Archive | April, 2012

The Next Step

27 Apr

Since we started the adoption process a little over 1 year ago, and especially in the past few months, there have been some huge changes in the Uganda adoption process as a whole.  If you’ve been following our blog you know that our wait time for a referral has doubled from 6 months to 12 months.  This is not really a surprise or even a huge deal because we know the adoption process often takes longer than people want it to, and we need to be flexible. You have probably also read on our blog that it is getting harder and harder to adopt two children at one time from Ug, and nearly impossible if they are not related.

More and more corruption is coming to the surface in the Ug. adoption world and the Ug. gov. and US Embassy are scrambling to gain control and ensure ethical adoptions.  One policy just instituted in March are the Heritage Trips, which require adoptive families to return to Uganda with their adopted child every five years until the child turns 18 yrs.  Yes, you read that right.  For the age of child Josh and I want to adopt, that would be three more trips back to Ug for us and our child.  These Heritage Trips are meant to keep the child connected to their home culture and provide an opportunity for the Court Registar to meet with the family and see how the child is doing.  Apparently there have been many families who have not been doing their post placement reports, and in addition to that there have been some negative reports back to Ug about what has happened to some children after they’ve been adopted.  So in the eyes of the Ug court system, their children are being adopted and taken half a world away, then they never hear another thing from the families and have no idea how the child is doing or if they are being loved and cared for, adjusting well, and if their Ug heritage is being kept alive.  This is understandably upsetting for the Ug government.  As a result they are very suspicious and cautious about international adoption and have responded with this pretty extreme new regulation.

Truely, the heart behind the Heritage Trip policy is beautiful.  Josh and I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to take all of our children back to their birth countries and have many ways planned that we will keep them connected to their birth country and keep that heritage alive in our family.  BUT, we also have plans to adopt multiple times as a single income family.  To be honest, when we heard about the Heritage Trips we were disappointed and frustrated.  Whereas we want to take trips back to the countries we adopt from, we want to be able to go when our children are older and can understand more (like late tweens or teen years), and of course we’ll need to save lots of mulah to even afford ONE international trip with our family.

Because we were already matched with a child when the Heritage Trip policy was put in place, we trusted that if God wanted us to adopt that little girl, He would provide to money throughout the next fifteen yrs for us to return to Ug multiple times.  But the reality is that almost all of the reasons we initially chose to adopt from Ug (instead of Ethiopia, which was our other top choice) are irrelevant now because so much has changed in Ug adoptions over the past year.  We decided that if for some reason we lost our referral, we would explore the option of adopting from Ethiopia instead.

God works in mysterious ways, doesn’t He?  Tues morning we found out we could not adopt the baby girl we were matched with.  We had already been praying and researching the option of switching to our agency’s Eth program for the reasons mentioned above.  Once God shut the door to the adoption of that baby girl, we felt like He was confirming that Ug is not the right fit for our family at this time.

After talking extensively to our case worker, we officially decided to adopt from Ethiopia.  Because we are switching programs we are in for a much longer wait.  It is kind of like staring over, but not quite as bad.  It will probably be another 18 months before we have our child(ren) home.  Thinking about waiting that much longer just makes my heart……..tired.

I will save the details about the Eth adoption process for another blog post.  For now, I want to address a few FAQs that may be lingering about…

1. By switching to Ethiopia, we are not losing any money and we don’t have to pay any additional fees to our agency (because they are AWESOME!) but it is kind of like “starting over”.  We have to get our Eth. dossier together and send it to Eth.  Fortunately, we have most of the documents already because many are the same as the Ug dossier. The bummer is that until we get our dossier completely done and sent to Eth, we cannot be put on the waiting list to be matched with a child.  So you know I’m going to be working day and night to get that stinking paper chase done and DONE!  Once out dossier is in Eth., it will be 15-18 months until we are completely done and home with our baby(ies).

2. Because we have a much longer wait by switching to Ethiopia, I will be teaching (Kindergarten) one more year. Now I can really put Pinterest to good use.  Oh, and of course that means we can save more money.

3. We are still hoping to adopt two babies but our agency’s Eth. program does not allow two unrelated children to be adopted, so it would have to be twins or siblings.  We would accept just one child, but we’ll be praying for two!

