Sunday, March 20, 2011

Speedy Delivery!

Our dossier arrived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia today! Addis is the capital city that we will be travelling to, to first meet our babies and then go to court to gain custody of them. We have no idea HOW LONG it will be before we will get a referral, or HOW LONG it will be after that to have a court date assigned, but we have faith that God is moving EVERYDAY in this situation.  Our total trust is in him, yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Every so often he sends a reminder that he hasn't forgotten us (or you); my Aunt Kim and Uncle Darren call these tangible, audible, or visual reminders "God Smiles." When we're facing a tough time, God shows us how much he cares by sending something that may seem "coincidental" to most, directly to us to make us smile with renewed hope. In fact, today right after I found out that our dossier reached Addis, my friend Becky (another adoptive mom) posted a status update to her facebook page.  She was reminiscing that TODAY was the 3rd anniversary of the day she boarded a plane to go to Ethiopia to meet her daughter for the first time.  My eyes teared-up after reading her fb status, and after connecting it with our journey, my smile stretched for miles.  How cool! Coincidence? Nah, I don't believe it was. I believe it was my Father sending a smile my way to remind me of his faithfulness, a "Chin-up, girl, I've got this in MY control. Trust ME." kind of reminder.   My hope was once again renewed.

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for this single reminder of your faithfulness to all your children...and thank you for the speedy delivery service of DHL!

Friday, March 18, 2011

2 weeks later

Well it's been 2 weeks since we received the optimism-wrecking news of MOWA's change to Ethiopia's adoption protocol.  Since that time, we've experienced a multitude of emotions, changing not only daily but sometimes hourly.  During this unexpected, unexplained turn in events, we'd found ourselves sinking into very low, dangerous places.  However, with almost continual prayer along with supportive, encouraging words, texts, emails, and cards from so many family, friends, acquaintances, and even strangers, we've begun to feel not only a peace about the uncertainty of our situation, but have truly begun to feel HOPE about our journey.

This hope can only be explained as a sense of God swiftly moving to make sure his children are taken care of. The decrease in cases is not a plan following after God's heart for the fatherless, and we don't believe he will stand for this decision as a permanent thing. Not surprisingly, within a very short time of MOWA's disturbing decision, many of the organization's leaders were terminated from their positions! As new personnel are shifted to fill the positions, the US State Department and US adoption providers are optimistic and hopeful that a positive resolution is going to be made! (What encouragement!) Although high powered, influential humans are making great strides to push for these positive changes, I believe God is stirring the hearts to fully produce these changes.  He is the Hope to the Hopeless and Father to the Fatherless, and is still in control of this situation.  This has been a statement I've had to repeat to myself several times to fully embrace the truth in it.  I needed to be reminded that God doesn't just know what's going on...He KNEW this was going to happen before we were ever made aware of the situation.  He KNEW of this decision before MOWA ever started contemplating it.  Even more amazing, he KNEW all about it even before the world was formed.  While these statements can begin to bring up questions such as why he allowed it to happen, the hope I have in him and his plans, tells me that his power will outshine the darkness of the past two weeks.  In fact during these past 2 weeks, we have still seen him moving - our agency has still been getting referrals, court dates are still being assigned, families are still travelling to pick up their children.

Our case is moving forward as well! Our dossier was shipped this week! After a relatively short discussion with our case worker about whether or not to send it off, we decided to move forward despite the current uncertainties.  Although we know our process now could change from months to years (a thought that is painfully hard to swallow), we are 100% committed to this journey, no matter how rough the road turns.  Honestly, I've been surprised at the number of people who have asked me "Are you going to switch your adoption to a different country now?" after hearing our news.  Sadly, according to our case worker, a number of couples have decided to withdraw from the Ethiopia program based on the uncertainties of the process timeline. I can certainly relate to their uneasiness, weariness, nervousness and true distaste for the situation, but my question remains: "Where is your HOPE for the children you've (most likely) already envisioned as a part of your family?"  How thankful I am that God, as our father, doesn't give up on us when the decisions we make don't reflect his heart.

