Thursday, May 30, 2013

Our adoption story continued : Going independent...

So in February of 2012 we had been with our agency for about 6 months. They had led us by the hand through the process up to that point which included our homestudy, criminal background checks and immigration approval. We had just been placed on the waitlist about 3 weeks prior. They contacted us to have a talk to us about their sibling waitlist. They had given a referral for a set of siblings 3 months prior in December, however, before that, it had been a couple of years since the last set of siblings. They said that the baby home that they worked with only had siblings come through once every few years and that since we were number 5 on the waitlist for siblings that the likelihood of us getting a referral from them was basically zero. So they gave us two options: (1) Switch to one child or (2) leave their program. We prayed and had zero peace about adopting only one child... so we left. You can see the post about that here

We found an attorney, and then after all the drama which has been mentioned before, we switched attorneys and ended up with an amazing godly woman named Rebecca Mugabi. If you are adopting independently from Uganda and have somehow found your way to our little slice of blogland here, I definitely recommend her without any hesitation. There was opportunity for ethics to be compromised, and she was unwavering in her commitment to do the right thing and to honor Christ.

We also were researching and contacting several baby homes and ended up connecting with Arise and Shine Uganda.  We quickly fell in love with the director of the home, Sharon, and she gained our trust as we saw her love for the children in her care and her desire to do the right thing. The baby home at Arise and Shine is only a small part of the ministry she has there which includes primary schools in the Kamuli district (where she is from) and family preservation efforts which include income generating projects such as bead-making, candle-making and sewing, among other things.

We were initially referred to a darling little boy and little girl. However, once we started their investigations we realized that to proceed with their adoption wouldn't be right. After that came up, we decided that it would be a good idea for Matthew to take a trip to Uganda. He met with our attorney face to face and he visited the baby home. There were 2 other sibling sets in the home at that time and only one of them matched the criteria that we had been approved by immigration for (2 children ages 3 and under) and so after praying and speaking with family and friends, we decided to pursue the adoption of John and Joshua, biological brothers who were ages 2 1/2 and 9 months at the time. While he was in Uganda, Matthew's mom unexpectedly passed away. While we were excited that our process seemed to finally be moving along, our hearts were full of sadness at losing Kathy. It was a very bittersweet time for us.

The investigation for John and Joshua was very straight-forward and pretty simple. Their story is one of love and tragedy, and loss and redemption. But it's their story, not ours, and out of respect for them we will not be sharing it publicly.

Everything was going really well with the case, but God surprised us by throwing some information at us that we never expected....

Friday, May 3, 2013

Where we left off... our adoption story

I looked back and realized that the last time I blogged about our adoption was here where I announced that we had parted ways with our agency and that we were pursuing our adoption via the independent route. After a tumultuous few weeks getting out of the gate on that change, things went surprisingly smooth.

But, about that tumultuous start. You see, there is a really big really important topic in international adoptions that every.single. prospective adopter should have heard about: Ethics (and if you haven't heard it, then you haven't done enough research). You see, adoption is a beautiful and wonderful thing, but our world is not. Satan has a way of taking things that are wonderful and beautiful and marring them. He especially likes to do this with things that God intended to be pictures of Him, His character and His gospel. Kind of like marriage... but that's a whole 'nother post for a whole 'nother day.

There is this horrible thing that is going on in the world called human trafficking. This happens to adults who are enslaved as servants or a sexual slaves, and unfortunately this happens to children, who are then presented as orphans and placed for adoption. There are a lot of people in this world who profit from adoption, and THAT my friends, is just simply wrong. Unfortunately, these practices can be especially rampant in areas of the world that have huge amounts of poverty. When people are poverty stricken, many times they will do anything they can to help themselves or their family... even deplorable things like selling and buying children. This is scarily common practice in African countries that do international adoption, including Uganda.

People are scared of this, people are rightly angry about this, and people are very very very sensitive to "red flags" that may be thrown up that may lead people to believe that a person or organization is doing things that would be considering trafficking children. Unfortunately, for those who are especially passionate about this there can also be false assumptions made, accusations made, and an impressive amount of hurtful gossip.

Luckily none of this gossip was spoken directly about our family, that we know of anyways, but was done about some friends of ours. Once the right people asked the right questions they found out that the accusations that were made were false and had been mistakes made by the parties involved that simply did not know the right way to go about these things because of a lack of experience. Even after the accusations were shown to be false, and apologies were made, people were still left in the wreckage who were hurt.

Sorry to be so vague about the exact circumstances surrounding all of this drama, but I don't want to to stir a pot that's long been settled, to call out those who may have been responsible for the hurting of others, or to reopen healing wounds from those who were hurt. God was faithful through the entire situation and He is the righter of all wrongs, not me.

So throughout some of this drama we had a couple of hiccups in our process but to be honest we can now see God's purpose in it. The entire situation led us to an attorney who is a beautiful godly woman who we trust very much. We saw multiple opportunities for her to drop the ball on ethics to save time or to make things progress faster, in which she showed her character by refusing to do. This situation led us to examine and ask questions of the baby home we adopted from, which passed with flying colors! In the end it made us ask the questions and examine the situation so that going in to this process we could do it with our head held high, and confidence in knowing that we were proceeding in a way that would bring glory to God.