The Scare

When you decide to adopt from another country, you understand that there are risks involved. Maybe the scariest is our absolute lack of control over another nation's government. At a moment's notice, they can act (or not act) as they see fit.

Yesterday, I found this tidbit online:

Adoption Alert

Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children’s Issues
May 13, 2009

Adoptions of Abandoned Children Halted by Ethiopian Court

The Ethiopian First Instance Court has temporarily stopped accepting cases involving abandoned children from orphanages in Addis Ababa , citing concern over a recent increase in the number of abandoned children being brought for adoption. The number of abandoned children from orphanages in Addis Ababa has grown dramatically in recent months and Ethiopian authorities have become aware of possible cases of unethical practices associated with some of them.Currently neither MOWA nor the First Instance Court are accepting any abandonment case from any orphanages in Addis Ababa pending an inquiry. Please continue to monitor adoption.state.gov for updated information on Ethiopia .

My heart dropped to its knees when I read this... a hundred thoughts flooded my mind. I prayed that those children were not unethically obtained by the orphanages. One of the reasons we chose Ethiopia was the sincere need for adoptive parents and the lack of corruption in the system.

Then I worried about our own adoption. "Inquiries" and "investigations" sounded like they could take months... or years. What would happen if everything was put on hold for years? We don't want to switch countries - we still believe our baby is in Ethiopia. Would we just wait and update our paperwork when the time was ready?

I emailed our case manager, who responded very quickly with possibly the most reassuring email I had ever read. The orphanages CWA works with are not affected by this court closure. She also shed some light on the situation - allegedly, one police officer submitted paperwork for 16 abandonment cases in one day. Until they can figure out if he was just catching up on his paperwork (or if this points to illegal practices) the orphanages in question were put on hold.

We are relieved, but are praying this gets resolved quickly. There are parents around the world who already have accepted referrals and now will be waiting indefinitely for the process to continue. And in the event that there IS something unethical happening, I worry that the entire system would be shut down for investigation. Guatemala has been shut down for nearly a year.

God remains in control of our adoption, and we believe he has been there every step of the way, guiding each and every move we've made. There is comfort in believing that if our worst fears are realized, God is still at the helm, weaving our family together through his divine timing and wisdom. He still knows better.


Mother to Mother

Today is Mother's Day.

Daniel made me a sweet card and gift at preschool, and I am more in love with that little man that I ever imagined possible.

But on my mind all day was the baby who doesn't know I'm their mom yet. I keep thinking about that sweet little life, and the difficulties she is undoubtedly facing right now. Even more present in my thoughts has been that baby's birth mother and the situation she is in - one that will soon end in relinquishing her baby for adoption. For her, this isn't a happy Mother's Day.

We are committed to honoring the place of the birth mother in our baby's life. Regardless of circumstance or reason for adoption, our baby's mother is the one God charged with bringing this new life into the world. She is the foundation of our child's genetic, cultural and geographical roots. She is the one our baby will instinctively long for, even without comprehension. But her decision to let nurture make up for nature will mean that her baby will become ours. As close as if the decision had been biological. And as that baby grows up, we will not shy away from talking about her or her place in our child's life story, however awkward and difficult it may be at times.

Today more than ever, I wish I could meet her. I wish I could hug her and comfort her. I wish I could pray with her and tell her how much I think about her. I wish I could change her situation so that this baby could stay in her arms. I wish I could convey the indescribably huge impact her decision will have on our family.

And I wish I could wish her a happy Mother's Day, from one mother to another.