We have been asked many times throughout this pregnancy if we are still planning to adopt- or rather, what is going on with our adoption. Yes- we are most definitely still planning to adopt! Adoption has always been in our plan regardless of whether or not we'd have trouble having biological children. Right now, we are essentially toward the end of a very long waiting list of families who are waiting to be matched with a child. Referrals (what agencies call being matched) from Ethiopia have slowed significantly in the past two years. We have technically been waiting for 19 months now. When we initially began our adoption, the wait time was 18-24 months to referral. Our agency officially changed that to 36-48 months last month.
Why the slow down? Why such a long wait? It's hard to say. We know that there has been a lot of "reform" in Ethiopian adoption the past couple of years- both by the Ethiopian government and the U.S. government. Most of these changes have been in an effort to make for certain that a child is adoptable- not a product of lies, misunderstanding or "baby stealing", etc. This, of course, is a good thing- but has essentially made the process a lot longer, with more paperwork and research to be done. For example, most orphans in Ethiopia actually have living relatives who are simply unable to meet their most basic needs (food/shelter/clothing), and therefore take them to the orphanage. In the process of getting adopted, it is required that they have interviews with every living birth relative to confirm that they cannot or do not want to adopt the child. This is a good thing- our agency, America World, was actually already doing these interviews and also facilitates in-country adoptions for free in Ethiopia in an effort to keep families together. But the process of finding every living birth relative in a third-world country is quite a long one. There are few people with cell phones, permanent addresses, cars- and then there is the rainy season, when constant rain causes life and roads and commerce to shut down for a couple of months- and then there are issues with language/culture/understanding of the adoption process…it is just complicated.
Even still, we can see clearly that God is working out his plan in our lives. And for now, we will continue to wait and move up the list. We are so thankful that we will get to welcome another baby in the meantime...before we meet our adopted child that we have already felt "pregnant" with for quite a while.
A while back, a friend posted a picture on Instagram of the journals she has kept for her kids- little notes and stories and letters to them- and I knew that was what I'd been needing to do for this baby. So, I ordered 3 journals from May Designs, one for each of our children (which admittedly felt a little crazy since I haven't yet met 2 of them). We don't have a name yet for the baby we are adopting (nor do we even know if he/she will truly be a baby), deciding what to put on the cover (where the name goes) was a bit ambiguous. But I eventually went with "A". We know for sure that he or she will be an Anglin- and that felt important and worth documenting in this way. So, I've been writing to my kids- even the two that I have yet to meet- and it has been so good for me. There are so many things- different for each child- that I want to say to them as Shawn and I find ourselves in a place of transition again.