Jambo everyone!
I hope you are all doing well and getting ready for fall! Here, it is still raining! The flowers are beautiful, but everything else is a big, fat mud puddle! Nothing is changing. Every day is the same. I guess I’m getting a bit stir-crazy! LOL! I’m hoping to get to the U.S. in November, but still not completely sure about it! 
Here at the children’s home, we are just carrying on one day at a time, like the rest of the world! We have noticed an increase in babies coming, probably somehow related to the economic situation, due to the pandemic. We are anticipating a possibility of a surge of new babies in January and February. With so many kids home from school, the “youths” are not as supervised as well as they tend to be in boarding school. We hope that we are wrong about this, but it’s the topic of conversation amongst children’s homes, children’s officers, and has even been mentioned by politicians. Everyone is guessing that there will be lots of teen pregnancies and many will result in abandoned babies, as girls go back to school. Time will tell.

I think that another reason for babies being placed with us recently, is that for the past few years, the government, under the instruction of the United Nations (UN), has been trying to find alternative ways to care for orphaned and abandoned children, with the goal being that children’s homes would be a last resort. Now, with the craziness of COVID, the government (and I suppose the UN too) are focusing on other things, so placing babies in children’s homes is becoming more normal again.

There is, though, a sort of new found acceptance of fostering and adoption. More barren couples are seeking to adopt, which even five years ago, was not the norm. It used to be that if a “woman couldn’t give a man a child”, she was often cast aside and her husband would “take another wife.” Polygamy is slowly becoming less common (most people say that this is because men can no longer afford to support more than one family) and a man’s willingness to take “another man’s child” as his own, is becoming more accepted. (The phrases I’ve put in quotes are the common language used here.)
Our Social Work Department has become more proactive in making determinations about releasing the kids for adoption, always focusing on what is in the best interest of the children. Now, instead of releasing a child solely on the request of the Children’s Department, we have implemented an in-house program to interview the prospective family, do a home visit, speak with employers and neighbors, etc.
We are also requiring the prospective mom (and dad if possible) to come to our home almost every day for two weeks, spending time caring for and bonding with the child. The results of this process, along with the findings of the vetting done by the Children’s Department, will determine whether or not a particular child is a good fit with a particular family. We are thrilled that the Children’s Department has agreed to this arrangement!

So, following all of the above criteria, Baby Caleb has joined a forever family! We are very happy for him and hope he has a wonderful future with a loving family! We are now in the process of interviewing a family for Baby Phil!
A newborn baby girl, whom we have named Tami, joined us recently. She was abandoned at birth at the government hospital and placed with us a few days later. She seems to be a healthy baby who enjoys lots of snuggles, which the kids, being home from school, are happy to give!
Two weeks ago, we hired an occupational/physical therapist named Sheila! We are very excited to have her join the In Step team! In the past, we have hired therapists who work elsewhere, to come twice per week and cram in sessions for all our kids who need that service. When we went on lockdown in March, we were trying to do at least the massage and “wrapping” by ourselves, but we were noticing a decline in some of our kids, especially the ones with severe Cerebral Palsy!
With Sheila being on staff full-time, she can take more time with each child and create individual plans for them. We are very excited that she is already using her talents to teach our special needs kids skills like feeding themselves, brushing their teeth, toileting, etc. She is also working with our kids who have learning disabilities, giving them some one-on-one boosting! I pray that the relationship between Sheila and ISF is a good one and will last for many years to come!
Controlling the flow of water, especially when it rains like it has been this year, is always a challenge! Jeff and his guys are constantly digging trenches and pits to give the water from the torrential rains somewhere to go.

Unfortunately, the way our land is sloped, rain water flows like a river right down to our unpaved parking area, causing ridiculous clay mud that is as slick as black ice! We have fought with this for thirteen years and have just never been able to win the battle! So, we decided to dip into the gift I mentioned last month (that built the patio) to construct a water diversion culvert at the top of the parking area. The water is now being diverted along the edge of the grass above the parking places, around the dining tent and into the grassy field! It is working well and has made a huge difference in the amount of mud we have to deal with!
Another thing we have utilized the special gift for is to buy a trimming/hedging machine for Jacob, our groundskeeper, to use. He does such a wonderful job keeping all the hedges and flowers looking great, and up until now, he has done it completely with hand clippers! He was a bit hesitant at first, preferring to stick to what he knew, but is now getting the hang of the machine and loving it!  
Last month, I asked you to pray for my health. Thanks so much for your prayers! I am thrilled to report that the problem appears to have been an easy fix! Bloodwork showed that I had extremely high levels of vitamins B12 and D in my system. Evidently, the B12 isn’t such a worry, as the body expels the excess through urine. But the nearly toxic levels of vitamin D were really taking a toll! It’s my fault, really! A few years ago, I was prescribed monthly injections of these two vitamins. I have faithfully taken these injections, but have not been faithful about having bloodwork done to keep tabs on the levels. Lesson learned! I’m telling you, I was a mess! 

I am now getting my strength back, slowly but surely. I am starting to be able to once again focus on a task and recall words needed to put together complete sentences. The headaches are subsiding and I am no longer spending my days watching the clock, just waiting for time to sleep! I will now be having bloodwork done to check these levels, along with thyroid (which was low), on a regular basis! I never in a million years would have guessed that too much of a vitamin could mess a person up so bad!
Earlier in this letter, I mentioned that the flowers are loving the rain. Well, some of our younger kids love to go out with a vase (a used bottle of some sort) and a pair of scissors and create beautiful arrangements. These normally end up on the windowsill of my kitchen and I absolutely love them!
Thanks for taking the time to read to the end of this long update! We appreciate you and the many ways you support what God is doing here at In Step Children’s Home and Primary Academy! Thanks for everything!

GIGATT (God is Good All the Time)!
Mama Carla
P.S. I got a few more piki pics this month, so thought I might as well share them with you! 

Rehema for Kids| 509.405.8677| RehemaForKids.org