This past week has produced some news that has left the Ethiopian Adoption community in a state of shock. This article was mass posted on nearly every social outlet - http://www.voanews.com/english/news/africa/-Ethiopia-to-Cut-Foreign-Adoptions-by-Up-to-90-Percent-117411843.html
Initially I was horrified. Cutting Ethiopian adoption by 90%? Why? What in the world! Immediately I was concerned for our daughter waiting for us in Ethiopia. Concerned for our friends waiting for court dates, concerned for the families waiting for their referrals. Yet above all of that I know God is sovereign and I'm choosing to rest there.
In the past 24 hours I've been mulling over this news and the article above, the reality of the potential changes that could take place and I wonder about the reasons. Why would MOWA seem to think that such a drastic measure should be taken? Is it simply that they are understaffed and overworked? It seems that could be an easy fix. Is it more then that? Are they seeing an increase of cases where children are wrongfully taken from their birth families? Papers falsified? Corrupt agencies? Those are things that we can't ignore. We shouldn't ignore. Things that MUST be corrected even if it means it directly affects us.
I can't help but think about the birth families who have had their children wrongly taken. Who have thought they were leaving their kids for a couple hours only to return and find their children gone. Gone for good. Taken by an agency representative and put up for adoption. It happens folks. Corruption abounds, children are taken, and birth families are left completely shredded by the loss of their children. Adoption is NOT about taking children from families. Yes, unfortunately this really DOES happen. To live in denial of that fact is uneducated and simply unrealistic. I wish it was different, however its a reality that money causes corruption. Adoption has an amazingly beautiful side yet for some it also facilitates the devastating reality of baby/child trafficking. Why? The almighty dollar.
I can't shake the fact that no matter how much I want my daughter home even if this process takes longer because Ethiopia is trying to make adoption more ethical I'll take it. If it means more children will remain in their first families loved and cared for I'll take it. God designed families and it has never ever been David or I's desire to break up what God designed, we simply want to be available to be a family for a child that would otherwise not have one. We want to help not only adopt children in need but support keeping children in their first families whenever possible. We absolutely do NOT support unethical adoption and feel that the agencies operating in this manner need to be shut down.
I think at times it is easy to forget about these things as we get caught up in the adoption world and the excitement of welcoming our children home. There are two sides to adoption and one side is heart breaking, gut wrenching, and at times horrifying. The decision to give your child up is a choice I wish no mother or father would ever have to make. To ensure that the process is done ethically and not because of a need for money, feeling there is no other choice is a must. At times giving a child up for adoption is the best most selfless choice a parent can make and I respect that. My concern is that adoption has been made into a money making scheme because of the corruption that goes along with the demand for healthy infants. The reality that there are MORE unhealthy infants and older children in DESPERATE need of families is so overwhelming, yet there are far fewer families willing to adopt those children. Now, please don't get me wrong, I'm not judging those adopting a baby, there is still a need it just shadows in comparison to the need for adoptive parents for older children and unhealthy infants.
The reality is the need for families to adopt older children is HUGE. There are children sitting in orphanages waiting for a family. Some have been there for YEARS. A child over 3 or 4 is considered "old" and dare I say possibly even "unwanted" by most. When we first heard this during Silas' adoption we were completely broken. It was that reality that caused us to say YES to a FABULOUS, AMAZING, and INCREDIBLE three year old boy. This time we figured three was a good age but knowing we were open to older we found our precious daughter on our agencies waiting child list. A FOUR YEAR OLD on a waiting child list. Are you kidding me?! There is currently another precious 4 year old WAITING on that same list. These are healthy 4 year old children just WAITING for a mommy and daddy.
My challenge is that while we're all waiting and watching to see how MOWA will proceed in the future in regard to Ethiopian adoptions maybe we need to look and see how we can help to STOP unethical adoptions and HELP some of the children already waiting. With hundreds of people waiting for healthy infants maybe part of the issue is the high demand. I know this may not be a popular post and I'm not trying to upset anyone I'm speaking from the heart as one who initially requested a 10-20 month old boy in our first adoption because I was scared of the issues that could come with an older child. Truth is after lots of research adoption is work no matter what the age is. Anything can happen at any age. I LOVE toddler/older child adoption, I wouldn't trade it for anything. I just know that ethical adoption in Ethiopia is a must and we all have a part to play in that. What that looks like for each of us I'm not sure.
No matter what happens I know that God is on His throne, this doesn't surprise Him one bit, He cares for His children and He cares for us. He is sovereign and so much bigger then any government agency. Will you join me in praying this week as MOWA and the courts meet to discuss these potential changes. Our God is faithful and able to move even the biggest mountains.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
"The Lord is my portion," says my soul,
"therefore I will hope in him."