We get asked pretty often how we chose to adopt from Ethiopia. While I wish the answer were more romantic, our answer to people is that it was logistics.
If you've read "Our Story" you know that I have wanted to adopt since I was a teenager. I did't know what it would look like, or who it'd be with, but I really thought that if I went the route of international adoption, we'd open up a map, or maybe spin a globe, and our hearts would be drawn to a specific country. Well, that's now how it worked for us.
I'm 25. Jason is 28. Jason and I have been married for just over 2 years (1 year at the time we began the process). Our plan (haha, I remember what it was like to plan...it's a distant memory now) was to have our first child around the time Jason is 30 (give or take a year or two). That really narrowed down our "options".
About a month before we sent in our application, I printed out a map of the world and created this really intense, color-coded diagram of where we could adopt from with several different agencies. They were organized by qualifications (how old you are, how long you've been married, age of youngest child adoptable, length of time in country, wait time, etc.) It was just the beginning of becoming crazy through the adoption journey. I wish I had a picture of it somewhere. Then, we narrowed it down to about three countries. Honestly, I don't remember what they were, but ultimately, we chose Ethiopia.
What we didn't realize, and I'm sure most people planning to adopt someday don't realize is how all of the "qualifications" can either open up a lot of choices or limit them. Since we're in our 20's and have only been married a short time, it really limited our options, but at the same time it made it really easy to see where the Lord was leading us to adopt from. We know that He led us to Ethiopia, and sometimes we have to cling to that fact when the going gets tough.
Some things to think about if you're deciding on where in the world to adopt from:
- Have you been to a country or region on a mission trip and feel connected to that part of the world?
- Are your age, marriage length, desired child age, or number/age of children already in your home things to consider?
- Does it matter to you whether or not the country you adopt from is reached or unreached with the gospel?
- What factors does ethnicity and culture play into your family?
- How long with your employers let you be in country? Will that effect your maternity/paternity leave?
- Does it matter to you how stable the government in the country is?
This time last year, we had no connection to Ethiopia except for friends who had adopted from there. But now, my heart is so in love with Ethiopia. Over the last year I have come to love a country I've never been to, a people I've never met, and a culture I can't wait to embrace in my home.