4. And last but not least, what I know you are all dying to know —  We have thought about trying to have a biological baby while we wait for our adopted child, but we’ve decided it’s too risky.  I really want to be able to enjoy my newborn baby(ies) and give them all the attention they need, and enjoy and love my newly adopted child(ren) and give them all the love attention they need in their first year adjusting to being in a family.  If we tried to have a baby while waiting for our Eth. adoption, we’d be bringing home a baby from Eth when we still have a nursing baby and I don’t think that would be fair to either child or to myself as a new mom!

Hope Deferred But Not Giving Up

27 Apr

Josh and I have experienced some ups and downs in the past few months that I have kept off the blog. I wanted to see how things played out before I shared anything too publicly (a.k.a. on the world wide web).  Now that it is water under the bridge and we have made a decision about our next step, I am ready to share.

In a nutshell….(yeah right, I stink at “nutshells”)

Remember way back in Nov/Dec when we decided to leave the adoption agency we were working with a seek out a new one?  Well during that transition we explored the option of independent adoption.  We started researching and emailing various orphanages in Ug. to establish relationships and see if we could get on any waiting lists.  We ended up connecting with an orphanage that had some children available for adoption and began dialoguing with the director about the possibility of adopting from his orphanage.

Around this same time we decided we definitely did not want to navigate these waters without the help of an agency and found a new agency (whom we LOVE very, very much) to work with. We told them we’d already established a relationship with this orphanage and wanted to adopt a certain child from there. Even though they had never worked with this particular orphanage before, they were happy to help us pursue this adoption, if that child was indeed adoptable (at that point we didn’t know a lot of info, just that we had a tentative referral). We all proceeded with caution, knowing things might fall through.

We officially accepted a referral for a 7 month old girl at the end of December.  We were extremely excited at the possibility of this little child becoming our daughter, but we knew we needed to guard our hearts.  Like I said, our agency had never worked with this orphanage before and we knew very little information about how the process might play out.

This is a long and complicated story.  Basically, over the past three months things have not been progressing as smoothly as we or our agency hoped they would.    Josh and I knew we needed to REALLY guard our hearts from getting attached to this little girl because at any moment we felt we might lose the referral. It was really fun having my emotions jerked around every day.  NOT.

This is just the nature of international adoption and I came in with eyes wide open.

We did not register.  We did not announce it on this blog.  We did not decorate a nursery.  We did not plan any baby showers.  We did not buy girly baby stuff.  We just prayed and prayed and hoped and hoped that if this was God’s will, we could welcome this child into our family.

On Tuesday morning (April 24th) we got some very sad news.  I opened up my gmail account to find an email from the orphanage director saying they are “no longer interested in adopting out their children because it has a negative affect on the children left behind” and that they don’t feel it is “part of their calling”.  That was it.  Door closed.  I know his line of reasoning doesn’t make sense, but unfortunately there is nothing we can do about it. In Ug., the orphanages have legal guardianship of their children until they are adopted or reunited with family.   So ultimately, orphanage directors get to choose which children get matched with which families, or if children gets adopted at all.  Legislation is working to pass a law requiring orphanages to have a functioning plan to either adopt out their children or reunite them with birth families, but until that happens, things like this can still take place.

I know that God has protected our hearts from getting too attached to this child, and we were wise to proceed with caution.  But there is no way to completely cut off your heart from the flood of love and compassion that threatens to burst through every obstacle between you and the child on the other side of that photograph. Although receiving this news was heart wrenching, I KNOW that God is in control.  HE IS MY ROCK.  I am grieved that the reason we can’t adopt her is because the orphanage doesn’t want to adopt out their children. I wish the reason was because they located relatives for her or a Ugandan family to take her. That’s what I thought might happen, but I did not expect something like this. It is very heartbreaking for her and the other children in the orphanage.

So there’s a nice depressing blog post for you 🙂

Because we were trying to prepare for the worst, we have already decided what our next step will be.  It involves saying goodbye to Ug. and hello to another country….. To find out more, check out the next blog (I’m trying to keep these posts relatively short so people will actually continue reading my blog).