To be honest, I'm not really even sure how to or where to start this post. I think my heart is probably still a little bit too raw to really process everything that has gone on the last few months and my own mind isn't quite wrapped around where we are at and what I'm supposed to be thinking and feeling about it all. So bear with me if it's a bit discombobulated and doesn't flow super well. :) I'm just going to let my heart spill out as best as I can.
We've had a lot of changes with our adoption go on in the last several months and I've had a few people ask how it's going or where we're at with everything so I thought it might be helpful if I just explained it all on here and hopefully it will make sense and update everyone a little bit about what's going on.
If you know us, which I assume everyone reading this does, you know we've been in the process to adopt from Ethiopia for about 2.5 years now. Did we expect it to be this long? Um...no, Definitely not. Jack was a bit of a surprise, ok, a really huge surprise :), in the middle of the process so that delayed things a little bit. But then our agency changed their minds on a few things with our case and that prolonged our process even longer...by a long time, actually. We've been at the top spot for a referral for a long time...since before September of 2013. However, that clearly has not happened yet. There are a lot of reasons for that and hopefully I can explain some of them.
Up until the last few months we were still really hopeful that any day we'd be getting that call. The call I daydream about at least once a day. The call that would tell us there's a little one in need of a family and we're that family! And the day I would see that precious child's face and be overjoyed and overcome with emotion at the sight of her/him. However, there have been a lot of changes in the whole adoption system in Ethiopia over the last several months and I'm not sure that day is coming now.
You see, it's actually hard for me to even explain because I don't even understand it all and there aren't a lot of facts and hard proofs of what is going on in Ethiopia right now and in addition, we're dealing with a 3rd world government which can make things very volatile (seriously, our government can even make things volatile!). So know that there's a reason I can't always answer everyone's questions because I don't even know the answers myself.
Back in January there was a big scare when there was a statement released that said Ethiopia was going to completely shut down their international adoption system. No one knew why or when or what was going to happen, that's all the more information we got. We waited for several weeks and were finally told that the "powers that be" had met in Ethiopia and decided they would not be shutting down the system completely, but they would be making big changes to "hopefully improve" the system. This was much better news and put our hearts back at ease. However, things have not progressed in a positive manner and right now there is no end in sight as to whether or not this whole thing will resolve. The director of the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs (MOWA), which is the government agency in Ethiopia that oversees adoptions, has stated clearly that she is strongly against international adoption. However the federal gov't in Ethiopia stated that they are not and they will not be shutting down adoptions. This has caused a variety of issues and no one really knows for certain what is going on but many people believe that international adoptions are now being "stonewalled" by authorities in Ethiopia. There are a variety of requirements that have to be met for a child to be adopted and these requirements are not being met by the Ethiopian officials, for whatever reason, and therefore families are not going to court for their children and children are not being referred. There's just a big standstill with all of it and there's really no concrete information being given as to why or how it can be resolved or if it ever will be resolved.
In addition, there have been a lot of ethical concerns with parts of the adoption program in Ethiopia and that has caused a lot of unease as well. Issues are coming up right and left. An agency was just indicted by the US court for illegal acts...ranging from paying for children to falsifying documents to basically "trafficking" kids in the name of adoption. Another agency just completely closed their Ethiopia program (with families still in process left hanging), and then their agency as a whole went bankrupt and closed. So there is a lot of unrest and volatility.
So, where does that leave us? Honestly? In a completely unknown, extremely vulnerable, heartbreaking position. If you asked what I think will happen to us and if we will ever complete our adoption, my honest answer would be that based on all human facts, proof, reasoning, etc, No. There isn't a lot of reason to think positively about it all right now. But, things could still change and turn out positively, there just isn't a lot of proof for that right now. We still trust that God has us in this situation and He is sovereign over everything. So I have hope that if it is His will, then we will complete this adoption and we will someday come home with a little one. However, it may not be His will for that to happen. I honestly don't know what is going to happen. Even if we were to get a referral it would be tainted with a lot of apprehension and uneasiness because even the families who have referrals already right now are still having a hard time getting into court and getting their children home.
We haven't talked about a lot of this because really, we can never say anything for certain. We don't know what will happen or even what is happening right now. It doesn't look good, but we have absolutely no control over the situation, our place is just to sit and wait and see what happens. So I can't ever give people concrete information and facts. And it's such a roller coaster from one week to the next that I hate to drag everyone else along on that roller coaster. We've just been sitting back and watching it unfold, trying to remain hopeful that God will still redeem this situation. I'm even apprehensive to write all of this because it could change tomorrow. But, I thought it might help to just explain things a little bit since it's been so long and it's so volatile right now.
So where's my heart in all of this? I don't think I can even start on that. I don't know if I have the words to explain it all and this post would definitely be way too long to do that even if I tried! Like I said above, it's raw and it's kind of a mess right now. The emotions and the heart stuff are messy...there's a lot involved in this that is hard to explain. It's difficult to sit in such a stagnant place with no control over the circumstances. It's difficult to know how much my heart has longed for this child...how I've prayed fervently over her for nearly 3 years now...how I've worn a reminder of her around my neck everyday because my heart is so in love with a precious human that I've never even met yet....how I've fallen in love with a country and a culture that I thought would be a part of my family forever....it's difficult to explain how you can love someone you've never met so deeply. Maybe I'll write another post and delve into some of those things but for now my heart is keeping them locked up because I think I'm afraid to open the flood gates.
The only thing that gives me peace is knowing our God is sovereign and He loves us infinitely more than I'll ever know or understand. Our story is being written right now and it isn't over yet. I don't know how this journey will end, but it's all a part of the big story of our life that God has already written and that we have yet to see. I know He is good, faithful, just, perfect, holy and kind and because of that I know I can trust Him. No matter how bad it hurts, I know He has my best interest and His highest glory in mind. That is what He's working towards and I know that is what He'll accomplish. It may not look the way I thought it would or how I hoped it would but I know it will be best and that's all I've got to lean back on...but it's more than anything this world can give me to lean on and for that I'm thankful. It doesn't erase the pain and the turmoil but it reminds me where to go to for my peace. I must keep leaning on the Rock who never fails. My God is in control and there is no one more capable. The God of the universe knows my heart and He's writing my story and I will choose to trust Him. (man, if you can't tell I'm slightly preaching to myself right now because I have to constantly remind myself of these truths in order to stay on the path and not veer off the cliff! :) )
Ok...my heart needs a break :) So I'm going to stop there and hopefully that explains things a little better and you all can know how to pray for the situation. Pray for the kids caught in the middle. Pray for the government that they would make decisions based on truth, not on greed and dishonesty. Pray that things would be done ethically and the changes needed would be made quickly and efficiently. Pray for the MOWA director, Zenebu Tadesse, that she would have a change of heart. Pray for the families involved, stuck in the waiting and the unknown. Pray for hearts to turn to God and for people to allow His peace to reign. And even though I don't know if it will happen, I'm still praying for the miracle that we will bring our little one home and have her in our arms someday soon. Thank you for praying and for caring....it means so much to us!
Links for 2017-03-25 [del.icio.us]
2 hours ago