Monday, April 19, 2010

Learning, learning, learning, learning.

We are moving along again... our home study is almost complete. We are waiting on a police report from when Max was a juvenile, it is never a clean cut process when trying to get juvenile records- despite the fact that they are yours. In the mean time I started working on our dossier. The dossier is the paperwork for the Rwanda government. After they review it, they will either approve or disapprove our request to adopt two of their orphans. Learning #1 God is still in control, not me :)

Our agency, Gladney Center for Adoption, had a great conference call with all the families currently in their Rwanda program. It was really good and I'm happy they plan to make it a monthly event. During the call they answered some of the questions in my last blog entry... about forming new family traditions in remembrance of the Rwandan genocide. They said people have campfires and share with each other in their communities. The official government workers also have a Remembrance campfire service. I thought it would be great to start this tradition with other families who have adopted from Rwanda in the area. We live by the beach and it's a great spot to have families join together in bonding and remembrance. Learning #2 Campfires

I also learned, that one of the other families in the Gladney Rwanda program is local! They only live a few cities away and go to our church! I'm so happy to be able to share with them some of the things our church is doing for orphans and adoption. That's four families I now know that are local and adopted (or adopting) from Rwanda. It's my prayer to have a community for my children to embrace that understands their unique situation.  Learning #3 Another Rwanda adoptive family lives locally!

How beautiful would it be to have a community of other families to interact with and learn together about the Rwandan culture and about raising kids from there.  As part of our required adoption education we had to watch a seminar on Ethiopia adoption. Gladney doesn't have a Rwanda specific training yet, so the Ethiopia training is what they use. In the training, I learned that there is an awesome group of people who get together in their local community and do exactly that! The group is open to anyone but focused on Ethiopia and learning about it's culture, heritage and country.  I would love to have a local Southern California group of people dedicated to learning and teaching ourselves more about Rwanda. Our children could interact and benefit from being with other families like their own. We could have fun teaching all our kids about Rwanda, pray for and with each other, learn from each others experiences and lean on each other for support. Imagine (dream of) a monthly family potluck with purposeful crafts, learning to sing a Kinyarwanda praise song or basic language skills, doing Rwanda based outreach work together. I could go on but will spare you.  Learning #4 Dream BIG and trust God to make the seemly impossible, possible!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

How Will We Remember?

Tomorrow, April 7th, 2010 is the 16th anniversary date of the first day of the Rwandan Genocide. In 1994, hundreds of thousands of Rwandans were brutally killed. Whole families were killed with no one left to tell their story. Survivors are marked not only with large bodily scars from being hacked by machetes but forever scarred with memories of the unimaginable. I have read that in only 100 days about 1,174,000 people were killed. That's about 10,0000 people murdered every day, 400 every hour, 7 every minute. Imagine the images (I won't post any gruesome photos). There are many, many books, movies, and websites that tell the horrible history.

April 7th is Genocide Memorial Day in Rwanda. I realize this is a day my family will need to commemorate in the future. It makes me wonder how will we do this. I hate having to make this personal and real in my life. Ask my husband... any movie or book that involves war or human atrocities I avoid. The pain is too real and disturbing. I know evil exists in human and spiritual form. Knowing how I am, I will probably focus on what this means for our lives... teaching our children about the importance of respect for different people and their cultures- something that we will be living out. I will be looking toward others who have walked this path and learn from them.

The beautiful thing is that God has done an amazing work in Rwanda since that time. My husband and I had the privilege of hearing the Rwanda president talk at our church last year on the topic of reconciliation. Paul Kagame has an amazing testimony and leads Rwanda with the heart of God. I'm happy to be part of a church that encourages individuals to get involved and help others, locally and across the world. The Bible teaches us that every ordinary Christian is a minister and missionary (don't leave it to the "professionals"). Your life counts and you can make a difference. Take a few moments to remember (or learn more about what happened in the genocide) and pray for the survivors and for the continued reconciliation and development of the Rwandan people.