also to meet an immediate need for the orphanage, we have hired ZONGO, Josie and TENKODOGO, Beatrice as nurses. Josie was the very first child to come to the orphanage and Bea was with us for 4 years before we sent both of these girls to nursing school. They graduated last summer and have been working at the orphanage, at our local hospital, and at Dr Zala’s clinic in Ouayaghuia since then in order to improve their practical experience. Both girls excelled both in their studies and in the practical application of what they have learned. Already, they have been a tremendous blessing to the orphanage and as the clinic is realized, they will also be a blessing to the community of Yako.
In closing, please pray for all of our local workers. Each one of them is a blessing from the Lord and they do their work as a ministry until the Lord. Pray for their health and the health of their families. None of our projects could survive without the faithfulness of our workers.
With love and blessings!
Ruth. . . Mom. . . Grandma