I mentioned that we decided to take the scenic route on this adoption. I think if we would have stuck with our original plan we would probably have a referral and be making plans for travel instead of just starting on our dossier. That aside, I said I would get to this at some point and now is as good a time as any. I feel a little ashamed to tell the story, as looking back it seems silly that we strayed in the first place, but here goes...
Once Seth and I decided on adopting a fourth child, we had to figure out where to go. Most of our decision was ruled by circumstances. Each country has different travel requirements, costs, family size... This was a determining factor for us. We narrowed our choices down and were drawn to Ethiopia. I wish I could say that we've always had a love for the Ethiopian people or I have always dreamed of adopting a child from Ethiopia. Like I said in my first post, we are quite ordinary people, and most of our decisions, after much prayer, are made with good old fashioned common sense. I spoke at length with a friend who has adopted from Ethiopia and was in the process of a second adoption. She gave me some pointers, and then we decided on an agency. We had our application ready when we met another woman who was using the agency we had chosen. She was having a horrible time, and cautioned us against using them. So we decided to use our number two pick. We filled out another application, got it sealed in an envelope ready for the mail that Monday. Meanwhile, Angelina Jolie adopted her daughter and Ethiopian adoptions zipped straight to the headlines. This is, of course, great for the children as more parents than ever are adopting because of the publicity. We got an email from the agency that we were planning on using stating that they are no longer accepting applications. This sounded foreboding to us, and we suddenly veered far off course.
I'm a fairly impatient person, and this fault is magnified during adoption. I saw these roadblocks as doors closing, waiting up to two years to adopt? This is crazy (keep in mind we adopted Ella in 10 months, from first application to bringing her home) and must mean that we should just adopt somewhere else. We decided to adopt an African-American baby domestically. Don't ask me why, I can't really tell you. I wanted a baby, I spoke with agencies who assured me that they needed families to adopt these babies. I saw a need, saw that it could happen quickly and we jumped on the idea. I completely dismissed the fact that there are MILLIONS of children orphaned in Ethiopia. I don't want to downplay that adopting a child is a blessing, no matter where you go. There are children in the US who are in desperate need of forever families. I won't attempt to get into a one sided discussion about our foster system, domestic vs international adoption, because it will lead no where. You must adopt where you feel called. So we pursued this faceless newborn for months.
Weird things kept happening, our social worker fell into a hole (yes, you read that correctly) and instead of finishing our homestudy in 2 weeks, she took 4 months! We sent things to the agency that just disappeared, I don't mean the entire envelope disappeared, but one thing in the envelope just wasn't there. All of these things kept us from getting our paperwork DONE. We gave God the credit, thinking He had a child chosen for us that wasn't born yet. So we patiently endured these little mess ups just trusting in His plan. When we were finally ready, we had a few nibbles of interest from birthmoms, but in the end the agency said our family size was a deterrent. By then Seth and I started to doubt our decision. We weren't sure if we were with the right agency and started questioning domestic adoption.
We started praying and having little discussions here and there about our adoption. After a month of this wavering, we decided that we needed to either move on or stop worrying about it. Both Seth and I have spent enough time asking God, "Please be clear, we are idiots down here and can't discern your will." We have both seen how very specific prayers can be answered by God in specific ways. Seth (without my knowledge) asked God to show him during his morning Bible reading whether we should adopt from Ethiopia. The next morning he was reading and began reading a passage in which Ethiopia is mentioned. When he told me, I was still nervous about making this switch. So that day I spent time praying and asked God to give ME confidence in this decision. The next morning I got online and checked on a blog I read every once in a great while. The post for that day was titled, "Why we chose not to adopt from the US." The blogger listed reasons why she chose to go to Ethiopia after a domestic adoption fell through. This list mirrored EXACTLY the same things that Seth and I were feeling. After more discussion, we called our domestic agency and told them we wanted to stop our adoption through them. Then we started looking for an agency to use for adopting from Ethiopia. And that longwinded story explains our nine month hiatus from our Ethiopian adoption.