It’s fitting that I would do the adoption post while William is in Sudan. It was the faces of those sweet Sudanese children that God used to, as Baptists say, “set my heart on fire” for adoption. Our story goes something like this…
In pre-marital counseling we learned that having children is biblical. Hmm. Interesting concept.
It is comical now, but when we were dating, not having a desire for kids was a bonus for each of us when evaluating the other as a potential mate. Not interested in having kids? Check. Then came pre-marital counseling… So we decided we would adopt. Getting pregnant kinda freaked me out (still does for the record) and there are “too many” kids out there already. (kinda like pet overpopulation right? seriously, that was my thinking)
Then came the footage Coury brought back from Sudan and those faces. The sweet, joyful faces of kids whose parents were killed in the war or had died from Aids. Those joyful faces that brought tears to my eyes and a desire in my heart for adoption and for kids of my own.
We started researching adoption in the spring of 2007. We (read: I) spent hours on websites and pouring over brochures and handouts from different agencies. We went to an informational meeting on international adoption and left knowing that we would adopt from Ethiopia.
Why Ethiopia you ask? Well, for one, it borders Sudan, which is a “closed” country, meaning, no adoption. But more than that it is part of a region of Africa that we feel drawn and connected to. We have some dear friends who were born there and have two sweet babes themselves adopted from Ethiopia. And, most importantly, that’s where our kids are!
We decided to wait until January of 2009 to begin “the process”. We had our perfect family plan in place, and years away. William’s first trip to Sudan was during the summer of 2007 and Moses was conceived upon his return home. (so he’s kinda an African babe:-)
In October of 2008, when Moses was 4 months old, I went to an adoption conference and met Susan Killeen, the director of Arise for Children. After speaking with a few families who had adopted through Arise we decided to apply with her agency. Arise is small, local, and a Christian organization. All three things we were looking for.
We turned in our application in March of 2009. Our home study was completed in July and we gathered all of our dossier* paperwork by mid-August. I had it all notarized, county certified, and state authenticated. I had an appointment to meet with Cindy from Arise to look over it one last time before mailing it to Ethiopia. I had a big check. And I had morning sickness…
The same week I was scheduled to meet with Cindy and mail our dossier to Ethiopia (which by the way is the last step before you go on “the list” and wait for a “referral” or, as I like to call it “find out who your kid is”) I found out I was pregnant.
Because our babe from Ethiopia and Meadow would have arrived about the same time, we decided (aka Arise counseled us) to put our process on hold. I was bummed and hormonal and torn about putting our adoption on hold. Of course, knowing what I know now, our sovereign God knew exactly what He was doing.
The weeks leading up to Meadow’s due date I started working on the paperwork again. I knew we would jump right into the process after she was born and didn’t want to waste anytime. Four weeks after Meadow was born I submitted the letter to our home study agency requesting they update our file with our new family member. Because all of the paperwork is time sensitive, and Arise had switched partners in Ethiopia, we had to start over. All over. From the beginning.
I didn’t know that when we decided to put our process on hold. That’s probably a good thing.
We collected all of our paperwork. Again. Had it notarized. Again. Our social worker came to evaluate us. Again. And FINALLY, it was complete by the end of July. (Meadow was born April 12th)
The end of July until tonight is all kind of a blur.
William had his mole removed mid-July. I was schedule to meet with Cindy to have our dossier mailed (Again.) on July 30th. On July 29th we got a phone call from William’s surgeon that his biopsy came back as a form of melanoma. An invasive form of melanoma.
We knew very little that day of what that meant for us. We knew that William had cancer and we knew only all the horrible, scary, nasty stuff you can read on the interwebs if you google “superficial spreading melanoma”.
We did know that God, AGAIN, had something else (many things actually) to teach us before growing our family through adoption. I emailed Susan at Arise, told her of William’s diagnoses, and that I would not be bringing our dossier in to be mailed.
Fast forward to November. I have spoken to our home study agency, social worker, and stayed in close contact with Susan at Arise. Everyone has been very supportive. Fortunately, Ethiopia is not super strict so William’s diagnoses should not be an issue. Unfortunately, because of the time sensitivity issue of the dossier paperwork, I will have to redo everything when we are ready to continue our process. Again. Again, Again. But that’s ok. I know that when we finally do bring our children home from Ethiopia, whether it is in 2011 or 2020, it will be in His perfect timing.
*I realize a lot of you may not be familiar with adoption lingo. The “dossier” is a BIG stack of paperwork required by the government of the country you are adopting from. It is what they use to verify that you are fit to parent a child born in their country. For Ethiopia it includes: proof of health insurance, life insurance, letter from employer, letter from bank, bank statements, child abuse check, police check, home study, health certificate, bloodwork, brith certificates, marriage certificate, pictures of your house, letter from veterinarian, and other things I’m probably forgetting. And once you have it all collected it has to be notarized, then the county has to certify that the notary is legit, then the state has to authenticate that the county that certified the notary is legit. It’s no joke.