I received and accepted a referral for a sibling set last month! Baby B is 9 months old and only 13 lbs--my cousin's baby was 10 lbs at birth! He has a sweet smile, but seems to not like having his picture taken. Visitors to the orphanage say he cried every time they tried to take his picture! Little Girl K, approximately 3 years old, is his biological sister. She has an adorable gap between her teeth, braids, and loves to sing and dance (we have been lucky enough to see a few videos where she appears for just a few seconds). Pictures from her early days at the orphanage show a sad girl who never smiled, so we were happy to see her smiling and dancing in the latest pictures and videos.
The hardest part of the process so far has been hearing that we (me, my parents) will still not be able to travel to pick them up for another 7-10 months. I am so frustrated by this. When I began this process in February, I thought that was the beginning of my 7-10 month wait. Because of my home study debacle (see previous posts), we will likely be traveling to Congo between April-July 2013. If you are the praying type, please pray for quick movement through the US and DRC governmental processes. Good vibes are equally appreciated!
While waiting, I have been gobbling up every bit of information about the Congo. I just finished The Poisonwood Bible, an excellent piece of historical fiction by Barbara Kingsolver (who went to my alma mater, DePauw University, and used to live in the DRC). Up next is King Leopold's Ghost, a historical exploration of Belgium's exploitation of the Congo and the related atrocities. Congolese history is truly fascinating. There is a reason this country's astounding poverty exists. Here are a few statistics about the current state of the DRC in case you are interested:
•The Democratic Republic of Congo is the 4th poorest country in the world (Haiti is 1st.)
•In the DRC, more than 10% of children will die before their 1st birthday (highest rate in the world except for Sierra Leone).
•The DRC's population is 67,757,577. Of those people, 71.3% live in poverty.
•Primary school enrollment of 33% is 2nd worst in the world.
According to the NY Times, many children in the DRC are lucky if they eat one meal a day. Even in my kids' orphanage, which has a high standard of care compared to others in the region, 1-2 meals a day is the norm.
I guess that just means we'll have to fatten K and B up with lots of good southern food when they get here. I can't wait!