Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My brother, Paul & the kids who stole our hearts

This is my brother, Paul. He has a heart of gold & loves children who need a home. He was Zoe's foster Daddy for a little over a year. She calls him "Daddy Paul". We have LOVED getting to know his family throughout our adoption process. I am overwhelmed at how he & his wife, Lawrencia have dedicated their lives & home to caring for children. This year, Paul's home officially became a NGO (non-governement organization/non-profit). His NGO is named NYAME DUA. It means 'God Protects'. So fitting. He has asked Mark & me to serve on the board of Nyame Dua. Mark & I have committed to them for the long haul. We want you to get to know them...

Paul & I are the same age - apart by 1 month - & though raised an ocean apart in cultures that are nothing alike - we have a common spirit & goal. I am overwhelmed at all that God can do. And does. Paul is married to Lawrencia & they have 2 boys of their own, ages, 5 & 9. Paul has been caring for orphans & vulnerable children for over 10 years. While he has many children that he fosters while waiting for their completed adoptions, he also has 7 teenage boys that have been living with them for approximately 7 years. They are the dearest boys & have stolen our hearts. Let me introduce them to you....

These are our 'big boys'! They are great kids. They share a very small room that holds 4 bunk beds. They live in a room adjacent to Paul's house. Paul built them the room out of wood - it is very much like a shed with a slab floor. More on this later! All the boys attend school & work hard. They engage in chores helping with the smaller children, bringing water, helping cook meals, etc. While we were there on 3 different weeks this year, we never saw them with a unkind word or complaint of any kind. All of them LOVE to play a pick-up game of soccer!

This is Zubel. A quiet, strong spirit. He is gentle with a sweet smile.

This is Luke. Luke is quick with a smile. He is energetic & a hard worker. Luke enjoys school & makes very good grades.

This is Jason. Another energetic, eager to help young man. He is quick to ask questions & learn more about those around him. My boys loved playing with Jason!

This is Simon. (pronounced Simone) Another quiet, strong spirit. The one thing you always notice about Simon is his helpful & kind soul. He notices what needs to be done & is quick to jump in. The little ones love Simon & he is great with them.

This is Lawrence. While I do not know Lawrence very well because he was up north during our main stay, he is great kid!

This is David. David is small for his age & very happy! He is all smiles & eager to be in the midst of people. David has some medical issues with one of his legs that we are still learning more about. He will require surgery at some point.

This is Gideon. Gideon has a hearing loss & is generally a quiet soul. He also has a curvature of his spine. I also do not know Gideon very well yet! (Shout Out to the Weaver Orthodontics t-shirt SSI folks!)

This is Paul's home. It has a sitting room, 2 bedrooms, & kitchen. The younger foster kids sleep in a small bedroom with 3 bunkbeds in the house.

He built the room below for the older teen boys. It is not completely safe as there isn't any electricity & the boys were using candles & kerosene lanterns to see at night....in a wood building! Also, it was fairly subject to the weather elements because of the way it was built.

Recently, the boy's wooden room has been found to have termites & is going to require rebuilding. Paul recently had a mason come to give an estimate to rebuild it properly! We are looking to help him raise the money to complete this project!

I will add a link to Adoption Advocates International over there on the left if you'd like to give a tax-deductible gift to help Paul & Nyame Dua with upcoming projects. If you give on the AAI website, please make sure to designate your gift to NYAME DUA - Paul's home.

Paul recently opened a home in the north as well in Bolgatanga (Zoe's home place!). He now has 13 vulnerable children & 3 aunties that live in this home. Paul rents this home from his uncle & it is considered very nice by Ghana standards. We are busy furnishing it & providing for clean water for the kids.

Some of our upcoming goals are to raise money for a van so that Paul can transport kids & travel to & from Bolgatanga. This will also hopefully be an avenue to bring income as he is able to transport others & rent to travelling families from the US. This van will cost around $15,000. We also have some community goals - like helping to pay for a street light in the community so that children can see where they are walking & make the streets safer in the evening.

There are many things we have going on. This post is long overdue but I am just now getting my feet on solid ground! We love these kids & want to see them succeed & thrive! We want to support Paul & all the things he has dreams for in his world around him. We are SO blessed beyond anything we deserve. I want to help! Don't you?? There will be more updates to come! Keep watching! Meanwhile, help us build that solid bedroom for these precious boys!!