Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Things I Ponder in my Heart

A few evenings ago as I was falling asleep, I found myself praying for our little girl. It occurred to me that, should we follow the timeline as it is supposed to go, it is quite likely that our baby girl is in utero right now.* This thought was heady enough for me to contemplate, but then I began to think about her birth mother. With a great deal of sadness I realized that if indeed our baby was within her mother's womb at this time, there would come a day when something tragic would happen that would result in her being separated from her mother and placed in an orphanage. It is awfully strange to think about, because in a sense we already know that something very heartbreaking has to happen for this little girl to become ours. What a sobering thought!

One of the unique requirements of adopting from Ethiopia is that if any birth relatives, which may even include the birth mother, are known and accessible, the adoptive parents are required to visit them. Obviously, this presents a wonderful opportunity to make connections, take photographs, and build memories that will be so important to creating a life story for the adopted child. It is also meaningful to the birth family to have that momentary connection, never knowing what the future holds. For me, however, the idea of this meeting holds a great amount of trepedation. As a mother, I simply cannot fathom giving up my children and can't comprehend what it would feel like to do so -- and then to meet the couple coming to take my baby away....

These thoughts cause me to look beyond my own "selfish" motives when I think of adoption. It is so much bigger than the transfer of a child from one home to the the next. It is so much more than finally getting the baby for whom we've waited so long. I ache for her mother and what she must go through -- things I cannot possibly understand. And I continue to pray...for all of us.

* Infants are available for adoption between 2-4 months, depending on the circumstances. This would be their age when they are assigned to you. Adding on the months it may take to travel, the youngest an infant would possibly be when brought home would be 4-6 months. We are probably asking for a child 6 months or younger at the time of referral, which means she could be up to 8-9 months when we bring her home. If, for example, she is 9 months when we bring her home, and we do indeed follow the 12 month timeline until we bring her home, her mother would be about 7+ months pregnant right now. Of course, only the Lord knows what He has in store for us!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

A New Beginning

Those of you who have known us for a while know that we have longed to adopt for over two years now. It began as a leap of faith, especially as our youngest son was only 6 months old at the time, and it has continued to be a leap of faith all along.

The first thing we needed to tackle was country choice. Two years ago we chose Vietnam. This was not an entirely worry-free decision, as my father and many others have unfortunately had their lives forever altered in connection with the country of Vietnam. Obviously, this was through none of their doing, nor that of the child we would be bringing home, but we worried none the less.

For nearly a year we worked toward this end, filling out piles of forms and paying a whole lot of fees. We took courses over the internet and read stacks of books. And we traveled three hours south to visit the agency, three hours north for our homestudy interviews, and three hours east to have our fingerprints processed through the Department of Homeland Security!

Just before we were to send out our final packet of documents, our dossier, we began to realize that there were pressing issues we needed to take care of at home. (See my other blog.) Recognizing that we could not continue with the adoption, both emotionally and financially, while we came to terms with our son's disorder, we put it on unofficial hold. It was an incredibly difficult decision, but one that we prayed over quite fervently.

This past Christmas, not long after I wrote of the sadness I still felt for halting the adoption, I believe I finally started to accept that God's timeline was not my own. Perhaps that was the step that I needed to take because shortly thereafter we felt God prodding us to start again.

During the time of our absence from the sphere of adoption, I watched from a distance as the wait times for a child from Vietnam got longer, the procedures got more complicated, and the future of adoption from Vietnam get somewhat uncertain. I also noticed that our adoption agency, All God's Children International (AGCI), launched a new relationship with the country of Ethiopia.

AGCI serves not only orphans in the adoption process, but also those who are left behind. One of the ways they do this is through the establishment of homes for orphaned children. They have had homes of this kind in several countries over the years, bringing services both to the children and to pregnant women in the countries they serve. The children are cared for by what they term Special Mothers, who give them consistant and personal care. It is from such a home that the children being adopted from Ethiopia through AGCI would come through.

Excited at the prospect of this new program, we sought God's guidance as to the possibility of switching countries. We were motivated also by the shorter wait times offered by the Ethiopia program. Were we to restart the Vietnam process (which we would have to do because so many of our forms would have expired) we would still be waiting over a year just to be assigned a child. It would be additional 6 to 9 months before we could travel to pick her up. To adopt a baby girl from Ethiopia, the wait would be about 6 months to be assigned a child and about 4 months until travel.

After lots of prayer and discussion, I am excited to say that we have indeed launched ourselves into the Ethiopia program. There are many things which have had to be redone and money to be redirected, but there are also many things which thankfully we have not had to redo. We are currently updating our homestudy -- with a home visit scheduled for next Saturday -- Yikes! After that, we'll spend the next month/month and a half completing our dossier. Once we submit our dossier and we are reapproved by Immigration, we will be FINALLY put on the waiting list for our baby girl!

The purpose of this blog is mostly to keep everyone updated regarding where we are in the process of the adoption. However, a significant portion of time in adopting a child is spent WAITING. So, I will probably be on here from time to time posting my thoughts and feelings about this whole crazy undertaking, prayer requests and reasons to be thankful, and no doubt a few complaints. (And I promise the posts won't always be as long as this one!)

The theme of my life lately, though, has been one of hope. I have hope that my God will carry our family through our journey with autism. And I have hope that He will bring home our little girl.