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Monday, April 13, 2009

A Subject Revisited

I posted about Why Ethiopia long before we brought Jonas home but I've had plenty of opportunities to think about the subject upon his homecoming. I've been asked that question more times than I can count. Especially related to "why not a domestic adoption?"

I can't really answer why we didn't do a domestic adoption. Actually whenever Dustin and I had discussed adoption throughout our marriage we always spoke about domestic adoption as if that would be what we did "if we ever do adopt." Many, many times I've wondered why God's plan for our family included Ethiopia.

I don't have all the answers. In many ways coming home has created more questions. I do know that our son was intended for this family. That God had a plan in place long before Dustin and I ever realized it. Truly, Jonas is our biggest "Why Ethiopia" and these days I don't feel compelled to offer up more than that. But, still, I often wonder why myself. I may not completely understand Why but I'm sure glad we said "yes!"

We LOVE Ethiopia. I cannot explain it any other way. God has given me/us a deep love for the people and the land. It breaks my heart when all others can focus on is the suffering and poverty in Ethiopia. Ethiopia- The people are so much more than that. And, when you meet them you know that God's love and His Spirit is growing in them. I become crazy irritated (and not a little defensive) when people see Ethiopia's differences from America as somehow being wrong. As if the whole world ought to be the same or like us. I ache that sometimes people fail to appreciate our differences and treasure the good in them. The whole world is broken- Ethiopia is certainly broken but so is the U.S. Some sins are like leprosy and others like cancer. Some are easily observed with the naked eye while others require a microscope though both are deadly and cannot be ignored. I've tried hard (and will continue to work) to lay my preconceived notions down and view Ethiopia through the Lord's eyes. I'm not interested in what I desire Ethiopia to look like, but more about what God is doing there, what His dreams for His children are, and how I can help. Maybe it's because my family has now been adopted by Ethiopia as well. We are American and Ethiopian. Our hearts will always take up duel residency.

Back around to "why Ethiopia?" and how to answer that question. It's our calling. Now, when I say "calling" I have to reiterate that we didn't hear the "call" and totally understand it from the beginning. Sometimes when people say they were "called" it seems like they always knew exactly what they were meant to do and why. That wasn't our experience. We could have easily gone the US foster care/ adoption route but that wasn't God's plan for us and that was the only thing which became instantly clear to me. I still don't know why that wasn't for us. I would NEVER discourage anyone from adopting or fostering in the US because God has burdened our hearts for all orphans not just those in Ethiopia. I'm working with friends to promote adoption and orphan care at all levels in all countries. Maybe one day we'll foster or adopt domestically but, we were "called" to Ethiopia. Now that we've been there and back again that is the one thing we know in our hearts for sure.

I still don't have a quick easy answer for the mom at figure skating lessons or the nurse at the doctor's office. I doubt I ever will.


E said...

I really dislike that question. It's so complicated. But, I've found there are two types of askers. Ones that genuinely want an answer. (Unfortunately, they desire a concise one...which I'm still not capable of producing). Or, ones that don't really want an answer and simply want to let me know that they think it's WRONG that we adopted internationally. These people usually do not understand what's involved in a domestic adoption vs. an international one. (Those people get on my last nerve...because I really, really can't imagine where they get off thinking they have the right to pass judgment on our decision. And though I wrote that they "usually" don't understand, the truth is that these people don't "usually" know the first thing about adoption....domestic or otherwise.) Okay. my soapbox.

I think the very best answer (for me, at this time) is: Because my son was in Ethiopia. Not many people query beyond that. And, I feel it quickly gets to the heart (and truth) of it. It also doesn't involve me disclosing details that I don't feel I need to justify to strangers...or share with anyone who doesn't know me (or want to take the time to understand the many dimensions of what adoption means to our family).


Anonymous said...

Wow Jen, I completely relate to everything you just wrote...I absolutely LOVE Ethiopia, and I have no idea why God drew us to that country in the first place. But he did and we're in love...with Isaac and Ethiopia! We already talk about going back :)

Brooke said...

Jen, my heart breaks as to why people would even let that question out of their mouths. Regardless of where we come from, we are all human and deserve the same love and needs. I love your love for Ethiopia. I think adoption is amazing and certainly a calling only from God. As patriotic as I am, I feel more about the body of Christ as a whole and more importantly as part of this world that God created and how much we are all connected, not maybe by nations but by Christ and our Creator. I think wherever God tells us to go, we should go. Nothing else matters!

beBOLDjen said...

E- I dislike it too. I don't know why it's become so burdensome to me lately. I guess it's the undercurrents associated with it. I like your suggestions though.

Janet- I'm glad someone else can relate. I wondered if anything I was writing would make sense :-)

Brooke- I love you. That's it :-)

Stacey said...

It makes me sad to think that people have to judge so harshly! Why can't they just keep their mouths shut and realize what a blessing adoption is? I'm sorry you're dealing with people like this Jen!

Zack, Rebecca and Caleb Caldwell said...

Sometimes God things can not be easily explained or understood. I find adoption in general to be that way, especially to those who have not experienced it. I don't really know exactly why we were drawn to ET either, I just know we were, and it was God who led us there. We also thought about domestic adoption, but just knew it wasn't right...again, we can't really explain why. I can totally relate to this post!

Terri Tiffany said...

God has given me/us a deep love for the people and the land.

I think you said your answer. You've listened to God's calling on your heart:))