Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Trust in God, but Tie up Your Camel

Haggai 2:9
9 'The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,' says the LORD Almighty. 'And in this place I will grant peace,' declares the LORD Almighty."

I know 5 families traveling right now and who had their embassy dates yesterday. I have known most of these families through most of our own journey to adopt from Ethiopia. Its been great to get updates from them and hear about meeting their children. I am even more excited that two of the families are from Denver and they will collectively bring home 4 Ethiopian children. These are kids I will hopefully get to know (2 of them I met when I was there!) over time and so will my children.

But I find myself this week thinking about my experience and some of the wonderful things about it and also some of the difficult things.

I found that I am still really saddened by the seemingly abrupt decision by my agency to close the doors of the home that our children were living in before they came to us. And how it was presented to us.

That as each family who goes and picks up their children misses seeing the center and the love for the children in the center- they will not have the photos for their children's memory books and that continuity- that bridge between their old life and their new life.

So, I sit and wait and wonder what this all means for me and what it means for future families of CWA and also for the families who will choose other agencies because of this and mostly for the kids. I also worry that other agencies may start doing the same thing and it is what makes adopting from Ethiopia so wonderful and unique. The love of the children. The ability to know something of their past- to have experiences with their caregivers that are meaningful and true. I read a blog recently where the mom and dad ended up keeping the Ethiopian names of their twin boys. they actually tried to change them but they could not make the new name stick- and the way the mother on this bog wrote about the caregivers in the orphanage who named her boys was just beautiful. Every family you talk to has these kinds of stories.

I was at our friend's house yesterday. They have 12 kids- 6 from Ethiopia. She was talking about how its done with her agency- the consistency in how a child learns about their family and how a child meets their family and how they have the goodbye party and how all the kids anticipate this event - this all normalizes what is happening for all of the the kids- they see families come and then friends go with the families- it makes it easier and more normal when their time comes. A child meets their new parents in the place they feel the most safe. the parents can ask the caregivers for helpful information on caring for their child- their likes and dislikes. They don't do this in all the other countries - but its the way it should be done and the fact that its the way it is done in Ethiopia is beautiful and one of the reasons we chose this country. The caregivers being able to meet the family who will take the child they have loved and adored is so important- frankly they go through repeated trauma loving and saying goodbye to children. They need the closure. They need to know who we are, like we want to know who they are. We want to be able to tell our chidden, "This is the woman who loved you- she told me you were a sweet baby who always smiled." That will mean millions to our kids as they grow. They deserve it and the caregivers deserve it and we should expect nothing less as families going through this costly (financially and emotionally) process.

I have edited this part of the blog, because it was mostly some private thoughts on Christianity that I have been processing. If you read it before I edited it I would love to hear your comments.

This is not about my agency. This is about me, and how I am processing some of the experiences I have had. This is about how I feel that I still need to come to some peace about these experiences and learn form them.

Blind faith is saved for my God.

My oldest will be 13 this weekend. When she was 2 1/2 she had to undergo open heart surgery. Our pediatrician was a wonderful man and a great doctor. We met with him before the surgery so we could just talk. He was an older man, we lived in New Haven, Connecticut, he was an Orthodox Jewish man. There was a large community of Orthodox Jews in new Haven. He knew that we were Christians and we would sometimes talk about religion and faith and of course this was a time when that came up and he said to us, "You know there is an old saying, 'Trust in God but tie up your camel.'" He said this in response to me saying that I was worried about my daughter and should I be questioning a well known pediatric Cardiothoracic surgeon? Do I have the right as a parent to ask questions? Can I get other opinions? I mean if this guy is the best doesn't that mean he knows best?" This was his response. Put your faith in God, but take care of those people and things around you. God gives us that responsibilty as parents to care for and raise our children for Him.

So where does this go from here? I don't know- but I can tell you it will go somewhere. God never puts things on my heart lightly. There is a purpose for all of this pondering.

Maybe the first thing is knowing exactly what my camel is...for sure its my children and my family. But what else out there has God given me responsibility for? I think I have an idea...


Solomon & Malachi said...

May I ask what agency you used? We'll be starting down the Ethiopian adoption path soon. We're just waiting to hear if we get adotion rights for a little girl in foster care. We're starting to get everything lined up, though, and really appreciate the blogs of those who are going before us!

Brianna Heldt said...

I really like this post--thank you for sharing your heart. I was really saddened to hear that CWA made this rule. I have a friend at church who just brought home her Ethiopian son through them, and she said it was due to privacy for the children (?)

We used AAI to adopt our boys. (CWA wasn't placing from Ethiopia when we first began our process.) I know a lot of Christians feel strongly that they should use a Christian adoption agency. What I have found however is that many agencies, while not expressly "Christian", have many Christians working on staff, etc. AAI's facility in Ethiopia, Layla House, used to teach Christianity, but doesn't anymore (I'm assuming because of the Muslim children coming into care. However the kids at Layla sing Bible songs and have prayer time every night. It's priceless!) The orphanage director, Gail, is a strong believer, as is the founder of AAI I believe. When we traveled to get our boys, the two other families staying at the guesthouse were Christians too.

It's also been neat for us to "meet" (online) so many different adoptive families of differing backgrounds. It's been a way for me to learn about others, and hopefully God will use it for His good.

I would encourage families to look into each agency and their respective philosophies, and not necessarily feel limited because it's not overtly Christian. AAI is one of the few that will accept special needs kids, they work to place children from other orphanages, find sponsors for unadoptable kids, and are working to place HIV-positive kids. (They also helped found AHOPE.)

Just some random musings about agencies. :) I think it's great you're thinking about all these things and processing them. Christian or not, an agency is providing a service, and it's important to be comfortable with what's going on. Never feel bad for questioning things or wondering if something could be done better.

Whew, I'm sorry for the long comment! Your family's beautiful and I really enjoy your blog!

Thankfulmom said...

Em, Thank you for sharing from your heart. I know how painful these things have been and how we are contemplating them ourselves as we progress toward getting our children. I could never have anticipated the intensity of emotion that I have experienced since we began the adoption journey. You are a very gifted and educated woman and I believe God is going to use you to bring about positive change for many children - maybe mine included. Love to you. Have a safe journey home.