So many people think of the “wait” in the adoption process from the adoptive family’s perspective. How long will it take to get your paperwork done? How long will it take for a court date? How long until you bring the child home? More important, in my mind, is what it would be like to be the child waiting in Ethiopia.
When we adopted the first time we were one of “those” people – we wanted a healthy infant. We had never been parents before, and wanted to experience what it was like to have a baby. We also didn’t know much about special needs children and weren’t sure what that meant, or whether we would be able to handle something like that. We did say we were open to either sex, but in the end we were paired with a beautiful, healthy infant girl.
When we went to Ethiopia to pick her up, of course it was amazing when the caretaker placed her in my arms for the first time. But what I remember even more from that trip was when the older children were asked to congregate in the courtyard to play with the toys we brought for them. While some of the children blew bubbles and colored with the markers we brought, one little boy just sat there and cried. I know what he was thinking – when will it be my turn? when will someone come for me? My husband and I knew that minute that when we returned to Ethiopia to adopt again, we would adopt one of the older children who were waiting in the orphanage for their turn to have a family.
I understand that there are many reasons people adopt, and I try not to judge those who go to Ethiopia for a healthy infant girl. I was one of those people. But now I know, and I have to share. There are so many beautiful, sweet, loving children on the various agencies’ wait lists, while people are willing to wait months – even years – for a healthy infant. Our agency, International Adoption Net, has nine boys ages 3 and up on their waitlist. The wait for an infant girl referral is 18 months.
There is a family of here in Denver who are adopting two girls from Ethiopia with Down’s Syndrome. Brianna, who writes a great blog on adoption, homeschooling, and whatever else happens to cross her mind, recently did a post about waiting children, and it really resonated with me. Here is a little of what Brianna wrote:
I know adoption is terribly close to God’s heart and I desperately wish more would throw conventional wisdom and savings accounts and confidence-in-the-future to the wind and do something crazy.
Like adopt a waiting child.
I know that adoption is not for everyone, and adoption of an older child is not for everyone. Of course people need to do what is best for their own lives and families. I just wish more people would think about it, just consider what joy it would bring to your family and your life to reach out to one of these children who so desperately need a home.