Thursday, February 28, 2008

Please pray for Burkina!

Dear Family and Friends, 28 February, 2008

Greetings from Africa! I hope that all is well in your corner of the world. We are struggling over here with various illnesses, civil unrest, and injustice in various levels that greatly affect daily life. The most important thing that I can ask is for you to pray for Burkina and block the power of the enemy who comes like a thief in the night wanting to kill, steal, and destroy.

In the past few weeks we have lost 2 babies, Adama and Hassane, and Balguissa is now in the hospital fighting for her life. The ‘flu season’ this year has hit very hard. It is a viral infection so antibiotics do not work. The symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea are treated but because of compromised immune systems the babies and older people often do not survive.

I am in Ouaga this week for another series of meetings with Social Action to define how the orphanages and Social Action can and should work together. Social Action is like our Division of Children and Family Services. Out of the 37 orphanages registered here in Burkina, only one of them is run by Social Action. All of the others are privately run either by nationals or by missions like ours. We work under the supervision of Social Action but because of lack of organization and planning, many things that are supposed to be working between us and them, are not really working. There are several ‘decision makers’ attending these meetings so please pray that they will actually hear what we are saying and that a good foundation will be laid for the sake of Burkina’s suffering children.

The 6th graders in our school have been working very hard preparing for the standardized test that they will take in June. This test is a pass/fail exam which allows them to continue their studies to middle school or to remain in primary school. Many children get passing grades in their classes yet do not pass this test and cannot continue their studies.

Please continue to pray with us concerning the land north of the orphanage which was given to the church. The case went before the judge in Yako this past week with a request to stop the construction until the true owner of the land could be determined. But, the judge refused to even make a decision saying that the case needed to be transferred to the Ouaga courts. The translation of this ‘lack of decision’ is most likely that the judge is refusing to make a decision for political reasons. His position is assigned by the government and if he rules against the government in this case, it could affect his career. And, in the meantime, the construction work on the land continues to develop at a very fast rate.

We’ve been experiencing some civil unrest in Burkina. The issue is the rising cost of food and supplies, especially milk, grain, oil, and soap. Last week, there were demonstrations in Bobo, Ouagadougou and Ouayaghuia. They all started peacefully but mob control took over and there was rock throwing, burning of buildings and cars, and in Bobo, one man was killed. The greatest physical damage in Bobo was that rioters burned the mayor’s office destroying very valuable paper documents as well as what was stored on computers.

Today there was more rioting and demonstrations held in Ouaga. People are trying to get the government’s attention by throwing bricks at buildings and cars, burning cars and buildings, destroying signs, etc. Please pray for order and calm to be restored to Burkina and that the Lord will intervene on behalf of those in poverty who are struggling so much with the increased prices.

Well, I must close for now.
Love and blessings to you!
Ruth. . . Mom. . . Grandma

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Adoption News

Dear Family and Friends,

Our very first US adoption was finalized on January 24, 2008! It was for Stephon Zoundi McAlister!

Stephon’s story is rather typical for orphans here. His mother was very young and not well mentally. She became pregnant and it was not possible to determine who the father was. Because of strain this caused in the family and because of the mental state of the mother, she left the family courtyard and was living here and there, even sometimes on the street of one of the major cities of Burkina.

When Stephon was 9 or 10 months old, out of desperation, his mother abandoned him at Social Action, the social arm of the Burkina government, and he was placed in our orphanage.
We quickly noticed that Stephon had a problem with one of his eyes and that he walked with a limp. Through working with another mission organization, we were able to get Stephon to the States on November 13, 2003 for a diagnosis and for medical care. Stephon was placed in the home of Steven and Rosemary McAlister.

The McAlisters had been talking and praying about international adoption and after having Stephon in their home, they asked whether he was available for adoption. A home study was done here in Burkina and the conclusion of the study was that he was available for adoption. A home study was done for the McAlisters and they were approved as an adoptive family.

On June 9, 2006, Stephon’s case passed through the Burkina courts and he was declared adopted by the McAlisters. Then, on January 24, 2008, his case passed through the Maine court and the final phase of the adoption was completed.

