While the international adoption world here in Ethiopia has become unstable, uncertain and its future unclear. There are many families left waiting, worrying, trusting and hoping for God speed that the walls would come down. During these times we tend to lean towards blaming governments, systems, big name organizations and much more; but let me bring another view from the dark side of adoption. Before I begin let me say I highly support international adoption as it is a small part of the solution for the worldwide orphan crisis. I am a forever dad to a beautiful 11 yr. old Ethiopian princess. I live in Ethiopia rehabilitating street children and training local families for domestic adoption. Adoption gives the watching world the clearest real life picture of what Christ did on the cross for us and that is why our enemy attacks it so.
We have an enemy that cannot create, that is God’s job; he can only distort what has already been written into place. Let us remember that he does disguise himself as an angel of light, good and pure at the beginning. And that is just what he’s done to many mothers, fathers and families here in Ethiopia and all over the world. Let me share my experiences over the last couple of days to bring light into the darkness and hopefully more peace and patience into your adoption process.
Make Your Mark Ethiopia works toward rehabilitating street children and then reunifying them with bio-family or into a local Ethiopian family. We also have a preventative action plan which is “Keeping Kids Home”, where we come alongside the poorest of the poor families to provide what is needed for their children to stay home and not be on the streets begging. I’ve sat in some of the most distressed homes during our home visits, in which we evaluate each families need. While they are living in some of the poorest conditions in the world, they highly value family and life.
This week we met 12 of our families to gather information and take photos of the children for office purposes. When it came time for one of the mothers to sign the paper that was just stating the information she gave was true, she stopped and lifted her pen from the paper. Her next statement pierced my heart and opened my eyes, she said; “I’m not giving my son away, he’s not going to be taken from me!”…………………………………………………. We assured her this wasn’t the case, but this messed me up for the next couple of days.
Then two days later came the time to show our first expression of God’s love towards them by providing them with about half of their monthly food needs. As they walked in they all had this distressed look upon their faces, but I thought it’s just normal for this culture and poverty environment. As we informed them of what all the bags of food and oil were for, they all praised God and gave blessing and thanks to us. It was an encouraging & joyful moment for us until the next response came out. These 6 mothers express their relief as they thought our end goal was to take their children from them to a faraway place. My tears of joy turned quickly to tears of pain, hurt and anger as I realized what millions of moms all over the world have lost. Once again we reassured them that the best place for their children is with them and the best love for the children is their LOVE not some else.
While adoption/orphan care is powerful and biblical, there is an evil lurking to kill and destroy. There are those who intentionally prey on these vulnerable children and families. They feed upon innocents, weakness, the uneducated and the desperate; they convince, bride, lie, cheat and steal to make a dollar off these children, actually millions of dollars. There is also those who unintentionally feed this monster, as they push and demand for their children to come home or for faster placements because the wait is just killing them. The latter of these two has good intentions and does this with a heart of love, but unknowingly motivates more activity from the first.
I’ll close with this, while I know it’s tremendously hard to wait for your forever child or even waiting months upon months into years just to get a placement. Know that measures are being taken to make sure mothers don’t lose the ones they love. There are so many mothers and families in this world who never wanted their baby’s to leave. Just this morning I laid in the bed holding my new gift from God, a precious 1 month old boy. I thought about how what if he was taken from me and I never saw him again. My heart hurts for the ones who had them slyly slipped out of their arms and into a pool of profit and gain. So, as you wait, please don’t rant, rave and demand from your agency as this only throws fuel on the fire of evil profiteers looking to meet the demand. Turn your waiting into prayer for the moms who unwilling miss pieces of their hearts and pray for effective systems to be put into place that guards against such evil acts. And through it all, just WAIT………………………………………..
And then after.....
Wait, Pray and Trust!
A Grateful Father of 3 + 9