Adoption was always our plan. In 2004, National Geographic documented China’s one child policy and the affect it is having on its girls, adoption, and the future of China in China’s Lost Girls. A year later, Evan and I were talking through all major life decisions and desires, as you do when you are dating. I then spent the summer in China. When we were married the next year, we entered marriage knowing that one day, adoption would be a part of our story.
Living overseas comes with many blessing and challenges. Most people who haven’t lived overseas, especially for any length of time, tend to see the blessings and scoff at the so-called “challenges” you insist are there. Having spent two years in India, we were prepared for many of the challenges that come with overseas living, regardless of how remote or Western it might be. We weren’t prepared for the added difficulty of adoption. Many countries and agencies do not make it easy to adopt, particularly when you are living in a country not your own. The hours I have spent scouring google could be a full-time job. You find a potential country, but then must find an agency – rejection, denial, unanswered e-mails, false hope, and more rejection went on for months as our options narrowed and our road to adoption seemed to grow more and more narrow.
And then we came back to one: one country that said we could adopt and an agency that agreed. Out of the 196 countries in the world, we found one that kept telling us “yes,” when so many others were saying, “wait,” “not now,” “in a few years,” or “no.”
And so in August, 3 weeks after our furniture arrived, in the midst of the still weekly, if not bi-weekly trips to IKEA, and overall chaos, we started our adoption journey with a home study that would be the first and all-important step of determining whether we will be allowed to adopt from Kyrgyzstan.
Two months later, that home study is nearly completion, with just a few more documents that are taking too long if you ask me, as they sit in government offices in the US. With the completion of the home study paperwork, we will be one step closer to a family we have dreamt of, longed for, prayed and wept for. A family, whose members right now are orphans: without family or care, or anyone to answer their cries. Little children abandoned by the world, who have no idea that someone is fighting for them even now, praying desperately that next Thanksgiving there will be two more mouths at the table and two more stockings to be purchased.
Today begins Orphan Week. It’s a week set aside to raise awareness of the needs of orphans around the world. The plight of orphans around the world is great, but many of us simply don’t know how to get involved. It could be as easy as hosting foster care children in your home for Thanksgiving, or supporting organizations that seek to give medical care to orphans in countries where it would otherwise be unavailable. As we walk through our own adoption journey, we will try to give you some ideas on how you might be able to get involved with caring for the orphans and children in need around you.
Today I’m thankful for being on this journey, one that has been long-awaited, and often seemed impossible, that is every day becoming more our reality.