Like many of you, as we look back over 2021 there is so much heartache and pain. The year started with the loss of David’s parents. And while we know they are in a much better place, pain and worry free, they are sorely missed by those of us left behind.
The continuing ripple effects of Covid, and all the challenges that it is bringing with it continue to be a struggle that affects life in so many ways.
Our hearts broke as we got word, and heard so many horror stories of friends and family who were devastated by the severe storms in Western KY.
Old Man Time was surely limping out the door as the new year rang in!
But the reminders that God is truly in control continued to overcome the many challenges that came our way.
At Mahali pa Maisha, it ended up being a year filled with blessings as we saw adoptions take off again in an awesome way.
From mid-February until the end of December we had been blessed to be a part of 26 little ones getting their Forever Families. There were many smiles, laughter, and more than a few tears of joy shed. To date, 165 little ones have been placed with Christian Forever Families.
In case there is someone who was not aware, we received legal guardianship of Shaddy last June, which was required for us to travel back to the US with him. His trip back was a huge success and gave him much improvement with his eczema, and we made headway with his allergies. God willing, he will return to the US with us this summer to continue some testing and treatment. Shaddy is also a big reason we are praying hard for International Adoption to open back up.
Sadly, there were a few that had to be transferred to another children’s home due to their age, and not being adoptable for one reason or another. It is for these children considered “special needs”, that our heart yearns and pleads for the Government to take the step of opening International Adoption once again.
We ended up transferring five little ones to other homes for a variety of reasons. Our focus is on getting little ones either reintegrated to biological family, or adopted, in the cases where neither option is possible, (and our age limit of two years is exceeded) we have little choice but to transfer. Thankfully, most have been transferred to another well ran home that will be open to adoption once International opens again.
A surprising statistic for us in 2021 was the intakes. We took in 14 new little ones during the year. Surprising because we thought covid would cause a huge surge in abandonment cases. We pray that this is a cultural shift and not just a temporary lull in abandoned infants.
To date we have rescued 265 infants, our latest, Mahlah Star, was abandoned on Christmas Day. With the decrease in intakes, and the increase in adoptions we have seen our total population drop into the teens from a high of 36. This is a huge blessing as our staff, and Jen, had reached a point of near exhaustion keep up with so many little ones. You, our partners, and family, have made all this possible. So many Forever Families have been created, so many lives changed for the better. Thank you.
As far as the Bell family, we continue to press on each day, with every moment filled with so many questions that only God knows the answer to. We face each day with the same question we have had for the past 22 years since we felt the first call to the mission field: “What’s next God?”
The trip back to the US last summer was filled with some incredible family time and a lot of laughter and loving. We did not get to visit nearly as many of you as we had hoped, partially due to covid limitations, but mostly due to Shaddy needing to be close to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital on a regular basis.
And when we returned to Kenya, things took off so fast that there was little rest gained from the “break”. In early December we did get a week away to the coast and mostly became hermits in our beach house rental with lots of games, reading, and laughter. Our biggest concern was the monkeys that kept going into our open kitchen and stealing our food! Once our early Christmas retreat was over, it only took 24 hours for another little one to come into our home. And there have been few nights we have been without a baby in our house since.
Our big New Years Eve part included a late night pool party, and a late night that we made it all the way to 10:00 PM! (we are getting old ya know!) Our plans are to be back in the US from mid-July until mid-Sept again this year and hope to see as many of you as possible. We will be in touch closer to our travel time share the schedule.
Again, thanks so much for being a part of the team and family that make this ministry possible.
Safely in His Grip,