Tag Archives: adoption

National Adoption Month

November is National Adoption Month and my very raw and torn feelings on adoption are still present. Seeing all of the posts celebrating adoption is wonderful and there are truly amazing stories out there. We happen to live one right now. Our beautiful daughter came to us via domestic adoption and we wouldn’t change it for the world. But, we have no idea how she’ll feel about it when she becomes a tween, teen or adult; nor would we dare to guess. One thing I hope and pray that she feels is loved! Loved by us and by her birth mom. (You can read more in depth on our adoption journey below in previous blog posts) 
However, we have also lived through an extremely difficult loss of a beautiful boy from Ethiopia, that we pray has made it into loving arms of someone in his first family. That time we spent in limbo, opened our eyes to the stories of great loss felt by first families and adoptees themselves and their very real struggles. You can read about them here:

https://theadoptedones.wordpress.com/

http://www.thelostdaughters.com/

I believe all children deserve loving families and adoption is certainly one option, but not the only option. I feel that so much more can be done in areas of family preservation, adoption regulation, and improved vetting of adoptive and foster families.

In the end, we will celebrate this National Adoption month for the joys that our little girl has brought us. However, thoughts of those that are dealing with the struggles of loss that may never go away, will continue to be in the forefront. My perspectives on adoption are always changing and evolving as I grow in this beautiful mess of life; and looking forward to what my precious girl will teach me in the future!

Beauty from Ashes

This may be a long post, but it’s a beautiful one and it has me almost giddy to share!

I know my last post may have left a negative feeling toward international adoption…please see part 2 for details:  http://satisfyingourwanderlust.com/the-hard-road-to-changing-hearts

International adoption is a beautiful thing.  And I’ve had the pleasure of watching this beauty unfold in the lives of many of the friends I’ve made through this emotional journey, however, their ending is much different than ours.

Even though our journey did not end as we would have hoped, God has paved a new path that is just as beautiful!

As we have waded through these last ten months, we have had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know several people that are doing amazing work in Ethiopia.  They are literally “the hands and feet” of Jesus!  I’m excited to share about them, their organizations, and how my family is able to be a small part in it all.

Many months before God derailed our adoption plan, social media led me to follow several organizations that were working in Ethiopia, particularly with family preservation and child and family sponsorships.

I cannot wait to introduce you to them!

In June, my family had the opportunity to meet several families that have had, and were currently in the process of adopting from Ethiopia.  Surprisingly enough, one of the ladies we met had started an organization that I followed and it sat heavy on my heart.  It was like a mini-celebrity encounter…at least it was for me :). This organization is A Heart for Korah!  And let me tell you, if you don’t know anything about the city of Korah, you really should look into it.  It’s heartbreaking and will make you think twice about your first world struggles…it did for me.

A Heart for Korah logo.  Photo credit: Tisha

A Heart for Korah logo. Photo credit: Tisha

What Tisha and her family have started with this organization will make you smile.  They bring food, shelter, medicine, hope, love and most importantly the word of God to these people through family sponsorship!  We currently sponsor a wonderful family that will hopefully be able to rest a little easier at night through this program.

Our monthly sponsored family...Meseret and her family!

Our monthly sponsored family…Meseret and her family!

While we were in Indy meeting these great families, that I’m happy to now call friends, God was apparently working in one of the couples’ hearts. Brandy and her family were preparing to bring home a precious little girl from Ethiopia, as well as helping to advocate for several “street boys” they met during their travels.  They, with the help of an amazing man in Ethiopia, started Life Thru EDU, which is an organization that helps these boys receive formal education through sponsorship.

Life Thru EDU logo…photo credit: FB page

Life Thru EDU logo…photo credit: FB page

We have the privilege of sponsoring a young boy named Mohamet, who has a smile that is absolutely contagious!

Our sponsored "street" boy…Mohamet

Our sponsored “street” boy…Mohamet!

Back in July, our church brought the Ugandan Kids Choir through Childcare Worldwide to perform during our Sunday service…it was awesome and so are these kids.  My parents were able to host three of the girls and the groups’ teacher Agnes!  We were able to spend some time with them and they are precious and polite, innocent and beautiful, energetic and so full of life.

 

The girls enjoying a little bubble time

The girls enjoying a little bubble time

Performing during our Sunday service!

Performing during our Sunday service!

The girls loved holding and playing with Amelia!

The girls loved holding and playing with Amelia!

