January 25, 2012
Two months ago we welcomed home three children we adopted from Democratic Republic of Congo, a three year old boy and two girls, ages eight and ten. Already with a two year old at home, we became a family of six!
Their first week home, I gave the girls the photos Sonja had sent us of them while they were in foster care. I also gave them a photo of MLJ’s staff in Congo. The girls pinned the photo of the Congo staff to their wall, right by their closet where they could see it everyday. That was my first clue that these people were very special to my girls. The following week I was dismayed to find my older daughter on her bedroom floor in tears. When I bent down to ask what was wrong, she said, “Mommy,” and pointed to the photo of the staff. She was grieving the loss of these special people once in her life.
Within a few weeks of being home the girls asked me a number of times if they could talk to the Congo attorney, Marie, on the phone. Sonja helped us arrange a phone call. All 3 children expressed sheer joy while speaking with her. Even now, mentioning her to them makes their faces light up!
A couple weeks ago while writing some thank you notes, my younger daughter asked for a pen and card. She began writing a note to one of the Congo staff who I found out visited the children weekly during their stay in foster care. I again pulled up the photo of the Congolese staff and the children pointed her out to me. Both girls became excited and spoke to each other smiling. They were eager to write her a card and send her a gift. Clearly they both had fond memories of a staff person who they grew close to. Gifts and cards were sent to both this young lady and the Congo attorney, per the children’s wishes. The girls made sure I wrote a card to tell Marie that they loved her and to tell her mother (also involved in their care) hello.
These are just a few of the many first-hand glimpses we have gotten of how well our kids were cared for by the MLJ staff in DRC. To say our kids were well loved and cared for by Marie, her colleagues and their foster family would be an understatement. I can say without a doubt that this love and care has had a profound impact on them and their transition into our family. Like most children adopted from a difficult past, our children have endured a lot. Living with a loving foster family and having caring people love them and care for them has provided a much smoother transition to our family than I expected. We have had many challenges for sure, but we would be having many more if it weren’t for the excellent love and care our kids received from MLJ’s in-country staff and their foster family. Words cannot adequately express our gratitude to these wonderful people!
One of the first times I ever talked to Sonja on the phone, after we started the adoption process, she told me that any adoption agency is only as good as their in-country staff. No wonder MLJ is such a great agency! I know that Sonja and MLJ spent a year setting up the Congo adoption program and finding the best people to work with in DRC. Their hard work has certainly paid off. We could not be more thankful.
When you are paying thousands of dollars for an adoption, it is critically important to find an agency getting the job done and doing it well. It is essential to ensure your paperwork will be done correctly and your kids will have excellent care. MLJ does this and does it well.
Thank you to all the domestic and foreign staff for all your hard work making sure the adoption process is successful in Congo and that the children are cared for in such a loving manner.