For his day in court, Stephon requested that the family dress in their ‘African clothes’ which were made for them in Yako. They sang a song entitled ‘Yaa Bamba’ in Moore which means ‘We’re leaning on Jesus’. The judge said that he had never seen an adoption proceeding quite like this one. Many family members and friends attended the event and celebrated with the family in this declaration of adoption.

Stephon still has some physical and emotional issues that he and his family are dealing with. Without a doubt, the love of our Father can be seen in the placement of Stephon in the McAlister family. He is a very special boy and God has placed him in a very special family.

Other children already adopted by Sheltering Wings in Burkina Faso!

This is 2 year old Assya with her Italian parents - 2007.

This is 6 year old Téné in France - 2007.

This is 2 year old Mathieu who is now in France - 2007.

This is 2 year old Lisa Mariam now in France - 2007.

In 2006 we placed Paul, now 5 years old, and Jacques, now 4 years old, in France. I do not have digital pictures of them to show you. I do hear from both of their parents from time to time and they are doing well.

We have also placed Dieudonné in a loving Burkinabé family. Dieudonné was abandoned outside of a Catholic sisters’ home when he was just a week or two old. The woman who led the sister to our orphanage ended up being Dieudonné’s adoptive Mom. Dieudonné is a French name which means ‘Gift of God’. We feel that the Lord has very special plans for this very special little gift. I do not have a recent picture of Dieudonné but will try to get one to let you see him now. He is a big 3 year old boy.

Love to all!
Ruth. . . Mom. . . Grandma

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Little successes along the way!

Dear Family and Friends,

I know that am going to overwhelm you with my excitement of new technology mastered so you probably need to be seated. With the help of a friend, Mark, I have mastered putting photos in my blog! I was close before. . . but was working in a minimized screen so never got to the 'download' button. Duhhhh!! But, now I hope that my blogs will be a bit more interesting with pictures of our beautiful children.

Just for fun, I want to show you this picture. We have lots of pictures of our babies and children eating but then I love to see fat babies eating! This was a day of celebration because spaghetti is considered holiday food here.
This past week has been pretty hard. There is a virus going around which is attacking the babies and the old people. The symptoms are flu-like with fevers, diahrrea, and vomiting. All of the hospitals are full of babies connected to IV poles, struggling for their lives The orphanage was hit very hard and we hospitalized 2 little newborns, Adama, just 2 weeks old and 3 week-old, Balguissa. Adama was just too tiny to fight off the infection and he died on Sunday. Balguissa recovered though and she was released from the hospital yesterday. Please pray for the children of Burkina. The infant mortality rate is 25%. I am thankful that we have the resources to take our children to the hospital 70 kilometers away. The average family here does not have these resources and more often than I even want to think about, their children end up in this terrible statistic.
I am in Ouaga right now for some meeting with the national office of Social Action. The meetings have been long and tedious but little my little we are moving forward in defining how the orphanages of Burkina work and interact with Social Action (the government branch of social work). In just the 8 years that I have been here the number of orphanages in Burkina has quadroupled. This is a very good thing because the need of the children is so great, but, now we are grappling with policies and procedures of how to make things work smoothly. The orphanages have formed a local association which the government recognizes and through this association we have a voice to ask for change. Please pray for wisdom and courage for the leaders of the local association to clearly define our requests to the government and for favor from the decision makers in the government for the cause of the children.
And, our truck. . . this week, the story is good. I did quite a bit of traveling in taking children back and forth to the hospital, plus the trip to Ouaga, with no breakdowns. I am very thankful for this because a couple of the trips were emergency trips when it was dark and there would be no help available in an emergency. Please continue to pray that the Lord will keep our truck functioning. . . it transports us here and there, it hauls dirt and rock, wood, sand and cement, it serves an an ambulance, it serves as a hurse. Please pray with us concerning the funds to another vehicle.
Well, I must close for now. I appreciate you taking the time to read my blog.
Love and blessings to you!
Ruth. . . Mom. . . Grandma