***image1***Jeanette Falu-Bishop’s interest in western Africa began with research into her own family heritage. She learned that many Puerto Ricans are originally from western Africa. Reading up on the civil wars of Liberia, she learned that hundreds of thousands of children are homeless, misplaced by the second Liberian civil war, which ended in 2003.
Mrs. Bishop and her husband, Staff Sgt. Michael Bishop with the 723rd Air Mobility Squadron, have two children, ages 4 and 7. But, since they first married nine years ago, they talked and dreamed about adopting a child away from poverty. Now, they are dreaming about two.
“Even my own mom said, ‘you’re going to do a good job,’ “ Mrs. Bishop said.
From their KMC-area home, the couple began the laborious research into adoption agencies, Liberian law and U.S. law. According to the U.S.
Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, the number of adopted orphans from Liberia to U.S. citizens is slowly increasing, from 86 in 2004 to 269 in 2006.
***image2***Mrs. Bishop called the Plan Loving Adoptions agency a few months ago, inquiring about adoption. Before she could hang up the phone she knew it was the right thing for her family even with the fees racing toward $20,000.
“I was told about Jacob ? his mother was beaten during the war,” Mrs. Bishop said. “She died after giving birth.”
The boy’s father, living in the village of Harper, had no work, no food, no access to medical care. He signed papers saying he could not care for the boy or the boy’s 8-year-old sister Anthionette.
“The girl has never been to school,” Mrs. Bishop said. Both are in an orphanage in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia.
The young Liberian siblings, who are considered healthy, would be a nice fit with the Bishop family, Mrs. Bishop said.
“We’ve already introduced our children to this,” she said. “We’ve started a scrap book.”
Now, they need to raise the money for the fees. Mrs. Bishop began to expand her home business of candles, soaps and gift baskets. She reached out to friends and family for financial assistance. And, she gained support from a local KMC business owner for a fundraising event.
“This adoption is so important to me ? us ? because we have an opportunity here to save the lives of two children and keep them together,” Sergeant Bishop said.
***image3***Already, the family has been approved by evaluators who do background and home life checks. The Bishops are determined to secure the funds by January.
“They don’t know what it’s like to have a mom,” she said.
If all goes as planned, the family will fly to Colorado in January and meet the two Liberian children there, where they will be adopted. A military family can offer so much, Mrs. Bishop said, like good schools, medical and dental care.
“We’re giving them an opportunity,” Mrs. Bishop said. “Maybe, when they grow up, they can go back and do something for their country.”
• Join the Bishops at 9 p.m. Thursday, for “The Ultimate Dance Party” at Miamis nightclub, 12 Danziger Strasse, Weilerbach. Eighty-percent of the €10 cover charge will be donated toward the Bishops’ adoption fees.
• The Bishops host a garage sale from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 11 in Bldg. 1150 at Vogelweh Housing.
• Reach Jeanette Bishop at firstname.lastname@example.org.