WHAT ADOPTION TAUGHT ME ABOUT GIVING CONTROL TO GOD
It took me years to learn to love roller coasters. As a child at Disneyland I preferred the teacups. It went round the big circle and I, depending on how hard I turned the wheel at the center, controlled how fast we spun
Roller coasters represented the unknown – twists, turns and giant hills followed by stomach-dropping plunges I was sure would catapult me out of the car.
So what was a self-diagnosed control freak thinking blurting out “So what do you think about adopting?” during lunch with my husband one day. I had no idea the wild ride before us.
God led us to two beautiful children in Ethiopia – 6 year-old Beza and 8 year-old Wendemagegn. They were there, waiting for us, and we hadn’t even started the adoption process.
Of course the ride begins with paperwork – tons of paperwork. But at least paperwork was something I could control with my color-coded folders and checklists. Make appointments for physicals – check. Fingerprints – check. Homestudy visits – check. Authenticate dossier – check.
The day I was putting our dossier on a FedEx truck, we got a call. The organization we found the children through was changing partner adoption agencies. It was up to us, but they advised us to switch.
This was NOT in my flow chart.
After several phone calls and prayer we decided to switch. We would have to redo some of our paperwork, paperwork we couldn’t have until we were approved as clients. They didn’t seem to care that my husband was about to leave the country for three weeks which would only delay us further.
I think that was my first melt down. It wouldn’t be my last. In the end, the new agency wouldn’t accept us due to our income level. So we continued with the original agency.
Someone get me off this roller coaster!
Some of our best friends, Dustin & Jen, had started the Ethiopian adoption process seven months earlier. They had a different agency and were on the waiting list for an infant.
One day Jen remarked, “Wouldn’t that be cool if we could travel together! I’m going to start praying for that.”
The odds didn’t seem good. We expected to have the kids home by July. They weren’t even matched yet.
We plodded through the process, hoping to pass court before the rainy season government shutdown that lasts from August to October.
Someone totally dropped the ball and we missed the deadline – second meltdown.
I had dreamed of having the kids home by summer. Instead, we were a family of four traveling to California that August for vacation.
Meanwhile, Dustin & Jen were matched with a beautiful boy and would be submitted to court when it reopened.
Traveling together began to seem like a possibility – still remote, but I began to pray for it as well. We had connected with an Ethiopian pastor in Phoenix who has a ministry in Ethiopia called Hope for the Hopeless. If we traveled together we could go early and do ministry together.
Courts reopened but there were more issues with our paperwork. I felt so helpless – all I could do was make endless phone calls.
TIA. “This is Africa.” It runs on its own time schedule – or not.
Dustin and Jen got a court date with a tentative travel date of November 30-December 6th.
We finally got our court date – November 28. That put our travel around Christmas.
We would not be going at the same time.
In the weeks before our court date there had been an unusual amount of delays from the courts requesting more paperwork. The fate of my children rested in the hands of a judge in Ethiopia and God.
Dustin and Jen didn’t pass on their first try and were given new tentative travel dates. A week before Christmas – a week before our tentative travel.
We were SO close! I called our case worker and BEGGED to see if we could get our Embassy date pushed up – provided we passed court. There would be a small risk our paperwork wouldn’t be ready, but she agreed.
We passed court on the first try. Dustin & Jen passed court four days later. We would be traveling together!
Through all the ups and downs of our roller coaster ride, God had been in control, working to make our desire to share this experience come true.
Of course he had to throw one more lesson in there for me.
Dustin and Jen’s agency pushed their Embassy appointment back a week – to our original travel dates. My pleas to move up our Embassy date had been completely unnecessary.
I just had to laugh. It was like God saying, “Girl, I had it under control the WHOLE time. I don’t need you!”