Thursday, February 2, 2012

It's Making Our Decision Even Harder...

Money. It's the root of all evil - at least that's what the Bible says.

I'm learning that the hard way today. I am pretty sure this blog might highly offend people - but it's the hard core truth. It's my heart. I have always been honest on this blog. The good. The bad. The ugly!

Yes, John and I have had to fund raise A LOT for our Ethiopia adoption. We know not everyone agrees. But a majority of the families I know from the adoption world have to fund raise - most people don't have $25,000 sitting around. Yes, we are struggling with the future of our Ethiopia adoption and what we're supposed to do as wait times continue to get longer and the price tag gets higher and higher. We do not feel comfortable continuing to ask for money. We're looking at thousands of more dollars to complete it.

This week we have been accused of not being transparent with what we are using our adoption money for. Well folks...we are using it for an adoption. While we had ever intention of adopting from Ethiopia, because that's where we believed God called us and where our hearts have been for so long, we are faced with some difficult decisions. But the one thing I do know is that the money will either be used to finish our Ethiopia adoption, or to pursue adopting an African American or bi-racial child through domestic adoption. We just don't know yet. We're trusting God will show us the way as we continue to pray about it. 

Several people, who have donated, have said they support us no matter how we form our family. Others are pretty upset at the idea of us leaving Ethiopia and have asked for their money back. Honest to God, we are trying to make the best decision, not just for us, but because SO many people have given us money for this adoption and we want to be good stewards of the gifts they have given.

I'm struggling! I'm dealing with massive amounts of hurt. People think we have been hiding our plans - nope, not hiding, just no new news to report. Each time we get updates about Ethiopia, I update this blog. We have not left the Ethiopia program, we are just on hold until Jackson is a bit older and then we will pick back up at 9 months on the wait list. We are then looking at another 10 months (or more, since wait times continue to increase) before a referral and then months more before bringing a child home. All the while the price goes up and up and up.

We are not hiding our plans. We are not leaving the Ethiopia program and running away to Hawaii with our adoption funds.We've been a little consumed by a Baby Boy, that until my blog the other day, we hadn't shared with anyone the tough decisions we are facing and the grim outlooks in Ethiopia. We have to weigh our options. Continue the process and continuing paying more and more money. Risk the chance of the program shutting down altogether and loosing everything we have invested.

I'm also heartbroken, yet, furious that people have accused us of not investing any of our own money into the adoptions. We have not only invested our own money, but many tears, many long, long nights of paperwork and cookie making and planning golf tournaments, etc. In the midst of our fundraising, we have joined forces with other couples to help them raise money for their adoptions. It's HARD WORK!Any couple adopting will tell you that! We have not been sitting back, sipping umbrella drinks, waiting for a baby to show up on our door step.

We have been slapped in the face with tacky, hurtful comments. Why don't you just have your own children? People don't fund raise when they have their own children. And now people are questioning our integrity and it stings. To the core!

Here's the deal. It's not about the money we have been asked to return. I will give anyone their money back if they truly don't want to support a domestic adoption, if that's the route we choose to go. But I am hurt and saddened that people seem to think children overseas deserve a family more than babies here in the U.S. Jackson was clearly a God thing! God took our journey to Ethiopia and changed me and led me to the Mission where a baby boy needed a family.

I have cried and cried today. I have questioned our whole decision to fund raise, but I stand behind what we have done the last few years. God has revealed Himself in mighty ways through our adoption and has provided resources that we needed through amazing people. God calls EVERYONE to care for the poor, the widow and the orphan. He calls some people to adopt, some to sponsor children overseas and some to help other people who are adopting by giving to them financially.

I understand that some people's heart cry is for international adoption. I get that. John and I have fallen in love with Ethiopia. With Africa. And we have never stepped foot on the soil. But shouldn't it be about adoption? Period?? Every child deserves a mother and a father. There are needs all around the world - here in our own backyard. God promises He will place the lonely in families and he means a baby boy born in Elk City or a child in an African orphanage. John and I are just being open to what He has in store for our family. Because He really is the one in control. The thing I've learned about Adoption is that nothing is in my control. I have also learned that God provides and funds His calling. I have no doubt He will continue to do so for our next adoption - regardless of where our children are.


  1. Jennifer and John, I am sorry for your trials and tribulations. Best of luck in forming your family however it happens! God puts every little child right where is best for him/her.

  2. I'll be praying for you as you make this difficult decision. My husband and I found ourselves in this very same position back in March of 2011 when the changes in ET first began to happen. We actually did withdraw from the ET program at that time and began to pursue adoption from the foster care system. A couple months afterwards I was still struggling deeply with our decision to leave the ET program and one day we got a call out of the blue that we had been chosen for a substantial grant towards our ET adoption. I was convinced I had told all the grant places that we had withdrawn, but they claimed they had received no such notification. I had even tried to cancel our USCIS process that we had just begun to get the 1-600A approval - they claimed they never received that cancelation. By the end of August we had received our I-171H, received enough funds to cover 3/4 of the adoption cost, and were DTE by Sept. 9th! God truly had a plan to provide, but I firmly believe that that plan involved us leaving the ET program for that time to lead us to even think about foster care. We are now pursuing concurrent adoptions, from ET and from foster care. We should be foster to adopt licensed by the end of February and hopefully God will place a child with us who needs a forever home! We'll wait as long as we need to for ET and trust he will provide the extra money for the length wait and in the mean time we'll open our home to domestic children in need of a family. It's a bumpy ride for sure and every family has to make that personal decision about how God would have them build their family. I'm sure it hurts to have such criticism, but just trust that when you are seeking God's will that he will provide the wisdom, the funds, the children, everything!

  3. Oh my goodness you guys, I am heart broken for you! With our continued wait for Ethiopia I often feel like people may think "what happened to the money we donated?" and I feel like a broken record saying we are still waiting but I know that every person who has donated to our adoption knows our heart for children no matter what country or continent they are on and although we are committed to Ethiopia right now we never know what may happen. I pray that these people who have hurt you will realize what donating to an adoption means, it means just that "an adoption" not an adoption with fine print of only being in the continent of Africa and country of Ethiopia...I am just so sorry and am so hurt that there are people that would actually ask for their money back when you and John have just adopted a precious little boy. Praying for you all and for the hearts of these people, I think that is the most important thing right now, it is not between you and them but them and God.

  4. That is so horrible. I am so sorry. Clearly the people questioning you, don't realize the time or money or heartache that goes along with adoption. NO, we don't fundraise for our biological children, but since when does it cost $30,000 or more to bring home a biological child? I pray that people will know your hearts and that you will have a peace about God's plan to grow your family.

  5. Jennifer, I'm so sorry! I'm amazed at what people will say sometimes. The bottom line is they just don't understand...we have been blessed w/ 4 boys and people tell us all the time that we're crazy to want more adoption or otherwise... I'll be praying for your sweet family. Your little Jackson is such a cutie...and he was born on my oldest's bday. :)What a blessing he is!

  6. I came across your blog via a pinterest pin. We adopted our daughter via a 'cross cultural program' just 4 months ago. We also have 2 biological kids. I have felt the burden of domestic adoption.....wondering why people insider it a lesser form of adoption. Our sweet baby is a beautiful part of our family! God amazing plan to bring her into our family still leaves me speechless when I pause to think about it. Please be encouraged! Some people will not support you....some of those may even be those closest to you. Regardless of how it happens or who gives, God will continue to amaze you with how how He will set the lonely in families.

    Side note- my hubs and I are from OK too. We have been in New Orleans for the past 7 years