Tuesday, March 27, 2018

The deep sorrow that led us to you and so much more.....

Joanna turned 8 last week, and I love who she has become, and remember vividly all the things that led to our adoption journey of our 8th child. It was one of the hardest things we have faced in our life..... a failed international adoption. The "how's and why's" of that failed adoption are hard to explain, but we were matched and waiting for a court hearing to happen in Ethiopia at the time. We eventually found out that the court hearing didn't happen and they had set another date. In the meantime USCIS started questioning our application. As we had pictures of our future daughter hanging in the house for us all to pray over and to remind us of our 'soon to be trip' to bring our daughter home, we received news that she would never come home with us. We took steps to fight it. Steps to somehow reach out and try our best to bring her home.

We were devastated and heartbroken. We even "ran away" and took a trip to be with some extended family for a little bit. People say the strangest things when an adoption fails. They say things like: "Maybe God isn't leading you to adopt/adopt again", "Maybe you heard God wrong", or "It is in God's Hands".  Actually the last statement is the only true statement to me, but it doesn't make it easier to understand.  

After taking time to grieve our loss we starting thinking about domestic adoption, but really it was more of a fleeting hope. Who would choose a family that already had 7 children to adopt their child?  That seems like a crazy idea to most people, but we knew we had more love to give and we didn't doubt that God was calling us to another adoption. So we persisted calling agencies all around the US and doing research on domestic adoption, but there is so much to know and we just didn't really know where to turn.  
So in March of 2010 I read a blog of a family that had used Christian Adoption Consultants.  They had 9 children and adopted their 10th using CAC!  Well of course you know what I did next.....I emailed her immediately and said "How in the world did you do this?"  I was given a consultant's name and phone number. I called her and chatted for a while. I knew this was a great option right away, but we were Christian Camp Directors at the time and had a retreat group coming in for the weekend. So, Monday rolls around and we got a follow up phone call from our consultant. As I told her we were about to sit down while all the kids were napping or having quiet time to go over the paperwork and decide what we would do. Later that day we applied with CAC.

Our adoption of Joanna happened within a week of us signing on with Christian Adoption Consultants! I tell our clients this is a very rare story, and definitely not normal, but it is how God orchestrated our adoption. We of course fell madly in love with Joanna and her sweet birth mother, and cherish them.  

There is another side to our story.... one of grief and deep loss. Sometimes when I think about it I try to make sense of it, but I really can't.  In God's time and through deep despair God blessed us with our amazing daughter!

Eventually because of our ties with Christian Adoption Consultants we also got the opportunity to become adoption consultants ourselves, and have thoroughly enjoyed getting to live out our passion for adoption. We are thankful to have continued to serve families now for over 5 years and see the hard stories and the beauty only God can bring through adoption.