I remember getting Wellon’s email while we were still living in Uganda. It must have been around April. She was inquiring about our services to document their adoption. But what stood out about her initial request was the main reason she wanted us to come with them. It was not to just have photos of their Gotcha Day (which is not why we exist), but because she desperately wanted the organization in the Congo (who does not have a media budget) to receive awareness.
Initially I was hesitant. We were in the thick of daily seeing hard sides of orphanage corruption and hearing horror stories of child trafficking. So I responded with a few questions, one being, ‘How do you know your children need to be adopted?’. I apologized for being so frank but if we are going to be an organization of integrity (after having been mislead in the past), we need to do our research.
Her response blew me away. Not only was she very well aware of the money making business that some organizations have turned adoption into, but she shared her personal story of being lied to by a big American adoption agency and how she and her husband almost fell victim to child trafficking.
She shared that in their first attempt at adoption, she and her husband learned that the children with whom they were matched (in the DRC) had parents and siblings that wanted to raise them, yet due to poverty and blackmail had been coerced to sign their rights away. The Bridgers walked away from that adoption. They didn’t feel right about taking 2 children away from parents who confessed that they did want to keep their children. (To here their full story, check out their podcast!)
After learning the corrupt side of things, Wellon began digging deep. She asked a lot of questions, which we’ll share with you soon, to ensure that whatever organization they went with was legit. They wanted to be a part of an orphan care organization where not only was adoption promoted, but first family preservation was key. And then, after all efforts to educate and help the birth families keep their kiddos, would an organization turn to adoption.
That’s when Wellon found Mwana Villages (which we will share all about soon!!!). She spent hours on the phone with the Canadian director really investigating and hearing the heart and mission behind Mwana, a Congolese holistic orphan and vulnerable family organization.
After the Bridgers turned every stone and began to partner with Mwana they decided to move forward with adoption of 2 sweet, Congolese infants, Leila and Daniel.
This is their journey to unite with their children. We hope you are inspired by their brave hearts to ask the tough questions which eventually led them to the right organization and right children!