On Friday of last week, rumors started flying about Ethiopia closing its doors to international adoption. We heard, from what seemed to be reliable sources, that the shut down would/could occur right away. These last few days have been some of the most heart-wrenching of my life. It seemed that our children, whom we have fought so hard for and waited so long for, were about to be snatched from us before we even knew their names. We were stunned and shaken completely to the core. Since beginning the adoption process in April of 2012, this has been my worst fear. And it seemed to be coming, and coming quickly.
For three days I stayed glued to my phone, refreshing my email obsessively and checking our agency's website and Facebook page for updates, which (bless them forever) came out pretty frequently.
At this point, it seems that a closure is not on the immediate horizon. There are some proposed improvements coming before parliament, and these could eventually (though hopefully they won't) lead to a closure.
Our placing agency posted THIS on their blog as an update.
Even though things have been much calmer for the last couple of days, I have to tell you that I feel like I have been through a battle and left broken on the floor. On Saturday night, I was sitting on my bed in my parents' house crying to my mother, completely resigned that our journey to adopt from Ethiopia was going to come to an abrupt and terrible end. I felt utterly and completely hopeless. To be completely transparent, I felt like we had had children and lost them. Grief swept over me for days. I couldn't keep my mind focused on anything. My friend, and fellow waiting mom to be, Amy and I were constantly texting, trying to encourage and confide in one another.
Now that we are somewhat on the other side of this, at least the other side of near-constant panic, I am trying to refocus my heart. I do know that the Lord is in this. I do know that He is sovereign. I also know that this is a broken and tragic world, and that bad things will happen. But I am trying to trust the Lord to bring beauty out of those circumstances. When we started our adoption process on April 10, 2012, we did so knowing that we were saying good-bye to what we thought our life would look like. We had always envisioned having biological children first and then adopting. But as time wore on, it became evident to us, through a variety of avenues, that the Lord had it in His divine plan for us to adopt first. We were excited and thrilled to be adopting, but we were also letting go of what we had been planning since getting married. Last week, I truly believed that we were going to be saying good-bye to the life we have been planning for over the last twenty months. I thought we were losing our children. People like to say that when God closes a door, He does so because He has something greater and more beautiful planned for you. I believe that. As we have moved through this adoption journey, it has become so clear to me that adopting first is right for us. What a gift to be able to look into the eyes of our adopted children and tell them, "I am a mom because of you. You are the one who made me a mother." I think there is such beauty and great power there. Beauty and power I would not have seen for myself had we had biological children before adopting. So as we have progressed, I have grown to deeply love the fact that we are adopting first, and I see God's beauty in it. But I struggled so much to see what beauty could come from Ethiopia closing its doors. Maybe that is the wrong attitude to have. Maybe I am being to egocentric and self-focused. Maybe. I don't know. What I do know, is that for twenty months, I have believed with every fiber of my existence that my children are in Ethiopia. Everything about it feels right to me. And I thought we were losing them. I was sitting on the floor of my old room in parents' house on Friday night with Adam, crying and terrified and trying to pray. And I looked at him and said, "I can't bear the thought of losing them. I will walk away from everything else if we can just bring them home." And it is true. I would. I would let go of everything else, surrender everything else, forsake everything else to bring them home.
And my mind goes to Matthew 13, when Jesus is explaining the Kingdom of Heaven in a parable. Read His words:
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field."
The man who found the treasure sold everything he had in order to make that treasure his. That is how we should approach salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ. We should joyously give all we have in order to attain Him. That is us going to the Father. But we can do that, because He first came to us. He gave everything up, too. He did it for us, did He not? He gave His Son. And for the first time, I understand this picture through the eyes of the parent. Now, I know that salvation and becoming a parent are two different things, but I do think there is a parallel here.
I would give everything I have to bring my children home. And maybe that is why God allowed this shutdown scare to happen. I have always known that I love them, but now I know how much. I know what it feels like to think that they are lost. And I know, because I wailed it out in the depths of my sorrow, I know that I would give it all away, sacrifice everything else I want, to bring home these children I love with my entire heart. I think maybe that is the beauty in what just happened.
We would still ask for you prayers. Please pray that the Ethiopian government makes good and wise decisions about the orphans within their borders, for adoption agencies to continue to work tirelessly to match these children with families, that government employees would be diligent in their work, ensuring that each child is truly in need of being adopted and that those children would be cleared quickly, and that Ethiopia would keep its doors open to international adoption so that these sweet children would know the love of a family. Please pray for our specific children, that the Lord would protect and comfort them, that He would provide for them and let them know that they are deeply loved. And lastly, please pray for us as our hearts continue to mend and we wait to see our children's faces. Pray that we would seek God above all else and that our eyes would not stray from Him.
Thank you from the very bottom of our hearts.