My parents with the guests they hosted and Griffin.  Agnes, Lukia, Diane and Brender

My parents with the guests they hosted and Griffin. Agnes, Lukia, Diane and Brender


We loved meeting these girls and watching their group perform and praise the Lord.  So, we now sponsor a young girl from Uganda. Our sponsorship supports her education. And we all know, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” -Nelson Mandela

Our monthly sponsored young girl from Uganda…Sheldon!

Our monthly sponsored young girl from Uganda…Sheldon!

Recently a group of 4 ladies that I happen to follow via social media, got together and flew to Ethiopia to advocate on behalf of a community called Gunchire through the work of an organization called Help One Now.  This organization works worldwide at the community level to seek sponsorship for children and families that may fall victim to the poverty orphan crisis.  These four ladies happen to be very well-known in the adoption world and you may have heard of them, Jen Hatmaker, Jillian Lauren, Kristen Howerton and Korie Robertson.

Photo credit: Help One Now logo for Ethiopia

Photo credit: Help One Now logo for Ethiopia

The stories and pictures they shared while visiting this community were amazingly inspirational and moving.  So moving that we felt the need to add to our family of sponsorships.  Meet Abreham, our sponsored boy from Gunchire.  I fell in love with his picture and his name!

Our monthly sponsored teen boy through Help One Now, Abreham!

Our monthly sponsored teen boy through Help One Now, Abreham!

Although bringing our little Abrahim home was not in God’s plan for us, he sure has opened our hearts to be able to help these awesome kids and families.  As well as advocate for other avenues besides adoption, which is orphan prevention and family preservation.

If you feel your heart strings being pulled toward this type of charity after reading this, then please feel free to check out these wonderful organization as well as many others out there working for the same thing…a changed world!

Here are the links to the organizations that we sponsor if you’re interested in learning more!

A Heart for Korah:  http://www.aheartforkorah.com

Life Thru EDU:  https://www.facebook.com/educationforallethiopia

Childcare Worldwide:  http://www.childcareworldwide.org

Help One Now:  https://www.helponenow.org
Thanks for joining along in this 3 part adoption series

See Part 1 here:  http://satisfyingourwanderlust.com/everyone-has-a-storypart-1/ ‎

God Bless

The hard road to changing hearts

This has been a hard post to write and even reflect back on.  It has been a long and emotional journey that life has lead us on this past year.  Thankful for God’s grace and mercy.

A little background on our story.  While we were in the “waiting to be matched” phase of our domestic adoption, we decided to pursue international adoption through the Ethiopia program.

Please please take more than a few months doing your research on this or any international program.  We were extremely naive in the fact that surely anyone working in this type of area has compassion, morals and high ethical standards toward the prospective adoptive parents, first families and children involved.  That is not at all the case for our situation or in many other cases.  It’s heartbreaking how often the vulnerability of first families, children and adoptive parents are taken advantage of.  Hindsight is truly 20/20 in our situation and sadly left me with feelings of shame, guilt and sadness.

Here’s how we got here:
We received a call at the end of January from our agency that we received a referral for a precious 3 month old little boy in Ethiopia, named Abrahim. He stole our hearts through a picture!

We cannot show his beautiful face due to the instability of his case and the unknown's of his current situation…but it is precious!

We cannot show his beautiful face due to the instability of his case and the unknown’s of his current situation…but it is precious!

But a week after we accepted the referral, our world fell apart.  The agency out of Georgia that our agency in Indy used to complete their Ethiopia adoptions had charges brought against them.  Charges brought by the U.S. department of Justice regarding fraud and various other things.  Reading the full indictment was just a glimpse into the corruption that we have seen through this journey.

We waited months with very few answers along the way.  There were moments of hope that seemed to slip away and overshadowed by more bad news. We had periods of not knowing Abrahim’s location followed by news that MOWA (the ministry that oversees all adoptions) was going to step in and help us.  This is such a very small glimpse into the details of how things progressed over the last 10 months.  I have never felt so much fear, hate or anger at a situation, but so thankful for my faith in God’s sovereignty and undeserving forgiveness.

God lets the storm rage

In the end, we were unable to move forward because of the orphanage director.  The director at Abrahim’s orphanage was unwilling to work with our new assigned adoption agency due to unethical financial reasons.

Currently, we have no “official” answer or closure to our case.  All of us families (7 total) affected by this situation are assuming our children have been re-referred to new families and have been moved to a new agency’s transition home.  If it is not God’s plan for us to bring home our children then we pray they all end up with new, happy, and healthy families.

If you could all say a prayer for peace and comfort in our hearts and for Abrahim, that he will be loved and well taken care of.

