I've been trying to write an update for weeks because I know some people are curious, but I've really been struggling with what to even say in the midst of this mess. It has been almost 2 months since Ethiopia suspended international adoption work. 2 months without a statement from the Ethiopian government. 2 months without some sort of plan for the 4 million orphans in Ethiopia. 2 months where it has been weighing on our hearts and minds.
Thank you to those of you who signed petitions, shared links, and wrote letters to Congress. It worked! The issue gathered enough momentum and attention that Congress met and drafted a letter to the Ethiopian Prime Minister. The letter was sent with 122 Congressional signatures, which was amazing! (Supposedly 50 signatures would have made it a very strong letter.) The letter requested a response from the Ethiopian government by June 1 and encouraged Ethiopia to process all cases "in the pipeline" already. Unfortunately, our case is not defined as "in the pipeline" because we have not been matched with a child. The letter did advocate for the continuation of international adoption, however, which is our hope as well.
With extreme anticipation, June 1 came and went and the Ethiopian Prime Minister did not give an official response. In the last 2 weeks, she has allowed portions of the international adoption process to continue though. Praise God, almost all of the children who were legally adopted prior to the suspension (and "stuck" in country because of missing documents) have received their exit letters, passports, and are or will soon be HOME with their forever families! There has also been positive movement in other stages of the adoption process- approvals granted, court dates issued, etc....only time will tell if this will lead to the continuation of adoption work in Ethiopia.
While we are thrilled for those families and rejoicing with each piece of positive news coming out of Ethiopia, our case (as well as hundreds of others) is NOT moving forward right now. It is unclear whether or not new children in Ethiopia will be cleared for international adoption, which is what needs to happen in order for us to continue this adoption process. The Ethiopian government has not given a statement about their future plans for adoption. The government has not said that they are closing international adoption....but they have not said that they are NOT closing international adoption either.
What does this mean for us? We have absolutely no idea. We are stuck in limbo, which is such a hard place to be. Some days we hold onto hope believing that we will bring a child home from Ethiopia, and some days we try to prepare our hearts for the worst-case scenario. I've been going through the Psalms lately, and my emotions can relate to the ups and downs of those chapters: adoration, broken-heartedness, faith, frustration, hope, anger, belief, despair, rejoicing...
In the last 2 months, we have had several conversations with our adoption agency about our options. Heartbreakingly, nervously, and in disbelief, we went over every option to transfer to a new adoption program. We listened to new requirements, learned what new processes would be like, heard about the new finances we would need to get in order, and sighed at how long estimated wait times are for each new process once we are at the bottom of a new list. It is hard to believe that God would take us on a 4 year, 3 month, $20,000 detour on the way to bringing home our son, but He might have....and if He did, He is still good.
Don't get me wrong, there have been times in the last 2 months (okay, and throughout the last 4 years and 3 months) that I have cried and screamed and questioned and ashamedly thrown my temper tantrums with God. But He is El Roi (Genesis 16:13-14). The God who sees me. All of me. The God who knows all of my feelings and emotions, and the God who loves me. The God who has my best interests in mind, even if it turns out to be dramatically different than what I expected. He can be trusted because His ways are higher, even when we don't understand what He's doing. We can hold onto His promises and trust in His plan....even if we don't know what that plan is yet. He is doing something beautiful, even through the painful and confusing growing/pruning/waiting process: He is leading us to our son.
Pray with us:
-That God would soften the hearts of Ethiopian officials and end the international adoption suspension in Ethiopia
-That cases "in the pipeline" would be completed quickly, consistently, and without issues
-That God would rise up people in Ethiopia to adopt children in Ethiopia (Domestic adoption is not suspended there, and many children need homes, however, it is not a big part of their culture at this time.)
-That God would make His plan and path for our adoption process abundantly clear. (Do we continue to wait? Do we transfer to another program? Both options seem difficult and scary right now.)
Thank you for sticking with us through this roller coaster of an adoption process. We are thankful for you.