“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58
We want to thank you, our dear friends, for your prayers and fasting on our behalf. We learned today that the outcome of our adoption was not as we’d hoped, but it seems that God has something better in mind for all of us. We cannot adopt M. The courts will not allow it, but I do want you to know that your prayers were heard. This is not failure. God has come through in a most unexpected way. God has used us as instruments of reunification.
When we began the process of adopting little M, his paperwork was delayed because we needed something completed by his birth mother who had relinquished him to the orphanage. For months, our agency tried to find her to complete the paperwork, and she could not be located. Eventually, our agency found a way around this so that our papers could be submitted for court. It seems that in the court process, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs managed to locate some of M’s extended relatives. These extended relatives who live in the southern part of Ethiopia were raising M’s 2-year and 5-year-old siblings. MOWA doesn’t like to split up sibling groups, so we did not pass court because MOWA wanted to know if the family wanted to care for M as well. It’s possible that these extended family members didn’t know that little M even existed. If we hadn’t been persistent about trying to adopt him, MOWA would never have located these extended relatives. MOWA arranged for the family to come to Addis Ababa to decide about this. Days passed, and it seems that M’s birth mother has returned and decided to parent all three children. M is going home with his birth mother and his siblings, and that is, though unexpected, an amazing answer to prayer. I don’t know why she left him at the orphanage to begin with, but I suspect she felt that she had no choice. Perhaps now her circumstances have changed, and she is now able to provide a loving home to raise her three children.
More than anything, I wanted M to have a family. He does now, and even though it is not my family, I could not be happier for him. Knowing the love I have for my momma, I couldn’t deny him the opportunity to grow up knowing and loving the woman who gave him life. He will be blessed to know his family, his siblings, aunts and uncles, grandparents, and he will know his home language and culture. This is the best outcome for him.
We celebrate the day of M’s homecoming with his birth family, and we grieve the loss of this little boy. Our agency has offered us the opportunity to give another Ethiopian child a home, and we will accept knowing that God has bigger plans for us than we could imagine. We leave our family in his strong hands. We are so thankful for our many blessings, our precious girl, our kind friends and family who have overwhelmed us with support. We are surprisingly at peace with this decision, and we know it is because of your faithful prayers on our behalf. Please continue to pray for us. We will be waiting for another court date for another sweet boy, but we will not have to travel this time. The courts are making an exception for us since we have just been there and testified before the judge. We hope things will progress quickly and that our family will finally be united.
Truthfully, with any difficulty, there is opportunity to know God better. So, we will be thankful for the trial and try to be faithful. God’s greatest desire is for us to know him. It is more important than any other blessing that he might give. We worship the giver not the gift. This adoption has not worked out for us. It has been miserable in many ways, but we worship God because he is God, not because he grants our wishes. Many of you have prayed in ernest for us and suffered alongside us. We are thankful for you, and we hope that you know just as we do that God hears us. Sometimes the fact that he hears us is more important than his answer. Sincere communication with God, the development of a relationship with him is more valuable than the outcome of our prayers. This isn’t easy, but it is true.
“O LORD, my heart is not lifted up;
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
O Israel, hope in the LORD
from this time forth and forevermore.”