Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Tale of Two Adoptions - Part 2

As I was saying over here, we had two very different experiences in our domestic and international adoptions. I know there are a lot of other families out there who also have experienced both types of adoption. Again, what we have experienced is just that ..... our journey. That being said ....

It seems that often with domestic adoptions the adoptive parent can be left feeling awfully alone. For us, we weren't in a "group" with our domestic adoption. We had limited contact with other adoptive families. While we had fabulous support from our social worker, it was still so different from what we faced with our international adoption. For months our file sat at a US agency we had chosen .... we waited and wondered if anyone was looking at it {prospective birthmoms}. We doubted if we'd ever be chosen. On the flip-side we KNEW God had led us to domestic adoption. It was a huge test of our faith. Month after month went by. Then my health scare with cancer when we had to withdraw our file til we were certain I was healthy. They might as well have removed my heart the day they removed my womb, but that story is for another post. Then we were back at the waiting again. By Christmas I was downright depressed and wondering what on earth was happening. Had we even heard from the Lord??? New Year's Eve came and I {once again} laid it all down before the Lord ..... trying all that was left in me to trust Him for another day. Little did I know a most amazing wee-babe was about to be born!! You can read about her life HERE!

With our international adoption, while we didn't know an exact date, we had a time frame. We also had incredible families walking the journey with us!! There was community. When one family was struggling, another would help life them up and remind them of WHY they were doing this in the first place!! It was beautiful. JUST as beautiful was what God taught us in our first adoption. Each journey unique .... each an opportunity to be drastically transformed if you will let Him.

We've often been criticized about why we didn't adopt through the foster care system. Every single time it's been a money issue. Yes, you read that right ... a money issue. See, for many onlookers it would be "ok" to adopt, as long as it didn't cost you money. "You can adopt for FREE" we were told time and again. Oh really??? The last time we checked nothing is free. Tax dollars are paying for the foster care system. It's interesting how quiet people get when that is brought to their attention. And even so!, that is exactly where our first daughter was headed. Into the foster care system. The agency had no family to call for her. Would she have been fed? .... well, yes, I suppose she would have. As opposed to going without nourishment in a third-world country. But she has JUST as much of a right to family. And how is it that we JUSTIFY what is going on in our country anyway? It isn't acceptable for children to be born and put into a system when there are SO many families that could welcome them into their homes permanently. Do you REALIZE that if a child is born with white skin in America and is relatively healthy that there are families WAITING in line for that child? Not so for the majority of children with dark skin, or children with extensive special needs. How can we criticize other countries and their cultures and their orphan problem and IGNORE OUR OWN?????

With our adoption journey to our second daughter we were surrounded by so many other families walking a similar journey. That in itself was a blessing, as we were walking further and further away from what many in our lives thought was acceptable and good. The community of other adoptive families was a great comfort and encouragement to us. This time we became keenly aware of the realities of children that didn't have adequate medicine and nourishment. They were no longer statistics ..... one of them was our daughter. In this adoption we fought feelings at times of worrying we were somehow part of a cultural clique. With the Ethiopian program up and running so well there were many, many families adopting in that program. There were t-shirts and jewelry and a host of other accessories just waiting to be purchased. Sometimes, deeply within, my heart would cry ..... where was the fan-fare for my other precious brown girl? The child who's spirit just as much needed a momma's love? I soon realized that it wasn't just all in my head ..... no, it was also in the responses on people's faces and lips when I'd gently inform them that "No, both of our daughters aren't from Ethiopia ... one was born in TX". I would get Facebook requests from moms who thought from my profile pic I was an "Ethiopian adoptive mom". Yes, it's true that I am .... but I am also an adoptive mom of another precious child as well. It would go deeper .... moms would comment about pics I posted of how beautiful my Ethiopian daughters were, never even asking where they were born.

Let me say very clearly .... our Ethiopian adoption has been a VERY wonderful thing!!!!! Anyone who followed our journey to Maleah knows how deeply passionate we are about her life and the needs of her people. But her life represents the needs of just ONE place in this world. They are SO many children WAITING for and NEEDING a family. We are all about the needs around the world ..... including the needs right down the road from where you live. Each with a soul and spirit that needs nurtured.

I'm so thankful God saw fit to allow us the incredible blessing of expanding our hearts and family in this way. Through it, I have learned so much about my Father's heart. I have learned to love in a greater way than I ever knew possible. I've been stretched beyond what I ever thought was bearable. I know that God isn't done teaching us. We're challenged deeply by the needs in the US foster care system. What our responsibility is there we aren't sure. Perhaps it's to be a voice for them. Maybe more. If I have learned anything through this journey it's this ...... there is only one thing that really matters about my life and it's what I'm living it for. Is it for pleasures here on this earth? Is for my own personal gain? Is it for comfort in worldly treasures {both monetary and relational}? OR .... is it for and about HIM. The one who created me. The song below from Robin Mark sums it up well. We are each created for a purpose. That is gonna look differently for each of us. I should not be consumed or primarily focused on what others are doing ...... but on what MY Father wants ME to do. Each day I ask for His help in that. Each day I NEED His help in that. Lord, how thankful I am that you look beyond our weakness .... that you find purest gold in miry clay ... thank you for your mercy.


  1. I love this! I love that God has called you down both paths! I think someday we will be called to domestic. All those people that question me as to why China, maybe then they'll stop asking. But then again, probably not. ;-)

  2. Tanya .... yeah I see many similarities with some of the things we faced with Ethiopia and that you would have faced with China when that program was newer. SO THANKFUL for families that are rising to the need in EACH place ...... yet sometimes I grieve for the lack of perceived excitement for families adopting from US. Blessings to you as you seek the Lord about the future! :)