David and I first started talking about adoption while we were dating. After we married, the talk continued. No serious discussion, just always keeping that door open and in view.
After Alia was born (8 years ago, next month), we felt like it was time to look more closely at adoption. We knew we wanted to adopt, but how? From which country?
We spent about 6 months to a year just investigating the many, many options. We lived in Korea and we really wanted a baby from there. But because we lived overseas (non-military), we were told it would be nearly impossible. Plus the cost was beyond our ability. Our next step was an agency out of Oklahoma that would allow us to adopt a newborn, Native American. Things started moving and I actually began telling a select few what we were trying to do. Hope was growing in me.
After a year of talking with the agency, it became obvious that we would have a hard time adopting a child of Indian decent. That was really discouraging for me, but I knew that God had given us the desire to adopt and He knew what children He wanted in our family. So we waited and looked at other options.
We continued to look at newborn/baby options because we really didn’t want to change the birth order of the children already in our home. In the meantime, our youngest was getting older and “our” plan was evolving. And in my heart, hope grew a little more.
Then everything came to a screeching halt. It may have seemed like a quiet decision to others, but inside, my heart was screaming, “NO! NO! NO!”
Our family made a move from Korea to China. It was the right move. In the deepest part of me, I knew it was right, but I also knew that we would have to stop everything for a while. Hope didn’t disappear, but it sure did a good job of hiding at times.
Once we were settled and had a feel for our new surroundings, David suggested that it was time to move ahead with the adoption plans. He was at perfect peace with it all. I, on the other hand, made it perfectly clear that if we stopped the process ever again, I would never again start it. I am pretty sure he was shocked by my attitude. After all, we had discussed it, prayed about it, and we came to the decision together. Obviously, I still had a lot of growing to do.
Again, we started searching and praying. The more we looked, the more we realized that sometimes kids are not adopted simply because there are siblings involved. As a family, we knew that God was directing us to bring more than one child into our home. This was a twist to our plans. His ways are not our ways. His ways are so much better. This time hope didn’t just grow, it was overflowing.
Throughout all of the ups and downs we had experienced so far, I realized that I was learning to trust my Father to do the very best for me and my family. Adoption, by it’s nature, is beyond our control. There was absolutely nothing I could do to bring our kids home. We had a choice, wait on God patiently trusting that He knew what He was doing or wait and grow in frustration. Either way, we had to wait. We set our hearts on Russia and waited.
Finding an agency to work with us wasn’t easy. How do you choose the right one? Many could not have clients that didn’t reside in the states. Others were too expensive. Finding our agency came about through much prayer. http://www.adoptionark.org
We soon realized that living overseas would put many bumps, twists, and turns in our adoption journey. Our homestudy was delayed, no US social worker lives in Yanji. All the paper work cost twice as much and took longer to process. Almost all adoption paperwork must be notarized and then authenticated. We have no notary public in Yanji. We had to travel to Beijing to get things notarized or wait for trips to the states. Frustration rained down on us during this time, but hope was always present.
We were so excited when that last piece of paperwork was sent off. We were ecstatic when we heard that our dossier (all the papers) were in Russia. WooHoo! Things were moving along. Then we got the dreaded phone call. Russia had changed their laws and would no longer allow US citizens living outside of the US to adopt. Our agency tried different regions and different judges, but all said the same thing, “NO!”
We spent a lot of time in prayer and talking with our adoption coordinator. She suggested that we look at two other countries (the only two that accepted applicants not residing in their home country). One country was eliminated almost immediately and that left Ethiopia. We spent a lot of time, once again, praying.
As I look back, I believe that we were following the path that was set before us. We were moving ahead in faith. Some people might think that all that praying didn’t do much because we still had terrible struggles. Amazingly, we grew through each “set back.” Prayer and faithful follow through isn’t a guarantee of the results that we want, but rather the results that God wants for us. Our desires begin to meld together with His plan and desire for us. We knew that His plan for us was better than anything we could design ourselves and we were willing to trust Him to work out all the details.
Once again, we are at a place of waiting. Our dossier is with our agency. I have spent a lot of time researching Ethiopia. The more I look at this country, the more thankful I am that God’s plan is the one we waited on. We could have claimed residence in the US and completed our adoption through Russia. We could have spent a year in the states and completed a stateside adoption. Ethiopia wasn’t on our radar, but thankfully, we weren’t using “our radar” as the final authority. To some it may seem like it was a last resort, but I know that my Father’s plan is unchanging. Sometimes He has to take us through difficult moments to get us to the point where we are able to recognize and accept His plan.
I don’t know when we will officially complete our adoption, but I have learned that He knows and He is interested in the details of it all. I am willing to enjoy the hope and peace that He has given while I wait to see what He will do.