Saturday, March 7, 2015

Adoption Update

My last post, almost four months ago, was an adoption update that was hard to write.  This one is even harder.  But as I just read over my words from that last update, my heart was encouraged again by the unchanging character of our God who is always faithful, always good, and always right on time.  I needed my own reminder to myself as share where we are currently in this process!

First of all, we want to say thank you.  So many people have walked this journey with us and for that, we couldn’t be more grateful.  You have prayed, encouraged, given sacrificially, rejoiced with us, and mourned with us.  The impact of your faithfulness has been far-reaching in strengthening not just our family, but our faith family, friends and strangers as we’ve shared how God has been at work over the last four years.


This adoption journey has gone nothing like we expected when we began in 2011.  We are so thankful that God spoke clear direction at the beginning because His call has been our lifeline as this process has had major ups and downs.  In all our prayers and seeking through these years, our call to adopt a boy from Africa who is HIV positive has not changed.  We have taken seriously the warning from the life of Abraham.  He also received the promise of a child and chose to manipulate the fulfillment when the timing wasn’t as he hoped.  In all of our unexpected waiting, we have been resolved to not make a “Hagar Decision” that puts our hope in our own plans and resources rather than in God’s.

This resolve has been tested as the adoption climate in Ethiopia has slowed down drastically over the last two years.  We are grateful to be with All God’s Children International {AGCI}, which is an ethical agency, but these ethics are causing them to hit a wall within the current system of corruption in Ethiopia.  Other unethical agencies, mostly European, are paying orphanages for referrals, which is illegal but not being controlled.  Because of this, these agencies are receiving most of the referrals, especially of young and/or healthy children.  Our agency is only receiving a few referrals of older children and children with severe special needs {HIV is not considered severe}.  There have even been some agencies closing their ET programs completely because of this corruption that doesn’t look like it will be changed anytime soon.

AGCI gave families the option of staying in the ET program or switching to a program for another country.  We prayed about this option, but AGCI doesn’t have another program in Africa and we have not sensed God change the original call He gave us. 

Staying on the ET waitlist, however, does not look promising.  I asked our caseworker to shoot me straight about the future.  Her response was “I am confident that we will only be placing older children or children with severe special needs in the program.  Regardless of the program potentially closing, if you do not feel open or prepared to parent an older child then I would not put the funds or effort in to updating your homestudy.”

Our agency has a birth order rule {our adopted child must be at least 9 months younger than our youngest child} so being open to an older child is not an option for us at this point.  This was very hard news to hear, but we are thankful for the honesty that shows us how God has closed this door for now.

I’ll be honest . . . I’ve asked God many times what in the world He is doing!  But again I’m reminded of the promise of a child given to Abraham . . . a promise he didn’t see fulfilled until 25 years later. {I’m sure praying it doesn’t take that long!} We’ve received the promise so we are holding on to the truth that one day Easton will join our family.  We have no idea when or how it will happen, but on that day, when we finally hold him in our arms, I’m confident we will see how God’s plans are far greater than we could ever imagine!

One of the main reasons we have this hope is because of all we have seen God do during this journey.  He has been so faithful and much of His faithfulness has been demonstrated through you!  The provision and encouragement we have received has reminded us over and over again that God is in this.  In Numbers 14:11 God said of the Israelites, “How long will this people despise me? And how long will they not believe in me, in spite of all the signs that I have done among them?”  We don’t want to see all that God has done and yet still choose to doubt His plans.  We believe we can trust Him and are striving to do so even as we walk into the unknown.

One of the hardest parts of this door closing is the money that we’ve already put into this process, much of which was given sacrificially from family and friends.  There is the temptation to see these gifts as lost or wasted, but nothing could be further from the truth.  God never wastes a sacrifice given to honor Him, to help His people, or to help an orphan that He cares for so deeply.  This journey has transformed our hearts and has taught us to walk in greater faith as we follow Jesus.  We pray that as you have journeyed with us, your heart has also been transformed and strengthened to walk in faith. The growth that has come from this journey is invaluable!


Now this update may make it seem like we are handling this news with no hint of sadness or frustration.  So not true!  I have cried big tears, prayed with Chad and friends, eaten Girl Scout cookies, and cried some more.  I have felt like we were "in the game" of orphan care and have now been sidelined.  That I'm on the outside of a group that I was once a part of.  I has been lonely and discouraging.  

We've gone through all the feelings, but God has never ceased to be our firm foundation and the anchor to our souls.  So at the end of all that processing and praying, I can write this update with confidence and peace that are as real as those tears were.  We don't know God's plan for bringing Easton into our family, but we know He has one.  And that has to be enough for us right now.

We are continuing to seek God about our adoption journey and would be grateful for your continued prayers as well.  As always, we want to be completely transparent in this process.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask us!  Thank you again for walking with us!


And because a blog post wouldn't be complete without pictures of my blessings . . .