Two years ago, John and I made the decision to adopt from Ethiopia. There were many reasons why we chose international adoption.The statistics of children dying from preventable diseases were staggering. At one point in our decision making process, I considered domestic adoption (John was certain he wanted to go international). I knew that we could give a child a chance at life if their birth mother had adoption as an option and not just abortion. However, I didn't have all the facts about domestic adoption and the thought of having a relationship with a birth mother scared me. More on this in a bit....
SO....we began the long, long, process of international adoption. It wasn't long after we made the official wait list, that wait times began to drastically increase and huge changes began taking place with Ethiopian adoptions.
Many of our friends left the Ethiopia program to pursue other adoptions, but John and I felt like we were supposed to hang in there. I remember how hard it was when our friends left the program. I had so many mixed feelings. I believed (and still do) that God could move the mountains standing in the way of Ethiopian adoptions. I was sad that so many people seemed to be giving up so easily.It was a very emotional time. John and I continued on the wait list and as each month went by, the wait time increased and we received more depressing news about the time it was going to take to finish our adoption and the increased fees associated with the longer waits.
In July 2011, John and I were pretty content with our waiting game and had come to terms with the fact that it would be years before we brought our kids home. God had a different plan. There was a young girl, living at the homeless shelter where I worked, and she wanted to give her baby up for adoption. She was about 4 months pregnant at the time.
There were a lot of hurdles, but God made every detail fall in place and that baby boy became our son. It was God's plan.
After Jackson was born, we had to place our Ethiopian adoption on hold because of rules that Jackson has to be at least a year old before we can adopt another child. These past few months we have been praying and considering the future of our Ethiopian adoption.
I've known for a while what we needed to do, but I didn't want to face the reality that I would likely never get off a plane in Africa and be united with my child.
We have decided to leave the Ethiopian program.This has been one of the hardest decisions we have ever had to make. Our hearts will forever be tied to Ethiopia and the orphans there, but there are many reasons why we believe it's best for us to leave the program.
It's not as much the long wait times, as it is the rising costs, that have swayed our decision to withdraw from the program. The longer it takes, the more money it costs, and we don't have an unlimited bank account. There is also the concern that adoptions in Ethiopia will stop all together.
Although we won't be adopting from Ethiopia, we will always have a heart for the children. We will continue to support ministries working in Ethiopia and families adopting from there. I have a huge desire to go on a mission trip to Ethiopia and feel like God is opening doors for me to do so in the near future.
So what's our plan for the future?
We have decided to pursue a domestic adoption of an African American or bi-racial child, once Jackson turns a year old, through our local agency. There is a HUGE need for families to adopt African American and bi-racial children here in Oklahoma. We learned that in the past 10 years, not a single African American family has adopted from the agency we are planning to use. Seems like a lot of families want a white baby that blends with their family. This breaks my heart!
One of the reasons I have struggled with leaving the Ethiopian program, is because I didn't understand how God could take us down that road, let us fall in love with those precious children and then redirect our course.
I'm beginning to understand a little better now how He used Ethiopia to prepare us for the path He wants to take us on.
God knew I needed to have a heart for the world. He led me to Ethiopia. God knew at one time I was one of those people who was unsure if I could adopt an African or bi-racial child. What would people think? Now, I can't imagine NOT having an African American child (and to be honest, I really, really, want a sweet baby girl!).
I've written this before, but I will write it again. It's just an amazing testimony of the plan God had for our family and how He uses EVERYTHING to achieve his purpose!
Infertility and Depression led to
the decision to adopt which led
God leading us to Ethiopia, which
God giving me a heart for the
poor, the orphan and the world, which led to
Me praying for God to show me how I could serve that
population here in the U.S., which led to
My job at City Rescue Mission, the states largest
homeless shelter, which led to
Meeting our birth mom, which led to
Our incredible adoption story and amazing son,
Whew! Maybe, just
maybe, God called us to Ethiopia, if for no other reason than to change me. To
prepare me for the journey He had in store. To give me a heart for the poor, the
orphan and a heart for African children and biracial children.
And I have a whole different outlook on having a relationship with birth mother's. It doesn't scare me anymore. Having a relationship with a birth mother is a chance to love her, pour into her life, share Christ. It's an honor. I am so grateful that I know Jackson's birth mother. That I was there through the majority of her pregnancy. That I was able to hold her hand the day we found out she was having a boy. That I was with her in the room when Jackson was born. That I can pick up the phone and call her to wish her Happy Mother's Day. That she sent me a Mother's Day card. One day I'll be able to share all of this with my son.
I know there will be people who don't understand our decision, who don't support what we are doing. We've already dealt with that and it sucks. We are doing what we feel is best for our situation and I just ask that you respect our decision. God already answered our prayers in a way we could have never imagined. His name is Jackson Henry! We believe God knows the face of each and every one of our children and we can't wait to see how He grows our family.