We strongly believe God set us on the course to adopt a little boy from Ethiopia 4.5 years ago. Now it seems, though, that our adoption story and the path to our son has dramatically changed course.
Ethiopia suspended international adoption 3 months ago. They have not cleared new children for international adoption for over 6 months, and there are no known plans to do so anytime soon. Everyone is unsure whether or not they are planning to reopen international adoption, but all signs and rumors are currently pointing to NO. If the current Prime Minister had her way, it seems it would be a definite NO. The law banning international adoption has not passed through parliament yet, so there is still a little hope for international adoptions in Ethiopia to continue. However, there is so much negative media attention surrounding international adoption within Ethiopia at the moment, and it is a very political issue with strong feelings on both sides.
After 4.5 years and much prayer and guidance, we believe God is leading us out of Ethiopia, and we feel that we are unable to pursue an adoption from there any longer. (Keep reading though, we aren't giving up yet!)
It is easy to be angry and upset and confused by these circumstances. We've wrestled with it for months, and we have asked the tough questions: Why would God lead us to a country that He knew was going to suspend adoptions? Why would He have us wait over 4 years for nothing? Why would God have us spend so much money on an Ethiopian adoption when most of it is nontransferable to another adoption?
But then we asked ourselves another big question. Knowing what we know now, if we could go back in time, would we still pursue an adoption from Ethiopia 4.5 years ago?
The answer is undoubtedly YES. As crazy as that sounds and as much heartache and stress as it has caused, YES we would do it all over again. You might be shaking your head and screaming at us right now- WHY would you do that to yourselves!? Well, to put it simply, God's plan and timing are perfect. Always. As we've been reflecting upon and praying through those hard questions, we've received glimpses and reminders of what God has already done throughout this process and how His plan is still perfect:
1. Why would God lead us to a country that He knew was going to suspend adoptions?
Oh friends, Ethiopia is forever in our hearts. God knew we would fall in love with a country that we previously had known nothing about. We love the people, we love the culture, we love the food, and we've had so much fun incorporating pieces of it into our own lives (and plan to continue to do so for many years to come). We believe that God put Ethiopia on our hearts, even if it may not be for the reason we initially expected. Maybe someday adoption will reopen in Ethiopia and we can try this whole process again, maybe one day our kids will adopt from Ethiopia or marry someone from Ethiopia and we will have Ethiopian grand babies, maybe God will call us as Ethiopian missionaries, or maybe....just maybe.....God just wanted us to glimpse the country through His eyes. God allowed us to see the orphan crisis in Ethiopia, and we are burdened to help, even if we can't physically bring a child into our home from Ethiopia right now. We have researched several organizations that assist in family preservation, education, and access to the Gospel, and we have decided to partner with Compassion International to support a 4 year old little boy in Ethiopia named Dawit. He was born the SAME DAY that we were accepted into the Ethiopia adoption program, and celebrating his birthday each year will be a sweet reminder of God's plan and faithfulness. Thank you, Lord, that we have been forever changed by Ethiopia. We are excited to see how He continues to use this in our lives.
2. Why would He have us wait over 4 years for nothing?
This specific adoption process may not have resulted in a new family member, but it was not "for nothing." Over the last 4 years, we have seen God do some amazing things. We have seen mountains moved and miracles performed for ourselves and other families adopting from Ethiopia. We still got to witness, firsthand, the power of prayer and God's strength on display. We have learned and grown so much through this adoption process. As we have held onto Him, He has shown Himself faithful time and time again. We have made some amazing friends throughout this process that we may have never met, had we not pursued an adoption from Ethiopia. We have two beautiful girls that might not be here today if our Ethiopian adoption process would have moved as quickly as originally anticipated. Yes, it has been a long 4+ years, working and waiting, but it was still worth it in the end. We can't help but think it will make even more sense once we finally complete our adoption journey. Perhaps all this time we have just been waiting for our son to be born.
3. Why would God have us spend so much money on an Ethiopian adoption when most of it is nontransferable to another adoption?
I know it's taboo to talk about money, but we have been asked about this question more than any other, perhaps because it's the most tangible loss. It's actually the one that bothers us the least throughout this redirection. Looking at our finances and our budget, we should not have been able to pay $20,000 toward this adoption. God brought us every single penny we needed, exactly when we needed it for the last 4+ years. Praise God, amost $7,000 in fees will transfer with us to our new adoption process because we are remaining with the same agency, and they have waived as many fees as they can for us. The rest of the money has already been paid out to third parties, and we have kissed it goodbye. (You sign things that warn you about this exact situation at the beginning of the adoption process...but you just never think it will actually happen to you.) We know, ultimately, all money is God's and He will do with it what he will do, and we trust Him. The good news is that we have recently received 5 adoption grants, and, praise God, they will ALL transfer with us to our new adoption process. With the amount we've paid + the grants we received, we thought we were DONE financing our adoption. Unfortunately, now we have a deficit of what we need to complete an adoption. Do we believe God will provide for this twist in our adoption process as well? Yes. No doubt. We will apply for more grants, and we will tighten our budget. We may even throw one more adoption fundraiser your way, if you'll let us! God is good, and He is faithful.
Our desire to adopt is still present, and we have already transferred to a new adoption program within our same adoption agency. We are still pursing an international adoption, but God has changed the country....and even the continent! We still believe we have a son waiting to come home, even if he's not coming home from Ethiopia. We are choosing not to look at this as a dead end, but rather, a detour along our path. The twists, turns, and dips along the way are all part of our story, and they are just as important as the finish line.
We will be sharing more information about this new leg of our journey very soon. Stay tuned to see where God has led us and what the future might look like for our family. Lord willing, our adventure is not over yet!