Why We Adopted from Ethiopia

A friend asked me today why we finally choose Ethiopia to adopt from. I thought I would share the way God brought us to adopt from this country. When j and I finally started to seriously consider adopting, we initially wanted to go to an Asian country. When I taught in Saipan I worked with and taught Asian people and grew to appreciate their culture. However, my husband and I are not both 30 yrs. old so we could not adopt from China. We considered Korea, but through a series of events that door closed as well. So we began praying that God would give us some clear direction.

Out of the blue a local adoption agency contacted us with a domestic situation and asked us to consider it. We initially had no desire whatsoever to adopt domestically. But then we began to wonder if God wanted us to. So we met the birth mother and had a great meeting with her, however, she choose another couple who was also interested. We had prayed so hard that God would direct her to make the right choice that we were not devastated by her choice. But it was emotionally draining to meet a total stranger and try to convey to her that we would be the perfect parents for her unborn child. I pray that God used us in her life that afternoon to point her eyes to Jesus.

Several weeks later we were contacted by the agency again about a second opportunity. This time we had to make a choice within hours and we would have had to pay huge sums of money immediately because she was about to have the baby very soon. After a heart-wrenching 24 hours or so my husband came to the conclusion that this was not the baby God had for us. I know he made the right choice, but the emotional hours of indecision were difficult for me.

It was a while after this opportunity that we attended a seminar for America World Adoption Agency at a local church. We had friends who were using this agency and who only spoke wonderful things about it. During the meeting we scanned the sheet of paper that listed all the countries and their qualifications. When it came down to it, Ethiopia was the best choice for our circumstances. Without even thinking about it, I told j “no way”. I had no desire to adopt a black child and so without even thinking more of it we finished the seminar and went home, basically in the same boat as when we had arrived–no clear direction.  I guess I felt that I really wanted an Asian child and I also was nervous about what our families would think if we considered a black child. Not that they were prejudiced, but we felt like our families would have a difficult time accepting this race specifically.

A week or so later j’s mother called with a social worker in NY about a baby who would be born within a week or two. So far, this baby had nobody standing in line to take him/her. We were told if we did not want the child, the baby would be given up to social services. We were given the weekend to make a choice. We talked to some friends who work at the local adoption agency and they expedited the home study. We had the home study the next day, a Saturday. I had a yard sale the majority of the day and trusted my husband to get the house in order. (Which he did!) So on Monday morning, the home study had already taken place and we were ready with our “yes”. When j spoke with the social worker she apologized but told us word had gotten out about this “unwanted” baby and since we were from out of state, we should just drop out. Needless to say, this was hard to accept. But once again, we knew God was in control.

By this time we were tired of the emotional roller coaster. We also began to realize that the baby in America is not so much an “orphan”. People usually stand in line for one. I know there are probably circumstances where this may not be true, and I am so glad God lays it on the heart of people to adopt domestically. But we really began to feel God was leading us back to the International side of things.

We decided to take a break and REALLY seek clear direction. So we tried not to pursue adoption and just see what God would do. Everywhere I turned though adoption was thrown at me, whether it was a bill board or a random conversation or the radio. Finally one morning our local Christian radio station had a special on adoption and I just knew we couldn’t run from it anymore. But we were clueless as to where…

I got in the mail a letter from America World and they had enclosed a part of a sermon by John Piper about adoption. He was specifically talking about our adoption in Christ and how He chose us in our sins to be a part of His family. How could we accept or reject someone based on their race or looks, etc. if Jesus Christ had looked at me in my sins and utter disparity and chose to love me? In the article he also spoke of the Lydia Fund. Not knowing what this was, I looked it up on the internet. They had a newsletter and the lead article was about a family who adopted from Ethiopia. I broke down into tears and felt so burdened. As I fell to my knees I told the Lord if He wanted us to go to Ethiopia, we would go.

When j got home I sat him down and explained what I felt the Lord was directing. To my surprise he told me that he felt the same way! Ever since the seminar when we looked at the paper he couldn’t get the country of Ethiopia off his mind. He had chosen not to say anything to me about it though. We were so elated! Finally we felt like God had given us a clear answer to prayer!

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