' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: Answers Found in Ethiopia

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Answers Found in Ethiopia

The end of one woman's story learning the truth of the lives of the children she adopted from Ethiopia. This was written while her 17-year-old daughter was in country trying to learn whether the children were free to be adopted:
"I have struggled with the possibility of sending our children back for several reasons. One being safety...two, their future and ...three, living conditions. Two of them, I feel I will have peace about if they go back because we will help their families support them and give them a good education...safety, I know that we will have peace about this before we would even send them back. But the living conditions has been more of a struggle because they have tasted our American life of comfort and convenience. 
"The past couple of weeks, our 8-year-old biological son has been reading about what life was like for Jesus when he lived on this earth. About the culture he lived in, food he ate, etc. It has been so fascinating to me to realize how similar people in Africa (and other areas of the world too) still live in a culture almost identical to the one Jesus lived over 2,000 years ago. When I woke up this morning, I felt like God told me that "If it was good enough for Jesus, then it's good enough for anybody to live in that culture." And the fact that, it doesn't seem to matter to this little girl we adopted what her culture is around her, she just wants to be with her mother and father, I don't blame her I would too.

'God is revealing so many things to me right now and for some reason, I feel led to share with you and not many others. So, I hope you don't mind my ramblings."
And then this is what she learned:
"My daughter was able to meet with the families of the child while in Ethiopia. The story I heard about the little girl--the one I was most concerned about--was true and what we were told when we began the process of adopting her. Her parents died when she was very young, and she was living with her aunt and uncle--and she has only known them--so she assumed they were her mother and father. They do not call their parents 'mom' and 'dad' in Ethiopia; they always call everybody by their first names. Consequently, Amber assumed that they were her 'parents' after being here, and figuring out our culture.

"When my daughter gave the aunt pictures of Amber, she kissed them and was very happy. She understood fully that Amber was being adopted and is happy for her to have this opportunity. From other things I have learned, it seems that when extended family take in a child after loss of parents, the child is not always fully accepted by the relatives. An example, there is a girl in the sponsorship program who is 12, and her aunt sold her for marriage; the program bought her back and she is going to live the with the lady who cooks for the program now. I am just so excited that we now have this contact and everything (that we know of) has been handled with truth and that Amber can stay connected with her birth family and hopefully travel back at some point to visit them. Who knows what God has planned for her, she may go back and do many good things for her country and people. This has helped Amber so much, she seems much happier now although she still has some grieving to deal with.

"The little boy's family is a different story. His parents died also, but his grandmother was trying to care for him. and she told our duaghter that she felt like this adoption was his only hope. After they put him up for adoption, he had an older brother that died. He also has an older sister that our daughter met who did not look very healthy. We are hoping to pull her into this sponsorship organization so she will get three meals a day, medical care, clothes, schooling, etc. The grandmother was so thankful to see pictures of the boy, and hear how well he is doing, and she also told us she fully understood that he was being adopted and might not ever see him again. It breaks my heart because I know it has been so hard for her. She is very old, so I don't know if he will see her in person again.

"Our daughter is hoping to go back every year (she has left half of her heart there) and who knows, maybe I will go at some point too. I would love to see them again, which is crazy because after I got back from getting the children, I didn't think I would ever want to go back.

"I didn't realize the seriousness of adoption until I stepped into it. About how much the child would need, especially to know truth and to be connected with birth family if at all possible. It is not always possible. But if the opportunity is there, it is definitely worth seeking it out. I was apprehensive at the beginning, but I now feel that I have extended family in Ethiopia and I truly care for them. We will be staying in contact and helping them as much as we can.
"When we picked up the children, I thought I would have this joyful feeling, but instead I felt grief for the families who felt they had to give up their children because they couldn't care for them.  I guess having biological children, I could relate with a mother's heart.  Reuniting with the birth families and knowing that we can stay connected with them has not only given the families and the children peace, but has brought me a great peace as well.  It definitely has helped us all to move on and help the children to deal with the loss they have experienced.  Even though they have a good life here and are loved, they miss their birth families and country and I do hope and pray that through the organization my daughter went over with (Elpis International) they will be able to travel back and visit at some point.  I knew God had us meet the founders of this organization when we picked up the children for a reason, didn't know it would be to stay connected with their families, but I am so thankful for this opportunity.
"We have an adoption in the works in China (been five years now) and I know that this will be another hard issue. Knowing that the birth mother felt forced to give up her child because of the government, breaks my heart and I pray that God will give me wisdom in helping this little girl through all of this.  We could possibly get her the end of this year (haven't had a referral yet, but could be soon).  I think that walking through the Ethiopia adoption with the older children and how they have been affected has opened my eyes to much more to the children's needs.  
"Even though we may never be able to locate this child's birth mother because children are abandoned, I realize that she will need to have a connection to her birth country.  When we first set out to adopt from China, I honestly didn't think it would matter, we would just raise her here and she would be happy, didn't matter if we taught her about China's culture or anything, but all of this has changed.  I am much more sensitive to what she might need and the connections she might need to have with China.  I am praying that if she needs to connect with her birth mother, that God will allow it to happen.  We already have some connections in China through Steven Curtis Chapman (Christian singer), so this might be helpful in the future."
My hope is that this woman's story will be read by other people adopting from around the world, and they will learn from it. We know some adoptive parents even have a problem filling out a census form when asked if their children are adopted, so far are they willing to travel in their minds to deny their children's true heritage and parentage. We know other adoptive parents who have traveled as far as Siberia to get children who will never be able to find their original birth families and true heritage. Those are the adoptions that make us angry, and sad.

