Down But Not Out
Q: What's the first thing you should do when starting an adoption?
A: Put your agency's number on speed dial.
What? You don't call and harass your agency's director with a barrage of emails and phone calls as soon as you start your dossier?
But on Monday, since it had been a whole week since we sent in our adoption contract paperwork and payment, it seemed the time was right for a quick checking-in. Little did I know, however, that an entire Pandora's box was there just waiting to be opened. We discovered that our agency's director had spoken directly to the new head of the Children's ministry and that the feeling in the Ethiopian government now is that children do better in small (meaning 5 or less children) families. Apparently that sixth child brings with him some sort of Harry Potteresque wizardry transforming the competent parents of five into knuckleheads who have lost their ability to parent effectively.
This wasn't brand new news to us. The issue of family size has been brewing in Ethiopia for nearly a year now. But prior to this administrative change, our agency felt confident that we would apply for and receive an exemption for the child or children we were referred. We were given a few options:
1. Change agencies. This large family rule doesn't apply to all agencies working in Ethiopia, only a few, but ours (because they bring so many large families to adopt--mostly large sibling sets, special needs and older children) is one of them.
2. Choose a referral containing either a set of three or more siblings (yes, I realize this scenario would only stand to make our unsuitably large family even larger, but apparently the Ethiopian ministry people didn't get that memo).
3. Choose a referral with an HIV-positive or seriously special needs child. Not what we were planning, considering the number of little kids here on the Ark still, and needing more prayer and discernment.
4. Choose a child or children who have waited a long time for a family. The agency could make a case on our behalf that-hey, a large family is better than no family.
There were a few specifics she mentioned to us, but we're holding our cards close to the chest right now until we have things sorted out. In the meanwhile, the Spirit is moving us to persevere, to press on, and to get that dossier packet finished.
Our kids are out there and we won't fall prey to the attempts of the Devil to keep us from them.