06 April 2012

Adoption, Interrupted

I will post the next-to-last part of the Homestudy process (the education) next, but I wanted to give y'all a little update on what's happened this week.

Our agency emailed us Tuesday afternoon to avail us of some changes in the language the judges are using on their guardianship decrees in Uganda. Basically they've added a LOT of new requirements for families after they bring their children home. Now, adoptive parents have to complete four post-placement studies with a social worker (not so bad), self-reports every 6 months until the child is 18 (woah! So many! But theoretically feasible), and travel to Uganda every 5 years until the child is 18. That's crasy.

Now, if we were a two-income household, or if Stephen was like an engineer or corporation owner or something, we would probably be able to comply. But. We're not fancypantses. We never will be, and that's always been okay with us. But it means, at this point, we cannot at all promise that we'll be able to financially comply with these new requirements. We would probably need to save around/over $1,000 every year just to put aside for plane tickets.

I mean, that may not sound like much to some of you, but we have to focus to keep our emergency savings at a comfortable level. We don't have money laying around for a new t.v., or even a fence or a dishwasher (okay, we may have if we hadn't decided to adopt. But then we would've been saving for another birth, so...).

Sorry, I got into complaining. It just feels really unfair that we have to look for another country because Ugandan judges think this is what will keep children from being mistreated. Or maybe they think all Americans can afford these things. I don't know.

What I do know is the face I've been treasuring, a hazy little Ugandan face, the face I thought we would be kissing and cleaning and cuddling, is almost assuredly not the face of our child. I've been attaching to this face (I mean, not one particular face, but a conglomerate of Google Image-searched faces) for 6 months now. That's two-thirds of a pregnancy! And now I have to let him/her go, because some judge thinks this is in his/her best interest. It's in his/her best interest to have parents. There are children on the streets that orphanages just don't have room for. Babies are dying. I know you don't trust us judgeguy, but come on. Dead is worse than alive and being separated from one's birth culture. I mean, in my opinion.

Sorry for being a downer. I do believe God can do anything, but we also have to face other realities: how will our other children feel about so much of our resources being siphoned to what may feel like a vacation that only one child gets to go on? How will this affect our involvement in other ministries, like church planting? We don't parent in a vacuum. Even though every child waiting for parents deserves these sacrifices, that doesn't mean God wants us specifically to make them. I don't know.

I'm gonna hang up this phone. Stephen and I are in a bit of a time crunch because our social worker who's in charge of our homestudy is an intern, and her last day is Monday. If we don't give her a country to approve us for, our case will be shuffled to another social worker. Not the end of the world, but I don't really want our homestudy being written by someone who has never met us.

I know I can be excited about a non-Ugandan child. I just need to let go of his face. Of her face. And ask the Lord, "How do I grieve over a loss that isn't real? How do I let go of a person (my Ugandan son or daughter) who doesn't exist?"


  1. I don't think it's irrational to feel loss in this situation.

  2. Oh Michelle. Wow. I know that's gotta be hard. Praying for you and Stephen as you ask God what's next.

  3. Yikes! I hadn't yet heard of that requirement. So sorry. So sad.

    You have every right to grieve for a child that is lost. No embarrassment or shame needed.

    Keep praying. God will show you the way to your next child.