" I heard that the reason so many people adopt from Ethiopia is because it is so fast. I bet that's why you chose to adopt from there. "
There are a whole lot of factors that go in to choosing a country when you decide to pursue international adoption. And I would say (at least for us) that "time frame," while one of the most difficult parts to endure, ranks pretty close to the bottom of the list of factors to consider. International adoption is a decidedly long process. You really cannot expect anything different when you are working with multiple agencies and organizations on two different continents. There are so many moving parts with an international adoption and so many unexpected things can pop up and cause delays at any given moment that even the timelines given by adoption agencies are extremely fluid. Truly, nothing is concrete (which in incredibly aggravating). For example, when we sent in our application on April 10, 2012, the projected length of wait once on the waiting list was 6-9 months. And I will say that is short for an international adoption. By the time we finished all of our paperwork and got everything to Ethiopia, the wait bumped up to 10-12 months. Today, I think it is about 12-15 months. That is just the time you spend on the actual waiting list. Prior to that, you have about 4 months of paperwork. Once you are matched with your child, you have several more months until he/she is actually home with you.
So... No. I would have to say we did not choose Ethiopia because it is such a lightning quick program.
And for people to make the assumption that we did so is incredibly hurtful.
We spent a long time trying to figure out where God was leading us in this. Initially, we felt drawn to China (a program with an incredibly long wait, the longest I have heard of actually), but we found out that we are not currently old enough. So we had to table China for later, you know, until we grow up! We continued praying and felt God lay the continent of Africa on our hearts. We knew that we wanted to adopt through Lifeline Children's Services, and Lifeline only adopts out of three countries in Africa: Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Ethiopia. At the time of our application, the DRC program was closed to applicants. It is a pilot program, and our agency had reached the maximum number of families for the pilot. So, DRC was out. We looked first at Uganda and were very interested. However, a Ugandan law changed right at the time we were looking. The new law would require us to take our child back to Uganda for about two weeks every five years and appear before a judge until he/she turned 18. Knowing that we wanted to adopt more than once and that our goal was for me to stay home with our kids, we did not feel like we could make that sort of a commitment. Additionally, we found out that we would only be legal guardians of our child and not be recognized by the Ugandan government as the child's legal parents. We felt like this was not the right fit for us. So we turned to Ethiopia. We met all of the requirements and felt like God was confirming this path for us.
Our original plan was not Ethiopia; it was not even Africa. But this is what God has for us. And so I hope you can understand why the implication that we are just taking the easiest road does not sit well with me.
More than that, I will say that this path has been anything but easy, anything but fast. Each day stretches out in front of us. Each day is another day we are apart from our child(ren). And for that reason, each day is hard. We are trusting in God to carry us through this. This is His plan for our lives, not ours. We are following God's lead. If you know me at all, you know that this is not what I thought our life would look like at this point. It has been way harder than what I thought would happen. I was ready to be a mother four years ago. And I am still waiting. And we will be waiting for a long time.
Now, all of this does not mean that I do not want you asking me why we chose Ethiopia. I love when people ask that question.
" What made you choose Ethiopia? "
I love it.
I love it because it gives me the opportunity to talk about what the Lord has done and is doing in our lives. It gives me the opportunity to talk about how God led us to Ethiopia, not about how we picked it because it would be so easy for us. It gives me the opportunity to talk about His grace and how He has sustained me through what has been the longest wait of my life. So keep on asking.
We are still waiting. We are running this race that the Lord has laid out in front of us. It is the hardest thing we have ever done. And there are days when it feels like it will never end. But we are trying to trust in the Lord and in His plan, His flawless plan. And we know that one day this part of our race will be over. That will be a joyous day.
"I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith." 2 Timothy 4:7