Really I do. It has been way too long since my last blog and SO much has happened. Even more than that a lot has changed. Some good, some bad, some easy, some hard. I want to tell you all of it but in order to do that I have to start with what we’ve been talking about for the past two – almost three – years. Our international adoption.
Some of you know by now that we had to pull out of our international adoption of our two boys, Beni and Yves… let me let that soak in for a minute.
Okay. So now that all of you who have given financially, prayerfully and emotionally have had a moment to absorb that please know that this was our last hope or dream. We had hoped for so much more. As you know, we were planning on them being home from the Democratic Republic of Congo by now. Our hearts were (and still are) genuinely shattered. We withdrew from our adoption about 5 months ago now… I’m sorry I couldn’t bare to write about this sooner. It hurt too much. In fact, this blog is one that I have been dreading for a long time.
We found out about 5 months ago that the information our adoption agency (One world Adoption Services) provided the US government earlier on in our adoption did not match what they provided them later in our adoption. This caused some major red flags for Caleb and me. (For the past 3 months before that I had already been feeling like this adoption wasn’t going to go through but couldn’t explain why.) So, I started to investigate and through a friend from our amazing adoption group and awesome blog Africa to America (thanks Carly!!), I was connected to a lady who had gone through practically the same thing 2 years before.
So here’s the story:
We found out that our agency had lied to us about our boys. They weren’t abandoned without any know parents. They in fact did have known mothers (with addresses and everything) and possibly have known fathers as well. Now, this isn’t always an issue in international adoption if you can prove that these mothers cannot and will not care for their children and you can prove it through interviews and paperwork. However, we quickly found out through this friend that Carly connected us with that this had happened to her and OVER 25 other families in the past 2 years. And with investigation they quickly found that almost all of the “orphans” were taken (for different reasons) from their families even though their families would have kept them had they been helped in finding ways to provide for these kiddos. So. “Our” boys that we have been praying for for over 2 years, by name, had families who love and cared for them.
What were we supposed to do with that?? How were we supposed to approach our agency with that information? AND how in the world could we continue these adoptions while knowing full well that these boys were not true orphans??
Well, first thing was first, I called our agency with all of this information. I was expecting them to have an excuse for these other cases that had happened in the past but they didn’t. Instead, they just denied it all. I can’t even tell you how upset that made me… the least they could have done was fight the accusations and prove to me that our investigation was false in some way. At the end of that phone call our agency rep asked me to continue to pray about what we wanted to do (continue our adoption or step away from it) and I said that we would. That week was filled with confirmations left and right that we needed to pull out of our adoptions so when the week ended I gave them our answer and filled out the paperwork that I needed to in order to be finished.
Two months later I found out from another woman whose family had been trying to adopt from the DRC for 6 years that nearly the same thing had happened to them… not once but TWICE. She had also talked to a couple other women who said their families found out the same thing within the past couple of weeks. Unfortunately, complaints had been filed and no investigation into OWAS had been started (that we knew of). Another two months had passed and we received an email explaining that the US government had shut down OWAS for illegal adoption practices. We immediately praised God for shutting them down.
We have been mourning the loss of these boys for about 5 months now. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about how we pulled ourselves out of the adoptions – Satan really tries to make me feel like we abandoned these boys who have so little. I have never gone through a miscarriage but I imagine that the heaviness of this loss feels quite similar to the heaviness of that loss. We had hoped, prayed, dreamt, fought, fundraised and longed for these boys for over 2 years. And we loved the idea of boys for even longer! Unfortunately in the process of all of this we lost over $55,000.00 in this whole process and there is no (legal) way for us to get any of that money back.
In all of this we have learned a few things:
(1) God loves”our” boys more than I could ever hope or imagine. He loves my husband more than I could hope or imagine. He loves my girls, friends, family, and random people I pass on the street this way too. He always has, and He always will. Whether I understand that or not, God’s love for us will always surpass my love for us.
(2) God is good… even in the unexpectedly hard things. It’s true. Caleb and I have gone through a lot in our first (almost) 5 years of marriage that even others have said is harder than they could imagine. Now whether that is true or not is not up to me. It has just been hard. From Caleb blowing out his whole left knee just 3 months into our new marriage (we barely knew that we were married let alone HOW to be married), or when my dad died unexpectedly from being hit by a bus, or starting the adoption process and walking through the highs and lows of that every day for 2 years, or even this – losing our 2 boys to an unethical and down right awful adoption agency. But even in all of that, God is good. He knew these things would happen and He didn’t stop them from happening but He is good. I may not always see it or understand it, but He is good.
(3) We are beyond loved – by you, by our friends, by our family, by God. From giving financially to our adoption, praying, encouraging, crying with us, laughing with us, rejoicing with us, reading this blog, holding our hands, or even just asking questions… we are beyond loved. And the coolest thing is that whether you love God or not, He used you to show us His love in every act of love and support you showed.
(4) God has a plan. In Jeremiah 29:11 it says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (ESV) I know that is one of the most poorly, overused, Bible verses but hear me out: God has a plan. Whether we see it this side of heaven or not, He has a plan for each of our lives. It may not always feel like a plan that gives us hope and a future or that it is even good. But His plan all reflects one thing: the gospel. God made the world. We disobeyed God and decided to live apart from Him. God sent His only son. His only perfect son sacrificed His life for our sin filled, broken lives by dying on the cross. He then rose again 3 days later and later went back up to heaven. He did this all so that we can see that He chose us and loved us and so that maybe, we can choose to live our lives for Him – in the gospel to glorify Him. So God does have a plan, whether we see it or not. His plan is for our best and for His glory – not our own.
In all of this we know that God loves us, our family, our friends, and everyone around us more than we could ever hope or imagine. He is good. He is faithful. He is loving. And more than anything, He has a plan for your hope, for your future, for your good. And even when things are unexpectedly hard, His plan ultimately reflects His gospel.
Thank you for grieving with us, for celebrating with us, for fighting with and for us. That has not been lost on us. This is hard stuff, people, and the depth of this grief will always hang with us. But with grief comes joy.