Today is gotcha day. It wasn't supposed to be, but it is. Even in saying that it wasn't supposed to be today, I insinuate that we somehow had control of the adoptive process that brought us our son from Ethiopia.
Today is gotcha day.
It wasn't supposed to be, but it is. Even in saying that it wasn't supposed to be today, I insinuate that we somehow had control of the adoptive process that brought us our son from Ethiopia.
Nothing could be further from the truth. From our adoption agency, to the Ethiopian government and court system, there were many forces that were anything but under our control.
However, the one fact that carried us through the difficult time between deciding to adopt and actually getting to adopt was our persistent faith that, even though we didn't always see where the path was taking us, God was always leading the way.
We were matched with Dawit in October of 2010. Suddenly the nebulous idea that we were adopting "a child" changed to the very specific and real adoption process for "this child."
In January of 2011 we made our first trip to Addis Ababa to take care of the court proceedings and the adoption became legal that week.
We were supposed to return to Kansas for 6-10 weeks and then come back to take custody of Dawit, complete an embassy visit to secure his passport and visa and head home as a family of four.
That's the same time that Ethiopia shut down international adoptions pending an investigation into wrongdoing by one of the many agencies that helped find homes for some of the 5 million Ethiopian orphans.
The shutdown was open ended. It could last for two days, two weeks or two years.
That was a tough pill to swallow. If you don't have a faith background it sounds crazy, but we felt like this adoption was part of God's plan for our family. That made any delay a cause to question your faith. Was I wrong? I never wanted to adopt. I didn't have ulterior motives. It simply felt like something we were supposed to do.
That's why it was hard to justify why were delayed. If God called us to do this, why wouldn't he make it a smooth and easy process?
One day I was mowing the lawn at the newspaper where I worked and I got my answer. I was listening to a sermon and the pastor mentioned Exodus 13:17. That verse says God led the Israelites on a very long detour around the land where the Philistines lived because He knew that they would lose heart if they left captivity in Egypt only to face Philistine warriors.
That was no small detour, but the delay was for their own good. That hit home. It also dawned on me that during the delay we could sit and do nothing or we could use the extra time to really make a difference for orphans beyond Dawit.
I am the only male in my family who isn't ordained as a Southern Baptist minister. That means as a newspaper publisher, I am the black sheep of the family, but it also meant that we have friends and family who work at a lot of churches.
I was able to speak at several different churches and church groups during the delay. It was exciting to see people join with us to help orphans in Addis Ababa. One family paid a year’s tuition for a young man so he could finish his schooling. Another family helped pay for a playground that is still in use today. Others gave money so we could buy diapers and formula for the infants in the orphanages. And one church gave money to buy toys for the older kids at the orphanages.
When we finally received word that the ban was lifted, we had only lost six weeks. But in that time, a huge number of people were able to help other orphans who wouldn’t get adopted anytime soon.
Our experience wasn’t the same as the Israelites. We weren’t led by a cloud by day or fire by night and I never raised a staff and parted the Red Sea to escape attacking Egyptians.
But we saw miracles in that time when God took us the long way around before we were able to take custody of Dawit. It’s been six years now, and we still see miracles through him all the time.