Delays for the lucky ones

When we posted the first entries in the blog, I thought it was the beginning of the active part of the journey.  I envisioned updating whomever might be reading on a weekly basis with the progress, so we could share in the praises and pray through the challenges.  Since that time, everything has come to a screeching halt, so we haven’t posted and we haven’t shared the blog’s existence (with a literal handful of exceptions).  We have hunkered down and prayed but we haven’t shared, but now it is time to share…

We chose to adopt through Gladney, because they appeared to be the biggest, most reputable agency player in Ethiopia. They appeared to run a smooth ship and we had a lot of trust in them to lead us through the minefield of international adoption.  Almost as if they were unaware of our own conclusion, the Ethiopian Ministry of Women’s Affairs suspended issuing opinions on Gladney cases something like ten weeks ago pending the outcome of an investigation.  I don’t know anything about the investigation, but it has caused a delay.  Adoptive parents in Ethiopia have to have an opinion from MOWA in order to be approved by the Court, so as long as the opinions aren’t coming, we are stuck.  We were prepared for a roller coaster, and we were really resolved to keep our faith in God to arrange the details and pave our path.  We prayed that he would give us the faith to overcome our anxiety, and the delay was really the first test of that faith.  The second test came quickly…

Two weeks ago MOWA announced that it would reduce the number of opinions it issues overall by something between 90% and 50% (the percentage of the reduction seems to be a big source of debate and conversation which I have no desire to enter).  This reduction affects Gladney cases once they resume issuing opinions on Gladney cases, but it also includes every other agency.  If opinions are cut in half or by 75%, then the orphans adopted out of Ethiopia will drop correspondingly.  The reduction could last a week or a year; I don’t know and if I did know, it could change again in a moment.  In a country of four to six million orphans, any impediment will absolutely reduce the number of orphans who find loving homes and instead those children would be stuck in an institution or worse.  To our child, this means a delay, but we will wait as long as it takes to bring our child home.  The adopted children are really the lucky ones.

There are millions of others to whom the MOWA changes are irrelevant.  It can take a month or 6 years to get through the process and it won’t matter to them, because they aren’t in the process.  There is no family seeking them, and in most cases, nobody even cares about their existence.  I am thankful that we are at a point in the process where we haven’t been matched with a child, because the delay has made my heart break for all of them.  I hope it always does, and I hope yours does too.  That probably won’t mean you bring a child home, but there are a hundred ways to help and a hundred ways to love, and your love is exactly what millions of orphans in the world need.  Once you start with the love, the rest will follow.

I don’t know how to wait out the delay beyond prayer.  I pray that every parent in the adoption process from Ethiopia will be strengthened and resolved through the delay.  I pray that God will remove, one way or another, actors who stand in the way of adoption and actors who abuse adoption for profit and thereby give those who oppose adoption a foothold.  And I pray that the delays will be short.  I pray for our daughter or son who we are delayed in reaching — that God will send others to feed him or her and love him or her until we get there.  But most of all, I pray that God will send more people to Ethiopia to adopt and that more people will be inconvenienced by delays and more orphans will have their homecomings delayed — that all four to six million will be lucky ones.