No such things as you say have been done

map of ethiopia

“No such things as you say have been done, for you are inventing them out of your own mind.”  For they all wanted to frighten us thinking, “Their hands will drop from the work, and it will not be done.”  But now, O God, strengthen my hands.”  Nehemiah 6: 8-9 ESV

In 2011, adoptions in Ethiopia have been challenged, slowed and limited.  Unsubstantiated rumors made the rounds that some children available for adoption should not have been.  There were suggestions that mothers may have been paid by orphanages or that they may have been conned into placing their children for adoption.  The media probably looked for verifiable proof of their suspicions and found none, so they decided to run with the rumors.  There were calls by UNICEF to slow the flow of children by up to 90% to do “proper” investigations of the backgrounds and insure that there was no foul play.  In response, the United States State Department now conducts its own investigation of each child to insure accuracy of information learned by the Ethiopian government and courts.  This second investigation takes four to eight weeks and requires adoptive families to leave their adopted child after their court date and return to Ethiopia on a second trip at much additional cost.

I think most every family that enters the process wants to do it right and doesn’t want to exacerbate a problem or adopt a child who has able family in Ethiopia — we certainly do not.  Instead, we want to rescue an orphan who has no home and make her our daughter forever.  There is no doubt that there is opposition to this idea, so it is difficult to tell if the rumors of malfeasance are lies of the enemy or are things to be legitimately concerned with.  For months I have wrestled with which they were and have been patient.  Another trip — we will do it.  A longer wait — well if that’s what it takes.  But now, I see the rumors and all of the very real change the rumors have caused to be the work of the enemy and it is time to deny them with truth.

We have met or run into more than fifty families who have or are adopting from Ethiopia.  Each of them is absolutely dedicated to adopting ethically and feels called to do so.  Many have had to sell all they have to make the adoption happen and many have risked more than money.  The families we know spent countless hours researching agencies and would not have gone further in an adoption if there were any hint of malfeasance.  I heard one mother retell how she bore with an investigation while her child remained institutionalized for six months after she was awarded custody by the Ethiopian court.  The agency workers we have met  are some of the most dedicated people I know.  They are committed to the cause of orphan rescue and for caring for those who they cannot bring here.  Our adoption agency and others have built schools and created sustainable income for children who age out of orphanages.

On the other side, the family members of the children up for adoption are not naive and have been very clear in their desire for the adoptions to happen.  I have heard mothers and have heard of mothers compelled to give up their children due to intense poverty and illness explain in the most beautiful way how they wanted more for their children — they loved them so much they gave them up.  Yet the State Department is requiring many birth mothers to travel to the embassy in the capital city for interviews months after they relinquished their children.  Some of these birth mothers have to travel hours by bus to tell the same story they have been forced to previously tell two or three times and the story they live with every day.  Imagine if we made birth mothers in the States go through the same, but we don’t — we accept what an American mother in similar positions decides and laude her selflessness.  Yet many Ethiopian families are faced with much more hardship and have to be even more brave, yet we make them relive and retell it time and again and accuse them of selling their children.

It is all designed to break the process, by greatly shrinking the pool of adoptive families by increasing the burdens and the expenses.  Ethiopian adoptions have soared over the last several years:

In 2010, that was 2, 511 orphans who found forever homes, which is no insignificant number.  That is awesome, so it was prone to attack.  Satan doesn’t want families united or orphanages cleared out.  He doesn’t want light in those dark places.  The challenges won’t stop until Ethiopia closes to adoption like countries have before it.  Then the six million orphans will be trapped, and the enablers like UNICEF won’t be the parent the orphans can’t have or provide the love the orphans won’t get.  With the magnitude of the numbers, it is unlikely UNICEF can even provide one meal a week.  The dark places will remain, unless those who are on the front lines ignore the rumors and keep the work up God called them to do, just like Nehemiah.  The rumors are lies created out of the imagination of the antagonists meant to distract and destroy.

The lies do not comport with my experience and they are not confirmed by what I have seen.  Ethiopian families would not give up a child for a few dollars, and the American families giving up so much to answer God’s call would not do so in a dishonest way.  The rumors are lies and they must stop, in the name of Jesus, so that thousands more orphans can be rescued by parents and brought into families.  And those of us doing the work must not let our hands drop or give any fertile ground for more lies and rumors to grow — until they are all home.



Court Date

We heard from our agency that we are scheduled to appear before a judge in Ethiopia on November 30, 2011.  That means that Marissa, Owen and I will be leaving for Addis the day after Thanksgiving.  In addition to the court date, we will be allowed three visits with our daughter.  We are super excited because there is a date certain that we can plan and pray towards.  The next 50 days are some of the most critical in our adoption process and we are absolutely dependent on God’s guidance through them.

We welcome your prayers that all paperwork will be found adequate by the Court; that our travel to Addis will be safe and smooth; that our agency and the orphanage will have a satisfactory outcome at their prior hearing; that God will continue to care for As—- until we bring her home; that we will be able to quiet all distractions from pouring love out on her during our three visits; that Roni and Connor will do well in our absence; and that we will be strong for the challenges which we cannot predict but know will come.