To Love a Rose: An Ethiopian Adoption Journal

Saturday, September 19, 2009

"The Three W's" or "Why We Chose Ethiopia"

Wow!  Here I am, actually DOING this!  I've been talking about starting this blog for about two years...I know, I know, it kinda makes me look like a procrastinator, right?  Well, actually, it's been a lot more than that.  I won't get into anything too specific (because I don't want to give too much away about myself on this blog - mystery, mystery - ha!); but it's been a crazy past couple of years - moving to a new state, major career moves, and marriage too!

No matter what I've been going through, though, I've always had motherhood (specifically adoption) on my mind.  Which brings me to the title of this first  "real" blog post, "The Three W's - What? Where? Why?".  So, I guess I'll get started:

1. What? - Adoption.  To me, this really is interchangeable with the word motherhood, period.  After I got married, a good friend of my husband's (a married, mom of two herself) asked me, "So, when are you guys going to have kids?"  To which I replied, "Oh, we've already started the process of adopting a little girl.  So, it'll be within the next couple of years."  She looked at me blankly, then immediately blurted out, "No, I mean...not that!  You've got to have some real kids!"

"Real kids"?  What does that even mean?!  So, when I go to Africa to pick her up, that won't be real?  And when I hold her in my arms for the first time, I won't really feel her; because she won't be "real"?  I won't cry with her, laugh with her, run and play with her?  Tuck her in at night and tell her stories?  Watch her with pride and a tinge of sadness as she grow up and becomes an adult?  None of this, because it will all be illusion?!

Of course, this is ridiculous.  Of course, she will be real.  Of course, we will feel each other and love each other.  I am not worried about us in this instance; I am worried about "them".  The people who will respond like my husband's friend, claiming that our relationship is somehow invalid, unreal, something that cannot compare to a mother and child who got to experience their first nine months as close as blood and skin.

This is something to be touched upon in a later blog, but it is a very real source of contention for me - something that absolutely angers me.  Perhaps it would be hard for this woman to love a child that was not physically born from her own body, but that doesn't mean that it is difficult for others.  It is certainly not hard for me and my husband.  I want this so much, and I will NOT allow anyone to invalidate the relationship I will have with my future adopted child.

2. Where? - When we started this process (before we were even engaged!), we started thinking of where we would want to adopt from.  Not that a foreign country was important to us, but after researching all of the risks and benefits of domestic as opposed to foreign adoption, we were convinced that foreign adoption was for us.

Our initial interest was in China, and we planned and hoped and prayed for what we thought would be a little girl aged infant to 4 years old from that country.  We knew it was going to be a long journey, first I wasn't (still am not) 30 yet, which is a major pre-requisite for adoption from China.  Also, couples must be married for at least two years (which I am not certain, but may have been recently upped to five years).  To top everything off, our contact at the agency we were planning on signing with (Great Wall China Adoption in Texas) contacted us to let us know that slowly but surely, China was closing it's doors to foreign adoptions.

After learning that the same was happening in Korea as well, we were really beginning to doubt the adoption as a whole.  But then, the same agency contact turned our attention to some new programs that were just beginning to flourish in Ghana, Uganda, and Ethiopia.  We did our research, and decided to focus our energy and emotions on Ethiopia!

3. Why? - Adoption is near and dear to my heart in most part, because my mother was adopted at the age of nearly two.  Her biological mother was a young, Irish immigrant who had come to America to live with one of her two older sisters.  She never became an official American citizen, never voted, never had a driver's license.  So, my mother is a first-generation Irish-American.  I feel I have been living with the ghosts of my mother's biological family as long as I've been alive.  Adoption and adoption issues are very interesting to me, and I have known since I was a teenager that I wanted to adopt a child one day.

When I met my husband, one of the first things we talked about were children, and we realized immediately that we both were very interested in adoption.  So, nearly as soon as we were engaged, we began talking about beginning our adoption process.  Which brings us to present day, and our current stage in the adoption process - agency "shopping".

So, those are my three "W's"!  I know this process will not be easy, but I am really looking forward to this journey.  There is so much more to come, I can't wait to see what the future holds!

Blessings and More Blessings,


  1. You are so right. If you do not have it in you to love a child that you have adopted, how can you have it in you to make it through all the challenges of parenthood regardless of your journey to parenthood? I'm sorry that some people are so down on the process. Family is who you choose to have in your heart, love, and protect, not just a blood connection. Best of luck with everything, and when you get your precious little girl in your arms, try to come up with something really funny and lighthearted to say when people ask you "is she really yours?"

  2. Beautiful site "abu". I am so excited about the prospect of becoming an aunt for the first time.

  3. How exciting for you and your husband...Chris and I adopted a little girl almost 5 years ago. Although a day doesn't go by that we think about our birthparents, Tessa is OUR child thru and thru. When people ask or say such terrible things you will learn to just ignore and be proud that you have the heart to love a child no matter what! Good luck...we are in the process of adopting another child as well.