Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Ethiopia Chose Us

Last night I had the opportunity to share our adoption stories at the adoptive parent support group I attend.  So the past couple of weeks I have been going over all of our adoption experiences, challenges, blessings as I prepared for last night.  I thought I would share with you today why we chose Ethiopia for our first adoption.  Have I told you all this before?  Probably not for a while!

We wanted to adopt internationally the first time around and we were initially drawn to Ethiopia.  We've both always had a heart for Africa.  But we also wanted to educate ourselves on all of the possible countries we could go through.  So we did our research and looked into every open country.  One by one, we checked them off our list because...they would not allow us to adopt!  Each country has different requirements and qualifications for adoptive parents and, the strange part is that each agency also has different requirements per country. 

Some countries and agencies wouldn't let us adopt because I was so young.  I was 22, I think, when we started the process and some countries required me to be at least 25.  Some countries and agencies wouldn't take us because we had only been married a couple of years and they required 5 years.  Some countries ruled us out because we were living in a one-bedroom place.  Some wouldn't take us because Chris is a cancer survivor.  Some countries will never let you adopt if you have had cancer.  Some countries require you to be free of cancer for 10 years and Chris had been cancer free for 5 years at the time.  Never mind that the cure rate for his type of cancer was 3 years.

So country by country and agency by agency, we were told, "no."  I remember one agency we actually met with after sending in our initial inquiry.  The woman listened to a bit about us and looked at some forms we had filled out and told us we would be great candidates for domestic infant adoption.  That was the one type of adoption we were not interested in at the time because there are very long waits and we didn't care if our child was a newborn or an older infant.  As we reiterated that we were not interested in domestic infant adoption, she proceeded to tell us all the reasons we could not adopt internationally through their agency and even told us we probably wouldn't be able to adopt internationally through any agency.

We drove away from that office heartbroken and confused.  This was what we felt God was telling us to do.  This was what we wanted to do and now she was telling us nobody was going to let us adopt internationally.  We were heartbroken over the extreme need for adoptive parents and were incredibly discouraged to be turned down.

Chris recalls that as we drove away, I said, "Oh, we're going to adopt internationally!"  I dug and dug until I found an agency that would take us.  It still makes no sense to me how one agency can take us through a successful Ethiopian adoption and other agencies can tell us that Ethiopia won't let us adopt.  Obviously it isn't really Ethiopia's rules and regulations, it's the agency's. 

I'm so grateful God gave us this calling and that He didn't let us walk away from that one agency and give up.  I'm so grateful that He inspired us to keep pushing and knocking down doors, so to speak, for our son. 

What doors have you knocked down because you knew you were MEANT to do something?


Amy Sullivan said...

You know. . .I haven't knocked down doors in quite some time, but let me tell you, I'm getting ready to!

Thanks for the post and for sharing part of your story, Laurel.

Emily Walsh said...

Hi there! I just got reading through a few of your posts and I had a quick question about your blog. I am involved in the cancer community and was hoping you could email me back when you get the chance. Thanks! - emilywalsh688(at)


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