Our dossier is done! Those are four words I wondered if I would ever be able to type. Those four words may not mean anything you if you haven’t adopted, but they are very exciting words for those on the road to international adoption. Our family has made the wonderful decision to adopt a little girl from Ethiopia…Yup… Africa. What an incredible journey to be on! The road will be long, but we are hoping to welcome our little girl home within the year (maybe even sooner!).
The reason we decided to adopt was because we were called to do it. I can’t really say why or when we were called, but the seed was planted long ago. We have spent years learning about adoption, experiencing adoption with friends, volunteering with organizations doing work with orphans, and learning all about Ethiopia. Don’t get me wrong…the decision to adopt was not entirely “easy.” The decision did not happen overnight. There have been times when we questioned why we would do this… “Do we really need to answer this call?” The ultimate decision has been based on the quote at the top of our blog… if not us, then who should be helping these kids??? Before deciding to adopt from Ethiopia, we wanted to be sure that the reason we were doing it was because we want to have another child be a part of our family. Our daughter will not be a charity case. She will bless our family more than we will ever hope to bless her. That being said, adoption is also one of the many ways to help others.
There are about 6 million orphans in Ethiopia. It is hard to picture 6 million children without families. Imagine you are sitting in Lambeau Field (The Packers are a big deal around here) and you look around the stadium. The stadium holds about 60,000 (or more) Packers fans each time they have a home game. You would have to fill Lambeau Field up with orphans 100 times to equal the number of children who are without parents in Ethiopia alone! There are 147 million orphans in the world…
So, what can we do? In my opinion, we are all called to do something, but not all the same thing. To some God says, "This orphan is no longer an orphan, she is your daughter." Others might take care of children by sponsoring a child in Guatemala to go to school, and others might volunteer to go on a mission trip. Some may care for those living in their own community – volunteering at food banks, mentoring young mothers, etc. As a family, we have had the privledge of collecting underwear, socks, formula and medicine for little ones in orphanages. Our daughter has had the awesome experience of helping to organize a collection drive at her school - nothing is too small or too big. What makes our world special is that we are all called to action in different ways. All of these opportunities are equally important.
Here are some questions that we know some people might ask:
Aren’t you scared of what it might do to your family? How it will affect your kids, and what kind of short- and long-term implications might it have? Aren’t you afraid you are going to be taking something away from your children that is legitimately theirs? Will they feel ripped off? I can tell you that all three of our biological kids are extremely excited about our adoption plans. They have been learning about Ethiopia and over the past two years. It has been awesome seeing our daughter carry her Africa bag to school instead of a regular book bag. It is amazing to hear our son ask over and over why we are not adopting sooner, and it has been heart- warming to listen to our youngest pray for his “sister in Africa” when he says his bedtime prayers. The kids are excited.I have read in depth about how adoption can change family dynamics. Everyone that I have known or spoken to who has adopted and had biological children first, has told me the same thing: It will be wonderful for your kids. One blog that I love to read shared this bit of information:
“To each and every person reading this post who knows the concrete conviction of being called to care for orphans yet also bears the weight of the accompanying thoughts of fear, I want you to know this...Please hear me loud and clear…You are NOT taking anything AWAY from your birth children. Instead, what you are doing is imparting to them something eternal: You are expanding their capacity to love. Think about that for a minute before you read anything else. How do you plan to teach your child to love others unconditionally and in total compassion without giving them the opportunity to do so? I'm telling you now, You CAN'T.”
– Heidi W.
Our biological children will have a greater capacity of love in their hearts than I could ever impart to them by just talking about the needy kids in the world and showing them pictures of little kids in Africa with bloated bellies. Our kids may have to sacrifice a little, but will understand that our lives are no more valuable than the orphans in Ethiopia – they know that we just happened to be blessed by being born on the continent we were. Helping others does not steal anything from us.
We hope to keep family and friends updated about our adoption through this blog. I promise that most posts will not be this long! We look forward to sharing information about the process we have gone through and are going through. Please join us on our journey – we appreciate all of the encouragement and prayers you can provide along the way!
Big Round World, Small Square Box
9 months ago