Monday, March 29, 2010
Well this is going to be a little shocking, but we have some big changes to announce. We will no longer be adopting a little girl from Ethiopia. Before I continue, I must first make a huge apology to Adam's Grandma Jones. She has been waiting for a grand-daughter for so many years. I think the tally is now 10 grandBOYS and ZERO girls. So, while we aren't adopting from Ethiopia Grandma -- there is still some hope that we will be getting a girl.
In February, CBS issued a news report on some corrupt practices and agencies involved with Ethiopia adoptions. Our agency is a great agency, but when talk of corruption starts happening, there is some possibility of the program shutting down. This has happened in so many other countries. Adam and I were a little concerned because we were still high on the list, and we have a long way to go. I began looking at what other options we had in terms of international adoption. There were none. In early March, a new rule was put in place that the embassy must now do a background check on each child being adopted. This is a good thing, but the downside is that it confirms that corruption and bad practices are a problem right now. It also increased the wait time from a few weeks per child to a few months.
In mid-March, another rule change happened. All parents must now travel TWICE to Ethiopia to get their children. Some parents were being told that they had adopted a 4 year old, healthy girl, and when they got o Ethiopia to pick her up -- the child is 8 years old. So again, this confirms that corruption is taking place. Furthermore, this again increased the wait by a few weeks (PER CHILD). When we are 55 on the list -- and the wait increase is a few weeks to months per child -- our wait time just significantly increased into 2011 most likely. (14-16 month wait time) Furthermore, our costs just increased by $5,000 - $7,000 for the second trip.
These new rules are concerning. The program could shut down, and we would lose our money -- or the program could continue running and we would get a beautiful little girl. Part of going through the adoption process is being open and adjusting to change. So while we were disappointed in the new rules, we knew that it was just part of the process. However, once again, we started looking into different options -- just as "back-up plans".
I won't bore you with the details, but we checked into adopting through the state; adopting through a different state; adopting from Korea; or doing a private adoption of an infant. All of these options didn't feel right for us. However, while we were searching -- a "foster care" -- theme kept popping up. We were cautious about pursuing it, but we spoke to some people who are current foster care parents.
The more we looked into it, the more our hearts were in this program. We hadn't really discussed it together -- we were just simply information gathering. One night, Adam told me that he felt led to pursue this option. I admitted that I really wanted to provide care for these children, but I was so afraid that my heart would get broken over and over again. My heart was in it, but my mind was telling me to run. We talked about it for a long time, and we knew that we needed to follow our hearts. Yes, my heart will be broken at times -- but on so many other days, it will be overfilled with love, joy, and laughter. We realized that it isn't so much a "family of five" that we were seeking -- it was that Wes and Cal were getting older, and we wanted another young child in the house.
So this is our big change. We are no longer going to pursue Ethiopia, but instead, we are going to open our home to children in need. If a child becomes available for adoption (which is extremely common), then by all means, we will be ready to adopt him/her. However, our number one goal is simply to provide stability and love to these children when they need it the most. Our decision is hard to explain, but we know it is the right decision.
We have been accepted by an agency, and we start taking our classes on April 8th. These classes will take 10 weeks to complete. In the meantime, we will be paperwork chasing (again), getting physicals, fingerprints, etc. -- to obtain our foster care license. This will take approximately 4 months. We are opening our home to one or two children under the age of 3. There is a need for families who would be willing to take a sibling set that is maybe a few days old and a 1 year old, etc.
Are we scared and nervous? Yeah, a little. However, we really do feel at peace with this decision. We are excited about this journey. I think this is the first time that I'm letting go, raising my arms, and telling God to just lead me.