surprising difficulties of international adoption, #2

Court (this one may be Ethiopia-specific):

When you finally submit your dossier (application and documentation) to the country you wish to adopt from, you become increasingly obsessed with receiving a referral (ie- matched with a child/ren). It's practically all you can think about -- kind of like a bride anticipating her wedding day. (And we've all known an obnoxious bride, or two.) And to intensify matters, family and friends are constantly asking, "any news yet?" So, really, there are very few moments when you're not actively anticipating the call from your agency.

You begin to tell yourself (and even begin to tell God): if we could just get our referral I'll be able to handle anything that follows. Ohhhh, waiting for our referral is the hard part...once I finally see that face, my referral-day euphoria will enable me to patiently wait for months before I hold him/her.

(Hang on -- I need to laugh out loud for a moment before I continue -- hahahahahahahahahaha -- OK, I'm composed now)

Referral-day euphoria? Unfortunately, it's not long-lived. You kick into high-gear preparing for you child. All the while, realizing -yes- this is really happening. Kind of like the first week back from your honeymoon: your sweet hubby really does expect dinner on the table every night.
Day-dreamin' is over.
Although you're more than happy to have dinner ready by 5pm every night, it's still a good dose of reality! And same goes for adoption. There is an ebb-and-flow of this is really happening!

And then in the midst of frantically getting ready for your trip and your child, another reality sets in: court. What?? You mean our adoption is not down-hill from here...didn't accepting our child's referral finalize the adoption?? uh...NO! You've thought little about court before the referral; it wasn't a major source of anxiety. At least not until now. Isn't funny how we always default to: yeah, x-y-z may have been a nightmare for that family, but it won't be for us. No worries.

Well, you're assigned a court date, and as that day approaches, you do begin to fret!!
Oh no, maybe we will be that family with the nightmare story.

Referral-day euphoria? What's that?

OK, I realize I'm sounding really dramatic at this point, but this was completely what I experienced. Anticipating court was terrifying for me. There were so many variables that had to be in place. I just couldn't imagine how they could all come together like they needed to.

And do you know what? They didn't.

Let me deflate the drama. Our adoption was finally granted on our 4th court appearance (actually, our agency's 4th appearance, with our POA). It was one of the most frightening experiences of my life. Yes, we had signed our acceptance letter -- but the Ethiopian judge had the final decision. There was a chance our adoption request could have been denied. Albeit a slim one, but still... Ethiopian courts don't arbitrarily grant or deny adoptions -- they make their decision based on the facts. Is there sufficient evident to prove this child/ren is an orphan? And, in our case, it took several weeks to gather sufficient evidence.

In hind-sight, we are thankful for how Micah's story unfolded. The court delays and evidence gathered will help Micah process his story. And, oh how did God stretch, deepen our faith. We would not trade the journey through court with our Heavenly Father for any other senario. But needless to say, the whole court thing was surprisingly difficult.

And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.
He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’
For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.”’
And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says.
And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
Luke 18:1-8


lori said...

Alisa, I'm loving being able to see the details of the process through your accounts! Thanks for sharing the good, bad, and the journey!

Abby said...

How appropriate I should read this post today. We are currently stuck in court limbo and, wow, frightening doesn't even begin to cover it. We are experiencing new levels of patience and faith that we didn't even know we had in us. Thank you for reminding me that although it feels anything but normal, it is not uncommon to experience these delays!!

krg said...

Ahh The Court Issue! I lived in referral "lala land" as I like to call it and when court rolled around was knocked off my feet. The blessing in that was God did a number in my life during that time!!! So many hidden pieces to this journey - so many opportunities to grow. BTW I have your #3 for you. It's called the reality of being at home with a kido who is no longer living in a picture but the real deal and you realize you know nothing about them. Hehe! Love and miss you all!!! Tell Vince hello and hug Micah for us.

alisa said...

Kim, that's exactly where I was headed next!!!

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