Otherwise entitled "Why we're doing what we're doing."
As I mentioned here, adoption and orphans has become a passion for me. And it's not just about adding to the family we've always wanted, it's about listening and responding to God.
Many people, well meaning I'm sure, question us about our decision to adopt again (so soon, they say), why we're adopting internationally and why from Ethiopia.
Questions are also asked about finances; can we afford another adoption and another child (or two) as well. I'm stunned when people ask those questions because I would never think to ask someone about their finances. But everyone knows adoption is expensive and so maybe that's why people feel it's okay to ask such a private question.
To answer honestly, no we do not have the money to finance an international adoption upfront (i.e. the frugality's and fundraising we have embarked on) but adding another child(ren) to our day to day expenses is more than manageable.
And of course the fact that God will always provide when you follow what He tells you is always somewhere wrapped into the conversation.
Finances aside, I'm still astounded by the fact that people ask why we want to adopt again. Yes, Gabriel is more than enough and if God told us that Gabe was to be our only child I would still feel amazingly blessed to be his Mama.
But God has stirred our hearts for adoption and orphans and it is our passion to further His will and our family through adoption.
Why Africa? Why Ethiopia? Well, why not? Last year, pre-Gabe, when we first looked into international adoption there were only a few countries that we were actually old enough to adopt from. That makes me feel young even when I feel really old!
Ethiopia was one of those countries... and the country God led us too. Upon further reflection, prayer and learning about the Ethiopian culture (we still have so much to learn!) God ignited a passion in our hearts for this small, 3rd world, undeveloped and forgotten country.
5 years ago I knew that there were orphans in the world but I'd never thought that there could have possibly been 147 million. Even today, it's difficult for me to wrap my head around that number.
Initially we chose Ethiopia mostly because of their adoption requirements but 14 months later we're still choosing Ethiopia because that is where God wants us to go.
How do we know that? Because of the gentle whispers to our souls as we work our way up this mountain called adoption paperwork.
Another question we face is why international adoption, why not adopt children from the U.S? We know the statistics, we know about the disgustingly large number of children in our foster care system but yes, we still chose Ethiopia.
And that is where passions come in. God has given us a passion for adoption and by saying yes to Him he has directed our paths to Ethiopia.
But God has given other people passion for adopting as well: some from our countries foster care system like my baton coach Linda and her husband Dale. After having a couple (3, 4?) of sons themselves they fostered many children and then eventually adopted a sibling group of 3. I ran into my baton coach at the Fish Festival a few weeks back and found that they fostered a few more children and have just adopted another sibling group of 3! Isn't that awesome? I thank God for people like Linda and Dale who have a passion for adopting children from the foster system.
And then there are families like Adeye who have adopted 4 special needs daughters and advocate for the orphans they've left behind. Or the Patterson family who adopts whoever God asks them too; including a 3 year old who lived with them for only 6 months before God called her home and then just 2 months after her passing welcomed a 17 year old from Haiti, who if she wasn't adopted soon, she would've aged out.
These are God given passions. And while the journey of adoption isn't easy, it is so worth it. Please remind me of that as I board a plane to Ethiopia leaving Gabe behind. Yes, I'm already stressed about that.
Psalm 32:8 "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you."
That verse gives me strength, hope and knowledge - that as long as I follow the passion God gave me, He will not give me more than I can bare.
I know my passion, do you know yours?