Ethiopia is now requiring adoptive parents to travel not once to get their child .... but TWICE. When we adopted Malachi, the process went a bit like this at the end :
- Get referral of child. (YAY !)
- Wait approximately 4-6 weeks for a court date for the Ethiopian Courts to grant us as legal guardians. (NOTE : We were not there for this court date. Our agency, all agencies, held a power of attorney to stand in our place.)
- Upon approval of the court, we were granted permission to travel 3-4 weeks after approved court date.
- We traveled to meet and bring home our new son ! Again, YAY !
- For the first year after coming home with child, you go through a re-adoption process making them a legal US citizen.
- Child is with us forever ! YAY!
Well, now it will look like this :
- Get referral of child.
- Court date will be set 3-4 weeks after accepting referral. BOTH parents are required to be present for court. (Thus, the first set of plane tickets on short notice. Totaling $2000-$4000)
- Stay in country for 5-7 days over set court date, and meet your child. YAY !
- Fly home without child. Not yay.
- Wait 4-12 weeks for all paperwork to be finalized (different agencies put this time different). Go back to Ethiopia to pick up your child and bring them home. Yay ! (Another $4000-$6000)
- Child comes home on a different visa because parent was there for court and upon arrival in the US is already a legal US citizen.
- Child is with us forever. YAY !
Notice both ends result with a big fat YAY !
Some may still say, "so what?". Well, several things. One, the child now has to wait longer to come home. Parents have to leave their child for several weeks after meeting them in a place they know is not best for them. So hard ! Something that costs $23,000-$27,000 is now pushing $30,000 or more. Ouch.
Bottom line - as much as this in an inconvenience for adoptive families, it's a bigger inconvenience for the orphaned children.
This situation is making me mad .... with a holy, righteous anger. The Enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy. He does not want these children to be placed with families. He desires their destruction. He does not want us as Christians to die to ourselves in the way of time, family and finances. He wants us to be selfish and live this life for ourselves with as little pain, frustration and inconvenience as possible - at least when it comes to doing what is good and right and pure. But you know what ?!?! WE ARE MORE THAN CONQUERORS ! (Stop reading this and go read Romans 8. Then come back please. :) )
One of the ways I already see the Enemy working, and is a sad reality, is that families are being deterred (or will be) from adopting in Ethiopia because of these changes. Take for example, Aaron and I. To adopt again from Ethiopia, we now have more funds that need to be in place. Plus we have to find 2 chunks of time, relatively close to each other, in which we need to figure out what to do with our current children at home (not to mention leave them twice. Sad.). The millions upon millions of children (4.8 if you want to be more exact) now face an even bigger barrier to finding their forever families.
The challenges that one will face in adoption are a daunting, never ending list. This just added to it. This is one of those times that for those in the process or those considering it, we MUST remember that adoption is not about us, it is about the heart of God. The challenges, the struggles, the discomfort, the finances are NOTHING when compared to the eternal significance of adoption. Did you hear that ? ETERNAL. I praise God that Ethiopia is still open to adoption, rather than shutting their program down altogether.
On the flip side of the tactics of the Enemy that make me angry - I see a big God who is still sovereign and in control. I've heard HEARTBREAKING stories of children being taken from uneducated families in the remote parts of Ethiopia being told they are coming to America for education and will be returned, only to be adopted out forever. I've also heard equally heartbreaking stories of parents getting to Ethiopia and meeting a child that did not match what they thought they were getting (be it health or age or looks) and they leave the child there. And to top it all off .... stories of parents bringing their children home only to relinquish them here in the states because it is not what they signed up for. For all we know, this could be God's way of protecting those kids !
I'm thankful that Ethiopia is taking measures to protect their people from corrupt agencies and people. I'm thankful that they are trying to keep their children and country from being taken advantage of. I'm thankful that they are trying to keep children who are not orphans in their homes and make sure that new families mean it when they say they want to adopt a child. Let me make this clear --- those people who I mentioned above do not have these children's best interest in mind, nor do they cling to the heart of God who LOVES these little ones unconditionally. But God does !
In my anger and in my small understanding of God's sovereignty, all this has done is drive my heart to desire adoption MORE and NOW.
Aaron and I would love to adopt from Ethiopia again. We've already begun to talk about how these new challenges will factor into that possibility. I have been praying HARD for God to make a way SOON for us to dive into this journey again. We are taking steps in our life that we think are honoring to God in both our current situation as a family, and our hopeful future as a growing family. And while my heart is already fretting about the money aspect again - I trust that if this is God's will for our family, the money will be there just as it was with Malachi ....
EVERY.LAST.PENNY. (And as for who will care for our children ..... well .... REBECCA ?!?! haha)
All that said - we truly are desiring to adopt again. Would you please join us in praying for God's timing, and for the money portion of it to come about. We don't even have the funds to START the process this time, let alone complete it. I don't want that to be a reason for us, or anyone to not adopt. God has worked $25,000 worth of miracles in our lives already. I've seen Him do it for others. I know He can do it again.
17 You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted;
you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
18 defending the fatherless and the oppressed,
in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more.