Saturday, May 14, 2011

Adoption Today. (Repost until blogger restores original)

I've been thinking about this post for sometime. When we first started our adoption journey over four years ago we looked at absolutely every option. We prayed about doing foster care, we prayed about adopting through the foster care system, we prayed about domestic adoption, and we prayed about international adoption. For various reasons, mainly dealing with the age of our children at the time and feeling that our child was older vs. a baby, lots of prayer and fasting we were led to Ethiopia. We didn't know anyone who was adopting from Ethiopia, in fact we weren't around anyone that had entered into transracial adoption at that time. Yes I babysat as a young teenager for a family who had adopted several times and they were a huge influence in my life regarding adoption. But this was us entering into something we weren't familiar with. Yet.

Our call to adopt wasn't about the country, it wasn't even about the age of the child. What started out as my desire to adopt from a very young age to a young boys prayer of having a brother turned into a calling to care for orphans. We felt strongly that God was asking us to actually walk out what the bible tells us to do. It wasn't some odd quest to blaze a trail or be like some celebrity. (which believe it or not we were actually asked that early on in our journey) In fact quite the opposite. We were scared, felt alone, and were very unsure of the path ahead of us. Yet we knew without a shadow of a doubt what God had called us to and we pressed on one foot in front of the other.

Having just completed our second Ethiopian adoption, our experience very different this time then the last our stand remains the same. To care for orphans and widows.

Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.
Isaiah 1:17

Over the course of the last few years I've been asked just about every question possible. Awkward, rude, happy, honest, curious, and everything in between. Unfortunately it still seems "weird" to some people that we have a big family. Not only do we have a big family but I didn't "birth" all of my children and somehow people just find that odd. We'll take odd, we're proud of our family, blessed beyond measure, and wouldn't change our little crew for anything. God has built our family and there is nothing, absolutely nothing that brings me greater joy then serving my King and getting to be these kids' mom.

Since we've returned from Ethiopia, we've had ALOT of questions. Lets get a few out of the way. Yes we brought our daughter home in one trip, yes we left our other children for a month, yes it was hard, and YES we would do it all over again. She is worth it.

Another round of questions we've gotten is in regards to adoption ethics, Ethiopia, and starting an Ethiopian adoption now. First let me say that I can't tell you what's right for your family. I can tell you my opinion but it is strictly that. For me personally I don't think I could start another Ethiopian adoption unless it was a waiting child. I wrote a bit on my thoughts on Ethiopian adoption and ethics here. I still believe those things.

My personal struggle is the need. The biggest need in Ethiopia isn't for infants or even young toddler adoption. In fact that need could possibly be greater right HERE in the USA. Right HERE in our own country. I recently received an email about a desperate need for families for biracial INFANT baby boys. Right here in Florida. That email was on the heels of reading Lara's Post on Infant Adoption. This wasn't new news to me, this was the very same need back in 2007 when we started this process but didn't feel led to an infant but to a young boy in Africa. The need there at the time was families for boys that were not infants, in fact toddler boys were considered "hard to place" at that time. Everyone wanted girls. Now please don't think it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside that we adopted a 3 year old boy from Africa and then a 4 year old girl. Hear me out.

What I am saying is that it just makes me think. It makes me want to advocate a clearer picture of the NEEDS of these countries whether here in the US, Africa, Russia, China, and everywhere. To advocate for the older children desperately wanting a family. For the children with illnesses. For the infant biracial boys in the US. This is coming from the mommy that put in for a 10-20 month old little boy who was petrified of a three year old. (my husband knew all along God had a three year old for us) The mommy that God had to break and the mommy that was THRILLED to mother a precious three year old boy that desperately wanted a mama. That process of breaking is what also prepared me for a four year old little girl. All of the concerns of adopting a child vs. a baby were laid to rest when I met my children. I knew that no matter what God would cover it. They were mine and I would do anything for them.

Staggering statistics say that 95% of the orphans in the world are over the age of 5 and or special needs. Why is it that most people are still requesting healthy infants? (please note I'm not judging those requesting infants, I realize there are agency rules, etc etc) My biggest question is are we as Christians/adoptive parents/adoptive parents to be doing the best we can to advocate for these kids? Are we helping the orphan crisis or perpetuating the problem? I ask myself these questions all the time. We have biracial infants here facing being placed in the foster care system? Why? Because most of the people adopting here want healthy white babies.

For me this raises the question - people adopting from Africa wanting healthy infants would certainly be open to biracial infants here right? So why is there a HUGE need for people to adopt older or special needs kids from Africa and a HUGE need for people to adopt biracial INFANTS here in the US? Something isn't adding up. Please don't think I suddenly hate Africa or I think you've some how misheard God. I don't. I'm not even speaking to anyone in particular I'm just thinking out loud. We love Africa, the decision to adopt from Africa changed our world. It's changed who we are, how we view life, and its forever a part of our DNA. I want everyone to love Africa like I do so please don't think I'm saying anything against Africa or your adoption personally, I'm simply asking questions in an effort to advocate for kids who need advocates. Maybe just maybe in that process others will be moved to think on some of these things too and together we can do MORE for all of the children needing families both here and abroad.

In the closing of my thoughts for today - I read this blog post this morning and was completely moved by their story. You see they love Africa too. They are in process of adopting another from Africa. Or wait....maybe God had something else, yet they still love Africa. I love seeing God move and reading this after having written 1/2 this post a couple weeks ago seemed like the perfect closing. I can't WAIT to see what God does in this particular families story but also in the adoption community, among His people, and above all I can't wait to see more kids have homes!!

Don't forget - in case you missed it - check out the progress for little Anika's Fund! Keep praying! She still needs a family!! Are you her family? Waiting and waiting to see who God has picked for this little angel.

Oh and our party date will be announced TOMORROW! (well really later today since blogger shut down for 24 hours I couldn't post!)


RobinW said...

Can you tell me the agency that is placing bi racial boys for adoption in Florida? Patrick and I would surely love a sibling for Finn.

RobinW said...

Can you tell me the agency that is placing bi racial boys for adoption in Florida? Patrick and I would surely love a sibling for Finn.

ShellyO said...

Erica, this is such a good post. It's hard and challenging and it's full of truth. Love it.