Through various emails from our International adoption agency we started getting the idea that things were not going well for Ethiopia adoptions. Times were yet again increasing. Cost increased. (Bare in mind that we have a highly respected and known agency. A really good one. This is not a rip off, but the reality of what is happening right now over in Ethiopia.)The agency was making multiple ways for Ethiopia families to transfer out of Ethiopia into other country programs.....at a reduced rate or at no cost at all. I finally got the nerve to call and ask what was going on. Things aren't great. No one knows how long it will be until we would get a referral (We're talking probably 4-6 more years) let alone if the country will even remain open for adoptions. We were basically confronted with an ugly "Y" in the road. Continue to walk towards Ethiopia knowing full well it is highly likely we will lose money with very little chance of ever seeing a child. Or, continue down the road of the domestic adoption and in time pursue a second domestic adoption and let Ethiopia go.
Ethiopia adoption has been at the forefront of everything we have done for the past 3 1/2 years. The thought of that not happening made me sick. Broken. Sad. Andy and I took some time to really pray and seek God on it. Is this something we just need to press on and persevere through? Or, is this something He used to get us going and is now changing up the direction? Through prayer and upon the advice of our Ethiopia social worker we decided it was best to let go. We both fully have a peace about it, however nothing can really describe the grief we (especially me) are feeling over it. It took me a week before I could even start letting family know. It hurt too bad.
The loss of a beautiful Ethiopian daughter that I've never met or even set eyes on is painful. Not only does it hurt, but made me question so much. What is going on God? Why? WHY did we start down this road if it was just going to close? WHAT was the purpose? I am so glad we already have our domestic adoption process going because the 3 1/2 year wait has become nearly unbearable. Another Christmas feeling incomplete without a member of our family.
While I was asking God my WHAT and my WHY I feel like he answered in a big way that restored my joy and breathed hope back into me.
Let me first give you a bit of a background on our domestic agency. They are a very small agency called St. Elizabeth/Coleman in Indianapolis. I had never heard of them before our International agency sent us there for our home study. (Keep in mind that we never would have heard of them had we not started with Ethiopia first and been referred to them.) When we were looking to start the domestic process alongside our Ethiopia adoption we looked into a number of larger and more well known agencies. The cost was significantly more because we would have to start over. However if we used St. Elizabeth/Coleman we would be able to jump right in with no additional work or fee since they had already done our home study etc... So, we stuck with them.
Ok, so on to the WHAT and WHY. As I was in the middle of a broken and grieved place, I asked God these questions. WHY did you start us down this path just to allow my heart to hurt so badly? And, WHAT is the purpose? I trust your plan, but what is the point? My answer came in two parts.
First, our social worker for Ethiopia told me "Things like this happen and families hurt so badly. But, the moment they get their child in their arms (wherever he or she may come from) they understand. They know why. They were to have that specific child from that specific place at that specific time. And God's plan just looks different than we think and plan for." (Insert a little bit of hope here.)
Then, upon suggestion of a friend, I notified someone who is very present in Nahum's daily life of the changes going on. Nahum is a sensitive kid and sometimes it can come out in behavior. I wanted her to be aware. So, after hearing from me about it she talked to him. She told him it was ok to be sad and she would be there to talk to about it if he needed to. But, even though this is sad, there is something to look forward to since he will still get a sibling from around here. Then she told him that she herself had been adopted. (Nahum thought that was really cool and special. You could tell he felt proud that she told him something so special.) Then, through some corresponding back and forth with her we found that not only had she been adopted, but she had been adopted from THE SAME AGENCY IN INDIANAPOLIS!! THE SAME TINY, SOMEWHAT UNKNOWN AGENCY! WHAAAAT??? WHAT ARE THE ODDS?! The timing of it was perfect. It just felt like God was saying "I got you here, where I wanted you. With the agency I wanted you at. For the timing that I have planned...I've got this! It was planned!" (Insert hope and joy here.)
I'll tell ya, over the past 6 weeks I have cried and prayed about this. Over the past 2 I have wept and sobbed and questioned. I grew weary. At just the point I needed I feel like God used these two women to reaffirm his plan and sweep over me with a new hope and a new joy as for what is to come. While I am still really grieving the loss of Ethiopia in a big way, I have the JOY of knowing HIS plan is better than mine and the HOPE of knowing HE will complete it in HIS timing for HIS glory and our good.
Here is how you can pray. Pray that we can really process through and grieve the loss of an Ethiopian daughter. That our boys can process through and grieve the loss as well. Especially sweet Nahum who has been so sensitive to this from the beginning. That we would continue to follow the leading of God's peace and trust His leading. And, that we don't have to see another Christmas without a child we love so much and have never met.
OH!! One last really great thing. Because of the way everything worked out between Ethiopia and domestic we aren't really losing a whole ton of money. The initial start up fee Andy and I paid and our dossier fee is gone. However that is pretty much it! We have money transferring back to us that we will be able to put towards our domestic adoption decreasing how much we owe there. On top of that we are getting a partial refund since we never had a child placed with us from Ethiopia. That money will go into our domestic fund as well. That was an added bonus! :)
Thanks for the prayers. Well keep you all updated as things change and progress.