When the earthquake struck Haiti in January 2010, we knew that we were being called to action through international adoption. We listened to story after story of young children without homes to shelter them and families to love them, and we wanted to get involved. After researching various international programs, we decided on Ethiopia.
We completed our home study and dossier in May 2011. Our paperwork said siblings ages 0-7, preferably boys. At that time we were told that our wait for a referral would be 10-12 months. We settled in. Then in October 2011 we received an email from our agency stating that the wait time for siblings was increasing to 18-24 months. Ugh. Our social worker told us that we could either continue the long wait or decide to change our paperwork to indicate that we would accept a placement of ONE child. It was decision time.
After a good cry (which started in front of my high school youth group girls during prayer requests. Just keepin' it real, girls....) and lots of praying and discussing, we decided to stick with our original decision. I kept coming back to the story of Abraham and Sarah. God made them a promise that they would have a child. It just took a little longer than they anticipated. His timing was perfect. The Bible is full of stories where God keeps His promises, and we trusted that He would walk through this process with us.
This decision to continue the wait was made on a Sunday.
The very next Monday morning on a crazy whim I decided to get on our agency's list of waiting children. I have done this approximately never. Really, I'm not making this up. I clicked "siblings" and "Africa" and saw two sets of brothers. G and E's faces were staring at me, and I said, "Chris! I found our future children!"
We saw several other beautiful faces that day, listed as “waiting” because of their age or health complications. It broke our heart to see so many children without families, many who had been on the website for months. This experience gave the world orphan crisis a face for us.
The Next Week:
Was a flurry of phone calls, emails, prayers, and random freaking out. (Could we parent older children? What if I couldn't watch "Castle" every week at 9 on Mondays? I sometimes swear in my classroom. I'm unfit for parenting.) I know that God doesn't really use stone tablets anymore, so I was praying that the Holy Spirit would give us wisdom.
But on that Saturday:
My extended family was together for my niece's 7th birthday party. Our nieces and nephews (ages 10, 9, 7, 7, and almost 6) were laughing and playing and loving time with cousins, and I found myself thinking, "I wish OUR boys were here with them." And then we knew. It wasn't a booming voice, but we didn’t need one.
So our unconventional beginning has become even more unconventional. We will be first-time parents to two boys ages 7 and 8. We know this journey is just beginning. Adopting waiting children means bringing children into your home from brokenness and loss. Children who have lived years in another culture, eating different foods, smelling different smells.
It’s a risk and a challenge, but I think most good things in life are risky and challenging.
If you agree, perhaps you’ll prayerfully consider the adventure of adopting waiting children.
Chris and Kim Witt