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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Red Flags

I’ve been asked a lot lately how our adoption is going so I figured it was time to update my blog instead of explain the situation one person at a time because, truth be told, things have gotten really complicated with our adoption process.

In my last post I’d mentioned that we’d been told we were best suited for Africa because we have some things in our history that could hinder us from adopting from any Hague Convention countries (which is almost every single country with an international adoption program- except for a few African countries).  I also mentioned that I had a heart for Uganda specifically.
About a week or so ago, I finally was able to get a hold of 2 separate Ugandan lawyers in order to get some clearer answers as to what an independent Ugandan adoption would look like (as opposed to using an agency).  I emailed them a summary of the “red flags” in our past (the things that could hinder us from adopting internationally).  Although one was more optimistic than the other, they both told me that independent adoption from Uganda would be near impossible.  It was later confirmed after speaking with a few social workers from the US that, at least in our case, using an agency (whether it be for Uganda or Ethiopian adoption) would be our only option. 
The problem here isn’t the agencies in the US.  It’s the countries themselves.  I heard it straight from the horse’s mouths, the lawyers that work with the judges in Uganda:  it would be very risky, given our history, to move forward in this process.  Every judge is different and we take the risk that our dossier would cross the desk of a judge that had no tolerance for anyone with our past.
This would be a good time to address what you all might be wondering:  “What in the world could you or Rich have done that’s so bad that they won’t let you adopt one of the millions of orphans in the world?!”
Here’s the deal:  out of respect for my husband I will not get into details but let’s just say that he made some mistakes as a young man and got in a little trouble.  When I've confided in friends about it, even those who are also adopting, they would agree with me when I say that it’s something really minor and even trivial.  I guess you all will just have to use your imaginations J
Back to the our update:  After we found out that we could only use an agency and that  Uganda would have little tolerance for our case, we decided to go with an agency that had already preapproved us and that we’d pursue Ethiopian adoption.  After explaining them my story and still being told that I should be ok, my official case worker in another state emailed me and asked me to send a summary of my “red flags”.  After I did, she told me that our case was “high risk”.  Uggg!
As if finding out that we probably wouldn’t adopt from Uganda wasn’t enough (I seriously cried continually for days), now we were being told that Ethiopia might be out too!  After talking to 3 separate adoption agencies, 3 separate home study agencies,  2 Ugandan lawyers, and spending countless hours researching African adoption and talking to any adoptive mom of African children that would talk to me, it felt like a big, huge door was slammed right in our faces.
My first reaction was to give up.  I’d bought a bunch of Ugandan necklaces to sell for a fundraiser for our adoption and I couldn’t even look at them.  It was just another reminder of a broken dream. 
Could I have heard God wrong?  I’m still not sure.

The biggest question on our minds is:  Is this God’s way of closing doors and guiding our paths to what He wants for us, which may not be African adoption (at least for now) OR is this a sanctification process in which God is wanting us to trust Him even though things look bleak (God is bigger than the Ethiopian and Ugandan government right?)?  We have been and will continue to pray for insight and wisdom.
I was blessed to have been given an amazing amount of peace over all of this during this time.  Rich is, as always, peaceful as well (he’s a mellow guy anyway).   God helped me pick myself up, dust myself off and move forward.

We HAVE NOT given up on African adoption at this time and have even continued to fundraise.  I will keep moving this process forward until we are officially told “no” but knowing that a “no” might be inevitable, we’ve talked about other options.  Domestic adoption (USA) has always been a topic for us.  It’s certainly not an afterthought and was actually our first choice when we were first discussing adoption.  We’ve even talked about fostering for now and adopting in the future.  I still have a couple more people and another agency to talk to before I will wave the white flag and surrender. 
Rest assured anyone who’s bought things from us as part of our fundraisers, we plan to use all proceeds either towards our adoption (as long as they let us keep moving forward) OR we will use it for orphan focused mission trips and/or donate it to various organizations that support orphans worldwide.  I hope to have more answers to the question “How is the adoption going” by the end of this week.

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