We will keep (prayerfully) pressing on, no matter how long or difficult the wait.  We have seen God's careful hand mapping out our journey, and as surprised as we may become at any unexpected twists and turns in the road, we are committed to following him as he leads us to our family.

Please continue to keep us and our children in your prayers as we push through this set back and as we face the unknown.  Also, please continue to pray for all the decision makers worldwide, as they sort through past protocol, new regulations, and future recommendations to begin setting up the most ethical and efficient process for everyone involved.

As I finish my thoughts and updates, I want to leave you with some words of truth that I've been clinging to these past few weeks (emphasis mine):

"We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don't see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.  Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. " Romans 8:24-28 (MSG)

"What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?" Romans 8:31 (NIV)

Sunday, March 6, 2011


It's been awhile since I've updated, and I hate the fact that I'm updating with a discouraging post. Unfortunately, my heart is deeply saddened this weekend and I need the support and prayers of friends and family. 

Friday night we received an email update from our adoption agency regarding a potential change to Ethiopian adoptions. Currently, within the country, prospective parents must be approved by the Ethiopian courts as well as the Ministry of Women's Affairs (MOWA) prior to being granted full custody. This past week MOWA made the decision to decrease their daily case hearings to only 5 per day...they are currently hearing 40 cases a day, so you can see this is a HUGE decrease. This change will significantly delay any and every process throughout the country. If this decision is permanent, it could potentially take 8 times as long for families to be united. What sad, sad news.

Our agency is urging families to "not panic" because of this news, but added that the Chief of the Adoptions Division for the Children's Issues of the Department of State is "extremely distressed" by the news as it was not expected.

This coming week (March 7-11) there will be discussions among adoption attorneys in Ethiopia (including our agency's lawyer), the Minister of MOWA, and the President of the Courts regarding this potential change and possible solutions. The Department of State has said that they are willing to assist MOWA  with the training of more judges and social workers to help with adoption cases, unfortunately they have not gotten any responses as of yet.

Please pray for next week's discussions...that hearts would be softened and resolutions could be made that would be most beneficial to everyone this would affect, particularly the sweet little children.  JT and I are both very concerned about this 1.) because we already love our little boys and want them to join us as soon as possible and 2.) because this decision could be very detrimental to literally millions of children awaiting homes.  The drastic reduction of daily cases could become a deterrent for many families seeking adoption from Ethiopia, a country generally known for it's smooth adoption process.  According to UNICEF, there are currently an estimated 5 million orphans in Ethiopia, these sweet, beautiful souls longing for the love of family. 

My heart has been broken and I've shed several rounds of tears since learning of this news.  I can't help but question why this is happening. As difficult as it is to believe, I know that God has a plan in all of this, but it's hard to see what it could be right now.  I'm urging you to pray with me this weekend and throughout next week; to pray for the attorneys to be influential with their proposed solutions, to pray that MOWA would not feel overwhelmed by the number of cases being brought before them but rather feel an urgency to place these children into loving homes. I would ask that you would pray that this case reduction does not remain permanently, but that willing workers would move into jobs that will once again increase their daily adoption approvals. Please pray for the children as they wait, specifically that each individual wait time between referral and court date would be shortened, that as these children hear of "family" they will not lose hope in the prospect of a mommy and daddy to call their own. Also, please pray for all the families who are currently in any stage of an Ethiopian adoption, that we ourselves would not lose hope in the process, that our faith would be strengthened and we will persevere through this difficult news.

Please pray with us and pass this information along to any friends and family who would be willing to pray about this situation. This week will be a important week of discussion and decision.  Please feel free to post this blog to your fb page or email a link to our site. I'll update next week's decisions as soon as we get official word from our agency.  Thanks for all your prayers in advance.

" Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Hebrews 4:16