Tonight I have been pouring over Facebook, looking for the latest news from Congo. For those of you who haven't heard, (and quite frankly it might be a lot of you since the major media outlets don't give it a lot of attention) there is a very dangerous situation going on in Eastern Congo. A rebel group called M23 have taken over the city of Goma. In their wake they have left more rape, more child soldiers, more orphans. Tens of thousands of people have been displaced, literally running away from the chaos. Read this story to see a more detailed report from ABC News. You can also learn more about the leader of the M23 in this video on YouTube and in this news story from Reuters.
I had planned to write a more traditional blog post about how thankful I am for the 6 angels God has blessed me with. But tonight I am thankful for more than just my children. I am thankful that through the process of adoption my heart has been broken for all orphans around the world and especially tonight for all the people of Congo.
I am thankful that I am part of a community that doesn't just sit back and shake their heads about the sad state of the world. Congo Mamas around the country tonight have been sharing news, sharing petitions, sharing links with information on how to mobilize and demand that the US not just sit by while thousands more women and children die needlessly over conflict minerals and greed.
I am thankful that my children here, warm in their beds, and not huddled frightened under their beds.
In 2008, a similar situation occurred in the Goma area. At that time Haven's mother was one of those refugees who fled on foot from the civil unrest, in hopes of finding a safe place for herself and her unborn child. I am thankful that Haven found his way to my home and I am heartbroken at the thought of his pregnant mother walking hundreds of miles in fear for her life.
Tonight I am thankful for all the waiting families who have stepped out in faith to add a child to their home. But my heart is breaking for each of these families that hold a photograph in their hands and pray for the safety of their child who waits an ocean away. One of my oldest and dearest friends is waiting to bring home a boy and a girl. She has seen their faces and fallen in love with them. But tonight she waits with apprehension as the M23 threaten to storm Kinshasa. It is not likely to happen, but it stills brings fear to a mama's heart.
Maybe Congo is not on your radar. Maybe it is just another sad, poor, dysfunctional place that you'll never visit. But please look a little harder. Congo is full of resilient people who desperately want a better life, peace, and stability. They want their children to grow up to adulthood. They want to be safe to laugh and play and pray. They want what we all want. A reason to be thankful.
I would be very thankful tonight if you would consider letting your heart be a little broken for Congo. Say a prayer, read a news story, and then please take a few minutes to let our leaders know that letting the people of Congo suffer is unacceptable.
Sign this petition to demand Rwanda cease all support for M23 and remove Rwandan troops from Congo.
And sign this petition from Raise Hope for Congo demanding White House: Defend the People of Congo.
* Call the president 202-456-1111. They will listen if enough of us speak!!!
* Call Ambassador Rice and demand action to protect the innocent!
All you have to do is call and leave a message! 212-415-4062
* Call the State Department!! 202-647-4000 press 4. press 8.
* Find your senator and call or email!!! They will listen.
Send a tweet to Ambassador Rice at @ambassadorrice or call the US Mission to the United Nations at 212-415-4404 and let Ambassador Rice know that you want the US to take decisive action against Rwanda's support of rebels in DRC.
Or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you're not sure what to say here is a script "“My name is _____, and I’m calling about the current violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. I urge you to call for the immediate de-escalation of the M23 rebellion in Congo and demand an end to external support of M23 by Rwanda and Uganda. Please work with our international partners to pressure ALL parties to this conflict, including Congo, Rwanda and Uganda, to resolve the crisis through constructive negotiations.”
Do not let the atrocities that shocked us in Rwanda go unnoticed in Congo. These are the people of my children and they deserve your attention.
If you find other ways to make our voices heard or other news stories that you find especially timely or pertinent, please leave these links on my comments or on my Facebook page. Thank you to Heidi and Stori for many of these links, phone numbers, and script.