When I say paperwork I don't mean just a bunch of papers that I can fill out, get notarized and mail off, oh no, that would be cake. I mean some papers that need to be taken to another person to have re-written on their time and signed and notarized by someone whose notary doesn't expire within 1 year, then some other papers that need to be signed, notarized and sent off to the state for certification and then upon return of said documents, placed with others to be sent off to another state to be authenticated and making sure a few of these documents are signed and dated lastly before sending off. That is the adoption dossier paperwork, the papers that will be sent to Ethiopia eventually that show that we are an acceptable family to adopt one of their children. Then there is more paperwork. Because we are not independently wealthy and don't have $35,000 just hanging out in a bank account, we have lots of options for grants but that also requires more paperwork, some online applications followed by a small booklet of essay questions about our faith, reasoning for adoption and life story as well as all the financial information anyone would ever need to know about us. This is a lot of work but it has to be done.
This weekend we hosted His Little Feet and got to be at 2 of their shows in which we watched a powerful video (not available on YouTube yet), heard children's testimonies, listened to their sweet voices sing of their love for God and His love for all of us, hear stories of lives changed by sponsorship and were blessed to be a host home for 2 of the HLF children. After walking away from those concerts I had a new feeling of remembering why we are adopting and why we need to press on and not be overwhelmed by it all. It is a lot of work, stress and is emotionally draining but is it harder than anything these children we are fighting for have went through? I may be stressed with paperwork but I know I will not be hungry, I know I have a warm house, a family, a job, a car, get to go to church weekly and can pretty much get anything we need and not worry that we'll go without. I am not a mom living in an impoverished country having to leave my small kids behind to find work that barely makes enough to feed them or make a decision to give my child up to ensure they will live. I am not worried that if my children get sick I will have nowhere to take them to get help and I know they will be clothed and have a chance to go to school and get educated. When I put all things into perspective my little stack of paperwork and "to-do's" is not all that bad and I should have no excuse for getting off track because things are not just perfectly falling into place.
My focus is on the fact that somewhere in Ethiopia, there is a little girl who has lost her mom and dad, maybe to death, abandonment, illness or poverty, but lost to something. She is scared and sad because her life is not what it was, her life as she knew it has been changed and she is living with people who are not likely her family. She may be in an orphanage with 20 other kids, wearing communal clothes, going to bed with a blanket pulled over her head to try to feel security of some sort and wondering if she will ever get to be a part of a family again and who will they be, where will she go and is it up to her? This breaks my heart and because I have gotten the chance to talk to my own son who was once in "her" position less than 2 years ago I have heard first-hand about how all of these things are realities of orphaned children. After the His Little Feet concert he told me he wanted to help raise money for children and wanted to help children and asked how he could. I explained many ways and when he picked up a Compassion sponsorship envelope with a 10 yr old boy from Peru and asked if we could sponsor him I said yes very quickly. We already sponsor another little boy from Uganda through a different organization and Jalen picked him out a few years back before Fetinet came home so this child from Peru is going to be sponsored because Fetinet chose him. I explained to him that sponsoring a child or helping a child is a good thing and even though it might only help just one, that "one" matters to which Fetinet replied "like me, I was one child who needed adopted", I held back tears and gave him a hug and said "yes, sweetheart, just like you!".
If you are an adopting family, I hope this has helped in some way to encourage you to keep on and don't lose sight of why you are on this journey. If you aren't adopting but know an adopting family, please encourage them and let them know you care about their cause, their adoption, their children because I will guarantee they don't get it enough and the littlest reminder can give them hope for a while. We have recently been gifted sweet notes of encouragement, some with donations and some without, by friends and family and I can't say enough what that does in my heart. My prayer of late is God do not let me forget this, give me the strength to keep pushing forward and keep our little girl's image in my mind at all times and not grow weary because of worldly stresses and other's opinions and keep my focus on you. We are running a half marathon in 2 weeks and may we keep remembering what is on the back of our shirts as we run the race.