By: Rev. Chad Reynolds
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
In case you have not heard, Laney and I are planning to adopt a little girl from Ethiopia. We began praying about this a few years ago when the discussion of adding to our family came up. After considering the needs of the 13 million orphans worldwide we began to give serious thought to the possibility of adopting. To make a long story short, the Lord continued to keep this thought at the forefront of our hearts and our minds, so in May of 2010 we applied with the America World Adoption Agency (www.awaa.org).
As of today, we are nearing the final stages before approval. We have been working towards this since our application was accepted last June. It took us a while to get the hang of the whole process. In the middle of the “paper chase” we had to exercise patience during about a four-month holdup; but since November things have been moving pretty quickly.
We are currently waiting for approval from the United States Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS). That should come in March (we hope!). Once we receive that approval we can send our dossier in to AWAA for final approval. Then it is off to Ethiopia for translation and submittal to the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs. If they approve us we will enter the referral waiting period. That could take 7-11 months. Once we receive a referral for a child we then have to make two separate trips to Ethiopia – one to appear in court and receive custody of “our” little girl and a second to bring her home. Needless to say there are many months of waiting ahead with lots of potential hiccups along the way.
Below is a list of aspects of adoption for which our family is praying. We would love if you would pray with us for any and all of these.
- The biological parents of our future daughter. We recognize that the adoption that will bring us joy is likely the result of death, poverty, or disease for this little child’s parent(s). Pray not only for them, but also for their community as a whole.
- Health. We are certainly praying that the little girl that God has in mind for us would be healthy. More than that we are praying that she will find our home, church, and community to be a place where she is nurtured physically, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually. We pray that we can provide her with a healthy environment where she feels safe and secure because of Christ’s love and care for her through us.
- Patience. The wait has been long already and will continue to be so for a while. We have had to die to our “my way, right away” attitudes and trust God and His timing through this entire process. Pray that He will show us grace by granting us continued patience.
- Family and Community Adjustments. This decision will obviously mean some major life changes for Laney and me, the boys, our parents, our church, our friends, etc. Pray that we will be humble to admit when we do not know what to do. We have been blessed to have many friends who have adopted. Some have been gracious enough already to give us encouragement and bits of wisdom. Pray for us to continue to look to them for advice and to lean on the Spirit’s guidance in all things when the time comes for us to adjust to the addition of a little one.
- Orphans. As I mentioned earlier, there are as many as 13 million orphans worldwide. Pray that the Lord would raise up couples who would feel called to adopt one (or more) of these children. More than a few of you have adopted and perhaps others among us are being called to do so. Adoption is not for every family but we can certainly all be praying that the Lord would provide parents for those children with such need. After all, as Christians we are the ones who “have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’” (Rom. 8:15).