Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Choices and Detours on the Adoption Highway

I parallel the adoption journey to making the decision to go on vacation.  It begins with some soul searching.  Where do we want to go ?  What type of adventure are we looking for?  How far do we want to travel? What is our budget?  How much time do we have?
As business owners, we employ many Hispanic men.  It has been a privilege to work with and train the men of this culture.  They are hardworking, ethical, family men who take pride in their work and believe in the service, quality, and integrity of our company.  We have been touched and often inspired by their comittment to family, both immediate and extended.  Our company employs groups of fathers, uncles, brothers, brothers-in-law, and cousins of one family name.  It has been our experience that this culture "sticks together" and works for the betterment of the whole.  Through the years we have seen the families of our employees grow.  We have celebrated many new births with them.  We have gathered together (men, women, and children) around a common Christmas tree for many years eating, laughing, celebrating, kissing new babies, exchanging gifts, and watching "our men" mature into worthy providers.  Some have shared the stories of their past.  Each of their journey's began just over our borders in places of extreme poverty.  They tell of lacking education, grueling work, miniscule pay, filthy water, and biting hunger.  Our hearts swell with compassion every time we look into their eyes and see these men, many of them young, attempting to rise above their circumstances, owning their responsibilities, and desiring more for themselves and more for their families.

Through the years these men have become our extended family.  We have been immersed in their culture through association.  They have shared their native food, their traditional celebrations, and their strong faith.  Ultimately, they desire more for their children.  And so do we.  These precious angels who pull at our heartstrings through big brown eyes and sweet smiles have become extended family to us.  They are vivacious.  They are affection.  They are determined.  BUT, many of them have not made it over the border.  They are trapped in the very places lacking education, work, food, and water.  Worst of all, many are trapped in orphanages without mommies, without daddies, without hugs, without kisses, the very things that their culture holds in such high regard. 

YES!  After a bit of soul searching, we were going to Central America.

Next, we had to decide how we were going to get there.  I liken this step to choosing a travel agency.  Who has experience arranging trips to this destination?  Who has the best package deal?  Who is most efficient?  Who can get us there the fastest?  Who has the best references?  Who really cares about our desires?  It seemed logical to us that we would call on some friends who had just traveled the road of international adoption and ask who they used to get them through the maze.  In the meantime, GOOGLE became our best friend.

Early in our journey, before it had even really begun, we encountered our first of many subsequent detours.  In late December 2010 when our research began, Central American countries were CLOSED to international adoption.  After a few phone interviews with several different adoption agencies, our choices of destination narrowed dramatically as a result of different application requirements ( very specific BMI), age of prospective adoptive parent requirements (under 38 years old for a child under 36 months), travel requirements (staying in country for up to 8 weeks following the adoption), and budget requirements ($45,000.00 in some instances!).  In this process, we had narrowed our selection of agencies to two. Gladney, highly recommended, was one of them.  By the end of January, frustrations were mounting and it began to appear as if this was not the time for us to be planning our trip.  One door after another was closing.

I called my husband mid-morning on Monday, January 31, 2011, and said, "Honey, I cannot explain it, but for now, we are going to have to put the idea of adoption on the back burner.  NOTHING is working out and I cannot do it anymore."   We agreed and for the time being, put OUR plans aside.  How could God cast a vision, plant a seed, softens hearts to His purpose and then close doors on that mission?

Psaml 27:14 says, "Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD."

This is where the story gets really good.  So come closer and listen to this...

A couple of hours later, through the sniffles, I placed a call to Gladney.  I had to thank them for their time, attention, and honesty in dealing with us to this point and let them know about our decision to stop pursuing adoption.  The conversation went like this:

"Hey, Debra, it's Kelli, one more time!", I said.
"Oh, Kelli!  Great!  I was just going to call you.  I have a proposal that I think you are going to like.  I am so excited about this, on Friday afternoon, we received our license to start doing adoptions from HONDURAS.  You were the first family I thought of.  Are you interested?  I THINK GOD HAS BEEN SAVING YOU FOR THIS!", she said.


In that moment, her voice was that of an angel. The Spirit rose up in me and in an instant, I knew that, yes, this was indeed the very moment God had been saving us for.

"The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people, and your father's household and go to the land I will show you.......So Abram left, as the LORD had told him......"  Genesis 12:1, 4

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