Friday, June 14, 2013

Adoption Update

An adoption update is long overdue.  It hasn't been that there is nothing to share, but with all that has been going on, I just haven't had the words or the energy to write until now.

I never gave our May waitlist number {88} because we got it right before the surgery and I was freaking out focused on that front.  Little did I know that I had missed my last chance to share our waitlist number. 

We received an email from AGCI a few weeks ago letting us know that they would no longer being giving families an updated waitlist number each month.  They aren't changing their process so we are still on a big list, but we just won't be getting that number anymore.  Essentially the process is so slow and complicated by lots of factors and parameters that the waitlist number can be a little misleading and lead to confusion and discouragement.  I get that.  A countdown is good, but when your number is still huge, it isn't as exciting as you'd think it would be.  And when your number is small, you could be on the edge of your seat for months, freaking out each time the phone rings . . . not great either.  {So if anyone has a great idea of what to put on my cute little chalkboard in the kitchen that previously chronicled our countdown, let me know.}

The slowdown in a nutshell is because like anything in our world, corruption can come into something beautiful and screw things up.  Thankfully AGCI is an ethical and trustworthy agency and has an amazing team in Ethiopia committed to doing things above reproach.  Because other agencies and orphanages aren't as ethical, there is a slowdown while US and ET authorities try to sort out and get rid of corruption.

AGCI also opened up a few possibilities because of the long wait . . . switching programs, concurrent adoptions, and letting your paperwork expire until you are closer to receiving a referral.  It is good they are looking at the timelines realistically and giving families a little more freedom in the meantime.

However, none of these options are something we sense God leading us to at this time.  Since we are still high on the list, we might normally be open to letting our paperwork expire, but I knew the list of families open to HIV was smaller and so I thought we should keep our paperwork updated so we'd be ready for a referral at any time.  

We don't have access to the details of families on the list, but I only knew of a couple of families in front of us open to HIV.  I decided to email our caseworker just to see if she would give me an answer as to exactly how many open to HIV were ahead of us {I was thinking 2 or 3}.  

Seven.  Not gonna lie, that email was like a punch in the gut.  {Now before you freak out at my selfishness . . . Of course I'm thrilled that so many families are open to a positive child.  I love it.  These kiddos need families and access to life-saving medication.  I'm thankful for how families just like ours are obeying God's call to be open to little ones that some in our world would disregard.}

But the difference between three and seven in the adoption world could be months and even years.  So there was some excitement, but quite a bit of discouragement too.  {And you have to cut me some slack too because I got this email right after Chad had come home from the hospital and I was exhausted and he was in all manner of pain and my kids were probably going crazy and it was all just too much.}

So what did I do?  I sadly did what many a woman before me has done when faced with a delay in her plan . . . I began to manipulate.  {Think Sarai and the whole Hagar episode.}
I found a moment alone and began to think of ways to fix it.  My train of thought went something like this . . .

We could leave AGCI and be matched with a waiting child with HIV in no time.  No . . . we would lose all the money we've already put in and we can't do that with everything that friends and family have sacrificially given.  We could do a concurrent adoption.  After all, we've already talked about adopting again one day.  Maybe another little one will come before Easton instead.  No . . . that would require another $30,000 that we don't have.  Maybe we could do foster-to-adopt since there is such a great need in our city.  No . . . AGCI won't let us do that while waiting.  Maybe I could just get pregnant again and have another little one before Easton even comes home.

And that's when God snapped me out of my craziness.  I had let my mind go so far down the track without realizing that the Holy Spirit had gotten off the train several stops back.

God whispered . . . When did the goal become just adding another child to your family?  Doesn't matter who, doesn't matter how . . . just get a kid in our family as quick as possible.  When did you trade in My perfect plan for this idea?

Ugh.  Thankfully I wasn't in that pit for long, but it was sobering to see the road that a little discouragement could send me running down.  I confessed.  I repented. 

And then I did what I predicted two years ago would need to happen at some point . . . I went back to when God spoke.  

This is an excerpt from my very first blog post announcing that we were adopting . . .

We know it will be a hard journey and we want to be able to look back and know that we heard God speak and were led by Him alone. To combat the desire in us to figure it all out and to pursue options that would be quicker, cheaper, etc., we committed to just spending time in daily prayer asking God to teach us, refine us and show us our next step.
Boy did He speak! In the last week, God has given us some clear answers.
What we know for now is that we are to adopt a son from Africa!

God spoke in incredible ways that we were to pursue adopting a little boy from Africa.  Months later God refined our call to adopt an HIV positive little one.  
This reflection gave me a fresh resolve . . .

Until we hear Him speak again, we will continue down this road for as long as it takes to see God's plan fulfilled.

{That's an easy sentence to write, but a much harder reality to walk.}

 I was strengthened and renewed by returning to our call, but it still weighed heavy on my heart as to why I was so thrown out of whack at the thought of our adoption taking even longer.

Then the other day God used my kiddos to reveal to me my heart and error in thinking.  
Ava said to Grayson, "I'm 4 and you're 2 so I win."  {She just might have a bit of her mama's competitive nature in her!} I said, "Ava, you are making a race out of something that isn't one.  Of course you are older, you were born first.  It isn't better, it's just how God planned it."

The words had barely left my mouth before I was humbling my heart.  I have looked at friends start the adoption process after us and already have their kids home and somehow have felt like they have won and I've lost.  I've turned this journey into a race so that every month waiting feels like a hurdle in my way and every victory for another family feels like defeat.
What a mess I've made of such a beautiful thing.  Of course our friend's have already welcomed their little one home . . . it was God's perfect plan.  Of course Easton isn't here yet and there are seven families in front of us and it could be years before we see his face . . . it is God's perfect plan.

And if I can't trust in His perfect plan, then what can I trust?  Walking in faith . . . that is what we are called to . . . even when it is hard and we can't see and it hurts.  So back on the journey {with the Holy Spirit this time!} and looking forward to more of how God will refine my heart and our family through the journey to our precious Easton!

So there you have it.  {Now you know why I haven't had the energy to write it all out!}  It is humbling to be honest on here for anyone to read, but I don't want to be anything else.  I don't have it all together.  I don't always wait well.  I worry and manipulate at times instead of trusting.

But I am seeking my Father through it all and I can still hear His voice that brings me back to quiet waters and green pastures.  His Word reminds me of His faithfulness to His promises . . . always.  The Gospel proclaims His great mercy and grace lavished on me.  Where else can I go?  I will trust in Jesus.  Praise be to His Name! 


  1. Amen, and amen. Thank you for this. God be praised for His beautiful and perfectly knit-together plan. Praying for y'all!!

  2. Thank you for sharing, Cole. I love hearing your heart as you've processed all this -- and am always thankful for your transparency!

    Hey, given your competitive nature -- and Ava's -- perhaps that chalkboard could become a scoreboard or a Tic Tac Toe game? The girl's got to be able to win at something, right?

  3. Thanks y'all! Good call Christi ... a gameboard would be perfect!