Adoption should not be about the need to "complete a family" or "build a family" for a couple in a Western country, but about filling a need for a hungry and homeless child. We have come to know that many adoptive parents read here, and some of them get upset with what they learn from our experience with adoption--the other side of the coin, the one largely swept away when people wish to adopt--but there are others who teach us that it is not black and white, that adoption can be filled with shades of gray, and from then we have learned to be sympathetic to their desire to provide homes, and love, to children who truly need them. International adoption is so fraught with complexities and problems, and corruption, that we find it hard to see the upside of the mass migration of children from one culture to another; but it has happened and will continue.

We can not close that door anymore; we can only become a voice crying out to stop the abuses. I admit I was taken aback when I learned she was trying to adopt from China, but I am not going to question her motives. Yes, I wish adoptions were not necessary; but sometimes they are, and have always been, and this woman and her family shows compassion and understanding for the children they have brought into their homes, for their children's first families they were born into, for all of humankind--lorraine


  1. Janet, a first motherApril 18, 2010 at 4:08 PM

    Such a different point of view from upstatemom who couldn't even face the truth on a census form and write down that some of her kids were adopted.

    If more people took this much care in adopting from overseas, there would be far fewer of them. At least this women made the effort to find out what the real story was behind the adoption of her two kids. But adopting from China now? If it's taking five years there are too many lined up to adopt, and that leads to the abuse this woman is trying to stop. So just say no: to more adoption.

  2. Ah but one cannot say no if one believes that God is personally telling you what to do. I get nervous around people who think God speaks to them, even if what they are doing is decent.

    Faith is one thing, but this kind of personal revelation is scary, because somehow "God" always tells these folks to do whatever is in their mind to do anyhow. Giving it the weight of "God's plan" takes it to another level that gets really close to fanaticism.

  3. I admire this woman for what she had done. She has an open mind and an open heart and she really does love these children because she truly wanted to do the right thing. I disagree with her God's plan this and God's plan that though-I don't beleive God has a plan for anyone-not with children dying of cancer at 5, children being forced in to digusting human trafficking, and people who have lives that are so unfair compared to other people's, plus 100 other reasons I could list. When Christians get hung up on this ridiculous idea that God is Santa Claus, it leads to the corruption in Adoption, because they think they are entittled, and oh God would NEVER want me to not have a child when I want one. It lets people ignore the wrongdoing they are creating and live behind a smokescreen instead of inside their consciences. Still, I wish these Attachment Therapy whacko AP's were like her. Adoptees deserve no less respect.

  4. At the same time I admire her seeking out the truth of the children's lives,I too get queasy about god. Because that means that God gets things screwed up quite often, putting kids in the wrong bellies all the time. But She does seem to be learning her lesson here in America, where that isn't happening as often as it used to. Guess She hasn't learned her lesson and is still screwing up in other countries, most especially the poorer ones.

  5. "'God is revealing so many things to me right now and for some reason, I feel led to share with you and not many others."

    That is so beautiful.
    I can hardly hold back tears of joy that has God chosen "Birth Mother, First Mother Forum" to spread His Word to the heathen.

  6. Given the situation uncovered with the extended families in Ethiopia, I think she is doing the right thing. She made an effort to discover the truth and to be certain the adoptions were in the chidren's best interest. I wish this type of investigation would become the norm in adoption.



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