Although this is not the way we were hoping for this to turn out, we have been extremely blessed by some amazing new friends we’ve met along the way.  Our hearts will be forever changed by this experience.

Blessings

Part 3…how we have overcome heartbreak and are changing lives… http://satisfyingourwanderlust.com/beauty-from-ashes/

See Part 1 on domestic adoption here:  http://satisfyingourwanderlust.com/everyone-has-a-storypart-1/

Good things fall apart

Everyone has a story…Part 1

 

With a month left before we hit the road, I thought I would detour and talk about adoption and the many ways it has completely changed our lives.  I will be doing a three part blog series on our adoption journey.  I have no idea how long it will take to write, because some of the things I’ll share still hurt.  And may possibly offend some that have walked a similar path, but this is our story and my feelings (which are always evolving).

Photo credit from Pinterest

Photo credit from Pinterest

Tim and I had discussed adoption long before we had our amazing little boy Griffin.  We felt that if we had the love to give and the means to share that love with someone else, then we should, because every child should feel loved and have security.  As I write that statement now, it sounds so wrong and so naive.  Don’t get me wrong, every child does deserve love and security, it’s just my views of how to give that have changed.

You can make plans

After all that’s said, I love adoption, I’m the lucky mom to an awesome little girl because of it, but it comes with such a loss for first families.  And that is sometimes a really hard thought to swallow and has lead to many feelings of guilt over the past year.

Amelia’s story and every adoption story is so unique and one of a kind.  I love to tell her story and have told and wrote about it often.  She has heard her story many times, even though she does not understand yet, someday she will.

The Journey to Amelia:

“We received a call from our adoption agency on Wednesday, December 18th and were asked if they could show our profile to an expectant mom whose due date was the following day.

I was called later that afternoon (Tim was sleeping since he was in the middle of his turn on nights), and told that the expectant mom had picked our profile and wanted to meet us the next day in Indy.  So we planned to leave once Tim was home from work the next morning.

We met with expectant mom Chelsea and her grandmother at the agency and talked for a couple of hours.  We were complete strangers is a very different and somewhat awkward situation, but the conversation was very easy and laid back.  We left each other with a new found friendship.

That Thursday night (Chelsea’s due date), Tim went off to work on the hour of sleep he got during the car ride home.  I had just put Griff to bed when my phone rang and it was our agency, which has always caused a flood of many emotions when I saw that name pop up on caller ID.  The agency’s director told me we needed to pack our bags and head back to Indy because Chelsea’s water broke!

So, I called Tim’s emergency number at work since he was on night shift and spoke to his co-worker in the pulpit, where Tim is hardly ever at, but happened to be standing right there!  It was a whirlwind of emotions going through both our heads.  I thought I would have had a few days to unpack our baby things and figure out where Griffin would stay, apparently God had other plans.

Well, it was déjà vu driving back to Indy in the same day!  We arrived at 1:30am and Chelsea, her grandmother and her dad were all resting comfortably when we got there.  I stayed in the hospital room and slept on the floor on a mattress for 3 days and Tim slept on various couches and chairs throughout the hospital.  We felt somewhat homeless, spending the day scouting the most comfortable places to sleep.  Mind you, Tim was on night shift and had only slept about 2 hours in 2 days, so we got a hotel for napping and showering.

I stayed with Chelsea throughout the whole delivery and we welcomed miss Amelia Marie on Sunday morning December 22, 2013 at 5:55am.  She was 7.5 pounds and 20.5 inches and beautiful!

After two more days in the hospital, me in the room with Chelsea and Amelia, and then Tim staying in the hotel, we managed to get a little more sleep.  However, I can not even begin to describe the emotions we experienced over the next few days.  They still seem so vivid and raw, but ones that I will cherish forever.

We brought our beautiful little girl home on Christmas Eve!”

Amelia Marie

Amelia Marie

Amelia’s birth mother, Chelsea, has a very special place in my heart and we will be forever connected!  She is the most selfless person I know, at just the young age of 18, and I could not be more amazed at the decisions and sacrifices she made.  It’s still heartbreaking to think about.  I truly hope that when Chelsea’s ready, we will meet again.

*I have tears just writing this story as it brings back so many emotions and memories from that experience.

Part 2 will be a hard glimpse into our journey of international adoption.  See it here:  http://satisfyingourwanderlust.com/the-hard-road-to-changing-hearts

Part 3:  http://satisfyingourwanderlust.com/beauty-from-ashes/