Our Adoption Story…
Back in 2008, good friends of ours, with six daughters of their own, adopted a sibling group of three from Ethiopia.This was quite a surprise for me, as I had never known a family, especially a large one, to adopt children before.
I had the misconception that adoption was just for infertile couples that had no other choice to have a family.
Boy, was I wrong!
The truth is that people in many situations open their hearts and homes to orphaned children. Walking beside our good friends through the adoption process caused us to desire to follow their example. Our ‘homemade’ children, ages 16 through 10 at the time, were supportive of the idea.
We had all traveled to a developing nation before, and we had seen extreme poverty first hand. After some research, we sensed God leading us to find our children in Ethiopia.
For us, the process went amazingly fast. From the time we found an agency until we brought our children home was only nine months. But even though the process wasn’t lengthy, it was still filled with drama. One moment in particular stands out to me.
We had been matched with our children and the dossier (the LARGE amount of paperwork you have to collect) was nearing completion.
But without warning, one day a completely unexpected financial situation occurred that had the potential to not just wipe out our savings, but to jeopardize the adoption as well.
I was devastated, panicky and shocked. How could this be happening? But down inside, I heard God say, “Trust me.” It was hard, but I did. And within the next few weeks, what had been a huge mountain became a very simple molehill and the adoption process continued unabated.
That wasn’t the only time through the process my faith was put to the test. Little did I know that it was just a warm up for things to come.
In May of 2009, we flew to Ethiopia with our two youngest homemade children to meet our new family, ages 8, 6 and 4. Meeting and holding our new children for the first time is a moment we’ll never forget.
You try not to imagine what your adopted children will be like, but you can’t help it. And of course, reality is never what you imagined. Some ‘surprises’ were pleasant; others, not somuch, such as head lice that were brought home and shared with others.
The children spoke no English, and because we were misinformed on their language, we spoke none of theirs.And so began the real adventure, of merging family, culture, language, knowledge and food intoa new normal.
While the children were uneducated and illiterate, they were bright and eager to learn.
As home schooler’s, we immediately worked hard on language acquisition and everyone was amazed at how quickly they learned. By the end of that first school year, the older two were well on their way to being caught up with their peers academically.
Other transitions were slower and more painful. Our experience was fairly typical, but even when the process goes well, it can still be very stressful and time consuming. For myself, I found that pity only takes you so far and human love quickly exhausts its limits.
But God’s love knows no bounds, and when we die to ourselves, that’s when we start truly living.
Now five years later, we can’t imagine life without all seven of our kids. In the early days, I felt like everyone stared at us in public, but now I hardly notice and I don’t even care. These are my kids…all of them.
I find it interesting that not one person who has ever personally met our children has questioned whether or not we should’ have adopted them. On the contrary, they get it, even if they didn’t understand adoption before.
One last thing I’d like to say, is that we are not heroes for adopting. We simply responded in obedience to what God asked of us, and He has provided for us miraculously along the way.
If there is any ‘glory’ due as a result of this adoption, it ALL belongs to HIM!Some ask, why didn’t you adopt American children? And we could have. But our opinion is that God loves all children and He will lead each of us to respond in specific ways.
Some will become foster parents or adopt children with special needs. Still others will sponsor children monthly or give financial support to adopting families. Others fund efforts that try to keep at-risk families together so adoption isn’t even necessary. You get the idea.
The main point is that God called us to adopt from Ethiopia, and I’m so glad He did.