Nothing new on the situation in Ethiopia. I will keep you posted as we find out information.
I feel like I can’t really delve into this post without first acknowledging the news out of Ethiopia this week that the government there would be cutting adoptions by 90%. Most of us in the adoption community were shocked and saddened. I thought of the waiting children and the families waiting to adopt. But you know who I didn’t think about? The children wrongfully taken from their birth families to meet the demand for healthy infants.
The truth is, this move is for the safety of children. There is a DEMAND for infants to be adopted in Ethiopia, not a need. That coupled with large amounts of money changing hands has made Ethiopia fertile ground for corruption. My prayers are that the best interest of all children would be served here.
God has taught us so much through this adoption. Not just about adoption, but about His sovereignty. As I got to thinking about all of it, I thought I would share these things God has shown me – mostly through my own faults. So here are a few things I wish someone had told me earlier – well, actually someone did try to tell me them, but I wasn’t quite ready to hear them. These are things I wish I had understood earlier.
Check your agenda at the door. We went into adoption telling God what child we would like to adopt. Here’s the problem with doing that: God, in His infinite wisdom, knows what child belongs in your family. And that may not be the type of child you have pictured in your mind. BUT I think His plans are far greater than ours’ – by yielding to His plans, we reap the joy that comes in following Him. That child He has picked for our family is perfect for our family and that child will bless our family simply by being a part of it. I would hate to miss out on this because I was following my own lead.
Check your timeline at the door, too. This one has been so hard for me. Adoption, much like pregnancy, is not done on OUR terms or OUR timeline. But realize that God’s timing is perfect! Things will happen not a moment too soon or too late because He has ordained the perfect timing. I laugh so hard when I remember starting this process in a way that coincided with OUR timeline. I had this idea in my mind of how long it would all take and where we would be when our child came home. All of that has changed.
Do your own research. Become an “expert” on your child’s country. Don’t just go on what an agency tells you. Meet people who have been there, read books, learn the facts for yourself before moving forward with an adoption so you aren’t going into it blindly following someone else. Not that agencies are bad or wrong, but there is something to be said for knowing the facts for yourself. For example, how can one decide to go on a waitlist with an agency without really knowing what the needs are in that country? Learn the needs, pray about them, and then move forward. One fact I have become aware of is that in the majority of countries, healthy infants will be adopted by citizens of that country or they will be the first ones adopted by foreigners. Older children, even 2-3 year olds, automatically have a much lower chance of getting families.
Let go of the idea that adoption is THE answer. Before blindly quoting how many orphans are in your child’s country or the world, learn how many of them are adoptable. Also learn how old those adoptable children are. Too often we adoptive parents have images in our minds of millions of healthy babies in cribs waiting for families. The truth is far from that. Knowing these facts is a great way to share with others the need for orphan care and family preservation programs. So many people are flat out unable or unwilling to adopt – and that’s okay. Rather than trying to convince them they should adopt, educate them on the many things they can be doing about the orphan crisis. Which leads me to….
Remember you are not solving the orphan crisis. Sometimes people will make remarks about how good adopting families are for “saving” a child. I cringe when people say this to me. We are bringing another child home because we love being parents and that child needs a home. Our bringing a child home does not solve the orphan crisis. The idea that it does is damaging to say the least. It elevates the adopting parent in a dangerous way.
Start with the waiting children. I have found myself saying this over and over again recently because it’s so important. Find out what children are already needing a family before going on any waitlist. Pray for each child. Ask God if any of them are your child. And don’t give Him conditions about it. It occurs to me that maybe if we all started with the waiting children, there would be far less corruption in adoption.
If you do go on a waitlist…. visit the waiting children issue frequently. Constantly seek the children who are slipping through the cracks because they are older or have medical needs. Don’t assume that God wouldn’t call you to parent those needs. He gives us the grace we need to go where He leads.
Brush that America-sized chip off your shoulder. I get a little disturbed when I read blog posts of families visiting their child’s birth country and they are consumed with complaints about cold showers, people running late, or cultural differences from the American way. Now, I have not been there. I am sure some of these things are challenging, but visiting your child’s country is a once in a lifetime chance! Resist that temptation to feel like our way is “right.”
This also goes for communicating with people in your child’s birth country via phone and e-mail. As Americans, it can be so easy to have this entitled attitude that things should run on OUR terms. Remain respectful of THEIR process and accept that it will be different from how things are done in America. And that’s okay! They know their country better than we do and OUR way probably would not work there. Accept this. ..
Thank you, Farmer’s Wife, for this beautiful post.