Never having been much of a writer, I didn't take the time to chronicle the events of Selah's adoption. I regret that now because I can't remember many of the details and emotions we went through during that time. So I thought I try to recall from the beginning as much as I can remember.
For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to adopt. I used to beg my mom for an adopted sister, being the only girl was rough I guess =) So when Jeff and I were engaged I brought up the idea of adoption as way to grow our family. Jeff was very supportive although I don't think adoption had ever been on his radar.
After I graduated from nursing school we started thinking about starting a family and adoption came up again. We have never thought of adoption as a alternative or second best way to start a family , so we decided to do whatever came first. I happened to get pregnant very quickly and so the idea of adoption was shelved until my daughter Shiloh was about 6 months old.
After we decided that adoption was where God was leading us the fun began. Do we do a domestic adoption or foreign adoption? Boy or Girl? Infant, toddler, pre-school, teenager? What agency should we use? What is a homestudy? It sounds kind of scary...and on and on.
I have always loved speaking to people who have adopted and I have gotten great advice from many people about adoption. You know who you are! So as we were considering adoption I started asking questions and we got many answers and opinions from some wonderful friends.
Ultimately we decided that we needed to go with a baby that was a least a year younger that Shiloh so we could keep the birth order intact. I know that adoption out of birth order can be successful but after doing a lot of research it seemed to me that it was better not to mess with birth order. We also decided to go with a foreign adoption in Ethiopia. Some people may wonder why we chose to go outside the US for our adoption. I don't really have a simple answer to that question. Jeff and I felt drawn to Africa for a variety of reasons.
I realize that we have poverty and hunger here in the US but there is no comparison to what I have seen in countries like Ethiopia and Haiti. Instead of getting placed in a foster care system like we have here in the US, many babies are left to die in the street. The kids that survive may be placed in an orphanage but most become street kids. The girls are especially vulnerable to abuse and prostitution. In a country that has an 80% unemployment rate these kids have no chance. So I guess we felt that the need was much greater across the sea than right here at home. We also didn't want to be in a situation where a birth mother could change her mind at the last minute. I also love to travel and the adventure of traveling to a country that was culturally so different than my own was a very exciting to me. Having said that, I think domestic adoption is a great choice for many families, it just wasn't what we felt called to do at the time...maybe someday!?!
Now as I mentioned before I always longed for a sister so I decided since I had this great opportunity to make sure Shiloh got a sister I should take advantage. So we requested a girl between the ages of 0-18 months old.
So we had a country in mind, age and gender. The next big decision we had to make was what agency we wanted to work with. Selecting an agency is a little bit like buying a car. You have to be careful and do your homework because you can end up with a lemon. You can be promised a lot of different things that aren't actually true. You need to look under the hood and do a test drive because you will be investing a lot of time and money into the relationship. Now that we have been around the block in the adoption world, I know this, but at the time we were maybe a little bit more trusting and lot less cautious.
After I had called around 30 agencies and asked many questions we made our decision. I know that the agency we picked is where God wanted us to be. We had a good experience with this agency for the most part and I loved our caseworker, however after our adoption was finalized we did hear about some questionable things that happened with our agency and so we would not be able recommend them at this time. Now having said that, I tell everyone I talk to that you can have a great experience with an agency and someone else can have an awful time. Situations and circumstances vary greatly in the adoption world. The only thing you can count on is unpredictability.
I'm gonna have to pause for now. Stay tuned for the next installment!!!!!!