Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Adoption Update

Warning – LONG post ahead! :)

Today and practically all weekend I have been thinking about birthmoms within the context of adoption. This is because one week ago we received an email from our social worker. Within the email she noted that Pastor Gideon still had not been able to contact the orphanage a few hours outside of Accra to gather information on the youngest child there. However, attached to her email was information on children available for adoption that lived right in Accra (which is where the adoption office is). We previously had this information, but this time it included photos of the children, and a note that the youngest boy (5ish) could indeed be adopted alone and without his older brother who was also available for adoption. When we had first received this information a month or so ago, it was thought that the two were to be adopted as a sibling group, so we kind of bypassed it since there were no other young boys than him, and we had not considered adopting a sibling group. After I read the email from our social worker I started thinking that this could be the one. As I sat there thinking and praying, an email popped up from Jake with the subject line, RE: both. Of course I knew what he was going to say without even opening it up which is why I sat there for awhile because I was so completely overwhelmed. When I finally did open it up it said ‘Let’s take them both.’ Meaning, both this 5 yr old and his older brother.

It’s been about a week since that all happened and now that I’ve taken a few deep breaths I am actually annoyed with myself that I even for a moment considered breaking up the sibling group and only adopting one. Sometimes I am too much of a thinker and not enough of a feeler. I think about all the practical things, how will we do this, how will we do that, etc. etc. And Jake brings me back down to earth. His words rang in my ears Let's take both, he says. Just a plain, simple, unhindered, unworried, calm, thought. He puts the feelings first, the family first. It’s so obvious now, but I was so overwhelmed that day and for a few days after about adopting two. Thoughts on all that is a different post, which I might write about some other day. Anyways, the point of this entire post is that these two boys are currently residing with their mother in Accra. Their father died about 4 years ago, and the mother has become overburdened with being a single mother and being unemployed. In the welfare notes it states that they have no home and could be considered to be living a nomadic life. The mother currently is stated as wishing the children be adopted. Seeing that they were living with their mother gave me a huge lump in my throat. A) Because selfishly I did not want to embark on another journey that could end in the way it did with Solomon. And B) because I do not want this mother to give up her children. She has already lost her husband, and if her children get adopted she will have nothing left. Why, God, do these mothers have to give up their children? Is there some other way? It just rips apart my heart and soul to think about the grief and pain these mothers are going through in making these hard decisions.

Jake and I prayed about this all for a few days, and decided that this is where God has led us right now, and there is clearly a need within this family's situation. These two boys are residing right in Accra which gives P. Gideon immediate access to them, their mother, and the social welfare office. No motorcycle, transportation, or travel needed to communicate with the family and work on documents. We have given P. Gideon our interest in pursuing the adoption of these two boys, and now we will wait to hear back from the mother of the boys. The mother’s final decision is still up in the air. P Gideon will be taking the mother to speak to the Dept of Social Welfare sometime this week to ensure that she is counseled and has a clear and complete understanding of adoption. All of us are taking the correct steps to be on the same page, and know that this is all very tentative. Jake and I have just been praying that if God would have us adopt these two boys, that He would give their mother a peace about the decision. On Friday we were asked to write a letter to the mother explaining our plans for the boys, the life they would have, how we would keep them connected to their culture, future visits to Ghana, our work in Ghana, the possibility of mailing updates, etc. The purpose of the letter would be in no way to convince the mother to make her decision final, but to act as a nice gesture that would give her an idea of who we are, and to provide her some sort of reassurance and peace in making this decision. This was the hardest letter I have ever written in my life. I have confidence that we can offer her children a wonderful opportunity, but I just hate that she has to make this decision. How can anyone offer comfort in this sort of situation? My only rest comes in knowing that God has a plan for this mother and her children….whether that be for her two boys to join our family, or for them to find a way to make it and stay together. I don’t know the answer, but God does and I trust what He decides.

I often wish this adoption journey was a little easier. :) But then again, after I wish that I remember that it is only through the bumps in the road that we learn and grow in our faith. The funny thing is that going into it, I thought this part of being matched with a child would be the easiest out of all of it. I envisioned just getting an email one day saying here is the one that we have for you…let’s talk paperwork. To be honest, I thought that we would be adopting straight from some sort of orphanage and that we would be ‘assigned’ a child. I don’t think either Jake or I realized the desperate need of children living within a family setting but not able to get their basic needs met….at least this is certainly the case in Ghana. I am so excited at the thought of being able to adopt these two boys, but it is so bittersweet because my heart is just burdened with heaviness for this mother. I can’t help but put myself in her shoes, and my excitement turns into sorrow when I think about all that she must be feeling at this point. This part of becoming matched with our child has been the hardest, most emotional , most prayerful part of it all. I feel so vulnerable right now. And overwhelmed. And with every tendency to worry about every detail. I take comfort in this verse:

2 Corinthians 12:10
That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.


Christy said...

wow. brings tears to my eyes. i can't imagine being in birth mom's shoes...or yours for that matter! will be praying for the best for everyone.

Michelle said...

WOW Janel. Thanks for being honest about your feelings - I think that what you and Jake are doing is SO CLOSE to the very heart of God - taking in students with Kingdom Hoops, siblings through adoption, and giving them all you have. Your faithfulness and vulnerability truly blesses me, and I know the Lord will be faithful to bless you and the child(ren) He gives you in His time beyond measure.

Praying for you!!!

Stephanie said...

Thanks for the update, Janel. What a difficult thing to go through. I will be praying for you!