When life is already chaotic, unexpected challenges can be temptingly debilitating.
(And yes- I am insinuating that sometimes we have a choice in whether we will be weakened by our circumstances.)
I’ve been wanting to get off the roller coaster we’ve been on for quite some time now. The constant jolts left and right make me feel so out of sorts, but God has made it clear that this ride is NOT over yet. Sometimes I just want to shut my eyes to fabricate the relief that I long for… but that’s not what The Lord wants for me either. He has just been teaching me so much about endurance lately, and I CANNOT miss out on the lessons God has at hand. And in matters of adoption, for the sake of twenty-six thousand children who will die today of starvation or preventable disease, I MUST recenter my focus on the task The Lord has set forth to complete.
I know the longer posts are the hardest to read. I will do my best to consolidate the following information into something more soluble- though it will still be a bit lengthy. So now that you’ve been warned, here’s what’s up:
As mentioned in a previous post, there are inter-country challenges with adopting out of Ethiopia right now. One tragic issue is that, commonly, children are being kidnapped and sold into adoption. In the meantime, Americans are investing thousands into international adoption and later discovering that these children have a family that is desperately searching for them. What a horrible situation! There are now lawyers protecting Americans’ rights to these children, but this comes with great cost. But honestly– the right thing to do would be to give them back, despite the money lost.
Unfortunately, we have found that much of the crime found in adoption fraud isn’t just on the African side… but equally so on the American. We refuse to participate in the buying and selling of children and it has been difficult to find an ethical agency that will conduct itself righteously to TRIPLE-check the background of these kids and confirm that they are truly orphaned (no living relatives left or able to care for them).
This is why we chose our agency. We don’t DOUBT their integrity and appreciate their transparency. We love that they are small and therefore don’t have pressure to give into the temptations that the bigger, more established agencies struggle with.
But their size has also proved to bring about it’s own set of trials… and this is where we’re finding ourselves stuck at a cross-roads. Because AGCI is a smaller agency, there aren’t as many feet on the ground to navigate through some of the international challenges. This means that they are moving especially slower than other agencies in accepting future parents into their Ethiopia program, even if they were already accepted into the agency itself (like us).
This has also spawned another issue… when we do our home-study, Halle’s current age will be what is recorded on our paperwork. This means, that if she is 10 months when the home-study is performed, those papers will mention exactly that when they are passed through the Ethiopian courts- EVEN IF- it’s two years later. This means that, by AGCI “birth-order” rules, we would need a sibling set younger than 10 months to become available for adoption, even though Halle would truly be closer to her 3rd birthday. Waiting, out of hundreds of expectant couples, for not just one child- but TWO- under 10 months would then add another year or two onto our journey. This would mean some of our paperwork would expire, there would be renewal fees, etc. The list of issues could be endless.
For a more established agency, there would more likely be scholarship funds available to change the paperwork on Halle’s age (which would be thousands of dollars with AGCI because we’d have to complete a whole new home-study). They could also potentially have feet on the ground in Ethiopia to edit the paperwork, avoiding the need to update all together. The challenge has been finding a larger agency that could cater to our specific family situation… but also prove to be ethical. For how could we ask God to go before us when His hand has been removed?
There are many more details to our situation but, for the sake of being concise, I’ll leave them out unless requested otherwise.
Long story short, if we stay with AGCI, our adoption journey will now most likely be completed in 5 or 6 years (because of OUR current family situation). While that may be okay for some families to wait that long, Jordan and I were challenged when we discovered that another larger agency could complete it within the originally planned 2-3 years… and at potentially HALF the cost.
It’s not that we aren’t willing to be patient. In fact, if you aren’t prepared to wait, then perhaps adoption may not be for you (well, unless God calls you to it of course!). But often we forget that time is something that must be used wisely. By not being locked down into a larger commitment, we are able to focus on other areas of calling… But also, if we can achieve the same result for less (because of generous scholarships available through this new agency for pastors), would we not be good stewards to explore these possibilities?
So that’s where we are. We have been transparent with AGCI, and Chloe (my caseworker) has expressed some of the same concerns, being that her circumstnaces are similar to ours. In fact, it was her recommendation to perhaps look into the agency that we are. That’s what I love about the body of believers. It isn’t about the business, but about how to best serve and obey our Lord. So humbling… I’m learning so much.
I’ve ordered new information packets to arrive within the next few days. Yes, if we do end up switching, we will lose some money… but not as much as we would by potentially staying with AGCI. [Again- our financial situation with AGCI is unique to our experience, family dynamic, and program… if you’re considering adoption, PLEASE explore them.] We just have to keep in mind that the dollars invested for adoption must not be wasted– and better that we discover how to further them now than later. Right?
So will you pray for us? We hope to have our decision made before Halle arrives… and that’s less than 7 weeks from now. We need wisdom and assurance that this is what The Lord intends to write into our journey… because until then, we just cannot make the switch. Our desire is to CLEARLY KNOW God’s heart.
Thank you again for all the prayers- we need them!