Our Adoption Journey Update

Well friends this post is extremely difficult post to write. As most of you know, things are not looking great for the Ethiopian International Adoption community. Let me preface this post by saying that Ethiopia has not closed international adoption. However, certain government organizations that play a key role in adoption have made it clear that they are not in favor of international adoptions. The country as a whole is looking to reform international adoption, and certain groups are aiming to close international adoption.

Through our journey we have met several families on the same journey as us, and have a wide support network. Unfortunately, our friends who are in process continue to encounter road block after road block in their adoptions. Since the PAIR process has been implemented (Fall of 2013) we are aware of few families that have brought home their children under the new process. We are praying for movement soon. As referrals are slowing down, we are watching agencies close programs as it is no longer profitable for them. Some of our friends, and the children they are already matched with, are stuck in paperwork and policy:(. We are sad that Ethiopian adoptions are in such a fragile state, and that the risk factors continue to grow.

As these road blocks have come up, it has given Chase and I the opportunity to dig deeper and research more behind the surface. We are curious why so many organizations are not in favor of international adoption. We are fully aware that international adoption is a roller coaster (we have been researching and working towards this since October of 2012), we are with an agency that we trust and believe works in the US as ethically as possible. Unfortunately as we dig deeper, we are heartbroken by what has unfolded. Several adoptive parents are stepping forward as advocates for their adopted children, and revealing that they feel their adoptions were unethical. Not specific to one agency, but across many agencies. It would be foolish of us to not listen to their voices. Most concerning to us is that it appears that birth families have been deceived about the adoption process.

Last year an adoptive family friend introduced us to a trusted searcher through facebook. Many adoptive families will hire a searcher to gain more information about their child after an adoption is complete. A searcher can often find out more information about a child’s history than what comes in their paperwork. Seachers also act as a contact for birth families and adoptive families (exchanging letters and photos, arranging meetings, etc). We have planned to use this searcher to keep in contact with our adoptive child’s birth family. I have “watched” the process as handfuls of our adoptive friends have used him to connect with their birth families. As the months have gone by I have watched this “searcher friend” carry adoptive mothers through the bush to remote areas for a meeting, I have seen him kiss the hands of the poor, and serve God with the very core of his being. Last week I sent him an email, asking him for his unfiltered opinion of the state of international adoptions from Ethiopia. {This man makes his living working with adoptive families}. He responded, “My heart is heavy for most birth parents, as their children were adopted without them knowing about it. I know there is a need, but I don’t think these agencies address where the need is.” This was a punch in the gut for us, and a blaring red flag to keep our eyes wide open.

As we dig we are finding that some families, whose child was as an “abandonment” case, are finding out later (through a search) that their son or daughter has a family (often with several other siblings still at home). Their parents often give them up for adoption, but the case is filed as an “abandonment case” as it is easier to process. We have spoken with adoptive families who later find out that birth families were told that there child was going to another country for an education, but would return one day. Do these things happen with every adoption in Ethiopia, no. But yes, sometimes they do. And when we know that sometimes they do, we have to be on high alert. Adoption is big business and when money exchanges hands, corruption often follows.

We know there are millions of orphans in Ethiopia (an orphan is defined by UNICEF as a child who has lost one or both parents). Perhaps, millions who need a loving parent to step in, largely older and/or sick children. However, as we keep our eyes wide open, we are not sure it is possible to guarantee that our adoption would be ethically sound with the current climate of international adoptions in Ethiopia. If we continue with this journey, I will one day have to answer to my son. What will I say? I will one day have to look into the eyes of his birth family (now our family). How will we look at their pain, and wonder did we do the right thing? We yearn for a child we have never met. With that being said, we cannot be a part of taking a little one from their birth country, who we cannot be certain is truly orphaned. We are just not sure that we can ensure that an Ethiopian adoption is ethical at this time.

Our adoptive family community is very dear to us. We are 100% supportive of our friends who have, or continue on the road to adopting from Ethiopia, and we will continue to pray for their little ones and birth families. We are hopeful that Ethiopia will be able to reform their international adoption process so that truly orphaned little ones can be placed with forever families.

We grieve for the people of Ethiopia. This experience has stirred in us a desire to be better global citizens. I am sad that we will not be able to raise the child that we have dreamed and planned for from this beautiful part of the world. We are so blessed that there are so many ways to love and care for the vulnerable children and families in Ethiopia. I may not be able to mother them the way that I yearn to. But in my heart I am so glad that we can now switch our focus to orphan care, and preserving vulnerable families through sponsorship. We are supportive of Ethiopia and their efforts to care for their own. We are not ready to close our eyes to the extreme poverty and social injustices in Ethiopia, and will not be turning away from it. I will just have to fix my heart on mothering a little one in a new way. I am so glad that my eyes have opened to things that were not so easy to see. I am blessed to have a broken heart for what breaks His^. As we have been down this road, we have met many families who have decided to dedicate their lives to mission work and NPO’s located in Ethiopia. We will be selecting one to support this week, and we will share the profoundly meaningful work that these organizations do on the blog this week {in case you are feeling a tug at your heartstrings too}. A mission trip is definitely in our future. And I would love to be a part of orphan care ministry for Ethiopia.

The doors have closed for our family adoption with Ethiopia. But our journey with adoption is not over. We are keeping our hearts open, and have so much love to share with some little one. We have two little ones who are anxiously awaiting the arrival of a “baby brotha” and a nursery waits for someone special. Although we are saddened, we look forward to what God has around the corner for our family. Peace friends.

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2 thoughts on “Our Adoption Journey Update

  1. Carolyn Radakovich says:

    beautiful.

  2. Laura Booth says:

    Oh, Rainy. I am so sorry for you and Chase. My heart goes out to you all. My prayers are with you.

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