Thursday, December 22, 2011

Reunification, Schmunification

I am so sick of the word reunification.
I am so tired of the uncertainty.
I am so heartbroken for these kids.

I have been meaning to write about our recent "Christmas Celebration",
but I can't seem to get my mind around the words worthy 
of these precious lives that hang in the balance.

For those of you who don't know, 
last Sunday, the children were visited by the Prime Minister of Rwanda, as well as, the Minister of Gender, the Minister of Precedence and the Minister of State Infrastructure.
The orphanage has been preparing for the impending visit for weeks.
However, the inital preparations were for Madame Kagame (the First Lady).
Apparently, she was "too busy".

Anyway, the event was held outside at the district community center up the road.
As photos would suggest, the PM and friends visited and toured the orphanage and then everyone was bussed to the location for the ceremony.

Truth be told, we all woke up very early (well, it was early for me) and the children all put on their new t-shirts (provided by the government) and most walked the 45 minutes up the road to the center.
Once the orphanage was practically emptied of children, only the babies and toddlers (who didn't attend the ceremony) and a few choice children under the age of 10 remained, then the officials took their tour.
I'm sure the remaining children did provide a lovely photo-op.
An hour and a half late, the officials and the remaining children were bussed to the community center.

The yard of the center looked great
There was a large banner over the entrance, that I'm sure said something wonderfully misleading. 
They had 5 very large tents set up with rows of chairs for all of the children and staff,
and a big stage with a band.
There was also a Rwandan-chic Christmas tree set up in the center near the podium.
Even the villagers knew something was up and they also filed in by the hundreds to be in attendance.

Oh, it was quite the celebration, the hired entertainment consisted of a "Rwanda Pop Star" and some traditional dancers/singers.
For Noel's part, our girls, who are beautifully talented dancers, stared blankly into space as they half-halfheartedly made their way through the performance.
And our boys, who had been working on a new drum routine all week, never even got the chance to play outside of introductions and applause.
(It was no big deal to the officials, as they had their heads down, writing for most of it.) 
Then we got down to business.
Each of the officials made a speech; something about how the children all deserve to be in families and how care will be taken to ensure that each child is safe and provided for.
Which is all good and (hopefully) true, but I wonder if anyone informed these officials that this orphanage IS the children's family.
The only family they have ever known.

The older children (not fooled one bit) knew what this day would be like.
They had been saying all along that the President's wife was coming 
to close down the orphanage and put them in homes.
However, for the younger children, easily blinded by lunch (no beans and rice in sight), fanta, and a new backpack, it was a very Merry Christmas.

At some point, four children were ushered out with their "families".
The group consisted of a 2 year old, a four year old, a 6 year old and 14 year old.
 Two went to new families and two went to relatives.
Aimable, the 14 year old, and one of my favorites, was returned to his sister.
He was the only one really old enough to understand what was happening and he was absolutely miserable.
(His sister cried to the ministry the day before, pleading with them to keep her brother until she was able to provide for him. 
The ministries response was, if you loved your brother you would take him. You love him, don't you?)

The families were given certificates and free freaking COW for taking the children.
I wonder if anyone informed these children,
Aimable's sister is already selling her cow, because, of course, she can't provide for it either.

To round out the ceremony, the Prime Minister said that he, personally, 
would be adopting a child from Noel.
Well, that is fabulous, Mr. PM.
You have the means. You should take three.
However, that would still mean that there are 597 children you are forcing into families who  
aren't prepared to care for them.

Rwanda has one of the highest percentages of orphans in the world.
Nearly 400,000.
And only about 4,000 living in orphanages.
So why are we displacing the ones who have roofs over their heads and food in there bellies.
At least in the orphanage, the children have a shot at an education.
Education means hope and a future.

I've said it before, and I never knew how true it would be, it's personal.
Here are just a few of the children who are slowly, but surely, trickling out of the orphanage.

In You the orphan finds mercy. Hosea 14:3

Please keep these sweet kiddos in your prayers.


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