Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Why adopt? Why Ethiopia?

I just love kids. Love, love, love kids! I grew up in a family of five children, and my own family of three children always seemed, well, small. Tom has just one brother, so he did not agree with me on this issue. As my children grew older, I really have yearned for another child. However, Tom was firm that we were done with babies. I was sad...but then one day we were at a benefit dinner for a local children's welfare agency, and when I sighed mournfully about needing another child I sensed that Tom wasn't against a child per se, it was a baby he didn't want to deal with. Once this light bulb went on, there was no stopping me!

I began to research foster/adoption and decided it wasn't for us. International adoption seemed like a good way for us to go as "older" parents. As I looked at various programs, I was drawn to Ethiopia. The people there have a proud and rich history. There is so much poverty and disease that millions of children are left as orphans despite the efforts of their countrymen who want so much to care for them... there are so many; it is a daunting task. The government has put into place a relatively speedy and efficient adoption process. Perfect for us 40-somethings who don't want to be 50-somethings by the time our child is placed with us. Tom and I both have an affection for Africa and I felt it was in this place that God wanted us to find our next child.

I began to request information from various agencies and I prayed a lot that God would help me know what to do, and that Tom would be receptive. I decided that I would broach the subject during our summer vacation cruise in Mexico. I was pleasantly surprised that Tom was immediately enthusiastic! Of course, this could have been because I chose to bring the subject up immediately after a martini tasting session... But no, he told me that he had actually been thinking about adoption some too. Imagine that! I see the hand of God at work.

We chose our agency, Carolina Hope, and began filling out paperwork as soon as we got home. After some discussion, we agreed that the best fit for our family would be a girl in the 2-4 year age range. Our children were very excited to hear that we would be adopting a little sister. Anna was even quick to reassure us that she wouldn't mind sharing her brand new room! (Which is good, because that was our plan!) Emily and Kenneth were happy too.

We know that there will be trials ahead as what is called in the adoption lingo "a conspicuous family". Meaning a transracial one, basically. And there is a large age gap between our current baby who is 14 years old and the preschooler we hope to bring home soon. But everyone is so eager to embrace the challenges and shower our new daughter/sister with love.

Now, the paperwork is done and we just sit and wait. Wait for USCIS approval, wait for the dossier to be authenticated, wait for an eventual referral. But it's a delicious wait; kind of like we are waiting for the best Christmas present ever...only more so. :)