When a fringe homeschool family raises unsocial awkward children-- or even worse, neglect their children’s education to the extent it makes national news—it is frustrating for the rest of us raising happy, healthy, intelligent, and socially accepted children. It may even be the reason we are subject to unnecessary scrutiny and laws.
When a fringe “Christian” group traverses the country thumping their Bibles, displaying their hate signs and screaming Scripture to condemn others, it is heartbreaking to watch the message of love and hope being smeared and misrepresented. It may even cause those on the cusp of belief to turn away from God in fear they will become Bible thumping, sign screaming people, too.
When a few despicable greedy people coerce and lie to desperate parents in developing countries, financially gaining by manipulating the life-saving measure of adoption, it leads to an almost complete shut-down of adoption—leaving an estimated 5 million orphans without the opportunity to ever grow in the love of a family. They may never have the ability to grow at all.
This is what the orphans of Ethiopia face. As a way to eliminate scandal within the adoption process, Ethiopia’s Ministry of Women’s and Children’s Affairs (MOWA), along with the Ethiopian Government, created a new policy cutting the number of adoption cases heard in court from 50 to 5 per day. That is a 90% decrease. For those unfamiliar to Ethiopia’s adoption process, just know this—rather than it taking several months for children to be united with their families, it could now take years. Approximately 2,400 children were adopted from Ethiopia last year. Under the new policy only 240 would have made it home.
Just the other morning, I was reading accounts of former gang members of L.A. who told of their initiation process. Out of such desperation to belong to what they called a “family”, they would kill an innocent person—someone picked at random. If they could murder in cold blood, they were in. Despite their considerable dislike towards the command, their deep longing to “belong” took precedence.
Children need families.
Last week, JB missed the turn to our house, while on a bike ride with Sam and my husband (who was running with them). Sam yelled for JB to come back, but he was too far ahead and too full of feeling the wind on his face. The story ends happily, of course. JB was recovered by Daddy and Sam within 5 minutes. No harm done. But JB’s little world was momentarily shaken. He was melancholy the rest of the day, and even had trouble going to sleep at night. We had a lot of rocking and holding. Finally, he looked at me with crocodile tears in his eyes:
“I was so scared, Mommy. I thought I had lost my family again. And now I wouldn’t have a family to love me anymore!"
Children need families. Yes-- they need food, water and education, too. But not like they need families.
Those of us who have adopted from Ethiopia, or are in the process of adopting from Ethiopia have a choice to make. We can wring our hands, feeling angry, allowing our minds to think only the worst—or we can hope.
Hope is a small word, but it carries an eternal promise. It challenges us:
“Do not be sad in the trials. Rather, rejoice. Because suffering brings perseverance, perseverance brings character and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, He has given us (Romans 5:2-5 paraphrased).
“Yet you heard my cry for mercy, when I called to you for help… The Lord preserves the faithful… Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord!” (Psalm 31)
Hope does not disappoint.
I happen to believe that the same God who guided JB, Risa and every other orphan into the hands of loving families, is the same God who sits over the nations of the world:
“The Lord foils the plans of the nations; He thwarts the purposes of the peoples. But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations.” (Ps. 33)
Already, the faithful prayers of believers have availed much. Meetings continue to happen. The plans of the Lord stand firm. Hope lives.
Goodness knows I hate going through suffering to get at hope. If I had known how traumatic these last 20 months would be… well… I’m just thankful I didn’t know.
Children deserve a future and a hope.
Continue to pray. There is always Hope.
PS... These two blogs have helped me pray specifically. Though both were written before the new policy was announced, I think the prayers are still an excellent guide: