This is part three of a series of posts about our how we got started on the road to adoption and some things that we've done along the way that I didn't have time to write about at the time because I was swimming in a sea of paperwork. You can find the other posts here.
How we decided to adopt from Ethiopia. . .
My last post ended with finding out that our next step would be to submit a preliminary application to Bethany. There was no fee for it and it did not place us under any obligation to adopt through Bethany Christian services. We decided rather quickly to go ahead with it. It was not difficult to fill out. We had to provide basic information about our age, health, income, and; marriage. There was a place on the form to indicate what countries you were interested in adopting from. We had been instructed at the meeting that we attended to check ALL the countries (about 15 of them, I think?), so that's what we did. We didn't expect to hear anything for a while, but a reply came quickly. I was a little sad with the news. It looked like there were only two countries that we could adopt from. . .Ethiopia and the Ukraine. And it was not possible to adopt a young girl (under 4 years old) from the Ukraine. So we had our answer - Ethiopia. We were unsure of what to do. Do we proceed? Are we ready to have an interracial family? What will our families think? I mean we are from the South. . .where just a generation ago, Jim Crow Laws were enforced. What will our friends think, especially our African American friends? Will we be ostracized or lose friends over it? We talked about our concerns together and prayed. We looked into another agency that was licensed in a few countries that Bethany was not, but that didn't go anywhere. The path that God had for us became clear. Ethiopia it would be. When you commit to being a follower of Christ, you better hold on to your pants and buckle down for the ride. . .He will take you to some unexpected places. On Jan. 12, 2010 I had no plans on going to Haiti. That changed the very next day. When we started this process, we had no idea that God would really lead us to Africa, but we are glad that He has. We have learned about a rich beautiful culture - and discovered that we both like Ethiopian food.
Our next step was submitting out formal application to Bethany, which was the beginning of the paper chase. Again, it did not take long to get a reply from the agency. . .and we would have gotten it sooner if I had been checking my email more often. We had gone to visit James' parents for the weekend. I don't always check my email when I'm out of town, but I decided to check it on Sunday afternoon. James and I were alone in the living room at his parent's house, and I checked my email on my iPhone. Our social worker sent me an email on Friday stating our application had been accepted! We were both delighted, and but decided to wait to share the news with everyone. We had been working on an announcement letter that we'd mail to our families. We had seen a number of friends the day before and I got asked several times when we were going to have kids - which didn't bother me. It's was just that the only answer that I could give was that we were "thinking about adopting."
How our families responded. . .next post.