I'm sorry it has taken me so long to write about my trip to Ghana. Part of it is jet lag and part of it is trying to wrap my brain around ALL that happened during my time there. There are so many emotional layers to this trip that it's hard to put into words. Lois is super-busy this week so said I should go ahead and write when I'm ready. I don't know if I'm ready, but here I go!
Before I say anything else I want to take a moment and share with you how WONDERFUL LVI's adoption program in Ghana is going to be! There are bumps and bruises that come with every new adoption program and we were prepared to "fall down" and get back up when we signed up for this program. I have absolute faith in Lois and the people she is associated with in Ghana. I met these people. They are the real deal! They have a heart for the children there and also a dedication to ethical practices. I just want to shout it through the roof tops--THIS PROGRAM IS GOING TO BE GREAT!!!!!!!!!
Having said that, I do have some sad news to share. Eric and I do not feel that we are able to go forward with the adoption of Emmanuel and Juliet (our Kendi and Caynan). There are several reasons for this, both personal and practical. First, there was a simple miscommunication that occurred with the attorney in Accra and Emmanuel and Juliet are not yet technically free for adoption (yet). An investigation has to occur first, in which any birth family is counseled about what adoption is and it's permanency, then every family member must agree. After that happens, the child is considered free for adoption. This investigation hasn't yet happened with Juliet and Emmanuel, so in reality we didn't have their referrals yet. This is a very understandable miscommunication and the attorney is very clear on when to "refer" children in the future. =-)
Second, we don't feel like we are the best parents to adopt BOTH of these children together. In meeting Emmanuel it seemed to me that he will need a home where he can get tons of individual attention to learn how to love and be loved. He was just very sad. And yet, I have absolute confidence that he WILL adjust and be a wonderful son for somebody! Juliet could not have been more loving and happy and cuddly and sweet! But our doctor told us before we left that she had concerns about her physical appearance, and those concerns became greater when I met her in person. I don't think it is anything serious (and she seems to be developing cognitively very well) but there are things about her appearance that could indicate some sort of chromosomal syndrome. We are a family that already has several "special needs." My husband is diabetic, almost blind, with an upcoming kidney transplant...our daughter has some ongoing attachment and sensory issues...and our son has a history of a very serious autoimmune disorder that may rear its ugly head in the future. It is because our family already has such needs that we feel that it would be unfair to both Emmanuel and Juliet AND our two current children, to adopt them both.
So our next consideration was whether we could adopt either Juliet OR Emmanuel, but not both--and then adopt our second child through a different region in Ghana. But how do you choose between two perfectly deserving children? And it seemed that the logistics of adopting two children from two different regions at the same time, only making one more trip to Ghana, would be nearly impossible. So in the end it seems that that door too, is closed to us.
So now we await new referrals in a different region of Ghana. We are mourning the loss of our Kendi and Caynan and feel a heavy burden to pray for them and to help find their adoptive families. The song "God Bless the Broken Road (that brought me straight to you)" (by Rascal Flatts) resonates in our hearts right now. We feel that in the end our love and experience with Juliet and Emmanuel will bring us to the children we are meant to have in our family. Indeed, if we didn't have their referrals I would have never traveled to Ghana and I know my resolve to adopt from there would be fading right now. But because I went...because I saw...because I fell in love with Ghana and its people...I feel more certain than ever that in the end we will be united with two amazing Ghanaian children.
Lest I be judged, I want to share with all of you that IF we had adopted Juliet and Emmanuel and IF they came home to us with many special needs, it would never be a consideration in our hearts to disrupt their adoptions. On the contrary! No matter what needs our children have, we as parents are dedicated to doing EVERYTHING needed to help them develop to their fullest potential. It is ONLY because we didn't even really have their referrals (officially) and nothing had started on their adoptions, that we felt the need to evaluate the situation for what is best for all involved. It wouldn't be best for Emmanuel to come into a home where another child already needs tons of attachment parenting. It wouldn't be fair to Juliet to come into a home where two children have attachment issues and her physical issues might be swept under the carpet until it was "a better time." They both deserve more than Eric and I could have given them. And our current children don't deserve to be put into a position of their care suffering because of new children coming home. I hope this makes sense. This was not a decision easily made. It was made with many tears and a lot of heartache. We appreciate your prayers as we continue to go through the mourning process. Our children feel that they have lost a brother and sister. I had to hold my 4 year old son as he cried, "But Mom, Caynan is my brother! Only Caynan! We already have his bed and everything. Nobody else is my brother." This is heartbreaking and yet we are so thankful to God that he led us as He did, because we know that this is all a part of the journey that was intended for us as a family.
I've gone back and forth about what is "too much" information and what is "not enough" information. I don't know what the end result above has been. But this is my heart, and I wanted to share it with you. This post is just about the sad stuff--about the sad "layer" of the trip. But believe me, there is layer upon layer of joy and happiness piled on top of the one sad layer of this trip!!! We are all truly blessed to have the opportunity to adopt from Ghana, and to adopt this country and its culture into our homes.
Wednesday, August 30, 2006