Sunday, August 11, 2013

Thick Skin

It’s my own fault really. I get a few seconds of freedom and my heart turned to Ethiopia. I googled “Ethiopia Adoption” and began to idly choose web pages to browse. I opened one, then another, and another. Some were blogs of adoptive parents, others were informative sites for prospective parents. Then I started hitting the negative ones, and I CHOSE to read them, a lot of them. I know I have talked about these types of articles on the blog before, but I CHOSE to read them again. My gut churned as I read opinions from other readers. Opinions like this one regarding blending a family through adoption from Ethiopia by white Americans: “I cannot comprehend the sloppy use of 'family' when in fact they are American Buyers. End Users. Consumers, Infertiles, Slavers” or this one “It seems cynical to me that white Americans will journey to foreign countries in Africa, South America and Asia to "save" children instead of looking into local adoptions. There are so many brown and black...children waiting for a "forever home" But wait: The laws are often (more) strict in the US and most couples.. act as though the country's children are part of a bounty-filled "all-you-can-adopt" buffet. Ka-ching!”.  There were many people who think white “westernized” people have no business adopting black African kiddos, some go so far as to compare it to slavery…..some flat out call it slavery.
I read an article about a girl returning to Ethiopia and having a court overturn her adoption, because her biological family was tricked and bribed into giving her up for adoption. I can see why many people have the negative opinions they do when they read stories such as these.

These stories and posts stir a lot of emotion in me. I get angry, I get sad, I get frustrated, I get nervous, and sometimes… I hate to admit it…but I worry. I worry that people will think this way of us, of our kiddo. I worry “Did we make the right decision? Did we hear God right? What if this isn’t meant to be? What if….what if…..what if….”

So again, I say it, it was my fault really. But, one thing immediately came to mind, and I have to think it was God’s still small voice inside of me, saying “Remember Haiti”. And so I looked back at my missions trip photos years ago. It was a trip that changed my life forever, a trip that will change my husbands forever, and one that will change one (or two…or twenty :) ) children’s lives forever. On that trip, I saw real poverty. I held orphans begging to be taken home, orphans seeking a life to live, with stability and love, a real home, not an orphanage. I held a baby and prayed to God to welcome him into His loving arms as he had recently died of dehydration. I made a promise that trip that I would take notice of the orphans, and one day, I would open up my own home. I have included some pics from that trip here.


The truth is that stories of unethical adoptions are not the “norm”. They do happen though, and its scary and something I pray STOPS. But there are thousands of children who are adopted into loving homes, who grow up in love and stability, and who grow into well adjusted adults longing to make a difference themselves. This is what I pray our adoption is all about (for reasons why we are adopting from Ethiopia, you can read our testimony at the top of the blog). 

I carried my concerns into church with me this weekend. I spoke with a middle school mom who was on an adoption wait list for nearly 3 years before her and her husband decided this was clearly not the calling they thought they heard years before. As you can imagine, my worries increased. But then something amazing happened.... As we walked to our seats, I locked eyes with a gentleman and his young son both clearly from Africa, as they were wearing traditional African ceremonial garments. He nods and smiles at me, and so does his son. We only share a moment, but it was a gift that I needed right then...We walked to our seats, and I'm smiling because I just shared a beautiful moment with a small family that I felt connected to...and then the service began. The opening prayer, the communion scripture passage, the sermon itself all pointed towards adoption. A story was told about how a young couple were called to adoption but were not sure if they heard God correctly, and certainly didn't know how they were going to do it, but God provided. The pastor talked about the generosity of God, and of course of how we are all adopted. It was like God was saying, "I know you are worrying about whether it was ME who called you to this journey, you worry if you actually heard ME saying to step out, guess what kiddo, it WAS. And I'm still calling you to it." My aunt sitting next to me elbowed me, and whispered in my ear, " You know the pastor is talking to you...right?" I had not even mentioned my worries or fears to her yet.  The truth is, yeah I did know and it was what I needed to hear at that exact moment. The sermon also spoke on how God calls us to service, not to meet a need of HIS, but a need of ours. He is meeting our need through this adoption. And the timing will be perfect for the child our family needs. 

So for now, I am going to grow a thicker skin and stop reading all the negative stuff about adoption. There is so much good not talked about in the stories of adoption especially over the Internet. I have started reading a new book, called Carried in Our Hearts. It is a book of "inspiring stories of families created across continents". Exactly what I should be reading about these days! 

On a personal update note, we have received our next load of paperwork for our homestudy renewal. We are actually working on two homestudies, but its a bit early to discuss the details on that now. There were several referrals last month, which is very encouraging. The next several months should be slow however, as Ethiopia once again closes (government offices anyways) for their rainy season. We are hoping to hear of a re-opening sometime in September or October.

Education: Ok lastly, as I have not done this in awhile, and  because a little person in our home is currently learning his letters, here is a little Ethiopian tidbit for ya: Ethiopia is the only African country with it's own alphabet!