Tuesday, August 25, 2009

More Adoption News!

Dear Family and Friends, 23 August, 2009

It is amazing how quickly things can turn around here. Sometimes it seems like we work and pray and work and pray. . . . and nothing seems to be happening. And, then there are times like these where things are falling into place faster than we can keep up. In all things, God is in control and I am thankful for this.

Adoption News--

We have been working with Adoption Advocates International (AAI) in the state of Washington for over a year now, hoping to place some of Burkina's children in American homes. But, without our even being aware of it, Burkina had suspended all requests for recognition of US agencies and all US requests for children. Their reasons for this suspension are lengthy and complicated and it has been very frustrating to suddenly learn that the path we were going down was not the path that we had expected it to be.

Then this past week I was in Ouaga with Gay Knutson, a representative from AAI, and in a meeting with Social Action, we learned that AAI has been approved for accreditation with Burkina and that Burkina would now receive requests for children through AAI. How amazing that these decisions have been completely turned around in just a matter of a few weeks and that now we are free to again move forward on US adoptions!

In several meetings, Gay was able to offer the hope that AAI would be able to place some of Burkina's special needs children in American homes. Here the term special needs includes children with physical and/or mental handicaps but also children who are over the age of 6. Throughout the world, the majority of couples ask for a small child, usually under the age of 3. But, the heart is American is great, and many, many Americans have opened their hearts to the 'special needs' children of the world.

We will be placing healthy children but we are also excited and encouraged to see what God is going to do in the lives of these special children and their special God-chosen adoptive families.

Celine Has a Family!

And more adoption news is that our little one, Celine, has been referred to a couple in Italy for adoption. Celine is now an 18 month old toddler who is full of smiles and giggles. Celine's parents are 4th generation cousins but because of the customs here, she was not accepted into the family.

In times past, a child like Celine would be thrown down a well or left out in the bush to die. But, because of the work of Social Action and because of centers like ours, these children are now being rescued and are available for adoption.

Celine's papers are all complete and there will now be a 4 to 6 month wait for her parents while her case goes through the legal process of adoption here in Burkina.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

New land for a new school!

Dear Family and Friends, 8 August, 2009

These past few weeks have been filled with a whirlwind of activity. But, our God has been in the midst of it all. He has gone before us and prepared the way for us to have 6 acres of prime property just outside of the city limits of Yako on which to build our new schools.

The property was 'owned' by the village interpretation of ownership by four different families and two local friends did some expert negotiating with these family chiefs as well as the tribal chief of the area and the tribal king of Yako in asking for the land. The king gave us permission to have the land this past week and then he called the families together and told them that the construction of this school would be for their children and for their grandchildren and that they should give us the land. Thank you, Jesus!

This morning we completed the transaction of money, signed papers, and began to survey the land and to mark off the boundaries. When this work is done, we will submit papers to the state so that the property is registered in the name of Les Ailes de Refuge and can never be taken away from us.

The land is just outside of the city limits of Yako and is located about 100 meters from connections to electricity and to water. It is land that is not tillable so we are not taking fertile fields away from families who need them to feed their families. The land is slightly elevated so we will not have problems with flooding when the rains come fast and hard as they very often do here. There are no schools, primary or secondary, on this side of town. The nearest primary school is 4 kilometers away and it is terribly overcrowded with over 100 children in each room. The nearest secondary school is 8 kilometers away.

We are going to use a mud brick construction method which uses domed ceilings and uses no wood, iron, or cement in the construction materials. This is not really a new construction technique because people have been building adobe houses for centuries. The new part is the domed ceilings and the use of all natural materials that are readily available here in Burkina. This method of construction is much cheaper than traditional methods and it is cooler in the hot season and warmer in the cold season-- all positive benefits of using this method.

Because we will be building with mud bricks, we cannot begin making bricks or begin the actual construction of the buildings until after the rains have stopped and the dry season has begun.

We thank God for what He has done for us. We are thankful for the faithfulness of His people, especially Innocent and Jean, who have come along beside us and are laboring together with us to bring new schools to Yako. We are thankful for you because it is your faithfulness in prayer and your financial support that have make the dream of going to school a reality for hundreds of orphans and disadvantaged children in Burkina.