Adoption and the Desire to Control

We are nearing the end of our adoption from Ethiopia and one of the main things I’ve learned is adoption is brutal if you have a control idol. That’s probably also true simply as a parent, but the process of adopting has brought this out even more in my life.

I get asked almost daily where things are, why haven’t you traveled yet, are you still raising money, I thought that was done ages ago. All great questions from well-meaning friends and family.

A little over a month ago we found out, after 3 and a half years, who our child in Ethiopia was. We had done rummage sales, sold coffee, asked family and friends for money, gave our last couple of tax returns to bring us to this point. This point of holding a photo of our child.

Here he is seeing our family for the first time and hearing about what his future will hold:


While this a milestone, it is not even the beginning. It is simply the next step in a long journey.

When you hold a picture of your child in your hands, the child you have been waiting for 3 years to meet, a child that lives on the other side of the world, that you can’t hold or look at or talk to is hard. It gets harder if you have kids and you try to explain to them about their new brother and they don’t understand why it is taking so long.

My favorite is when well-meaning people say, “Why is it so hard? Why don’t they just give the kids away? It shouldn’t so expensive or so long.” I agree and yet here we sit.

Right now, we are waiting to get the phone call that says, “Buy your plane tickets, your court date in Ethiopia is on this date.” And then we’ll go. We’ve been told it should happen this week, but we don’t know. Our lives go on, but they could stop at any moment. In the meantime, we wait.

The meantime, the waiting. It makes sense its on frustrating way. I started reading Jeff Goins new book, The In-Between this morning. Seemed appropriate. He says:

How we spend our days, according to Annie Dillard, is how we spend our lives. If that’s true, then I spend most of my life waiting. Waiting in the checkout line at the grocery story. Waiting to rent a movie. Waiting for the movie to end. Waiting to turn thirty. Waiting for vacation. Waiting, waiting, waiting. Life is an endless series of appointments and phone calls and procrastinated tasks that need to, but sometimes never, get done. It’s a long list of incomplete projects and broken promises that tomorrow will be better. It’s being put on hold and waiting in office lobbies and watching that stupid hourglass rotate again and again on the computer screen. It’s load times and legal processes – long, drawn-out, bureaucratic systems that leave sitting, watching the clock. Life is one big wait.

So we wait. To bring a child home we’ve never met but almost 4 years ago began praying for and planning for. Hopefully this is the week we get to meet him!