Saturday, November 24, 2012

Our First Video

Last week, our Congo program director arrived back in the states from the DRC and all us pre-adoptive Congo mommies had one question as soon as she hit the ground---where are our new pictures?!! This boils down to two facts: a) We are always wanting to know and see more of our future children, and b) the only time we receive pictures is when adoptive parents or agency workers visit the orphanage and upload upon arriving home (which is not very often). I've made friends with another adoptive mom named Carly who is in Montana, and I think for about a week we emailed each other five times a day asking each other "Where are our pictures?!!!!" Well, before I ever received pictures, I received something else--something far more precious and unexpected--a video of my two children. I had not yet seen them in live action, and to top it all off, it was a video of Papa John (a Congolese member of my agency's staff) showing my kids the Shutterfly book I had made of family pictures. It was absolutely amazing to watch my children see me, my parents, my dogs, and other family and friends FOR THE FIRST TIME. I was awestruck, and I can safely say I've watched the video twenty times since receiving it three days ago. 

One picture in the Shutterfly book was of me wearing a beautiful African blouse, skirt, and headdress made by one of our Burundian friends, Christina. The picture is of me standing between Christina and her daughter Delaya, and when Papa John flips to this page, my daughter giggles so hard that she falls down to the floor. I can't understand much of what John says, but I do hear him saying "Oooooooooh, Congolese-Americain Mama!" My little girl gets so, so tickled in both videos when she sees this, and it cracks me up completely, partially because the sight of myself in this African outfit is also funny to me. It makes me very happy to see my little girl smiling and laughing--laughing so hard that she collapses! We have not seen this before. In fact, most of the pictures we have seen of her so far are very serious. 

Speaking of serious, my baby boy appears in one of the videos, and he doesn't smile the entire time. He seems sleepy and maybe a little sick. He recently went to the hospital for malaria, so we hope he's not suffering the lingering effects. Maybe he had just gotten up from a nap. Our agency contact says our little boy is very quiet, and has not yet learned to make noise when he needs something. Such is the personality of a neglected child, and I'm so glad he's somewhere where he is getting constant, loving care from a group of nannies. 

The best news of all is our agency thinks we (me and my parents) will be able to travel in January or February. I have a feeling it will be more like February, mainly because a couple of errors and inconsistencies were found in the kids' Congolese governmental paperwork. In the meantime, we have a lot to do. I still need to clean out the kids' room, get rid of lots of clothes and junk that I've stored in there for the last four years, and shop, shop, shop! Anyone in the Memphis area have a crib they want to loan me? I don't think it will be long before we switch to a toddler bed, so I hate to buy one. 

One last thing: As we quickly approach Christmastime, I am collecting money to provide Christmas for 35 African refugee kids here in Memphis. (See post below for details.) Please consider helping these children--any amount will help. 

Thanks for keeping up with my journey. Hope you had a happy Thanksgiving. Much love from the Boltons. We have much, much, much to be thankful for this year. 


<------ Click on Chip-In Button to the Left---Help Memphis Refugees at Christmas Time

Dear Friends and Family,

As many of you know, my parents and Ia have worked closaely with a group of refugees from the African country of Burundi for five years. Displaced in the past by genocide and civil war in their home country, these families came to Memphis to find better lives...but they haven't found that yet. They still live in poverty, and every day is a struggle for their hard-working parents financially, despite public assistance and steady work. The truth is it's very difficult to find a job when your only languages are Kirundi and Swahili, and on the flipside, it's difficult to learn English when you spend your waking hours working to provide for your family.
As you can imagine, these families' current situation makes it difficult to provide daily necessities, much less Christmas. I would like to help them to do both. I have approximately 28 days to raise Christmas money for these children, the majority of which attend my school.
My mother, Vickie, during our very first Christmas season with the kids. 

Just like last year, I do not want to buy toys. These families live in extremely cramped conditions (think 12 in a small 3 room apartment). I want to help them with necessities, such as deodorant, socks, underwear, toothpaste and toothbrushes---things these children do not have on a regular basis. I'd like to be able to give their parents' each a gift certificate to Kroger so that they can buy food for Christmas and necessities such as laundry detergent. And finally, I'd like to provide a little fun: the girls love, love, love new clothes, and I'd love for them to be able to pick out an outfit each at somewhere inexpensive like Target or Rainbow. I'd also like to use the money to take the kids to activities such as skating, movies, and possibly camping. Please know our goal is not to promote materialism, but to give these kids things they need and provide some much- needed fun.

I know times are difficult right now, but every little bit helps. If you can't manage financial donations, we'd love it if you'd keep us and these families in your thoughts and prayers. You came through for these kids in such a big way last year. We hope you will considering doing so again.

My sincerest thanks,
Anna Bolton and family

P.S. If you have any questions, suggestions, or concerns, please feel free to email me at

P.P.S. If you do not feel secure about donating online but would like to donate, we would also appreciate checks. Please email me at the address above for details.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Playing the Waiting Game

An old friend of mine (hi, Lisa) has been pestering me to update my blog, but seriously, there isn't much to say. My little boy, who was in the hospital for a not-so-serious case of malaria, is out and is supposedly much better. I have received lots of new pictures of him and his sister, Kina. The most recent picture shows Kina with a laughing, wide genuine smile, finally! It is so good to see her happy. In other news, all the kids with my agency have moved to different, nicer orphanage with bunk beds and mosquito nets. Other than that, there is truly not much to tell. I have received many documents, but I am still waiting on the courts to issue birth certificates, an acte of adoption, passports, visas, etc. Looks like we will be traveling to Kinshasa sometime between January and May--a wide range, I know! In the meantime, we are working on vaccinations (we need many, including yellow fever-yikes!). I still need to clean out my guest room, which will become the kids' shared bedroom. So much work to do, but all of it will be worth it. As for the baby's name, every time I think I have settled on something, uncertainty creeps into my mind and I start thinking about another. Any name suggestions, friends?