* Warning: the following posts is one in which I am sharing my heart...which you will see, isn't always pretty :)
If you have been following our family, or this blog for any amount of time, you probably have one question: "Where are you in the adoption process?"
We like to call it "adoption purgatory".
We first sent our preapplication to AGCI in November of 2008, a few months before Samuel was born. Obviously, we could not begin the adoption process until he was older (um...born), so we waited. This past August, we announced our plans to adopt from Ethiopia, and launched my sewing/fundraising site. I am sure everyone who enters an adoption has some fear about fundraising. $20,000 is SO MUCH MONEY. But then, we serve the God of the Universe, is anything too hard for Him? We sent our official adoption application to AGCI in September...and eagerly anticipated our approval. Because of our income level, AGCI really had to be through in our application, and it took almost a month to receive our formal acceptance into the Ethiopian program. We were elated! We sent out support letters...many support letters, and hit the sewing, fundraising and saving money hard. We were stepping out in faith, knowing that the Lord had called us to adopt...and eager to follow that call. The first big fee of $7390 was within 90 days...we were sure it would come in much sooner.
But the money did not come.
"His purposes will ripen fast, unfolding every hour. The bud may have a bitter taste, but sweet will be the flower."
"What are you doing Lord? Why? We are WILLING. We are EAGER! Our arms are OPEN! We will take the least of these. We have said YES to special needs!"
Discouragement, lack of trust and even anger at the perceived complacency, ignorance and condemnation of fellow believers began to well up in me. I was disgusted around Christmas time. All I seemed to hear was talk of flat screened tv's, cars and extravagant vacations. "These kids are ORPHANS. No mother to tuck them in, no father to protect them. You are THROWING away your life when you could be saving someone else's." was what I wanted to scream. (I warned you my heart isn't pretty!)
During the holiday season, I was really becoming discouraged. I was willing, and tried, to sell my China and the few pieces of jewelry I have, to help with costs. (Turns out they aren't worth anything). In a passing conversation, I was told that in Georgia, adoption agencies have a very difficult time placing African American babies. There are several reasons for this, but the end result is the same: a birthmother, making the most difficult and loving decision of her life, and being told there are NO or very few family profiles to chose from.
"No way. I do not believe it. People are fighting over babies here in the States, right?"
I tried to ignore the comment. My child is in Ethiopia, and I do ANYTHING it takes to get to her and bring her HOME!"
The Lord got to working on my heart, and over the next few weeks, He squeezed pretty hard. The sewing IS taking off and going well, but obviously the grand total needed would not be earned overnight! We did have days of encouragement, an unexpected monetary gift, a short note of love....but in the end....we were winding down those 90 days. And the contract fees were nowhere to be seen.
"Blind unbelief is sure to err, and scan His work in vain. He is his own interpreter, and He will make it plain."
We prayed hard as a family. Oh, how sweet it is to gather up your children, to kneel before the Lord and to pour our your hearts. "Lord, bring to us a child who needs us!" Is He not faithful to hear our requests? Over and Beyond!
A couple weeks ago, I finally emailed Covenant Care, a local pregnancy/domestic adoption agency, and just inquired if it was true that the have a hard time placing AA children. I was blown away by the response. Very true. So true. Yes they would love to get us on their list. Yes they would place a child with us even though we have kids. Yes, they have had situations were a baby was in a home within a week of a completed homestudy. Yes....the need is great In Ethiopia...the need is also (not quite in the same way) great here. EVERY child deserves a family." *** On a side note, CC prefers to work with families IN GEORGIA, and African American birthmothers prefer to place their babies in AA homes....just as some extra info!
Wow Lord. What are you doing? I AM GOING TO ETHIOPIA! Over the next week, I tried to ignore what I had been told (again!). My heart is at Hannah's Hope in Ethiopia. I love AGCI. I so desperately want to love the children of Africa. Last week, I emailed a few adoptive Momas who are all in the process of going to Ethiopia. I unloaded my heart. I know each of these women would sell all they have, sell the clothes off of their backs to get to their children in Africa. Surely they will encourage me to stay head strong to Ethiopia, right? They responses were nothing short of a huge burden being lifted from my shoulders...like honey to my heart. "..ALL children need someone who will love them...so no matter where they are or come from i how I feel." "We know we are called to adopt children.... wherever they come from is irrelevant." "You can do other adoptions in the future...how great is that!" "I believe that God is leading you exactly where you are supposed to be.""Do not feel like you are failing Africa."
How was Kenny feeling this whole time? For weeks, he had felt like we should pursue a domestic adoption, and all the while continue to raise and save money to adopt from Ethiopia next. This past Friday, the Lord totally confirmed that in my heart. I feel at peace. I am excited. We are right where the Lord has us to be. And the cost? We can fund it through Flitterbug sales.
Probably the biggest "didn't see that coming" moment of our whole past 6 month "waiting to get our adoption moving" happened this week. A couple, to whom we will forever be grateful, offered to fund our first set of fees to get us to Ethiopia. Shock. How confident are we in where the Lord has us in the next chapter of our adoption tale? We turned down the opportunity to sign those AGCI contracts. If you had told me a month ago I would do that...I would have NEVER believed you. We now have an "Africa Adoption" savings account. Day by day, little by little, stitch my stitch, dress by dress, coupon by coupon...we will continue to fund raise. PRAISE the Lord that He has given me the opportunity to sew. An adoption from Ethiopia can happen, it just may take a bit, a lot longer than we had planned. So has our God answered our prayers or what? He is bringing a child who needs us into our home...and He is financially paving the way for our next child to come home!
"Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust Him for His grace. Behind a frowning providence, He hides a smiling face."
So where does that leave us? Our first Covenant Care home study interview is next week. We are FINALLY GETTING to fill out paperwork. Once we have completed our homestudy and put together our family profile....we will be on "the list". (yea...how do you like that, no dossier!) Our profile will then be shown to birthmothers, and she will have the opportunity to choose who she places her baby with. On a note about our birthmother. I have nothing but RESPECT for birthmothers. I have learned so much from my friend Stefanie on being a birthmother. The sacrifice they make for the sake of their child humbles me. Much of our decision to adopt domestically has to do with birthmothers! In all probably, our birthmother is already carrying this child, already hurting, already receiving counseling, already weighing out her options. She in constantly in our prayers. Though there is no way to be sure, we should be prepared to have a baby in our home by this summer. We are willing to take a child up to the age of 2, but 90% of placements with Covenant care are newborn placements.
My hands are raised, and my heart is gushing forth in Praise before the Lord! I will continue to and love the kids of Ethiopia....we will continue to support our Compassion child in Africa, continue to pray for them, continue to help support others adoption and continue to love those children, in whatever way we can. (Um...but I am not going to watch any more ET gottcha day videos for awhile...they get me too emotional :) And now.... we begin our domestic adoption. Our faithful Lord, who day, after day, after day, commands the rising of the sun and calls the starts by name, is bringing a child into our home. We are longing to love on that baby! We are longing to love that birthmother.....and praise the Lord we are getting to fill out some paper work and lug out of this adoption purgatory! :)
You all have been such an encouragement to me. Your comments, email, words of encouragement and financial donations means more than you will ever know. And.....you are now helping to bring 2 peanuts home!
"Angels, help us to adore Him; you behold Him face to face. Sun and moon, bow down before Him, dwellers all in time and space. Praise Him, Praise Him, Praise Him, Praise Him, Praise with us the God of grace!"
(Here we are, finally signing an adoption contract and starting the homestudy. Bringing our Georgia baby home!!! Hopefully, this will be the first of many!)