Thursday, November 3, 2011

What Adoption is Teaching Me: I'm not in control...

The last eight months have been a total whirlwind.  Some days feel like nothing is happening with our adoption, but when I look back at how far we've come so quickly, I realize how fast it's all happening.  God is using these slow days, waiting hours, and quiet moments to teach my heart.  About who He is.  About who I am.  And of His relentless love for me and all people.

I've written about this before, but I want to flesh out more thoroughly how God has been teaching me and showing me that I'm not in control.  (I usually like to think that I am). : )  

Before we got married, Paul and I had talked about adoption and agreed God had put it on both of our hearts, and we would pray often about when the time was right for us to grow our family through adoption.  I randomly did bits of research on different countries and the process.  Four years into our marriage, when K was just six months old, Paul received an email from a fellow co-worker in Africa. This young man had just been given custody of a baby in his family due to two previous care giver both passing away (the mother and an aunt).  Now no one wanted the baby, feeling it was cursed. We read his emails and sensed his desperation.  How could a young single man struggling to get through college take care of an infant alone?  Our hearts were drawn to take this baby into our family.  But because of the country they were in, it was not legally possible.  But this event got us started talking... could now be the time?  

We had been feeling for awhile that we wanted to adopt from India.  It was natural.  We have lived here.  We know the culture.  We speak fairly good Hindi. I can cook decent Indian food.  If we adopted a child from here, she would grow up in her home culture, eating her culture's food, speaking her heart language, surrounded by people from her home culture.  We thought this couldn't be more ideal!  

I began to delve into the internet world of (non)-information regarding Indian adoptions for foreigners living in India.  It was incredibly difficult to get any straight, concrete answers on line.  Phone calls ended with hang ups.  Emails to government agencies went unanswered.  (Even to our own American Embassy!)  I kept hitting brick walls.  We decided to give up on adopting in India without the help of an American agency and wait till we returned to the states to meet with an agency and seek their advice. 

In the summer of 2010, we did meet with the agency we had narrowed it down to.  Such a sweet, wonderful, loving woman encouraged us so much.  The only problem was that their Hague accreditation was still in process.  So they couldn't start any paperwork until it was finished.  She assured us it should be done before the end of the year.  That was fine with us because we didn't want to start until January 2011. 

January came and went.  February came.  Their process was on hold for accreditation.  They had an appointment scheduled for the end of April for review.  We were beginning to see there was no end in sight for the accreditation.  In February, this spurred me to start to re-visit some of the already-accredited agencies we had looked at before.  In contacting two of them, we were told that adoptions in India had been getting stricter, and they were seeing a trend in families with three kids being consistently denied.  They felt our application was very risky and would likely not be approved. 

This was a blow!  It took me a week to wrap my head around this information.  We could not adopt from India.  For months I'd been envisioning this little three year old girl... what it would be like to pick her up at the orphanage and bring her home.  What it would be like to look down at the playground and not be able to look for just the white kids anymore.  What it would be like to watch her play with K.  It really was a grieving time for me to let go of those scenes I'd been imagining for so long.

We were left scratching our heads and wondering, "what do we do now?"  I was so weary from doing two years of research and then having a door shut in our face. I just didn't feel like I could go through all that research again.  So we decided to ask all the people we knew who lived abroad and had adopted how they had done it.  I think it was about five families.  The majority wrote back and said, "From Ethiopia with International Adoption Guides."  We looked into the agency, did our homework, and signed up.  This was all in March.

The home study and paperwork process was a whirlwind, it all happened so fast.  We got connected with a social worker in Bahrain through friends here in India.  She was scheduled to come and do their home study report just a few weeks from when we contacted her.  So we rushed to get all our stuff together so she could visit us both in one trip, saving us both money by splitting her travel costs.

So by the end of May, our dossier was completed.  By the end of June, it was in Ethiopia.  Waiting.  Around this same time, an acquaintance emailed me, saying they were adopting their second Indian child, a boy, and her husband was on his way over.  They had five kids at home already.  Also around this time, I heard of another family adopting from India.  Neither of these families were facing the same kind of roadblock we had run up against.  They were both using the same agency, an agency I'd never heard of.

This completely baffled me.  How could I have done two years of research, and NEVER ran across this agency before?  Never once saw the name.  I had investigated every agency listed on the Indian governments site as approved to work in India. I never saw this agency, though they are most certainly on the list.  I began talking to God, saying, how could this be? Did I not try hard enough to make India happen?  How could I have missed this, and be finding it NOW? Just weeks after we applied to Ethiopia?  Why was this happening???

And then God showed me.  See, I'd been feeling (and saying) that we were adopting from Ethiopia because we couldn't adopt from India.  It was Plan B.  Second choice.  By default.  But it was not.  It was by His design.  He showed me that for two years, I thought I knew the plan. I thought I knew where our daughter was.  But only He knew her story.  He was waiting for me to let go of my plan.  And when I didn't, He forced my hand by closing the door to India.  Even then, I held on to my plan as the first, best option, in my heart, and felt that Ethiopia would have to do, since India wasn't possible.  How foolish I was!  God had gone to great lengths to keep this from me, because He wanted this little girl with us.  She is our daughter, he had designed it from the very beginning, to place her in our family.  How humbling... I wish I'd been more cooperative...

He is in control.  I am not. His ways are higher than mine...

1 comment:

  1. Yes...a lesson we'll be learning over and over again all our lives, I'm sure. Thank you for sharing this beautiful journey.