Consider this a PSA: If you don’t like uncertainty, if you appreciate things operating on a timely schedule, if you can’t handle roller coaster emotions, you probably shouldn’t adopt.
As adoptions do, ours has run into a delay.
I told you last time that our kids’ biomom was making a 14-hour journey to the capital city of Ethiopia. While here, she planned to see her kids one last time and go to court to relinquish her rights. Things didn’t go according to plan. She arrived at the orphanage with some of her extended family. The extended family seemed to be trying to convince her to change her mind. They spoke negatively about adoption. They wanted to put conditions around the adoption such as requiring us, as the adoptive family, to commit to bringing the kids to visit every three years. (Sidenote: This is illegal. In international adoption, the adoptive family cannot have direct contact with the biological family. This is to reduce the potential for corruption- to ensure birth families are not selling their kids or that adoptive families are not bribing birth families. Pictures, letters, and even visits can be arranged but must go through a third party like an orphanage). The birth mom seemed to be confused about the whole situation. The orphanage staff explained again exactly what adoption is and what is and isn’t legal. They did this in an informative, non persuasive way.
The birth mom never made it to court.
The extended family has now gone back home. The birth mom’s court date has been rescheduled to Monday, 10/28. She is staying at the orphanage for the week. The agency told us that this could be a confusing time for the kids- not seeing their mother for a year and now living with her. Not just living with her, but living with her in a place where their friends are getting adopted from. Our older boy has been crying and saying he wants to be adopted like his friends. The younger girl (age 4.5) doesn’t seem to have memory of her biomom.
So that’s the situation.
How are we feeling?
Good question. I don’t know.
I mean I really don’t know. When they called with the news, I almost expected it. I think I would have been shocked if everything went smoothly. My experience with adoption has been that absolutely nothing goes as planned, so even as we’ve been excited and shopping for furniture and talking with the school district and thinking about middle names and learning Tigrinya and minivan shopping, I’ve known in the back of my mind that none of this is a for sure thing. I’ve been very well aware that something could go wrong; that all the pieces that seemed to be falling into place could suddenly crash down. So I’m not surprised.
What’s best for these kids and the biomom? I don’t know that either. These are not nameless people on the other side of the planet. I can’t share online yet, but we know their names and a little about their personalities and have about a dozen pictures of them. They are real people, people we care about even though we’ve never met them. We want what’s best for them. Adoption is tough on kids. It’s not always the right answer. But they would undoubtedly have more opportunity with us than they currently have. I’m not arrogant enough to think that I’m any better than the birth family or to say they would for sure have a better life with us. But I can’t help but think, what’s going to happen to these kids if they go back to their small village? It would be fabulous for them to rebuild their relationship with their mom; to feel the love of their biofamily. But is that the right answer for these kids? Where have those people been for the past year?
So I guess I’m just confused. Not particularly upset, not surprised, just confused about what’s going to happen from here. Is she going to decide to take them back, which would effectively end our adoption journey? How would I feel then? Or is she going to go to court in four days and relinquish her rights?
I’m also feeling helpless. So many big big big things going on, things that directly impact our family, but I can’t do anything tangible about it. I can’t offer hugs, I can’t plead our case, I can’t offer any counsel.
So I write and I pray. I write to share our story with you and to ask for your prayers as well, if you’re into that sort of thing. And I pray that God will have his hand in this whole messy situation, that everyone involved can trust in whatever happens, that these kids will end up in the best place for them, wherever that may be. And as I’ve prayed over this whole situation, I’ve felt a peace.
*On a happier note- and as a true example of roller coaster emotions- literally as we were on the phone with the agency we were walking out the door to a sonogram appointment. Fifteen minutes after we got this news, we learned our little girl is developing beautifully!