Our agency does a monthly video conference with all the families that are adopting from Congo in order to keep us up to date about things going on in the country and with the program. The director of Lifeline's international adoption programs himself is the primary speaker during these sessions. As part of the last web conference, he detailed their most recent trip to Congo and specifically to the orphanages they work with. He said something that I should have suspected but I guess I just never thought about. He said that out of the 20 countries Lifeline works with for international adoption, they've never been anyplace where the conditions are as sad as they are in Congo.
They gave an example from one of the orphanages they work with. The children sleep on uncovered mattresses, and most of the children urinate in their sleep during the night. They have no way to clean the mattresses out, so they place them on the roof of the orphanage to dry during the day and then return them to the bedrooms for children to use again the following night. All of the disease and bacteria that are deep inside the mattresses multiply night after night. Obviously not ideal conditions for these little ones.
I'll quote them directly in regard to how bad it is: "I'll just be completely frank. These conditions would be completely unacceptable in America. The home was completely unsanitary. It was a filthy, dirty place. And unfortunately, when one child gets sick, as a result of that a lot of children can get sick. It's a place where it's very easy. And by the way, this is typical of a lot of homes." And they went on to say that these conditions, as awful as they are, are better than the conditions in the neighborhood where children on the streets are starving to death. A lot of work needs to be done. And Lifeline is committed to come coming alongside them and partnering with them for positive change.
It's been so encouraging to hear the many ways they are working with high level officials and with very poor orphanages to change processes and create accountability in this desperate country. We so appreciate their heart to bring additional resources to those that are in great, great need. God is at work through His faithful servants!