Fun Photo

Our agency is wonderful! The Ethiopia department sends updates constantly about the program, the status of the adoption, and even the not-so-fun stuff like the growing tension between adoption agencies and the locals in Addis Ababa. It's sad to hear that culture clash is so prominent, and rooted in so much misunderstanding (on both sides). We'll see how this develops over the next few months, but in the meantime, I'm glad they're keeping us informed.

Last week, however, we got a fun email with this picture attached. The email read:

"While you wait for your child from Ethiopia , our staff thought you would enjoy and appreciate a photograph of a typical Ethiopian house, from the Awassa and Wolaitta regions of Ethiopia . The houses across the country of Ethiopia are very similar."



Heart Break

This has been bothering me for weeks. The whole premise of international adoption is strange and sad -at it's basest level, it's steeped in grief and loss. Adoption in general is rooted in loss, but international adoption adds the culture shock/loss and disorientation that can make a painful situation even more excrutiating for a child - even an infant.

So, why are we doing it? Why does my heart ache every time I think of taking a child from their birth country, culture, and family? Doesn't that mean we should stop the process? Why Ethiopia? Why transracial adoption?

Today, I finally understood. We committed to this months ago, and knew in our hearts this was the right thing for our family to do, even without understanding why. But the unanswered questions in my heart finally found their answers today.

In my conversation with our social worker, she used an example to illustrate a point where she described Daniel being ripped from our arms, taken to a new culture, country and home. I began crying at the thought of losing him (even in this hypothetical situation). And then I couldn't stop crying, thinking about how our future child doesn't have what Daniel has. The orphans of the world don't have parents to worry about them, dote on them, and cry at the mere thought of losing them forever. The devastation of their situation hit me like a ton of bricks.

Today I realized something crucial to our adoption process: It's ok to hate this situation. I hate the fact that there are kids everywhere who are relying on adoption. I hate the fact that our future child won't have her birth parents and family to envelop her in love and support. I hate the fact that the word "orphan" even needs to exist.

But it does. And this situation is real.

I know it isn't ideal to remove a child from their birth country. Trust me, I know. But right now, for an Ethiopian orphan, domestic adoption isn't an option. We think our country is in economic distress, but it's nothing compared to daily life in a third world country. After being abandoned by their birth family, our child will have two options: 1) to "age out" of an orphanage and live on the streets, or 2) to be adopted internationally.

It's a profoundly sad situation, but we have made this decision in order to bring as much beauty as possible to a painful situation. Out of the loss and grief, a family can be made complete and a heart can begin to heal.

Home Study

We are officially done with our home study - our part, at least. We had our second appointment today with Terri. Last week, she spent a few hours with us at home to chat with us there, meet Daniel, see the house, and get an idea of what our daily life is like. Today, we met at her office in Phoenix for individual interviews.

Interviews are always a little nerve-wrecking. Terri was very sweet and professional, and did her best to make it easy on us. Still, by the end of my 90 minute interview, I was a sweaty mess and had broken down in tears while talking about the grieving process our child would go through. Fernando, however (who was initially the most nervous) came out with a huge smile saying "That wasn't bad at all!"

It's a little strange to think of someone capturing your entire personality, life, parenting style and history in just a few hours of conversation. Especially when that person potentially has the power to facilitate your adoption, or to stop it dead in it's tracks. Fortunately for us, God placed Terri in our lives as someone who understands God's model of adoption, has experienced international adoption (twice) and can not only facilitate our home study but offer us valuable insight and advice.

The next steps are 1) re-filing our I600A (apparently they stopped accepting personal checks just a few weeks ago!), 2) waiting a few weeks/months for the home study to be finished, 3) begin preparing our dossier paperwork, and 4) complete our online education required by CWA - a Hague Treaty compliance class. Lots to do!