Archive for June, 2011

One girl from Africa

June 28th, 2011

We received a somewhat shocking email yesterday about the girls we are trying to adopt from Ethiopia.  One of the girls had one missing document and couldn’t be adopted without it.  They orphanage had stepped up efforts to locate it when we said we wanted to adopt her and they felt confident they could locate it.  They were going ahead with all the preparation to get them both ready to go with us.

Yesterday’s email said she’d been returned to her biological family and was no longer available for adoption. We assume they located some of her relatives while searching for the missing document.

I was so shocked that I couldn’t even process the news at first.  We’ve had pictures of both these girls on our fridge for 5 months.  We’ve been praying for them and expecting them to move in with us by the end of the year.  I had been working out all the logistics of how to incorporate two more people into our small house.  I had been convinced that it would be great to bring two girls who are friends over here together so they would have each other during the transition.

We knew from the start that these girls aren’t ours until the court says they are, so we hadn’t let ourselves get totally attached yet.  But still, when you have the pictures, you start to get attached.  Worst of all here, we don’t know which girl is which in the pictures.  We asked the orphanage director to identify them in March, and he said things like, “H (I can’t make her name public) is thinner, darker, and taller.  S is brighter, fatter, and shorter.”  Well, they are sitting down and they look so similar that many people who see the pictures ask if they are twins.  And, really, what use is the adjective “fatter” in describing Ethiopians?  We studied the pictures quite a while and couldn’t make any decision about which one is which.  So we will just have to keep both pictures up there, and we’ll find out which one is ours when we get to Ethiopia.

I’m not grieving this like I might have under ordinary circumstances when an adoption doesn’t happen or a baby is miscarried.  For one, we always knew the paperwork was incomplete, and one adoption agency had finally turned us down because of document problems.  We also knew that at any moment, another family whose application and dossier were complete could choose one of the girls before we could get them.

But the main reason I’m mostly all right with this is because of my prayers for the past several months.  At one point, I got very concerned about taking half-grown children from their country and culture and all the children who were their “family” at the orphanage.  Would it be better for them to be raised in the US than in Ethiopia?  From the standpoint of better healthcare, nutrition, and education, probably yes, but not necessarily from an emotional and spiritual standpoint.  Ethiopian children are very happy, despite having nothing, but maybe that’s partly because they have nothing.  Maybe God wanted them to stay there.  So I prayed for that, for what God wanted.  If it was His will for them to stay there, I prayed for them to find a family there (I really didn’t expect them to find biological family members). If it was His will for us to have them, I prayed we would get them.  If it was His will for us to raise them and educate them and disciple them, then for them to go back to their native country and serve there, then I prayed that would happen.

So you see my prayer was answered, and I realized that almost as soon as I read the email, but my mind still reeled from trying to absorb everything.  I’m sad when I look at the pictures, but happy for her, too, if she has newfound family.  We wonder how the remaining girl feels, if she has lost her friend.  I don’t know if the orphanage would tell her yet that we are coming for her.  But we are.

Two girls from Africa

June 27th, 2011

So if you read “Intractable People” posted earlier, you know we have been trying to adopt two girls from Africa since February.  I went through three agencies to find one which would take us as clients.  The agency who accepted us (I can’t name them yet) was originally established to facilitate adoptions of special needs children, so they were more open to working with our unconventional situation.  We received preliminary approval from them two months ago and have been completing paperwork and finding a homestudy agency since then.

I have moments of near-panic when I think about what we are doing:  first, that we are bringing two half-grown children from another culture who may not speak English into our home; second, that it’s going to cost a boatload of money — at least $36,000.  However, when I pray about these things, or think through what God’s already shown me, I’m okay.  I feel confident that we are working with God on this (as opposed to working against Him or just doing our own thing). Here’s why:

I learned about the girls first and prayed that if we should adopt them that Wayne would want them, too.  He did. When our children saw their pictures, they agreed on adopting them.  We even got attached to their pictures very quickly.  When my sister-in-law heard what we were doing, she was concerned and thought we shouldn’t take this on . . . until she saw the girls’ pictures.  Then she immediately knew they belonged with us. Second, our friends were so excited and supportive of us adopting these girls.  Third, Mike and Sara Darling and Philip and Sara Matheny were both adopting from Africa and they have taken us step by step through the process and instilled faith in us.  Fourth, when I finally found this agency to take us, the director told me she goes to this particular African country where the girls are every month, and she would be talking to the orphanage director in person in two weeks!  That was wonderful news since communication breakdowns were an issue.  Fifth, we had worried that our income would prevent us from adopting, but it wasn’t even an issue for this agency. And sixth, related to that:  when we finally sent in the application with the application money, we got a call from Wayne’s mom (who doesn’t even know yet that we’re adopting) telling us that she’s sending each of her children $10,000.  That’s almost a third of what we need !! And we had no idea it was coming.

So our last information about the girls was that the orphanage was getting them ready for us:  they were getting them checkups and gathering paperwork. Only one piece of paperwork is missing on one of the girls and they are working on getting that.  Sara thinks we could possibly have them by the end of the year because we won’t have to wait for a referral (that’s when they match you with a child).  There’s good reason to pray for that:  right now, the US will give each adoptive family $13,000 per child as a tax refund.  That’s in effect through 2011, but may change to a tax credit in 2012.  The refund would be a huge benefit to our family.

So pray with us for our girls.  We can’t wait to meet them.